300 Days of Sun – Deborah Lawrenson – 4* Review

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Blurb - Coastal

Traveling to Faro, Portugal, journalist Joanna Millard hopes to escape an unsatisfying relationship and a stalled career. Faro is an enchanting town, and the views are enhanced by the company of Nathan Emberlin, a charismatic younger man. But beneath the crumbling façade of Moorish buildings, Joanna soon realizes, Faro has a seedy underbelly, its economy compromised by corruption. And Nathan has an ulterior motive for seeking her company: he is determined to discover the truth involving a child’s kidnapping that may have taken place on this dramatic coastline over two decades ago.

Joanna’s subsequent search leads her to Ian Rylands, an English expat who cryptically insists she will find answers in The Alliance, a novel written by American Esta Hartford. The book recounts an American couple’s experience in Portugal during World War II, and their entanglements both personal and professional with their German enemies. Only Rylands insists the book isn’t fiction, and as Joanna reads deeper into The Alliance, she begins to suspect that Esta Hartford’s story and Nathan Emberlin’s may indeed converge in Faro — where the past not only casts a long shadow but still exerts a very present danger.

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My Review - Coastal

300 Days of Sun

 

This is a clever novel merging the past and present seamlessly. As a reader, you become an investigative journalist, without having to move from your armchair. The setting is dramatic, yet has a simplicity, which contrasts wonderfully with the corrupt elements discussed in the novel.
At a crossroads in her life, Joanna leaves the difficulties of her career and love life behind when she takes a language course in beautiful Portugal. Attraction and intrigue draw Joanna to Nathan. He embroils her in his mission to discover the mysteries of his past.
The pace is a little slow to begin with but it’s worth the wait, as the past collides with the present in alarmingly ways that make this book hard to put down. There is a story within a story as time slips back to WW2 and the fascinating, dangerous place Portugal was during this period, giving this novel an original twist. The plot and characters are authentic and vivid, you can imagine these people, behaving in this way. This is not a romance, there is no happy ever after but a believable, satisfying conclusion to the mysteries, with just a few threads left dangling to let you draw your own conclusions.
Joanna is a good heroine who I think could have further adventures both in the present and the past.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

300 Days of Sun by Deborah Lawrenson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


300 Days of Sun by Deborah Lawrenson

Deborah Lawrenson

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The Christmas Promise – Sue Moorcroft – 5* Review

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blurb-winter

For Ava Bliss, it’s going to be a Christmas to remember …

On a snowy December evening, Sam Jermyn steps into the life of bespoke hat maker Ava. Sparks fly, and not necessarily the good ones.

Times are tough for Ava – she’s struggling to make ends meet, her ex-boyfriend is a bully, and worst of all, it’s nearly Christmas.

So when Sam commissions Ava to make a hat for someone special, she makes a promise that will change her life. She just doesn’t know it yet…

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my-review-winter

The Christmas Promise: The perfect cosy festive treat!This isn’t your usual festive tale, although Christmas cheer, or the lack of it is integral to the story. The concept is original. Ava is struggling to make her hat-making business pay, fending off unwanted attention from her ex and trying to rise above her ingrained dislike of Christmas. Enough conflict for a festive tale? Perhaps, but there’s even more in this complex story. Ava ‘s trust is abused, pushing her emotional limits to breaking point. The story focuses on important, relevant issues, which are the downside of our digital age.
Well developed, realistic characters define this story. Ava is easy to empathise with and the perfect women’s fiction heroine. Sam is attractive both in terms of his physical attributes and personality. He is the ‘good guy’ but not without his flaws, which threaten any chance he may have with Ava.
There are enticing twists in the plot that make this a page turner. The pacing is right for a women’s fiction book, steady rather than fast paced. There is a phenomenal amount of detail, ranging from how to make a couture hat, to how to run a viral social media campaign. Although this sometimes slows the pace, it is vital for the story’s authenticity.
Poignant moments are plentiful and there is a lovely romantic thread contrasting cleverly with the sometimes, sordid backlash of an intimate relationship. Despite the rollercoaster emotions and the seriousness of some of the plot themes, this story is an absorbing, easy read, set at lovely festive time of the year.
There is also an intriguing glimpse of the author’s next book, which I look forward to reading, next year.
I received a copy of this book from Avon UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

