Monday, 20 October 2014

A Most Desirable Marriage by Hilary Boyd



Lawrence and Jo have enjoyed a strong marriage, the envy of their friends.
Even after thirty years they have lots to say to each other, many interests in common and, until recently, a good sex life. But Lawrence seems wary and restless. Something's wrong. Just how wrong, Jo is about to discover... 
Can they use their years of history - all the things they've shared - to overcome a devastating betrayal?


I have read Hilary Boyd's previous three novels and I enjoyed each one because they follow the story of an older character whose love life is in turmoil and unlike the typical romance slash chicklit books I read ( and adore) I actually find that the characters Hilary create seem to feel more life like and also the storylines seem more realistic even if they are not events that occur in most relationships. Having just finished reading her new release A Most Desirable Marriage I have to say for me this is her best book yet.

Jo and Lawrence have had a healthy loving and strong marriage over the years and Lawrence is just about to take retirement, Jo can not wait so they can holiday together but she has. Or iced a change in her husband who seems very uptight but she understands retiring is probably a daunting position for her husband. But soon Lawrence comes clean and tells his wife what is making him so restless, thing is will their marriage be able to stand against this news?

I read this book from start to finish in one swoop I didn't put it down once! I think what reeled me in was the shock of a big twist early on in the book it came from nowhere ( no it's not a spoiler alert as you will not even see it coming even though I have mentioned it) and was straight to the point and I just never see it coming. What I loved was that the book was unpredictable I didn't know what the outcome of the book was going to be right until the last couple of chapters and I love a book that is unpredictable. 

Both Jo and Lawrence were lovely down to earth genuine characters and although I thought I was going to really hate Lawrence I couldn't as he just seems like a really loving, tender confused character. At times I did find I was frustrated with the way Jo reacted to certain things but again I still thought she was a lovely character. It was nice to have the two children's story's weaved in too.

I enjoyed this book and will be picking up this authors next release for sure.


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Friday, 17 October 2014

Snow Angels, Secrets and Christmas Cake by Sue Watson



For Tamsin Angel, Christmas is always the biggest and best… chic parties and a little showbiz sparkle are a must. This year though, things aren’t going quite as planned… With bailiffs suddenly at the door and her husband nowhere to be found, it looks like Christmas just got downsized. Moving into her sister’s one-bedroom flat, she wonders whether things will ever be the same again. After losing her husband on Christmas Eve, Sam Angel has rebuilt her life around her son Jacob and her new business – The White Angel Bakery. She’s also found herself a very handsome, loving boyfriend, but is struggling to let go of the past. Thrown together with a sprinkle of Christmas magic, Sam and Tamsin might just learn a little more about each other – and themselves. But when disaster strikes at the bakery, will they be able to save the day in time for Christmas?


I have just finished reading Snow Angels, Secrets and Christmas Cake by Sue Watson which is the story of two sisters Tamsin and Sam on the lead up to Christmas. The woman live two completely different lives Tamsin lives the life of Luxury and has no worries where as Sam has had a very trying time but as Christmas draws around the coin flips and and woman's situations flip and Sam is making a life for herself and her son whilst Tamsin loses everything but can these two sisters be there for each other to help one another? 

I love the amount of festivity in this book, it is so hard finding a Christmas looking cover that has a festive storyline to it and this one didn't disappoint. It is a very light and witty storyline that was easy to follow and there were a few little twists too which helped to keep my interest. 

I did warm more to Sam in the beginning and I couldn't take to Tamsin but as the story roles on and we uncover the real Tamsin I soon warmed to her and she began to make me laugh as she was a great witty character although not intensionally so! By the end of the book I loved both of our ladies and wanted a happy ending for them both.

This was an enjoyable, witty read with a nice splash of festivity.


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Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Five Days Left by Julie Lawson Timmer




Mara is a successful lawyer, and devoted wife and mother. Struggling with a devastating illness, she has set herself five days to make the ultimate decision for her family. 

Scott lives a thousand miles away, and is a foster parent to a troubled eight-year-old. Scott is facing his own five day countdown until his beloved foster son is returned to his biological mother.

The two connect through an online forum, and find a friendship to help guide them through the most difficult, and momentous, week of their lives.


I have had Five Days Left sitting on my TBR pile for a couple of months as I went through a faze of reading a lot of emotional reads all at once and needed something a bit more uplifting but I saw this one sitting in the pile today and decided it was time.

The chapters alternate between our two main characters points of view who both have Five Days Left, Mara who was once a successful lawyer who worked long hours and then came home to be a doting wife and mum to Lakshmi. But her life has taken a dramatic change after discovering she is suffering from Huntington's disease and she is losing her ability to control her body and her thoughts which she can not bare so she decides to give herself Five More Days. Scott has Had Curtis living with him and his wife for a year and he has become so close to this little boy but he only has Five Days Left until he leaves them.

