Women’s Fiction

#BookReview
Emerald Coast by Anita Hughes
@hughesanita @StMartinsPress

 

Synopsis:

Lily Bristol arrives at a luxurious resort in Sardinia for the grand opening of her newest home furnishing store on the Emerald Coast. Thirty-two and newly divorced, she’s ready to handle things on her own. At least until her private butler, Hector, escorts her to a beautiful suite where she notices a suspiciously familiar pair of men’s slippers and shaving kit. Lily is horrified. Her ex-husband Oliver moved out of their restored Connecticut farmhouse six months ago, but they booked this trip when they were trying to save their marriage and never cancelled the reservation. Oliver, a food critic for the New York Times, is here covering Sardinia’s hottest new restaurant. The only other available room is the adjoining suite; and worse, Oliver isn’t alone. He’s brought a twenty-something named Angela with him.

Lily is determined to make do and enlists Hector to find her a suitable man. But it’s not as easy to find new love as they both expected. When Lily and Oliver find themselves alone on a very important night, they turn to each other. Sparks begin to fly, but can they be together without breaking each other’s hearts?

Set on the glamorous Italian island, EMERALD COAST is a touching and humorous story about marriage and the difficulty of finding love and happiness at the same time. With the summer season winding down, Hughes’ latest will have you soaking in the last rays of summer sun and dreaming of endlessly warm days.


Book Rating: 7/10

Sweet, uplifting, and romantic!

Emerald Coast, the latest novel by Hughes, takes us into the lives of the recently divorced Lily and Oliver and reminds us of the complicated ups and downs of marriage, the importance of appreciating what we have, accepting the things we can’t change, and understanding that honesty and trust truly are the backbone of love and happiness.

The prose is exceptionally descriptive. The characters are successful, driven, and quirky. And the plot is a charming mix of life, friendship, family, introspection, jealousy, forgiveness, drama, courage, new love, old love, sex, and mouth-watering cuisine. 

Emerald Coast is the second novel I’ve read by Hughes and even though I would have liked to connect with the characters a little bit more when it comes to writing a lighthearted, easy read set in a tropical paradise and full of all the glitz and glamour of the rich and famous she nails it.

If you haven’t already had a chance to read my review of White Sand, Blue Sea be sure to check it out here:

About the Author:

ANITA HUGHES is the author of Monarch Beach, Market Street, Lake Como, French Coast, Rome in Love, Island in the Sea, Santorini Sunsets, and Christmas in Paris. She attended UC Berkeley’s Masters in Creative Writing Program, and lives in Dana Point, California where she is at work on her next novel.

 

Thank you to NetGalley, especially St. Martin’s Press, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                          

For more information on Anita Hughes, visit her website at: anitahughesbooks.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @hughesanita

#BlogTour & #BookReview
It Was Only Ever You by Kate Kerrigan
@katekerrigan @HoZ_Books

Synopsis:

Set in late 1950s Ireland and New York, the story of three women and the charismatic man with whom their lives are interwoven.

Set, like Maeve Binchy’s early bestsellers, in late 1950s Ireland and New York, this is the story of three women and the charismatic man with whom their lives are interwoven.

Patrick Murphy has charm to burn and a singing voice to die for. Many people will recognise his talent. Many women will love him. Rose, the sweetheart he leaves behind in Ireland, can never forget him and will move heaven and earth to find him again, long after he has married another woman. Ava, the heiress with no self-confidence except on the dance floor, falls under his spell. And tough Sheila Klein, orphaned by the Holocaust and hungry for success as a music manager, she will be ruthless in her determination to unlock his extraordinary star quality.

But in the end, Patrick Murphy’s heart belongs to only one of them. Which one will it be?


Book Rating: 8.5/10

Heartwarming, impassioned, and alluring!

This is a compelling story about first loves, friendship, community, goals, dreams, family and music that is set during the late 1950s when New York was a melting pot of immigrants and Manhattan was the hub of the American music industry.

