9/10

#BookReview
The Sunshine and Biscotti Club by Jenny Oliver

#BookReview The Sunshine and Biscotti Club by Jenny OliverTitle: The Sunshine And Biscotti Club

Author: Jenny Oliver

Published by Carina UK on May 19, 2016

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 384

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Carina UK, NetGalley

Book Rating: 9/10

 

 

Synopsis:

Moving to Italy to set up a baking club is a dream come true…

…until Libby catches her husband cheating just weeks before The Sunshine and Biscotti Club opens its doors.

With the first wave of guests set to arrive any day, Libby has no choice but to tie on her apron and get set to bake. But with a dash of sunshine and a sprinkling of old friends, Libby’s kitchen nightmare might just become the best thing that’s ever happened to her.

After all, you can’t bake biscotti without breaking a few eggs…

For guaranteed sunshine all holiday long, pack your bags and escape to The Sunshine and Biscotti Club – the irresistible new book from Jenny Oliver!


Review:

Intelligent, delightful, and charming!

This is a story about friendship, heartbreak, acceptance, forgiveness, love, and food.

The characters are fun-loving, dependable, flawed, and real. The plot is interesting and engaging. The writing is exquisite. And the prose is descriptive and witty. 

To me, it was like sitting down to watch a reunion episode of Friends, but instead of the usual gang sitting around the Central Perk, this one had a new light-hearted bunch gathering in the lush countryside of Italy instead.

I loved this book. It is a perfect summer read. 

 

This book is due to be published on May 19, 2016.

 

 

Thank you to NetGalley, especially Carina UK, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

#BookReview
Those Summer Nights by Mandy Baggot
@mandybaggot

#BookReview Those Summer Nights by Mandy Baggot @mandybaggotTitle: Those Summer Nights

Author: Mandy Baggot

Published by Bookouture on May 27, 2016

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 406

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Bookouture, NetGalley

Book Rating: 9/10

 

 

Synopsis:

Sunshine, soft white sand and a sizzling hot millionaire – you don’t get trouble in paradise, right? 

Imogen Charlton is sorted. Dead-beat husband? History. Dream job? Application sent. But then her impulsive brother, Harry, spends every last penny on a Greek restaurant in Corfu, and is determined to run it himself. It’s up to Imogen to bring him to his senses. 

When sexy millionaire Panos Dimitriou offers to buy back his family taverna, Imogen wonders if all her prayers have been answered (and all her fantasies about to come true). But Harry won’t budge, and his enthusiasm is infectious. 

Bright pink bougainvillea tumbling over whitewashed walls, endless blue skies, the sparkling Mediterranean; it’s hard not to fall for Corfu. And that’s not all Imogen is falling for… 

As the sparks of passion fly between Imogen and Panos, is Imogen having second thoughts on selling the restaurant? And will she have to choose between love and a new dream? 

This summer, spend long sunny days on the beach, and balmy nights in Greek tavernas on the gorgeous island of Corfu. 


Review:

This is a sweet, charming, and romantic novel.

It is a story about family, tradition, food, community, happiness, fulfillment, and love.

It is full of colourful characters, including not only the warm, adorable Imogen, and the sexy, flawed, Panos, but a whole slew of supporting characters that are witty, quirky, and lovable. 

It is very well written. The prose is precise, funny and descriptive. And the plot is intelligent, engaging, and delightful.

This is a great summer read that will put a smile on your face and have you daydreaming about the Greek Islands in no time. It was a pleasure to read and I highly recommend it.

 

This book is due to be published on May 27, 2016. 

Pick up a copy of this story from your favourite retailer or from the following Amazon links.

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon Canada

 

 

Thank you to NetGalley, especially Bookouture, for providing me with a copy in an exchange for an honest review.

 

About Mandy Baggot

Mandy Baggot is an international bestselling and award-winning romance writer. In 2017 she was signed by Ebury Publishing (Penguin Random House).

The winner of the Innovation in Romantic Fiction award at the UK’s Festival of Romance, her romantic comedy novel, One Wish in Manhattan, was also shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association Romantic Comedy Novel of the Year award in 2016.

