Bridesmaids by Zara Stoneley

Bridesmaids by Zara Stoneley

 

43079139Publisher: HarperImpulse

Publishing Date: 26th April  2019

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

Number of pages: 400

Genre: Romance

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback (out on 11.07.2019)

 

Synopsis:

Meet Rachel, the beautiful bride with BIG plans for the perfect day! The venue is a castle and the dress is designer. It’s just a shame her husband is a rat.

Maddie and Sally have only one thing in common – they both love the same man!

Beth is a newly single mum with a mystery baby daddy. Surely the father isn’t someone the girls all know?

And then there’s Jane, the glue holding them all together, but being dumped doesn’t make her the happiest bridesmaid…especially with gorgeous flatmate Freddie complicating things.

Will the bride say, ‘I Do!’? Or will her bridesmaids save the day…and find love along the way?

The most hilarious, feel-good rom com of the year!

Rating: five-stars

 

“Bridesmaids” introduces us to Jane, who, after having been dumped on her hen night, isn’t so keen on weddings anymore. But when her best friend Rachel asks her to be her bridesmaid, she can’t say no, right? although the situation is rather awkward, as Jane knows a secret about Rachel’s husband – to – be and she really doesn’t know what to do!
The other bridesmaids turn out to be the girls’ school friends Sally, Maddie and Beth, and each of them have a secret of their own. Sally has married Maddie’s high school sweetheart Jack but Maddie still, secretly, loves him with all her heart. Beth is a single mum but won’t say a word about the father of her baby. Will all the secrets see the light of the day? And if so, why? Not at the wedding, right?

The story is told from Jane’s point of view and she is a brilliant narrator, and also an absolutely brilliant character, too often jumping to conclusions but that’s the way she is, putting 2 and 2 together and coming up with five or more, and I love such chaotic heroines! Probably because they’re like me. But back to Jane, who is such a warm, loveable character and her personal journey through the story, the decisions she has finally made, were heart – warming. She is the kind of character that simply makes you proud of them.
But we have a bunch of other, full of life, characters. Rachel, Jane’s best friend, Sally and Maddie and Beth. I loved how complex they were, how funny and how they often tried to put on a brave face to spare the others’ worries. They, like it usually is, had secrets that they kept from each other, but I really truly could understand why they were like this.

The story is full of hilarious moments and events and there were moments that reading it felt like watching a tennis game with your head going right and left, so many things happened and were said. The banter and dialogues were brilliantly light but also, believe me, it was full of feelings, this book, especially when Jane was wondering about her own emotions, and it was also so well written. It was uplifting take on love and relationships, marriage and also betrayal, but especially on friendship that will have you root for the characters and want to slap the others. The author easily pulls you into the story and from the very beginning you feel a part of the group and you’re with the characters through good and bed times.

“Bridesmaids” is written in such a light, chatty way and it was a real pleasure to read it. I’ve read all of Zara Stoneley’s books and loved all of them, and know how funny she can be, but this time the whole story is simply so light and bright and heart – warming and über – funny. It has this special feeling to it that makes you feel better and happier. I can’t recommend this gem of a book highly enough!

 

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No One Cancels Christmas by Zara Stoneley

No One Cancels Christmas by Zara Stoneley

 

 

40496936Publisher: HarperImpulse

Publishing Date: 19th October 2018

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

Number of pages: 269

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Romance

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

A holiday she’ll remember forever…
It’s the most magical time of the year, and for travel agent Sarah it’s also the busiest! But this year one man threatens to ruin Christmas for Sarah’s customers – Mr Grinch, Will Armstrong.

The Shooting Star Mountain resort is a magical place, and Sarah has fond memories of Christmas here as a little girl – visits to Father Christmas, husky rides in the snow and hot chocolate by a roaring fire. But as the resorts new owner, Will refuses to play snowball or to deck the halls with anything remotely resembling tinsel!

With customers complaining their Christmas is ruined, Sarah decides it’s up to her to convince Scroogey Will just how magical Christmas can be….

