Friday, 31 July 2015

Review: Fairytale Beginnings by Holly Martin

A heartwarming romantic comedy.

Love is an open door…except when it keeps slamming in your face.

Hopeless romantic Milly Rose has had her fair share of heartbreak. Obsessed with all things Disney, she refuses to give up on finding her Prince Charming – he’s out there somewhere, isn’t he?

When Milly is given a job to investigate the origins of an historical building in the village of Clovers Rest, she’s not sure what to expect. What she discovers takes her breath away - a beautiful real life Cinderella castle, complete with turrets, a magnificent drawbridge AND a very handsome owner…Cameron Heartstone.

As Milly and Cameron begin to unearth the secrets of Clover Castle, they can’t ignore the intense chemistry building between them. But they’ve both been hurt badly before. Can they take a big leap of faith and find their own happily-ever-after?

A deliciously enchanting read that will delight fans of Rachael Lucas, Lucy Diamond and Miranda Dickinson or anyone who has ever blubbed at a Disney movie. Who says real life can’t be a fairytale?

My Thoughts:
This book left me with a big smile on my face. What a fabulous and witty read. I absolutely adored this clever modern day twist on traditional fairytale romance.

With her clever attention to detail Holly succeeds in creating a ripping good read. Milly with her pink spiked Hair, sparkling pink Converse trainers and bundles of energy is no light headed bimbo. Cameron too is more than just a pretty face with a hot body.

This is one of those books that are so well written that the characters literally come to life. I haven't read anything that I enjoyed so much in this gene since Sophie Kinsella's "The Undomestic Goddess".

Set in the english countryside; The book opens well, is full of surprises, fairytale elements, romance, passion, wit and the necessary misunderstandings. Not only are Milly and Cameron full of surprises but the Castle and surrounding village too making this a great story.

One thing I really like about the ending is that the author didn't tie up all the loose ends leaving a couple of mysteries unsolved and plenty of room for a possible sequel.

Needless to say this a book that I can heartily recommend to all romanic comedy fans and lovers of all things fairytale.

This is the first book I have read by this author and am surprised I've never noticed her books before. Having enjoyed this title so much I am looking forward to discovering more by this author who I expect to easily becomes one of my firm favourites.

(Grateful thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.)

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Publisher: Bookouture (10 July 2015)

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Review: My Sister’s Secret by Tracy Buchanan

Everything you’ve built your life on is a lie

Willow’s memories of her parents are sun-drenched and full of smiles, love and laughter. But a mysterious invitation to a photographic exhibition exposes a secret that’s been buried since a tragic accident years ago.

Willow is forced to question everything she knew about Charity, her late mother, and Hope, the aunt she’s lived with since she was a child.

How was the enigmatic photographer connected to Willow’s parents? Why will Hope not break her silence?

Willow cannot move forward in her life without answers. But who can she really trust? Because no one has been telling the truth for a very long time.

ADDICTIVE, GRIPPING and EMOTIONALLY POWERFUL, this is the perfect read for your summer holiday escape.

My Thoughts:

A really good read. Tempting and teasing the story unfolds gradually in segments switching between the present and the past. With so many secrets the whole book is a puzzle, which sister and which secret?

The search for the truth takes Willow on journey often in the footsteps of Charity, her mother. At the same time a parallel story unfolds set in the past, the story of 3 sisters.

I liked the teasing nature of this book and the way it kept me as a reader guessing. There are a lot of twists and turns with many surprises. The characters are diverse and interesting.

I loved the link and constant references to the submerged forests which sets the story apart from other books I've read before.

Recommend holiday reading.

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Publisher: Avon (21 July 2015)

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Review: I need a hero by Emma Bennet

Book cover

A feel-good book about how searching for the perfect man can blind you to the good guy next door!

A lovely summer romance read
Romance writer Bronte Huntington has vowed she will never settle for anything less than ‘the one.’ When pleasant red-haired dentist Ryan moves in next door he just doesn't fit the bill. They have plenty in common but Bronte wants nothing more than friendship with him.

Then it looks like Bronte’s dreams have finally come true when dashing Sebastian Fairfax rescues her on his horse after she has an accident in the countryside around her idyllic little cottage. Sebastian is tall, dark, handsome, and heir to a massive country estate!

But is Sebastian the one? Or will Bronte’s romantic dreams of the perfect hero turn out to be as fictional as her novels? And will Bronte's temperamental cat ever stop getting in the way?!

My Thoughts:
Set in the english countryside this is a nice and relaxing read but not what I'd expected based on the books cheerful cover and description. This is a modern story but also pure old fashioned romance, full of amusing cliches, understated passion and uncomplicated by sex.

Whilst I normally prefer a more full bodied story, I did enjoy this. I liked the original twist and tie in to the Bronte sisters; Bronte herself, Mr Darcy her cat, the lord of the manor and the manor itself. The atmosphere is cosy and relaxed reminding me of Joanne Fluke's Hannah Swensen cosy murder mysteries series. The characters are also well developed for a book of this sort and the hero whilst hot not the stereotype macho.

The link to Brontes own book was good too with despite the parallels our heroine staying naively blind to her own desires.

Nice recommended as holiday reading for old fashioned romantics. Perfect for fans of Samantha Tonge, Lucy Diamond, Mandy Baggot and Catherine Ferguson.

