Posted in Book Review

Fingerprinted Hearts – 3*Review – Amy Spitzfaden

Sisters Fawn and Penny Anderson each have their own reason for loving More Please Bakery. It’s the place that helped Fawn heal after earth-shattering betrayal and an escape from Penny’s stalling relationship. But Fawn can’t forget her bittersweet history with the bakery’s handsome owner, Penny has a growing interest in the delivery boy, and the shop’s bank account is getting low.

When Penny lands them a celebrity client, reality TV star Delaney Roosevelt, Fawn dives in headfirst trying to come up with the perfect design. However, pleasing the starlet isn’t easy and soon heartbreak and scandal descend on the shop.

As the sisters face their romantic and professional demons they are forced to decide what is worth holding onto, and what they need to let go.

Amazon UK

My Thoughts…

If you’re wanting a break from the wall-to-wall Christmas fiction, but still want romance and something sweet, ‘Fingerprinted Hearts’ is worth a read. Set in a bakery in Boston USA, it follows the lives of two sisters, Fawn and Penny, as they negotiate love, heartbreak and their careers.

It took me a while to get into this story, which throws you straight into Fawn’s emotional angst, but the sisters’ relationship is believable, and the plot has the necessary twists to hold the reader’s interest.

  An easy to read, cosy romance with authentic characters and a popular bakery setting. 

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

 

Posted in Book Review

Blog Tour: The Distance – Zoe Folbigg – Extract – 4*Review

Under the midnight sun of Arctic Norway, Cecilie Wiig goes online and stumbles across Hector Herrera in a band fan forum. They start chatting and soon realise they might be more than kindred spirits. But there are two big problems: Hector lives 8,909km away in Mexico. And he’s about to get married.

Can Cecilie, who’s anchored to two jobs she loves in the library and a cafe full of colourful characters in the town in which she grew up, overcome the hurdles of having fallen for someone she’s never met? Will Hector escape his turbulent past and the temptations of his hectic hedonistic life and make a leap of faith to change the path he’s on?

 Zoe Folbigg’s latest novel is a story of two people, living two very different lives, and whether they can cross a gulf, ocean, sea and fjord to give their love a chance.

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Extract

Cecilie looks up. Ordinarily, she would be pleased to see young tourists walk in; a chance to improve her English, to learn some more modern words and slang. But today she isn’t. She doesn’t see the point. Cecilie no longer feels the desire to learn new ways of saying that something is wicked, ace or sick; or to practise her they’re, there and theirs any more.

Cecilie nods, as she writes down an order she and fellow staff Henrik and Stine know by heart anyway, although today just Cecilie and Henrik work a sleepy afternoon shift.

‘Take a seat, I’ll be right over,’ Cecilie says to the couple at the counter as she tucks her pen behind her ear and it disappears into a cascade of heavy hair. Somehow, Cecilie can tell that these tourists are Canadian, even before she sees the maple leaf sewn onto the North Face daypack on the young man’s back. She wonders what brought them here; where in the world they have been already. Might they have seen his hometown too?

The Hjornekafé manager, Henrik, has already started making the drinks. He exchanges a look with Cecilie, as they usually do when Gjertrud and Ole have their little tussles, only today Cecilie isn’t rolling her eyes and smiling warmly. Today, Cecilie’s face is tense and terse, her eyes dulled, as she makes her way to the cake display cabinet at the end of the counter. The dark and rickety wooden furniture is brightened by the mirrors on the walls in the modest cafe space, and what little is left of the spring daylight streams in through the floor-to-ceiling window façade to the street.

The Canadians marvel at the wrought-iron latticework trimming the ceiling and scrape their chairs back to sit down. The noise of wood dragging on wood tears through Cecilie’s brain but is drowned out by another rotation of So, ro, lilleman.