But getting Will into the Christmas spirit is hopeless – he is Bah Humbug personified! But as Sarah gets to know him better, she realises that underneath all the gloom is a man struggling with a pain of his own.

With the big day approaching, Sarah realises that the magic and sparkle can wait. This year, she’s going to spend Christmas day with someone special her very own Mr Scrooge…

Rating: four-stars

In “No One Cancels Christmas”, a new festive book by Zara Stoneley that brings back some of the characters from her previous novel “The Wedding Date” but is another stand – alone, we are introduced to Sarah, running her aunt’s travel agency. Following some very bad reviews of one of their resorts, the Shooting Star Mountain in Canada, that promises atmospheric, unforgettable Christmas but, as it turns out, the only thing they offer are cold cabins and no Christmas tree, Sarah decides to fly over to check the situation. Some of Sarah’s most painful, but also most beautiful, memories are connected with this resort. Will she be able to leave her past behind? And to bring back the resort’s high and established reputation?

As always, Zara Stoneley presents us with the most gorgeous descriptions of the characters and the setting. I love Canada and it is my biggest dream to travel there one day, and so I couldn’t be happier to read a book set in there, and even more during Christmas, and the author has done me proud with her vivid descriptions – I could easily picture the landscape covered in snow, the mountains, the snow crunching under your feet and the sun shining.

The characters were all full of live and they were really easy to like – even though it took me some time to get used to Sarah, to be honest. I think she didn’t start in this story too promising, I’m not sure why, I can’t put my fingers on it, she just felt too childish for me, but she’s developed through the novel and I simply adored her enthusiasm and passion, her spontaneity and her bossy ways around the brothers.
Ed has made me feel desperate, though there were tons of charm to him, and yes, I could understand the fascination all the women felt when in his company. His brother Will, the grumpy one, the Grinch, was his total opposite but guys, believe me, you could immediately see that there is so much more to him than meet the eye at first, and I was impatiently waiting to discover what has happened to make him behave like this. He had a great sense of humour, though, our Will, the emails exchange between him and Sarah were absolutely brilliant.
Sarah and Will worked together brilliantly but there wasn’t this sparkle between them that would make me go weak at my knees and all swoony – I am probably spoiled by reading so many books where the chemistry is so well captured – although I am not saying that it wasn’t great. It was, but for me it missed the final touch, and the switch from enemies to lovers happened too sudden for my liking and made it feel a little bit unbelievable.

After Sarah’s friends arrived in Canada the story slowed down for me and wasn’t as entertaining. Yes, there were still some great and hilarious scenes but it started to feel a little too flat and dragging on, especially the blossoming romance. But, having said that, I can assure you that this book was a fantastic, festive read and it brought me tons of joy – it was one of Zara Stoneley’s best stories, to be honest.
It was full of romance that felt even more romantic because of the gorgeous surroundings. The writing style was so, so good, easy to follow, light and inviting, so really, the book has it all – festive mood, gorgeous, wintery landscapes, some lovely huskies and cheeky cat, moody and broody men and brilliant winter Shooting Star Mountain resort in Canada, a quirky and bouncy leading character, was full of hilarious scenes and has a depth – what more would you want? Nothing – exactly! Just grab “No One Cancels Christmas” as soon as it’s out because I am sure you’re guys are all going to love it – it’s full of warmth, hope, snow and humour. Recommended!

 

The Wedding Date by Zara Stoneley (Blog Tour)

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The Wedding Date by Zara Stoneley

 

38576218Publisher: HarperImpulse

Publishing Date: 20th April 2018

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

Number of pages: 400

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

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

One ex.
One wedding.
One little white lie.

When Samantha Jenkins is asked to be the maid of honour at her best friend’s wedding, she couldn’t be happier. There are just three problems…

1) Sam’s ex-boyfriend, Liam, will be the best man.
2) His new girlfriend is pregnant.
3) Sam might have told people she has a new man when she doesn’t (see points 1 and 2 above)

So, Sam does the only sensible thing available to her… and hires a professional to do the job.

