Friday, 24 February 2017

5* review: The Silent Wife by Kerry Fisher




Lara’s life looks perfect on the surface. Gorgeous doting husband Massimo, sweet little son Sandro and the perfect home. Lara knows something about Massimo. Something she can’t tell anyone else or everything Massimo has worked so hard for will be destroyed: his job, their reputation, their son. This secret is keeping Lara a prisoner in her marriage. 

Maggie is married to Massimo’s brother Nico. She knows all of Nico’s darkest secrets – or so she thinks. The one day she discovers a letter in the attic which reveals a shocking secret about Nico’s first wife Caitlin. Will Maggie set the record straight or keep a lie to protect those she loves? 

For a family held together by lies, the truth will come at a devastating price. 




I love Kerry Fisher's books and this was no exception. The tale of Maggie and Lara is told beautifully and intricately, building up a picture of life in the Farinelli family; a family where expectations are paramount, especially under fearsome matriarch Anna's watchful eye.

Told alternately by Maggie and Lara who are both the second wives of brothers Nico and Massimo people and secrets unfold,  revealing true colours and leaving life very different for the two families.

I loved to explore Lara and Maggie's friendship as it flourished, Maggie helping free Lara from the shell she was trapped in, and I loved the bond that eventually formed with Francesca, Maggie's fragile stepdaughter. The family dynamics really gave you something to think about, and the characters all played a wonderful part in telling a rich story filled with secrets, lies and love.

All in all another 5* read from Kerry Fisher!



Many thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

5* review - White Lies and Wishes by Cathy Bramley





Flirtatious, straight-talking Jo Gold says she’s got no time for love; she’s determined to save her family’s failing footwear business. 

New mother Sarah Hudson has cut short her maternity leave to return to work. She says she’ll do whatever it takes to make partner at the accountancy firm. 

Bored, over-eating housewife Carrie Radley says she just wants to shift the pounds – she’d love to finally wear a bikini in public. 

The unlikely trio meet by chance one winter’s day, and in a moment of ‘Carpe Diem’ madness, embark on a mission to make their wishes come true by September. 

Easy. At least it would be, if they hadn’t been just the teensiest bit stingy with the truth…

With hidden issues, hidden talents, and hidden demons to overcome, new friends Jo, Carrie and Sarah must admit to what they really, really want, if they are ever to get their happy endings.






Jo, Carrie and Sarah meet under strained circumstances at the funeral of a mutual friend. After chatting and realising that life truly can be cut short at any given moment, they all realise they have unfulfilled ambitions and devise a list. The list is first deemed as a bit of a joke (by all except super-organised Sarah) and they aren't quite as truthful as they could be.

Jo, who is now at the helm of the successful family business, Golds, a leading shoe manufacturer, wants to conquer her fear of heights - but feelings run deeper within her and that is only partly what she craves for in life. Carrie wants to wear a bikini in public and shed a few pounds to gain back her confidence, but her weight isn't really what's at the root of her problems; and new mum, Sarah, is desperate to become a partner in the accountancy firm she works for, but for the right reasons?

As their friendship builds they discover more about themselves and realise what it is they really need to change to become who they want to be.

Since her debut novel, Conditional Love, Cathy Bramley has been releasing books initially as a four part series - leaving readers itching for more after ten chapters, but White Lies and Wishes has taken a different format of being released a whole book, and I for one LOVE IT. Also, Ivy Lane, Wickham Hall etc have all been focused on the titled places whereas here the story centres far more around the three leading ladies, a move that really has paid off.

As much as there are differences, the book is written with all Cathy's warm wit and love. I was laughing and most definitely crying with the girls and loved them from the start, even Jo who initially I admit I definitely misread as a cold fish - she quickly won me over. This is an inspiring and beautifully written tale of love, friendship and empowerment. 

I adore this offering from Cathy Bramley and will definitely return to re read. A truly feel good tale! 


More about Cathy...


