Sunday, 19 August 2018

A Recipe for Disaster - Belinda Missen (Blog Tour)

Date of Reading: 03/07/2018
Author: Belinda Missen
Publisher: HQ Digital
Publication Date: Aug. 7, 2018
Source: NetGalley 
Rating: 4.5/5

(This review is part of the blog tour organised by Rachel's Random Resources)

About the book:

Life’s not always a piece of cake… 

Meet Lucy, master wedding cake baker, idealistic school canteen crusader, and someone whose broken heart just won’t seem to mend…
Lucy is quietly confident that she has made the right choices in life. Surrounded by friends and family in a small town by the sea, Lucy can easily suppress the feeling that something is missing from her life.
But when a blast from the past arrives in the form of her estranged husband, international celebrity chef Oliver Murray, Lucy’s carefully constructed life begins to crumble beneath her like overbaked meringue.
Is Oliver’s return all business or is it motivated by something more?
A Recipe for Disaster starts long after most love stories would have ended, proving it is never too late to offer someone a second slice of cake or a second chance.

Perfect for fans of Carole Mathews, Mhairi McFarlane and Carrie Hope Fletcher. 

My Review:

        I don't have a sweet tooth, but I am definitely up for cakes and no way I was going to pass a book on a master cake baker. The story revolves around Lucy and Oliver and it begins long after the end of their happily ever after. Choosing his career over marriage, Oliver has reached to the stars while his wife is left in the hometown picking up the pieces. Now Oliver is back to reclaim his not yet divorced ex-wife, Lucy.
        The plot, as you can see, showcases so much potential and Belinda doesn't disappoint you a bit. Lucy and Oliver have a bumpy ride ahead of them and until the very end, we are made to guess what might happen. What I liked most about both these characters is that they are not perfect and they remain imperfect to the last page of the book. I am happy that the author chose to portray them so; perfection is something that exists only in an ideal world. It is the flaws in our characters that make our lives special and different. 
     Consequently, Oliver is an egotistical, business-minded but talented chef and Lucy is a stubborn woman with excellent baking skills. Will they make it? I think it entirely depends on them. Here in the book, we can give them a happy ending, but they are so alive one could clearly believe them to be real. That makes this work stands out from the typical fairy tale romances and for this sole reason, I loved it to the core.
       More than a month has passed since I finished this one. But even now, while writing this review my mind is crowded with beautiful scenes from the story making me smile. Thank you Rachel and NetGalley for this review copy, this was a delicious read :)

Meet the author:

Belinda Missen is an award-winning and best-selling author, screenwriter, and freelance writer from Geelong, Australia. 

A reader from an early age, Belinda began writing her own stories shortly after her love affair with Steven Spielberg’s film Jurassic Park began. What began as fan-fiction soon took deeper root, and she was scribbling out strange little stories in empty notebooks she found laying around the house. 

With qualifications in transport and office administration and a combined career of fifteen years in these industries, Belinda decided to uproot everything in 2013 and return to her first love of writing. She now writes full-time, between cups of coffee, binge watching television, and feeding her cats and husband. 

In April 2016, she was awarded the JOLT Courthouse Youth Arts Award in the Inspire 26+ Category for her piece Obsession. 

In February 2017, her book Love And Other Midnight Theories clawed its way to the top of the Amazon charts in its category of Performing Arts, beating JK Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. True story – she has the screenshots to prove it. 

When not dabbling in the written word, Belinda can be found mentoring other writers, beta-reading, reviewing, helping others to ready books for publication, and sleeping. 

Before you go, have a look at other stops on the tour . . .

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Come Away With Me - Maddie Please

Date of Reading: 12/08/2018
Author: Maddie Please
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: August 13, 2018
Source: NetGalley 
Rating: 4.5/5

About the book:

When Alexa Fisher finds herself trapped on a twelve-day cruise to celebrate her younger sister’s hen-do – just the two of them – she wishes she’d jumped overboard.

Despite the age difference, India has always been the judgemental sibling, and there’s been even more friction than usual since ‘the big engagement’. With India constantly obsessing over wedding plans, Alexa has never felt more single, or more of a failure.

If only she could find a man who was funny, handsome and faithful. But when she meets the enigmatic (and *gorgeous*) Gabriel Frost on the cruise, he is as cold as his name suggests… Isn’t he?

Set sail for an adventure on the high seas, it’s time for Alexa to discover that sometimes romance can surprise you!