Actor Jake Porter is perfect for the role: single, gorgeous and cheap! Sam is certain it’s the perfect solution: no strings, no heartbreak and hopefully no chance of being found out.

But spending a week in the Scottish Highlands with Jake is harder than she imagined. He is the perfect boyfriend, charming, sexy and the hottest thing in a kilt since Outlander! And his dog Harry is quite possibly the cutest things Sam has ever seen!

As the wedding draws closer, Jake plays his part to perfection and everyone believes he is madly in love with Sam. The problem is, Sam’s not sure if Jake is acting anymore…

Rating: four-stars

Sam (also Samantha but never Sammy!) has been asked to be the maid of honour at her best friend’s wedding in Scotland, and this includes a week full of activities in a castle! So far, so good but there is one problem – Sam’s ex – boyfriend is going to be the best man, and moreover, he’s going to be there with his new girlfriend – a VERY pregnant girlfriend. So Sam must not only look gorgeous but she needs a new boyfriend, pronto. Desperate needs call for desperate measures, so Sam decides to hire this new boyfriend. Enters Jake, incredibly handsome and lovely actor but as it turns out with his own baggage – now he only has to prove that his acting skills are really well. Or are those acting skills at all?

Being a huge fan of Zara Stoneley’s and her novels, I couldn’t be more excited to see her new book on NetGalley. However, I was a little surprised, as the blurb to “A Wedding Date” sounded very different to her other books, and the cover – well, it is a nice cover but it is light-years away from the other covers. I know, I know, they can’t all look the same but still… Nevertheless, I think it was a really brave move to write a book with such topic and such a title – next to a film titled “A Wedding Date” there are many novels with the same premise as this story and to add something new and original to it couldn’t be too easy. But well, who has said that it will be easy, right? However, I must admit, that the story didn’t take me completely by surprise but don’t get me wrong here, guys – Zara Stoneley’s idea of what could go right or wrong did take the book to another, very high level of entertainment!
There was one thing that bothered me through the whole book – I just didn’t have the feeling that it is a story by Zara Stoneley. It reminded me of so many other rom – coms, which basically is not bad, because of course it had a unique touch to it as well, but Zara Stoneley has already proven many, many times that her stories can be exceptionally brilliant, poignant and funny. And this time I just missed this final touch, this “something” that would make me immediately recognize, without you showing me the author, that it is a story by Ms Stoneley.

Sam was so very easy to like, and she was so relatable with all her problems. She was worrying about her weight all the time and then going out to eat pizza (sounds familiar. Very familiar), about her work, friends and life generally. She was also one of the very best friends in the world and well, she wore her heart on her sleeve. It was a bit sad that she was defining herself through her weight but on the other hand who doesn’t do it, right, so I really did get where she was coming from, and basically, I got our Sam. I warmed to her immediately, and I laughed at her antics, and I liked that she was just so down to earth and believable.
And how lucky you must be to find a guy – moreover, a sexy as hell actor – that would agree to your plan of faking a relationship, right? I think it was that that didn’t sit with so much, and add to that that he was perfect, how convenient was it? Don’t get me wrong, I liked Jake, but knowing that he’s hiding the true reasons while he’s going along with the charade just made me keep the distance a little and probably this is why I just didn’t get fully into the story. On the other hand, I completely understood Sam, oh hell, I’d probably try finding a fake boyfriend myself if I were Sam!
And guys, it wouldn’t be a Zara Stoneley book if there weren’t animals involved! As usual, she introduced some animal characters to us and added a scene or two including horses, and what can I say, they were hugely entertaining, and Harry the dog would give me grey hair.

