Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Blog Tour Review: Dreaming of Florence by T.A. Williams

Dreaming of Florence by T.A. Williams
Published: 8th January 2018
Publisher: Canelo
Pages: 254
Available on Kindle
Rating: 5/5

Today it's my stop on the Dreaming of Florence blog tour organised by Ellie from Canelo. Thank you Ellie for inviting me to be part of the tour and sending me a copy of this wonderful book to review. 

Fresh pasta, red wine, fine art… and love? Find enchantment this year in the magical city of Florence When Debbie Waterson’s bicycle crashes into handsome doctor Pierluigi, she wonders if her luck has changed. Determinedly single after ending a long relationship, at last, a man worth bumping into, Inspired to visit Florence, she soon runs headlong into that old foe: reality. But is Pierluigi the man of her dreams? Then there’s her booze obsessed boss, his forbidding secretary and her noisy inconsiderate neighbours. But could her luck be about to change? Will she find love after all?

I’ve never read anything by T.A. Williams but when I saw Dreaming of Florence was up for review I knew this was the book to try out this new to me author. I’m so glad I did as Dreaming of Florence is a book which has many things to love in it, a great setting, adorable characters and a storyline which had so much more than your average romance novel.
Deborah Harper or Debbie as she likes to be known is a language teacher specialising in teaching foreigners English. Her small language school in Cambridge is struggling and Debbie is on the verge of losing her job. When Debbie quite literally runs into Doctor Pierluigi Masino she’s distraught, not only has she made a fool of herself in front of a handsome stranger, she’s also ruined her bike and with no spare money it means she’ll be walking to work from now on. She can’t believe her luck when later he turns up on her doorstep with a new bike. He’s her dream man, not only is he super handsome, he’s Italian and from Florence, the place which holds special meaning for Debbie. Believing Pierluigi to be the man for her Debbie decides to follow her heart and sets off for a new life in Florence. Despite not having the dream start she was longing for Debbie’s move to Florence turns out to be the best thing she’s ever done.
I have a love affair with Italy just through books so anything set in Italy immediately piques my interest and this book captured the essence of Italy perfectly and had me wishing that I could be Debbie and pack my suitcase and simply start a new life.  It was so wonderful to experience Florence through Debbie’s eyes and feel her enjoyment as she takes in the sights, the sounds, the smells and the tastes of Italy. Reading this book has made me long to visit this beautiful city even more.
Debbie’s a character you can’t help but adore. She has such a naïve attitude towards people, particularly men believing that their intentions are as good as hers and time and time again she finds herself broken-hearted and disappointed. But she also has a resilience about her which makes her dust herself down and get on with the next thing in her life. She has such a caring and helpful nature which sometimes leads her into trouble but also opens the gate to some marvellous opportunities.
This is a book which I enjoyed immensely. I loved following Debbie on her journey to happiness and reading this book has left me feeling very inspired. Debbie has taught me that its not enough to dream about the life you want, you must take a risk and go and find it for yourself. So that is what I intend to do and if anyone is needing some inspiration or motivation then Dreaming of Florence is the ideal book to read.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Faking Friends by Jane Fallon

Faking Friends by Jane Fallon
Published: 11th January 2018
Publisher: Penguin 
Pages: 448
Available in Paperback and on Kindle
Rating: 5/5


Amy thought she knew everything there was to know about her best friend Melissa. Then again, Amy also thought she was on the verge of the wedding of her dreams to her long-distance fiancé.
Until she pays a surprise trip home to London. Jack is out, but it's clear another woman has been making herself at home in their flat.
There's something about her stuff that feels oddly familiar . . . and then it hits Amy. The Other Woman is Melissa.
Amy has lost her home, her fiancé and her best friend in one disastrous weekend - but instead of falling apart, she's determined to get her own back.
Piecing her life back together won't be half as fun as dismantling theirs, after all.

Faking Friends is the latest twisty chick lit novel from Jane Fallon exploring the effects of a toxic friendship. In this book we meet best friends since childhood Amy and Mel, who’ve shared their hopes, dreams, secrets and stood by each other for years, or so Amy thought. Amy has been working away as an actress in New York leaving fiancé Jack alone in their London flat. With Mel’s fortieth about to happen and Amy’s contract in New York over she decides to make a surprise visit home. On entering the flat she shares with Jack its immediately obvious to Amy that another woman has been there. Her clothes and beauty products and are scattered all over the apartment and to top it off the place is spotless, something Amy knows Jack is not capable of managing himself.
When Amy works out that the other woman is Mel she decides not to get upset but get even. All throughout their friendship Mel has taken what she wanted and left Amy to pick up the pieces, but this time its different, this time Mel is going to get what she deserves.
With the help of friends Kat and Greg, Amy manages to inflict sneaky acts of revenge on Jack and Mel whilst finding herself a new flat, a new job and a blossoming new romance. This is a great and addictive read full of twists and turns as sometimes Amy’s revenge plans have a habit of back-firing.
Amy’s a very resilient character who is quite easily able to pick up the pieces from this devastating news and move on with her life. I feel a little sad for Jack really, as although he’s behaved badly Amy doesn’t even seem to give him a second thought once she’s decided on her revenge plan, surely, she must have had some regrets over all their years together.
Written mostly from the point of view of Amy it was refreshing to finally get Mel’s take on things when about half way though her voice is added to the narrative. This may come as a shock to some readers as there is no indication of this in the book. But having read previous Jane Fallon novels it was something I was expecting to happen and after a couple of pages its pretty clear which character is narrating.
At times I did start to feel sorry for Mel (a little) but then you turn the page and read more of the devious things she’s done in the past and think she’s getting everything she deserves. Does Amy manage carry out the ultimate revenge or does Mel get the last word as usual, read it for yourself and find out.
From the author of Strictly Between Us and My Sweet Revenge, Faking Friends is another fantastic not to be missed read from Jane Fallon.