Mandy loves the Greek island of Corfu, white wine, country music and handbags. Also a singer, she has taken part in ITV1's Who Dares Sings and The X-Factor.

Mandy is a member of the Romantic Novelists' Association and the Society of Authors and lives near Salisbury, Wiltshire, UK with her husband and two daughters.

#BookReview
The Late Blossoming of Frankie Green
by Laura Kemp

#BookReview The Late Blossoming of Frankie Green by Laura KempTitle: The Late Blossoming of Frankie Green

Author: Laura Kemp

Published by Aria on June 1, 2016

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 368

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Aria, NetGalley

Book Rating: 9/10

 

 

Synopsis:

A laugh-out-loud, feel good, romantic comedy, which will take you on an enlightening emotional rollercoaster. Perfect for the fans of Sophie Kinsella and Jane Costello. 

Frankie Green’s happy ever after is put on hold when her childhood sweetheart husband complains things are boring in bed.

When he asks for some space, she sets out to win him back by getting herself a sex education. 

Little does she know that her hilarious, tender and embarrassing journey of enlightenment is going to change everything…

A story full of humour, heartache and happiness, of friendship, coming of age and overcoming insecurity.


Review:

This is a great story. I really enjoyed it.

It is not just a regular contemporary romance story. It is interesting, fun, flirty, warm, and engaging.

Aside from the main plot, involving Frankie’s struggle to overcome her husbands need for a break, there are several subplots involving her two best friends that will keep you captivated until the very last page.

This story is about acceptance, friendship, confidence, fulfillment, and true love.

It is very well written. The story is warm, smart, and laugh-out-loud funny. And the characters are quirky, witty, and lovable.

This is an easy, light-hearted, perfect summer read that you won’t want to put down. Don’t miss it. It’s great!

 

This book is due to be published on June 1, 2016.

 

 

Thank you to NetGalley, especially Aria, for providing me with a copy in an exchange for an honest review.

 

About Laura Kemp

Laura Kemp writes tender but hilarious romantic comedies which are unashamed love letters to the everywoman.
Her uplifting message - based on the notion that everything is research apart from the rude bits - is 'You Don't Know How Brilliant You Are!'.
A journalist who has written for The Guardian, The Daily Mail and The Sun amongst others, she is married with a son in Cardiff, where she pretends to be a domestic revolutionary so she doesn't have to do the ironing. Runs to eat crisps and drink wine, adores her mates and loves her dog, Lego and sweary cross-stitch.

#BookReview
Friction by Sandra Brown

#BookReview Friction by Sandra BrownTitle: Friction

Author: Sandra Brown

Published by Grand Central Publishing on February 2, 2016

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 416

Format: Paperback

Source: Borrowed

Book Rating: 9/10

 

 

Synopsis:

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Sandra Brown comes a gripping story of family ties and forbidden attraction.

A Texas Ranger, relegated to deskwork due to past recklessness, petitions to regain custody of his five-year-old daughter, and his case is assigned to a family court judge who is as attractive as she is ambitious. When a masked gunman barges in during the custody hearing with his sights on the judge, the Ranger reacts instinctually and goes after him. But authorities apprehend the wrong man, and the real gunman remains unknown, at large, and a threat. Will this take-charge lawman jeopardize his chances of custody by going after the would-be assassin? And will this unlikely pair be able to deny the forbidden attraction building between them?


Review:

This is a great mystery. In fact, it is one of my favourite reads in this genre so far this year.

It is a riveting, intense, suspenseful story, with a side of romance, that starts with a murder in a courtroom and takes us through multiple twists and turns to identify who the target really is and why.

The characters are well-developed, bold, and complex. And the story is well written, with multiple plots, great dialogue, and steamy romance.

This is a gripping page turner and I highly recommend it.

