#BlogTour #BookReview Sisterly Love by Michelle Vernal

Today I’m beyond excited to be part of the blog tour for the brilliant ‘Sisterly Love’ by Michelle Vernal!

Sisterly Love

Sisterly Love - High Resolution - Version 2

Length: 349 pages

Purchase Links

Amazon UK

Amazon US

What they say:

Nobody’s Perfect Are They?

Rebecca Loughton’s bumbled her way through her thirty-something years making a few cock-ups along the way. Of course, these wouldn’t be so obvious if it wasn’t for her golden haired, older sister Jennifer.

In a bid to escape Jennifer’s lengthy shadow and to find her happy ever after Rebecca, high-tails it out of her hometown of Christchurch to the other side of the world landing a legal secretary job in the buzzing city of Dublin. A few drinks later, all she has to show for her new life is an embarrassing one-night stand and a dollop of flirtatious banter with her boss Ciaran, who just happens to have a predatory receptionist in hot pursuit of him.

Amidst plans of preventing such a merger, Rebecca receives news that Jennifer’s picture perfect life has a big, fat crack down the middle of it in the form of a philandering husband. Summoned home to look after her sister’s children and cooking school while she works on her marriage, Rebecca finds the reality of looking after two young children along with the bizarre array of guests booked into the cooking school grim. The only bright spot on her horizon are Ciaran’s e-mails but then she meets David Seagar whom she thinks might just be the ending to her happy ever after but will he prove to be far from perfect too?

The Review

So we meet Rebecca, who’s been drafted in by her sister to look after the kids after said sister’s marriage breaks down to fly back to their home town (Rebecca moved to Ireland some time ago) in Cristchurch.  I have to start by saying all settings were excellent, in particular the finer details, her home household with it’s Addam’s family type portrait, her apartment in Dublin (me: yay-it’s set in Dublin!), or her sister’s decadent family house.

The comedy and smart remarks were totally me, the fact that there was two kids present to send everything in a spin and that her and her ‘try-to-get-out-of-anything’ friend, Melissa, was helping mind them? Just brilliant.

Now I’ll admit I had tiny issues, Rebecca wasn’t always the world’s most likeable protagonist and I’d say the book was more comedy than romance (I didn’t totally believe any of the romance to be honest), but all in all I loved this book, with it’s non stop pacing and bam, bam, bam approach to everything that happened. Any issues I found in terms of believably were miniscule and didn’t dampen my enthusiasm for a book I absolutely DEVOURED, nodding along and smiling, in just a few hours. I’ll most definitely look forward to making my way through this author’s back catalogue.

I’ll never forget when Cher Lloyd was first on the X Factor, and after one of her particularly amazing performances, Cheryl said (puts on Cheryl accent:)”You’re right up my street you are” (or something close to that anyhoo!). THAT is how I feel about this book.

Thanks so much to Rachel’s Random Resources for this book in return for an honest review and of course for allowing me to be part of the blog tour.

Rating: 4.5/5

About the author

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Hello, my name is Michelle Vernal, and by way of introduction, I’m Mum to Josh and Daniel and am married to the super supportive Paul. We live in the garden city of Christchurch, New Zealand with our three-legged, black cat called Blue. BC (before children) Paul and I lived and worked in Ireland, the experiences we had there have flavoured my books.

I’ve always written, but it was only after my first son was born that I decided to attend a creative writing course at Canterbury University. Oh the guilt dropping him at pre-school so I could learn the basics of story writing, but oh the joy of having conversation to contribute other than the price of nappies that week! The first piece I ever penned post course was published by a New Zealand parenting magazine. I went on to write humorous; opinion styled pieces of my take on parenting, but when the necessity for being politically correct got too much, I set myself the challenge of writing a novel. Six books later and a publishing deal with Harper Impulse here I am. These days I write for a North Canterbury lifestyle magazine and my latest book Sweet Home Summer has just been released by Harper Impulse.

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From Manhattan with love 3: Miracle on 5th Avenue by Sarah Morgan

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Length: 352 pages

As always the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say:

Hopeless romantic Eva Jordan loves everything about Christmas. Even if she is spending it alone housesitting a spectacular Fifth Avenue apartment. What she didn’t expect was to find the penthouse still occupied by its gorgeous–and mysterious–owner.

Bestselling crime writer Lucas Blade is having the nightmare before Christmas. With a deadline and the anniversary of his wife’s death looming, he’s isolated himself in his penthouse with only his grief for company. But when the blizzard of the century leaves Eva snowbound in his apartment, Lucas starts to open up to the magic she brings…This Christmas, is Lucas finally ready to trust that happily-ever-afters do exist?
The review: At the end of the last book I read by Sarah Morgan I have to admit I was a little bit worried. I was afraid I was getting too old, or perhaps too cynical or something for Sarah Morgan’s gorgeous books, and by that reasoning all of chick lit (I know, drama queen!). This made me hold off on reading this for some time, which was a pity! I am thrilled to say this book brought me back to the magic and sparkle that have always surrounded me as I swallowed her work, book by book (maybe I was coming down with something last time?!)

