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Out Now: See You Later Broadway by Melissa Baldwin @mpbaldwinauthor @HelloChickLit

seeyoulaterbroadwayLength: 337 pages

Please note as always that the cover image leads to an Amazon buy link for the book

What they say: It’s finally here . . . the much-anticipated sequel to See You Soon Broadway! Maris is back!


Decisions, decisions, decisions . . .

Maris Forrester’s exciting new life is not everything she was hoping it would be. Although she’s happy in her new career, she’s plagued with the feeling that something is still missing. Imagine her surprise when an old friend presents her with an unbelievable opportunity that could change everything. This new career sounds almost too good to be true, including the upcoming trip to London. She quickly learns that even the most perfect scenarios have their drawbacks, and when something sounds too good to be true, it usually is . . .

In addition to making a life-changing career choice, Maris realizes she has other decisions to make—whom to love and where to find happiness. What if neither is what she thought they should be?

About the author

melissabaldwin

Melissa Baldwin is an avid runner, planner obsessed, and has always had a love for writing. She is a wife, mother, and avid journal keeper who took her creativity to the next level by fulfilling her dream with her debut novel, An Event to Remember…or Forget. Melissa writes about charming, ambitious, and real women and is now a published author of seven Romantic Comedy novels and novellas.

When she isn’t deep in the writing zone, this multi-tasking master organizer is busy spending time with her family, chauffeuring her daughter, traveling, running, indulging in fitness, and taking a Disney Cruise every now and then.

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Does My Bump Look Big In This? by Amy Lynch

doesmybump

Length: 329 pages

Note: The cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link  for the book

What they say: the MOTHER of all comedies is due…
Newlyweds Barry and Becky are just back from their tropical honeymoon. The tans are gorgeous, and it was five star luxury all the way. But there’s a problem. Barry’s desperate for a baby, and Becky’s not quite so keen.
Surrounded by pregnant friends and a mother who’s talking about the ticking of invisible biological clocks, Becky starts to feel the pressure. When a surprise pregnancy rocks the boat, Becky’s friends and family are rooting for her all the way. Will she navigate the choppy waters to motherhood? Will she survive antenatal classes? Can she avoid stretchmarks, indigestion and her dreaded boss? And most importantly of all… does her bump look big in this?

The Review: You’ll remember I raved about Bride Without A Groom (read review here), hoping that there was a sequel coming out. How happy was I when I saw that this book was available for pre-order?! Of course then I did what I’ve done to much of and am fixing this year and put it aside and got bogged down with other stuff but I’m happy to say this book was paramount in getting me out of a really bad reading slump.

As you know I adore chick lit and this, that of the ‘Legally Blond’ and ‘Clueless’ variety, is rarely done as well as it is by Amy Lynch. I have seen it likened to the Shopaholic Series by Sophie Kinsella, and it needs to be, because these books are every bit as satisfying, fun and enjoyable as Ms. Kinsella’s (excellent) ones. Again we’re following Becky as she clip clops through life, having opinions on anything and everyone, as well as deciding exactly how everything needs to happen. I loved how you rea

There is a plethora of over the top, inappropriate jokes (I regularly laughed, trying to stop myself as I did) on getting ready to have a baby that are brave and oh-so satisfying, but never crude and again I felt like this book was tailor made with references or mentions of ‘Friends,’ ‘Big Brother,’ ‘Ghost, ‘The Snapper, ‘ ‘Mount Carmel hospital (where I was born!) and ‘Orange Is The New Black.’ Oh and Patrick Swayze, but I’ll lower my head for that particular reference!  This seems like a short review but I think I’ve made my point, you’ll know.

My finishing point is that they say that the sign of a good book is that you want to press it into the hands of others and actually I have a number of people who will adore this. This could be read as a standalone but really, if you know you’ll like it, why would you?! As I did. Cannot wait for Amy Lynch’s next book and I’m pretty sure I’m in for the long haul.

Rating: 5/5

Phoebe Smith’s Private Blog by Lynda Renham

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Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

First off, apologies that I, once again, have been away for so long. The only consolation is that I now have a string of reviews to share with you, many that must (MUST) be out before Christmas. First off, an author that features prominently on this blog ( reviews include Perfect Weddings , Rory’s Proposal, A Village Romance, and A Summer Romance and there’s an author interview here) with books that always make me laugh!

