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

The Sinking Chef (Pot love 2) by Sylvia Ashby @bysylvia_a

 

index 

Length:339 pages

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

What they say: Bridget Jones meets Burnt in this delightful comedy novel about a talented YouTuber and the guy who keeps trying to bring her down. Although part of a series this book is completely standalone, as are all other novels in the Pot Love Series.

In Belsize Park, London, Ashley works hard on her daily YouTube channel “The Sinking Chef”. It’s filmed right in her kitchen, so she doesn’t go out much.

James is a gruff British TV director, turned publisher, who Ashley had a crush on ages ago. She has moved on but when he calls with an offer to take her out to lunch she doesn’t say no. It’s only lunch – what can go wrong?

The day Ashley meets James for lunch and he promises her a book deal, she makes the worse decision in her life – to hide the book deal from her boyfriend, Giacomo. As things progress Ashley’s secrets mount up and other things in her life unravel. Is there a connection? And how is she going to get out of this without losing Giacomo and the life she loves?

Set in the heart of fast-paced London, The Sinking Chef is a charming story of love, recipes, secrets, and the determination to do thinks right by those you love most in your life.

 

The Review: Some things you’ll already know from my previous reviews of The Treachery of Trains (review here) and Pot Love 1 (review here):

  1. Sylvia Ashby can transport you straight to any part of the world with just a few words.
  2. Her stories are captivating and she does romance and heat like no other (swoon!)
  3. I’ve ‘met’ her through the internet and she’s beyond lovely!

So, now that’s out of the way: Pot Love 2. When I heard this was coming out I was very excited. I’ve told you all before how horrendous I am in the kitchen and so I lean towards all books where there’s talent or not shown in terms of food. I have to admit I worried a bit that it wouldn’t come close to Pot Love 1, where we watched Ashley struggle to overcome her culinary gremlins, but I needn’t have.

We begin the book (as we did last time) with a recipe, although this time it’s that of Pasta alla Puttanesca. The recipe was written in lay person’s language which really made me warm to the Pot Love series all over again. Our story, however, begins not in the kitchen, but back with Ashley. She’s wandered in error onto Mumsnet, and is speaking to a number of mothers, horrified at what she’s hearing. She has no children, but is being pressured into getting pregnant since her and the lovely Giacomo are together three years now. The comedy made me settle in, and I knew I was in for a treat.

As the story flowed on, I was reminded of how much I enjoy Ms. Ashby’s characters, with her mother, new husband and kids, who weren’t exactly au fait at showing Ashley love, then of course the lovely Giacomo and the re-introduction of her nemesis James, who I was sure was out to get her. In terms of comedy, there’s some oldies but goodies in there, from an employee who is worried about getting into trouble abandoning the phone with ‘a feeble voice saying “Hello!’ and “Is anyone there?” from the receiver,’ to Ashby’s pros and cons list for relationship issues : ‘PROS: I Can’t go back to dating I CAN’T! … CONS: I Can’t go back to dating I CAN’T!’ There is also a cookery book deal (yay to us seeing the inside of an agent’s office!), some underhanded dealings with Giacomo’s top restaurant and some backstabbing.

This is a lot perkier than either of Ms. Ashby’s previous books, and not one for people whose reviews tend to make sure to tell us all that something was fine for a book in this genre (chick lit) or that they don’t usually read books in this genre etc. For those who are fans of a good romantic comedy or chick lit book, however, this is a quirky fun read with a nice lashing of sophistication on the side. Extremely enjoyable and very much recommended.

Rating: 4.5/5

Oh by the way just to tell you that the recipes from the books are actually found in a new Pot Love Recipe book which I had to have as the recipes were written so simply even I felt I could have a go! (I’m going to make it easy for you, you’ll find it here!!)

Pps Tune in tomorrow for an excerpt from Pot Love 2!

That is all!

Pot Love by Sylvia Ashby

potlove

Length: 302 pages

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

What they say: Ashley Burkе is your average next-door girl. She lives with her boyfriend, loves her work and secretly fancies her boss.

When Ashley loses it all through no fault of her own, well, apart from snogging her boss and getting caught by his fiancée, she needs to act fast to find a new job. A lucrative vacancy comes her way – a spot on a popular day-time TV – but there is a catch. It’s a cookery spot and Ashley can’t cook to save her life.

