Saturday 31 August 2019

Book Review - The Postcard by Zoe Folbigg

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Title: The Postcard
Author: Zoe Folbigg
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Publisher supplied copy
Publisher: Aria
Publication Date: 1st August 2019
Rating: 3 Stars

The sequel to the bestselling phenomenon The Note – based on the true story of one girl and her 'Train Man'...
A year after the kiss that brought them together in a snowy train-station doorway, Maya and James are embarking on another journey – this time around the world.

The trip starts promisingly, with an opulent and romantic Indian wedding. But as their travels continue, Maya fears that 'love at first sight' might not survive trains, planes and tuk tuks, especially when she realises that what she really wants is a baby, and James doesn't feel the same. 

Can Maya and James navigate their different hopes and dreams to stay together? Or is love at first sight just a myth after all...

Perfect for fans of One Day in December, Our Stop and Marian Keyes. The Postcard continues the once-in-a-lifetime love story that readers so took to their hearts.

Ultimately it was the plane on the cover and the mention of a round the world trip that made me decide to read this book. After all I love books featuring travel, and I know people had raved about The Note, which I hadn't read, but I thought I would give this a go. 

Well for the first 15% or so I was lost, there were far too many characters coming at me at once, while Maya and James prepare for this round the world trip.   And even once they were abroad their first stop a lavish Indian wedding, I just wasn't connecting with the book. 

But then as they started to travel, I felt more with the rhythm of the story, and yet I was still conflicted.  Initially I was thinking I wasn't getting enough details on any of the places visited to get a real feel for them. 

And then Maya and James went to a detox spa in Thailand, which Maya needed to mention in her weekly column she was writing - and frankly there was far far far too much detail on the treatments.  At no point do I want to know what is coming out of a person during a self administered colonic irrigation. 

Yet I'll admit the book started off with an unsettling first chapter that I couldn't quite get into but also felt as though it was not from a book of this genre, and let me to wonder what I was getting into.  The story touched on in that first chapter actually turned into what kept me reading as I wanted to know what actually the truth of the matter was and just how it connected into Maya and James story. 

And then there were also chapters from Nena's point of view, about life back in London as a mum to a 6 month old, who still isn't sleeping through the night, and how she is coping with motherhood. 

It was after the retreat and once the couple went to Vietnam that I found myself really enjoying the story, there were some funny bits, some areas of despair and there was an unexpected conclusion for this couple that I just didn't really feel the connection between. 

There was the introduction of another couple that added fabulous light relief to the book, and I just wanted to give Lenny a great big hug.  I sort of wish we had their story instead, as I much preferred those characters. 

Don't get me wrong there is nothing wrong with the writing and in parts I really was lost in the story, but it just didn't gel properly with me.  I suspect the fact I hadn't read The Note may have been an issue, or maybe I was just expecting more from the book than was there. 

Apart from the scenes that made me feel ill, it was an enjoyable story, and one that I'm sure fans of the author would enjoy a whole deal more than me.   I would suggest that if you have read the blurb and it does appeal for you to give it a go, as it may just be it was the wrong book for me on the wrong day. 

Thank you to Vicky Joss at Aria for this copy which I have reviewed honestly. 

Friday 30 August 2019

Book Review - A Village Affair by Julie Houston

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Title: A Village Affair
Author: Julie Houston
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Aria
Publication Date: 6th November 2018
Rating: 4 Stars

Cassie Beresford has recently landed her dream job as deputy head at her local, idyllic village primary school, Little Acorns. So, the last thing she needs is her husband of twenty years being 'outed' at a village charity auction - he has been having an affair with one of her closest friends.

As if that weren't enough to cope with, Cassie suddenly finds herself catapulted into the head teacher position, and at the forefront of a fight to ward off developers determined to concrete over the beautiful landscape.

But through it all, the irresistible joy of her pupils, the reality of keeping her teenage children on the straight and narrow, her irrepressible family and friends, and the possibility of new love, mean what could have been the worst year ever, actually might be the best yet...

