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Archive for the ‘Carina UK’ Category

I am so excited to welcome you to my stop on the blog tour for A.L. Michael’s “Be My Baby” and share my review of this lovely book with you.  There’s also a wee giveaway running so be sure to add your entry for the chance to win a goodie bag of healthy foodie treats!

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Published: 7 November 2016
Reviewed: 14 November 2016

4 out of 5 stars

Copy supplied by HQ Digital as part of the blog tour

 

Description:

Two’s company…

If you asked Mollie whether she struggled as a single mum, she’d have to cover her daughter’s ears before answering. Surrounded by friends, watching Esme grow into the sassiest eleven-year-old in North London, and building her name as TV chef Mollie Makes, Mollie’s never been happier. Well, that’s what she’d tell you. But as her best friends pair off, and Esme starts getting into trouble at school, Mollie wonders whether life would be different – not better…but easier – with a team mate.

Three’s a crowd?

But Esme’s dad, Jamie, would be the last man Mollie would team up with. After all, he made it clear eleven years ago that he wasn’t interested in playing the family game. So when he suddenly reappears, Mollie can’t believe her eyes. And soon, she’s got to ask herself the hardest question yet: she knows she can succeed as a single mum. But what if her daughter doesn’t want her to?

My Thoughts & Review:

Be My Baby is the third and final instalment of The House on Camden Square series, and if I’m honest, I’m a little sad to be leaving these wonderful characters.  The first books in the series being Goodbye Ruby Tuesday  and Nice Day For A White Wedding (my review of book two can be found here).  Technically this can be read as a stand alone book, there are enough details given so that the reader can understand the character connections etc.

This book focuses on Mollie’s story.  Mollie is a single mum who has been raising her daughter Esme (aged 11 going on 30 it seems, Esme is wise beyond her years).  Mollie is still hurt that her ex Jamie left when she was pregnant with their daughter.  A chance sighting of Mollie on TV promoting her healthy eating for children “Mollie Makes” is enough for Jamie to get in contact.  Through a raft of misunderstandings and the subsequent explanations Mollie agrees that Esme can see her dad so that the pair can work on building a relationship.

As always the characters in this are wonderful, Andi Michael has created such vivid and realistic personas.  Esme is a darling, very much her own person and not one to fit in the mould.  She really comes across as realistic and quite a wise character.  Mollie is a great character, the reader really gets a feel for her struggles as she tries to accept the bond between her daughter and Jamie forming, the fact that she was a lone parent for so long means she finds this hard and it comes across well through the writing.  She’s also quite a humorous character, the dialogue in the opening chapter where she was on a date had me giggling from the get go.
The relationship between mother and daughter was very well written, their bond was strong and the sensitivity shown towards the subject of Jamie’s absence was handled well.

The writing style makes this a joy to read, it’s entertaining, light hearted and witty.  Yes, there are sad moments in the book, but there are humorous ones too.  A nice quick read that keeps a reader interested throughout.

You can buy a copy of Be My Baby here

Don’t forget to add your entry for the giveaway!  The prize is a goodie bag of healthy foodie treats inspired by one of the characters in the novel – closing date for entries is 12th December.

About the Author:

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A.L Michael is a writer and workshop leader from North London. She has a BA in Creative Writing with English Lit, an MA in Creative Entrepreneurship and is starting an MsC in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes. She likes learning and hates essays.

She’s a fan of cheap wine, expensive chocolate and still wants to be a secret agent when she grows up, but she’ll settle for lying on the page.

To find out more about A.L. Michael and her books you can go to her website https://almichael.com or follow her on Twitter @ALMichael_

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Author: Rebecca Pugh

Published: 8 August 2016
Reviewed: 24 August 2016

4.5 out of 5 stars
Copy purchased via Amazon.co.uk

 

Description:

Maria Charm’s world might have recently crumbled, but that doesn’t mean she’s going to let it get her down.

Sure, her ex-husband broke her heart and decimated her trust, and while it would be so tempting to spend forever in her dressing gown, a tub of ice-cream in one hand and a glass of Chardonnay in the other, Maria wants more from her new—single—life!

A make over of her lovely little cottage on Daffodil Lane and a new job at Harriet’s café are just the distractions Maria needs to carve a new life in the country. One distraction she doesn’t need is Mr Tall, Brooding and Handsome from down the lane!  Maria may only be in town temporarily, but there’s nothing temporary about the tingles she feels at gorgeous Brad’s touch…

After everything she’s been through, can Maria ever trust a man again? Could risking her heart with Brad lead to a charmed life on Daffodil Lane?

