Friday, 20 July 2018

One in a Million - by Lindsey Kelk

Original Cover

The blurb: 

Everyone wants that special someone….

Annie Higgins has given up on love: she’s too busy trying to get her tiny business off the ground. Infuriated by the advertising agency across the hall making fun of her job, Annie accepts their crazy challenge – to make a random stranger Instagram-famous in just thirty days.

And even when they choose Dr Samuel Page PhD, historian and hater of social media, as her target, Annie’s determined to win the bet – whether Sam likes it or not.

But getting to know Sam means getting to know more about herself. And before the thirty days are out, Annie has to make a decision about what’s really important…

Funny, real and heart-meltingly romantic, Annie and Sam’s story is My Fair Lady for the social media age – and the perfect feel-good read.

My Opinion:
I don't even know where to start this review, because this book is absolutely FABULOUS!!!

Lindsey Kelk is one of these very talented writers, who creates a wonderful world around her characters, makes them lively and authentic and comes up with a gripping and exciting storyline. 

We follow Annie Higgins, who runs her own agency, dealing with social media. She has given up on men and love. Together with her best friend Miranda she successfully runs the business and takes on a bet from the guys across the hall: creating a new instagram account based on a person they all don't know and getting him to 20k followers in a month. 
That's where Sam comes in, or I should rather say Dr Samuel Page. He is a historian and very different to Annie, how can she create an account only based on him?! Their first encounter is not so much fun and he is very distant and arrogant. His girlfriend Elaine has just left him and that's where Annie sees her chance. She helps him getting his girlfriend back and she can create the account, without showing his picture of course.

She changes his looks and makes him see what is needed in a good relationship. Obviously they spend a lot of time together and yes they get along really well after a while. There is still Charlie from across the hall though right?! Oh and Elaine, let's not forget her. 

Both, Sam and Annie are really relatable characters and I loved following them around. I was hooked to the storyline from the start and liked all the social media references. Lindsey Kelk also really knows to include current events, like the world cup. These make the book very authentic and real.
I loved the way the relationship between Annie and Sam slowly developed. There was never a dull moment and I really liked the two of them together. They are so different from each other, but the sparks were there from the start, even if it took them a while to figure it out themselves. There were of course also some obstacles in the way, but that keeps you going as a reader.

Lindsey Kelk's writing is absosultey hilarious, romantic, passionte and just fantastic. She really understands how to engage a reader. 11 out of 10 points for this book for sure!!!!!

The story really is a modern day My Fair Lady, it's got a twist, a gende swap and of course the whole social media thing, just brilliant!!!


Lindsey Kelk on Twitter: @LindseyKelk

Monday, 16 July 2018

A Summer Scandal- by Kat French

Original Cover
My own copy

The blurb: 

Summer has never been so scandalous…

When Violet moves to Swallow Beach, she inherits a small Victorian pier in with an empty arcade perched on the end of it, and falls in love immediately. She wants nothing more than to rejuvenate it and make it grand again – but how?

When she meets hunky Calvin, inspiration strikes. What if she turned the arcade into an adult-themed arcade full of artisan shops?

Not everyone in the town is happy with the idea, but Violet loves her arcade and business begins to boom. But as tensions worsen and the heat between her and Calvin begins to grow, life at Swallow Beach becomes tricky. Is it worth staying to ride out the storm? And can Violet find her own happy ending before the swallows fly south for the winter?

Sexy, sassy and full of heart, Kat French is back in a new summer sizzler.

My Opinion:

*Book provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

After her grandfather Henry dies, Violet inherits a small Victorian pier in Swallow Beach. Henry has lived there, but he left the place, after his wife Monica died. Violet’s mum Della doesn’t want to speak of the place and when Violet decides to go there for the summer, she is not happy. 