My Review:

       To be honest, I just picked this book only because I didn't find anything of interest in NetGalley at that time. Oh, there is nothing wrong with the theme. It is just . . . being not a daughter of Poseidon I am quite unnerved by the so called magnificence of the sea or should I say its destructive power? I tend to avoid anything related to the sea, movies included. So if I say I completely loved this book, you can fairly imagine the rest.
       As the cover blurb informs you, this is the story of two sisters, Alexa (for Alexandria) and India. Their wanderlust parents named them after the two places they loved most. Alexa is the responsible eldest with no boyfriend, while India is endowed with good looks and is about to get married. Yesss, it is '27 Dresses' all over again, but in a cruise ship. The novel traces the twelve days of their travel where their old bond and comradeship return.
      The readers are taken along with their beautiful journey and while closing the book, I felt I just finished a very rewarding and comforting cruise adventure.  Why can't they write travel books in this mode? There is, of course, a love story but that only makes a mere twenty percentage of the book. And the amazing this is, I really didn't mind it at all. I was so immersed in Alexa and India that not even once I fast forwarded to check when Gabriel Frost will make his next appearance.
        Thank you, Avon and NetGalley for giving me this review copy. It has captivated me so much that I won't mind going on a ship anymore. 

Meet the author:

Maddie Please was born in Dorset, brought up in Worcestershire and went to university in Cardiff. Following a career as a dentist, Maddie now writes full-time, and lives in Devon with her exceptionally handsome and supportive husband.

The Summer of Second Chances was Maddie’s debut novel, and it was the result of Chris Manby’s brilliant plotting workshop in beautiful Cornwall.
Maddie’s second book The Year of New Adventures was published by Avon Maze in February 2018.

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

The Little Cornish Kitchen - Jane Linfoot (Blog Tour)

Date of Reading: 03/06/2018
Author: Jane Linfoot
Publisher: Harper Impulse
Publishing Date: May 2018 
Rating: 3.8/5

(This review is part of the blog tour organised by Rachel's Random Resources)

About the book (Goodreads): 

With an exciting new life in Paris, Clemmie Hamilton isn't looking forward to heading home to the picturesque but sleepy village of St Aidan, Cornwall. However, when she discovers that the cosy apartment by the sea, which her grandmother left to her, is under threat from neighbour and property developer, Charlie Hobson, Clemmie realises she can't abandon her home in its time of need.

With her childhood friends encouraging her, Clemmie decides to turn the apartment into 'The Little Cornish Kitchen' – a boutique pop up pudding club raising money for the repairs to the building in an effort to stop Charlie once and for all. But when Charlie and his easy charm won't seem to go away, everything soon becomes even messier than the state of Clemmie's Cornish kitchen…

My Review:

       I was expecting a laid back funny romance, but what I got was so much more. Deeply buried among the stories of friendship, cooking and matchmaking is Clemmie's search for identity so profound and moving. With each page, the narrator softly peels the hard walls she has put up to reveal the softness inside. Well, a dead woman's undying love can surely work miracles.
        The book will arouse a lot of nostalgic memories, mostly to do with food of course. Being a non-native reader, I had the disadvantage of not knowing many of the delicacies discussed. That being said, it won't stop your mouth from watering constantly, especially when you are constantly reminded of a granny like mine who has exceptional cooking skills. 
        Clemmie and Charlie might be the major characters, but my favourite bits are the moments with Diesel, the pet dog. And it has nothing to do with the fact that he harbingers Charlie ;) Then there are the other three mermaids -- Sophie, Nelly and Plum. It is hard to see a friendship this strong nowadays.

This is the first time I am reading a book by this author and I am definitely going to hunt for more. Considering the reviews she get, I don't think she needs me to recommend her. So happy reading everyone!

Meet the author:

Jane Linfoot is a best selling author, who lives in a muddy cottage, up a steep hill in Derbyshire, with her family, their pets, and an astonishing number of spiders. Although she loves seeing cow noses over the garden wall, she’s happy she can walk to a supermarket. 

