Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Love Me or Leave Me by Claudia Carroll

Dear Reader,


Chloe Townsend was dumped at the altar. But now she's landed an incredible job, running a brand-new hotel with a difference. It's a pioneering 'divorce hotel', designed to make every aspect of breaking up pain free - all in a single weekend.
No one is better qualified than Chloe to deal with relationships at crisis point. But, with three unhappy couples needing her help, she's forced to tackle her own secret heartbreak.
Can she hold it together and prove that she's up to the job?


Claudia is back with her eleventh book, Love Me or Leave Me, a lively romantic comedy about love, betrayal, divorce and new beginnings. We meet Chloe who just two years ago was jilted at the altar and had to leave behind everything that mattered to her. She lands herself as General Manager at Dublin's newest luxury niche hotel catering to divorce couples. She is determined to make it a success but needless to say the course of true love and its dissolution never runs smooth what with her boss hovering over her shoulder oh and her ex-fiancé making an appearance!

The story unfolds from the perspectives of Chloe and three of the guests at the Hope Street Hotel - Dawn, Jo and Lucy who slowly reveal to us why their marriages have reached crisis point.
Dawn, a young and heartbroken woman who can't forgive her husband Kirk, who is having an affair; Jo, a control freak who regards her husband Dave as irresponsible out-of-work actor; and supermodel Lucy believes her marriage to Andrew dissolved due to his devious, spoilt grown-up children. As the weekend develops the couples are forced to confront each other and deal with their mistakes and misunderstandings. Claudia presents their issues sensitively but with plenty of humour. There is a little suspense built up with a hint of reconciliation possible for some of the couples but with plenty of drama!

I enjoyed the wonderfully woven story lines that were well developed and sure to win over your heart.  This is a thoroughly enjoyable read and something completely different as its not often you read a novel dealing with divorce.


Kind regards,

Sunday, 28 December 2014

High Heels & Bicycle Wheels by Jane Linfoot

Dear Reader,


Meet Bryony: she’s a fun-loving, very single TV production assistant whose idea of sport is the Jimmy Choo sales scrum. Meet Jackson: Cycling’s bad boy superstar. Injured and out of a certain race this summer, without his training, he’s looking for another distraction…

Bryony’s facing a triple whammy – her last single friend just named the day, her mother’s offering to have her eggs frozen, and the guy she’s loved from afar, forever, has just got hitched. So she’s more than happy to accept the offer of a totally out of character but seriously steamy one night of no-strings fun. Especially when the guy in question is so attractive he even looks good in Lycra! Jackson’s on the lookout for a new career but if the opportunity to work on TV means a fortnight with the most uptight woman in the world, he’d rather not bother. He never goes in for seconds – and who in their right mind would head off in a campervan, with a woman who irons her knickers?


Thank you to Jane for kindly asking me to review this fabulous book. If you have a Kindle, treat yourself to her three books available from Amazon UK and Amazon US you won't be disappointed. 

This narrative is about Bryony and Jackson, two people with two very different passions – Bryony who loves her shoes (a girl after my own heart!) and Jackson who loves his cycling. They are made to ride a tandem together and of course there are many obstacles in their way and a few emotions thrown in for good measure! 

To me, Bryony’s character was refreshing and original. Throughout the plot, their spark grew and grew. I was egging for them to get together and Jane takes us  through all their glitches. It’s a fabulous girly read which can happily be read in an afternoon, just like I did.

One thing I did feel was that it needed just a little bit extra. Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed the novel and would recommend it, but on a few occasions I felt it needed something more to happen. Overall High Heels and Bicycle Wheels didn’t disappoint there was plenty of saucy exchanges between the characters. I like the style of Jane’s writing, so when you read the scenes they appear natural and realistic. There was great chemistry between Bryony and Jackson. 

Find out more about Jane at her website at www.janelinfoot.co.uk and on Twitter @JaneLinfoot 


Kind regards,


Monday, 15 December 2014

The Summer Without You by Karen Swan

Dear Reader,


Rowena Tipton isn't looking for a new life, just a new adventure, something to while away the months as her long-term boyfriend presses pause on their relationship before they become engaged. But when a chance encounter at a New York wedding leads to an audition for a coveted houseshare in The Hamptons – Manhattan’s elite beach scene – suddenly a new life is exactly what she’s got.

Stretching before her is a summer with three eclectic housemates, long days on white sand ocean beaches and parties on gilded tennis courts. But high rewards bring high stakes and Rowena soon finds herself caught in the crossfire of a vicious intimidation campaign. Alone for the first time in her adult life, she has no-one to turn to but a stranger who is everything she doesn't want - but possibly everything she needs.


