Second Guessing by Gail Ward Olmsted

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Length: 218 pages

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

What they say: Jill Griffin & Ben Fein are meant to be together… said no one ever!
Jill has built a successful career writing romantic ballads for many of today’s top performers. Since the tragic end of her marriage a couple years back, the 40-something single mom has all but abandoned hope for a love story of her own.
Ben is a brash, young boy-band singer seeking a solo career who hires Jill to write for him. He’s got a dark secret from his past that he wants to keep hidden.
The attraction between the two is red-hot and when Ben falls hard for Jill, he doesn’t care who knows it. Jill’s been burned before and wants to take things slow, keeping their relationship out of the glare of the media. After a gossip columnist exposes their affair, she’s forced to decide if she can risk letting go of her past in order to build a life with Ben.
When Ben’s past makes headlines, Jill begins to wonder how well she really knows him. But as Ben climbs to the top of the pop charts, he’s determined to succeed… at convincing Jill to take a second chance on love.
Second Guessing is the love story of Jill and Ben, who are so wrong for each other that they may actually be right!

The Review: I previously read the brilliant  Driving On The Left by this author and knew that again I’d be stepping outside of my comfort zone, moving more to romance as opposed to a book that provides the laughs I generally crave, but again I beyond enjoyed!

This is the story of Jill Griffin, who I’m assuming people met in Guessing At Normal which I hadn’t read. I read this book as a standalone and totally enjoyed it that way! I have to admit when I started reading I was thrilled with the music aspect, as Jill was arranging a tribute concert for her husband (from Guessing at Normal). Ben is one of the lead acts in this concert and him and Jill are soon seeing each other to the excitement of the media. I have to admit I was quite protective of Jill at first and not very trusting, and was thrilled when the author gave us Ben’s pov. The pacing in this book was excellent with something happening around each corner, bandmates in mutiny, crazed fans-the lot! I absolutely flew through the book and was very satisfied at the end. Thanks to the Lovely Ms. Ward Olmsted for the book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5

About the author

gail

Like JEEP TOUR’s main character Jackie Sullivan, I am a professor of marketing. I have taught at the college level for twenty years.  A hopeless romantic, I am married to the love of my life. I am a mom to two young adults and two cats and enjoy reading, music and travel.

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Driving on the Left by Gail Ward Olmsted

 

drivingontheleft

Length: 262 pages

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

What they say: 

A trip of a lifetime and a love that changes everything…

Becca Colby was not expecting to fall in love while vacationing in Ireland with her mother, yet she falls hard for sexy tour guide Sean Donovan. He’s everything she never knew she wanted, but a summer fling is a complication that she really doesn’t need right now. Becca’s got a life waiting for her back home, but Sean may be just too good to resist.

Her mom Jackie knows all too well how a seductive stranger can change the entire course of your life, so how can she advise her daughter to resist Sean’s charms? And besides, Jackie has a problem of her own. She needs to decide just how much she is willing to sacrifice for the man she loves.

Driving on the Left celebrates the unbreakable bond between mother and daughter: two women with only one week to make decisions that will affect the rest of their lives as they travel through the beautiful Irish countryside.

The Review: I actually read this a long while ago, in an early iteration and promptly put it on my list to review as soon as it was released. Needless to say it languished in my ‘tbr’ (to be reviewed) pile and today it’s up  along with the greatest of apologies to the author for letting it slip through the net.

From the blurb this is the story of Becca, a young girl on a trip to Ireland with her mother, but actually I’d put this more as Jackie’s story, as she muses over her own past love life, and watches her daughter grow up. I loved both characters, but was thrilled to have an older character to follow, as for a while there all I seemed to see were twenty and thirty somethings and I began to wonder what I’D read in the future (approaching thirty eight now and am starting to see many more light reads with older characters /mothers).

