Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Happily Never After - by Emma Robinson

Original Cover
My own copy

The blurb: 

Rory closed her eyes. Think with your head. Your heart can’t be trusted. Life is not a fairytale… 

Rory doesn’t believe in love. She’s got far too many real problems to deal with. 

She’s just bought a tumbledown house. Her mother is generally behaving like a wicked witch, insisting on calling her Aurora, and generally interfering in her (admittedly pitiful lack of) love life. And her 16-year-old daughter has finally grown out of Disney princesses and discovered dating… 

But Rory’s adamant that she doesn’t need saving. In fact, the only thing she’s wishing on a star for is a bit of practical help. However, when she meets a builder whose name is John Prince and who seems to be in the habit of rescuing her (right down to finding her lost shoe one evening) she might have to face a truth as uncomfortable as hobbling home barefoot – that maybe there’s something enchanted in the air

Her mother, daughter and friends are convinced her prince has come, but Rory just wishes everyone could let it go. Especially when she hears a story that makes her question whether he is really the hero everyone thinks he is…

My Opinion:

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

Our main character Rory, has a 16-year-old daughter, is a teacher and doesn’t believe in love anymore. Her mother and friends always want to set her up though and they are convinced her prince charming is close. 

She has bought a tumbledown house. A lot of work needs to be done, that’s where builder John Prince comes in. He helps with house stuff, but also other things, several times. He definitely could be mister right. 

Rory is very busy though, especially at work, with a new guy taking over. He wants to change everything, but Rory has a totally different opinion. Then there is her mum, who gets involved all the time and Belle, her daughter, has a boyfriend. 

As a teacher, I really enjoyed the school related scenes. However, I felt that certain things didn’t seem that authentic. My favourite part about this book were all the fairytale references, just genius. 

The story has a wonderful flow and fabulous plot. Emma Robinson’s style is fresh, vivid and funny. It’s also sad at parts and deals with grief, loss and illness. I’d say it’s the perfect mixture and all the characters brings something unique into the story. 


Emma Robinson on Twitter: @emmarobinsonuk

Monday, 30 July 2018

Moon & Stars Festival Locarno

Every year in July the Piazza Grande in Locarno becomes a big concert area. They build a big stage at the beginning of the piazza and the rest is the space for the audience. 
Last year, they added a Food Street, going from the stage to the lake. To make it easier for you guys, here a few pictures. 

At the end of the food street, there is a ferris wheel. The food street opens before the concerts start and is still open, when it ends. The variety of foods is incredible and so yummy. There are lots of lights and decor, it really looks fab. On the Piazza Piccola there is also a little stage, where not that well known artists can perform, most of them are Swiss. 

This is how the piazza usually looks like:



Now, let's start with the actually festival, with the music. The festival runs over two weekends for about ten days. It always takes place in July. From about 6 pm onwards they close down the piazza, so no-one walks around anymore. You either have to wait until the gates open at 7pm or you eat at one of the restaurants. You have to reserve early and of course you need a ticket to the concert. They come and scan your ticket. Being at the restaurant is fab, because you don't have to stand in the big crowd and on these unconformable stones. You can also sit downing between and you are covered when it stars raining. 

The concert then starts at 8pm with the first act, the first act usually plays for an hour. At 9.45 pm the second act comes on stage and plays for about an hour or maybe a bit more, depending on if the other was just the supporting act. The concert stops with a firework. 

The atmosphere on the piazza is phenomenal. The crowd sings along and the lights on the houses make it very intimate and cosy. 

This year we went to see The Script & James Blunt and the second concert was Adel Tawil and Sunrise Avenue. I have been previous years as well, but the fact that they changed the structure a bit is great. The line-up of acts now is fabulous, so many to choose from. I would have loved to got to the Rita Ora concert as well. 
The years before I have seen Bryan Adams, Rosette, Green Day, Ellie Goulding, Alain Clark and some others. It's always a pleasure to go back. 

