Friday, 12 June 2015

Book Review - Summer by the Sea by Jenny Hale

Summer by the Sea
Summer by the Sea by Jenny Hale
Published: 12th June 2015
Publisher: Bookouture
Available in Paperback and Kindle
They say there’s always one summer that changes you.

For Faith the one summer she can’t forget is when she fell in love as a teenager – only for her sister, Casey, to steal her man. Now, at the request of her beloved ninety-year-old Grandmother, Faith has agreed to a family holiday – at their childhood beach house, where it all began.

Faith hasn’t seen her sister in years but is finally ready to forgive and forget, enjoy the sunshine and relive happy memories. What she’s not ready for is meeting Jake Buchanan – the owner of the beach house – or the long-forgotten feelings he ignites in her.

Can Faith overcome the hurt of the past, rekindle the close bond she had with Casey and make this summer THE ONE to remember?
My first encounter with a Jenny Hale novel was last year when I read A Christmas to Remember, which I adored and is probably one of my favourite Christmas books ever. So I was super excited when given the chance to review her new book Summer by the Sea.
Summer by the Sea is told from the point of view of the main character Faith. She’s agreed to spend two weeks in the Outer Banks in North Carolina with her family, including estranged sister Casey, to celebrate her Nan’s 90th birthday. Faith is somewhat reluctant about the trip as she has not spent much time with her sister since Casey stole her man away and married him. As the trip wears on and nostalgic memories of previous summers spent having fun with her sister enter Faiths mind she realises it’s time to let go of the past and begin to move on with her life. Something which handsome stranger Jack Buchanan might just be able to help her with.
Like Jenny’s previous novel this is full of emotions, romance and families coming together and mending their rifts. I found this book very heart-felt as Faith has to do a lot of soul-searching in order to forgive her sister. After seeing her sister’s troubles with her husband Scott, Faith begins to realise he was never really hers to lose. The bond between sisters and their mother and Nan was very deep and was obviously far too strong to let any man come between them, which I found just lovely.
The way Jenny has described the Outer Banks makes me long to go there, its sounds like the perfect American hideaway and I can understand why it made Faith so emotional and sentimental.  The descriptive language really made me feel that at times I was with Faith leaning over the balcony looking out at the ocean too, you just can’t beat a sea view can you.
Can we just mention Jake, what a hottie, the perfect guy to help you forget all your problems with, handsome, caring, good with his hands and also just a little bit loaded, it’s no wonder Faith developed a pretty huge crush on him!
This is a lovely summer read and I really enjoyed the escapism and romance which it brought me, it would make the perfect holiday read. I’d like to thank Bookouture for giving me the opportunity to review this book and can’t wait to read Jenny’s next book. I’d rate this book 4/5.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Book Review - The Last Honeytrap by Louise Lee

The Last Honeytrap: Florence Love 1 by Louise Lee
Published: 4th June 2015
Publisher: Headline
Pages: 345
Available in Paperback and on Kindle
He's the man every woman wants. Private Investigator Florence Love is out to get him.

Florence has ten days to meet, charm and entrap Scott 'Scat' Delaney. Whilst sticking to THE Cardinal Entrapment Rule:

One kiss, with tongues, five seconds - case closed.

Scat, a superstar jazz musician, is stunning. He's also a reclusive hypochondriac with a Junta-like entourage - it's going to take a special woman to make him fall into the trap.

Florence Love will tell you at length why she's that woman. She's beautiful, resourceful and relentless. A master of body language, evolutionary science and Shorinji Kempo. She'll use every tool in her armoury, especially when it comes to discovering the truth about Bambi, her absent mother - a twenty-five-year-old mystery she's determined to solve...

Cardinal Entrapment Rule #2

Never EVER fall for the target (even when they're the hottest man on the planet)

That would be very bad form indeed.
The Last Honeytrap is the debut novel of Louise Lee and I thought it was great. The book is centred on Florence Love a Private Investigator based in London, specialising in entrapment. In this the book, the first in a new series Florence is asked entrap A-List Scot “Scat” Delaney a world famous jazz singer. Easy…except Scot is a confirmed recluse and possibly the most beautiful man Florence has ever seen and she may just be about to break the most important rule: Never fall for the target.
As the main plot develops as Florence finds herself in deeper than she’s ever been, she also begins to believe she herself is being stalked. Hoping the stalker is her long lost mother who is about to make a return after twenty years causes friction between other members, add to that complications with her ex-husband and previous lesbian lover and you have a book full of plot twists and humorous scenes.
I instantly liked Florence she’s feisty, independent and slightly over-confident believing she can do anything, which considering her success rate is only 78% may be slightly misjudged on her part. She also showed she had a caring side by looking after younger brother Michael, although she does remind him on numerous occasions that he is in her debt and must help her with investigation work whenever she wants.
I found this book a very refreshing read, Florence is so abrupt and honest in her language which I just loved. Surprisingly I also enjoyed the many snippets of scientific explanation in the book, which initially left me a little confused but added to the quirkiness of the book.  
I think this is a great read and would like to congratulate Louise Lee on her debut novel, she’s done a cracking job creating a likable main character and an interesting plot line which continues into the second book. There is a teaser of this at the end and it looks just as good, so please hurry up and publish it so we can find out what happened to Bambi.
I think this book has something for everyone, a little romance, some mystery, some crime and some family drama, so if you’re looking to find a new favourite this summer pick up The Last Honeytrap. I would give this book 5/5 and would like to thank Headline for sending me a copy via bookbridgr.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Book Review - One Small Act of Kindness by Lucy Dillon

One Small Act of Kindness
One Small Act of Kindness by Lucy Dillon
Published: 23rd April 2015
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Pages: 480
Available in Paperback and on Kindle
What can you do to make the world a better place?