 

#BookReview
The Last Mile by David Baldacci
@davidbaldacci

#BookReview The Last Mile by David Baldacci @davidbaldacciTitle: The Last Mile

Author: David Baldacci

Series: Amos Decker #2

Published by Grand Central Publishing on April 19, 2016

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 420

Format: Hardcover

Source: Borrowed

Book Rating: 9/10

 

Synopsis:

In his #1 New York Times bestseller Memory Man, David Baldacci introduced the extraordinary detective Amos Decker-the man who can forget nothing. Now, Decker returns in a spectacular new thriller . . . 
THE LAST MILE
Convicted murderer Melvin Mars is counting down the last hours before his execution–for the violent killing of his parents twenty years earlier–when he’s granted an unexpected reprieve. Another man has confessed to the crime.
Amos Decker, newly hired on an FBI special task force, takes an interest in Mars’s case after discovering the striking similarities to his own life: Both men were talented football players with promising careers cut short by tragedy. Both men’s families were brutally murdered. And in both cases, another suspect came forward, years after the killing, to confess to the crime. A suspect who may or may not have been telling the truth.
The confession has the potential to make Melvin Mars–guilty or not–a free man. Who wants Mars out of prison? And why now?
But when a member of Decker’s team disappears, it becomes clear that something much larger–and more sinister–than just one convicted criminal’s life hangs in the balance. Decker will need all of his extraordinary brainpower to stop an innocent man from being executed. 


Review:

This is another great mystery from David Baldacci. It is the second book in the Amos Decker series, but can definitely be read as a standalone.

In this novel our favourite characters, Decker, Jamison and Bogart, from Memory Man are back and working together as a special team in the FBI that try to solve cold cases.

This story is well written, interesting, suspenseful, and intelligent. It has everything you look for in a good mystery, murder, kidnapping, blackmail, and deceit.

It is a captivating page turner that you won’t want to put down. I highly recommend it.

 

This novel is available now.

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

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon Canada

 

For more information on David Baldacci, visit his website at: davidbaldacci.com

or follow him on Twitter at: @davidbaldacci

 

#BookReview
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

#BookReview A Man Called Ove by Fredrik BackmanTitle: A Man Called Ove

Author: Fredrik Backman

Published by Hodder And Stoughton Ltd. on March 27, 2015

Genres: General Fiction

Pages: 294

Format: Paperback

Source: Borrowed

Book Rating: 9/10

 

 

Synopsis:

A grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.

Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon, the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him the bitter neighbor from hell, but must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?

Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations.


Review:

I was really surprised at how much I liked this book.

This is a really touching, funny, melancholy story.

It is, ultimately, a story about life. It takes us on journey through loss and grief, finding the will to survive, and the importance of being needed.

The characterization is extremely well done. The main character, Ove, is a quirky, quiet, stubborn, big-hearted man you can’t help but love. And the secondary characters are bold, unique, and entertaining, right down to the SAAB.

It was a delight to read this story about, Ove. I laughed. I cried. And I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Thank you Allison for lending me this book. It was terrific and I can’t wait to recommend it to others.

 

 

About Fredrik Backman

Fredrik Backman is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove (soon to be a major motion picture starring Tom Hanks), My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, Britt-Marie Was Here, Beartown, Us Against You, as well as two novellas, And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer and The Deal of a Lifetime. His books are published in more than forty countries. He lives in Stockholm, Sweden, with his wife and two children.

#BookReview
The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

#BookReview The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle ZevinTitle: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

Author: Gabrielle Zevin

Published by Penguin Canada Books Inc. on April 4, 2014

Genres: General Fiction

Pages: 260

Format: Paperback

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 9/10

 

 

Synopsis:

In the spirit of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Gabrielle Zevin’s enchanting novel is a love letter to the world of books–and booksellers–that changes our lives by giving us the stories that open our hearts and enlighten our minds.  

On the faded Island Books sign hanging over the porch of the Victorian cottage is the motto “No Man Is an Island; Every Book Is a World.” A. J. Fikry, the irascible owner, is about to discover just what that truly means.