Jane grew up in North Yorkshire where she spent a lot of her childhood avoiding horizontal gales blowing off the sea, and wrote her first book by accident while working as an architect, and renovating country houses. While she loves to write feelgood books that let readers escape, she’s always surprised to hear her stories make people laugh, admits to (occasionally) crying as she writes, and credits her characters for creating their own storylines. 
Jane’s garden would be less brambly if she wasn’t on Facebook and Twitter so often. On days when she wants to be really scared, she rides a tandem.
Her latest books include a series of stand-alone novels, based around a seaside wedding shop in Cornwall. Cupcakes and Confetti – The Little Wedding Shop by the Sea, Sequins and Snowflakes – Christmas at the Little Wedding Shop, and Bunting and Bouquets – Summer at the Little Wedding Shop, and most recently, The Little Cornish Kitchen. These are all published by Harper Impulse,  an imprint of Harper Collins.

Follow Jane on Twitter @janelinfoot, or find her on her Author Page Facebook or her Personal Page Facebook. She’s also on Instagram and has lots of Pinterest boards relating to her novels.

Have a look at the other spots on the blog tour . . .

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Oh Crumbs - Kathryn Freeman (Blog Tour)

Date of Reading: 25/05/2018
Author: Kathryn Freeman
Publisher: Choc Lit
Year: 2018
Source: NetGalley
My Rating: 4.5/5

(This review is part of the blog tour organised by Rachel's Random Resources)

About the book:

Abby Spencer knows she can come across as an airhead – she talks too much and is a bit of a klutz – but there’s more to her than that. Though she sacrificed her career to help raise her sisters, a job interview at biscuit company Crumbs could finally be her chance to shine. That’s until she hurries in late wearing a shirt covered in rusk crumbs, courtesy of her baby nephew, and trips over her handbag.

Managing director Douglas Faulkner isn’t sure what to make of Abby Spencer with her Bambi eyes, tousled hair and ability to say more in the half-hour interview than he manages in a day. All he knows is she’s a breath of fresh air and could bring a new lease of life to the stale corporate world of Crumbs. To his life too, if he’d let her.

But Doug’s harbouring a secret. He’s not the man she thinks he is.

My Review:

      I know what you are thinking. This is so cliche!!! The glorified typist falling for the boss man . . . happens all the time. But this is a cliche we would like to dream of 😉. So here I am with my first Choc Lit book while the rain is raging outside.
        The story begins with a funeral and we are slowly introduced to the Spencer family which now consists of a widowed father and five kids. Don't get me wrong here. I am not against having kids, but if you don't have the means to take care of all of them, then that is a big no-no. Safe to say, I disliked Mr. Spencer from the start even though he is presented in a good light throughout the novel.
          But Abby is altogether a different story. She is cute, witty, hardworking and caring. I was curious how she will manage to accommodate Dough with her hectic work life and family pressure. Keeping work and family together is one of the greatest challenges today's women face and I am so glad that she made the right choice. This story thus contains one of the best climaxes that I am going to cherish forever.
        I don't know if men like Dough exist anymore other than in imagination. A handsome introvert who is not at all possessive, he is an awesome match for Abby. 
        By the way, if you are wondering about the title, it is just an expression often used by Abby when she wants to swear. So altogether a fantastic read and thank you, Rachel, for giving me a copy for the blog tour. Loved it every minute of my reading.

Meet the author:

I was born in Wallingford, England and have spent most of my life living in a village outside Windsor. A former pharmacist, former pharmaceutical industry employee I’m now a self-employed medical writer who also loves to write romance. Some days a racing heart is a medical condition, others it’s the reaction to a hunky hero… 

I’ve two teenage boys and a husband who asks every Valentine’s Day whether he has to bother buying a card again this year (yes, he does) so the romance in my life is all in my head. Then again, my husband’s unstinting support of my career change goes to prove that love isn't always about hearts and flowers - and heroes can come in many disguises

Please have a look at the other stops on the tour ...

Saturday, 4 August 2018

A Vicarage Wedding - Kate Hewitt (Blog Tour & Giveaway)

Date of Reading: 21/07/2018
Author: Kate Hewitt
Publisher: The Tule Publishing Group
Publication Date: 2018

(This review is part of the blog tour hosted by Neverland Blog Tours)

About the book:

Rachel Holley has always dreamed of a wedding—the white dress, the fairy tale, and of course, the happily-ever-after. But when her fiancé breaks it off the night before, claiming she doesn’t love him, Rachel’s fairy tale ends in ashes. 

Homeless, hopeless, and feeling like her life has been completely derailed, Rachel must start over in all sorts of ways—and hold her head up high in the fishbowl of her tiny village. The last person she expects to become a friend is Sam West, the taciturn owner of The Bell, Thornthwaite’s rougher pub, and a little rough around the edges of himself. 