Julie Houston's novels are funny, wonderfully warm and completely addictive. Perfect for all fans of Gervaise Phinn, Katie Fforde and Jill Mansell.

It has been a long while for me, but it was good to be back in Midhope in this all new story, focusing on Cassie Beresford.  

It can easily be read as a standalone, but there are familiar faces to those who have been reading other books from the author. 

And what a story this was, I can't believe how many story lines and threads where packed into this book.  There is a lot going on and never a dull moment.  

We have cheating husbands, questions of parenthood, sexuality, a campaign again a development, a hilarious hen party, best friends. and new love.   All of it executed in such a way that you can't help but be drawn into Cassie's life and enjoy seeing just bump in the road she may encounter next! 

For nothing seems to run smoothly in this story for anyone, which keeps the reader on their toes at all times.  Even the characters you want to dislike on the whole are shown to have another side to them.  

I really enjoyed Julie Houston's writing, and everything about this story.  I just regret that I'd had the book on my kindle for about a year before starting to read it, which given how much I liked the book, I now feel very guilty about. 

Thank you to Aria and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Thursday 29 August 2019

Book Review - How To Build a Boyfriend from Scratch by Sarah Archer

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Title: How To Build A Boyfriend From Scratch
Author: Sarah Archer
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Publisher supplied copy
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: 2nd July 2019
Rating: 5 Stars

Dating is hard. Being dateless at your perfect sister's wedding is harder.

Meet Kelly. A brilliant but socially awkward robotics engineer desperately seeking a wedding date…

Meet Ethan. Intelligent, gorgeous, brings out the confidence Kelly didn’t know she had and … not technically human. (But no one needs to know that.)

With her sister’s wedding looming and everyone in the world on her case about being perpetually single, Kelly decides to take her love life into her own hands – and use her genius skills to create Ethan.

But when she can’t resist keeping her new boy toy around even after the ‘I do’s’, Kelly knows she needs to hit the off switch on this romance, fast. Only, when you’ve found (well, made) your perfect man, how do you kiss him goodbye?

Easily the most original book I've read in years.  Whenever I wasn't reading this my mind was on the story, and Ethan, and frankly wondering if Kelly wouldn't mind producing me a boyfriend this amazing. 

For Kelly, who works in robotics and artificial intelligence, and while struggling on producing the human aspects of her care giver robot - and being driven mad with the pressure her family is putting on her, to get a plus one for her sister's wedding,  takes the impulsive decision to build herself a boyfriend. 

That's right Ethan is a robot, so life like that he really did feel practically real. The technology in the book was enough to satisfy my inner geek, and I'm not sure how far these advances are to becoming a reality, the thought that robots can teach themselves and start being sentient is rather impressive. 

In terms of what Kelly is trying to achieve with her Comfibot, all I could liken it to was a more human, realistic version of Baymax, from Disney's Big Hero 6 film.  And what Ethan is is almost another level too. 

This is a relationship that fools everyone, and even has Kelly forgetting at times, and it was all rather intriguing, but it's what follows, from what should have been Ethan's turning off date, after Clara's wedding, that is where this book kicks things up a gear. 

And wow I didn't see that ending happen, or pretty much any of it.   The book was tricky to predict, had me utterly enchanted and I just wanted to know more at all times. 

In amongst it all we see how Kelly's personality starts to change, how she gains confidence from her relationship with Ethan, to how she interacts with colleagues and family. Her family drove me nuts, and it was great seeing so many sides to our main character.  

This is a comedy with a difference, and I think it would make a wonderful film.  I really want the technology in real life to get to the stage that I could have my own robot boyfriend, they seem so much better than humans!!   

A truly refreshing and unique story that I absolutely adored and couldn't get enough of.  

Thank you to Rebecca Bryant at Harper Collins for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Wednesday 28 August 2019

Book Review - A Summer Reunion by Fanny Blake

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Title: A Summer Reunion
Author: Fanny Blake
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Orion
Publication Date: 13th June 2019 
Rating: 5 Stars

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

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

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

After the first four chapters, one for each of the main characters, you could tell instantly that they all had secrets, and had an inkling they were all remembering the school year they were last together, aged 17, in a different light to each other. 