Cecilie looks at her watch. It is 3.18 p.m. She silently counts backwards as she raises the thumb and four fingers on her left hand and the thumb and index finger on her right hand. Seven. Always counting back seven. She feels a blow to her abdomen and recedes to take it as she bends down to pick up a tray from under the counter. Cecilie’s not sure if she feels hungry, winded or heartsick, but she stands up with the tray, standing to stay strong. She takes out the spiced Arctic cloudberry cake, made by Mette at her home this morning. Bright orange berries burst with pride atop vanilla cream, layered three times on sponge swathed in playful cloudberry-coloured jam. Flecks of nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves pepper the pristine pale crumb. Arctic berries shimmer golden and warm surrounded by spices. The orange hues remind Cecilie of photographs she’s seen in books in the library and on the internet, of a place a world away, where buildings are painted ochre and terracotta; where doorways bask in a shade of sunshine, she has never seen for herself. Cecilie carves out a square of cake with a knife and places it on a vintage floral plate that doesn’t go with the black and white cups Henrik is preparing the drinks in. Nothing matches in this hotchpotch corner of the world, but that doesn’t matter. Customers slink in reliably for a quiet slice of cake between hiking to the world’s northernmost cathedral, or summiting the mountain ledge in the Fjellheisen cable car by day, and chasing the Northern Lights at night.

With heavy feet and a heavy heart, Cecilie plods into the cavernous kitchen out the back to the freezer. She takes out a tub of blackcurrant ice cream and thoughtfully curls a cornelle to accompany the cake. The ice cream at the Hjornekafé is made by Mette’s daughter and Cecilie’s best friend, Grethe, who owns the ice cream parlour on the high street. Ice cream sells surprisingly well in these parts, and Grethe churns the best.

Henrik, a bookish man with round glasses and floppy brown hair parted in the centre, places the pot of tea, cup of coffee and two glasses of icy tap water next to the cake plate on the tray. Cecilie collects two forks and clinks them down next to the plate, knowing she will be coming back for another slice in a few minutes anyway. She walks around to the front of the counter, gives the Canadian tourists two menus with the small illustration of the Hjornekafé on the front from her shaky hands, and picks up the tray from the counter to take it to Gjertrud and Ole at their end of the cafe.

As she walks the short distance to the back wall, Cecilie’s mouth dries, her hands shake, and the tray feels like the weight of an iceberg as it releases from her pale grip. She looks down and sees it fall in slow motion beneath her to the floor, smashing onto the ground in hot and cold shards. The vintage cake plate smashes, sending flowers flying, splatted and smeared with varying shades and textures of orange and purple and cream, all over Cecilie’s boots. Hot tea and coffee scold Cecilie’s legs in her pale blue jeans as she lets out a little gasp of pain and embarrassment. The Thing That’s Happening Today, that Cecilie is dreading, is actually happening and there’s nothing she can do about it. At that precise moment, eight thousand nine hundred and nine kilometres away, eyes widen, and pupils shrink.

Hector Herrera has woken with a start, to a crash, on the morning of his wedding day.

My Thoughts…

The writing style and setting for this story show originality, and even though the trope is popular, the story’s quirky content sets it apart.

It took me a while to get into the story and warm to the characters, I have to confess I like Kate better than the two main protagonists, probably because her personality and circumstances are more familiar to me and more comfortable to empathise.

The plot is dynamic, chronologically and geographically and this demands concentration on the reader’s part. It’s not something you can dip into, you need to keep reading, or you’ll forget salient plot points.  Kate’s role in the story is not immediately apparent, although she is pivotal to the ending.

This book is my first by this author, not having read her first bestseller and in many ways, this is probably useful to make an objective assessment of the story. 

Overall I like the story; it’s one for the Chick-lit fans.

I received a copy of this book from Aria via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Zoë Folbigg is a magazine journalist and digital editor, starting at Cosmopolitan in 2001 and since freelancing for titles including Glamour, Fabulous, Daily Mail, Healthy, LOOK, Top Santé, Mother & Baby, ELLE, Sunday Times Style, and Style.com. In 2008 she had a weekly column in Fabulous magazine documenting her year-long round-the-world trip with ‘Train Man’ – a man she had met on her daily commute. She has since married Train Man and lives in Hertfordshire with him and their two young sons. She is the bestselling author of The Note. 

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Posted in Book Review

Forever at Conwenna Cove – Darcie Boleyn – 4* Review

Following heartbreak, Zoe Russell found a haven in Conwenna Cove. As the owner of the village diner and a volunteer for the local greyhound sanctuary, she’s happy with her peaceful life.