Violet is with Simon, but when he proposes she just can’t say yes. She doesn’t feel that he is the one and she is very clear about that to him. He doesn’t seem to understand though…

Violet goes to Swallow Beach and the adventure begins. She lives in her grandmother’s flat and it’s like no time has passed. The apartment still has all the old interior and it’s filled with some surprises. Violet meets her neighbour Cal, who is very handsome, but also a little mysterious. They get on well from the start, I would say, they had instant chemistry. He sparks her creativity and they start making exciting plans for the pier. She also meets Barty, someone, who actually knew her grandmother. Keris is a fun young girl, who turns out to be a great friend. However, there are also people, who don’t like Violet’s appearance. Her plans for the pier are also not to their taste. 

Cal’s and Violet’s relationship is an up and down, with sparks flying constantly ad there is definitely a deep connection between them. Things get interesting when Simon turns up and Cal has a secret as well. The way he handles things, when that certain person turns up, was confusing to me, but it fit the storyline. 
I really adored the scenes between him ad Violet, so sweet, but also passionate and sexy. 

Violet also finds Monica’s diary and she discovered a lot about her grandmother, also that she is very similar the her. 

For Violet this book is definitely a journey of learning what she really wants in life. There are rocks on the way, but that’s part of it. I loved following her through these important stages of life. 

The plot has a fab flow, the characters are fantastic and the setting is gorgeous as well. Kat French really bring the pier to life and makes a story lively and fresh. 
I was hooked from the start and the storyline was full of drama, passion and love. It’s funny, sexy and the perfect read for summer!


Kat French on Twitter: @KFrenchBooks

Friday, 13 July 2018

The Forgotten Guide to Happiness - by Sophie Jenkins

Original Cover
My own copy

The blurb: 

Sometimes, happiness can be found where you least expect it… 
Twenty-eight-year-old Lana Green has never been good at making friends. She’s perfectly happy to be left alone with her books. Or at least, that’s what she tells herself.

Nancy Ellis Hall was once a celebrated writer. Now eighty, she lives alone in her North London house, and thinks she’s doing just fine. But dementia is loosening Nancy’s grip on the world.

When Lana and Nancy become unconventional house mates, their lives will change in ways they never expected. But can an unusual friendship rescue two women who don’t realise they need to be saved?

An irresistible story of love, memory and the power of friendship that readers of The Keeper of Lost Things and The Lido will adore.

My Opinion:

*Book provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

Lana Green is a writer, who is now trying to write her second book, after having successfully published Love Crazy. It was based on her real life experiences and now that her boyfriend is gone, with no goal to come back anytime soon, she doesn’t know what to write about. Lana doesn’t know what to do and her financial problems don’t help at all. 

Lana starts looking after Nancy Ellis Hall, a once successful writer, who suffers from dementia now. She also starts spending a lot of time with Nancy’s stepson Jack. The two of them get along really well and I really adored their scenes and moments together. He made her enjoy life again and she finally had something to write about again. I definitely felt a chemistry between them, but for Lana it wasn’t an obvious connection at all. It all gets destroyed when her former boyfriend Mark comes back. 

Lana also started teaching literary classes, where she made new friends. When Mark is back, she just goes back to him, as if nothing happened. That’s where I kind of lost interest in the book, because I didn’t understand her decision and her actions. 

The characters, who kept me in the book were Jack and Nancy. He was a lovely character, with a great heart and a lot of passion. Nancy is so sweet and I think the author found a great way to include dementia in this story.

The ending was a bit confusing in my eyes and I just couldn’t find a connection to Lana anymore. 

Sophie Jenkins writing is cute, quirky and enjoyable, but I really struggled with the flow of the story. 


Sophie Jenkins on Twitter: @sophiejenkinsuk

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Book of the Month - June

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The books I read this month:

-      Theo –by Amanda Prowse 4.5/5
-      The Little Cornish Kitchen –by Jane Linfoot 3/5
-      Daisy’s Vintage Cornish Camper Van –by Ali McNamara 5/5
-      Best Practice –by Penny Parkes 4.5/5
-      While I Was Sleeping –by Dani Atkins 5/5
-      The Cottage on Sunshine Beach –by Holly Martin 5/5
-      The Happiness List –by Annie Lyons 5/5
-      The Summer Getaway –by Tilly Tennant 4.5/5

Two of these books really stood out to me: 

Daisy’s Vintage Camper Van – Ali McNamara

The bit on the back:

Welcome to the gorgeous Cornish town of St Felix, where there's magic in the air...
When Ana inherits a broken-down camper van from her best friend, she takes the chance for a quick trip to Cornwall - some sea air and fish and chips on the beach is just the tonic she needs. 
But St Felix has bigger plans for Ana. She discovers a series of unsent postcards, dating back to the 1950s, hidden in the upholstery of the van. Ana knows that it's a sign: she'll make sure that the messages reach the person that they were meant for. And as the broken-down van is restored to gleaming health, so Ana begins to find her way back to happiness.