The Christmas Promise: The perfect cosy festive treat! by Sue Moorcroft

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Christmas Promise The perfect cosy festive treat! by Sue Moorcroft

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A Little Luck, A Lot of Fate- Inspiration behind the story – Linn B Halton- 5* Review

Linn  is one of my favourite authors,  like me she believes there is more to this life than we can see with our eyes and this always makes her romantic stories special.  I asked her to tell me what inspired her latest story ‘ A Little Luck, A Lot of Fate.

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A Little Luck, A Lot of Fate – who doesn’t have a secret, or two, to hide from the world?

I suppose the idea for this novel was sparked by the way a celebrity’s life is often aired on TV, in magazines, and in daily newspapers, whether or not they are seeking the spotlight. There must be times even an A-lister wants to sink quietly into the background to keep a few things secret from the world. In a way it is nice to know that even the rich and famous go through the same trials and tribulations as their fans, but would you want to go through those awful moments in the public eye? After all – we’re all human and the path we travel is never an easy one.

As for secrets? Well, mine (but don’t tell anyone) is that I’m painfully shy. When I’m nervous I chat, which makes people think I’m outgoing but it really is only the nerves talking! So what’s YOUR little secret?

My latest novel is really about someone who glosses over the problems in her life because she is one hundred per cent focused on her career. But what happens when you reach those dizzying heights: you are the best at what you do? And what if one day a panic attack signals the start of a new journey?

Blurb 2016- 2

On the surface, Kristi Danielson has it all. She’s a lifestyle coach to the rich and famous, has a bestselling book to her name and is described by her fans as “the veritable Queen of how to lead a fulfilling life”.

But the harsh truth is that Kristi has never practiced what she preaches. Her home life is a mess, her relationship with artist boyfriend, Tom, not much better – and now she has to redeem herself before all is lost.

At her wit’s end, Kristi is driven to seek out the help of Patrick Blakeslee, a tarot card reader and psychic medium, in an attempt to make sense of the mounting panic she’s feeling.

But Patrick’s visits have an unexpected effect on Kristi, leaving her with more questions than answers – and a life-changing decision to make.

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My Review 2016-1

 A Little Luck, A Lot of Fate

Kristi, has it all, or so her fans believe. A celebrity lifestyle coach, she is famous for identifying what’s wrong in people’s life and telling them how to make it better. So, her life should be perfect, right? Unfortunately, not. Kirsti’s determined to fix it, she just doesn’t know how. She runs from her relentless lifestyle but is she taking the right path, or just inviting more problems?
A voice in her head seems to be directing her actions but she doesn’t understand it. Seeking Patrick’s help is out of character. He’s a psychic medium but she is out of her depth. Their interactions lead to more questions than answers and force them both to look at their lives more deeply.
Told in a light-hearted way, this story deals with strong emotions and tragic events. Kristi tries to follow her own life mantra’s but putting her theories into practice is not as easy as she thought and the psychic interference only makes it more difficult for her to choose the path to take.

Kristi is a likeable character full of human flaws but with a heart full of goodness. Tom, a permanent fixture in her life, is her friend/lover but is he the man of her dreams or an emotional crutch? Patrick soon becomes her mentor but he wants more.

There is a love triangle of sorts in this story which adds a little spice, in what is a journey of discovery for the main characters; Kristi, Patrick and Tom. The psychic element is intrinsic to the plot and adds an interesting dimension to this engaging romantic tale.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

A Little Luck, A Lot of Fate by Linn B. Halton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


A Little Luck, A Lot of Fate by Linn B. Halton

Linn B. Halton

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Singalong Society for Singletons – Katey Lovell – 5* Review

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BLURB

Monique and Issy are teachers, housemates and lovers of musicals! Their Friday night routine consists of snacks, wine and the Frozen DVD. So when Monique’s boyfriend moves to America for a year and her sister Hope moves in because of her own relationship woes, Friday nights get a new name… ‘The Singalong Society for Singletons’!