We get hints along the way, about Amy's side of things but she is keen in light of recent events to finally see if she could set the record straight about that incident, in order to help her accept her latest blows in her life. 

The ladies haven't been reunited until Amy invites them all out to her villa in Mallorca, and its clear early on that tensions run high, through these ladies in their sixties.  All of them have accepted the invitation more because they need an escape from a decision in their own lives, than any real desire to reconnect as a group. 

So it is rather interesting to see everything, from all the points of view, and get to know about Amy, Linda, Kate and Jane's lives.  It was rather hard to have any empathy at all for Jane, but the other ladies were all wonderful and I really did enjoy seeing their stories develop over the long weekend in Mallorca. 

Having worked two summer seasons in Mallorca, I feel I know the bare bones of the island at least, and although I don't know the area near Soller other than by name, nor the other areas mentioned just by name, everything did feel incredibly authentic and and very much Mallorcan.  

There are plenty of secrets in this book, and I couldn't get enough of our leading ladies.  I loved their differences and even Jane who I really wasn't keen on, did have some admirable qualities, and is probably more misguided in her actions than truly malicious! 

I'm not sure I'd want to spend a long weekend abroad with anyone that I went to school with, but it is a book that makes you think what you would do in that sort of situation.  

This is a book about 4 strong women, facing their next steps in life at an advanced age, and seeing just how they can cope with the challenges thrown at them, while trying to get resolution on their childhood at long last. 

I loved every moment of A Summer Reunion, and to me its easily one of Fanny Blake's most enjoyable and best books. 

Thank you to Netgalley and Orion for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Tuesday 27 August 2019

Book Review - The Hive by Jane Holland

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Title: The Hive
Author: Jane Holland
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Author Supplied Copy
Publisher: Thimblerig Books
Publication Date: 1st July 2019
Rating: 5 Stars

Scarred by fire from infancy, with a persistent stammer, Charlotte has always been in the shadow of her glamorous theatrical parents. So it's a shock when her mother commits suicide.

Left to care for her sick father in the dark maze of her childhood home, Charlotte begins to unravel. First, there's the mysterious arrival of a box of dead bees. Then buzzing noises in the attic. People are watching her. Listening to her.

Everyone thinks she's losing her mind. But an old photo suggests another, more sinister possibility ...

Utterly twisted, completely horrifying but oh so addictive. 

From around 50% onwards it would have been tough to prise this book out of my hands, I was completely hooked and could barely believe what I was reading.  I almost dread to think what lurks in the dark mind of Jane Holland while she writes these books! 

The first half was a fabulous set up, just enough creepy, but also plenty about the characters, especially Charlie to make you really feel for her.   There is a brilliant set of circumstances and it just all comes together in a completely unexpected way. 

I literally didn't see anything coming, I had one suspicion about one element of what was happening to Charlie, but the rest took me by surprise. 

What I spent large amounts of mental energy on, was trying to work out just how the chapters in between the chapters fitted into the story and what their real meaning would bee.  As it is obvious the author must have done a lot of research into bee-keeping, and hives  as these intersecting chapters were we to with apiary. 

Between the creepy, but incredibly apt cover, the buzzing sounds, the large mentions of bees and the  overall conclusions and twist - this is one compelling book that I'm sure will give me nightmares this evening.   It was fabulous, another brilliant book by Jane Holland. I just can't wait to see what she comes up with next. 

Thank you to the author for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Monday 26 August 2019

Book Review - How To Make Time For Me by Fiona Perrin

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Title:  How To Make Time For Me
Author: Fiona Perrin
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Aria
Publication Date: 11th July 2019
Rating: 4 Stars

No-one said being a single mum would be easy...
Everyone knows that being a single mother means having no time to yourself. But for Callie Brown, its more exhausting than most. She's juggling the needs of three teenage children, two live-in parents, a raffish ex-husband, and a dog who never stops eating.

