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Archive for the ‘Friendship’ Category

Summer at Rose Island

Author: Holly Martin
Published: 13 May 2016
Reviewed: 25 April 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 Bookouture in return for an honest review

  5 out of 5 Stars

 



Description: 

Fall in love with the gorgeous seaside town of White Cliff Bay this summer and enjoy long sunny days, beautiful beaches and… a little romance.
 

Darcy Davenport is ready for a fresh start. Determined to leave a string of disastrous jobs and relationships behind her, she can’t wait to explore White Cliff Bay and meet the locals. 


When Darcy swims in the crystal clear waters of the bay, she discovers the charming Rose Island Lighthouse. But it’s not just the beautiful building that she finds so intriguing… 


Riley Eddison doesn’t want change. Desperate to escape the memories of his past, he lives a life of solitude in the lighthouse. Yet he can’t help but notice the gorgeous woman who swims out to his island one day. 


Darcy is drawn to the mysterious and sexy Riley, but when it seems the town is trying to demolish his home, she soon finds herself having to pick sides.

She’s fallen in love with White Cliff Bay. But is that all Darcy’s fallen for? 


Pull up a deck chair, sink back with a bowl of strawberry ice cream and pick up the summer read you won’t be able to put down.
 

Discover the other books in the White Cliff Bay series, available now:
1. Christmas at Lilac Cottage
2. Snowflakes on Silver Cove

You can buy a copy of Summer at Rose Island 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 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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The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend

 

Author: Katarina Bivald
Published: 01 January 2016
Reviewed: 06 January 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 kindly supplied by Sourcebooks Landmark in return for an honest review.

  4 out of 5 stars  

 

Once you let a book into your life, the most unexpected things can happen…
 
Broken Wheel, Iowa, has never seen anyone like Sara, who travelled all the way from Sweden just to meet her pen pal, Amy. When she arrives, however, she finds that Amy’s funeral has just ended. Luckily, the townspeople are happy to look after their bewildered tourist—even if they don’t understand her peculiar need for books. 

Marooned in a farm town that’s almost beyond repair, Sara starts a bookstore in honour of her friend’s memory. All she wants is to share the books she loves with the citizens of Broken Wheel and to convince them that reading is one of the great joys of life. 
But she makes some unconventional choices that could force a lot of secrets into the open and change things for everyone in town. 

Reminiscent of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, this is a warm, witty book about friendship, stories, and love.

Pen pals Amy and Sara hatch on a plan for Sara to take a holiday to rural Iowa and they will meet up, share their love of book in person and have a wonderful time getting to know the person behind the letters.  But when Sara finally arrives in Broken Wheel she is met by the townspeople attending Amy’s funeral.  Amy passed away whilst Sara was travelling and no one knew how to get in touch with her to tell her not to continue her journey. 
The well meaning folk soon take Sara under their collective wing and look after her in the only way they know, making her feel like part of the town.  

Wanting to give something back to the town, Sara decides to use the books that she and Amy have to open a book store in the village, desperately trying to convince the residents that reading isn’t just for leisure, it can be for pleasure too and she’s determined to find the right book for each person that comes in.  
 

As with any small town, there is the ubiquitous town busybody, recovering alcoholic, religious figure (in this case uptight Christian woman) but they all make sense, the story works well with them and their own tales add something to the overall story of the town – not one of them could be left out.  
 
The romantic sub plot did spoil things a little for me at times, it just felt a little silly and grated on me a bit.  Yes, people who are attracted to one another play silly beggars at times and revert back to juvenile type, but the whole ‘does he like her, does she like him, wait now they don’t like each other…..’ got a bit boring in places and I will admit to being tempted to skipping some narrative (I didn’t, but I was sorely tempted!).
 
The writing is generally good, the pace of the story flows pretty well, a couple of times I did have to recheck something (usually with the back stories for the many townsfolk), but that’s more to satisfy my need of making sure I’d not missed something.    The physical descriptions of location and characters are good, you get a great sense of Amy the missing character who plays such a huge part.  
 
A lovely book to read, and I do agree with other reviewers out there, this could easily make a good film one day, the quirkiness of the book would make for some excellent screen time.  

I would recommend this to fans of Contemporary Fiction, Romance and Women’s Fiction genres. 