It’s a chance to get together, sing along to their favourite tracks from the best-loved West End shows, and forget the worries of work, relationships and love (or lack of it). But when Issy shares the details of their little group further afield, they get some unexpected new members who might just change their opinions on singledom for good….

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My Review -1

The Singalong Society for Singletons

What stands out most about this delightful story is its originality. Not a cottage, tea room or coastal location in sight yet the quirky society draws you in and keeps you turning the pages. The setting is urban and the characters refreshingly ordinary and realistic. Many of us choose dance, music or movies to escape the humdrum or emotional pain of everyday life. In this story, the girls chill out and singalong to a selection of well know musicals both modern and vintage and manage to find out what’s most important in their real lives too.
Monique and Issy house share, Hope joins them when her relationship reaches an impasse and Connie a lifelong friend of Monique’s, is a regular Friday night visitor to the little terraced house somewhere in Sheffield. The characters are unremarkable but memorable and easy to like because they are familiar to all of us. Their interactions and thoughts provide plenty of humour and there are also undeniable sparks of romance, for all members of the Singalong Society.
This is a story about realising your dreams, finding out what and who is important to you and not settling for second best. A lovely, uplifting read.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

The Singalong Society for Singletons by Katey Lovell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


The Singalong Society for Singletons by Katey Lovell

Katey Lovell

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The Fire Child – S.K.Tremayne – 5* Review

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Mystery Thriller Blurb

 

When Rachel marries dark, handsome David, everything seems to fall into place. Swept from single life in London to the beautiful Carnhallow House in Cornwall, she gains wealth, love, and an affectionate stepson, Jamie.

But then Jamie’s behaviour changes, and Rachel’s perfect life begins to unravel. He makes disturbing predictions, claiming to be haunted by the spectre of his late mother – David’s previous wife. Is this Jamie’s way of punishing Rachel, or is he far more traumatized than she thought?

As Rachel starts digging into the past, she begins to grow suspicious of her husband. Why is he so reluctant to discuss Jamie’s outbursts? And what exactly happened to cause his ex-wife’s untimely death, less than two years ago? As summer slips away and December looms, Rachel begins to fear there might be truth in Jamie’s words:

‘You will be dead by Christmas.’

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Mystery Thriller My Review

The Fire Child

I like this atmospheric tale, which uses its mystical Cornwall setting cleverly to enhance the suspense. The plot is twisty and spine chilling, building up to the most devastating secret. The characters and events are vividly written and the first person point of view makes the story frightening real. In contrast to the mystery and thrills, there is a poignant story of loss and abuse, which gives the story its authenticity.
Rachel has an ideal life; love, an enchanting stepson and a beautiful house but not surprisingly everything is not what it seems. Strange happenings and dangerous confidences mar Rachel’s idyll and force her to face her painful past and secrets she has kept hidden. David is a slave to his family heritage and keeping up appearances. Grief stricken Jamie struggles between reality and imagination or is it all in Rachel’s mind?
An interesting psychological thriller, with plenty of emotion and flawed characters to keep it believable.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 

The Fire Child by S.K. Tremayne
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


The Fire Child by S.K. Tremayne

S.K. Tremayne

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A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding – Jackie Copleton – 5*Review

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Poppy - Blurb

Amaterasu Takahashi has spent her life grieving for her daughter Yuko and grandson Hideo, who were victims of the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki in 1945.

Now a widow living in America, she believes that one man was responsible for her loss; a local doctor who caused an irreparable rift between mother and daughter.

When a man claiming to be Hideo arrives on her doorstep, she is forced to revisit the past; the hurt and humiliation of her early life, the intoxication of a first romance and the realisation that if she had loved her daughter in a different way, she might still be alive today.

