Snowflakes, Iced Cakes and Second Chances by Sue Watson

Snowflakes, Iced Cakes and Second Chances by Sue Watson

 

35922915Publisher: Bookouture

Publishing Date: 12th October 2017

Source:  Received from publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 269

Genre:  Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Escape to Devon for blustery walks along the beach, hot chocolate with extra marshmallows and proof that miracles really do happen, especially at Christmas.

A year after she separated from her husband, Gianni, on Christmas Day, Chloe’s heart is still in pieces as she unpacks the decorations for her first ever festive holiday alone. That is, until the phone rings…

It seems Gianni’s new seaside restaurant is in trouble and Chloe must go to Appledore to save the business – and him. Equally famous for his experimental culinary extravaganzas and his explosive temper, Gianni has been really stirring up a sensation with the locals – and not in a good way!

As pans fly and the temperature in the kitchen rises, Chloe’s calming influence and magic touch might just get critics back on side in time to save the restaurant from sinking like a sad soufflé. But will it be enough to save their marriage?

Chloe came to Appledore in search of her Christmas sparkle, but when the snow clears, will she finally find the way back to her husband’s heart?

A laugh-out-loud festive treat that will give you the tingle of freshly-hung tinsel. Perfect for fans of Jenny Colgan, Abby Clements and Debbie Johnson.

Rating: two-half-stars

Each time I see a new Sue Watson’s book I’m getting really giddy with excitement – yes, it never dies, this feeling of seeing a new book by the author you adore, no matter how old you are. I really like Sue’s down – to – earth stories with brilliant leading heroines who have experienced a lot in their lives and they really know what they’re talking about. And “Snowflakes, Christmas Cakes and Second Chances” looked and sounded so inviting and so Christmassy, and I thought, well, what can go wrong?

Unfortunately, and I’m really not saying this easily, almost everything went wrong for me. I started reading the book with such great hopes and with every page turned you could see my hope and enthusiasm going downhill. The main character, Chloe, was also the narrator, everything was told from her point of view. It felt like reading someone’s memoirs, that were also very repetitive, as I had a feeling we are reading about old same, old same all the time. Chloe seemed to me as if she didn’t know what she really wants from her life and I was soon tired with all this what I want/what I don’t want – she was too old and too experienced for this blowing cold and hot all the time. I felt sorry for her, and that was all actually, but for me it was just the case of you make your bed, you lie in it…
And let’s start on Gianni. Oh my God. I’m not sure if he was supposed to be cute with his temper and va – va – voom, funny with the things he said to his customers and critics, if I should appreciate his “honesty” but he so didn’t work for me. There was not a drop of charm in him for me, he was a whiney, spoiled, arrogant piece of work and no matter what you’re going to say it won’t change my mind about him.

This is a third instalment in the Appledore series, however you of course can read this book as a stand – alone. The characters from the previous books do enter the scenes here but the story focuses on brand new characters, Chloe and Gianni. I love the setting of Appledore and this is why I am really sorry and upset that this book didn’t work for me, and even Sue Watson’s writing style didn’t help this time. I love books with the idea of second chances and for people coming back to each other but this one didn’t deliver. However, I can see it already has tons of fans so don’t let my review to put you off reading this story.

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Curves, Kisses and Chocolate Ice – Cream by Sue Watson

Curves, Kisses and Chocolate Ice – Cream by Sue Watson

34737607Publisher: Bookouture

Publishing Date: 27th June 2017

Series: The Ice – Cream Cafe #2 (you can read my review of “Ella’s Ice – Cream Summer here)

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

Number of pages: 294

Genre:  Romance,  Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

Dani’s on a mission to get her life back on track by the end of the Summer. Running, rowing, aerobics and more, but perhaps all she needs are sweet treats and a second chance?

Twenty years ago, Dani fled Appledore with a broken-heart and a suitcase full of shattered dreams. Only now is she brave enough to put her past behind her and return for a summer selling homemade ice-cream and getting fit by doing sit-ups by the sea.

But the new-look cafe is filled with old memories of Jude, her teenage sweetheart-turned-sour. She thinks of him every time she swirls warm sauce onto a “chocolate-bockaglory” and even with the help of Chris, her gorgeous personal trainer, the urge to break her diet is everywhere she turns.

