Escape to Oakbrook Farm: A wonderfully uplifting romantic comedy (Hope Cove Book 2) by Hannah Ellis

escapetoakbrook

Length: 322 pages

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

What they say: Village life is supposed to be quiet…

Josie Beaumont is a free spirit. She changes jobs about as often as she changes her relationship status. Frequently! The only constants in her life are the comfy old shoes that she refuses to part with.

When unemployment looms again, she’s intrigued by a job opportunity at a dog kennels in rural Devon. As someone who thrives on change, a move to the sticks doesn’t faze her at all. She’s expecting life in the country to be quiet and uneventful.

What she’s not expecting is Sam.

The charming, sensitive neighbour makes life much more interesting. In fact, when she gets involved in the local community, things really aren’t as dull as she anticipated. But just when she finally feels settled, she’s offered the job of her dreams back in London. It’s time to move on.

Or is it?

Being part of a small community has stirred something in Josie and she begins to question what she really wants. Can she turn her back on her new life and say goodbye to Sam? Or is she ready to hang up her running shoes and stay put? Maybe she’s finally found something worth sticking around for…

The Review: There are a multitude of ways you can see an author’s writing spring to life that isn’t just from the book itself, in fact, this is the reason that I buy more books on the basis of guest posts or interviews or a writer’s review of a book. Here, the dedication itself was enough to make me swoon and settle down, glad I was reading another one of Hannah Ellis’ gorgeous books (Note: the dedication was “To Dua, You deserve the world … here’s a book instead.” Isn’t that so lovely!)

And indeed we are back to another gorgeous book, amazing given that Hannah ( I know her well from being an all round helpful and motivational writerly person on social media and in a writer group we both inhabit) has been probably one of my most reviewed authors on this blog. (You would assume at some stage I wouldn’t connect with a book, as what are the chances I feel so smiley and excited after all her books, but there you go!!)

Here is the story of Josie who we meet at a wedding at the start of her book, dressed in her bridesmaid’s dress and a pair of Converse, speaking to the best man, Sam. Josie has just broken up with her boyfriend and is shocked that she feels a sort of pull towards Sam, given that she’s assuming the break up is just another glitch and they’ll be back together very soon. I have to admit the banter, and Sam in particular, drew me in and I was keen to see where this would go.

Josie was a lovely character too, only changing when we see her with her on/off boyfriend, which reminded me a little of the film ‘The Break Up’ (it always gets me thinking about balancing being naggy and not having to do everything yourself), but soon her and her boyfriend are back together even though she’s agreeing to move to Devon during the week to work in Annette’s dog kennels.

This was another lovely touch. Happy as I was to move to the countryside and enjoy the quirks of country life (in particular the creepy laneways when walking home from the pub and indeed the pub itself with a whole new range of friends for Josie), I was THRILLED that she was going to be working with dogs. The book moved nicely for me and I enjoyed the new friends, the banter, the settings,the drama and the many, many smile along moments. I will admit that just after middle I felt a lull and was afraid nothing would happen but then we went to the one place I’d forgotten we could go and one of the character’s reactions smarted and shocked me! In terms of comedy there were a few very well done, nicely timed moments that had me nodding along. All in all a great book but I’d advise you to move back to the start of the series, to book 1  just to savour it all and meet some other characters that pop up here (here’s my gush about  The Cottage At Hope Cove which seems to be FREE at the moment-get it here on Amazon!). Thanks so much to the author for the book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4.5/5

About the author

Hannahellis

Hannah Ellis lives in Munich with her husband and two little boys. She’s originally from England and has also lived in America, Australia and Ireland. As well as writing, she also teaches English to kindergarten kids. In her spare time she likes to read books, drink tea and eat chocolate. She goes jogging regularly but hasn’t decided if she really enjoys it or not. She’s a huge fan of sunshine and the many Munich beer gardens.

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#ChickLitMay The End!

This is just the quickest post ever to say thanks so much for sticking with me through #chicklitmay! I didn’t get everything done I wanted to, but a lot of reading was done and in fact I have two more reviews to come in the next few days, The Last Laugh by Tracie Bloom, which I’m devouring at the mo, and The Mum Who’d had enough by my now favourite author Fiona Gibson (spoiler, it’s a five star). I’ve also plans to get to all the books I got when stacking the shelves the other week.