But as Rachel gets to know Sam, and sees him caring for his orphaned nephew, she finds herself drawn to this enigmatic man. Nothing about Sam is what Rachel expected in a life partner, and yet she can’t deny their increasing closeness. But can love flourish on the rebound? And will there be a vicarage wedding after all?

My Review: 

       A cosy read that will make you wish for more. Luckily, this is the third in the series and so I am going to dig up the other two. The story starts the day before Rachel's wedding when her fiance unexpectedly calls the whole thing off. I really admire the guts and perceptiveness of the guy in this regard and even for a while was tempted to know more about Dan's (he is the fiance) future. He seems to know Rachel more than she knows herself. But that is a plot for another book altogether.
         Rachel succeeds in capturing our hearts soon enough with her caring nature and patience. She is the best teacher any child could wish for. We could never tire of reading about her life in the village school. On the other hand, there is Sam West, our handsome rugged hero, who reminds us a lot of Darcy if you minus the aristocratic background. He might act tough all he wants, but deep inside he is a big softie.
        As the title suggests, it is not only the story of Rachel but also that of the vicarage and the village it is situated. Like any other village around the globe, Thornthwaite has its particular set of rigid and uptight behavioural traits, but we can't help but fall in love with the thriving community there.

Meet the author:

Kate is the USA Today-bestselling author of many books of women's fiction and romance. Her latest releases are A Mother's Goodbye and A Vicarage Wedding. Under the name Katharine Swartz, she is the author of the Tales from Goswell books, a series of time-slip novels set in the village of Goswell.

She likes to read women's fiction, mystery and thrillers, and historical novels. She particularly enjoys reading about well-drawn characters and avoids high-concept plots.

Having lived in both New York City and a tiny village on the windswept northwest coast of England, she now resides in a market town in Wales with her husband, five children, and an overly affectionate Golden Retriever.


International Giveaway:

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Friday, 20 July 2018

How (Not) to Marry a Duke - Felicia Kingsley

Date of Reading: 19/07/2018
Author: Felicia Kingsley
Publisher: Aria
Publication Date: August 2018
Translated by: Alessandra Rotilio
Rating: 4.5/5
From: NetGalley 
About the book:
A hilarious romantic comedy perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella, Jo Watson and Meg Cabot.

One minute, Jemma Pears is a struggling theatrical make-up artist in London. The next, she's been left a vast fortune by her estranged grandmother. The catch: she must marry a man with a title to inherit. Jemma thinks this is truly impossible: she's a romantic, searching for true love, not just a convenient marriage... and besides, where would she even find a titled guy?

Enter Ashford, the new Duke of Burlingham. His legacy: massive debts that he must pay back immediately or risk the bank seizing his assets. Or worse: his mother's wrath!

When their lawyer hears of their situations, a secret match is made despite their mutual hatred of each other: through marrying Ashford, Jemma can inherit and Ashford can pay back his debts immediately. Problem solved. That is, until their marriage is leaked to the press and everyone finds out...

Now they have to play out the charade for at least a year or risk going to jail for fraud!

A hilarious pretense ensues and Jemma must battle against a crazy mother in law, a stuffy aristocracy, and finally, and most surprisingly of all, confusing feelings for Ashford...!
My Review:
      Reading this book was like getting exposed to Nitrous Oxide aka, the laughing gas. Fortunately, I am not too old, so my teeth haven't come off. But then again, I must have given a total scare to my hostelmates with all the shrieks of laughter coming from my room. I think you got the picture now.
      Since you are acquainted with the after effects of a laugh out loud romantic comedy now, let me come to the story. Predictable, for sure, but the novelty comes through the narrative style and the witty dialogues. Often it reminded me of a Korean drama I used to watch of a common girl forced to be married to an arrogant Prince. But Jemma is not an innocent, childish character; she is resourceful, fearless and a bit opinionated in a good way. She never runs out of ways to shock Ashford and also the readers.
      The Duke in the story, Ashford Parker is the epitome of elegant wit. I thoroughly enjoyed his narration and unique perspective of the events. The way he handles his mother and the rapport he enjoys with his best friend Harring produce the most hilarious moments in novel.
       A word of advice before you go hunting for this book. Never dare to open this precious thing in train or while waiting for the bus; well, that is, if you don't want to be stared at. Have fun reading!!!
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