My Thoughts & Review:

Down on Daffodil Lane is the third novel by Rebecca Pugh, and wisely she continues with a formula that has won the hearts of her many readers and brought great success – strong characters, wonderfully descriptive settings and a plot that allows the reader to sit back and be carried away.

Maria Charm is a character that many readers can relate to, feeling the need to make drastic changes in life following massive upheaval.  Her strength to continue, and strong will make her both loveable and will have readers rooting for her.  The entire cast of characters are well created, certain ones seemed to really pop out from the pages, I  felt that Millie was absolutely fantastic, and reminded me of one of my own friends.

The romance element to the novel can be described as cheesy, but it can also be described as a great read.  Sometimes it’s nice to imagine how a fairy tale might pan out without Disney’s rose tinted goggles and this is definitely the feeling I get reading Pugh’s novels.  Real life love stories are never linear, there is baggage, emotional fragility, laughter, mishaps and cheesy moments and so Pugh reflects this in her writing.

The writing style is natural, free flowing and enjoyable.  The beautifully descriptive settings give the reader fantastic imagery of Daffodil Lane, the cottage etc.  The pace is good, as with all of her novels you start off reading and promise “just a few chapters” and before you know it you’ve read more than half of the novel.

The only downside to this novel was that it wasn’t long enough, I didn’t want it to end!

 

You can buy a copy of Down on Daffodil Lane here.

 

Becca's Books teacup

About the Author

Rebecca Pugh grew up in the green county of Shropshire. Not an immediate reader, it took her a while to find her way towards the wonderful fictional words hidden between the pages of books. Ever since, she’s fallen under the spell of countless authors and the tales they’ve weaved. Her favourite authors include Jill Mansell, Cathy Bramley, Sarah Morgan and Holly Martin, to name but a few. She loves nothing more than tapping away at the keyboard, taking her characters from imagination to page and, when that isn’t the case, she adores curling up with a good book.

Rebecca is a fan of fairy tale romances that sweep you off your feet, dashing heroes and strong, lovable heroines. She can’t make up her mind whether she prefers a countryside escape, or a love story set in bustling New York. Either way, she’s more than happy to disappear into both.

When it comes to her own writing, Rebecca aims to whisk readers away to desirable locations, where they can meet characters who, she hopes, will begin to feel like friends. With a dash of romance here, and a shake-up of things there, she loves dreaming up stories and watching them come to life.

 

For more information about Rebecca’s books go to her Facebook page  or follow her on Twitter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Return To Bluebell Hill

Author: Rebecca Pugh
Published: 18 June 2015
Reviewed: 29 June 2015

4 out of 5 Stars

Description:

Home is where the heart is…

Jessica McAdams has never belonged anywhere; never truly felt at home. Of course, what did she expect from parents who never made her feel welcome in her own house? Leaving her life in London to return home to the charming country village of Bluebell Hill is harder than she thought. Especially as she never considered she’d be returning under such heart wrenching circumstances…

Clearing out the stunning and imposing Bluebell House after her parents’ death is difficult for Jessica—they never had the best relationship and now it’s too late. Yet spending time in the house that was never a home, having afternoon tea with dear old friend Esme—and sharing hot, sizzling kisses with delectable gardener Rueben!—opens Jessica’s eyes to the potential of Bluebell House… Could this big old, beautiful manor really be her forever home? Is Bluebell Hill where her heart is, has always been?

Jessica soon dares to dream of her very own home with delicious Rueben by her side. But when a deep, dark secret of Bluebell House is unearthed, Jessica’s world is turned upside down…

Will Jessica ever find where her heart truly lies? 

My Thoughts & Review: 


Return to Bluebell Hill is Rebecca Pugh’s debut novel and having read her second novel I was keen to read this one.  This book has a lovely cosy warmth to it, the sort of book you can curl up on the sofa with or sit in the sun and lose track of time.  
Jessica McAdams returns to her childhood home of Bluebell Hill to attend the funeral of her estranged parents, and is reunited with her old nanny Esme, but whilst the reunion is overshadowed by the tragic death of her parents, Jessica is nonetheless pleased to be back in the embrace of Esme and soon meets Reuben the handsome gardener.  
As Jessica narrates her tale, we discover that her relationship with her parents was a troubled one, feeling they had no time for her or interest in her, Jessica spent most of her young life with nanny Esme, so it was no surprise that once she turned 18 Jessica left Bluebell Hill for London to start a new life.