After the concert you can go to the food street and enjoy a drink before going home. It's not a typical festival type festival, which makes it interesting for me. I don't like camping and standing in the mood. It's really like a concert in a big arena, but you are outside and you have the possibility to eat at a restaurant. The ones who just want some fries and a beer can do that too and of course you can be there early, run to the front and stand the whole time. 
It's a always a great mixture of young and older people. 

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Fashion Corner - Lilly Pulitzer dress

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
I'm in LOVE with this Lilly Pulitzer dress!!!

I wore it in Vegas and it's the perfect summer dress. Maybe not for 30°, but for evenings or 25° days. The colours and the pattern is PERFECT!!! I combined it with my Mr Boho sunglass and sandals from Navyboot. 

- Dress: Lilly Pulitzer
- Sunglasses: MR BOHO
- Sandals: Navyboot 
- Bag: Coach (similar)

Saturday, 28 July 2018

The Book Ninja - by Ali Berg and Michelle Kalus

Original Cover
My own copy

The blurb: 

**Could you find your perfect man by looking at his book shelf?** 
Frankie Rose is desperate for love. Or a relationship. Or just a date with a semi-normal person. It’s not that she hasn’t tried – Frankie is the queen of online dating. But she has had enough.
Deciding to embark on the ultimate dating experiment, inspired by her job at The Little Brunswick Bookshop, Frankie places her hope in her favourite books to find her the perfect man… Secretly planting copies on trains, trams and buses, Frankie hopes to find the man of her dreams through a mutual love of good books.
But one spontaneous kiss later and Frankie begins to fall for a guy called Sunny. There’s just one tiny problem – Frankie is strictly a Jane Austen kind of woman and Sunny is really into Young Adult. Seriously, obsessively into it...
Can Frankie overcome her book snobbery for the man of her dreams? Or will she be left searching the trains for her modern-day Mr Darcy forever?

My Opinion:

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

Frankie Rose leaves books on the underground or train to meet new men. A very clever idea and since books are her life, she can find out more about a guy, by looking at their taste in books. 
She starts writing a blog about her experiences, which is fab and gives the book this special touch. The idea behind this book is fantastic, I loved reading the comments after her blog posts and of course I am a bookworm myself, so the mentioned books made me happy. For someone not being that much into books and genres it could be difficult to follow though. 

I felt that at times, there was also too much going on: the blog, the dates, the men, her best friend and other characters, kind of overwhelming. 

Frankie starts falling for one of the guys, but keeps on dating others. He also doesn’t have the same taste in books, so it’s definitely not easy. The way certain things happened in the plot, didn’t make sense to me, but I still really enjoyed reading it. 

It’s funny, fast-paced, fresh and entertaining.


Twitter: @thebookninjas

Friday, 27 July 2018

Ten Day in the Locarno/Ascona area

Switzerland has a lot of beautiful places, one of those special places is the Ticino, the Italian speaking part of our country.
Every summer they have the Moon and Stars festival in Locarno, with lots of fabulous concert in the Piazza Grande. We don't go every summer, but this year's line up is fantastic, so we got tickets to see Sunrise Avenue and James Blunt. 

The drive down there is always a bit risky in summer, because there is lots of traffic. We left very early in the morning on Friday July 13. We practically had no traffic and reached our first goal at around 10am. We stopped at "Möbel Pfister" a furniture store. We have the same in central Switzerland, but they tend to have different things, so we stopped and looked at everything. I bought some pillows and a fluffy blanket for my new apartment (yes I'm moving, more info in a blog post soon). Our drive continued and we stopped in Ascona for lunch, we were starving at 11am already. Our favorite restaurant in Ascona is the Osteria Nostrana, right by the lake with a fab view. Then we went food shopping, before driving to our apartment. Taking everything out of the car took quite a while. A refreshing shower and new clothes later we found ourselves in Ascona again. This time we strolled trough the lovely little down, looked at the shops and my fave: "un aperitivo" at the Seven lounge, such a fab place. Now it's getting a bit boring, because we had dinner at the same restaurant again. We then wanted to leave and ran into some friends from the choir and had another drink with them, such a lovely evening. 