Could not wait to delve in to this book after reading Prima Donna as I am a huge fan of Karen Swan.
This hefty book follows the story of Rowena Tipton, who is a professional photographer. Her life is suddenly put on pause because her long-term boyfriend wants to take a "break" from their relationship to go travelling with a promise of a marriage proposal on his return.  Ro decides there is little more to do than to wait for him. On a whim whilst on a commission in New York she accepts a houseshare with a few newly acquainted friends in The Hamptons.

There are several possible romances, each with its own twists and turns . Intertwined in to the story are political and environmental issues that cause tension between the residents.
There is also mystery a plenty to keep us speculating. For instance who is Ted Connor really? Ro's first encounter with him has him wrestling both herself and her camera into the sea which seems at odds with the husband and loving father of two that she gets to see in his family movies.  Florence, who is a Hampton local, seems convinced that she is the victim of a dangerous stalker but is she really in danger or is she suffering from paranoia?  and who is the mystery woman that is keeping Hump from his life of regular parties?

The Summer Without You is glamorous and purely sinful. It's your ideal summer read and you won't be disappointed.  It's got everything you need for a holiday - drama, romance and intrigue.


Kind regards,



Sunday, 7 December 2014

Mistletoe Mansion by Samantha Tonge

Dear Reader, 


Kimmy Jones has three loves: cupcakes, gossip magazines and dreaming of getting fit just by owning celeb workouts.
When Kimmy’s Sensible Boyfriend told her he didn’t approve of her longing for the high life or her dream of starting a cupcake company Kimmy thought she could compromise – after all, she did return those five-inch Paris Hilton heels! But asking her to trade in cake-making for a job sorting potatoes is a step too far.

So, newly single - and newly homeless – Kimmy needs a dusting of Christmas luck. And, masquerading as a professional house sitter, her new temporary home is the stunning Mistletoe Mansion. Soon she’s best buds with glamorous next door golf WAG Melissa, and orders are pouring in for her fabulous Merry Berry cupcakes! The only thorn in her side is handsome handyman Luke, a distraction she definitely doesn’t need. And talking of distractions, something very odd is going on at night…

Kimmy is finally living the life she’s always wanted. But will her glimpse into the glittering lifestyle of the rich and famous be as glamorous as she’s always imagined…?

I must say thanks to twitter, I think I’ve found another favourite author as this book was packed with some great characters. I loved the plot, it was just hilarious.
The story begins with Kimmy who is being thrown out of their flat by boyfriend Adam because she won’t give up her dreams of a baking business to go and work in a potato factory. She has had a few jobs through friends but not enough to give Adam the confidence to believe in her.  Kimmy begs for him to give her more time to allow her to make her business work, but of course Adam’s having none of it. 
She meets up with her friend Jess, who has also been thrown out but by her brother. They manage to to swing the  position of house sitters for Mistletoe Mansion. The girls can’t believe their luck,  Mistletoe Mansion is everything Kimmy has dreamed of. Dishy handyman Luke seems initially standoffish and neighbour Terry can’t wait to leave as soon as its gets dark, so what is going on? 
Kimmy meets celebrity WAG Melissa who lives next door and gets her first job catering for one of her coffee mornings, as Kimmy makes a new friend she realises that the celebrity lifestyle isn’t what the magazines make out. 
Mistletoe mansion is full of really great characters and I loved that they all seemed a little over the top. There’s Kimmy who you just can’t help but like and long for her to succeed with her business, just to prove Adam wrong! Jess, her vegetarian best friend who is completely gardening mad, handsome handyman Luke, who Kimmy may have a little crush on, Melissa the stylish but kind celebrity who’s longing for a baby and Terry the next door neighbour, who loves celebrity gossip, with his micro-pig, Frazzle. 
What I loved about this book was the different relationships. Kimmy is so focused on proving to Adam that she can make her business a success. Initially she can’t stand how arrogant Luke is around her, but when she gets to know him she realises that he really believes in her and gives her encouragement and support without question. Will she pick reliable, sensible Adam or sexy, risk-taking, Luke?
Now with all this going on you have to read about the delicious descriptions of the cupcakes, oh and the slightly spooky goings on, not to mention the misbehaving celebrities, this book is the perfect treat to read over the festive season.  I loved every page.
Kind regards,