This is an Irishy road trip, with light humour and interesting characters as the pair follow a trail, taking in Irish countryside and meeting people as they go. The people on the bus are easy to warm to and provide a lot of entertainment. I’ll be honest, Sean wasn’t totally my cup of tea but I liked what his presence led to. Actually, it was a book I thought of a few times after I finished, picturing the bus of characters chatting and laughing as they wound around scenic roads. This was a very easy read, that rambles along with many enjoyable moments. Definitely recommended.

Rating: 4.5/5

#Blogtour #Giveaway Izzy As Is by Tracie Banister

Totally I’m thrilled to be part of the blog tour for the excellent Izzy As Is by the brilliant Tracie Banister!

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izzyasis

Length: 351 pages

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

What they say: The party is over for bikini model Izzy Alvarez. For six years she’s made a good living by flaunting her God-given assets on runways and in front of cameras, but now as she approaches the big 3-0, the bodacious Latina is shocked to learn she’s aged out of the profession that’s kept her in mojitos, mani/pedis, and designer thongs. What’s a girl with a taste for the finer things in life and no marketable skills to do?

Getting a regular job is too boring to even consider, so Izzy decides to follow in the footsteps of her newly-engaged frenemy and become a trophy wife. Although she’s desperate and too broke to get a chipped nail fixed, Izzy still has standards for her future husband, which means no uggos, no vertically-challenged guys, and no geezers who need to pop a blue pill to perform in the bedroom. Enlisting the aid of her computer whiz nephew and her closest pals, Izzy goes on the prowl for a rich, marriage-minded man, encountering likely candidates in a lot of unlikely places.

The high life she’s dreamed of may be within reach when Izzy meets a charming, successful man who’s not only hotter than a steamy summer night in Miami, but ready to settle down. Now all Izzy has to do is make sure her loud, crazy Cuban family doesn’t scare off el hombre perfecto—oh, yeah, and squelch those pesky, romantic feelings she keeps having for the sweet, cash-strapped guy she’s known forever. Will Izzy’s hunger for money win out, or will her fiery heart demand to be heard?

Review: I recently gushed about Mixing It Up (review here ) but even before that I loved In Need of Therapy (read review here), which was the first book about one of the Alveraz sisters. This is the second (please God let there be more to come!), and I love it even more! As you can see this is all about Izzy, a model who, on opening, is being told by a nervous agent named Marty that she is outside of the age bracket that is preferred for her type of modelling career. Cue ott reacions that made me settle down and enjoy straight away. I was thrilled then to become re acquainted with her family, who are as loud and bright as ever, with the scowling Ana, the lovely Pilar and their mother, who more than contributed to Izzy’s knowledge of how to get her own way, as well as their lovely father, who has quite a job keeping things under control. All the characters in this book jumped off the age, they were bright, fresh and hilarious, with the banter non stop and brilliant.

Characters make a book for me and her friends were also the perfect mix of crazy and sensible, and then there were those int he side lines too, including more than one or two Izzy was willing to flirt with, again with banter that made me grin and nod along, especially when Izzy sadly realised that it wasn’t quite the time to be flirting. In terms of the story, this had it all, there were blind dates that really didn’t work out and love interests you wanted, and others you didn’t, with my type of comedy going bam, bam, bam all over the place, (I loved that there was actually a nice little lump pf mom lit thrown in as Izzy babysat and ended up being minded herself!) mixed with pacing perfection! The romance was excellent, although to be honest, me being the prude that I am, I could have probably lived without the sex scenes, but they didn’t take away from the book. As for Izzy? Well she was chick lit perfection, never being afraid to say what she thought, being cheeky and selfish but ultimately, such a good person too.

I hearted this book so much. Very highly recommended. Thanks so much to the author for the book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

RELEASE WEEK BLITZ GIVEAWAY: Purchase a copy of Izzy As Is during release week (January 24th-30th, 2018) and you could win a fantastic prize pack inspired by the book’s sassy Latina heroine (nail polish, jewelry, and mojitos are some of her favorite things) and the beachy setting in Miami. People who purchased Izzy during the pre-order period are also eligible for the giveaway!