Cathy is the author of the best-selling romantic comedies Ivy Lane, Appleby farm, Conditional Love, Wickham Hall and The Plumberry School Of Comfort Food. She lives in a small Nottinghamshire village with her family and Pearl, the Cockerpoo.
Her recent career as a full-time writer of light-hearted romantic fiction has come as somewhat of a lovely surprise after spending eighteen years running her own marketing agency. However, she has always been an avid reader, hiding her book under the duvet and reading by torchlight.



Find Cathy here on Facebook - Cathy Bramley
Twitter - @CathyBramley
Website - CathyBramley.co.uk




Sunday, 15 January 2017

5* review: All I ever Wanted by Lucy Dillon


Caitlin's life is a mess. Her marriage to a man everyone else thinks is perfect has collapsed, along with her self-esteem, and breaking free seems the only option.
Nancy, her four-year-old daughter, used to talk all the time; in the car, at nursery, to her brother Joel. Then her parents split up. Her daddy moves out. And Nancy stops speaking.
Nancy's Auntie Eva, recently widowed and feeling alone, apart from the companionship of two bewildered pugs, is facing a future without her husband or the dreams she gave up for him.
But when Eva agrees to host her niece and nephew once a fortnight, Caitlin and Eva are made to face the different truths about their marriages - and about what they both really want . . .


I had never read anything by Lucy Dillon before this caught my eye on NetGalley, and I am thrilled that it did. 

Caitlin is recently separated from Patrick, the man that came along and rescued her and young son Joel as their car broke down when Joel was small and Caitlin was bringing him up on her own. He provided her with stability, but for free spirited Caitlin it came with a heavy cross to bear, and Patrick seeing her as the perfect wife was too much for her to cope with.

He begins to take to children for weekends with his sister, Eva, who has been recently widowed and not completely child friendly in her shiny show home house that usually only houses her and her pugs (who have the most amazing voices that I was hearing mentally for days after finishing.)

Eva, and particularly Nancy who has been mute since Patrick left, form a close bond, helped by Bumble the pug, and Eva starts to question a lot about her marriage to actor, Mike. The introduction to her of his memoirs is another step into the journey of her questioning their life together, and a serendipitous meeting with his editor sparks an interesting friendship.

I truly haven't enjoyed a book as much as I did this for a long time. Dillon's voice is strong, funny and empathetic and tells a really good tale. I loved the characters, especially Joel who had me weeping and laughing.

It ended beautifully and has left me wanting to race through the back catalogue of Lucy Dillon's work.


Many thanks to the publisher for an ecopy provided in exchange for an honest review.




Friday, 2 December 2016

Fabulously Festive Lovelies... Part One

December has now dawned and it is a PERFECT time to settle down under the twinkling lights of the tree and read a festive story. There is nothing like a good, well loved classic at this time of year, or a super spooky ghost story (something set in the Victorian era like The Woman in Black by Susan Hill?), but my favourites are light, contemporary reads, and these are a few of my favourites - a mixture of new and old:

Ali Harris: Miracle on Regent Street and A Vintage Christmas


These are a few years old now but absolutely adorable. I will go back and read them both each Christmas!

Miracle on Regent Street:

For the past two years, Evie Taylor has lived an invisible existence in London, a city she hoped would bring sparkle to her life. But all that is about to change. For winter has brought a flurry of snow and unexpected possibilities. 

Hidden away in the basement of Hardy's - once London's most elegant department store - Evie manages the stockroom of a shop whose glory days have long since passed. 

When Evie overhears that Hardy's is at risk of being sold, she secretly hatches a plan. If she can reverse the store's fortunes by December 26th- three weeks away - and transform it into a magical destination once again, she might just be able to save it. But she's going to need every ounce of talent and determination she has. In fact, she's going to need a miracle.




A Vintage Christmas is a shorter novella but no less lovely...

Evie has the perfect job and the perfect man, but keeping both in her life has become a serious balancing act... 

With the sales coming to a close at Hardy's, Evie must source new stock for the season ahead. Her mind is constantly buzzing with ideas and layouts, so much so that she is forgetting all about Sam. 

Can she learn to keep her work separate from her home life? Or will she lose everything... 


I LOVE Abby Clements books, and these two Christmas beauties will guarantee to make you warm and fuzzy.