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

A Christmas To Remember by Jenny Hale

Dear Reader,


Carrie Blake loves her job as a nanny but, while her friends are settling down, all of Carrie’s spare time is spent with other people’s families. Though it breaks her heart, her New Year’s resolution is to embark on a new career and fix her love life.
As Carrie starts her last job, she’s sure she’ll be going out on a high – the house is amazing , the kids are adorable, and she’s in charge of decorating the tree! 
The only problem could be her boss… single-dad Adam Fletcher might be both handsome and successful, but he’s always working. Doesn’t he realise he’s missing out on precious moments with his son and daughter?
As Adam’s family arrive for Christmas including his sensitive sister, Sharon, and his fun-loving elderly Grandpa, Walter, Carrie realises that she might just have found the perfect allies in her quest to persuade Adam to loosen up. There’s still time for Carrie to make this the best Christmas ever… after all, Christmas is the time for miracles, isn’t it? Let the festivities begin!
After reading Coming Home For Christmas I could not wait to get stuck in to another book by Jenny Hale (my new favourite author!)  
This book had all the ingredients of the perfect Christmas read. It is a beautiful story about the importance of family, falling in love and the magic of childhood. It had that familiar feel-good warmth to it, and I am sure I will re-read it again in Christmases to come.
Carrie has always loved her job as a live-in nanny, but it means that she has put her own hopes of a family on hold. In her own life, she is very insecure. However, when it comes to the children, she will do whatever it takes to stand up for their best interests. I really connected to Carrie and I was proud of her in the moments that she found courage. She really blossomed as the book progressed.
We then meet the Fletcher family, and I fell in love with every member in turn. The twins are adorable, you couldn’t help but fall for them just as Carrie does. They are sweet and well-behaved, just crying out for love and affection, and it’s touching to see them with Carrie and the members of their family. We meet Adam’s mother Joyce, sister Sharon, and the rest of his family. Each is a wonderfully created character, bringing their own beauty to the story, and making Adam’s behaviour seem all the more puzzling. Adam himself was a great character. He’s successful, gorgeous and obviously kind, but frustrating too! The moments when Carrie stands up to him about the children were some of my favourites. It was a beautiful transition to see her slowly breaking down the stone walls that Adam had built around himself. 
It really is a feel good heart-warming story, full of touching moments. Oh and we also met briefly Robert and Allie from Coming Home For Christmas!    
Kind regards,


Monday, 1 December 2014

Coming Home For Christmas by Jenny Hale

Dear Reader,

Christmas is a time for family… isn’t it?

Allie Richfield loves Christmas, so when she lands a job as House Manager for the amazing Ashford Estate—which includes organizing the Marley family festivities—she is in her element. With a budget bigger than her life savings and a team of staff, how hard can it be?

As one-by-one she meets the Marleys, she’s about to find out…

Allie’s new boss, Robert, might be gorgeous, but he’s also colder than the snow outside and refuses to come home for Christmas.  Robert’s playboy brother, Kip, flirts with her relentlessly; and his sister, Sloane, arrives home with baggage—both the divorce-kind and the Louis Vuitton kind. Their ninety-two year old grandmother, Pippa, spends her day grumbling at them all from her mobility scooter.

With Robert intending to sell Ashford, it’s the Marley’s last chance to create some happy memories in their family home—and Allie is determined to make it happen… even if it takes a little Christmas magic! With the festive spirit in full swing, she might even discover a little happiness of her own…


What a brilliant and warm Christmas story! I first heard about this book on twitter and was very excited to read it. After checking the blurb I knew I was going to enjoy it straight away. After all, I’m a huge fan of Christmas reads and romance stories.  ‘Coming Home for Christmas’ exceeded my expectations! This is a beautiful story that will warm your heart and get you in festive mood.

Readers, there are just so so many things I loved about this book.

This book is filled with such lovable characters. I’m usually pleased when I get to connect with one or two of them, but Jenny Hale made me care for all of them who were brilliantly portrayed. I can’t decide who I loved more, Allie, Robbert the modern day scrooge, old but wise Pippa or Kip the flirt? they are all memorable and lovely. 

Coming Home For Christmas is a story about what really matters in life – family. The tragedy that torn the Marleys apart was definitely a tear breaker. They have their ups and downs and despite being wealthy and disjointed at the beginning, you can feel that they still care about each other. 

The romance part was gradually built, which made this book feel more real. Coming Home For Christmas is definitely a warm and beautiful read. 


Kind regards,


Sunday, 30 November 2014

Christmas Wedding At The Gingerbread Cafe by Rebecca Raisin

Book Description:

Snow is falling thick and fast outside The Gingerbread Cafe and inside, its owner Lily is planning the wedding of the year. Her wedding! She never dreamt it would happen, but this Christmas, she'll be marrying the man of her dreams - in a Christmas-card perfect ceremony!