The last thing Callie needs is anything more on her plate. So when she bumps (quite literally) into a handsome, age-appropriate cyclist, she's quick to dismiss him from her life. After all, if she doesn't have time to brush her hair in the morning, she certainly doesn't have time to fall in love...

Funny, heartwarming and oh-so-true, this is a novel about motherhood, families, and life after divorce, perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella and Allison Pearson.

A rare sort of book that I found was on my mind even when I was reading it. I was completely interested in Lily and Wilf's stories in particular. 

Which is odd as the main character was Callie, and the book was written in the first person from her perspective, yet its one of her twin daughters, and Wilf, the boy she has been a mother too since he was 6 (now 14), that really interested me. 

Although any book that starts with the main character being run over by a deliveroo cyclist, and then calling herself Miss Invisible in A&E, definitely captured my attention initially, and I did enjoy seeing how her story progressed. 

This is a book which just goes to show it doesn't matter that shape, size or blood ties, that determine who your family really are and where your home is.  Although it take many funny moments, some more worrying ones, and a whole deal of drama to get through this. 

There are issues dealt with in this book that any parent of teenagers will relate to, and also those with ageing parents who are becoming slightly more needy.   

I loved Callie's friends, and her job in HR just had me rolling my eyes and the sexism and chauvinism of some of the people she was meant to be working with, but again could easily see happening in real life. 

This is the first book I've read by the author, and I was struck by her conversational writing style, realistic and relateable characters, and plots that make you think while being entertaining.   This is almost certainly an author I will be looking to read again in the future. 

A very enjoyable book that gives a great look at modern parenting of a teenager while trying to potentially have your own life. 

Thank you to Aria and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Sunday 25 August 2019

Book Review - The Plus One by Sophia Money-Coutts

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Title: The Plus One
Author: Sophie Money-Coutts
Format reviewed: Paperback
Source: HQ Showcase
Publisher: HQ 
Publication Date: 18th April 2019
Rating: 4 Stars

The Plus One [n] informal a person who accompanies an invited person to a wedding or a reminder of being single, alone and absolutely plus none

Polly’s not looking for ‘the one’, just the plus one…
Polly Spencer is fine. She’s single, turning thirty and only managed to have sex twice last year (both times with a Swedish banker called Fred), but seriously, she’s fine. Even if she’s still stuck at Posh! magazine writing about royal babies and the chances of finding a plus one to her best friend’s summer wedding are looking worryingly slim.

But it’s a New Year, a new leaf and all that. Polly’s determined that over the next 365 days she’ll remember to shave her legs, drink less wine and generally get her s**t together. Her latest piece is on the infamous Jasper, Marquess of Milton, undoubtedly neither a plus one nor ‘the one’. She’s heard the stories, there’s no way she’ll succumb to his charms…

A laugh-out-loud, toe-curlingly honest debut for fans of Helen Fielding, Bryony Gordon and Jilly Cooper.

What a wonderful debut novel,  full of laughs, charm and an exceedingly relateable main character, Polly.

Some of Polly's inner ramblings had me both laughing but also nodding along in recognition.  She can in some situations be rather awkward and I lived her all the more for it. 

Her job at Posh amused me,  as did her colleagues especially Lala and Legs. My favourite of her assignments was to a private party,  the sort you may not want to admit in public to have gone to!

I enjoyed her fledgling relationship with Jasper, although I was never completely convinced he would be her long term plus one.  I had an inkling about another possible male instead. 

There is even a more serious story line involving Polly's mum that was dealt with sensitively.

A book full of charm and charisma, it is a lovely debut from an author who I look forward to seeing more from in the future.

Thank you to HQ for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Saturday 24 August 2019

Book Review - A Spirited Girl on Cornish Shores by Laura Briggs

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Title: A Spirited Girl on Cornish Shores
Author: Laura Briggs
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Author supplied copy
Publisher: Self published
Publication Date: 23rd July 2019 
Rating: 4 Stars

It looks like a perfect Cornish autumn, with aspiring novelist Maisie Clark still finding inspiration as a maid at the historic Penmarrow Hotel. Between the staff of quirky co-workers, glamorous and unusual guests, and her growing friendship with the charming but mysterious Sidney Daniels, Maisie is living out adventures instead of just penning them in the pages of her would-be novel's growing number of chapters.