A. J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. His wife has died, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. Slowly but surely, he is isolating himself from all the people of Alice Island–from Lambiase, the well-intentioned police officer who’s always felt kindly toward Fikry; from Ismay, his sister-in-law who is hell-bent on saving him from his dreary self; from Amelia, the lovely and idealistic (if eccentric) Knightley Press sales rep who keeps on taking the ferry over to Alice Island, refusing to be deterred by A.J.’s bad attitude. Even the books in his store have stopped holding pleasure for him. These days, A.J. can only see them as a sign of a world that is changing too rapidly.

And then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore. It’s a small package, but large in weight. It’s that unexpected arrival that gives A. J. Fikry the opportunity to make his life over, the ability to see everything anew. It doesn’t take long for the locals to notice the change overcoming A.J.; or for that determined sales rep, Amelia, to see her curmudgeonly client in a new light; or for the wisdom of all those books to become again the lifeblood of A.J.’s world; or for everything to twist again into a version of his life that he didn’t see coming. As surprising as it is moving, The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry is an unforgettable tale of transformation and second chances, an irresistible affirmation of why we read, and why we love.


Review:

I am a little embarrassed to say that I purchased this book quite a long time ago and only just picked it up to read last night.

Saying that, this is one of my favourite books I have read so far this year. I loved it. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I couldn’t put it down and read it in one sitting.

It is a lovely, warm, bittersweet story that touches on how life is short, and how the choices we make and the experiences we have shape us, and those around us, more than we may think. 

It is also a story about books, those who write books, those who sell books, and those who love books.

The prose is simple but elegant. The characters are unique and engaging. And the plot is insightful, funny, interesting, and a little sad.

This is a beautifully written book and I can’t wait to share it at book club. 

It really is a must read for all book lovers.

 

 

About Gabrielle Zevin

GABRIELLE ZEVIN is an internationally bestselling author whose books have been translated into over thirty languages.

Her eighth novel, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry (2014), spent months on the New York Times Best Seller List, reached #1 on the National Indie Best Seller List, and has been a bestseller all around the world. The Toronto Globe and Mail called the book “a powerful novel about the power of novels.” Her debut, Margarettown, was a selection of the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers program. The Hole We’re In was a New York Times Editor’s Choice title.

She also writes books for young readers. Her best known young adult novel is Elsewhere, an American Library Association Notable Children’s Book. Of Elsewhere, the New York Times Book Review wrote, “Every so often a book comes along with a premise so fresh and arresting it seems to exist in a category all its own… Elsewhere, by Gabrielle Zevin, is such a book.”

She is the screenwriter of Conversations with Other Women (Helena Bonham Carter, Aaron Eckhart) for which she received an Independent Spirit Award Nomination for Best First Screenplay. In 2009, she and director Hans Canosa adapted her novel Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac (ALA Best Books for Young Adults) into the Japanese film, Dareka ga Watashi ni Kiss wo Shita. She has also written for the New York Times Book Review and NPR’s All Things Considered. She began her writing career at age fourteen as a music critic for the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel.

Zevin is a graduate of Harvard University. She lives in Los Angeles. Her 9th novel is Young Jane Young.

#BookReview
Nannyland by Jane Elizabeth Hughes

#BookReview Nannyland by Jane Elizabeth HughesTitle: Nannyland

Author: Jane Elizabeth Hughes

Published by Pocket Star on May 30, 2016

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 384

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Pocket Books, NetGalley

Book Rating: 9/10

 

 

Synopsis:

This delightful, romantic debut follows a sophisticated Manhattanite who trades her fast-paced Wall Street life for the English countryside, and unexpectedly becomes a nanny to the children of a widowed British lord. Who is as infuriating as he is intriguing…

Jordy Greene has it all—the high-powered job, the high-octane New York lifestyle, the powerful lover—until she’s suddenly forced to flee the city. Running to avoid false charges of illegal trading and a destructive relationship, Jordy escapes to England. There she finds refuge in a cottage on the estate of the icy Lord John Grey—a descendant of the Nine Day Queen, Lady Jane Grey.