The gingerbread is baking, the dress is fitted and the mistletoe's in place - for once, everything's going to plan. That is until her mother-in-law arrives... Suddenly, Lily's famous cool is being tested like never before and her dream wedding is crumbling before her eyes.

In the blink of a fairylight, The Gingerbread Cafe has been thrown into chaos! Lily thought she has this wedding wrapped up, but with so much to do before she says 'I do', can Lily get to the church on time - and make this Christmas sparkle after all? 


We are back with the residents of Ashford following Lil and Damon in the run up to their Christmas Eve wedding. I loved catching up with everyone with the familiar faces of Cee Cee, Sarah, Missy and Charlie. 

Lil and Cee Cee are up to their oxters at The Gingerbread Cafe with all the wedding goods to make on top of all the usual Christmas goodies. It is all going to plan until the arrival of Damon's parents. His father, George is sweet, an older version of Damon and Lil instantly feels comfortable with him. Damon's mother is another matter! She can certainly put on a smile and be all sweetness and light  but there are one too many cuff remarks that are below the belt for Lil's liking. Suddenly Damon and Lil's relationship is tested.

I was sorry that this is the last in the series but Rebecca has ended the series on a high. The story was fun and very moving. 

The Bookshop On The Corner by Rebecca Raisin

Dear Reader,
Another instalment from The Gingerbread cafe series by Rebecca Raisin. This is to be read as book 3. 

Sarah Smith had an addiction – she was addicted to romance novels. The meet-cute, the passion, the drama and the gorgeous men! Now this wouldn’t have been such an issue if she hadn’t been the owner of the only bookshop in Ashford, Connecticut.
Ever since her close friend Lil, from The Gingerbread Café, had become engaged she had been yearning for a little love to turn up in her life. Except Sarah knew a good man was hard to find – especially in a tiny town like Ashford. That was until New York journalist, Ridge Warner stepped into her bookshop… Love could be just around the corner for Sarah, but will she be able to truly believe that happy-ever-after can happen in real-life too! From the brilliant author of The Gingerbread Café trilogy don’t miss this linked novella to get a sneak-peek at how Damon and Lil are getting on before the next book in the series – Coming October 2014!

This novella focuses on Sarah, a local bookshop owner in Ashford, who we met in Chocolate Dreams as one of Lil's close friends. I think this may be my favourite, the darling little bookshop setting and Sarah being such a bookworm was something I could totally relate to! 
After watching Lil and Damon’s budding romance, Sarah dreams of a man of her own like those from one of her romance novels (aren’t we all?!). When Ridge, a reporter strolls in to her shop, he seems to good to be true. He is charming, funny but most important very handsome and he is there on the pretence of wanting to interview Sarah, but appears to be very keen on wanting to get to know her better.

I love Rebecca’s style of writing. Everything is just so vivid, she draws you in to the village of Ashford and you feel a part of it. Her stores are warm and welcoming that she makes you feel right at home. 
This book in particular is a must-read for every book lover!


Kind regards,

Friday, 28 November 2014

Chocolate Dreams At The Gingerbread Cafe by Rebecca Raisin

Chocolate Dreams at the Gingerbread Cafe


The Gingerbread Café is all a buzz! This Easter, Lily and the rest of the town of Ashford, Connecticut are planning a truly decadent Chocolate Festival. Cooking up a storm, CeeCee and Lily are not just baking a batch of their sinfully delicious chocolate-dipped gingerbread men, but an excess of chocolate truffles, squidgy, cinnamony hot cross buns and melt in your mouth chocolate eggs. The Gingerbread Café staff have definitely enjoyed the tasting process!
Add in Damon’s cute-as-a-button seven year old daughter, Charlie, up for a visit and Lily’s perfect Easter may just be around the corner. Until her ex-husband Joel turns up demanding twenty thousand dollars… Suddenly the future of the Gingerbread Café is not so clear…and Lily finds herself eating far more of The Gingerbread Café’s treats than her skinny jeans allow…
Can Lily concoct a brilliant plan to save her beloved café, convince Damon she has no feelings for Joel and still throw a Chocolate Festival the town will be talking about for years? There’s only one way to find out…
Welcome back to the warmth, cupcakes and hot chocolate of The Gingerbread Café – your home away from home.



This is the second irresistible book from The Gingerbread Café series. You can read my review for book one - Christmas At The Gingerbread Café on my blog.