Meet Me Under the Mistletoe by Abby Clements



Childhood friends Laurie and Rachel used to be inseparable - but their lives have taken very different paths since they picked up their A-level results together. Now thirty-five, they have all but fallen out of touch; glamorous single girl Laurie is based in London and dedicated to her career in fashion; Rachel seemingly living the family idyll in Yorkshire.
But when Rachel's mother-in-law needs urgent treatment in London, and disasters at work and in her love life mean Laurie needs to flee, a house swap falls into place. Soon gentle Rachel is far from the village bake sales, braving the city's mean streets while trying to keep her marriage and family together; while Laurie attempts to work an Aga, befriend the wary village locals - and forget the man who seems intent on breaking her heart. Will their relationships survive this test? And will they make it home for Christmas?

Also...


The Winter Wedding



Hazel never set out to be a wedding planner. She was just helping her stressed sister Lila with cakes and décor for her big day. But when Lila and Ollie's summer ceremony is a runaway success, with guests raving about the food and styling at the pretty venue, word about Hazel's expertise soon spreads.

But Hazel's clients expect the very best - she's promised lawyers Gemma and Eliot a snow-covered castle in the Scottish Highlands, and laidback couple Josh and Sarah a bohemian beach wedding in a Caribbean paradise. But as weather, in-laws and wilful brides conspire against her, can Hazel get two very different couples to walk up two very different aisles to say 'I do'?


From Paris with Love this Christmas... 


I only recently discovered this fab read by Jules Wake as it was an Amazon.co.uk promotion, it is only 99p at present (02/12/16)


Just until Christmas…
That’s what Paris socialite Siena keeps telling herself. She’ll hide away in her sister Laurie’s cottage near London to escape her hot-tempered fiancé.
However, when Jason – gorgeous but a bit of a Grinch – picks her up from the airport, he reveals that Laurie hasn’t lived there for months, complicating Siena’s holiday getaway.
At first, Jason and Siena don’t see eye to eye. But after a weekend in the most romantic city in the world, experiencing all it has to offer – from the magic of a fir-lined Champs-Élysées, lit up by thousands of sparkling fairy lights, to the swoosh of skates on ice at the Eiffel Tower – Siena shows Jason her Paris, and a whole other side to herself. Suddenly Siena’s December deadline seems far too close…
My absolute FAVOURITE author Cathy Bramley released Comfort and Joy a little bit earlier this year, and it is THE perfect festive treat. 


It’s been a busy year for Verity Bloom at the Plumberry School of Comfort Food, but Christmas Eve is finally here. With delicious treats all wrapped up and the ingredients packed away, Verity is looking forward to a relaxing few days with her new boyfriend.

Good food, family and friends – it’s a simple recipe for true comfort and joy, and all Verity’s friends in the village are full of excitement about the holidays too.

But the weather has other plans in store… Relentless rain leads to a power cut that spells disaster for many of Plumberry’s residents. It’s starting to look like this year’s celebrations could be a total washout.

With dreams of a perfect Christmas dashed, will the last of the festive cheer be swept away in the downpour? Or can the cookery school create a Christmas miracle for everyone Verity holds dear?


I ADORED The Great Christmas Knit Off by Alex Brown - in fact I'm going to re read this next...



Heartbroken after being jilted at the altar, Sybil has been saved from despair by her knitting obsession and now her home is filled to bursting with tea cosies, bobble hats, and jumpers. But, after discovering that she may have perpetrated the cock-up of the century at work, Sybil decides to make a hasty exit and, just weeks before Christmas, runs away to the picturesque village of Tindledale.
There, Sybil discovers Hettie’s House of Haberdashery, an emporium dedicated to the world of knitting and needle craft. But Hettie, the outspoken octogenarian owner, is struggling and now the shop is due for closure. And when Hettie decides that Sybil’s wonderfully wacky Christmas jumpers are just the thing to add a bit of excitement to her window display, something miraculous starts to happen…

Another perfect Christmas short is another from the lovely Alex Brown and is set in the village of Tindledale (the same as The Great Christmas Knit off)


