Saturday, 30 March 2019

The Summer of Chasing Dreams - by Holly Martin

The blurb: 

A joyously romantic, feel-good summer read that will make you laugh, cry and fall in love. Eva Blue is about to go on a trip of a lifetime, but one adventure she didn't count on was falling in love...

Eva is quite content with her life in London. In her job as a cover designer, she works at home, and often in her cosy pyjamas. She's happy to stay in her safe little world and not explore much outside of it.

She is the opposite of her mum, a free spirit who craved finding adventure and thrills in all corners of the world. But on the day her mum’s will is finalised, Eva finds a list of all the dreams her mum wanted to achieve in her life. Things she never did because she fell pregnant with Eva.

Eva decides these dreams will not go unfulfilled — she is going to be brave and complete them for her mum. As Eva has no experience travelling the world, she hires a guide to go with her on this holiday.

Gorgeous but rude Thor Anderson is not the person she would choose to accompany her on this journey, but somehow she gets stuck with him. As they discover the world together Eva starts to think he might not be as bad as she first thought. She is swept away by Thor's kindness and mischievous sense of humour. But will it be a simple holiday romance or could this wonderful adventure lead to so much more?

The stunning new story from the bestselling author of The Cottage on Sunshine Beach. Discover an unforgettable romance this summer. If you enjoy reading Sarah Morgan, Miranda Dickinson and Jill Mansell, this book is for you.

My Opinion:

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

So much LOVE for this story!!!

I don’t even know where to start this review, this book is just AMAZING!!!

We follow the story of Eva Blue, who loves her job as a cover designer. She likes to stay in her safe place and doesn’t risk much.

She finds a list of dreams her mum made before she fell pregnant with Eva. It’s all connected to traveling, adventures and enjoying life. Eva decides to follow her mum’s dreams and go on a world trip. I absolutely adored Eva as a character, she is very relatable and authentic. I kind of saw myself in her in some ways, but she was still very different, which made the story more exciting for me. She totally goes out of her comfort zone, shows courage and finds new joys.

Well, she is supposed to go on the trip with a girl, but she has to cancel last minute so her colleague Thor comes along. She doesn’t like that fact in the beginning, because he is rude and… The more time they spend with each other though, the better they get along. Their chemistry is undeniable and beautifully described. Thor turns out to be the perfect man: kind, thoughtful, sweet, funny and so much more. Can I have him too?! One thing leads to another… But what about his job?! And what will happen when they are back home?!

I loved traveling the world together with Eva and Thor. It was fab seeing the places through their eyes. Holly Martin captured the special and unique cultures and sights beautifully and included all the emotions. The storyline is very moving, passionate, charming, colourful and speaks of hops, dreams, traveling, love and includes so many special moments. 

I love Holly Martin’s books and this is by far my new favourite!!! I didn’t want the story to end, I really want to see these characters again!


Holly Martin on Twitter: @HollyMAuthor
Goodreads - Amazon UK - Amazon US

Saturday, 23 March 2019

Musical Review - Follies

About the show: 

Follies is a musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and a book by James Goldman. The story concerns a reunion in a crumbling Broadway theatre, scheduled for demolition, of the past performers of the "Weismann's Follies", a musical revue (based on the Ziegfeld Follies), that played in that theatre between the World Wars. It focuses on two couples, Buddy and Sally Durant Plummer and Benjamin and Phyllis Rogers Stone, who are attending the reunion. Sally and Phyllis were showgirls in the Follies. Both couples are deeply unhappy with their marriages. Buddy, a traveling salesman, is having an affair with a girl on the road; Sally is still as much in love with Ben as she was years ago; and Ben is so self-absorbed that Phyllis feels emotionally abandoned. Several of the former showgirls perform their old numbers, sometimes accompanied by the ghosts of their former selves. The musical numbers in the show have been interpreted as pastiches of the styles of the leading Broadway composers of the 1920s ands '30s, and sometimes as parodies of specific songs.
The Broadway production opened on April 4, 1971, directed by Harold Prince and Michael Bennett, and with choreography by Bennett. The musical was nominated for eleven Tony Awards and won seven. The original production, the most costly performed on Broadway to that date, ran for over 500 performances but ultimately lost its entire investment. The musical has had a number of major revivals, and several of its songs have become standards, including "Broadway Baby", "I'm Still Here", "Too Many Mornings", "Could I Leave You?", and "Losing My Mind".