When Jude makes an appearance at the cafe on the eve of Dani’s birthday party, history threatens to repeat itself. Is Dani strong enough to say no? And is the love she’s been longing for much closer than she thinks?

A truly delicious, laugh out loud beach read that’s guaranteed to melt your heart. Perfect for fans of Lucy Diamond, Jenny Colgan and Debbie Johnson.

Rating: four-stars

I think that “Curves, Kisses and Chocolate Ice – Cream” is a story that many of the readers can relate too. I, for once, can. I’ve been struggling with my weight since I’ve become a mum – right after bringing the little one home I was so slender like never before and it stayed like this for some time but then the PND began, together with comfort eating and so the kilos started to pile and well, they don’t want to go away, no matter what. I am not overweight, well, maybe a little, but I just don’t feel well with me weight. And so I could SO completely understand Dani, and I could see all of the excuses that I am using to start better eating – it is always from the next Monday. So this is probably why I could so well connect with Dani – because I’ve been there, I’ve seen this. Sue Watson in a brilliant, sensitive way explains Dani’s feelings about food and I could nod my head as I was so getting it.

Even though this book is second in the series, you can absolutely read it as a stand – alone. And personally I think that this story was much, much better than the previous one! Yes, we meet some of the characters from the previous book but those are only small vignettes, as the story really focuses on Dani and her battle with her weight and her weakness. This journey is full of funny and poignant moments, full of strength and weakness, showing all the ups and downs of trying to pull their socks up and feeling better. Not all have such a willpower that one word and decision is all they have to do – sadly.

With “Curves, Kisses and Chocolate Ice – Cream” we are back in Appledore, meeting Dani this time. She’s left the town twenty years before, heartbroken, and now she’s back – overweight, unhappy, desperate to become thinner for her fortieth birthday. However, working in the Ice – Cream Cafe doesn’t help to keep her diets… What must happen that Dani sees what feeling good is really about? Is it really all about the weight?

I think Dani belongs to those characters that you can’t not like. She is determined but also weak, and she often gives up only to start again the next day – such a well – known vicious circle! She’s honest and she’s maintaining a healthy distance from herself but she also often uses the humour against herself.

There is a brilliant feel to this story, and I think it’s because Sue Watson has perfectly well blended together poignant and funny moments. Well, funny – they were funny for us but for sure not always for Dani! She is again your usual, normal woman, just like many of us, and Sue Watson can really write those characters. And it was truly Dani that has made this story – she was so lovely, bubbly and quirky, full of good intentions and with the right sense of humour and her favourite sport was coaching, and I immediately thought, my kind of girl! Talking too much, wearing her heart on her sleeve, here is our Dani. And it is great that at the end she’s going to find balance – it’s the most important thing, no matter if you’re overweight or not.

Each chapter of the book starts with Dani mentioning her previous diet – there were many of them, and all failed but you have to read the reasons why they failed and why she was trying this particular diet at all – oh, this was brilliant and very, very amusing! And thanks to Sue Watson (not!) I am turning into a real ice – cream fan. I’m not so much into ice – creams but all the descriptions were so mouth – watering, all the different flavours sounded so, so good, I would love to try them!

Sue Watson’s shows with her book that impossible is nothing for her – she has taken a very sensitive topic and managed to turn it into a great, honest, down – to – earth realistic story. She has got into Dani’s head and translated for us all of her feelings and emotions, explaining why she doesn’t feel comfortable in her own body and why she couldn’t change it. So truly, under the funny, light – hearted topping, there is a lot of depth to this story and it has many, many layers.
The strength of this book lies not in the characters, or the humour, or twists and turns but in the fact that Sue Watson has decided to write about such sensitive topic and she brilliantly pulled it off, so hats off to her for this, and standing ovation from me personally. She writes about insecure women that aren’t afraid to eventually and finally spread their wings, and it is always so inspiring. Her writing style is colourful, full of sharp humour, and vivid, easily bringing the events in the story to life.

So altogether, “Curves, Kisses and Chocolate Ice – Cream” was a very relatable story about a woman like many others trying to loose some weight, told in a sober, genuine, down – to – earth way with a lot of understanding and without patronising or offending someone. There are characters you can’t help but root for, a lovely setting, even more lovely background of the Ice – Cream Cafe, nice weather and feel – good factor – what more do you need than this lovely, sweet and charming story? Recommended!