Lil and Damon are now living together, and they are so perfect together. Damon’s seven year old daughter Charlie, a sweetheart, is in Ashford too, and its wonderful to see the relationship between them as a family, and to see Charlie interact with all the familiar faces.
The characters again are very well developed, the relationships are so warm and familiar. The tempting scents of chocolate and ginger seem to waft off the pages  as you read (I recommend that you have some chocolate near-by as you read because you will most definitely be craving it, drooling even!)
I was worried for Lil when her ex-husband Joel arrives to Ashford demanding money. He is a nasty piece of work, and I was desperate for him to get his comeuppance and leave Lil alone. 
You can’t ask for more from a novella than what Rebecca supplies with each of her books. A colourful cast of characters that feel like they are your own family and friends. An absolute joy to read.

 I cannot praise this series enough. Right lets get on to book three - The Bookshop On The Corner

Till then - enjoy!

Kind regards,

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Christmas At The Gingerbread Cafe by Rebecca Raisin

Dear Reader,

Love this time of year when you get to read Christmas themed books! Thanks to twitter came across The Gingerbread Café Series by Rebecca Raisin. If you are looking for something rosemantic this season read on

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Carina
Published: 12th November 2013

Christmas is the season the Gingerbread Café was made for…but owner Lily couldn’t be feeling less merry if she tried. She’s spent another year dreaming of being whisked away on a sleigh-ride for two, but she’s facing festive season alone – again. And, just to give her another reason to feel anything other than candy-cane perky, a new shop across the road has opened… Not only is it selling baked goods, but the owner, with his seriously charming smile, has every girl in town swooning.
But Lily isn’t about to let her business crumble — the Gingerbread Café is the heart of the community, and she’s going to fight for it! This could be the Christmas that maybe, just maybe, all her dreams – even the someone-to-decorate-the-Christmas-tree-with ones – really do come true!


I started this book as soon as I downloaded it onto my Kindle device, and curled up on the couch to read with a cup of hot chocolate! I didn’t put the device down until I completed it two hours later. I should mention, that this book is a novella, which is why I completed it so quickly. Ideal for anyone who is busy and finding it hard to schedule time to read and this is the perfect book to get into the festive spirit.
I was immediately hooked. There is a scene with Lil (who is one of the main characters) who has her hand stuffed up a turkey, bawling her eyes out listening to Christmas Carols which had me laughing out loud (luckily I was at home at the time!).
Lil  is the owner of The Gingerbread Cafe and is struggling with the break-up of her marriage. She is a lovely character, very kind but has a feisty side that keeps her interesting.
To jazz things up, there is new competition just across the street. A rival company has just opened and threatens to ruin her business. I should maybe mention that the owner of the establishment is the drop dead gorgeous Damon. The perfect candidate for a book boyfriend! 
For a shorter story I was pleasantly surprised, great plot, strong character development, and full of drama. This book left me wanting more and immediately started on book 2: Chocolate Dreams at the Gingerbread Café, stay tuned for a review of that book too.


Till next time

Kind regards,

Monday, 20 October 2014

The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly

Dear Reader,

Let's meet Lawyer, Mickey Haller, a criminal defense attorney who operates out of the backseat of his Lincoln Town Car - his office. He defend clients of every kind from con artists to drunk drivers to drug dealers. 

In this first instalment of the series, a Beverly Hills playboy is arrested for attacking a woman who he picked up in a bar and of course chooses Haller to defend him, resulting in Mickey having his first high-paying client in years. As the evidence stacks up, Haller comes to believe that this may be the easiest case of his career. But then someone close to him is murdered and Mickey discovers that his search for innocence has brought him face-to-face with evil. To escape he must deploy every tactic, and instinct to save his own life. 

A great fast pace thriller with some great court scenes. Looking forward to the next instalment.



Tuesday, 16 September 2014

The Gypsy Madonna by Santa Montefiore

Dear Reader,

The story begins with Misha who is an antiques-dealer in Manhattan. He discovers that his beloved dying mother, Anouk, possesses a Titian masterpiece when she tries to donate it to the Met, but they cannot authenticate the painting’s rightful owner. Misha’s stepfather Coyote, who abandoned Anouk and Misha 30 years earlier, reappears but Misha turns him away. Immediately full of questions, Misha decides to find out about the painting and to uncover the truth about his own history.

He returns to Bordeaux, the village he and Anouk left when Misha was seven. Until the war, Anouk had been a nanny at a private estate. After the war, the villagers denounced Anouk as a traitor for marrying Misha’s father, who was a German officer. Witnessing her brutal humiliation caused Misha to become mute. Anouk continued to work at the estate until the handsome American Coyote arrived. Anouk and Coyote fell in love and the affectionate attention that he gave to Misha helped to bring back his voice. Coyote then brought them to New Jersey, where they lived happily until one day Coyote, disappeared, leaving them devastated.