#chicklitmay was great as it got me fully back into jumping for romantic comedies and chick lit, and appreciating laughing out loud and bright colours and Summery series, which I had totally strayed away from. It was detrimental that I had done this as obviously I write chick lit and it would only take a short amount of time before this side of my writer’s brain would be switched off (I honestly believe reading the genre that you write is essential). I never say never but I don’t know that I’d ever write thrillers, I adore them now, but I think some people have amazing wiring that allows them to think up plot twists that are actually viable, and characters that are believable and that have dimensions to them and make us believe it all. I have seen thrillers where it didn’t work and I’d hate to contribute. Add also of course that I feel the need to make something inappropriate happen at every stage of writing, someone falls, hits into someone, vomits (sorry, but has happened in the first two books and in the book I’m writing at the mo, she is very drunk and I really can’t say she’s not going to get sick into someone’s bag, it just seems inevitable:() etc, so no, this is my genre and I’m thrilled that I’m excited about being back to it. Saying that of course an absense of something makes your heart long for it and I’m going to be reading One Click by Andrea Mara and No Safe Place by Patricia Gibney next.

I am sorry, I had expected #chicklitmay to be something more mesmerizing than it turned out to be, and I know I in no way stand up to the bloggers that push themselves all in to a month or a theme (I bow to them actually, especially when I think of for example Jen Med and her Bookouture time), and there’s no way I converted anyone, but I hope you got some form of enjoyment anyhoo:)

 

The Cottage at Hope Cove by Hannah Ellis #chicklitmay #bookreview

thecottageathope

Length: 337 pages

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

What they say:

Lizzie Beaumont has it all: a great career, a wealthy fiancé, and the wedding of her dreams just months away. But when her fiancé puts work before her again, she sets off for a week in the picturesque town of Hope Cove. She’s hoping for time away from the chaos to find herself.

Instead, she finds Max.

When the gorgeous guy next door asks her for decorating help, Lizzie finds herself all too eager to please. The week she expected to drag suddenly flies by, and before she knows it, she has to return to her other life. The life with the impending marriage and the fiancé she loves.

Or does she?

One week with Max has left her questioning her life choices. Is her fiancé the man of her dreams, or just the man who asked? Now Lizzie must decide what her life will be. Will she go for the safe and predictable route, or take a chance on a man she hardly knows? No matter what she does, someone’s heart is going to break. She just doesn’t want it to be hers.

Review: And now, as they say, for something, well not completely different, but still! We start off seeing Elizabeth Beaumont and her boyfriend Max discussing their wedding in passing as they try to find time to spend with each other in the midst of busy careers. I loved seeing Eliazabeth’s work in a magazine and could understand her passion for a job. They’re supposed to finally take a holiday together but then, again, work stops Max but he convinces her to head off on her own to the lovely Hope Cove. And it was lovely:

“The village streets were narrow and dotted with bright white cottages with neatly thatched roofs. When she reached the bay she stopped the car and gazed out. A full moon hung over the water, and the sea sparkled beautifully in its reflected glow.”

I fell in love with Hope Cove in the same way I’d enjoyed hearing of her time at the magazine, and gobbled up the fantastic setting. And then we met Max. I have to admit I wasn’t so sure about him at the start but then, on saying that it’s been some time since my stomach has leapt around solely from the mesmerizing romance in a book. I was so torn. Both of them were due to marry and yet the pull of the chemistry and connection between the two of them was so strong that I still wanted them to get together.

I loved Elizabeth becoming Lizzie and that the book didn’t always succumb to cliches and that everything was so realistic in terms of what life had in store for them and how they had to get back to ‘real life’. There were twists that were unexpected, and mix-ups and misunderstandings that were welcome and realistic. I’ll admit when we went along to Hope Cove I was afraid we’d be trading comedy for beauty, but there were still sudden out of the blue smiles, albeit more understated than Ms. Ellis’ previous books. I hearted this book so much, every single second of it and read it in one night with my eyes searching out the next words while still relishing those before. I have always been a fan of the author’s before now and know her online, but this book has moved me into Superfan mode. One of my top books this year! Cannot recommend enough.