(Review copy received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review)

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Publisher: Joffe Books romance and suspense novels; First romance books edition (17 July 2015)

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Review: Roseheart by Catherine Dehdashti

Book cover

Roseheart, by Catherine Dehdashti is a story about family, set in the 1990s, and told through the sardonic voice of Valerie Kjos. She’s a a young Midwestern Gen X’er whose life is just barely coming together with her boyfriend when his Iranian mother, Goli, comes for a visit that seems to never end.

Valerie will have to decide what’s more important to her—doing everything her own way, or her beloved Naveed with his live-in mother, who might not approve if she knew everything about her. But as she’s about to learn, Goli has secrets of her own.

My Thoughts:

Quirky fun and relaxing read. If life is a journey this is Valerie’s journey. The diary like chic-lit writing style gives it a certain Bridget Jones diary feel.

Whilst I am not really a fan of chic lit, preferring fiction with more substance, I did enjoy this novel. In true chic lit style it is written in the first person and Valerie the main character is likeable, amusing and being far from perfect also easy to relate to. The identity of Roseheart pictured on the cover surprisingly is not Valerie, as I’d initially assumed. It is only later into the story that we learn the connection and who it is.

I particularly enjoyed the multicultural element and the fly on the wall insights into American Persian culture, food and family life. The first chapter did a really good job of pulling me in, but later into the book it was her relationship with her mother-in-law which kept me interested. Two thirds of the way through the book and still enjoying it I started to wonder where it was going.

Whilst admittedly light fiction there is more than enough going on in Valerie’s life as well as some surprises to keep a reader interested. At times I found the writing a bit flat and it jumped about a bit but that is probably intentional or simply chic-lit style. The last chapter pulls it together well, with the ending being unexpected.

A well written debut novel, recommended as a light and relaxing read for chic lit fans and foodies.

  • Format: Kindle
  • Publisher: Causy Taylor Literary Publishing (1 May 2015)

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Review: All Dogs Go to Kevin Everything Three Dogs Taught Me (That I Didn't Learn in Veterinary School) by Jessica Vogelsang

I was recently lucky enough to get my hands on a pre-release copy.

Book cover

ALL DOGS GO TO KEVIN is a humorous and touching portrait of a veterinarian, her beloved dogs, and the lessons they impart to her along the way. 

You can't always count on people, but you can always count on your dog. No one knows that better than veterinarian Jessica Vogelsang, who with the help of three dogs, is buoyed through adolescence, veterinary school, and the early years of motherhood. Taffy, the fearsome Lhasa; Emmett, an amiable Golden; and Kekoa, the neurotic senior Labrador, are always by her side, offering lessons in empathy and understanding for all the oddballs and misfits who come through the vet clinic doors. Also beside her is Kevin, a human friend who lives with the joie de vivre most people only dream of having. But when tragedy strikes, Jessica is reminded that the animals we love give more than they take.

My Thoughts: 

Attracted by the cover I literally picked this book up out of curiosity. Having already read it, I saw this book described elsewhere as a book about dogs but saying ALL DOGS GO TO KEVIN is about dogs is selling it seriously short. It is a treasure.

I am not normally attracted to autobiographical works, but needn't have worried. I was hooked from page one and laughing before the end of the first chapter. This fly on the wall account is an extremely well written book and is a pleasure to read, better than most fiction I have read recently.

Dr V like James Herriot before her leads us on a journey through her life starting in adolescence and sharing far more than amusing veterinary tales. This a book about the ups and downs in life not only of a dog owner but also first as a daughter then as a vet, wife and later as a mother.

What I liked about this book its openness, honesty and warmth. The events felt so real that It made me both laugh and cry. This is a book that I can recommend, anyone who has ever had or desired a dog will love it as I did. Literally the best book I have read in ages.

Move over James Herriot there is a new vet in town.

Check out an excerpt here.

(Pre-release copy received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)

  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (14 July 2015)

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Review: The Rose Girls by Victoria Connelly

Book cover

Thirty-year-old Celeste Hamilton’s life is at a crossroads: she has just left a disastrous marriage, and her estranged mother has recently died, leaving the family’s rose business in jeopardy. Reluctantly, Celeste returns to the family home, a moated manor house in Suffolk, to help her two younger sisters sort out the estate and revive the business.

Having endured the fallout from her mother’s narcissistic personality disorder when she was younger, Celeste is filled with self-doubt and crippling insecurities. But she must find the strength and courage to take charge and make some tough decisions to keep the old house from falling down around them.

The Rose Girls is an uplifting, tender and romantic story of courage, perseverance and the healing power of family.

My Thoughts:

My first by this english author; I enjoyed this book which was as warm and inviting as its cover. The story is basically about the importance of family which unfolds against a fragrant backdrop of roses and is the tale of three sisters. The characters are well fleshed out with Celeste as the main character who having left 3 years previously returns after the death of het mother to help her sisters.

The way the rose theme was worked into the storyline with the rose paintings and each sister being named after a rose was really nice. I liked the teasing way the story was told where each of the women has a secret. It is light reading but as the story unfolds we learn more about each sisters relationship with their mother. As each in turn confronts their childhood demons we learn too the effect on their individual life choices.  On the whole it is a happy and uplifting tale despite a shared sorrow.

There is plenty to spark the interest of the reader and whilst some events were predictable there were a few surprises too. Set in the English countryside in a beautiful but dilapidated big old house it is the perfect relaxing read for a lazy afternoon.

(Review copy received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (1 Jun. 2015)