There are four main memorable characters in this novel; Rose, a young Irish lass who leaves comfort and security behind in hopes of finding her first love; Ava, a woman with insecurities but a lot of heart; Sheila a Jewish orphan who has lots of spunk, tenacity and grit; and Danny, the dark-haired, blue-eyed small-town lad who turns all their heads with his angelic voice.

The writing is vivid and sincere. The supporting characters are multi-layered, unique, and true to character. And the plot is a wonderful mix of passion, drama, character development and emotion.

Overall this is an extremely engaging, memorable, enjoyable read that does a remarkable job of interweaving historical facts, fiction, and romance.

About the Author:

 

 

Kate Kerrigan lives in County Mayo, Eire, with her husband and children. Her novels include Recipes for a Perfect Marriage, shortlisted for the 2006 Romantic Novel of the Year Award and Ellis Island, which was a TV Book Club Summer Read.

 

 

Thank you to Head of Zeus for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            

For more information on Kate Kerrigan, visit her website at: http://katekerrigan.ie

or follow her on Twitter at: @katekerrigan

#BlogTour & #BookReview
Every Secret Thing By Rachel Crowther
@bookollective

Synopsis:

Can you ever bury the past?

She’d recognised in him something of herself: that sense of not belonging, of secrets fiercely kept . . .

Five friends, newly graduated, travel together to the Lake District. Young and ambitious, they little imagine the events that will overtake them that fateful summer, tearing their fragile group apart.

Twenty years later, they return to the same spot, summoned by a mysterious bequest. It’s not long before old friendships – and old romances – are re-kindled. But soon, too, rivalries begin to re-emerge and wounds are painfully reopened . . .

How long does it take for past sins to be forgiven? And can the things they destroy ever really be recovered?


Book Rating: 7/10

Intense, sobering, and perceptive!

This is a character-driven novel that reminds us that life is precious and short and that everyone and everything that enters it shapes, defines, and influences us.

The writing is intelligent and descriptive. The characters are complex, secretive, and selfish. And the plot, although a little slow at times, is narrated from multiple perspectives and written in a past/present style that does a remarkable job of revealing all the personalities, motivations, and actions within it and finishes with a nice little twist.

This is ultimately a novel about life, friendship, secrets, manipulation, desire, jealousy, acceptance and forgiveness and has a very contemplative, moody feel. And although it is very clear from the onset that Crowther is a strong, literary writer I would have preferred the characters to have a few more redeeming qualities and be a little more likable.

About the Author:

Rachel Crowther qualified as a doctor and worked in the NHS for twenty years before succumbing to a lifelong yearning to write fiction, previously indulged during successive bouts of maternity leave. She has an MA in Creative Writing with distinction from Oxford Brookes, and a string of prizes for her short fiction.

Her first novel, THE PARTRIDGE AND THE PELICAN, was published in 2011 and was a Tatler ‘sizzling summer read’. THE THINGS YOU DO FOR LOVE is published in August 2016 and has been called ‘a delight of a read’ by Fay Weldon, ‘the very best sort of fiction’ by Juliet Nicolson (A House Full of Daughters) and ‘a richly textured tale of life and love’ by Richard Mason (The Drowning People).

Rachel has five children, two mad dogs and an abiding passion for music, art, cooking and travel, both in Britain and further afield. She currently lives in Surrey.

Thank you to Bookollective for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy of this novel from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            

For more information on Rachel Crowther, visit her website at: rachelcrowther.co.uk

#BookReview
Among the Lemon Trees by Nadia Marks
@Nadia_Marks @PGCBooks

Synopsis:

She had thought that they would be together forever, but Max’s betrayal leaves Anna questioning their marriage and fearing the future.

So when her elderly widowed father invites her to spend the summer with him on the small Aegean island of his birth, Anna agrees – unaware that a chance discovery is about to unleash a host of family secrets. Kept hidden for sixty years, they reveal a torrent of events, beginning in Greece at the beginning of the 20th century and ending in Naples at the close of the Second World War.