Anyhoo the book begins with a lovely foreword by Ms. Morgan, that readied me for the off and made me smile and get comfy. Miracle on 5th Avenue follows the same format as before (if it ain’t broke, etc, etc!), with ingenious quotes from each of the characters starting us out. I remembered the characters straight away and listened as Paige and Eva discussed a Christmas proposal as part of their business Urban Genie. Their business and everything surrounding the business was so interesting and I loved their dedication and excitement (it was more professional than I remembered last time too). What was even better, though, was the comedy and the great atmosphere that came when the friends were together, with Eva, Paige and Frankie constantly making me smile.

Eva was working on decorating a writer’s (yes!) apartment for Christmas while he was away. The only thing is, he’s not away, he’s hiding out from his family, who are worried about him, as he struggles with writer’s block for a book that he hasn’t begun which is due imminently. I loved everything about Lucas’ story. I loved that he was a horror writer, which gave an unexpected layer of darkness that fit well into a warm, sparkling book such as this. I could picture him straight away, and warmed quickly to his indifferent, sometimes seemingly cold (I knew that wasn’t really him!) interior, that spilled out when he just wanted to get writing (we’ve all been there!) Their meeting was perfection although I did wonder how it was going to spin out into the length of a book. Enter a storm and a number of issues that meant that everything had to happen as I hoped it would (most entrancing romance and hottest chemistry I’ve read in some time) !

So to recap: Excellent characters, realistic scenarios that forced events to unfold (yes they could happen!), Lucas’ dark writing and romantic past, Ms. Morgan’s trademark descriptions that invoked both magic and wonder, comedy that was bang on the mark, gorgeous romance and sizzling, phenomenal chemistry made for one unputdownable, satisfying book.

Thanks (a million!) to Netgalley for this book in return for an honest review. By the way I read this in one night and it was in February, sitting by the fire as it was frosty outside. Apologies for not posting before now-it may be a Christmas read but Christmas doesn’t take over the full book, most is within Lucas’ apartment. Saying that I’d definitely read as a Christmas one as I can, just because, you know, it’s Sarah Morgan! Also can totally be read as a standalone. And sorry for the gushing but this book was like coming home for me.
Rating:5/5

Blog Tour: Review: The Second Chance Cafe in Carlton Square by Lilly Bartlett

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Amazon UK

Amazon US

What they say:

Everyone expects great things from Emma Billings, but when her future gets derailed by an unexpected turn of events, she realizes that getting back on track means traveling in a different direction.

She finds it in the closed-down pub on Carlton Square. Summoning every ounce of ingenuity, and with the help of her friends and family, she opens the Second Chance Café. The charity training business is meant to keep vulnerable kids off the streets and (hopefully) away from the Metropolitan Police, and her new employees are full of ideas, enthusiasm … and trouble. They’ll need as much TLC as the customers they’re serving.

This ragtag group of chancers have to make a go of a business they know nothing about, and they do get some expert help from an Italian who’s in love with the espresso machine and a professional sandwich whisperer who reads auras, but not everyone is happy to see the café open. Their milk keeps disappearing and someone is canceling the cake orders, but it’s when someone commits bloomicide on all their window boxes that Emma realizes things are serious. Can the café survive when NIMBY neighbors and the rival café owner join forces to close them down? Or will Emma’s dreams fall as flat as the cakes they’re serving?

The Review: Today is my stop on The Second Chance Café in Carlton Square, the second in the Carlton Square series. Here we meet Emma Billings, who is refurbishing an old pub, with a plan for it to become a café that will help the locality, in part by taking on employees who need a little bit of help. I always love stories where there’s a big job to be undertaken to start a new place, and so I was happy out! This is an interesting book, kind of mom lit where we see Emma with the kids meets cosy read, where we experience all the goings on in setting up and being in the café.

There were a myriad of characters, so so many and this was the reason I wish I’d read the first-so that I could have gotten to know them earlier, and in more detail. The characters range from her family, with a great group of older characters, in particular her lovely Dad, to her friends, a very varied group of mothers who I liked in places and perhaps found a little loud in others, and of course her employees and customers. In fact it is because of all these characters that I wouldn’t recommend this as a standalone.

So. Emma’s feeling overwhelmed with this big task because she also has very young twins and feels everything is left to her (I agreed with this in places but then also found Emma to be a tad ott on that front in others, just because I loved Daniel!) The book on the whole was very enjoyable, I couldn’t believe the sabotage when it came, hitting us hard and fast and I couldn’t wait to see  the end result. The whole book was like this, always something happening, which was great in places, and then in others I kind of wished we could slow down a little, in particular for the parts I really enjoyed.  All in all a very enjoyable read, not always my cup of coffee, but most definitely one that will appeal to so many! Thanks so much to Michele Gorman and Harper Impulse for the ARC in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5

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About the author

Michele Gorman square (2015_02_13 17_34_58 UTC)

Lilly Bartlett’s cosy romcoms are full of warmth, quirky characters and guaranteed happily-ever-afters.

Lilly is the pen-name of Sunday Times and USA Today best-selling author, Michele Gorman, who writes best friend-girl power comedies under her own name.

Website: www.michelegorman.co.uk
Blog: http://michelegormanwriter.blogspot.com
Instagram: @michelegormanuk
Twitter: @MicheleGormanUK
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