And then there's the slight problem of keeping the balance between friendship and 'something more' with Sidney, who's helping introduce her to the village's version of a Cornish Halloween, and has recently taken an interest in Maisie's secret that may change things between them. But even Maisie’s imagination can't conjure the unusual event this Halloween brings to the Penmarrow. An eccentric earl has chosen this site to host his lavish birthday celebration that includes a pretty (and perceptive) young psychic whose predictions seem to have everyone on edge — and, to Maisie's delight, the elusive novelist Alistair Davies is rumored to be part of the guest list! But with the earl's bickering relatives and illustrious friends on hand— and more than one ghost of the past waiting to be revealed — it’s anyone’s guess what the festivities will bring before the party is over.

Will the psychic foretell doom for the earl's gathering—and is her ‘gift’ as genuine as it seems? Will Maisie finally meet her favorite author face to face? And, more importantly, what about the romantic sparks that fly between Maisie and Sidney?

Although this is the second book in a new series, it can just as easily be read as a standalone, although I did feel it was nice to be back at the Penmarrow Hotel. 

Set at Halloween in Cornwall we get to see what sort of Cornish traditions there are surrounding the holidays and to coincide further, a family has hired the hotel for a private party for the week, to celebrate the Earl's centenary. 

The key happening of this private party is a series of seances and psychic readings - which really are creepy and even almost had a skeptic like me believing. 

I really enjoyed seeing Maisie's blossoming friendship with Sidney develop, as well as seeing what trouble Riley was getting into . And I rolled my eyes at what Gomez was hiding.   Yet it is the hints of secrets that have yet to be revealed, that make me keen to continue reading this series. 

This is short but quite sweet novella, which I did enjoy reading.  I feel like this is  a series that is just taking its first tentative steps at hitting its stride and that when it gets there will be very impressive. 

Many thanks to the author for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Friday 23 August 2019

Book Review - Love, Unscripted by Owen Nicholls - Blog Tour

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Title: Love, Unscripted
Author: Owen Nicholls
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Headline Review
Publication Date: 1st June 2019
Rating: 4 Stars

Owen Nicholls' Love, Unscripted follows film projectionist Nick as he tries to understand the difference between love on the silver screen and love in real life. Perfect for fans of romcoms, David Nicholls and Nick Hornby.

For film projectionist Nick, love should mirror what he sees on the big screen. And when he falls for Ellie on the eve of the 2008 presidential election, it finally does.

For four blissful years, Nick loved Ellie as much as he loved his job splicing film reels together in the local cinema. Life seemed... picture-perfect.

But now it's 2012, Ellie has moved out and Nick's trying to figure out where it all went wrong.

With Ellie gone and his life far from the happy ending he imagined, Nick wonders if their romance could ever again be as perfect as the night they met.

Can love really be as it is in the movies?

What would you do if you had one perfect night, that was movie-esque in its specialness? Would you hope that you could live happily ever after with that new person in your life, or would you attempt to walk away knowing that nothing may ever compare to that first meeting?  

Nick meets Ellie on the night of the 2008 US Elections at a party, and is torn whether to risk his heart on more than just one night. 

He is a geeky film nerd, who is working as a projectionist in a small cinema, and that makes awkward jokes and seems to reference most things in terms of films.   Had I watched or even heard of a large number of the films mentioned, I would have potentially connected with the book on a whole other level, but a fair amount of the references went over my head. 

This is the story of Nick and Ellie's relationship told through flashbacks to that first night, and other key moments, told  as a part of a possible screenplay or so it seems, plus what is happening to Nick in the present day, as he comes to grips with why they appear to have broken up. 