Rating: 5/5

Note: Read previous reviews of this author’s books here

 

Stacking The Shelves

staackingtheshelves

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews, where you share the books that you’ve acquired in the past week – ebooks, audio and paperback books, including books you’ve bought, borrowed or received an ARC of.

So given #ChickLitMay I’ve gone a bit chick lit nutty this week, and am looking forward to all of them (there’s one outlier;))!

singlewoman

To start with Tracy Bloom because, to be honest, she’s romantic comedy/ chick lit royalty in my book at this stage! Can’t WAIT to read!!

What they say: What do you do when you find your love-life in ruins? Get revenge on every man who ever broke your heart of course….

Suzie Miller, a disillusioned agony aunt, can’t believe she’s been dumped from a great height yet again (this time by text, straight after they’ve had sex… twice!). So she decides the time is right to make every one of her exes feel the pain she felt when they carelessly cast her aside.

Her methods are unusual but humiliation on a grand scale is no less than they deserve.

Euphoric that she’s finally stood up for herself she starts suggesting outrageous ways for her readers to deal with their relationship nightmares too. Suddenly everyone wants Suzie’s advice. Finally content with being single and enjoying her blossoming career it seems as though happiness is within her grasp. That is until a man gets in the way.

Single Woman Seeks Revenge is a romantic comedy with a kick: a kick up the backside to any man who believes he got away with treating a woman badly and to any woman who doesn’t fight back.

 

ottercombe bay

If I was ever to visit anywhere it’d be Devon. It seems to be the setting of so many gorgeous descriptive chick lit books! Looking forward to this!

What they say: Escape to the Devon coast, with Part One of a brand-new four-part serial from the author of Willow Cottage.

Daisy Wickens has returned to Ottercombe Bay, the picturesque Devon town where her mother died when she was a girl. She plans to leave as soon as her great uncle’s funeral is over, but Great Uncle Reg had other ideas. He’s left Daisy a significant inheritance – an old building in a state of disrepair, which could offer exciting possibilities, but to get it she must stay in Ottercombe Bay for twelve whole months.

With the help of a cast of quirky locals, a few gin cocktails and a black pug with plenty of attitude, Daisy might just turn this into something special. But can she ever hope to be happy among the ghosts of her past?

 

thecottageathope

I ‘met’ Hannah Ellis some time ago now when I got a review copy for her first book, and have stayed in contact and continued to read her warm, feel good rom coms since!

What they say: Lizzie Beaumont has it all: a great career, a wealthy fiancé, and the wedding of her dreams just months away. But when her fiancé puts work before her again, she sets off for a week in the picturesque town of Hope Cove. She’s hoping for time away from the chaos to find herself.

Instead, she finds Max.

When the gorgeous guy next door asks her for decorating help, Lizzie finds herself all too eager to please. The week she expected to drag suddenly flies by, and before she knows it, she has to return to her other life. The life with the impending marriage and the fiancé she loves.

Or does she?

One week with Max has left her questioning her life choices. Is her fiancé the man of her dreams, or just the man who asked? Now Lizzie must decide what her life will be. Will she go for the safe and predictable route, or take a chance on a man she hardly knows? No matter what she does, someone’s heart is going to break. She just doesn’t want it to be hers.

 

thewindmill

Have heard so many good things about this!

What they say: As Rosie Barnes serves glasses of tangy lemonade and ice-cold prosecco at her summer garden party, she couldn’t be happier. The Windmill Café, with its peppermint green sails is a roaring success and has given Rosie a chance to escape the heartbreak of her busy life in London.

But then disaster strikes when popstar Suki Richards is taken unexpectedly ill at the party. Now all eyes are on Rosie…have her famous raspberry cupcakes poisoned her most high-profile guest? Or is someone else trying to damage Suki’s chance of stardom?