This was such an emotional, poignant read that literally broke my heart.this was such a realistic and deep storyline that really touched me. I warmed to both Mara and Scott and their storylines and unusually for me when there are split main characters and stories, I didn't prefer one to the other. 

I surprised myself with my thought process in this book because when I was first introduced to Mara and discovered what she was planning to do there was a part of me that thought she was a bit selfish and how could she plan to do what she was planning when she has a beautiful little daughter and loving husband but as the book moved on and the author shows us what Mara deals with day to day and how it not only effects herself but loved ones around her I began to understand why Mara had come to her decision.

Julie Lawson Timmer has a beautiful, flawless writing style, she manages to keep the reader engrossed from start to finish and she creates such heartfelt emotion in a realistic storyline. I was absolutely captivated by this storyline, this is definitely a heartbreaking and though provoking read.


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Monday, 13 October 2014

The Heart of Winter by Emma Hannigan


Holly Craig's family have lived happily in Huntersbrook for generations but when times grow hard, even she must admit defeat and sell off their once-successful stables. The three Craig children, Lainey, Joey and Pippa find themselves locked in a fight to keep their beloved Huntersbrook; dare they transform it into one of Ireland's most sought after countryside venues? Renovation work is well underway when life rears its ugly head and everything stops in its tracks. The Craig family is forced to reassess what matters and although they no longer live at Huntersbrook, can the house work its magic even so ... and lead them into the light once more?



I first discovered author Emma Hannigan last year when I was doing my yearly Christmas feature and I was sent a copy of Driving Home for Christmas which I loved and I have been read more books by her this year Perfect Wives and The Summer Guest and now I have just finished The Heart of Winter and I am quite sad it is over.

This book revisited our characters from Driving Home for Christmas and follows on with the families plan to open Huntersbrook House up to the public for venue hire. As the family pull together to get everything in place to make this venture work so they don't lose their family home, we begin to see what changes have occurred to Joey, Pippa and Lainey's private lives too.

I loved catching up with these characters and I was surprised how much they wound me up and made me want to throttle each one of them and yet I loved them at the same time! I think if people hadn't read the first book then their opinion of Joey may differ with just reading this book as he seems to have let his career go to his head in this book where as I thought he was a loving character in the previous book so having this background gave his character the benefit of the doubt. Typical Pippa is yet again unpredictable and a walking danger! But I like how her character progresses in this book. Lainey I really struggled with some points I wanted to hug her and I my heart went out to her then on other times she really got on my wick. Each chapter was alternated between each of the three siblings which worked really well for this book.

To add to this book we are also treated to an insight to the lovely Jodi from Perfect Wives who I loved and I was so pleased to see her arrival in this book and see what is going on in her life now.

This was a feel good read great for the cold winter nights ahead to sit and dissolve into this storyline. It reminds us that family should always be there for each other to pull each other through trying situations. There were some sensitive issues that were effecting our main characters and once again Emma manages to write about these in a delicate but informative way. 

I do think this book could be read as a stand alone but I do recommend reading Driving Home for Christmas so you can get to know the background of these characters. This is a book that has a lovely winter cover and a storyline with a touch of festivity but this book could be read any time of year. This is yet another winner for me from Emma Hannigan she has become a firm favourite of mine.


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Saturday, 11 October 2014

The Seafront Tea Rooms by Vanessa Greene



The Seafront Tea Rooms is a peaceful hideaway, away from the bustle of the seaside, and in this quiet place a group of women find exactly what they've been searching for. Charismatic journalist Charlotte is on a mission to scope out Britain's best tea rooms. She knows she's found something special in the Seafront Tea Rooms but is it a secret she should share? Kathryn, a single mother whose only sanctuary is the 'Seafront', convinces Charlie to keep the place out of her article by agreeing to join her on her search. Together with another regular, Seraphine, a culture-shocked French au pair with a passion for pastry-making, they travel around the country discovering quaint hideaways and hidden gems. But what none of them expect is for their journey to surprise them with discoveries of a different kind . . .

I have been longing to read a book by Vanessa Greene as I have heard so many positive things about her writing and what better way to start with her new release The Seafront Tea Rooms which sounds like my idea of heaven!

This book follows a new friendship between Charlie, Kat and Seraphine who come together quite by chance in The Sea Front Tea Rooms. Each of the woman are going through a trying time and could really do with a shoulder to lean on and a friendship soon blossoms between the three women and they support each other.

I love love loved this book. It had everything I look for in a great read, likeable down to earth main characters, friendships and romance, trials and tribulations and entertainment all weaved together in a perfect setting, what more could you ask for ........Tea and cakes! 