But altogether, “A Wedding Date” was a funny, uplifting story It ticks all the boxes to be a great summery read – it was a great rom – com with enough drama, comedy and romance, introducing us to vivid, colourful characters and brilliant setting. It was easy, uplifting and light – hearted with plenty of entertaining scenes. The humour and narrative in this book were flowing so effortlessly, unforced and it was a joy to read it. It was full of energy and sunshine and friendship. Yes, I liked other Zara Stoneley’s stories better but it doesn’t mean that “A Wedding Date” wasn’t a good read – because it was and if you haven’t read other Ms Stoneley’s books (not possible I assume) that you can easily start with this one. Highly recommended!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Born in a small village in Staffordshire, Zara Stoneley wanted to be James Herriot, a spy thumbnail_zarastoneley20authorpicor an author when she grew up. Writing novels means she can imagine she is all these things, and more! Zara’s bestselling novels include ‘The Holiday Swap’, ‘Summer with the Country Village Vet’, ‘Blackberry Picking at Jasmine Cottage’ and the popular Tippermere series – ‘Stable Mates’, ‘Country Affairs’ and ‘Country Rivals’. She lives in a Cheshire village with her family, a naughty cockapoo, and a very bossy cat, and loves spending time in sunny Spain.

You can find Zara Stoneley here:

Website: http://www.zarastoneley.com
Twitter: @ZaraStoneley
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ZaraStoneley
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/zarastoneley/

FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR:

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Blackberry Picking at Jasmine Cottage by Zara Stoneley

Blackberry Picking at Jasmine Cottage by Zara Stoneley

 

34875719Publisher: HarperImpulse

Publishing Date: 22nd September 2017

Series: Love in Langtry Meadows #2 (read my review of book #1 here )

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

Number of pages: 339

Genre:  Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback (out on 30.11.2017)

 

 

Synopsis:

Return to the charming little village of Langtry Meadows and cosy up by the fire with this gorgeous romance that will warm your heart…

As the lazy days of summer ebb away and the hedgerows fill with rich, plump blackberries, Lucy Jacobs couldn’t be happier. She’s feeling more and more at home in the small village of Langtry Meadows and has fallen in love with idyllic Jasmine cottage – not to mention gorgeous vet Charlie.

But just as Lucy is thinking about putting down roots like the blackberries that grow in her garden, Charlie’s ex returns and threatens to put a thorn in their perfect life…

Rating: five-stars

 

Guys. What a lovely feeling it was, to be back at Langtry Meadows with the characters from “Summer with the Country Village Vet”! It was so great that we didn’t have to wait too long for the second book in the series, and as “Blackberry Picking at Jasmine Cottage” started off exactly where we left, it was so easy to immediately get comfortable and enjoy the novel immensely.
Because guys, there is no other option than enjoy this book! I’ll probably repeat myself in this review but Zara Stoneley has such a huge talent to write welcoming, warm, down – to – earth and funny stories, with the best characters in the world. We are back with the incredibly laid back Lucy, the sexiest vet ever Charlie (can you hear me roar?), Maisie, Sally, Jim, Elsie, Trish and many, many other colourful and wonderful characters that we remember from book number one.

This novel was packed full with events yet it never felt too overdone, which must be an art itself. There were dramas aplenty but also many, many, many relaxing and hilarious situations usually involving animals and children, and Zara Stoneley can write both brilliantly well. There is not a single moment flat and I was so caught up in the lives of the characters that I didn’t want to put the book away. The author has in such a great way written about Maisie and how hard it was for her to come to terms with the fact that her mum is right now absent from her life, and she wonderfully captured all those feelings and emotions of a little girl. Don’t get me wrong, Charlie and Lucy of course did whatever they could that Maisie felt loved but still her mum was not there and she felt so alone, and my heart was breaking in thousand little pieces when I saw her so sad. Then of course we have this brilliant, lovely close knit community that support each other no matter what – they just go along so easily, in such a natural, genuine way. There are also some secrets being kept in the story and some closures as well and it all just works perfectly together.

Reading the book was for me like sitting under my favourite blanket, in front of the fireplace with a mug of hot chocolate with a whipped cream and marshmallows – it was absolutely a bliss and I can’t wait for a book 3 in the series. There was this so hard to capture cosy and warm feeling and I truly didn’t want this story to end. I think that Zara Stoneley’s writing and stories just get better and better and each of her books is a real treat for me, as I know that she’s always going to deliver this what I’m looking for. I highly recommend “Blackberry Picking at Jasmine Cottage”!