IzzyReleaseWeekGiveaway

This prize pack includes:

Deco Miami Custom Trio Set of Nail Lacquer with

Champagne Mami, Feeling Fuego, and Señorita Betsey Johnson Peacock Feather Earrings

Gift Republic Mojito Cocktail Scented Candle Coconut Scented Gift Set from The Body Shop

(inc. Shower Gel, Body Scrub, Body Butter, Soap, and Bath Lily)

Bella Pilar Gem-Topped Gold Pen

She Spiral Notepad Set by Kate Spade New York (Quotes on Notepads: 1 – She believed she could, so she did. 2 – “How many shades of red lipstick do you need,” they asked. “That question,” she replied, “is complex and intriguing.” 3 – She adores pretty things and witty words.)

To enter this giveaway, e-mail Tracie Banister at traciebanister@gmail.com with your proof of purchase. Entries will be accepted until midnight on January 30th, 2018 when a winner will be selected via random drawing. This is an international giveaway, so anyone who buys Izzy As Is within the allotted time frame is eligible to win. Good luck!

AUTHOR BIO:

tracie

An avid reader and writer, Tracie Banister has been scribbling stories since she was a child, most of them featuring feisty heroines with complicated love lives like her favorite fictional protagonist Scarlett O’Hara. Her work was first seen on the stage of her elementary school, where her 4th grade class performed an original holiday play she penned. (Like all good divas-in-the-making, she also starred in and tried to direct the production.)

Tracie’s dreams of authorial success were put on the backburner when she reached adulthood and discovered that she needed a “real” job in order to pay her bills. Her career as personal assistant to a local entrepreneur lasted for 12 years. When it ended, she decided to follow her bliss and dedicate herself to writing full-time. She is the proud winner of the 2017 Independent Press Award (Romantic Comedy) and a Bronze Medal in the 2017 Readers’ Favorite Awards (Chick Lit). Although Tracie swore she’d never write a sequel to any of her books, the character of Izzy Alvarez, who first appeared in In Need of Therapy, would not be denied. Izzy As Is is Tracie’s fifth novel, and she hopes readers enjoy this return trip to Miami.

CONNECT WITH TRACIE:

Author Newsletter – The Banister Buzz

Blog http://traciebanister.blogspot.com/

Twitter @traciebanister

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/tracie.banister

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/traciebanister/

Goodreads

Prosecco Christmas (Pot Love Book 3) by Sylvia Ashby

proseccoLength: 274 pages

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

What they say:

Family is where life begins.
And what better time to spend with your family than Christmas week?

Ashley and Giacomo go to Upper Swainswick, a postcard village ten minutes’ drive from Bath, to stay with Ashley’s mum and stepdad. It’s their last visit before the arrival of their first child.

But babies have a habit of being unpredictable.

So when Ashley goes into labour on Christmas Eve, three weeks ahead of schedule, it takes everyone by surprise.
She’s not ready! Her perfect Birth Plan is packed away in her hospital bag two hundred miles away, she has no going home outfit, and she has a live event planned for New Year’s Eve for her YouTube channel, The Sinking Chef. People have been signing up for it for weeks. She can’t possibly disappoint them on the last day of the year. What is she to do?

The tinsel gets even more tangled when Giacomo’s parents decide to fly from Italy to meet their first grandchild. Hotels are fully booked, so everyone has to stay under the same roof.

Would eleven people in the house, not counting the baby, turn out to be simply too much for Ashley?

The review: You’ll remember I adored The Treachery of Trains (review is here ), gobbled up Pot Love 1 (review here ), hosted an extract of Pot Love 2 here and gushed about it  here so I was thrilled to see this on Amazon and jumped for it.

We’re back with the brilliant Ashley and the lovely Giacomo who are preparing for their first child. As you can see they are prepared, but all their preparations have gone slightly to pot (pun intended!), as Ashley ends up in labor far away from everything she felt she needed to give birth. This is a mini review as I devoured this as my Christmas read, but as a result feel I need to review before the new year, as some people will still be looking for the book to accompany the end of their festivities.