Despite little blips and breaks in continuity, this was an enjoyable read, a nice break away from the madness of recent days.  Something about this book grabbed my attention when I started reading and held it through to the end.  Covering aspects such as love, betrayal, regret, friendship and forgiveness this book really ticks many boxes for fans of female literary fiction.  Rebecca Pugh writes with striking detail, her vivid descriptions of Bluebell Hill are a thing of beauty.  The setting of the house was so picturesque I could happily sit back and daydream about it and the wonderful gardens.  Even the descriptions of characters were treated to this flowing grandness, you really do feel like you are there in the book seeing the people and the settings.   

Jessica was a likeable character, well fleshed out and interesting.  Some of her motives did seem a little naive at times, but Pugh takes great care to weave in the troubles of Jessica’s past to illustrate that this may be why the character does not form relationships easily etc.  Reuben, well he’s a book all on his own.  Swoon worthy and utterly delectable, he’s the right mix of strong masculine and caring, considerate that we have come to expect from the genre.  He compliments Jessica’s character well, there is a good dynamic between them and it made for enjoyable and interesting reading.  Another character I did especially like what Esme, a sprightly 63 year old who seemed to have endless energy first thing in the morning and was a delightful contract to Jessica.  Her pearls of wisdom more than once gave Jessica pause for thought, but she never interfered.  
I would have liked to have seen the story of Jessica’s parents explored more, their untimely deaths seemed to hang in mid air for me.  I had wondered that if more would be revealed in the story, as was the case with Jessica’s estrangement from her parents and her leaving Bluebell Hill, but I cannot honestly say that I saw any further mention of this.  The strained relationship she also had with her parents would have been something else I would have loved to have seen expanded upon, but again that’s just my personal preference.   
This was an enjoyable read, heart warming with the right mix of sadness and happiness.  A love story with ups, downs and laughter, beautiful descriptiveness, practically idyllic at times.  A quick read, but for me this was an added bonus, I needed something quick to get my mind off the madness of late and this hit the spot perfectly.  
This was Rebecca Pugh’s début novel, and having read A Home In Sunset Bay, I can honestly say that I am a big fan of her books.  I can’t wait for Down On Daffodil Lane to arrive on my Kindle in August.  These books are all standalone books, you do not need to read them in any order, but I would say that after reading Bluebell Hill, Pugh’s writing has evolved and she seems to have found her flair in writing (that’s not to say she didn’t show great talent in the first place, I just believe that she has now found what works well in her novels).  

This is the sort of book you could load on to your Kindle for your summer reading or equally pick up on a rainy afternoon and be lost in the beautiful sunshine and wonderful countryside.  

You can purchase a copy Return to Bluebell Hill here.   

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A Home in Sunset Bay

Author: Rebecca Pugh
Published: 9 February 2016
Reviewed: 17 March 2016
What Milo Saw by Virginia Macgregor

Read more at: http://www.london24.com/entertainment/book_review_what_milo_saw_by_virginia_macgregor_1_3750981
Copyright © LONDON24


Copy supplied by Carina UK in return for an honest review

4.5 out of 5 Stars

 



Description: 

There’s no place like home… Enough is enough! The always perfect Laurie Chapman had jumped in her car and raced as fast as she could from London heading to Sunset Bay and (she hopes!) the open arms of her estranged sister… 

Mia Chapman loves running Dolly’s Diner in the picture-perfect coastal Cornish town of Sunset Bay. Now that her and Grandma Dolly’s dream is finally a reality Mia has never been prouder! Until Laurie suddenly turns up on her doorstep… How can she forgive the sister who walked away?
Once upon a time Mia and Laurie were best friends. Back together after so long, the time has come for the sisters to figure out what went so wrong all those years ago – and whether they can ever put it right!
An uplifting romantic comedy about sisters, friendship and the love of good food.


I would recommend this to fans of Marcie Steel and Holly Martin’s books, it’s a lovely read and the sort of book you can happily get lost in for a while.  It would also make a great holiday read. 