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Flowers - My Review

A Dictionary of Mutual UnderstandingI knew I would find reading this book upsetting. The cataclysmic event, which is one of its major themes, made me sure about that, but the sense of loss and marred lives it portrays makes it almost unbearably poignant. The authors knowledge of Japanese culture and society define this story making it authentic and original. The plot is simple but has the necessary twists to keep you turning the pages. It is essentially a story of family.
A legacy of despair and guilt destroys The Takahashi family. Cleverly revealed through letter and journal entries, the reasons for this are deeper than the tragic event of Nagasaki in 1945.
There are dictionary definitions are the start of each chapter, which make what follows easier to understand and enrich the storytelling. Despite the powerful themes of this story it is easy to read and you will want to read every page carefully, to ensure you don’t miss anything.
There is a message of hope and completion in this story which makes it worthwhile reading.
I received a copy of this book from Random House UK Cornerstone via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 

A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding by Jackie Copleton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding by Jackie Copleton

Jackie Copleton

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Sequins and Snowflakes-Christmas at the Little Wedding Shop #2- Jane Linfoot- 5* Review

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blurb-winter

The snow is falling around Brides by the Sea, Cornwall’s cutest little wedding shop, and wedding dress designer Seraphina East is in her cosy studio designing exquisite dresses to make even the most demanding bride’s dreams come true.

Unless the bride is her big sister Alice of course. Saying that the two sisters don’t always see eye to eye is an understatement. Alice hasn’t even asked Sera to design her wedding dress. But when an absent groom and ill-fitting dress threaten to ruin Alice’s happiness let alone her big day, Sera’s determined to give her sister the winter wedding of her dreams – even if that means keeping not one but two irresistibly gorgeous best men under control…

Is Sera going to end up being the maid of dishonour…Or will repairing her frozen relationship with Alice be the icing on the wedding cake?

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my-review-winter

Sequins and Snowflakes (Christmas at the Little Wedding Shop by the Sea, Book 2)Christmas in Cornwall is definitely on my wish list, so reading about a Christmas wedding in this idyllic part of England is the next best thing. I really enjoyed ‘Cupcakes and Confetti’, book one in the ‘Little Wedding Shop by the Sea’ and it’s great to reacquaint with some of the characters.
Overseeing her sister’s wedding is the stuff of nightmares for Sera, the bohemian wedding dress designer, especially when she has to work with the sexy but wild best man Quinn. Told from Sera’s point of view, the story has a diary like quality, which makes the reader’s experience more intense and personal.
Sera is a lovely character, the complete antithesis of her sister. Despite their differences and past hurts, there is an unbreakable bond between them. Sera wants Alice to have the perfect wedding, even if it means working beyond her comfort zone and risking her heart with ‘The Best Man’. Alice’s wedding is plagued with seemingly insurmountable problems but Sera wants her to have her happy day, and is determined to do whatever it takes. Maybe it’s just what Sera needs, something to focus on, beyond her design bloc.
Like all the best romantic comedy, the storytelling is image rich. It’s so easy to imagine the setting at the wedding shop, the farm and the lovely country house. The characters are vividly portrayed and the dialogue is easy to read and full of humour. A lovely romantic tale full of Christmas spirit.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 

Sequins and Snowflakes by Jane Linfoot

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Sequins and Snowflakes (Christmas at the Little Wedding Shop by the Sea, Book 2) by Jane Linfoot

Jane Linfoot

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3* Review: The Selection -Kiera Cass

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Blurb 2016- 2

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

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My Review

 

The Selection (The Selection, #1)

 

Dystopian Cinderella tale aimed at the Teen and Young Adult market. Told from America’s point of view, one of the selected, this portrays a young girl’s emotional journey, in rather unusual circumstances.
This is an introductory novel and mainly catalogues the first part of America’s journey as a ‘selected’. She is a likeable character, mindful of others feelings but definitely a free spirit. The other girls in the story have interesting personalities. There is a love triangle of sorts, which I guess will be explored later in the series.
This book has been around for four years and has attracted a phenomenal amount of very mixed reviews. Whilst, I’m not engaged enough to read anymore in the series, if you enjoy a modern day take on fairy tales with a definite dystopian setting, this should appeal.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins- Children’s via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 

The Selection by Kiera Cass

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


The Selection (The Selection, #1) by Kiera Cass

Kiera Cass

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The Lost Cats and Lonely Hearts Club – Nic Tatano-5* Review

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Swapping Prada for purrs…

While covering a story, feisty network reporter Madison Shaw gets more than she bargained for when she rescues a box of orphaned kittens. Suddenly the glamazon of the Manhattan news room is doing two am feedings to keep these furbabies alive!