Local surfer Nate Bryson plans to leave Conwenna and see the world. He wants to shake off his reputation as a ladies man and start again somewhere new. Before departing, Nate decides to raise funds for the dog rescue home as a way of giving back to the community.

When Nate approaches Zoe to help with the charity event she sees there’s more to him than meets the eye. Nate can’t believe he’s failed to notice the kind and beautiful woman right before him. But can two such different people ever be together, especially if one of them is determined to leave?

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My Thoughts…

This book reads well as a standalone, even though there are previous books in the series, which I haven’t read. It’s a gentle-paced, romantic read, full of friendly characters and the setting’s beautiful imagery.

Zoe runs the local dinner at Conwenna Cove; she’s dedicated her life to it, since settling in the cove after a disastrous marriage. Unwilling to face any more rejection and low in self-esteem she is slow in making friends but does befriend a rescue greyhound who she gives all her love, only to lose her.
Nate escaped to the cove when his father died suddenly, working at his paternal uncle’s cafe he comes to terms with his grief and feels able to restart his life. Despite their, emotional baggage Nate and Zoe connect, but with one leaving and other scared to have her heartbroken is their love only a beautiful dream?

The plot is predictable, but the characters are authentic and make it worthwhile reading, with a beautifully written conclusion.

I received a copy of this book from Canelo via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Posted in Book Review, Sampler

The Endless Beach – Jenny Colgan – Two Chapter Sampler – 5* Review

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My Thoughts…

The first two chapters of ‘ The Endless Beach’ give the reader a taste of the island of Mure and its inhabitants, through the eyes of Flora, an Islander, who has returned to Mure after working in London. Despite the allure of the bright lights, the island called her home, and she sees it with new eyes, delighting in its natural beauty and people.

For most people, seeing a whale would be a memorable experience, and Lorna agrees but knows the island’s people are superstitious, and see a whale sighting as bad news.

This story has an air of mystery and intriguing characters.

Will Flora and Joel take the next step in their relationship? What happens on Flora’s visit to London? Does the whale signify bad luck? Is their romance on the island for Lorna?

I can’t wait to read the rest of the book to find out.

I received a two chapter sampler of this book from The Little Brown Book Company UK Sphere via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 

Posted in Book Review

Crazy Little Thing Called Love – Charlotte Butterfield – 4* Review

My Thoughts… 

I liked the idea of this book, but it took awhile for me to be involved with the story. The main reason was that I didn’t always believe in parts of the storyline.Despite this, three quarters into the story, it came alive, and I started to believe in the characters and wanted them to find their happy endings. So on balance, this was an enjoyable read with believable characters but a less credible plot.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 

Posted in Book Review

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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A Little Sugar, A Lot of Love – 5* Review – Linn B Halton

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Blog Image - Blurb

Life isn’t all love and cupcakes …

Katie has had her fair share of bad luck, but when she finally realises her dream of opening a bakery it seems things can only get better.

But the reality of running a business hits Katie hard and whilst her partner, Steve, tries to help she begins to sense that the situation is driving them further apart. Could Katie be set to lose her relationship and her dream job?

Then, one winter’s day, a man walks into her shop – and, in the space of that moment, the course of Katie’s life is changed.

But nobody finds happiness in the blink of an eye. Sometimes it takes two Christmases, three birthdays and a whole lot of cake to get there …

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Blog Image- My review

A Little Sugar, A Lot of Love

One of the best things about reading fiction for me is the chance to experience another world, walk in someone else’s shoes for a while. Sometimes this is romantic experience, sometimes it is angst ridden, with this author’s stories by the time you reach the end you always have that ‘feel good’ feeling that sets you up for the day ahead.
Katie and Adam are wonderful characters, not perfect but willing to go the extra mile for people they care about, even if it means putting their wants and needs on hold. Serendipity plays an important role in this story and if we’re honest most of us acknowledge our own lives are touched in similar ways at certain times.
Grace is at the end of her life but she still puts her grandson Adam first. She worries that he only living half a life and hopes to remain on earth long enough to help him. She, as do the other characters in this flowing, poignant story, has lessons to learn.
Self belief and discovery are important themes of this story, whether you believe in soul mates or a life beyond our human existence, this story is worth reading.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