Kitty, who runs the Spotted Pig Tea-rooms in the picturesque village of Tindledale, thinks she's come to terms with her husband Ed’s death on active duty. When she learns that Ed’s army dog, a black Labrador named Monty, is being retired and needs rehoming, it awakens her heartache once more.
Amber runs the pet parlour, but her love of dogs extends to rescuing abandoned pooches and now her tiny cottage is overflowing with homeless hounds. The only answer is to open a proper rescue centre but where will the money come from?
Kitty knows she could never take on Monty – it would be too painful, but with more than one dog needing a home this Christmas, is a miracle too much to hope for?
Have fun reading these...I will be back with Part Two next week!



Thursday, 13 October 2016

5* review - Comfort and Joy by Cathy Bramley




Curl up with this feel-good short story, full of romance, surprises and a sprinkling of Christmas magic…!
It’s been a busy year for Verity Bloom at the Plumberry School of Comfort Food, but Christmas Eve is finally here. With delicious treats all wrapped up and the ingredients packed away, Verity is looking forward to a relaxing few days with her new boyfriend.

Good food, family and friends – it’s a simple recipe for true comfort and joy, and all Verity’s friends in the village are full of excitement about the holidays too.

But the weather has other plans in store… Relentless rain leads to a power cut that spells disaster for many of Plumberry’s residents. It’s starting to look like this year’s celebrations could be a total washout.

With dreams of a perfect Christmas dashed, will the last of the festive cheer be swept away in the downpour? Or can the cookery school create a Christmas miracle for everyone Verity holds dear?


I was so pleased to be back in the village of Plumberry and it was extra special to celebrate Christmas with them, and what a Christmas it was!

Everyone's plans were affected as a huge rainfall fell in and around Plumberry, making travel impossible and unsafe. There was huge disappointment and none more so than when the power was interrupted meaning no one in Plumberry was to be fed and watered.

Verity and Tom are looking forward to a quiet Christmas, their first together, but Verity is feeling a little melancholy as she misses her family and the hustle and bustle of a normal family Christmas. 

Who will step in and save Christmas for the residents of Plumberry? Maybe Santa Claus himself?

How wonderful to sink into a Cathy Bramley book filled with humour and warmth at Christmas time - Comfort and Joy indeed. It is a wonderful treat if you have read The Plumberry School of Comfort Food but will be equally as enjoyable as a standalone read.
I made me feel squishy, warm and ready to face the festive season with cheer!






Tuesday, 11 October 2016

5* review: The Night Stalker by Robert Bryndza


In the dead of a swelteringly hot summer’s night, Detective Erika Foster is called to a murder scene. The victim, a doctor, is found suffocated in bed. His wrists are bound and his eyes bulging through a clear plastic bag tied tight over his head.
A few days later, another victim is found dead, in exactly the same circumstances. As Erika and her team start digging deeper, they discover a calculated serial killer – stalking their victims before choosing the right moment to strike.
The victims are all single men, with very private lives. Why are their pasts shrouded in secrecy? And what links them to the killer?
As a heat wave descends upon London, Erika will do everything to stop the Night Stalker before the body count rises, even if it means risking her job. But the victims might not be the only ones being watched… Erika’s own life could be on the line.

After reading The Girl in the Ice by Bryndza earlier this year I was waiting for more from him, it really was good and although the detective Erika Foster books are a series (this is no.2) they are easily a standalone.

It is summer in London, and an old lady goes to feed her son's cat while he is on holiday, but after letting herself in we realise he is not on holiday - he's been brutally murdered in his bed. And there is no trace whatsoever of the killer.

Erika Foster and her team are brought in to investigate (for readers of The Girl in the Ice, the old team are back together) and the rapport and chemistry between them is as good as ever. But the problem for them is that the death toll is rising, the Night Stalker kills again, and again is meticulous in hiding their clues.

We do learn who the killer is, and it's a shock, but very well played. It is then a game of cat and mouse throughout the book to find him before he kills again, he just needs to slip up.

The case is thrown by the murder of someone close to home, and goes in the wrong direction - one that Foster is outraged about so decides it's something she needs to solve alone...of course that goes well!