My opinion:

I went through all the emotions reading this book; I laughed, I cried, I felt happy, sad etc. Ali McNamara’s writing is full of passion and heart. I felt so close to the characters and I was really routing for Ana. The book includes mystery, romance, friendship, love, beautiful settings and amazing moments. 

Ali McNamara on Twitter: @AliMcNamara

While I Was Sleeping – Dani Atkins

The bit on the back:

A brand new and brilliant emotional family drama for fans of Jojo Moyes and Dorothy Koomson, from the bestselling author of Fractured.

I don't remember what happened or what has changed.

I can still hear your voices but you can't seem to hear me.

I was about to be married and had everything to look forward to.

Now I have to find a way back - to you, to our family, to us.

My opinion:

This book absolutely touched my heart. I don’t think I ever cried so much, reading a book. It’s heart-breaking, poignant, moving and tear-jerking. 

The ending of the book made me speechless!!!
it was absolutely BRILLIANT!!! On so many levels…

Dani Atkins on Twitter: @AtkinsDani

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Q & A with Penny Parkes

Did you always dream of being a writer?

It has to be said that I have talkedabout being a writer for as long as I can remember, but that didn’t always translate into actually writing. My Convent school didn’t consider making up stories to be a valid career path, so I contented myself with reading everything I could get my hands on instead.

How did your writing career develop?

I started out finding film locations – not the obvious apprenticeship to becoming an author – but, as it turns out, very good training for learning to look behind the scenes, and beyond the superficial.

Beginning that first novel really was a leap of faith and, for that first year I immersed myself in every bookish event, festival and writing workshop I could find. It was the writing life, as much as the writing, that drew me in.

Your newest novel is called Best Practice,what is it about?

Best Practice is really about the things in life that we take for granted, always assuming they will be there for us if we need them.  In this case, it was the Air Ambulance service that really caught my attention.

Not to mention that Holly and Taffy are planning their wedding, with plenty of time for second thoughts and hiccups, despite Elsie Townsend being on hand with some world class meddling – her notion that you should plan life to suit yourself rather than convention certainly proves timely. 

And Alice Walker, with Coco at her side, is about to confront the reality that not all her emotional baggage is metaphorical…

What was your inspiration for the book?

A few years ago there was a riding accident locally – the young girl in question could only be reached by air ambulance, and indeed their skill and timely intervention made all the difference. It had been bubbling away in the back of my mind ever since, apparently, as when I sat down to write, the new character of Chris Virtue simply arrived on the page.

Where and when do you write your stories?

I’m actually making more of an effort to write everywhere, rather than trying to create that perfect moment! Out of preference, I will write on the sofa in my study with The Ginger Ninja beside me, or even in bed. If I can’t find peace and quiet then the noise cancelling headphones are a Godsend. I tend to use time on the train, or driving, swimming or walking the dog to do my plotting and planning.

What do you do and enjoy when you’re not writing?

I love to read – and quite varied genres from comedy to thrillers to domestic noir. I genuinely feel twitchy if I don’t have a book on the go. I’m also a huge movie fan, so I save trips to the cinema as carrots to get the work done.
If I get any proper downtime, then I will always be plotting a trip – more of an adventure than a holiday.

What books have influenced your life most? 

I think it would have to be the books I was reading as a teenager and young adult that made me want to be an author – although that list has grown over the years. Rachel’s Holiday by Marian Keyes, The Man Who Made Husbands Jealous by Jilly Cooper were two pivotal reads for me. And then later, Jane Fallon’s wickedly funny Getting Rid Of Matthew. All of them added weight to my dream to create a chunky novel of my very own.