It is a story of self realisation, self discovery, some incredibly funny bits, a large number of films,  and is written in an unique style that I would love to read more of.   In fact I'd quite like a sequel. 

I'm a huge fan of romantic comedies, and there just aren't enough about written by men from the male perspective, which added to the rather endearing qualities to Nick, turns this into quite a delightful read. 

I'm just incredibly sorry to say that my real life got into the way far too much while I was reading this, and thus made my reading experience a bit more disjointed than it should have been. It is not the books fault,  and whenever I could sit and read for more than 20 mins at a time, I was completely absorbed in the pages. 

A lovely debut novel, full of promise, and an author I would happily read more from.

Thank you to Netgalley and Headline for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Please take a look at the rest of the stops on this blog tour 

Book Review - The Magnificent Mrs Mayhew by Milly Johnson

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Title: The Magnificent Mrs Mayhew
Author: Milly Johnson
Format reviewed: Paperback
Source: EDPR
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: 11th July 2019
Rating: 3.5 Stars

Sophie Mayhew looks like she has the perfect life. Wife of rising political star John F Mayhew, a man who is one step away from the top job in the government, her glamour matches his looks, power, breeding and money. But John has made some stupid mistakes along the way, some of which are threatening to emerge. Still, all this can still be swept under the carpet as long as Sophie 'the trophy' plays her part in front of the cameras.

But the words that come out of Sophie’s mouth one morning on the doorstep of their country house are not the words the spin doctors put in there.  Bursting out of the restrictive mould she has been in since birth, Sophie flees to a place that was special to her as a child, a small village on the coast where she intends to be alone.

But once there, she finds she becomes part of a community that warms her soul and makes her feel as if she is breathing properly for the first time. Sophie knows she won't be left in peace for long. Now she must decide: where does her real future lie?

Well this was a book that took a while to grow on me, for the entirety of the first part I really struggled as all the characters just seemed unlikable, bordering on vile and there were just loads of them.  Well there were all the members of both John and Sophie's families, as well as the whole of John's political team, and spin doctor etc... 

You could tell that between the flash backs to Sophie's schooling (which I did quite enjoy, despite again being at school full of horrific people), and the most recent events building up to doorstepgate that something big was brewing, and I made sure to stick with the book as was sure that once we got the vital background, that the book would become far more interesting. 

And I was correct, the second we are away from the inner workings of someone wanting to be the conservative leader and everything that he and his family must do to keep up public appearances even in the face of blatant scandal,  Sophie really grew on me and the book took on a much more enjoyable tone. 

Unfortunately I'm not hugely keen on politics, and the fact that Sophie ended up in a small village, in the Almshouse but having deep conversations with the local vicar (who is utterly gorgeous), meant I was seeing a bit more religion, or at least faith in god type discussions than I particularly want to see in a book and did have to double check the front cover to make sure it really was a Milly Johnson story I was reading as it seemed rather unlike her. 

From the moment that we move into part two though I was invested in the story, I enjoyed seeing how Sophie;s character developed and some of her through processes.  She goes from being a doormat of a trophy wife, to a woman who is able to show her real personality traits and that was rather wonderful to see. 

All the people she meets by contrast up in her hideaway are down to earth, characters that are relatable to, and some of which I really loved hearing about.  

This is the sort of book that makes you wonder, would you be able to stand by your man, if proved to be cheating, in public. just to toe the party line and not ruffle any feathers. 

Of the two families there is besides Sophie, only one character who really grew on m which which was Johnathan's brother Edward who seemed like the only one with any human feelings at all, and there was a fabulous showdown scene involving him that had me really cheering. 

There is plenty to enjoy in this book, but at the end of the day I've enjoyed all of Milly Johnson's other wonderful books a great deal more than this one, and I'm looking forward to see what she writes next. 

Thank you to EDPR for my copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Thursday 22 August 2019

Book Review - The Secret Cove in Croatia by Julie Caplin

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Title: The Secret Cove in Croatia
Author: Julie Caplin
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Harper Impulse
Publication Date: 19th July 2019
Rating: 5 Stars

Sail away to beautiful Croatia for summer sun, sparkling turquoise seas and a will-they-won’t-they romance you won’t be able to put down!