Saying that this is actually a book you could read after Christmas without any grievances- the family mayhem is indicative of that of a family home at Christmas as they get visitor after visitor and yet a lot of it could be any family gathering, especially given that you’re so enraptured with the beautiful cooking (recipes are still a part of this offering, yay!) and taken up by the drama unfolding and the excellent, excellent humour (special mention for Paolo’s letter declaring basically that he’s off!), that I’d have read this any time of the year.

Saying that the descriptions of a sharp winter’s night are perfection as they bundle into a car to get Ashley to the hospital on time, the craziness is epic (we’ve all had ‘just one more thing’ to get in the shops on the worst day of the year to be there), the romance is varied and beautiful, the characters brimming with quirks and the food delicious. Right up my street and very much recommended.

Rating: 5/5

#minireview It Doesn’t Show Signs of Stopping by Geralyn Corcillo

itdoesntshowLength: 71 pages

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

What they say: In this 12K short story, Los Angeles jazz club owner Dan Allport has been flirting with Tanya Diaz via text for months, ever since he met her that one day she was in town last fall. But she had to fly back to New Orleans, where she runs a center for troubled teens, and it seems so unlikely that they’ll ever get to see one another again. But then on Christmas Eve, Tanya gets the chance to go see Dan. If she can make it through a storm up from the gulf, an unexpected adventure with two teenagers, and the unpredictable calamities of flaming rum punch, she just might get to do more than texting with Dan this Christmas.

The review: I  read ‘4 In The Afternoon,’ a gorgeous collection of short stories, before (review here), and A Drackenfall Christmas last year (see review here and actually it’s FREE at the moment!) and fell in love with the wistfullness and beauty and yet strength of Ms. Corcillo’s writing. As a result how excited was I to see this, a short story ‘It Doesn’t Show Signs Of Stopping,’ at a time when I was a bit snowed under (purposely done!), with books. (This is not a bad way to be but sometimes a short can just rejuvenate a little!).

I read this, as all Christmas reads should be, by the fire on a particularly cold night when the kids were in bed. Given the length, I flew through, smiling, nodding and biting my lip at the story of Dan and  Tanya’s meeting and the subsequent whirlwind romance that took place long distance. We see a chase that is true chick lit perfection, with insights into the great characters of Tanya, who is polished and yet also kick-ass, and Dan, a jazz club owner that was, well I can only say dreamy! I spent the whole story wondering how they could make it work, got sidelined with unexpected action and swooned at the gorgeousness and yet sass of it all. Totally my type of short! My only regret is that I still haven’t got to the first books of this series, although I will go look them out and feel I didn’t need to read them first!

Rating: 5/5

It Had To Be You by Keris Stainton

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Length: 240 pages

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

What they say: Twenty-five-year-old Bea is a hopeless romantic with a hopeless love life – until now. New beau Dan ticks all the boxes: he’s good-looking, kind and thoughtful. The complete opposite of Bea’s ex, who once threw her out in the middle of the night when she was ill so she didn’t disrupt his sleep.

So when her friends point out that she and Dan don’t have fireworks, Bea ignores them. Dan is the whole package. And yet Bea can’t stop comparing him to her best friend Henry… Because Dan doesn’t get Bea’s jokes. Or like books. Or make her laugh until she can’t breathe. Or become speechless when Bea puts on her favourite black dress for a night out…

As time goes on, Bea can’t shift the feeling that something just isn’t right. On paper Dan is the perfect man. But in reality… Will Bea be brave enough to ask for more from life – and get the fireworks she deserves?

A laugh-out-loud romantic comedy for fans of Giovanna Fletcher, Cate Woods, and Mhairi McFarlane.

The Review: You might remember I raved about Keris Stainton in my review for ‘If you Could See Me Now’ (review here ) and said I had to had to had to get back to her other books. After reading this I totally stand by that comment!