What are you working on at the moment?

I have just this week handed in my copy edits for Private Practice (out 2019) and intend to take a few weeks to plot and plan my next Larkford adventure – something a little different but still with the Larkford soul that my readers know and love.

Pick three authors you want to have dinner with and tell us why.

I have to confess to being incredibly lucky to count some of my very favourite authors amongst my friends, and the Cotswold posse regularly get together to put the world to rights over a roast chicken and a glass of rosé. Likewise the Simon and Schuster dream team make sure their authors are never lonely; we’re all in touch with each other for moral support (and the occasional cocktail) Please don’t make me choose – they’re all gorgeous!

Coffee or tea?

Coffee.  Always coffee. Black – don’t dilute the caffeine!

Paperback or e-reader?

Paperback for choice (I can read in the bath) but Kindle for travelling or there’s no room in my suitcase for clothes!

Mountains or the sea?

Mountains and lakes every time.

Sweet or salty?

When it comes to popcorn – both together!

Tuesday, 10 July 2018


One of my teacher colleagues has an apartment in Malta and together with another teacher friend we decided to head there, right after the school year was over. It was the best decision ever, the perfect way to start the summer holidays. 

We met up on the train to the airport, enjoyed a drink at the airport and after a bit of a delay we were finally on the plane. The flight was about two hours and we landed around sunset. The take off took us right over my home lake and during the landing I took some pictures, one of them was of the bay we were staying at. A real coincidence, because I didn't know yet. We bought some food for breakfast at the airport and then took a taxi to San Pawl. There we headed to "La Buona Trattoria del Nonno" for dinner. It was quite late already, but the food was great. I had mushroom pasta. Then all we did, was taking a taxi to the apartment and basically went straight to bed. 

The next morning we took it slowly, had breakfast and got ready for the beach. We headed to Golden Bay, that's in the North West of the island. We spent the whole day at the beach, talked a lot, enjoyed the sun, went swimming and also did lots of people watching ;). We were actually jealous of the people, who had their flamingos on the water. At around 4.30 pm we took a bus to Sliema for a little "aperitivo". It was the perfect for for it (The Compass) with a fab view of the sea and there were plenty of TVs to watch the football. After that we went for dinner in Saint Julians, at a place called Buffalo Bills, where we had delicious steak. That was the end of the day. Beach can be very tiering. 

On Monday we took the ferry to Gozo. We first had to catch a bus, that wasn't easy, because they were all full. We were lucky though, because a little shuttle bus took us and then we also had a ferry right away. We then decided to take a taxi to the beach because there was no bus coming. That saved us a lot of time. Ramble Bay is a great beach, is big and so pretty. We stayed on the side, where there was sand and no stones. Of course we went swimming again and did a lot of people watching. There were so many sunburnt people and they were just sunbathing without a parasol the whole time. For the late evening we headed to Victoria, a cute little town in the middle of the island and had some drinks. Afterwards we took the ferry back to Malta and in Bugibba I had some nice ribs for dinner. 

Tuesday was a no beach day. Sleeping in, chilling at the apartment, before taking the bus to Sliema. Sliema is fab, the view of Valletta is breath-taking. Of course we had a yummy lunch and then it was time for a little shopping. I didn't buy anything, but the other did ;). At 4 pm it was football time, Switzerland played against Sweden. We went back to the same bar and watched the game there. Unfortunately, we lost :(. That didn't change our mood though, because it was time to drive to Valletta and enjoy the capital. The city is so pretty and full of details. There are so many photo spots in this wonderful city, I absolutely loved it. We had dinner in a fab Italian restaurant, before heading back to Xemxija, where the apartment is. 

Wednesday already meant our last day. We took the bus to Mdina, a cute little city in the middle of the country. It was actually the former capital of Malta. Beautiful houses, narrow alleys and a fab view. We had cake at the Fontanella, omg so yummy!!! Afterwards we enjoyed the rest of the afternoon/evening in Mellieha. First at the beach, then at a beach bar and in the end at a restaurant with a pretty sunset. It was the perfect way to end the holidays. 