When no-nonsense, down-to-earth Maddie Wilcox is offered the chance to work on a luxury yacht for the summer, she can’t say no. Yes she’ll be waiting on the posh guests… But island-hopping around the Adriatic sea will more than make up for it – especially when Nick, her best friend Nina’s brother, is one of them.

Sparks fly when they meet on board and Maddie can’t believe self-entitled jerk Nick is really related to Nina. But in a secret, picture-perfect cove, away from the real world, Maddie and Nick discover they might have more in common than they realise…

I've only ever spent a small amount of time in Croatia, when stopping there on cruises but I've seen enough to know how spot on Julie Caplin is with her descriptions of the country. It really is as stunning in real life as it is in this book,  and if you don't fall in love with the place from this wonderful story the I'll be shocked. 

This may be the fifth book in the romantic escape series but it easily standalone. Maddie and Nick did feature a bit in The Little Paris Patisserie but if you haven't read it,  you can still easily follow this story, as they were never main characters, nor have they met each other before boarding this luxury yacht. 

You really do get to see how the other half live, with just who is on board this Croatian Gulet, you have a group of rich people, plus Nick who somehow has lucked into being supermodel Tara's boyfriend. 

To say that Nick, a sheep farmer, and a supermodel is an unlikely match would be an understatement, and their interactions amuse and frustrate me equally. 

There were a good few characters I would have loved to smack, they were rich,  self obsessed and treated Maddie appallingly, given she is working as crew on this trip. Nick and Maddie are both incredibly down to earth and do great banter.  Of the others on the boat trip, I really liked Siri and Douglas seemed genuine too, if a bit henpecked.

The encounter with the people on board a yacht had me gasping at one point and laughing a few mins later, it was fabulous, if a bit hair raising in the build up! 

I really did love soaking up every moment of this sun filled read. There is a clear connection between our leads  but for various reasons it was never going to be as simple as it may sound. Everything to do with Croatian food and scenery was so vivid it was like you were there. 

Julie Caplin has yet again written a wonderful romance set to a stunning backdrop that draws you into the story and just wont let you go. I just wish I'd been on their holiday too! 

Thank you to Netgalley and Harper Impulse for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Wednesday 21 August 2019

Book Review - A Summer To Remember by Victoria Cooke

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Title: A Summer To Remember
Author: Victoria Cooke
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: HQ Digital
Publication Date: 5th July
Rating: 5 Stars

Sam lives by the mantra that it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.  

After the tragic loss of her husband, Sam built a new life around friends, her cat Coco and a career she loves. Fending off frequent set-ups and well-meaning advice to ‘move on’, Sam is resolutely happy being single.

But when Sam gets seconded to her firm’s Boston office for the summer, it is more than her career that is in for a shake-up. A spur of the moment decision to visit the idyllic beaches of Cape Cod could end up changing her life forever.

One thing is for sure, Sam won’t finish the summer the same woman who started it…

8 years on from the tragic accident that took her husband, Sam still hasn't really moved on.  Well in some respects she has but in others such as even considering dating she refuses to do anything that may sully the memory of Kev.

As a slight workaholic she is desperate to get the 3 month placement in Boston, but when she's finally gets there things don't exactly work out as planned. 

It is the new friendships with Barney as and Harry that make things start to improve out in the States. But as a reader it was the rather rude stranger which she then keeps having encounters with that kept me glued to the book. 

I loved discovering the laid back life in Boston, and also the ideas for the campaign she's is working on in her job. 

The whole book had a wonderful vibe to it, and just kept me wanting more. 

I loved the location,  the writing, the backstories, the humour and they way that Sam and Ethan developed over the summer. 

It truly was an enjoyable summer to remember, and I would love to one day return to this setting and see how all the characters stories have developed - yet again from a Victoria Cooke book I would quite like a sequel!! 

Thank you to Netgalley and HQ Digital for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 
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