Can learning to cook burn your heart? 

The Review: Remember Treachery of Trains (read review here)? Well at the time I saw this, which is Sylvia Ashby’s first book, and I was mesmerised but the thought of pairing Ms. Ashby’s excellent turn of phrase with cookery, a subject that I am obsessed with, mainly because I can’t! The book opens with a recipe for scrambled eggs (I ADORE when people put recipes into fiction books!), and we meet Ashley Burke, who is nervous about beginning to cook it. You might think this is unrealistic but I can totally, totally identify with this. Even though I am a stay at home Mum, my husband is the cook in the family, and every day I stand before whatever I am about to attempt to cook with apprehension. The only things that even roughly work out are the things that you can’t feed your kids more than once a week, and require simply putting in the oven (they are fine with this!) Everything else? It ends up charred (never undercooked, I don’t want to give them food poisoning!), crispy, soggy or lumpy. Things congeal that shouldn’t, and the meals always just taste  a little bit wrong (my husband is diplomatic, but did once admit he didn’t know how I try so hard and yet my food always tastes a bit off). But I digress …

Ashley’s mantra is “I’m not giving up and ordering a takeaway” and she wants to have something presentable for her very by the book boyfriend Simon, who by now banks on her not being able to put anything forward as an alternative for take-out. There are some great references in here, from Aimee Winehouse to The Truman Show to Mission Impossible to Jamie Oliver, which made the sum of all parts, the book in its entirety feel like it was custom fit for me.

Ashley is a newsreader, which gives a nice edge to the book, as she reads about politics and the like, but when something hits the fan and she needs a new job she sees the perfect presenting job. Only trouble is, it’s presenting a TV cookery show. What ensues is a book that wouldn’t let me go, as we watch Ashley begin to learn about cooking from the spell binding Giacomo, a top chef who imparts a world of knowledge about food and his native Sardinia. The depth here was enthralling and I was reeled in to experience it all, the culture, the produce, the dishes. The change of location, as in The Treachery Of Trains, was perfection as it both educated me and made me wasn’t to go travelling to see Sardinia in all it’s beauty.

I loved the humour, the descriptions, the characters (in particular her mum, who was just so vivid), the gorgeous (gorgeous) romance, the pacing, all of it. This coupled with the fact that I’ve ‘met’ Sylvia Ashby on social media and she’s so lovely, mean I’m totally in- another author to follow.

Rating: 5/5

 

 

The Treachery of Trains by Sylvia Ashby

thetreacheryoftrains

Amazon UK

Amazon US

What they say: Sky has made an abominable mistake at work. Something so awful she doesn’t dare stay in the HR office of XIM Technics for fear of being lynched by her colleagues.

So she gets on a train…

What happens when it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month, or even your year?

Sky Candy is about to find out.

The Review:  ‘The Treachery of Trains’ is listed on Amazon as a romantic comedy, but I have to admit, I wish I had a better categorisation for it, because it’s a different type of romantic comedy. This is the book for which women’s fiction was created for, one of those books that has romance and comedy in it aplenty, but also has traveling and craft beers, and stunning artistic descriptions, with more than a hint of edginess and darkness to it. There were times it reminded me of a light thriller as you moved along with Sky wandering along, not sure what to do after her calamity of a mistake. The mistake, and Sky’s working environment was brilliant, and for a while I forgot it was to change as I settled in nicely to the day to day ups and downs of a HR manager in a large firm.

We also got to see Sky in her home state, existing day to day, not really living, with hints into her life as a child which were both tragic and heartwarming and this was where the light dimmed a little, without at all affecting my enjoyment of the book. The comedy was Grade A, totally up my street, catching you unaware just when you needed it, such as Sky’s first encounter with a guy who was trying to help her, which culminated in him being locked out of his apartment and her inadvertently doing the same as she tried to help him back. And Sky was always trying to help. I think this book was possibly the best selfless heroine I have come across in some time, with a nice balance of self disbelief coupled with some lovely subtle shows of how she’s always looking out for other people, without us being belted over the head with it. The characters were brilliant, in particular her aunt and uncle, and then there was her Mum, the artist:

“I told her how I used my mum’s favourite lipstick to draw on her best silk scarf one afternoon while she was taking a nap. When she woke up she looked at the ruined lipstick and scarf, ripped a proper painting out of its frame and put the scarf in its place. ‘This is not your best work, Sky, but it’s your first. It deserves recognition,’ my Mum said.'”