I would like to thank Sourcebooks Landmark 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 1st January 2016, a copy can be purchased here The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend (UK Kindle Version)

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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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The Twelve Dates of Christmas

Author: Lisa Dickenson
Published: 22 October 2015
Reviewed: 09 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 Little, Brown Book Group UK in return for an honest review.

  4 out of 5 stars  

 

At thirty, Claudia’s life is stale and the romance with long-term boyfriend, Seth, has disappeared. Determined to inject some festive spark back into their love life, Claudia and Seth go on their first date in a very long time. But when the night ends in disaster, Claudia suddenly finds herself facing life – and Christmas – alone.

Life alone is exciting, scary and full of soon-forgotten exercise regimes and ill-advised attempts at crafting sexy underwear. It’s also filling up with dates, surprisingly. With best friends Penny and Nick at her side, a surplus of festive markets, mulled wine and Christmas tunes, Claudia attempts to face all this change with gusto. One thing’s for certain: this year, Christmas is going to be very different . . . 

This is the story of Claudia and her twelve dates of Christmas. Hilarious, uplifting and romantic, it’s a story about losing love, finding love, and discovering what’s been there all along. Expect Christmas sparkle, butterflies-in-your-stomach romance and a lot of very funny moments in The Twelve Dates of Christmas.

When her long-term relationship with Seth takes a turn for the worse Claudia fears that this is it, she will be alone forever more, life is over and she’s going to be miserable until the bitter end.  Her best friends Nick and Penny are there to help her pick up the pieces and put her life back together again.  And once she feels ready, Penny knows just what Claudia needs to make her feel better, a date!  Blinds dates aside, Claudia is worried she’s not ready yet, not ready to move on, not ready to decide what she wants from life, what she wants to do or who she wants to be with….or does she? 

Claudia realises that if she wants something she needs to stand up and take the opportunity.  She makes the decision to go on dates, some are disastrous, some are wonderful (especially when a certain man is concerned) and one brings a new friend into her life. 
But there’s one man that keeps appearing and she definitely wants to spend more time with him. 

The dates themselves range from a trip to the Winter Wonderland, to coffee in Starbucks, or ice skating ending in trouble with the Police, but all have their equally funny moments for Claudia.  As the story progresses Claudia becomes more and more adventurous, she finally admits her feelings and for a fleeting moment she finds happiness, but will a silly understanding ruin it all?  I can’t say more about the plot without giving too many juicy bits away, but I will say this, sequins on knickers sounds painful!!

I love Dickenson’s writing in this book, there were times I genuinely giggled out loud or wanted to shout “nooooooo!!”, I felt like I was right there with Claudia at times, seeing the excitement on Nick and Penny’s faces when they were speaking about Christmas or when they were all drunkly dancing at the Ballet Christmas party.  The descriptive writing here is tremendous, there’s great attention to detail and the characters are all so likeable. 

This is definitely a lovely book to curl up with for Christmas, the sort of book you could easily read in a day if you got the peace and quiet to do so and it’s a genuinely lovely read.  

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

I would like to thank Little, Brown Book Group 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 22nd October 2015, a copy can be purchased here The Twelve Dates of Christmas (UK Kindle Version)

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Snowflakes on Silver Cove

Author: Holly Martin
Published: 30 October 2015
Reviewed: 03 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 Bookouture in return for an honest review.

4 (and a 1/2) out of 5 stars  

 

Come and spend a picture perfect romantic Christmas at White Cliff Bay

Libby Joseph is famous for her romantic Christmas stories. 
Every December, readers devour her books of falling in love against the magical backdrop of the Christmas season. If only Libby believed in the magic herself…

Struggling to finish her current novel, Libby turns to her best friend and neighbour George Donaldson to cheer her up. But George also needs a bit of support himself. Nervous about getting back into the dating saddle after splitting from his wife, he and Libby strike a deal. She will teach George how to win over the ladies, and Libby will in turn be inspired to inject her novel with a good dose of romance.

As Libby and George explore the beautiful White Cliff Bay on a series of romantic Christmas-themed dates, Libby finds herself having more fun than she’s had in ages and…discovers feelings that she never knew she had for George.

But is it too late? Will George win someone else’s heart or can Libby act like the heroine in one of her stories and reach for her own love under the mistletoe this Christmas?