Confronted by their family’s long-buried truths, both father and daughter have their worlds turned upside down and Anna begins to realise that, if she is ever to heal the present, she must first understand the past . . .


Book Rating: 7.5/10

Heartwarming, intriguing and touching!

This story is predominantly set on a small Aegean island in the Mediterranean and is the story of Anna, a middle-aged woman who decides to accompany her father home to Greece after her husband’s infidelity and finds herself not only engaging in some deep introspection about her own life but also uncovering some family mysteries and secrets that have remained buried for decades.

The writing is light and fluid. The characters are multi-faceted, gregarious, and forgiving. And the plot is written in a back and forth, past/present style that captivates and engages you as it sweeps you along through a tale of love, loss, family, war, betrayal, regret, deception and the true meaning of home.

Overall, this is a nice, easy, enjoyable read about love in all it’s forms, passionate, unconditional, family, and friendship with a picturesque backdrop and an authentic feel that will certainly leave you daydreaming of sunshine, lazy days, and fresh olives.

About the Author

Nadia Marks (ne Kitromilides,) was born in Cyprus, but grew up in London. An ex creative director and associate editor on a number of leading British women’s magazines, she is now a novelist and works as a freelance writer for several national and international publications. She has written for the Guardian, the Mail on Sunday, the Daily Express, the Independent, the Royal Photographic Society Journal, Psychologies, In Style magazine and others. For Europe and abroad she has contributed to Italian Vanity Fair, Brazilian Vogue, Greek and Australian Marie Claire, to the biggest Greek Sunday newspaper Vima, and the glossy Greek Cypriot lifestyle magazines Omikron and Must.

Thank you to PGC Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                

For more information on Nadia Marks, visit her website at: nadiamarks.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @Nadia_Marks

#BookReview
Meet Me at the Lighthouse by Mary Jayne Baker
@MaryJayneBaker @HarperImpulse

Synopsis:

‘The day I turned 28, I bought a lighthouse and met the love of my life’

Bobbie Hannigan’s life in a cottage by the sea with her dog and her twin sister is perfectly fine … until she decides the logical thing is to buy a lighthouse and open a music venue with Ross Mason, the first boy she ever kissed.

Bobbie tries to be professional with Ross, but the happily-ever-after they’re working toward is too good to resist. That is until someone from his past crawls back to cause trouble. Can Bobbie look past the secrets Ross has been keeping from her? Or will the boy, the lighthouse and the dream all slip away?

Escape to the Yorkshire coast this summer with this laugh-out-loud romantic comedy from Mary Jayne Baker!


Book Rating: 9/10

Charming, witty, sweet and romantic!

This is a heartwarming story about small-town living, first loves, family, friendship, community, dreams, goals, music and of course the passion and tiresome commitment involved in refurbishing a derelict lighthouse.

The writing is amusing and fluid. The plot is a highly entertaining journey filled with laughs, drama, chemistry, and second-chance love. And the characterization is spot on with a whole gang of fun, quirky, spirited, and endearing characters.

This is the second novel I’ve read by Baker and once again she’s proven she can write clever, lighthearted, laugh-out-loud funny stories with characters you won’t forget.

If you haven’t had a chance to read my review for Mary Jayne Baker’s other novel, The Honey Trap, be sure to check it out here:

About the Author:

Mary Jayne Baker grew up in rural West Yorkshire, right in the heart of Brontë country… and she’s still there. After graduating from Durham University with a degree in English Literature in 2003, she dallied with living in cities including London, but eventually came back with her own romantic hero in tow to her beloved Dales.

She lives with him in a little house with four little cats and a little rabbit, writing stories about girls with flaws and the men who love them. You can usually find her there with either a pen, some knitting needles or a glass of wine in hand. She goes to work every day as a graphic designer for a magazine publisher, but secretly dreams of being a lighthouse keeper.

Thank you to Mary Jayne Baker and HarperImpulse for providing me with a copy in an exchange for an honest review.