Ella’s Ice – Cream Summer by Sue Watson

Ella’s Ice – Cream Summer by Sue Watson

34595538Publisher: Bookouture

Publishing Date: 11th May 2017

Series: The Ice – Cream Cafe #1

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

Number of pages: 334

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

Ella’s life just hit rock-bottom, but can a summer by the sea mend her broken heart? When life gives you lemons… make ice-cream!

Life hasn’t always been easy for single mum Ella, but she has just hit an all-time low; she’s jobless, loveless, very nearly homeless and, to make matters worse, now the owner of a pocket-sized pooch with a better wardrobe than her.

Packing her bags (and a bigger one for the dog), Ella sets off for the seaside town of Appledore in Devon to re-live the magical summers of her youth and claim her portion of the family ice-cream business: a clapped-out ice-cream van and a complicated mess of secrets.

There she meets gorgeous and free-spirited solicitor, Ben, who sees things differently: with a little bit of TLC he has a plan to get the van – and Ella – back up and running in no time.

Ella’s Ice-Cream Summer is a heart-warming and hilarious romance that will scoop you off your feet and prove it’s never too late for a fresh start. The ideal holiday read for fans of Lucy Diamond, Abby Clements and Debbie Johnson.

Rating: three-stars

I’ve read all of Sue Watson’s latest releases and loved them all to the moon and back – they are all so realistic, with the right dose of the finest humour and wonderful heroines, heroes to swoon about and usually full of incredibly delicious sounding recipes. Ms Watson’s newest release, “Ella’s Ice – Cream Summer”, has been promising all of the above mentioned and as soon as I spotted the book on NetGalley, I pressed the right button and literally saw it whizzing to my kindle. I love the cover of this novel, guys, I just love it – I personally am not the greatest fan of ice – creams, but seeing this cover motivated me to make my own unicorn ice – cream. My daughter was on cloud nine.

But. Back to the book. Theoretically, it has it all what made me fell in love with Sue Watson’s novels: there is a mature heroine who has experienced something and more in her life and who’s about to start a new chapter in her life. She’s lost her job, her two children are off on their own adventures somewhere in the world, she’s been dumped with a lovely dog that she has to dress every day and who has more dresses and jewellery than Ella herself, her mother is right now living with her and has turned out to be a social media expert and she’s about to lose her house. But nothing is lost yet, as with the death of her beloved aunt she’s to receive something in her will – maybe it’s the ice – cream cafe?

This time however I didn’t enjoy this story as much as I was expecting to. I had a feeling the plot is very chaotic, it’s not neat, the things were suddenly happening but there was no connection between them, it was as if they didn’t belong to the story and more than often I found myself feeling very confused, not knowing what to do with a particular situation, how to handle it, wondering what does it have to do with the story. The beginning of the book was good – quick and straight to the point, and I adored it. But then Ella went to Devon and the story went downhill for me. Firstly, it slowed down very much. Secondly, there was almost nothing happening. Then the never – ending remarks of Ella’s mother, mentioning that something happened in the past but she’s not going to tell what it was started to make me feel annoyed and losing hope that we will get an answer any time soon, so I’ve stopped waiting for this. It was actually the only twist in this story, having it explained, and as I haven’t been waiting for it to happen, it took me by surprise exactly at the same moment as Ella. Having known what happened in the past explained a lot and you could start to understand why there was such a feud in the family and where all the wrong feelings were coming from. There were also many time spent on thinking about things instead of doing them.

The characters are, as always, really well developed. What I liked in Ella so much was the fact that she has finally decided to put herself first, after years of being your typical mum and daughter (OK, maybe not first. She did take Delilah after all 🙂 ), took a chance when it was given to her and followed the motto of “no risk, no fun”. And she had her fun, as well as problems, but she dealt with them all in a great way. Also, the background characters were all lovely.

I loved the descriptions of ice – creams, of course, and I do believe Sue Watson that researching this book was the best thing that could ever happen to an author 🙂 Reading about them made my mouth watering, and I am the one who’s not so into ice – cream at all, so just imagine those delicious descriptions and different flavours. Also, there are some great moments in this story, of course, some funny moments and some heart – breaking ones as well. Ella’s mother, with the exception of being so annoying with mentioning the secret and then stubbornly refusing to tell her daughter what the secret is (you know, it was like with children starting to say something and then deciding that they’re not going to tell you what it was they meant), was a real star of this story, with her no – nonsense life approach and being so fit around social medias.