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The Principle of Evil

Author: T.M.E Walsh
Published: 14 January 2016
Reviewed: 26 February 2016
What Milo Saw by Virginia Macgregor

Read more at: http://www.london24.com/entertainment/book_review_what_milo_saw_by_virginia_macgregor_1_3750981
Copyright © LONDON24


Copy supplied by Carina UK in return for an honest review

3.5 out of 5 Stars

 



Description: 

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The Broken Hearts Book Club

Author: Lynsey James
Published: 12 October 2015
Reviewed: 19 February 2016
What Milo Saw by Virginia Macgregor

Read more at: http://www.london24.com/entertainment/book_review_what_milo_saw_by_virginia_macgregor_1_3750981
Copyright © LONDON24


Copy supplied by Carina UK in return for an honest review

3 out of 5 Stars

 



Description: 

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Four Weddings and a White Christmas

Author: Jenny Oliver
Published: 8 October 2015
Reviewed: 18 December 2015
What Milo Saw by Virginia Macgregor

Read more at: http://www.london24.com/entertainment/book_review_what_milo_saw_by_virginia_macgregor_1_3750981
Copyright © LONDON24

Copy kindly supplied by Carina UK in return for an honest review.

  4 out of 5 stars  

 


Welcome back to Cherry Pie Island…the most delicious place to spend Christmas!
Hannah’s holidays are normally spent nibbling chocolate coins with her daughter and arguing with her sister about whether they’re too old for stockings on Christmas morning. But this year, she’s been offered the dressmaker’s job of a lifetime: creating a one-of-a-kind a dress for her school friend Annie’s Christmas wedding on the picture-perfect Cherry Pie Island.
Many mince pies and one hot-pink organza dress later, Hannah is set to snuggle back into her old routine…until she discovers that there are three more weddings this winter – and not a dress in sight!
Four very different themes, four demanding brides and four parties spent avoiding chef Harry Fontaine, whose cynicism is as much a wedding day guarantee as confetti and cake. Hannah has her work cut out for her! Yet, with a sprinkling of snowflakes and Christmas magic, it could be that this is the year when miracles really do happen…if Hannah will let them.


Having not realised this was actually the final book of the Cherry Pie Island series, I started reading and instantly connected with the characters and their tales, there’s enough detail given to understand who’s who and who they are marrying etc.  That said, I would like to point out at this stage, this is a really good book, and the story reads perfectly well as a standalone book.
 
Hannah is a lovely character, she’s just finished her degree and making her way in the world of fashion, her mum proudly showing off a picture of her degree show dress lands her with a commission that opens the door of a world she’d never imagined.  After making the wedding dress for her old school friend Annie, there is great interest in her work, and she finds friendships she’d thought she’d lost by becoming a mother.
 
Being invited to so many weddings with the same group of people Hannah is secretly pleased to see that the dishy Harry Fontaine is there.   
Harry runs a restaurant in New York and is rumoured to be very demanding and ruthless, so much so he will throw out diners for not showing the appropriate decorum whilst in his establishment.  He’s also a cynic about family, marriage and love, something Hannah just can’t fathom.  As the pair get to know each other through these chance encounters they both realise there’s a connection there, a pull that draws them together.  Especially at one of the weddings where Harry is cooking the feast with the help of Hannah’s five year old daughter Jemima.  
There is also a nice bit about Harry’s back story, his time with his family explains a lot about why he’s so set in his ways and thinks like he does.  It really gives a good incite into this complex character.  Ultimately, it’s this connection to his family that brings about the change of heart that he has.
 
Without ruining the book for others I won’t say any more about the plot, but there is a lovely feel to this book, you keep reading to find out what happens to the characters, see what wonderful creations Hannah can come up with next and see how much Hannah’s daughter can make you smile and chuckle.  
As for characters, Hannah is so likeable, Harry has his own rugged, grumpy charms, but for me  Jemima steals the show!  She’s just what a five year old should be, funny, clever, and throw in her unerring five year old thinking, well you just can’t help but smile at the things she says.  She really is one of my favourite characters in a book of late. 
The writing style of Oliver’s is great, the pace is steady and flows well, the dialogue is natural and engaging, physical descriptions are wonderful, there aren’t many times that I wish a book had images to go along with the texts, but it would have been wonderful to have seen images of Hannah’s creations, just picturing them in my head had me in awe. 
This is definitely a lovely book to curl up with for Christmas, it’s a genuinely enjoyable read.  

I would have no hesitation to recommend this to anyone that enjoys Fiction, Romance and Comedy genres.     