What they say: Fashion conscious Phoebe Smith wants only one thing: a date for the works party in six weeks’ time.  She embarks on a journey to find her man and keeps a private blog of all her disastrous encounters. But when her four-year-old nephew gets into her account, Phoebe’s problems only just begin. With Tinder calamities, a male escort and a pork pie addiction, Phoebe tackles her biggest problem: the just too irritating Harry Bloom. Come with Phoebe on her search for the perfect man and see who will accompany her to the party in this hilarious romantic comedy novel.

The review: When I read the blurb for this I was thrilled, I mean, who doesn’t want to read a book that is also choc full of blogging? So we meet Phoebe Smith, who’s having trouble in work and has broken up with the love of her life, Ashby, who has very quickly moved on to someone Phoebe has dubbed ‘Essex Earing.’ She is convinced to start a private blog where we get to see her dating experiences as they happen, and we become privy to her true opinions on friends and relatives. The comedy had me at the word ‘go’ and in particular some of the first dates made me laugh out loud.

I had one or two issues, some of the language I found to be a little crass, but then I can be a prude in this regard, also I couldn’t warm to her friends, who were a little overly ‘hoighty toity’ for me.

Look out for Malcolm, who I just loved, and, without giving too much away, I found Harry Bloom to be perfect for his role. I read this book so quickly and laughed and smiled along as I went. Very, very enjoyable, for me not quite Bridget, as all the reviews seem to say, but definitely worth a read.

Thanks so much to the author and Raucous Publishing for the book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5

thumbnail_pKTCLgh8_400x400LyndaRenham

About the author

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Lynda on Twitter   (@Lyndarenham)

 

Novella Review: Autumn at the Star and Sixpence by Holly Hepburn

autumn

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say: As autumn starts to draw in and the nights are getting darker, the fire is lit at the Star and Sixpence and Nessie and Sam start to turn their thoughts to the annual bonfire night. The village comes together every year to celebrate the turning of the season and this year is going to be extra-special.

The Review:

I may as well get started by presenting the reviews so far to get you up to speed (I would say these can be read as standalones but they’re too nice so you may as well go back!):

Snowdrops at the Star and Sixpence

Valentine’s Day at the Star and Sixpence

Summer at the Star and Sixpence

or you could preorder A Year At The Star and Sixpence which is out 29th December 2016 and read them all as one lovely book (I am quite jealous you can do this;)

Now I have to admit, I always knew the Autumn edition of this gorgeous series would be for me. I adore Autumn. We live in the country and I’m one of those annoying people who tells their kids to savour the splendour of the autumnnal colours when they grace the trees lining the roadway approaching our abode (I don’t say it in this way, it’s more like ‘LOOK’-in the manner of a school teacher- ‘now how lucky are you to live on a road that has such amazing colours on it, look at the reds, the golds, the oranges, isn’t t so beautiful, aren’t we lucky, well AREN’T WE?’ Yes I suck a bit of life out of it, but now they have started looking they do appreciate it!) , and who takes pictures of said trees before they lose it all. And so, when I approached this book, I knew I would bask in the whole gloriousness of the imagery, and bask I did. I can tell you now that this book matched ‘Snowdrops’ for me, which had been my favourite book of the Star and Sixpence so far, and perhaps surpasses it.

The romance was ramped up, with a possible love triangle, that didn’t seem to be an equal triangle, but was there all the same. Owen and Nessie made me smile and say ‘aw’ out loud (it was fine, there was nobody around!) and in general I actually began to wonder if this was the final installment (it wasn’t, the Christmas edition, available here , is the ending and I think this will be my Christmas sit down and chill out book for this year!).

As always, the goings on of the pub put me right there, as well as the locals’ involvement in the book, this time with Ruby taking my breath away. There was the added drama of Patrick, Nessie’s soon to be ex-husband, turning up, worryingly with an interest in The Star and Sixpence. Sam, as always, was on fire, and made me smile regularly, and nod along. Nessie, being Nessie, was still a bit negative for me, but it didn’t impact too much to be honest. As for the ending, a boulder formed in the bottom of my stomach that made me want to go trawling the streets for someone who had read it, asking ‘Can you believe that just happened? Can you?’ (This was where I flew to Amazon worrying that we had just been left, but we hadn’t. Phew!)