I really, REALLY enjoyed this offering from Bryndza, it's fast paced and well written, and the characters are really believable and well developed. I enjoyed how this story played out and fans of this genre should love it.

A highly recommended read, am just about to start Robert's new book - Dark Water (out October 20th) Dark Water on Amazon.co.uk

Many thanks to the publisher for providing an ecopy via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review









Tuesday, 9 August 2016

5* Review - Found by Elle Field (Arielle Lockley series) GIVEAWAY





"How did people even come up with the idea of these dizzying skyscrapers, let alone work out how to make them possible? Whoever built the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building, their legacy will live on forever. What sort of a difference will I ever make?"

Who knew one flight could change everything? When Arielle Lockley stepped on the plane at Heathrow, she never realised how different her life would be when she touched down in New York City. Now she’s dealing with that aftermath, as well as trying to find common ground with Etta, her new and unexpected business partner.

But, trying to sort out business in London whilst her fiancé, Piers, recovers from surgery in New York, is starting to take its toll on their relationship. Can Arielle and Etta work together to continue Felicity’s legacy without destroying it, and will Arielle and Piers even make it down the aisle to say "I do"?

Find out whether Arielle gets her happily ever after in the final part of the warm and wonderful Arielle Lockley series.



I have adored the Arielle Lockley series since first reading Kept, therefore it is with a heavy heart that I am actually reviewing the final book in Arielle's journey.

We join Arielle where we last left her, getting off the plane to Piers in New York after being called to say he was undergoing lifesaving surgery. As soon as Arielle's phone boots back up in the airport she receives dreadful news of her own though and has to face some devastating news.

Thankfully (as you will already gather) this is not about Piers, and he is waiting - albeit gravely ill in hospital for her. As he recovers he starts to feel like without work, which is deemed far too stressful in his condition, he is losing his identity which puts a huge strain on their relationship - along with the fact that they are meant to be planning a wedding and Piers is still too ill to fly back to Britain.

Back in Blighty Arielle's best friend, and as she describes him 'brother from another mother (and father)', Obelix, has news of his own, it pleases him but leaves Arielle suspicious and she is determined not to see him made a fool of.

Things aren't any better for Etta Millhouse either as her drug problem is nowhere near coming under control, and events take a turn that leaves Arielle in an incredibly sticky position, and one that she'd do anything to avoid being in.

We finally get to find out if Arielle and Piers make it down the aisle in Found, and discover if they get their happy ever after. 

I love these characters and have always had a soft spot for Arielle - even at times when she has made bad decisions that have left me shouting into my Kindle, and certain situations made me do that in this book. If she'd have listened to me early on in the book I could have made life a lot easier for her...

I loved the ending, although bittersweet for me as I'd have loved Field to squeeze in another book or two from Arielle, it was brilliant. I was pleased with the way things turned out but would have liked to see a happier ending for Etta who I went from viscerally hating to feeling extremely sorry for!

Well done, Elle on creating a wonderful world of fashion, fun, love and humour that has kept me hooked since first reading Arielle's story. I loved her progression from spoilt 'it' girl to sassy business woman who manages to build an equal relationship with love of her life, Piers.
There were some really sad, poignant moments along the way and a lot of laughs.

Arielle...I salute you and your snappy dressing wonderfulness! 


Many thanks to the author for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Giveaway:

To celebrate the publication of Found, Elle is running a giveaway. Prizes are an Amazon voucher, paperback copies of B-Side and Found, plus a handmade necklace from Vaux Street (x2).

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Author profile:


Elle Field writes coming of age romantic comedies, and is the author of the Arielle Lockley series and Geli Voyante’s Hot or Not. She grew up in Yorkshire, then moved to Scotland to study International Relations and Social Anthropology at the University of St Andrews.

Elle now lives in London with her boyfriend and their cat. She’s a massive fan of sunshine, giraffes, The Killers, Audrey Hepburn movies, playing Scrabble, musicals and tea. Oh, and reading, of course!

You can buy Elle’s books here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B00CHIC1GE