It is the story of Bea, who has decided that a guy she meets, Dan, is actually the man of her dreams. There’s a bit more to this than meets the eye but it may make my review a spoiler if I say what the full premise of the book is, given that it’s not in the blurb, so I’ll skip on by! Bea is that chick lit character that you have to love, she’s odd and properly quirky, with a running commentary in her head as she goes around (loved it!).

We meet  her lovely (lovely!) workmate, Henry (they work in a bookshop, which was excellent and gives rise to loads of actually hilarious incidents). I smiled from very early on in the book and settled in quickly, totally savouring every-single-word. I adored the conversations Bea and Henry had on couples entering the bookshop, trying to decode every movement, every word to see if they thought they were long term or not and loved then how these thoughts seeped into her own dating life. My only beef would be that there’s a lot of characters in it, which I’m normally a huge fan of, but to be honest at times I found there to be too many people in her friend circle and I got confused.

I really can’t tell you too much about it all, there’s plenty of brilliant humour, some gorgeous romance and settings that are so vivid you’re there with Bea as she muddles along in a manner so realistic that you’re cringing, empathizing and getting mad as if it were you or someone you knew! All in all a great book, and at the moment only £0.99, so I’d go get to be honest!

Thanks to Netgalley and Bookouture for this book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4.5/5

 

A Season of Hopes and Dreams by Lynsey James

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Length: 384 pages

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

What they say:

A heart-warming romance about hopes and dreams, perfect for fans of Carole Matthews, Milly Johnson and Cathy Bramley.

A season of second chances…

It’s been a difficult year for Cleo Jones. The car accident that crushed her leg didn’t just destroy the village baker’s dreams of becoming a dancer, but crushed her confidence too. And recovering from that has been harder than healing from any number of broken bones…

But this season is going to be different. Life is turning around for Cleo! Maybe it’s the invitation from her childhood bully to their high-school reunion that’s shocked her out of a ten-year slump. Or joining Carb Counters and finally starting to shed the weight she’d piled on during her recovery – or maybe it’s catching the eye of her gorgeous personal trainer!

Whatever the answer, this is going to be a feeling she never forgets… watch out world, Cleo Jones is finally fighting back!

The review: Apologies as this is so overdue-I meant to post this a while ago but it hovered about in my draft’s folder. First off I have to say if there’s any author out there in this genre (romantic comedy) that I have heard gushed about the most on social media, Lynsey James has to be it. People are always talking about how spot on she is with descriptions, comedy and romance and I have to agree!

This is the story of Cleo Jones, who is crumbling as she receives letters of rejection from institutions to teach dance. We learn that Cleo was in a car accident and as a result has lost her ability to dance, something that was the universe to her. I nodded along with Cleo from the start, impressed that a character who’s going through such an ordeal can still show what a lovely person she is!

Cleo finds a bucket list that she wrote when she was younger and it sparks some fight in her. She can no longer perform in the West End and Broadway as previously wished, but maybe she CAN achieve other things. And so begins Cleo’s lovely, inspiring story, where she plans to rid herself of the demons that have been hounding her since the accident, including food issues, and school bullies.

There was so much I loved about this book. I loved the friendships, that unfolded nicely as the story went on, the romance was excellent, as I myself fell head over heels for the love interest! The characters were very well done, with a range of them introduced through Cleo’s Carb Counters group, a group that gave some fantastic comedy moments. But Cleo was always the standout for me. That someone in a book could be so shy and yet endearing and lovely was very impressive, both as a reader and writer (yes I do review as a writer too, the two of them kind of go hand in hand!). There are some tough issues dealt with, especially in relation to Cleo’s food issues, but they’re done sensitively and nicely fit into the warm, easy-going tone of the book.

I cannot WAIT to read  A Winter’s Wish Come True (and then return to Ms. James’ other books which can be found here on Amazon) Apologies for the lateness of the post, it was due some time ago, and I just wish I’d got to it sooner. Thanks so much to HQ digital for this book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4.5/5