This was one of my standouts for 2016, with drama, smile out loud moments, heartache and all round gorgeousness that put Holly Hepburn as a force to be reckoned with on the romantic comedy scene.

Rating: 5/5 (if I could unread it so that I could let it all wash over me again I would!)

 

 

Novella review: Summer at the Star and Sixpence by Holly Hepburn

summeratthe

Length: 80 pages

Note: The image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say: The perfect summer novella for all fans of Cathy Bramley and Scarlett Bailey.

When sisters Sam and Nessie left the city lights to take over The Star and Sixpence pub in Little Monkham, little did they realise they’d be taking on the villagers too… 
 
Thrown in at the deep end with a wedding to organise at the same time as launching their new hotel rooms, the last thing they need is Sam’s past catching up with them.
 
As the scandal strikes, the only question is will the villagers stick their necks out for two relative newcomers? Or will Franny, the terrifying postmistress, see them gone for good… 

The Review: I have to start by apologising for posting a Summer book so late in the year, I know it bugs a lot of people to see for example Christmas reviews in Summer, and said people are possibly shaking their head at the sheer gall of me posting a Summer review when the nights have turned cold, the clock is gone back, and the leaves on the trees, are not only donning their Autumn finery, but also starting to lose it, so sorry, but anyhoo, here we go.

You know when you see an ad for a sequel and you hear ‘Theyyy’rre back!’ and there’s much clapping and excitement? Well this is how I felt when I got back to Sam and Nessie, smack bang in the middle of renovations at the Star and Sixpence (read my reviews of Snowdrops at the Star and Sixpence here and Valentine’s Day at the star and sixpence here). As usual there’s a race against time to get their charming establishment ready for an occasion, this time a wedding, with everyone doing their best of pull together to get the job done. What I love about these books is that we were invited in as if we were a resident of Little Monkham with the level of detail of both people and events making me feel like I was right there. I suppose this naturally leads to the characters, who I always feel are nicely varied, and I warmed to them all over again, in particular Franny, who surprised everyone with some unexpected opinions and a lovely speech. A ‘baddy’ presented themselves also, brilliantly done, which gave us THE insight into Sam we’ve been waiting for. I’ve always loved Sam, and this helped me understand her even more, however it did shine more of a light on Nessie also, by contrasting Sam’s vibrancy with her negativity, which was a little too much sometimes, although not enough to take away from the beautiful romance that raised its head once again.

I really enjoyed this book. I settled into it so quickly, reading on with interest to watch the glorious romance, drama and fun unfold. I’d love to tell you I can’t wait for the Autumn installment, but actually I’ve read it so I’ll be bringing you that installment on Wednesday (hint: I can’t wait to write this review!!)

Rating: 4/5

 

Beyond The Lens (Lucy Mitchell book 1) by Hannah Ellis

beyond

Please note the cover image leads to a Universal Amazon link for the book

What they say:

Who says the camera never lies?

When twenty-six-year-old Lucy Mitchell loses her job, she
momentarily loses her mind too and agrees to take part in
a reality TV show. Before she knows it she’s jetting off to a
piece of paradise on a beautiful Spanish island.
Much to her surprise, Lucy makes new friends and has
the time of her life, even indulging in a behind-the-scenes
romance with a hunky cameraman.
Convinced the production will never make it to the screen,
Lucy is on cloud nine, but she soon finds that things are not always as they seem

 

The Review: You’ll remember I reviewed Friends Like These by Hannah Ellis (read review here  ) and My Kind Of Perfect (review here and extract here) and was thrilled with how warm and relatable her characters were, and how easy it was to fall into the story lines and accompany said characters on their journeys. This book, I’m happy to say, also ticked the box in this regard, plus so many more.

We meet Lucy Mitchell, shocked by the fact that she’s just lost her job, and in the mood to rebel just a little:

‘I’d never stolen anything before in my life. I couldn’t even bring myself to take a mint from the bowl beside the till at the hairdresser, so I was quite proud of the stapler in my handbag. At first, I’d considered returning it. I’d actually retraced my steps, sure I couldn’t live with the knowledge that I was basically a common thief.’