More information about the show:

My opinion: 

Another Sondheim musical with wonderful songs. Sadly this production didn’t really
impress me. 

It hard to explain why, but here we go. 

We watched it at the National Theatre and I really liked the stage and the stage design. However, it didn’t really work in the performance. The orchestra played behind the stage and somehow the sound got blocked and didn’t really come through. It didn’t really match with the singing (sound wise, not timing wise). 

Most actors and actresses were always on stage, I didn’t really know where to look. I also felt like some characters weren’t very well cast. 

Some others were perfect for their roles and did a wonderful job. I also liked how they did some of the songs.

The spark just didn’t fly for this show. Maybe I expected too much, but something was definitely missing for me.

Thursday, 14 March 2019

The House at Greenacres - by Darcie Boleyn

The blurb: 

All roads lead home...

When Holly Morton fled Penhallow Sands nearly a year ago she was determined to put the past - and Rich Turner - behind her. But now an unexpected loss and financial trouble has led her back to the family vineyard and it's time to tell Rich the truth - he's a father.

Surrounded by the memories of what they once shared Holly's anger fades in the glow of Rich's undeniable love for their son and the way he selflessly steps in to help the vineyard out of trouble. As Holly watches Rich flourish in his new role as father to baby Luke, she realises that though they can't change the past, the future is still theirs to write...

My Opinion:

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

After the death of her grandfather, Holly Morton goes back home. It’s not an easy step, because a lot of memories connect her to the place; family moments, but also Rich, the man, who broke her heart. 

Something has changed though, she is a mum now and decides to tell Rich that he is a father. 

This story is a wonderful tale about love, family, relationships, and parenting, all included in a wonderful setting and atmosphere. 

The storyline is full of ups and downs, magical moments and charm. It’s a bit predictable, but Darcie Boleyn’s writing totally makes up for it. I couldn’t stop reading!!!


Darcie Boleyn on Twitter: @DarcieBoleyn

Saturday, 9 March 2019

Musical Review - Waitress

About the show:
Waitress is a musical with music and lyrics by Sara Bareilles and a book by Jessie Nelson. The musical is based on the 2007 film of the same name, written by Adrienne Shelly. It tells the story of Jenna Hunterson, a waitress in an abusive relationship with her husband Earl. When Jenna unexpectedly becomes pregnant, she begins an affair with her gynecologist, Dr. Jim Pomatter. Looking for ways out, she sees a pie contest and its grand prize as her chance.
Stage rights to the film were purchased in 2007, while the musical's creative team was assembled by 2013. The original production of Waitress premiered at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge in August 2015, with direction by Diane Paulus and choreography by Chase Brock, and starring Jessie Mueller, Drew Gehling, and Joe Tippett as Jenna, Jim, and Earl, respectively. It made its Broadway debut at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre in April 2016. A U.S. national tour began on October 20, 2017. In 2019, Waitress will be opening at the Adelphi Theatre in London's West End.

My own opinion: 

When we heard that Waitress is coming to the West End with Katherine McPhee, we booked tickets immediately. 

Katherine McPhee is one of my faves. I discovered her in the TV show Smash, where she played on of the main roles. 

In Waitress she playes the main characters Jenna and she was absolutely brilliant in the show!!! Her voice is just amazing and her acting was on point as well. 

The show has so much more to offer though. All the other characzers were very well cast as well, especially Dr. Promatter (David Hunter) and Jenna’s two best friends Dawn and Becky. The acting is great, the choreography is on point and they just created this fab atmosphere. You feel part of it in the audience.

The band is playing on stage and kind of part of the cast. It worked really well. 

The music of this show is fantastic, I loved all the songs and can’t stop listening to the songs.

Thursday, 7 March 2019

My Summer of Love and Limoncello - by Sue Roberts

The blurb: 

Three best friends, Italian sunshine and a handsome stranger can fix just about anything… Can’t it? 