This is certainly a change of pace for the high maintenance workaholic she’s become and taking care of the kittens makes Madison realise how far off track she’s come—after all, she was a stray once too…

When a video of her caring for the kittens goes viral, she knows her image as a hardnosed reporter is shot to hell. What Madison doesn’t expect is the media circus that propels her and the kittens to stardom. And the domino effect that has on her, her career and her love life—especially when she meets sexy Officer Nick Marino…!

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My Review -1

The Lost Cats and Lonely Hearts Club

I always enjoy stories that feature animals. One of the many charms of this tale, is its insight into sharing your life with a cat. It’s clear from this book that the author loves cats and knows how they interact with each other and their humans. Coupled with sparkling romance and humour, this is a fun, easy read. Whilst the plot is easy to follow, there are a few surprises and poignant moments that give the story depth.
Madison undergoes an important emotional journey catalysed by her discovery of four abandoned kittens. If you enjoy reading stories about smart career women who discover their lives need something more, you won’t be disappointed. Surrounded by a close knit friend group Madison is eager to share the kitten love and I’m looking forward to reading about her friends and their kittens, in future books.
Romance also features prominently in this story and a curious love triangle emerges. Steamy entrepreneur or dreamy cop, who would you choose? Finally, just to spice up the tale there’s a little political intrigue, just to make sure you keep on reading.
A great story with complex characters and enchanting kittens, purrfect.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 

The Lost Cats and Lonely Hearts Club by Nic Tatano

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


The Lost Cats and Lonely Hearts Club by Nic Tatano

Nic Tatano

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Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe – Debbie Johnson- 5* Review

 

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Blurb 2016- 2

Becca Fletcher hates Christmas so much, she’s considering getting ‘Bah Humbug!’ tattooed on her forehead. She has her reasons for being Little Miss Grinch; Reasons that make this the very worst time of year for her.

Now, though, she can’t avoid her version of ho-ho-hell – because she’s travelling to the Comfort Food Cafe to spend the festive season with her sister Laura, and her family. She’s expecting mulled wine, 24-hour Christmas movie marathons and all kinds of very merry torture.

But little does Becca know that the Comfort Food Cafe is like no other place on earth. Perched on a snow-covered hill on a windswept bay, it’s a place full of friendship where broken hearts can heal, new love can blossom and where Becca’s Christmas miracle really could happen – if only she can let it…

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Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe

I really enjoyed ‘Summer at the Comfort Food Café’ and as I’m a fan of festive books, I couldn’t wait to revisit the café at Christmas time. ‘Christmas at the Comfort Food Café’ is every bit as charming as the Summer but with snow. It is told in three parts: ‘Christmas Past, Present and Future’. It reads well as a standalone Christmas tale but if you haven’t read ’Summer at the Comfort Food Café’, don’t miss out.
This story reintroduces the reader to the delightful characters from the first book but concentrates on Laura’s sister Becca, who reluctantly visits Dorset for a month. Becca feels she is the antithesis of Laura. She is a loner, drawn to life’s vices, drink, drugs and one night stands. As Becca relives two life changing family Christmas days, we realise this is never going to be her favourite season.
Becca is soon charmed by Dorset and the regulars of the Comfort Food Café. The characters in this story are realistic and it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the forthcoming festive wedding. Becca has left her teenage vices behind but we don’t know why. Even when her sister tries to fix her up with Surfer Sam she resists. Men are off the menu but he is drop dead gorgeous and she’s only human. Becca’s choice of confidant is not who you’d expect but when she reveals her secrets, her teenage bad behaviour reflects more as a cry for help than anything else. Becca’s emotional baggage threatens what she has with Sam but despite this, she leaves Dorset a changed woman.
Christmas Future offer hope and the chance of a happy ever after, the perfect start to any new year.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 

Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe by Debbie Johnson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe by Debbie Johnson

Debbie Johnson

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