Libby and George are instantly likeable characters, Libby is cool, calm and level headed (most of the time), George is funny, silly and Christmas crazy but they go together like Port and Stilton.  They’re perfect for each other, they just don’t know it yet! 

As the story progresses, we Libby’s story comes out, the heartache at watching her mother wither in a loveless marriage, seeing the mental abuse her mother faced, the live she and her mother lived at the hands of her stepfather and how Libby came to make her escape, and more importantly why she felt she could never settle in one place. 

A cleverly written novel, with narration from both Libby and George, gives an insight into what both of the main characters are thinking.  It is especially good when it comes to explaining the thinking behind each character, especially when it comes to the sub plot of Seb and his love interests, and his relationship with his mother in law. 

The pace of the novel is good, short chapters allow you to quickly move through the story, the dialogue is interesting, funny and entertaining.  I love how this and Christmas at Lilac Cottage link together, but you don’t need to have read the first one to know what’s going on in this book, they run at the same time but there is little character crossover, which just makes Silver Cove sound like such a lovely place to live with such lovely people.  The descriptions of characters are well thought out and give the reader a feel of just how funny George can be dancing around with a giant Christmas inflatable, or how incredibly wrong Judith was about Amy buy misinterpreting everything. 
I particularly liked Martin’s writing style when it came to several points in the novel where I laughed out loud, or sat smirking away at the dialogue.  The wonderful romantic settings created were fairytale-esque, but not over the top, making the reader realise that maybe there’s a “George” in their life for them to appreciate.  

This is definitely a lovely book to curl up with for Christmas, the sort of book you could easily read in a day if you got the peace and quiet to do so and it’s a genuinely heart warming read.  

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

I would like to thank Bookouture 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 30th October 2015, a copy can be purchased here Snowflakes on Silver Cove (UK Kindle Version)

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Bright Stars

Author : Sophie Duffy
Published: 01 October 2015
Reviewed: 30 September 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 Legend Press in return for an honest review via NetGalley.

 

4 out of 5 stars



Four students are involved in a tragedy that rips their friendship apart. What happens when they are reunited 25 years later?

Cameron Spark’s life is falling apart. He is separated from his wife, and awaiting a disciplinary following an incident in the underground vaults of Edinburgh where he works as a Ghost Tour guide. On the day he moves back home to live with his widowed dad, he receives a letter from Canada. It is from Christie. Twenty-five years earlier, Cameron attends Lancaster University and despite his crippling shyness, makes three unlikely friends: Christie, the rich Canadian, Tommo, the wannabe rock star and Bex, the feminist activist who has his heart. In a whirlwind of alcohol, music, and late night protests, Cameron feels as though he’s finally living; until a horrific accident shatters their friendship and alters their futures forever. Christie’s letter offers them a reunion after all these years. But has enough time passed to recover from the lies, the guilt, and the mistakes made on that tragic night? Or is this one ghost too many for Cameron?

In 1986 Cameron Spark went to university in Lancaster, a shy and quiet young Scottish lad that managed to form three of the most unbelievable friendships that change his life forever, shape what becomes of him and his friends.
Cameron first meets Tommo who is the antithesis of Cameron; he is English, he is loud, he dresses in drainpipe jeans, wears fashionable shoes, drinks alcohol and wants to be a rock star.  Then there is Bex, the love of Cameron’s life, an animal rights activist, feminist and can do no wrong as far as Cameron is concerned.  Christie, the final of the four, is a Canadian, who comes to Lancaster to study marketing before she takes the reins of the family wine business back home.
Being the typical students, they go to lectures, get drunk, go to gigs and generally have a good time being young and free from parents watching over them.  Or that is until that fateful night that changes everyone’s lives, the accident changes Cameron’s life in more ways that he can imagine, friendships are abandoned, and the mistakes that are made that night will haunt each of them for the next 25 years.
Switch to current day, Cameron, now in his 40s has split from his wife, moving back into his childhood home with his widower father (and Myrtle the dog), suspended from his job (pending investigation of an incident in the underground vaults of Edinburgh) and writing a journal as part of his therapy from a counsellor as a means to coping better.  Then the letter arrives from Christie, inviting them to a reunion of sorts, what can she possibly want Cameron there for?  Can he face her after what happened all those years ago?  Have Tommo and Bex been invited too? 