Altogether, even if I didn’t enjoy it as much as I hoped – but still liked it, guys, so please don’t take me wrong! – “Ella’s Ice – Cream Summer” was an emotional rollercoaster ride and a great start to the series – I’ll be for sure reading the next book! There is something to make you laugh and something to make you cry, the perfect mix of feelings and emotions, with an extra bonus of Sue Watson’s wonderful writing style.

We’ll Always Have Paris by Sue Watson

We’ll Always Have Paris by Sue Watson

 

29394047Publisher: Sphere

Publishing Date: 23rd March 2017

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

Number of pages: 400

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

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

Rosie Jackson is beginning to slowly come to terms with a new life and a new future at the age of sixty-five.

Rosie is bereft when her husband Mike dies. She misses him terribly; even though he wasn’t the love of her life, she feels lonely in her grief, despite being close to her two grown-up daughters. With time away from the family florist business, Rosie has the space to think about the past and what might have been. She remembers a summer with first love Peter as one of the happiest times of her life, but her memories are bittersweet.

After a chance encounter with Peter forty-seven years later, they both begin to wonder ‘what if’ and whether it’s never too late for second chances in love . . .

Rating: 4/5

Sue Watson got us used, or at least me, to humorous stories full of quirky, lovely heroines that already experienced a lot in their lives. “We’ll always Have Paris” however was remarkably different – it was much more serious in tone. Sure, Rosie, our heroine is already a mature woman and there are some comical situations but altogether it was a new direction, more mature. And I think it’s great – no matter what Ms Watson’s writes about, it turns out into a lovely, so close to life story with relatable characters.

All of the characters in this book are wonderfully rounded and feel like real people and the author has brilliantly captured the differences between the generations. We have the grandmother Rosie, a lovely, woman who remained young who loves her family above all but there is also a lot of life in her and I absolutely freakingly adored the fact that she felt she deserves to live, even after her beloved husband dies. She had her period of grief and she still loved Mike but she felt young enough to follow her heart. She devoted all of her life to her family, she raised two great daughters and had two brilliant, quirky granddaughters (they don’t appear often in this story but what I got made me fell in love with those girls, especially with the older one – I loved their conversations!) and now it was Rosie’s time. She wasn’t afraid of challenges and new experiences and I truly admired her for this.

I loved how the book dealt with all the dilemmas and how gently and with a lot of respect Sue Watson approached all the questions and uncertainties of falling in love when you’re of a mature age. She took all the aspects into account as it was not only Rosie’s life that was changing but also this of her family.

I only think that I’d love a little different introduction to Peter. Rosie was reminiscing, thinking about her youth and her first young love and then suddenly, boom, he entered the scenes – it was obvious that he’s going to appear in the story sooner or later. I think for me it would be bigger surprise when he first appeared and then Rosie would introduce us to him and tell us about him and their young, turbulent relationship. Also, the book was on a very steady level, the pace was very peaceful and quiet and yes, sometimes you don’t need fireworks and drama but this time I was waiting for something to happen. Not sure what, perhaps some troubles in paradise, just something that would pump up the volume and the temperature a little and add so very needed twist. But other than that, I really adored this story, it was lovely, warm and full of feelings.

“We’ll Always Have Paris” is really a book about women – power, I think, putting women in the centre in this story. It is about different generations of women, because even those that are not longer with the characters were important part of the book, like Rosie’ mother Margaret, who Rosie now, grandmother herself, learnt to appreciate. It shows the unconditional love mothers feel, it shows how families work and it also shows that actually there is always the same circle of life – we give birth to our children, we love, adore them, we suffer together with them, we want to kill them but they always stay our children, no matter how old they are, and it is the same for our daughters, granddaughters… This is a story for everybody, no matter how old you are because it shows you how to appreciate your family and your own time in life. And hello, it is never too late for a romance and fall in love, right? This is also a wonderful tale of rediscovering not only your first love, but also yourself. It shows that loving one person doesn’t mean you can’t love the other. It’s about real family and real family dynamics, and this all written in such a lovely, vivid and gentle way. Witty and poignant, sweet and bitter, a real joy and gem to read. Recommended!