Summer with the Country Village Vet by Zara Stoneley

 

Summer with the Country Village Vet by Zara Stoneley

34214939Publisher: HarperImpulse

Publishing Date: 26th May 2017

Series: Love in Langtry Meadows #1

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

Number of pages: 404

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback(out on 01.06.2017)

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Fall in love with a brand new cosy romance series from bestselling author Zara Stoneley

When Lucy Jacobs is made redundant from her inner-city teaching job she fears her career is over. Teaching is all Lucy knows and she’s determined to get back in the classroom as fast as she can.

Except the only job on offer is at an idyllic village school in the middle of nowhere – Lucy’s idea of hell. Where are the disadvantaged kids who need saving, where is the challenge?

But as Lucy finds herself welcomed into the warm-hearted community of Langtry Meadows, she begins to realise new challenges await – like frogs in the classroom, a rather difficult donkey, and a very brooding local vet…

Local boy Charlie Davenport has his own issues about living in the close-knit village of Langtry Meadows. His private life is already fuel for the well-meaning gossips and the very last thing he needs is to get close to the new school teacher…no matter how lovely she is.

But as summer days drift away Langtry Meadows weaves its magic, Charlie and Lucy both get the chance to turn over a new leaf and start anew…maybe with each other?

A fun, romantic story to make you smile and long for your own country escape.

Rating: five-stars

There is a popular saying at the beginning of “Summer with the Country Village Vet”: “Never work with children or animals”. Well, I work with both, ha, so this here plus the fact that it is Zara Stoneley that has written this novel, made me feel sure that I am going to love it. This book really has it all – beautiful, idyllic setting, more than likeable characters, funny animals with their antics so realistically written, adorable children with their belly – aching banter and the wonderful atmosphere. This all written with this lovely, warm and inviting Zara Stoneley’s writing style – it is already so recognizable, that I can bet if you were given this book not knowing the author, you’d guess it immediately.

I loved our main character Lucy’s passion to her job – the same as Charlie’s, to be honest. They were the right people in the right places. Lucy, just like most of Zara Stoneley’s heroines, was just my kind of a girl. She was a great teacher, she loved her job and she thought about her students and not the bureaucracy. She was clever, witty but she had her own demons and skeletons in the closet and this all made her character so beautifully complex and adorable. There is this brilliantly interwoven subplot of Lucy’s childhood, so we get a chance to learn where all her insecurities are coming from – I really liked that she finally started to ask questions. However, she didn’t let the insecurities to overwhelm her and on the outside she was a sunny, lovely girl that everybody loved and nobody could say “no” to her. Really. You’ll see for yourself when you read the book.
And let’s not forget Charlie, the moody and broody village vet. Oh my, he was GREAT! I’ve no idea how Zara Stoneley does it but with every new book her male characters are even more gorgeous, with a swoon – factor. Absolutely devoted to his job and also with past demons that suddenly start to surface… To be honest, there were moments that I wanted to bang his head on the wall, not too much of course, but that he stopped brooding and behaving the way he behaved towards Lucy because he made her feel so confused, and better don’t mess with me when you confuse Lucy, because Lucy is too nice to be messed with. So there. But apart from that Charlie was perfect, guys, but not perfect in this boring way, no, he was adorable, gorgeous and had a distance to himself and all the pets’ female owners.
I also adored the banter between Lucy and Charlie and the way they were around each other – it was so, so realistic! The will they/won’t they was brilliantly solved, you really couldn’t be sure what’s going to happen, as there were so many obstacles in their way, and even though there were moments that I SO wanted to bang their heads together, especially Charlie’s, I still could fully understand their reluctance and uncertainty.
But not only the main characters were brilliant, Zara Stoneley writes them all so well. The whole Langtry Meadow community, starting with the school staff, the nurse in Charlie’s surgery, the village busy body, knowing all and everything Elsie Harrington – they were all larger than life, warm, quirky and so true and genuine.