The four rambunctious Grey children are in desperate need of a nanny, and Jordy is in desperate need of a purpose—so they plunge into an investigation of the Tudor queen’s mysterious life and shocking death. Amid flying subpoenas, willful adolescents, outraged aristocrats, and an unexpected attraction to Lord Grey, Jordy struggles to regain control of her life. In the midst of the chaos, can she find the kind of happiness she’d never thought to have?

If The Sound of Music and The Wolf of Wall Street had a child, it would be the captivating Nannyland!


Review:

When I first received this story for review I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised.

This book is not the average romance story. It is smart, witty, interesting, engaging, and, of course, it doesn’t hurt that it’s set in the idyllic English countryside.

Aside from the main plot of Jordy finding the key to her happiness, there are several subplots involving investigations into securities fraud and historical research that keep you enthralled to the last page.

It is very well written, and the characters are charming, flawed, and lovable.

This is an easy, heart-warming story that will definitely make you smile.

 

 

Thank you to Pocket Books and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this story in exchange for an honest review.

 

#BookReview
The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson

#BookReview The Bookseller by Cynthia SwansonTitle: The Bookseller

Author: Cynthia Swanson

Published by Harper Paperbacks on March 22, 2016

Genres: General Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 368

Format: Paperback

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 9/10

 

 

Synopsis:

The Bookseller follows a woman in the 1960s who must reconcile her reality with the tantalizing alternate world of her dreams

Nothing is as permanent as it appears . . . 

Denver, 1962: Kitty Miller has come to terms with her unconventional single life. She loves the bookshop she runs with her best friend, Frieda, and enjoys complete control over her day-to-day existence. She can come and go as she pleases, answering to no one. There was a man once, a doctor named Kevin, but it didn’t quite work out the way Kitty had hoped.

Then the dreams begin.

Denver, 1963: Katharyn Andersson is married to Lars, the love of her life. They have beautiful children, an elegant home, and good friends. It’s everything Kitty Miller once believed she wanted—but it only exists when she sleeps.

Convinced that these dreams are simply due to her overactive imagination, Kitty enjoys her nighttime forays into this alternate world. But with each visit, the more irresistibly real Katharyn’s life becomes. Can she choose which life she wants? If so, what is the cost of staying Kitty, or becoming Katharyn?

As the lines between her worlds begin to blur, Kitty must figure out what is real and what is imagined. And how do we know where that boundary lies in our own lives?


Review:

I loved this book.

This book was intriguing, insightful and intelligent. It gripped me from the beginning and it kept me enthralled till the very end.

It is a story that makes us think about the choices we make, the power of imagination, and our brain’s remarkable ability to cope.

This was well written and very unique. It is definitely a great choice for book clubs and it will certainly be on my “Must Read List” for 2016.

 

This book is available now.

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

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon Canada

 

For more information on Cynthia Swanson, visit her website at: integritymodern.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @cynswanauthor

 

#BookReview
Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith

#BookReview Child 44 by Tom Rob SmithTitle: Child 44

Author: Tom Rob Smith

Series: Leo Demidov #1

Published by Grand Central Publishing on March 31, 2015

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 480

Format: Paperback

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 9/10

 

Synopsis:

In a country ruled by fear, no one is innocent.

Stalin’s Soviet Union is an official paradise, where citizens live free from crime and fear only one thing: the all-powerful state. Defending this system is idealistic security officer Leo Demidov, a war hero who believes in the iron fist of the law, but when a murderer starts to kill at will and Leo dares to investigate, the State’s obedient servant finds himself demoted and exiled. Now, with only his wife at his side, Leo must fight to uncover shocking truths about a killer–and a country where “crime” doesn’t exist.


Review:

I really liked this book.

It was dark. It was gritty. At times it was downright disturbing. But this book is a great mystery.

Smith uses this novel to take us deep into the historical and political nightmare of Stalin’s Russia to catch a killer. And with incredible imagery delves into the hardships and cruelty endured by the people of that time.

It is an intriguing, interesting, well written story with lots of twists and turns. Don’t miss it. It’s hard to put down.

 

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