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We’ll Always Have Paris by Sue Watson

I am absolutely thrilled to be a part of Sue Watson‚s Blog Tour. You know, Sue is not only a very brilliant author but we also have birthday on the same day – tadah! It’s really special, right? But back to the book – „We’ll Always Have Paris” is a somewhat different direction for Sue, as the story is a little more serious in tone but it still introduces us to fantastic, vivid characters that I truly loved! Be sure to check this book for yourself, it’s so lovely, warm and uplifting!

We’ll Always Have Paris

by Sue Watson

 

Publisher: Sphere

Publishing Date: 27th June 2015

Source:  Copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 416

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

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback (out on 23. 03. 2017)

 

 

 

 Synopsis:

Does first love deserve a second chance?

When she was almost seventeen, Rosie Draper locked eyes with a charismatic student called Peter during their first week at art college, changing the course of her life forever. Now, on the cusp of sixty-five and recently widowed, Rosie is slowly coming to terms with a new future. And after a chance encounter with Peter, forty-seven years later, they both begin to wonder ‚what if’ . . .

Told with warmth, wit and humour, We’ll Always Have Paris is a charming, moving and uplifting novel about two people; the choices they make, the lives they lead and the love they share.

Rating: 4/5

Sue Watson has accustomed us, or at least me, to humorous stories full of quirky, lovely heroines that already experienced a lot in their lives. „We’ll always Have Paris” however was remarkably different – it was much more serious in tone. Sure, Rosie, our heroine is already a mature woman and there are some comical situations but altogether it was a new direction, more mature. And I think it’s great – no matter what Ms Watson’s writes about, it turns out into a lovely, so close to life story with relatable characters.

All of the characters in this book are wonderfully rounded and feel like real people and the author has brilliantly captured the differences between the generations. We have the grandmother Rosie, a lovely, woman who remained young who loves her family above all but there is also a lot of life in her and I absolutely freakingly adored the fact that she felt she deserves to live, even after her beloved husband dies. She had her period of grief and she still loved Mike but she felt young enough to follow her heart. She devoted all of her life to her family, she raised two great daughters and had two brilliant, quirky granddaughters (they don’t appear often in this story but what I got made me fell in love with those girls, especially with the older one – I loved their conversations!) and now it was Rosie’s time. She wasn’t afraid of challenges and new experiences and I truly admired her for this.

I loved how the book dealt with all the dilemmas and how gently and with a lot of respect Sue Watson approached all the questions and uncertainties of falling in love when you’re of a mature age. She took all the aspects into account as it was not only Rosie’s life that was changing but also this of her family.

I only think that I’d love a little different introduction to Peter. Rosie was reminiscing, thinking about her youth and her first young love and then suddenly, boom, he entered the scenes – it was obvious that he’s going to appear in the story sooner or later. I think for me it would be bigger surprise when he first appeared and then Rosie would introduce us to him and tell us about him and their young, turbulent relationship. Also, the book was on a very steady level, the pace was very peaceful and quiet and yes, sometimes you don’t need fireworks and drama but this time I was waiting for something to happen. Not sure what, perhaps some troubles in paradise, just something that would pump up the volume and the temperature a little and add so very needed twist. But other than that, I really adored this story, it was lovely, warm and full of feelings.

„We’ll Always Have Paris” is really a book about women – power, I think, putting women in the centre in this story. It is about different generations of women, because even those that are not longer with the characters were important part of the book, like Rosie’ mother Margaret, who Rosie now, grandmother herself, learnt to appreciate. It shows the unconditional love mothers feel, it shows how families work and it also shows that actually there is always the same circle of life – we give birth to our children, we love, adore them, we suffer together with them, we want to kill them but they always stay our children, no matter how old they are, and it is the same for our daughters, granddaughters… This is a story for everybody, no matter how old you are because it shows you how to appreciate your family and your own time in life. And hello, it is never too late for a romance and fall in love, right? This is also a wonderful tale of rediscovering not only your first love, but also yourself. It shows that loving one person doesn’t mean you can’t love the other. It’s about real family and real family dynamics, and this all written in such a lovely, vivid and gentle way. Witty and poignant, sweet and bitter, a real joy and gem to read. Recommended!

 

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