In Bordeaux, Misha learns that, that Coyote had not abandoned Misha and Anouk; he had been in prison for murder.  Misha finds true love with Claudine, whom he first loved when he was six and who leaves her husband to return with Misha to America.

The Gypsy Madonna is a wonderful story of redemption and that it is never too late to make changes in life.


Kind regards,

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Killing Floor by Lee Child

Dear Reader,

Started reading the Jack Reacher series by Lee Child. The first book is Killing Floor.
 We meet Reacher for the first time as he arrives in the small town of Malgrave after walking fourteen miles to get there. His anonymity is challenged  when the town has just had its first homicide in thirty years and as he is the only stranger in town, he is hauled in by the police for questioning. The Chief of Police has decided that Jack is guilty. It's Friday so while his alibi is being checked he faces a night in jail with another detainee by the name of Paul Hubble, a banker and they are then taken to the state run facility in Warburton. They are caged with the hard-core lifers. Jack's military background comes in handy for them as he ends up defending Hubble. Earning Hubble's trust Reacher learns that Hubble fears for both his life and his family. He is so afraid he can't give Reacher too much information. Reacher is anxious to get out of the place but then he finds out that the murder victim is his brother Joe and this changes everything.

Reacher knows that Chief Morrison is involved when he swears that Reacher was at the scene of the murder. Banking on the help of Detective Finlay and Officer Roscoe and being the only two people he can trust, they set out to follow in his brother's footsteps to find out why Hubble's phone number turns up in Joe's shoe and why he confesses to a murder that he obviously did not commit.

This is a fast paced story that keeps us guessing until the end. It was a great finish making me want to read more of Reacher's adventures.


Kind regards,

Monday, 8 September 2014

The House By The Sea by Santa Montefiore

Dear Reader,
This is such a delightful novel by one of my favourite authors - Santa Montefiore. This captivating novel follows two stories. The first is set in Italy, and tells of Floriana, who was abandoned by her mother and her journey of falling in love with Dante, the son belonging to a prestigious family. They first meet when she is ten years old. One day Dante invites her inside his home, La Magdalena, and she is instantly captivated by its beauty and from that moment Floriana knows that it is her destiny to be there with him.  Their relationship faces many obstacles including the issues of a rich man dating an orphan girl.
Decades later in a beautiful Country House Hotel in Devon, England, we meet Marina and her husband Grey who are desperately trying to save their beloved hotel from financial problems. Marina decides to hire an artist in residence, Rafa, to attract more customers. Both the family and     the guests fall in love with Rafa who is hiding a dark secret.
The House By The Sea has everything you could wish for in a novel; romance, mystery, intrigue and beautiful destinations with a great cast of characters. This is a book to be savored.


Tuesday, 2 September 2014

The Perfect Match by Katie Fforde

Dear Reader,

I am a huge fan of Katie Fforde's so was delighted to read the lastest instalment, a great read though not her best.

The Perfect Match (2014)

Bella Castle, is an estate agent who left her hometown a couple years ago after realising she could no longer watch the man she loved start a family with someone else. Since then, Bella found a great job and a great home living with her godmother, Alice. She has a new boyfriend, Nevil, (also her boss) who Bella likes well enough but of course he can't really compare to Dominic. So then out of the blue who arrives but Dominic to her new town and Nevil starts acting strangely. So can Bella put the past behind her and ask Dominic for help in solving the mystery of Nevil? And more importantly will Bella finally realise that Nevil isn't the man for her? (So isn't!) Katie Fforde alternates between Alice and Bella's viewpoints. It's a good yarn but Bella's naivety was a little annoying at times with regards to Nevil when he was being a pig (excuse the expression!)  


Kind regards,


The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani

Dear Reader,

This is an epic story richly written and beautifully descriptive. Adriana Trigiani introduces us first to brothers Eduardo and Ciro, who are sent to a convent when their mother can no longer take care of them after the death of her husband. The story is set against the backdrop of the Italian Alps. Trigiani moves us through their unconventional upbringing by the nuns to their immigrant experience in America.

There is, of course, a love story, but before this relationship develops, the author has her sentiments about the Catholic Church. Eduardo is a scholarly older brother, dedicated to protecting his outgoing younger sibling, Ciro. Ciro is a strong character who the nuns adore with his sense of humour and his commitment to earning his keep in the Convent. When 16-year-old Ciro travels to Enza’s village to dig the grave of her little sister, the two meet for the first time, and Enza falls in love.  Then when Ciro catches the local priest in a scandal, he is banished from his village and sent to hide in America as an apprentice to a shoemaker in Little Italy. Without explanation, he leaves a bereft Enza behind. Soon, Enza's family faces disaster and she is forced to go to America with her father to secure their future.

