A lovely collection of shorts, about romance in Antigua.
Despite the brevity of the stories, the authors manage to capture the holiday island ethos and the intensity of holiday romance. All have hopeful endings, that let you imagine what comes next. Lovely Summer reading.
Sarah has had enough of men. It’s time to rekindle her first true love – travel – so she books a sailing trip around the Greek islands with a group of strangers.
The very last thing Sarah wants is to meet someone new… But then a gorgeous American man boards her yacht and she knows she’s in trouble. And when she also encounters a handsome silver fox who promises her the world, she realises that trouble really does come in twos.
Will Sarah dive into a holiday fling, embark on a relationship, or stick to her plan – steer clear of men, continue her love affair with feta, and find her own way after all?
I received a copy of this book from Avon Books UK – One More Chapter via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
What I enjoyed most about this story is its uniqueness. I expected a holiday romance, but whilst there is romance, this more about self-discovery, living life to the full, friendships and exploring the Greek Islands. The setting is well described focusing on the people, animals, scenery and food, which is described in a mouthwatering way.
Sarah is a character that grows on you, initially, I found her a little brash, but she has a sharp sense of humour and an innate honesty, which is endearing. The other element I like is that, even though she meets two possible lovers, the final chapters pose more questions than answers, which are both believable and intriguing.
The story engages on many levels; emotionally, humorously and visually. The characters are relatable. This isn’t a story that requires in-depth characterisation, Sarah only spends ten days with her sailing family, and even less with the ‘silver fox’, so she doesn’t know everything about them.
Her emotional journey is deep and eventful, and you finish the story believing she understands herself better, and her future will be more rewarding, which is a more than satisfying ending.
Beth Martin is 31, newly divorced and wondering just what life holds for her…
Best-friend, Heidi, is adamant that all the answers lie in Corfu – the island where the girls partied away their youth. So cue a trip to a sun-drenched Greek island, ouzo cocktails, a trip down memory lane… and Alex Hallas, the man Beth has never quite forgotten.
As they dance under the stars, the sand beneath their toes, old feelings begin to resurface and Beth might just have a chance to take back her life. If they can learn to love the people they’ve become…
I received a copy of this book from Aria-Fiction via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
There is always a generous comic element in this author’s stories, and this one illustrates it perfectly. Beth’s divorce is absolute, and her co-workers are throwing her a ‘Divorce Party’, to mark the occasion. Immediately, you appreciate how well Beth is liked, especially by her best-friend Heidi.
Rekindling, the freedom, high spirits and the simplicity of being twenty-one, on holiday, is their goal for Corfu, at thirty-one. Their adventure takes in the beauty of the Greek Island, even with accommodation disasters, wicked Mothers and having ten extra years of emotional baggage. The chance of romance and self -realisation beckons, and provides the reader with a humorous, picturesque, poignant and romantic trip to Corfu.
Realistically flawed characters, most of whom you warm to, a vividly described setting, a lovely dynamic between Beth and Heidi, whose friendship has strengthened over the ten years. The romance is expected, but no less sweet and makes this a perfect holiday read.
Mandy Baggot is an internationally bestselling and award-winning romance writer. The winner of the Innovation in Romantic Fiction award at the UK’s Festival of Romance, her romantic comedy novel, One Wish in Manhattan, was also shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association Romantic Comedy Novel of the Year award in 2016. Mandy’s books have so far been translated into German, Italian, Czech and Hungarian. Mandy loves the Greek island of Corfu, white wine, country music and handbags. Also a singer, she has taken part in ITV1’s Who Dares Sings and The X-Factor. Mandy is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Society of Authors and lives near Salisbury, Wiltshire, UK, with her husband and two daughters.
Baking fanatic, Charlie Quilter, still nursing a broken heart, is surprised when her late uncle bequeaths his vintage 1950s Routemaster bus to her in his will. She adored driving around with him in it when she was a child and can’t contemplate selling it.
When Charlie loses her job, her friend Juliette has an exciting idea and suggests Charlie come to stay with her in the picturesque Cornish village of Porthgolow.
Thrilled at the chance of a new start, Charlie packs her spatula, her pinny and her cute dog Marmite onto the bus and they head off for a summer adventure…
I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins UK -Harper Fiction via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
I love the charming cover of this story, but why is the bus on the cover a single-decker, when Gertie is supposed to be a Routemaster double-decker bus? This slight confusion aside, this is a promising start to a new series set in Cornwall, perfect for the holiday season.