And that’s Lucy. Someone who has the hint of a rebel inside her that has tried to conform as much as possible. I warmed to Lucy straight away, as I did with most of the characters and smiled very early on in the book as Lucy realised that she was going to take her Mum’s, who’s motto surely is ‘seize the day,’ advice and do just that. I accompanied Lucy on holidays, again, as with Ms. Ellis’ other books, walking alongside her, grinning as events unfolded, and wondering where this journey would take her personally. I enjoyed the pacing, which ambled along in a book full of warm, light hearted banter, with friendships and romances blooming all around. There was everyday, easygoing action, as the contestants completed trials to get prizes, with comedy interspersed.

I must admit I then wondered what we were catching a glimpse of when hints of mystery were flashed at us. I knew that there was something coming, and was not prepared for the twist that arose. When I saw ‘part 2’ and things began to speed up, I was beyond surprised. The twist was great, and I began to question everyone ‘we’ had met, including Adam, which came as a surprise to me. This gave me my only issue, because although I had enjoyed the first part and was taken along with it, when the pacing picked up in part 2, I did wish that part 1 had been that bit more snappy and part 2 had been prolonged, just a little.

The characters were great, ones I look forward to meeting again, the romance was every gorgeous shade of perfect, and the comedy, warmth and mystery definitely satisfied.

Rating: 4/5

About the author

Hannahellis

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The Bookshop on Rosemary Lane by Ellen Berry

thebookshoponrosemarylane

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say:

**Take a trip to the Yorkshire village of Burley Bridge, where a very special little cookbook shop is about to open its doors…**

In the beginning…

Kitty Cartwright has always solved her problems in the kitchen. Her cookbooks are her life, and there isn’t an issue that ‘Cooking with Aspic’ can’t fix. Her only wish is that she had a book entitled ‘Rustling Up Dinner When Your Husband Has Left You’.

Forty years later…

On Rosemary Lane, Della Cartwright plans to open a very special little bookshop. Not knowing what to do with the hundreds of cookbooks her mother left her, she now wants to share their recipes with the world – and no amount of aspic will stand in her way.

But with her family convinced it’s a hare-brained scheme, Della starts to wonder if she’s made a terrible decision. One thing’s for sure: she’s about to find out…

Lose yourself in Della’s world of food, family and friends. The perfect read for fans of Trisha Ashley and Carole Matthews.

 

The Review: I picked this book by chance purely on the cover and the title (I know, I know), I mean talk about hitting the spot! Little did I  know that this came from one of my top authors, Fiona Gibson (read my review of one of my favourite rom coms ever: As Good As It Gets here )

This is the story of Della Cartwright. Della lives for her family and tries her best to help anyone she can. We meet her at Rosemary cottage, her mother’s house and family home, where all is quiet following the death of her mother, Kitty. She is in shock, as she has become accustomed to driving over to visit her mother in the hospice every single day and is standing in a kitchen that hasn’t seen the amazing cooking it used to, even though it still sports the hundreds of cook books that previously brought it to life.

Now, as I said, I didn’t know that this book was written by Fiona Gibson, and it was a departure from her other books in that it was written with language that was a bit more flowery, and more descriptiveness in the surroundings, where her other books seem to be solely concentrated on humour and dialogue (although of course we are aware and sucked into the setting too!) I’ll tell you at times I wasn’t sure of the language. There’s this horribly thin line in descriptive chick lit (as I call it), where the language crosses the line to become slightly too flowery, and while it was stunning, this happened a few times here, especially as the story was so good, that of Della, struggling with her mothers death, surrounded by some pretty awful siblings, and a husband who seems to be drifting away from her. Her daughter is leaving home, and Della is lost. Cue (sound trumpet!), pretty much my favourite idea to come from a book, that of a book shop that sells only second hand cookery books. I mean, could you imagine it?

I found myself dreaming of such a shop, where so many cookery books are so freely available, at prices that aren’t as horrific as in mainstream book shops. Brilliant! I loved the interactions between Della and her husband, adored Della’s personality and strength and vivaciousness when things hit the fan, lived for the set up of her shop, including her ideas for set up (a ‘Cooking in Difficult Circumstances’ shelf was mentioned, which is pretty much my life in the kitchen!) and enjoyed the other secrets that inevitably unfolded.

All in all I really, really enjoyed, but as I said missed a little bit (there was a lot there, but not the full barage I’m used to)  of Fiona Gibson’s trade spark and ‘take it as you see it’ness. Saying that I’m in for the long haul and can’t wait to get back to Fiona Gibson’s many other books (see them here). Thanks so much to Netgalley for the book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5