There is so much I could say about this story, but I really don’t want to give away too much and spoil the book for others. 

The writing style of this novel is good, the jumping back and forth between 1986 and present time is done really well, it gives so much information about Cameron as a young man at university and the group of friends he has, and explains a lot of why things have turned out as they have. 
For me, none of the characters are particularly likeable, they are all at one point or another needing taken aside, shaken and told to “buck up” – but this is very realistic in many ways, how many times do we do things, say things, act in ways that make us annoying to others, naive or just plain stupid?  For someone to make characters like that it’s very good writing in my opinion, it’s easy to write loveable characters, but to create ones that are difficult to like seems a lot harder (maybe I’m wrong?).  
There is a fine line between doing things for the right reason and doing things for the wrong reason, and this novel explore that well. 

I would recommend this book to anyone that enjoys Fiction, Chick Lit, it would also make a good holiday read.

I would like to thank Legend Press for the copy of this book in return for an honest review and if you would like to buy a copy, this book will be published on 1st October 2015 .  A copy can be purchased here  Bright Stars (Kindle UK Version).
 

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The Beachside Guest House

Author : Vanessa Greene
Published: 10 September 2015
Reviewed: 24 September 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 Little, Brown Book Group UK in return for an honest review via NetGalley.

 

4 (& 1/2) out of 5 stars



When Rosa and Bee get together in the run-up to Bee’s wedding, they reminisce about the holiday they took together as teenagers to the beautiful Greek island of Paros. They remember the sandy coves, the guest house in the converted windmill where they stayed with their friend Iona, and the gorgeous local men. As memories of that long-forgotten holiday resurface, they are forced to confront the turns their lives have taken – and the guilt they both feel about letting Iona slip away from them.

When they learn that the windmill guest house is going bust they form a plan: why not go back to the island and take it over themselves? And so begins a life-changing journey – because it turns out that opening a guest house and reliving their teenage dreams isn’t that easy . . .

Full of romance and friendship, love and life, laughter and tears, The Beachside Guest House is an uplifting novel about the magic of starting over with friends by your side.

Bee is planning her wedding with the help of family and friends, but for her and Rosa, they realise that one friend is missing, Iona.  As they reminisce over photos of a long past together, they come across ones from their time as teenagers on Paros, a Greek island where they had holidayed as young women taking on the world and savouring their freedom.  
It is from here that we meet each of the women in their current lives, Rosa working for a charity and jetting around the globe helping where she can in remote communities, Bee planning her wedding to Stuart, but both missing their old friend Iona, who is living her own life with her boyfriend, holding down a job and not thinking about Bee and Rosa.  With each chapter you find out a little more about the leading woman, what happened in the years after their first taste of Paros, and why they drifted so far apart. 

When the lighthouse guest house on Paros goes up for sale, Rosa can’t resist making a bid, not knowing that this will turn her world upside down.  Her offer is accepted and life as she knows it changes, but not only for her, but Bee and Iona too.  
That’s about all I can say about the novel without giving too much away, I really don’t want to spoil this for other readers.  

The theme of relationships is very important in this book, for Bee, Rosa and Iona, friendship is the key, they just don’t realise just how vital it is until they really need each other.  
And for Rosa forming new relationships once back on Paros will be so important to the success of her venture. 

This novel is what I would describe as a heart warmingly lovely change of pace.  For someone that loves criminal fiction, thriller and espionage novels, this provided a lovely change, no spies fearing unmasking and nothing too sinister, but that said, it was still a gripping read.  It was enjoyable to read, the descriptions of settings were wonderful, the island of Paros seemed very real and picturesque, the Beachside Guest House sounded so inviting, I wish it were real!  

Greene has become an author I will look out for in future, her style of writing is light and flowing, at no time was I tempted to skip narrative or was bored like I have found to be the case with other novels of these genres.  This was a very enjoyable read, the sort of book you can happily curl up on the sofa with and enjoy a cuppa (and a sneaky chocolate biscuit!). 

I would recommend this book to anyone that enjoys Fiction, Chick Lit, and Romance Genres, it’s also a perfect holiday read!

I would like to thank Little, Brown Book Group UK for the copy of this book in return for an honest review and if you would like to buy a copy, this book will be published on .  A copy can be purchased here Beachside Guest House (UK Paperback)
 

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