Charlie had a special connection with her uncle when he dies and leaves her, his bus, she knows she has to keep it, but can she do something with it? Her first attempt is gutsy but fraught with difficulty, but with the help of some positive comments from her mysterious stranger, she tries again in Cornwall.
The characters are warm and real, and even though baking, tea shops and coastal Cornish settings are well used in literature, the bus adds a different dimension that gives the series, the promise of originality. There is a conflict with the upmarket spa and a delicate balancing act to win the approval of the locals. This promises to have humour, romance and a lovely holiday setting. Looking forward to seeing how it develops.
Jen Attison likes her life Just So. But being fished out of a canal in Copenhagen by her knickers is definitely NOT on her to do list.
From cinnamon swirls to a spontaneous night of laughter and fireworks, Jen’s city break with the girls takes a turn for the unexpected because of her gorgeous, mystery rescuer.
Back home, Jen faces a choice. A surprise proposal from her boyfriend, ‘boring’ Robert has offered Jen the safety net she always thought she wanted. But with the memories of her Danish adventure proving hard to forget, maybe it’s time for Jen to stop listening to her head and start following her heart…
I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Fun, original, romantic, with so many ‘laugh-out-loud moments this is the ideal book for your holiday.
You escape into Jen and Lydia’s world, which has a wonderful sister dynamic, a whole crew of work colleagues, who are so bizarre, you are smiling before you read about their latest escapade or idea, and a chance of romance for Jen, who likes control and lists, and naively thought her life was all mapped out, much to her younger sister Lydia’s despair.
Jen feels responsible for Lydia’s happiness and all her life choices are driven by this. She doesn’t believe in romance, so what will she do when it unexpectedly finds her and turns her world upside down?
Meeting an attractive stranger in Copenhagen, in the most hilarious and serendipitous of ways, lets Jen experience a lighter side of life and she realises she has choices, her emotional journey is lovely and you want her to realise with a little courage she can make her life full of laughter, passion and romance rather than duty, lists and security.
A lovely romantic comedy, with a uniquely crafted main protagonist, a cast of quirky supporting characters who make this a story worth reading and you learn, probably all there is to know, about craft beer.
Summer is on the horizon, and the people of Porthmellow are eagerly awaiting the annual food festival. At least, most of them are…
For Sam Lovell, organising the summer festival in her hometown is one of the highlights of her year. It’s not always smooth sailing, but she loves to see Porthmellow’s harbour packed with happy visitors, and being on the committee has provided a much-needed distraction from the drama in her family life (and the distinct lack of it in her love life).
When their star guest pulls out with only a few weeks to go, everyone’s delighted when a London chef who grew up locally steps in at the last minute. But Gabe Matthias is the last person Sam was expecting to see, and his return to Porthmellow will change her quiet coastal life forever.
Curl up with this gorgeous novel and savour the world of Porthmellow Harbour.
I received a copy of this book from Avon Books UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
The author’s love of Cornwall and all things Cornish is evident in this story. The characters of Porthmellow harbour are authentic, and all have a story to tell and secrets to keep.
Sam loves the food festival, it gives her a focus away from the family drama and helps promote the harbour town she loves. Sam and Gabe have history and working in close proximity threaten more than the festival.
Lots of characters and a taste of their stories make this a complex but interesting book. You know that you will meet them again as the series progresses.
At its heart, this is a story of community, the inherent closeness that means everyone takes an interest in each other’s life, sometimes this is intrusive, sometimes comical but nearly always well meant and important for the harbour to survive.
A charming story full of heart, secrets and love, looking forward to the next one.
When Isabella Jenkins is unceremoniously fired from her fancy London job, she escapes to Tuscany. A few weeks hiding amongst rolling hills and grape vines at Villa Limoncello sounds exactly like the distraction she needs.
But Italy holds emotional memories for Izzy and with a hapless handyman, a matchmaking village matriarch and a gorgeous – if infuriating – local chef named Luca Castelotti, her quiet Italian getaway turns into an unending cacophony of chaos.