The book starts at a gentle pace as we are introduced to our three main characters. Seraphine is coming to England to try and improve her English and she will be staying with Adam and daughter Zoe to try and help Zoe to improve her French. Kat is a single mum to the lovely Leo but she is finding it hard to make ends meet and needs to find a job around looking after him. Then we have Charlie who has had her heartbroken so has put barriers up so high and had thrown herself into her work which is what brings her to the Tea Rooms as she is writing a review feature on tea rooms. Each of the ladies bring something different to the storyline and each of their stories are gradually weaved beautifully around each other.

The descriptive writing when it comes to the various tea rooms was so impeccable that I could visualise and almost taste all these delicious cakes and teas in these quaint little places, this is definitely not one for anyone currently on a diet!

The book has such a friendly cosy feel to it and the situations the women find themselves in are so realistic so it makes the storyline feel very believable. I had some suspicions as to what was going to happen but each time I was taken down a different path so this was an unpredictable words with plenty of little twists here and there.

I enjoyed this books so much that I can't wait to go out tomorrow to get The Vintage Teacup Club because I just love this authors easy style of writing and beautifully delicate storylines. I would definitely recommend this book and it is one of my favourites of 2014.  


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Thursday, 9 October 2014

The Year I Met You by Cecelia Ahern


Jasmine loves two things: her sister and her work. And when her work is taken away she has no idea who she is. Matt loves two things: his family and the booze. Without them, he hits rock bottom. One New Year’s Eve, two people’s paths collide. Both have time on their hands; both are at a crossroads. But as the year unfolds, through moonlit nights and suburban days, an unlikely friendship slowly starts to blossom. Sometimes you have to stop still in order to move on…


I have just finished reading The Year I Met You by Cecelia Ahern and it was not what I was expecting at all. I thought is was going to be a full on romance novel but I couldn't have been more wrong. There was a touch of romance to this book but it was only a small part of this great book. I actually found this book really entertaining and I did find myself chuckling away at both Jasmine and Matt's antics especially the one involving the toilet roll, I think I found it so funny because it is something that I would actually love to do! 

The book is told from Jasmine's point of view and I had to wonder at first if she was depressed and bordering on being a stalker from her thoughts but my opinion of her soon changed and I really liked her character. Her caring and protective side towards her sister really shone through in this book. Matt was a very unpredictable character and he was my favourite in this book you just never knew what on earth he was going to get up to next!

I read this book in one sitting, it was such an easy read and quite a basic storyline really but yet it had me hooked! The book does feature gardening and seasons with Jasmine taking the term garden leave to a new extreme but it was great to watch her progress. I love how unpredictable the whole book was, I had my suspicions as to what was going to happen romantically and I was way off target, I do love it when an author can pull the wool over my eyes. Although the book was entertaining it did cover more serious and realistic things too but all in all it was an enjoyable read that had me tickled.



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Friday, 3 October 2014

The French for Christmas by Fiona Valpy



Evie used to LOVE Christmas, but this year she can’t wait for the tinsel and presents to be a distant memory. When her best friends offer the use of their cottage in the beautiful French countryside, Evie jumps at the chance. With her soon-to-be-ex-husband, celebrity chef Will Brooke, plastered over the news with his latest ‘love interest’, leaving the country seems like the perfect plan. Armed with her French grandmother’s tattered notebook of recipes, Evie is determined to ignore Christmas altogether and bake herself back to happiness. And when Evie meets her next-door neighbour – the très gorgeous doctor Didier she finds a very willing taste-tester. But is it possible that he could be interested in more than just her Tarte Tatin? With snow falling, a special Réveillon dinner and a little Christmas magic in the air, could Didier even be the one to thaw Evie’s heart? Or will a visit from the ghost of Christmas past change everything?


It's that time of year again when all the beautiful festive covers start gracing our shelves and so it was time for me to read my first festive read of the year so I opted for The French for Christmas by Fiona Valpy.

After a very trying time Evie can not bare to be around friends and family this Christmas she just wants solitude so she escapes to her friends vacant place in France.
Whilst Evie finds her joy on cooking again she finds a willing taste tester in her neighbour next door who is also trying to escape Christmas can these two help each other to get the festive spirit back?

This was a relatively quick read which I managed to read in one sitting and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The storyline wasn't what I was expecting at all but I was so glad that there was a festive feel to the book as quite often you pick up a festive looking read only to have one little chapter about Christmas but this wasn't the case with this book. Our main character Evie was a little treasure who has had a heartbreaking time recently and I found myself routing for her hoping for a happy ending for her. 

I wouldn't be surprised if we were to see a follow up to this book and I for one would be in line waiting to get my hands on a copy as I loved the two main characters in this book and their background as well as their projects that they are now working on as well as an update on the surprise at the end. This was a great read with a lovely festive touch.

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