I would like to thank Carina UK for the copy of this book in return for an honest review and if you would like to buy a copy, this book was published on 8th October 2015, a copy can be purchased here Four Weddings and a White Christmas (UK Kindle Version)

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Wish Upon a Christmas Cake

Author: Darcie Boleyn
Published: 02 October 2015
Reviewed: 17 November 2015
What Milo Saw by Virginia Macgregor

Read more at: http://www.london24.com/entertainment/book_review_what_milo_saw_by_virginia_macgregor_1_3750981
Copyright © LONDON24

Copy kindly supplied by Carina UK  in return for an honest review.

4 (and a 1/2) out of 5 stars  

 

The most wonderful time of the year?

Katie Warham has just one wish this year…to have the best Christmas ever!

If only she could lock herself away in a cloud of flour and sugar at her cosy little tearoom, Crumbtious Cakes, instead of spending the festive season trapped with her judgemental mother, crazy Aunt Gina and loved-up celebrity brother Karl…

But Katie never expected her ex-boyfriend, widower Sam – and his two adorable children – to turn up on her doorstep. She didn’t think that any man could tempt her under the mistletoe this year, but Sam might just prove the exception! And as the snow begins to fall and Katie puts the final touches to her famous Christmas cake, she begins to wonder, could her Christmas wish actually come true?
Katie and her best friend Ann run Crumbtious Cakes, a small tearoom that has been their shared dream for so many years, it was a way for Katie to move forward after her life fell apart nine years ago following a traumatic loss.  
Now, she has to deal with another loss, her beloved Granny has passed away and now she and the Warham family face their first Christmas without the matriarch.  If this wasn’t enough, Katie knows she will have to face her mother Esther.  She and Esther do not see eye to eye on many things, and Katie fears that her judgemental, over critical mother will make this Christmas hell for her.  But Ann, being her best friends makes a valiant attempt to cheer her friend up, bringing her a slice of their famous Christmas cake (in lieu of a wishbone) to make a wish.
Katie makes it to the Lodge the family are staying at for the Festive period and is startled, shocked and stunned at who she meets when she arrives.  Can it really be him after all these years?  Yes, it’s Sam, her first love, standing there in this wonderfully romantic setting, looking so grown up and handsome.  Katie has to keep her emotions in check, cover her surprise and shock before facing her mother.  Later Katie finds out that Sam is a widower, raising his two children (and dogs) after the tragic death of his wife.  Can Katie resist opening up old wounds and remembering what it was like being in love with Sam, can she avoid physical contact with him to stop her heart skipping?  Might that wish made in the tearoom actually come true?

Second chances are a major part of this novel, can Katie and Sam manage a second chance, will there ever be a second chance for Katie and Esther – will their relationship improve?  Even Ann joins in the theme of second chances with her own dilemma.  All that Katie knows is that she never really fell out of love with Sam and his reappearance in her life has reignited the flames for her, she even feels something towards his children, almost wondering what it would be like if they were hers.    

Family dynamics are wonderfully portrayed, the reader is thrown straight in to the wonderful Warham family, meeting Esther and Charles (Katie’s parents), Karl (her older brother) and his partner Angelo as well as Aunt Gina.  The entertainment of the group being together for Christmas is enjoyable to read, Katie and Karl have a great connection that you can really feel from Boleyn’s writing.  Memories of Granny are well used in this novel to portray what an important character she was for them all, how phrases she used can spark a feeling in someone that kick starts them again.

There were many laugh out loud moments reading this book, comparisons between Santa and Katie were particularly funny (when you get there you will know what I mean, it’s in a conversation with Aunt Gina), so much so, I almost snorted tea!  Little gems like that in the writing really set Boleyn’s work apart from other Christmas reads.  Despite being classed as a romantic novel, this was funny to read to, it was deliciously entertaining to read, and the sort of book you could happily read in one sitting (unless like me you have a toddler that wakes up from a nap and you have to put the book down!).    There’s definitely a feel good factor about this, you desperately want a happy outcome for everyone, you want Katie and Sam to rekindle their love, you want Katie to become stepmother to Sam’s children and for them to have another child together.  You want Katie and her mother to move past the hurt between them and work out things out.  You want Katie’s Christmas wish to come true!

I would recommend this to anyone that enjoys Fiction, Romance and Comedy genres.     

I would like to thank Carina UK for the copy of this book in return for an honest review and if you would like to buy a copy, this book was published on 2nd October 2015, a copy can be purchased here Wish Upon a Christmas Cake (UK Kindle Version)

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