There wouldn’t be Zara Stoneley’s book without some gorgeous, mischievous animals. Next to newts we have all the animals that Charlie looks after in his surgery (the chihuahua. The chihuahua!) and also the bunch Lucy is baby – sitting. I absolutely loved the fact that each and every one animal that Lucy was baby – sitting was given a scene or two. We have Gertie the Goose who is very attached to very pink wellies, we have a pony Mischief, a pig that likes to be taken on walks, and many, many others. Again, they were written with so much heart and understanding, it was a real joy to read about them. Those animals have more than once stolen the show, really, but this all had such an authentic feeling to it. As much as they say “never work with children or animals”, we could advice some authors please don’t write about animals and children because it’s not as easy as we could think, but Zara Stoneley has mastered it, and both animals and children feel so authentic and genuine in this book.

I absolutely liked that everything was so neatly wrapped up in the end, that all things were explained, that Lucy had this huge talk with her mum and that she started to feel better after that. It was a fast – paced story and there was all the time something happening and I more than often found myself thinking, only one page more, and then, hours later, realised it’s time to bring the little one to bed.

I love all Zara Stoneley’s books, she really can do no wrong and I hope she’ll keep them coming and coming. There is always such a feel – good factor to them all, they so effortlessly transport you to the fiction world of the characters’ and you immediately want to move to the place where the book is set. It was the same with Langtry Meadows – I immediately fell in love with this place, with all the villagers and the author has so easily brought this place to life – with May Pole dancing, with the pub and cosy cottages, village greens and the cosy school. “Summer with the Country Village Vet” was so heart – warming and it was so easy to fall in love with the place and all the characters. I loved all the challenges they were facing, some of them very normal ones, such as what kind of animal are the children going to bring in their pockets to school, or more difficult ones, such like coming to terms with a difficult past, finding peace and letting the demons go. I had no problems to immediately feel a part of the Langtry Meadow community, they were all so easy to fall in love with. This story was a real breath of fresh air, it was as colourful as cover of this book but with a depth and some emotional moments.

But what is best is that this book is the first one in the series! I can’t wait to visit Langtry Meadows again as soon as possible!

The Holiday Swap by Zara Stoneley

The Holiday Swap by Zara Stoneley

 

30372159Publisher: Harper Impulse

Publishing Date: 2nd September 2016

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

Number of pages: 392

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

Two women, two very different lives – one perfect solution to a Christmas holiday fraught with potential pitfalls.

The Holiday Swap.

Florence Cortes has the perfect life – an apartment in the trendiest district of Barcelona, a job she loves and a boyfriend who’s whisking her away on a romantic break to Paris to no doubt propose.
Only, he’s planning something far different, and Flo soon realises her life isn’t so perfect after all.

Home loving Daisy Fischer is perfectly happy in her idyllic home in the Cheshire countryside, with an on-off boyfriend who might be slightly dull but is totally dependable. Until he issues an ultimatum, and Daisy suddenly realises that there might be a whole different world out there that she’s missing out on.

Have Flo and Daisy come up with the perfect solution to escape festive heartbreak?
Can a snowbound Christmas in Cheshire – with aristocratic, handsome Hugo as her neighbour, a house full of animals and a leaking roof – help Flo mend her broken heart, and remind her of what she really wants in life?

Can a sunny break in beautiful Barcelona – with the dishy but brooding Javier, a never ending supply of cava, and a sea view to die for – prove to Daisy that playing safe isn’t always the answer?

Love actually does seem to be all around this Christmas – and in the places Flo and Daisy least expect to find it, but where will they be for New Year?

 Rating: 4/5

Where there is a swap, there I am… I LOVE books about swapping. I love films about swapping. Heck, I don’t usually watch films, there are only a few of them that I can watch again and again, I love “Bridget Jones” and “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”, and I also love “The Holiday”, and so Zara Stoneley couldn’t come up with a better idea for her newest release “The Holiday Swap” (what else?). Moreover, I love Zara Stoneley and I love holidays and I was really super – duper excited when the book has landed on my kindle. And this book only confirmed me in my opinion of having Zara Stoneley on my auto – buy authors – she always delivers, never disappoints!