On Saturday we slept in, had breakfast and headed to the "badi", basically the beach right by the lake, with facilities to eat, drink, with a playground etc. It's a great place to just relax, chill and read in the sun. Listen to music and of course go for a swim. We also had a late lunch there, watched some tennis and football later. Towards the evening there were lots of clouds and we left just before it started raining. For dinner we drove to Locarno and ate at the "Sensi", it's the brother restaurant of the one in Ascona, the food is delicious. Afterwards we walked through the city, into the little alleys, to listen to the concert a little bit. 

Sunday, meant an early start for us. From Ascona we took the boat to Canobbio, passing the beautiful Brissago islands. In Canobbio they have a big market every Sunday, where they sell clothes, shoes, bags, food and lots more. We had to buy shirts for the theatre and of course I also bought some little things for myself, like a bag, slippers and a belt. We stopped for a coffee once, but time passed so quickly. We headed into the town for some lunch and at 3pm it was tome to take the fast boat back to Ascona. In the evening it was time for our first concert. The Piazza Grande in Locarno is huge, but not very comfortable to stand on. So what we always do now, is reserve in a restaurant, go there before the gates close and then you can enjoy the whole concert from there. At 8pm The Script started the concert and since I know most of there songs, I really enjoyed it and sang along. Then there was a bit of a break, before James Blunt got on stage and he really rocked that concert. His voice is fantastic and he reall knows, hoe to get the audience, it was absolutely fabulous! The concert ended with the song Bonfire Heart and a firework and of course he sang my song 1973. 

Monday meant sleeping in again and we really took it slowly, had breakfast after a while, went food shopping and enjoyed the afternoon by the pool, I was basically just lying on an airbed and enjoyed the sun, it wasn't as warm outside though. In the evening we went for dinner with some friends by the port in Ascona. In a restaurant called Vela Bianca. I had some lovely tuna, but the restaurant was way overpriced. The rest of the evening we spent in Locarno, in the food street of the festival, where they have all types of differnt foods, a little stage as well and a ferris wheel. We then also went into the alleys to listen to the concert a little bit, before going home. 

Tuesday was a shopping day in Locarno. Lots of great shopping, lunch at the Sensi, more shopping and by the time we wanted to go it was already 5pm. So instead of going up and down again, we stayed and had a Mojito at the lake lounge and then some crepes in the food street. We listened to Rita Ora and Emeli Sandé from the apartment balcony. The perfect way to end the night, with a good beer, a book and the music in the background.

By Wednesday morning I had 11 mosquito bites already, so annoying. We spent the morning by the pool and then made some lunch. I spent the afternoon in the badi with reading, blog post writing, swiming, listening to music and relaxing. Everyone else met for golfing and since I don't play, I had another program. We all had dinner at the golf restaurant though, to celebrate my dad's birthday. Afterwards we went to our friend's apartment to have a last drink and enjoy their view and lounge. 

On Thursday we got up early and drove to Como. We got there by 10.30 am, because there was traffic at the boarder. At the Piazza we enjoyed a cappucciono, before hitting the shops. Como is fabulous for shopping, I found some coulottes, shirts and a pair of sandals. It was very hot that day, so getting into aircoinditioned stores is perfect. Como also has some very cute alleys and a wonderful Duomo. We had lunch at another little Piazza and continued the shopping afterwards. Before going back to Switzerland we went food shopping, because they have great fresh vegetables and meat. There are always certain things we buy in Italy, because you can only get them there and it's much cheaper. By 8pm we were back in Locarno and orepared dinner with the food we got, delicious of course. 