This book is available now. 

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                 

For more information on Mary Jayne Baker, visit her website at: maryjaynebaker.co.uk

or follow her on Twitter at: @MaryJayneBaker

#BookReview
The Second Chance Cafe in Carlton Square
@MicheleGormanUK @HarperImpulse

Synopsis:

One chance isn’t always enough…
Everyone expects great things from Emma Billings, but when her future gets derailed by an unexpected turn of events, she realises that getting back on track means travelling in a different direction.

She finds that new path in the closed-down pub on Carlton Square. Summoning every ounce of ingenuity, and with the help of her friends and family, she opens the Second Chance Café. The charity training business is meant to keep vulnerable kids off the streets and (hopefully) away from the Metropolitan Police, and her new employees are full of ideas, enthusiasm … and trouble. They’ll need as much TLC as the customers they’re serving.

This ragtag group of chancers have to make a go of a business they know nothing about, and they do get some expert help from an Italian who’s in love with the espresso machine and a professional sandwich whisperer who reads auras, but not everyone is happy to see the café open. Their milk keeps disappearing and someone is cancelling the cake orders, but it’s when someone commits bloomicide on all their window boxes that Emma realises things are serious. Can the café survive when NIMBY neighbours and the rival café owner join forces to close them down? Or will Emma’s dreams fall as flat as the cakes they’re serving?


Book Rating: 9/10

Humorous, heartwarming, and exceptionally captivating!

This is an amusing story that reminds us that everyone needs a place they can feel at home, a place where memories are created, strangers become friends, laughter never ends, and everyone knows your name.

The characters are genuine, funny, and appealing. The prose is polished, clear, and smooth. And the plot is a charming mix of new business woes, young motherhood struggles, familial support, competitive rivalry, marriage, friendship, and the importance of community.

This truly is a perfect summer read that’s entertaining, uplifting and proves that Lilly Bartlett (aka Michele Gorman) can write heartfelt, believable stories with intriguing, unique characters you can’t help but fall in love with.

 

About the Author:

Lilly Bartlett’s cosy romcoms are full of warmth, quirky characters and guaranteed happily-ever-afters.

Lilly is the pen-name of Sunday Times and USA Today best-selling author, Michele Gorman, who writes best friend-girl power comedies under her own name.

 

Thank you to Michele Gorman for providing me with a copy in an exchange for an honest review.

This book is available now. 

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                 

For more information on Michele Gorman, visit her website at: michelegorman.co.uk

or follow her on Twitter at: @MicheleGormanUK

#BookReview
The Map that Leads to You by J.P. Monninger
@StMartinsPress

Synopsis:

A romantic, vivid novel that takes place in the tender time of a young woman’s life: Heather has graduated from college and is traveling around Europe with her two best friends. She’s left school responsibility behind and adult responsibility is looming, but this is her one, ONE last summer to be free. Heather doesn’t expect to even meet Jack, let alone fall in love with him. Jack is an enigmatic Vermonter a few years older than she is, who is following his grandfather’s journal to various cities around Europe. But in the same way that forces are bringing Jack and Heather together, life and duty are pushing them apart. And Jack has a secret that is going to change absolutely everything.


Book Rating: 7.5/10

Poignant, compelling and endearingly romantic!

This is a coming-of-age story about friendship, responsibility, independence, and first love all wrapped up in a beautiful travel guide to some of the most breathtaking historical landmarks, monuments, and cities in Europe.

The characters are young, enthusiastic, and adventurous. The prose is clear and precise. And although the plot in the first half of the novel is a little slow, the second half is definitely much more intense, angsty, emotional, and drama-filled with an ending that will definitely have you shedding a few tears.

Overall, I think this novel will be a big success and really appeal to teens and young adults and even though I think I’m a little older than the target demographic I found it intriguing, unique and wonderfully descriptive.

Thank you to NetGalley, especially St. Martin’s Press, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links. 