Unbeknown to one another, they both build a life for themselves in America, Ciro masters shoemaking and Enza takes a factory job in Hoboken until fate intervenes and reunites them. But is it too late: Ciro has volunteered to serve in World War I and Enza, determined to try make a life without him, begins her career as a seamstress at the Metropolitan Opera House that will take her into the glamorous salons of Manhattan and into the life of the singing sensation, Enrico Caruso.
The sequence of events carries us through World War I and the journey of Ciro and Enza, who are determined to make a good life for themselves and their family. The story unfolds into triumph and heart-breaking tragedy.


Kind regards,

Saturday, 30 August 2014

A Night on the Orient Express by Veronica Henry

Dear Readers,

A Night on the Orient Express, Veronica Henry, book reviewJust finished reading this wonderful book, couldn't put it down, finished it in one sitting. Veronica Henry has a new fan!

Welcome on board the Orient Express!

The famous Orient Express offers mystery and romance, it is the trip of a lifetime. What better way to travel to Venice! Each passenger has their own story to tell and a reason for being there. As the train travels from London to Venice, there will be revelations, drama and unforeseen gestures of love in all its forms. At the beginning of the novel there are many different characters that are introduced. Normally I do not like so many characters in a novel but this works, you get so drawn into their lives. 
Veronica Henry tells four different stories of individuals and families who have their own reasons for travelling in style to Venice.
 Imogen is heading to Venice to collect a painting for her grandmother but there is a surprise in store for her. Stephanie is travelling with her new partner, Simon and his children. It is their first trip as a family but it’s not exactly a smooth journey.  Riley is a successful photographer, who makes the trip regularly with a woman he has loved from a distance. Finally we have Archie and Emmie. Recently, Archie’s best friend Jay died from cancer but before he did, he entered Archie into a competition on the ‘Not on the Shelf’ website, to find his perfect date. In memory of his best friend, Archie takes the prize on the Orient Express where he meets Emmie who unbeknownst to her was entered into the competition by her sister. Each has a great deal of emotional baggage but as they get to know each other there is a connection as they are heading towards one of the most romantic cities in the world. 
There are huge decisions for all of these characters to make and all of their stories are utterly absorbing. 



The Man From Beijing by Henning Mankell

Dear Reader,

This is a stand-alone novel from the creator of the Wallander detective novels. This novel tells the tale of a horrific crime and a frightening killer. One cold January day the Police are called out to a small little village in the North of Sweden where they find victims of a savage murder. While the local Police struggle to finds clues or even a motive, the case attracts the attention of Birgitta Roslin, a Judge, whose mother grew up in the village. She comes across diaries from the house of one of the victims kept by Jan Andren, who is an immigrant ancestor of Birgitta’s. The diaries cover Andren’s time as a foreman on the building of the transcontinental railroad in America. Extended flashbacks chart the journey of, San, a railroad worker, who was kidnapped in China and shipped to America in 1863. After finding evidence linking the mysterious Chinese man to the Hesjovallen murders, Birgitta travels to Beijing, suspecting that the motive for the horrific crime is rooted in the past. Birigitta realises that she will have to solve the crime on her own, and here the books takes off in a total of four continents and a hundred and thirty years.

It was an interesting international mystery which at times meandered a little with the politics but it was a compelling read none the less.


Friday, 29 August 2014

The Real Thing by Catherine Alliott

The Real Thing (1996)

Tessa is heading off on the annual family holiday to the Scottish Highlands. She discovers that this year, Patrick - the artist she fell for when she was seventeen - is back from Italy. Back then her father, a vicar, had forbidden her from seeing Patrick and she then went on to marry David and have two children. But she has never forgotten Patrick. When David, a Barrister, returns to London early for work, Tessa has an accident and is forced to rest up at Patrick's mother's home. It seems that they may well be brought back together again. As Tessa faces up to whether she's with the right man, she goes from one crazy predicament to the next, with a lot of surprising announcements along the way.

A glorious tale of love with hilarious dialogue.  Really enjoyed this book a great pick-me-up after a stressful day at work! 

Thursday, 28 August 2014

An English Woman In New York by Anne- Marie Casey

Really enjoyed this book. A charming debut from Anne-Marie Casey. It's almost like a grown up version of Sex And The City.

The storyline grabs you from the first page so that you can't help but get hooked by each of the characters.

This novel revolves around four woman who live in New York.  We have Lucy, Christy, Robyn and Julia. They each live very different lives but they all share one thing - the city that they live in.