Maisie Knight had it all. A gorgeous husband. A successful business. A beautiful home. Until one day, after walking into the storeroom of their shop, she loses it all at once – catching her husband cheating on her with the girl from Checkout 3. So when she wins a holiday to Italy, a week under the Tuscan sun couldn’t come sooner. 

Treating best friends Cheryl and Emma to a girl’s trip, the terracotta-roofed Villa Marisa on a rustic farm awaits them. The fields of golden sunflowers could be the perfect cure for Maisie’s broken heart – and local farmer, suspiciously perfect Gianni, with his thick black hair and twinkling brown eyes is a welcome distraction from her broken heart. 

Mornings waking up to freshly brewed coffee and views of the rolling hills, moped rides with cheeky Italians, and feasts of prosecco and pasta help Maisie forget her troubles. After all her heartache, she’s surprised when she starts opening up to Gianni – she’s even more surprised when the temperature rises and it’s not just the rays of the Italian sunshine… 

Maisie could get used to the good life. But just as she’s getting her spark back, disaster strikes. The next thing she knows, her past is catching up with her, reopening old wounds and Maisie has a life-changing decision to make. Should she say ciao to her summer of love and limoncello? 

My Opinion:

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

Maisie had it all: a great job, a loving husband, a house etc. But then she walks in on her husband cheating. Her life changes from one second to the other. Luckily she wins a holiday to Tuscany and takes her two best friends there as well. 

The surroundings are great for her and she gets distracted. Also by a local farmer called Gianni. Can her broken heart be fixed?!

Even though Maisie went through a lot in this book and her story was full of ups and downs, it kind of seemed too good to be true at times. The book is very predictable, but still very enjoyable.

My favourite thing about this book was definitely the setting. I love Tuscany. I have been there so many times and I knew lots of the places. It was like going home. The atmosphere really came through and I really want to go back there now. 

A romantic, warm and funny story, with the perfect setting and a fantastic holiday read.


About the author

Sue was born in Liverpool and moved to Lancashire as a teenager where she has lived ever since. She has written three books, the third 'My Summer of love and limoncello.' will be published on March 6th and she is busy working on a fourth book. When not busy writing, Sue spends her time with her ever growing family. She enjoys walking, cinema and travelling. Her first book 'My Big Greek Summer.' was inspired by frequent visits to the Island of Rhodes in Greece. All Sue's books are available from Amazon in kindle and paperback format.

Sunday, 3 March 2019

Musical Review - Company

About the show: 
Company is a 1970 musical comedy with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by George Furth. The original production was nominated for a record-setting fourteen Tony Awards and won six.
Originally titled Threes, its plot revolves around Robert (a single man unable to commit fully to a steady relationship, let alone marriage), the five married couples who are his best friends, and his three girlfriends. Unlike most book musicals, which follow a clearly delineated plot, Company is a concept musical composed of short vignettes, presented in no particular chronological order, linked by a celebration for Robert's 35th birthday.
Company was among the first musicals to deal with adult themes and relationships. As Sondheim puts it, "Broadway theater has been for many years supported by upper-middle-class people with upper-middle-class problems. These people really want to escape that world when they go to the theatre, and then here we are with Company talking about how we're going to bring it right back in their faces.

My own opinion: 

I saw Company once before, 20 years ago (I was about nine years old), when my theatre group performed it. My mum was in it and since I was still quite young, I only allowed to watch the dress rehearsal. It’s not really a show you would take your children to, because of what it is about. 

Anyway, here we are in 2019 and I finally got to see a West End production of this fab show. Stephen Sondheim is one of my fave musical composers and I just love the songs from Company. I also think the story is fun and entertaining. The lyrics are absolutely brilliant!

The special thing about this production was the transgender aspect of it. The main role Bobbie is originally played by a man, but they did it with a woman this time. They also turned some other things around. It worked really well and made it special and unique. 

The production and the staging were brilliant!!! It’s a very lively show, there are so many things going on, but they did an awesome job with all the scenes, as well as the choreography for the songs. The show is so much fun to watch, I would go again immediately!