Moreover, guys, this book is a return to Tippermere, probably one of my favourite fictional places in the world, and it also briefly, very briefly, but oh my gawd, how I enjoyed it, let us to reconnect with Lottie and Rory, and it also mentions some other characters from the Tippermere series, which was a great, surprising bonus for me. “The Holiday Swap” is also full of brilliant horses and dogs and I think Irish Wolfhound is my favourite dog breed right now, or at least Mabel is my favourite dog right now – I am so, so impressed with the way Ms Stoneley is able to capture the animals’ souls and put into words all the shenanigans they are capable of putting on.

Next to Tippermere, Zara Stoneley takes us to Spain this time, and exactly speaking, to Barcelona. I adored this setting but here is also my biggest problem with the book. I much more enjoyed the parts set in England, probably because the chapters happening in Barcelona felt much more like a travel guide. There was too much focus on the city itself, on the places to be and to see, and as much as I adored those places, I missed more about Daisy and Javier. I loved both of the venues, sure I did, and if I were to choose where I’d rather go for my holiday swap I wouldn’t know it, to be honest, as both of them sounded just perfect for a short stay. Or even as a for ever place. Though I am a country girl at heart, feeling best surrounded by green fields, herd of horses and six dogs by my side. But I’ll never say no to a holiday in Barcelona.

Shortly, in “The Holiday Swap”, our main characters, Flo and Daisy, decide to swap their places for a couple of weeks before Christmas. Flo is going to Tippermere and Daisy is going to Barcelona and I think I don’t have to say that for both girls the difference in the places will be huge – when Flo is living a sophisticated life in Barcelona, full of trendy bars, handsome guys and magazine features, Daisy gets up at six to break ice on water buckets, take care of the animals and to daily struggles with her neighbour, Hugo. The girls, from different reasons, aren’t looking for love, they’re looking for something new and relaxed, but what if love is at the next corner?

Zara Stoneley can certainly write very unique relationships! I adored both of the couples and they banter and the way they were adjusting to each other. Flo and Hugo were, I think, much more colourful, and they banter has added so, so much pepper to the story! I couldn’t wait for the chapters told by Flo, as they usually casted Hugo, and guys, believe me, each scene with Hugo was exceptional. Yes, at the beginning, when I saw his interactions with Daisy I was thinking, WTF, who are you, you arrogant and pompous git, but it was just at the beginning and quickly, VERY QUICKLY, I’ve changed my mind about Hugo. Yes, he was arrogant but it was a part of his persona and you could either love it or hate it, and I personally loved it, because he was arrogant in this intelligent, humorous way. The verbal sparring between Flo and Hugo was a masterpiece and I loved those one – liners and the way they got each other and each other’s sense of humour.

There was a lot happening in this story, usually including animals or fire. The girls had a lot of adventures and especially Daisy was discovering so many new things, trying new food and seeing great things. So I’ll be honest with you, this book was fantastic, full of humour and sex – Gods, and beautiful setting but perhaps I’m already spoiled by the Tippermere series, and I missed more action, more chaos, more troubles. Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not criticizing, and it’s probably my fault, but those are my feelings and I can’t stop them, right? But altogether, I enjoyed this story totally, it was all that I needed, and it was a perfect mix of sun and snow, cheerfulness, perfect romances and hotter than hot heroes and fantastic, relatable heroines – keep them coming, Zara, pretty, pretty please!
“The Holiday Swap” was a lovely story about friendship and supporting each other, about seizing opportunities and taking chances to try something new, written in this brilliant, gorgeous, easy to follow Zara Stoneley’s style, full of twists and turns and surprises thrown at the characters that were not expecting it. The author brought not only the setting, but also the characters, to life and this book is the best antidote for a rainy afternoon – it makes you feel so cosy and so optimistic. Highly recommended!