Libby helps a stranger, and transforms her life in the process.

Libby and her husband Jason have moved back to his hometown to turn the family B&B into a boutique hotel. They have left London behind and all the memories - good and bad - that went with it.

The injured woman Libby finds lying in the remote country road has lost her memory. She doesn't know why she came to be there, and no one seems to be looking for her.

When Libby offers to take her in, this one small act of kindness sets in motion a chain of events that will change many people's lives . . .


After reading a couple of Lucy’s previous novels I was really excited to read her latest offering, One Small Act of Kindness and it’s just as good, if not better than what I was expecting.

Libby and her husband Jason have recently left London and returned to his hometown to turn his mother’s  ailing B & B into a small boutique hotel. On the surface these two seem happy but as the story unfolds memories from London come back to haunt them.

Pippa has been hit by a car outside Libby’s hotel, she has no recollection of her previous life or exactly what has brought her to the hotel.  Libby offers Pippa refuge in the hotel and slowly as these two women begin to make sense of their lives again, the lives of those around them begin to change.

I loved this book, the sense of mystery of Pippa’s previous life really had me hooked and I did find this side of the story more interesting than Libby’s. I was longing to find out why Pippa was at the hotel and as the story continued there were even more elements of mystery that I wanted answers to. It wasn’t that I didn’t like Libby, she was a lovely bubbly character, I just didn’t really like Jason and the way his mother worshiped him just annoyed me.

Another thing I loved was “Sir Bob” and the way Lucy has made him have a real presence in the book. I’m not a dog person at all but even I could have a soft spot for Bob and his droopy face longing for some bacon titbits.

The idea that one small act of kindness can change people’s lives is brilliant and I thought it worked so well with these characters. It was very uplifting to read about all the other people’s acts of kindness throughout the book and I think we should all take this idea into our own lives as who knows what might happen when we help someone.

I did feel the ending was a little rushed but think this could have been because this book ended far too soon for me, I was totally absorbed with the characters and was sad to let them go. Luckily for me I have Lucy’s previous novel A Hundred Pieces of Me to keep me going until she writes another brilliant book.

Fans of Lucy will adore this book and if you haven’t read anything by her then this is the perfect one to start with full of realistic warm characters, an intriguing sense of mystery and a story which will leave you feeling good about the world.

I would like to thank Hodder & Stoughton for sending me a review copy via bookbridgr and would rate this book 5/5.

Monday, 1 June 2015

Book Review - Coming Up Roses by Rachael Lucas

Coming Up Roses
Coming Up Roses by Rachael Lucas
Published: 21st May 2015
Publisher: Pan
Pages: 387
Available in Paperback and on Kindle
Would-be gardener Daisy can’t believe her luck when her parents announce they’re off on a midlife crisis gap year, leaving her in charge of their gorgeous garden. After a turbulent few months, a spot of quiet in the countryside is just what she needs.

A shoulder to cry on wouldn't go amiss either - so when Daisy comes across Elaine and Jo, she breathes a sigh of relief. But her new friends are dealing with dramas of their own…

As Daisy wrestles the garden into something resembling order, her feelings for handsome Irishman George begin to take root. Daisy’s heart’s desire − her parent’s garden − is under threat, and Daisy's forced to confront nosey neighbours and fight greedy developers. Village life is turning out to be far from peaceful.

Coming up Roses is the first book I’ve read by Rachael Lucas and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Rachael’s writing style is lovely, it flows well and has just the right amount of humour and emotion.  It’s the perfect book to read out in a garden on a summer’s day, an easy read about village life with a sprinkle of romance and laughter that you’ll keep going until the last page.

Broken hearted Daisy turns up at her parents’ house Orchard Villa looking for a sanctuary after her relationship with Jamie came to a sudden end. Slightly relieved when her parents take off to India, Daisy is hoping to be left alone to mend her broken heart by bringing the overgrown garden back to its former glory. However the village of Steeple St. John slowly creeps its way into her life and soon Daisy finds out that village life isn’t as quiet as she’d hoped. Although Daisy has sworn off men, there seem to be a few who are keen on her, mysterious Irishman George, the cheeky local vet Ned and Jamie her ex all make an attempt to win her heart. Will Daisy fall for the charms of any of these men or is she happier spending her time in the garden?

I really warmed to the main character Daisy. Initially she seemed quite shy and reserved around other people, probably due to having her world torn apart by two people closest to her. When she begins to mix in the village she becomes warm and caring and funny. She’s the sort of character you really want to find her happy ending and you feel for her when things start to go wrong again.

I loved the intimate friendship she formed so quickly with Elaine and Jo, it’s so good to find kindred sprits you can share your worries with and it was just what Daisy needed. In the book we also have the stories of Jo and Elaine which helped to develop the plot. Jo struggling with whether to contact daughter Martha’s long lost father and Elaine’s seemingly perfect lifestyle getting a shake up from husband Leo.

Steeple St. John and all its inhabitants have worked their way into my heart and I really hope there is more from this village as I can see further stories working really well. I really enjoyed reading this book and just love the cover, it’s beautiful.  Be warned though, after reading it all I wanted to do was go outside and do some gardening!

I’d give Coming up Roses by Rachael Lucas a rating of 5/5 and would like to thank the people at Pan for sending me a copy to review.  Hopefully I will get a chance to read her other novel Sealed with a Kiss very soon.