 

 

 

 

A Little Sugar, A Lot of Love by Linn B. Halton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


A Little Sugar, A Lot of Love by Linn B. Halton

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5*Review: Phillipa Ashley – Summer at the Cornish Café

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Blurb - Coastal

Demi doesn’t expect her summer in Cornwall to hold anything out of the ordinary. As a waitress, working all hours to make ends meet, washing dishes and serving ice creams seems to be as exciting as the holiday season is about to get.

That’s until she meets Cal Penwith. An outsider, like herself, Cal is persuaded to let Demi help him renovate his holiday resort, Kilhallon Park. Set above an idyllic Cornish cove, the once popular destination for tourists has now gone to rack and ruin. During the course of the Cornish summer, Demi makes new friends – and foes – as she helps the dashing and often infuriating Cal in his quest. Working side by side, the pair grow close, but Cal has complications in his past which make Demi wonder if he could ever truly be interested in her.

Demi realises that she has finally found a place she can call home. But as the summer draws to a close, and Demi’s own reputation as an up and coming café owner starts to spread, she is faced with a tough decision . . .

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My Review - Coastal

Summer at the Cornish Cafe

This story is a slow burner, but after a few chapters, Demi gets under your skin, especially with her ever faithful companion, Mitch. Angry, brooding Cal, with so many secrets and far too much emotional baggage, for our intrepid heroine to take on, is a hero you can’t ignore. His charm and vulnerability win through. Even though he is often a little callous of others’ feelings, I like him.
This contemporary interpretation of the historical romantic tale; ‘Poldark’ is cleverly done; with just enough parallels, both in relationships and plot to recognise for ‘Poldark’ fans. The Cornish setting is breathtaking and the locals, perfectly pitched. They are authentic and vivid and enrich this romantic story. Mitch is a fabulous ‘doggy’ hero, who provides the humour in this lively tale.
The ending is undeniably romantic but whilst the future looks bright, there is still a story to be told, making book two a must read Christmas book for me.

Summer at the Cornish Cafe by Phillipa

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Summer at the Cornish Cafe by Phillipa

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Posted in Book Review, New Books

4* Review: I Take You – Eliza Kennedy

24891897Poppy - Blurb

I’m getting married.

He’s perfect!

It’s a disaster.

Meet Lily Wilder – New Yorker, lawyer and the luckiest woman in the world. She has a dream job, friends who adore her, a family full of charismatic and loving women, and a total catch of a fiancé.

Also? She has no business getting married.

Lily’s fiancé Will is a brilliant, handsome archaeologist. Lily is sassy, impulsive, fond of a good drink (or five) and completely incapable of being faithful to just one man. Lily likes Will, but does she love him? Will loves Lily, but does he really know her? As the wedding approaches, Lily’s nights – and mornings, and afternoons – of booze, laughter and questionable decisions become a growing reminder that the happiest day of her life might turn out to be her worst mistake yet.

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Flowers - My Review

 

 

I Take YouThere’s nothing sweet about Lily and yet she makes an instant impression that deepens as her story unfolds and despite her lack of tact, questionable morals and other faults I ended up liking her.

I like to escape to another world, when I read and this book certainly delivers. I’ve never visited New York but the characterisations and ethos appear realistic, as you might expect from someone who lives there.

‘I Take You’, is deliberately controversial. Lily enjoys sex and fails to be monogamous even when she is supposedly in a committed relationship with Will and many readers of RomCom and Chick Lit may find her difficult to empathise with, or even understand. I let the story flow over me, laughed at the ribald humour and read the story in a few hours.

The pacing is fast, except for the last couple of chapters, which slowed down the story and didn’t deliver any surprises. The ending too is a little anticlimactic, although romantic. The characters are vivid, I especially liked Freddy. Will is harder to like, read the story and see if you agree.

I received a copy of this book from Vintage Books Random House via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 

I Take You by Eliza Kennedy

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I Take You by Eliza Kennedy

Eliza Kennedy

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