On Friday we went down to the Maggia river to collect some stones and put our feet into the refreshing water. Unfortunately, we forgot our swimming costumes, but it was still very nice. After that we drove around a little bit and explored the area. Intragna is a very cute villiage in the middle of the mountains. We had lunch back at the apartment and then I enjoyed floating on the pool again, it's so relaxing. In the evening it was time for our second Moon & Stars concert. We reserved at the restaurant again. It's really the perfect place. Up first was Adel Tawil, a German singer with a beautiful voice. He was very cute, smiled all the time and really talked to the audience. Then it was time for Sunrise Avenue, finally! I have been listing to their music for years and now it was time to see them live! They played all their famous songs, but in different versions though, sometimes a bit too much rock music, the originals are much nicer. I still really enjoyed it though, Samu Haber has such a unique voice. He had difficulties engaging the audience though. During their concert it started raining like crazy, so we were happy to be under the little roof in the restaurant. 

The weather wasn't so nice on Saturday, so we slept un and slowly got ready. We spent the afternoon in Ascona with friends, very relaxing. In the evening we went for dinner in the Grotto Valmaggese, omg the food was absolutely delicious, yummy!!!

Sunday morning meant packing and cleaning the apartment for us. These ten days passed so quickly. We enjoyed the rest of the day at the Badi, before driving back home.

The Ticino has so many beautiful places and treasures, it's always nice to go back there, especially in summer. 

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Somewhere Beyond the Sea - by Miranda Dicksinson

Original Cover
My own copy

The blurb: 

Can you fall in love with someone before you’ve even met?
Seren MacArthur is living a life she never intended. Trying to save the Cornish seaside business her late father built – while grieving for his loss – she has put her own dreams on hold and is struggling. Until she discovers a half-finished seaglass star on her favourite beach during an early morning walk. When she completes the star, she sets into motion a chain of events that will steal her heart and challenge everything she believes.
Jack Dixon is trying to secure a better life for daughter Nessie and himself. Left a widower and homeless when his wife died, he’s just about keeping their heads above water. Finding seaglass stars completed on Gwithian beach is a bright spark that slowly rekindles his hope.
Seren and Jack are searching for their missing pieces. But when they meet in real life, it’s on the opposing sides of a battle. Jack is managing the redevelopment of a local landmark, and Seren is leading the community campaign to save it.
Both have reason to fight – Seren for the cause her father believed in, Jack for his livelihood. But only one can win. With so much at stake, will they ever find what they are really looking for?
Miranda Dickinson's Somewhere Beyond the Sea is a sparkling tale of love, life and finding magic where you least expect it.

My Opinion:

This book is absolutely GORGEOUS!!!

We follow Seren and Jack, who both recently lost someone in their lives and they are trying to live with the grief and with what was left to them. 

Seren MacArthur is trying to save her father’s business. He died a few months ago and of course she is still very sad. Things are not easy, she has to help her mum and she also had to put her own dreams on hold. The only hope and light she finds at the beach, when she discovers a half-finished seaglass star. She starts building them and kind of exchanging messages with the other person. 

Jack Dixon is a widower, who lost everything when his wife died. Fortunately, he has his sweet daughter Nessie. He does everything to find job, but it’s not easy. Together with Nessie he starts building these seaglass stars. 

Both Seren and Jack feel a connection to the other star maker, but when they meet in real life, things are different. They are on opposing sides, fighting for their life. They don’t know yet, who the other star maker is. The question now: Can they find, what they really want under these circumstances?!

I absolutely loved the main characters in this book. Seren is wonderful, passionate and full of energy. I think I fell in love with Jack a little bit as well, especially, because of the way he was with Nessie. Nessie is so cute and adorable, she brought some young and fresh liveliness into the story. 

The setting is magnificent, Miranda Dickinson’s descriptions are on point, I felt like being there with the characters. 

Jack and Seren take turns telling the story, which was perfect for the plot. It made the reader understand them both and it also brought their feelings closer. They both go through a lot in this story and Miranda Dickinson captured that beautifully. 

The book is about love, hope, loss, grief, friendship and much more. Miranda Dickinson put a lot of passion and love into it and I really hope we will see these characters again. 


Miranda Dickinson on Twitter: @wurdsmyth
Website: https://miranda-dickinson.com
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