Suddenly Izzie finds herself on a mission to pull off the wedding of the century and maybe get her life in order in the process. If only Luca’s gorgeous smile wasn’t such a powerful distraction…
Guest Post -Daisy James-Wedding Bells at Villa Limoncello
First of all, a huge thank you for
having me as a guest on your blog. It’s great to be here to tell you about my
brand-new book Wedding Bells at Villa Limoncello.
Anyone who has read one of my books
will know that I love writing stories with a strong sense of place and Villa
Limoncello series is no exception. I spent an amazing few days in Tuscany last
year and loved it so much I just knew I had to write a story that was set
I had a fabulous time researching the
area around Florence; the art, the history, the culture, the traditions, the
scenic towns and villages, the vineyards, but mainly the cuisine! Italy is
famous for its fabulous pizzas and pasta dishes, and its amazing wine – think
prosecco and Chianti – but it’s also well-known for its delicious desserts from
tiramisu to cannoli, from panforte to the many flavours of gelato – blue cheese
and walnut flavour anyone?
In Wedding bells at Villa Limoncello,
Izzie is asked to organise a film shoot at a care-worn villa in the Tuscan
hills where she meets Luca who is a chef at the local trattoria. This gave me
the chance to investigate the recipes particular to the area, as well as the
passion with which Italians approach every aspect of their food – after all,
Italy is where the ‘slow-food’ movement started as a reaction to the creeping
invasion of ‘fast food’. I even read about one family who hadn’t spoken to
their neighbours for twenty years because they put parsley in their minestrone
– there’s passion for you!
As Luca bakes up a storm in the
story, I couldn’t include a culinary scene without having taste-tested the
recipes myself, so I set about having a go at some of the many desserts that
Italy, and especially Tuscany, is famous for. My attempt at ice cream – apricot
and amaretto flavour with crushed biscotti went down very well even though it
didn’t set properly. I then moved on the baking a batch of ricciarelli which are oval-shaped biscuits made with almonds and
dusted in icing sugar – absolutely delicious.
However, my favourite recipe has to
be limoncello tiramisu. It was the perfect dessert for a summer barbeque and
I’ve made it many times because it is so easy to make – no baking required!
Here’s Izzie’s recipe:
Izzie’s Limoncello Tiramisu
100g caster sugar
Zest & juice of 3 lemons
500ml double cream
10g icing sugar
100g lemon curd
200g sponge fingers
Place the caster sugar, water and the zest and juice of two lemons into a small pan and heat until the sugar is dissolved. Add half the limoncello and simmer until syrupy. Set aside to cool.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the mascarpone until smooth, then add the double cream, the remaining limoncello, the zest and juice of the remaining lemon and the lemon curd and stir together.
Carefully soak the sponge fingers with the syrup and placed in the base of a ceramic dish, or individual glass dessert dishes, then spoon over a generous helping of the cream mixture and repeat, finishing off with a sprinkle of finely grated lemon zest and a dusting of finely grated milk chocolate. Refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours. Serve with home-made limoncello cocktails.
I received a copy of this book from Canelo in return for an honest review.
A lovely sad heroine, who is unable to come to terms with losing her twin, a cast of authentic Italians and a Summery, vivid setting, combine to make this romcom a must-read summer book.
Izzy is an interior designer, but after the untimely loss of her twin, she is full of guilt, grief and greyness. This reflects in all aspects of her life. When fate intervenes with an opportunity to stage a fake wedding in Tuscany, she decides to live a little and grasp the opportunity to put some colour and zest back in her drab life.
I loved that each chapter began with a little phrase and a colour, it set the scene and chartered Izzy’s moods perfectly. The plot is simple and the pacing gently, both fitting in with a lighthearted, but sometimes poignant romantic comedy, set in a place full of colour and visual imagery.
The balance of comedy and romance is perfect, and the setting is full of sunshine, it makes you feel warmer and happier with every chapter. With the added bonus of lovely food and more complications than you could ever imagine, this book would make a great film. I look forward to the next in the series of the #TuscanTrilogy.
Daisy James is a Yorkshire girl transplanted to the northeast of England. She loves writing stories with strong heroines and swift-flowing plotlines. When not scribbling away in her summerhouse, she spends her time sifting flour and sprinkling sugar and edible glitter. She loves gossiping with friends over a glass of something pink and fizzy or indulging in a spot of afternoon tea – china plates and teacups are a must.