 Lucy is the first woman that we are introduced to in this novel, her husband has just lost his job and they have to move half way across the world from their sophisticated life in London to a small apartment in New York or Manhattan to be precise.

Christy is married to a wealthy man, who is a lot older than she is. She wants to get along with her stepdaughter who can't seem to try and get on with her .But when she starts feeling things for the doorman she doesn't know what she wants anymore and starts questioning everything about her life.

Robyn starts thinking that having an affair will be the best thing as her life is going nowhere. Being the wife of an aspiring novelist she decides that having an affair like the rest of her friends would be the right thing to do or would it?

Finally we have Julia, a television writer who is a work-aholic. Having a family is just another part of her life that she hasn't time for. Thinking that her family is better off without her she doesn't know where to turn when her neighbour's dog enters her life. She then starts to re-think what her life has become.

I recommend this book to anyone who loves humour with an absorbing storyline.

Secrets From The Past by Barbara Taylor Bradford

Just finished reading Secrets From The Past by Barbara Taylor Bradford.
It has been awhile since I have read one of her books and I was intrigued by this book on the shelf. The last book I read by her was Letter From A Stranger which I loved but I must say I was a little disappointed with this one.

This is a novel of deeply-buried secrets, passionate love, obsession and redemption.
 Thirty-year old Serena Stone is a talented war photographer who has followed in her father's footsteps. But when he dies unexpectedly in France, she steps away from the war zone weary of years of danger. She decides to write her father's own story and approaches Harry Redford, his best friend and front line colleague. Harry wants her to go to Venice to take care of Zac North, her former lover, who has come out of Afghanistan suffering from mental and physical exhaustion.

The scene shifts to Nice, where Serena reconnects with her older twin sisters, Cara and Jessica, at a villa inherited from their late mother, a movie star .  It isn’t until half way through that a riveting 'secret from the past' emerges. Whilst sifting through her father’s iconic archives, Serena finds photographs revealing that Tommy may have had a brief affair with another war photographer named Val. There are photos of a pregnant Val, with a caption suggesting that Serena may not be a movie star’s daughter. Serena can get no confirmation of her origins from her sisters or Harry. Then Zac distracts her from this dilemma with another. Although he promised to give up war-zone reporting, he wants to go to Libya to cover the rebellion against Gadhafi. He insists on taking Serena, now his fiancée, with him. Serena eventually agrees when she finds out that Val is now in Libya. But that’s not the most distressing information she’s withholding from Zac. I won't spoil it any further!

I found it dragged in parts. The characters all sounded the same and some of the sentences were repetitive . I just felt that there was a connection missing. Overall the story line was good.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Book Review - Homecoming by Cathy Kelly

Dear Reader,

Welcome to my first book review blog – very exciting altogether! I am going to start off with a review of Cathy Kelly’s, Homecoming, which I hope you read. I really enjoyed it. Let me know what you think of it.

Till next time, happy reading!


Homecoming by Cathy Kelly
Book Details
Paperback; 432 pages
Published September 16th 2010 by HarperCollinsUK (First published 2010)
Source: Library

Home is where the heart is
Four women. Four lives. One place they call home.

We are introduced to Eleanor Levine who left Ireland years ago with just a suitcase and her mother's recipe book. And now, seventy years later, she returns from New York to Dublin's beautiful Golden Square heartbroken after the recent, sudden death of her husband. As she watches life unfold from her window, she is drawn into the lives of the women who live in the square.

Beautiful actress Megan Bouchier had fame and success in her grasp - then she made the wrong kind of headlines and escapes to Ireland to her Aunt Nora (and her 
two dogs, Leonardo and Cici)

Big-hearted teacher Connie O'Callaghan is approaching forty and has given up on love. Why does no man match the heroes in her romantic novels?

Rae is a loyal friend and wife, dispensing tea and sympathy from Titania's Tea Rooms has a long-buried secret which is now resurfacing.

This is such a feel good novel. I love the way Cathy Kelly creates a warm and inviting community in Golden Square with an array of siblings, aunts, friends and husbands that these women interact with. And tying all the chapters together are excerpts from Eleanor’s mother’s journal, a keepsake if you will of lessons on life, pain, happiness, food and wisdom.
While the book if often poignant it is also laugh out loud funny. I enjoyed Connie’s character with Kelly’s description of her ultra-pink ‘boudoir’ with the line “She had three sets of twinkly fancy lights 
over her mirrored dressing table already. Anymore and the room would be a fire hazard.”

Homecoming is a fabulous, endearing read that I found impossible to put down.

Ailish Fitzgerald