All in all I adored this book. I loved the descriptions, the feeling that you didn’t know where it was going, the fact that it was light enough to be a rom com, but dark enough to not be, the twists, the turns, the love interest (who was perfection), the egos, the attitudes, mixed in with the sweetness and homeliness. Thanks so much to the author for this book in return for an honest review and I’m off to look into ‘Pot Love,’ her first book.

Rating:5/5

 

 

 

The Week Ahead In Books …

The Lost and Found of Rosy Bennett by Jan Birley

thelostandfoundlife

What they say: Rosy loved her London life – her job in a designer shop, her gorgeous West London family house and of course her gorgeous family (although young sons are enough to test anyone at times). All that disappears when, one unremarkable morning, after one unremarkable school run, her husband collapses on a crowded tube carriage and dies.
As she struggles her way through the grief, she discovers her husband’s secret life: secrets accounts, secret deals that their solicitor knew nothing of, secret debts and what looks like a secret “very close friend” at least.
Totally unprepared and suddenly in debt, Rosy is forced to leave London to start a new life with her incredibly reluctant boys in the countryside. Can angsty urban teenagers cope with farm life, let alone enjoy it? More to the point, can their mother? It’s certainly not going to be easy but when you are at rock bottom the only way is up.

Am on 60% of this at the moment and cannot tell you how this is totally doing it for me. Brilliant story-line, great great characters, coupled with an unusual premise … loving, loving, loving:)

Natalie’s Getting Married by Rosa Temple

nataliesgettingmarried

What they say: Career minded, Natalie Spencer, had never been in love. She could never understand what all the fuss was about. But when she met Jackson Humphries during Fresher’s Week at university, that all changed.
Utterly infatuated, Natalie quickly discovers the meaning of love and, before she knows it, she’s heading up the aisle – for the first time, that is.
This is a tale about four wedding dresses, a runaway groom and a girl who got so carried away, she couldn’t see true love staring her right in the face.

I have heard so so much about this and was thrilled to be offered it to review. I adore wedding stories, and this sounds like the ultimate in matrimonial craziness. Happy? Me? Very:)

The Treachery of Trains by Sylvia Ashby

thetreacheryoftrains

What they Say: Sky has made an abominable mistake at work. Something so awful she doesn’t dare stay in the HR office of XIM Technics for fear of being lynched by her colleagues.

So she gets on a train…

What happens when it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month, or even your year?

Sky Candy is about to find out.

Talk about a simple blurb that reels you in! When I was offered this I couldn’t jump high or fast enough! Really looking forward to it:)

 

The Wedding Date by Jennifer Joyce

theweddingdate

What they say: Delilah James, singleton and smoothie-addict, has six months to find a date for her oldest friend’s wedding. Oh, and to prove to her ex, best man Ben, that she has totally moved on since he dumped her out-of-the-blue nine months, eight days and seventeen hours ago…

So, with her two BFFs playing Cupid, Delilah launches herself into the high-tech, fast-paced and frankly terrifying world of dating. Luckily there’s the hot new guy at work, Adam Sinclair, to practice her flirting on – even if, as a colleague, he’s strictly off-limits!

Yet time’s running out and date after disastrous date forces Delilah to tell a little white lie – and invent a fake boyfriend! But will her secret crush on Adam ruin everything? Does she even care about Ben anymore? And is it too late to untangle her web of lies and take a real date to the wedding…?

Have also started this, and as always, Jennifer Joyce is playing a blinder. Great characters, everyday normality tinged with a nice dash of nuttiness. Brilliant!

So there you go. My week ahead. Am looking forward to every single second of it (does a little happy dance)! Anyhoo, hope you all have good reading weeks, I’d love to hear what you’ve got planned, or indeed what you’re reading at the mo. Happy Monday everyone:)

Bernadette