Thursday was basically just spent at the airport, so nothing to report there. 

Malta has lots to offer and the four days were definitely not enough to see it all. I definitely want to go back again to see the Blue Lagoon and the caves, the place where the azure window was etc. Can't wait!!!

Monday, 9 July 2018

The Summer Getaway - by Tilly Tennant

Original Cover
My own copy

The blurb: 

Ashley Moon is all set for a dream holiday with her daughter in the glittering French Riviera. But nothing can prepare her for the shock of discovering who’s staying in the villa next door…

Ashley Moon
 got much more than a suntan on her first ever foreign holiday; one whirlwind romance and nine months later she had a daughter,Molly. 

Too heart-broken and proud to ever contact the father, Ashley made a decision to go it alone and raise her daughter herself. Fifteen hard and lonely years later, she finally has the chance to take Molly on her first ever holiday; a gorgeous, all-expenses paid trip to the charming French resort of St Raphael. 

It is the perfect setting for a week of quality time together; they plan to cycle through the sun-drenched vineyards, lounge by the glistening pool and practice their French on friendly locals. And just when Ashley thought things couldn’t get any better, comes the news of a handsome new occupant to the villa next door. 

But fate has other plans for Ashley. One look in to her neighbour’s dark hazel eyes is all it takes to give her the shock of her life. Standing in front of her is Haydon, Molly’s long lost father and the holiday fling she thought she’d never see again. 

As the temperature on the Cote D’Azure steadily rises and Ashley and Haydon begin spend more and more time together, will Ashley find the courage to tell him who she is – and more importantly, who Molly is? 

A wonderfully heart-warming story of first love and second chances for fans of Jenny Oliver and Lucy Diamond. 

My Opinion:

*Book provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

Ashley got pregnant at 18 on her first holiday without her parents. She only knows his name: Haydon. He left her a phone number, but it didn't work. 
Now, 17 years later, she has a 16-year-old daughter called Molly. They go on holiday to France. 

Haydon has a daughter as well. Ella is 14 years-old. He is not with her mum anymore and only see Ella on weekends. Janine (his ex) has a new partner now and he plans to move the family to London, much to Hayden's distaste of course. He gets to go on holiday with Ella alone though and all the circumstances come together and they go to the same place as Ashley and Molly.

Their paths cross of course and Ella and Molly start to build a friendship. Old feelings come up for Ashley and Hayden as well. It's not simple though, because he meets Audrey as well, there is the unsolved mystery of the phone number and he doesn't know about Molly (yet).

They all spend a lot of time together, the teenagers have things going on and so do the adults. Hayden and Ashely had great chemistry, I really adored their scenes. It took a really long time, until things got resolved, Ashely's mum got in between as well, so there was a lot of drama. That kept the storyline alive and exciting. Certain things seemed a bit too obvious to me and some of their reactions weren't authentic in my eyes.

They story is wonderful, it's set in a beautiful location and Tilly Tennant created this great plot around a fantastic idea. The book had a fab flow and her descriptive writing about the setting is on point. Tilly Tennant's writing is fresh, lively and vivid. 


Author Bio: 

Tilly Tennant was born in Dorset, the oldest of four children, but now lives in Staffordshire with a family of her own. After years of dismal and disastrous jobs, including paper plate stacking, shop girl, newspaper promotions and waitressing (she never could carry a bowl of soup without spilling a bit), she decided to indulge her passion for the written word by embarking on a degree in English and creative writing. She wrote a novel in 2007 during her first summer break at university and has not stopped writing since. She also works as a freelance fiction editor, and considers herself very lucky that this enables her to read many wonderful books before the rest of the world gets them.

Hopelessly Devoted to Holden Finn was her debut novel; published in 2014 it was an Amazon bestseller in both the UK and Australia. In 2016 she signed to the hugely successful Bookouture and is currently working on her next Tilly Tennant novel. She also writes as Sharon Sant, where she explores the darker side of life, and Poppy Galbraith, where things get a little crazier.

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