                                          

#BookReview
The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand
@elinhilderbrand @littlebrown

Synopsis:

From New York Times bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand, a summertime story about identical twins who couldn’t be any less alike.

Nantucket is only two and a half hours away from Martha’s Vineyard by ferry. But the two islands might as well be worlds apart for a set of identical twin sisters who have been at odds for years. Just because twins look exactly the same doesn’t mean they’re anything alike–and Tabitha and Harper Frost have spent their whole lives trying to prove this point. When a family crisis forces them to band together–or at least appear to–the twins come to realize that the special bond that they share is more important than the resentments that have driven them apart. A story of new loves, old battles, and a threat that gives a whole new meaning to the term sibling rivalry, THE IDENTICALS is Elin Hilderbrand at her page-turning best.


Book Rating: 10/10

Absorbing, enchanting, and absolutely irresistible!

This story is set on the picturesque islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard and gives us a glimpse into small-island living, complete with alluring beaches, endless sun, infinite gossip, and competitive rivalry. It is told from three different perspectives; Harper, a free spirit who is fun and kind but often impulsive and reckless; Tabitha, Harper’s mature, responsible, workaholic identical twin who struggles with underlying grief; and Ainsley, Tabitha’s teenage daughter who is popular, spoilt and in desperate need of some additional parenting.

The writing is flawless. The plot is a perfect blend of heart, hope, angst, and drama. And the characterization is well-developed with a wonderful cast of characters, including three generations of strong, determined women who learn to embrace the future and let go of the past. 

This is, ultimately, a story about family dynamics, sister relationships, heartbreak, secrets, expectations, loss, grief, forgiveness, dreams, love, discovering one’s true self and the undeniable special bonds between twins. It is the perfect summer read. It sweeps you away to another place, gives you some tears, gives you some smiles and I absolutely adored it.

Thank you to NetGalley and Little, Brown and Company for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                           

For more information on Elin Hilderbrand, visit her website at: elinhilderbrand.net

or follow her on twitter at: @elinhilderbrand

#BookReview
The Idea of You by Robinne Lee
@robinnelee @StMartinsPress

Synopsis:

When Solène Marchand, the thirty-nine-year-old owner of a prestigious art gallery in Los Angeles, takes her daughter, Isabelle, to meet her favorite boy band, she does so reluctantly and at her ex-husband’s request. The last thing she expects is to make a connection with one of the members of the world-famous August Moon. But Hayes Campbell is clever, winning, confident, and posh, and the attraction is immediate. That he is all of twenty years old further complicates things.

What begins as a series of clandestine trysts quickly evolves into a passionate relationship. It is a journey that spans continents as Solène and Hayes navigate each other’s disparate worlds: from stadium tours to international art fairs to secluded hideaways. And for Solène, it is as much a reclaiming of self, as it is a rediscovery of happiness and love. When their romance becomes a viral sensation, and both she and her daughter become the target of rabid fans and an insatiable media, Solène must face how her new status has impacted not only her life, but the lives of those closest to her.


Book Rating: 9/10

Sophisticated, alluring, and extremely passionate! 

This is a thought-provoking, intriguing novel that reminds us that women can be confident, powerful, intelligent, attractive, sexual beings at any age and that being famous often has many drawbacks.

The prose is genuine and raw. The characters are authentic, honest, multi-layered, and appealing. And the plot sweeps you away into an engaging saga about motherhood, independence, responsibility, age disparity, stardom, art, seduction, desire, lust, love and unquenchable chemistry.

This a wonderful debut for Lee. It’s an exquisite love story with palpable emotion, strong narration and an ending, which I logically understand but still wish was different, that will resonate with you long after you finish the final page. 

About the Author:

 

ROBINNE LEE is an actor, writer and producer. A graduate of Yale University and Columbia Law School, Robinne was born and raised in Westchester County, New York. Robinne has numerous acting credits in both television and film, most notably opposite Will Smith in both Hitch and Seven Pounds. She recently completed shooting Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed, playing Ros Bailey. Robinne currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two children. The Idea of You is her first novel.