If Rosie wants to save her picture-perfect life, and the reputation of her beloved Windmill Café, she’s going to have to get to the bottom of the mystery…and fast!

 

sunshine at the

(whispers) I’ve never ACTUALLY read a Debbie Johnson book, despite having a number on my Kindle (shuffles away shiftily … )

What they say: Come to the Comfort Food Café this spring for sunshine, smiles and plenty of truly scrumptious lemon drizzle cake.

‘As cosy as a buttered crumpet’ Sunday Times bestseller Milly Johnson

‘Summer wouldn’t be Summer without Debbie Johnson!’ Jenny Oliver

My name is Willow Longville. I live in a village called Budbury on the stunning Dorset coast with my mum Lynnie, who sometimes forgets who I am. I’m a waitress at the Comfort Food Café, which is really so much more than a café … it’s my home.

For Willow, the ramshackle café overlooking the beach, together with its warm-hearted community, offers friendship as a daily special and always has a hearty welcome on the
menu. But when a handsome stranger blows in on a warm
spring breeze, Willow soon realises that her quiet country
life will be changed forever.

Curl up with this gorgeous novel and make yourself
at home at the Comfort Food Café.

 

appleby

 

This next one is one of those books I’ve been hearing about forever! It was originally published as a four-part serial but this is the full thing.

What they say: Sometimes the life you want isn’t the one you need…

Freya has skirted through life, drifting from place to place and job to job. Always restless, it seems she’s finally found a place to settle down (with a sexy boyfriend to match) in a small and cosy town. But she still finds herself thinking of the rolling hills of her Cumbrian childhood home: Appleby Farm. They’re only dreams though… there’s a life right here ready to be lived.

But a phone call rocks the new life she has built. Tragedy has threatened Appleby Farm and Freya makes the choice to return home, leaving her lovely boyfriend and safe job behind. But maybe the grass at Appleby Farm will be a shade greener this time…

Now, ever-restless Freya must finally make a choice about what she’d like her life to be. With two lives, two men and two futures to choose from… who does she really want to be?

Appleby Farm is a charming, funny and romantic story for anyone looking for a feel-good, light-hearted read, from the author of bestselling Ivy Lane.

 

plotting

I’ll admit I actually thought this one was a book on plotting but then the actual plot got me and so I bought anyway!

What they say: A Novel for New Beginnings….. set in the Derbyshire Peak District

“Women reach fifty and think they’re on the verge of liberation and excitement, and their broken-down men just want to stay home and fart. Or in my case, go and live in a cabin in the Rockies and fart.”

Sally Howe plans to spend her husband-free year trying her hand at becoming a wildly successful author. But she’s beset by distractions – the first being a queue of local lotharios, led by young Billy Bathgate, the village postmaster with a tartan trouser habit and an obsession with drain rods. Then her delightfully empty nest fills up again – her younger son boomerangs home with a new-found vegan-activist agenda, and her DIY-crazy brother comes to stay.

Warm, wise and funny, Plotting for Beginners offers a wry evaluation of long-haul marriages, plus a lesson on how to hit the menopause running and seize your freedom when the family has gone.

And the outlier- very excited to have this land into my Kindle- One Click by the brilliant Andrea Mara …

oneclick

What they say: When Lauren takes a photo of a stranger on a beach and shares it online, she has no idea what will come of that single click.

Her daughters are surprised that she posted a photo without consent, but it’s only when she starts to get anonymous messages about the woman on the beach that she deletes the photo. It’s too little too late, and the messages escalate, prompting Lauren to confess to the woman. The woman has her own dark story, one that might explain the messages, but Lauren isn’t convinced. Then her ex-husband begins to harass her, telling her she shares too much online and brought this on herself.

She’s also dealing with other problems. A difficult client at work starts to show up in places he shouldn’t be. Her younger daughter is behaving out of character and Lauren can’t work out what’s wrong. And the cracks are literally beginning to show in her old South Dublin house, mirroring the cracks in her carefully curated life.

Meanwhile, the messages from the internet troll become more personal and more vindictive. Her friends feel she should stand up to her stalker, but Lauren isn’t so sure. And then she makes one small mistake that brings everything tumbling down.