 

 

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This novel is due to be published on June 13, 2017.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                           

For more information on Robinne Lee, visit her website at: robinnelee.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @robinnelee

#BookReview
Practicing Normal by Cara Sue Achterberg
@CaraAchterberg

Synopsis:

The houses in Pine Estates are beautiful McMansions filled with high-achieving parents, children on the fast track to top colleges, all of the comforts of modern living, and the best security systems money can buy. Welcome to normal upper-middle-class suburbia. The Turners know in their hearts that they’re anything but normal. Jenna is a high-schooler dressed in black who is fascinated with breaking into her neighbors’ homes, security systems be damned. Everett genuinely believes he loves his wife . . . he just loves having a continuing stream of mistresses more. JT is a genius kid with Asperger’s who moves from one obsession to the next. And Kate tries to manage her family, manage her mother (who lives down the street), and avoid wondering why her life is passing her by. And now everything is changing for them. Jenna suddenly finds herself in a boy-next-door romance she never could have predicted. Everett’s secrets are beginning to unravel on him. JT is getting his first taste of success at navigating the world. And Kate is facing truths about her husband, her mother, and her father that she might have preferred not to face. Life on Pine Road has never been more challenging for the Turners. That’s what happens when you’re practicing normal. Combining her trademark combination of wit, insight, and tremendous empathy for her characters, Cara Sue Achterberg has written a novel that is at once familiar and startlingly fresh.


Book Rating: 8.5/10

Authentic, heartwarming, and intriguing!

This is a thought-provoking novel that reminds us that life is unpredictable and that when it comes to “normal” perspective is everything.

The story is told from three different points of view; Kate, a mother, wife and daughter who spends all her time and energy taking care of those around her; Jenna, a teenager struggling with hormones, individuality and new love; and Everett, a husband and father who is impatient, selfish, and too wrapped up in his own wants and needs to appreciate what’s right in front of him.

The prose is reflective and sincere. The characters, including all the supporting characters, are complex, strong, and endearing. And the plot is a compelling tale full of familial dynamics, friendship, infidelity, secrets, coming-of-age, honesty, humour, love, as well as an in-depth look into the stereotypical mentality, difficulties and extraordinary abilities that those with Asperger’s experience.

This is the second novel I’ve read by Achterberg and once again she has blown me away with this well-crafted, touching story that gives us a real, raw look into a contemporary multi-generational family.

About the Author:

Cara Sue Achterberg is a blogger and novelist who lives on a hillside farm in South Central, Pennsylvania.

Cara’s novels, I’m Not Her (August 2015, The Story Plant) and Girls’ Weekend (May 2016, Story Plant) are both works of women’s fiction. Her upcoming novel, Practicing Normal, will be published June 2017 by The Story Plant.

Cara is also the author of Live Intentionally, a nonfiction book based on ten years of trying to shop, cook, eat, and live intentionally with kids in tow. It’s a guidebook for the organic life.

Cara is a prolific blogger and currently posts regularly two blogs which can be accessed through her website, CaraWrites.com.

Cara teaches creative writing and her essays and articles have been published in numerous anthologies, national magazines, websites, and blogs, in addition to local media.

Cara grew up in Hockessin, Delaware (and still considers Delaware the best state of all).

Cara is passionate about organic food, clean air, productive gardens, uncluttered lives, and real relationships. She is also passionate about adopting rescue dogs and currently fosters dogs and puppies for the all-breed rescue, Operation Paws for Homes.

Cara’s next project is a memoir about fostering her first fifty dogs.

When not writing or weeding (which can sometimes be one and the same), Cara enjoys running, hiking, reading, visiting Virginia wineries, and trying not to fall off her favorite horse, True.

Thank you to Cara Sue Achterberg, the author, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                 

For more information on Cara Sue Achterberg, visit her website at: carawrites.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @CaraAchterberg

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