Review of The Not So Perfect Plan To Save Friendship House: An Uplifting Romantic Comedy.

This is a story of friendship. Of mistrust. Of coming together to celebrate friendship and work out differences.

Phoebe Stockton is the chef at the all female senior living home, her friend June is the manager, and they love their residents and cherish the friendships that they have with the ladies. But the owner, Max, drops a bombshell on them all; he is bringing his father Terence to the home. Technically speaking Terence owns the house, but his rude behaviour and appaling manner send Phoebe, June, and the female residents into a spin.

Then there’s Nick. Nick is “one of the girls” but when Terence comes to live with them he tries to smooth things over, which gets Phoebe’s back up. In her mind Nick can do no wrong, shes had a crush on him ever since he came to work at the home. He’s gorgeous, he’s charming, he’s funny, and he’s a hit with the ladies in the home.

Max then delivers another blow, he’s bringing his daughter into the fold. Tamsyn is brought in to replace one of the helpers who left suddenly after Terence pinched her bottom! Tamsyn is not at all interested in doing any work, instead she hangs around Nick, cosying up to him and getting on Phoebe’s nerves.

At the very beginning of the story we are introduced to Phoebe as she attends her mother’s funeral. Despite the sadness of the occasion the storyline is heart-warming and inviting.

This is a wonderfully uplifting story that immediately draws the reader in. Phoebe is a lovely character and very witty too. I felt for Nick because I had guessed what was really going on with him, but obvioulsy the reader doesn’t find this out until much later in the story.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I loved the characters, apart from Tamsyn, she irritated me but I expect that was the author’s intention. I would definnitely recommend this book.

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Review of The Lavender Garden

Set in both modern day – well, the late 90’s – and the Second World War this novel tells the story of Emilie de la Martineres and her whirlwind romance with Sebastian Carruthers.

It emerges that Emilie’s father and Seb’s grandmother were close friends during the Second World War.
As Emilie unravels the past her future certainly isn’t as rosy as she had hoped.

For me the best part of this novel was the reliving the dramas of the Second World War. I found this part of the story very intriguing and just as I thought I had parts of the plot dissed out, the author would throw in a plot twist to keep me on my toes.

At one point, towards the middle of the book – during a modern day section – I really grew fed up with Emelie’s character and considered not reading on until the end. But I persevered and bit was I glad I did!
The gripping tale took a whole new twist and I ended up staying up until the wee, small hours just to find out how everything turned out.

The story is quite strong and the characters from the past are too. Emelie was a bit hit and miss for me, and Sebastian made my skin crawl right from the word go.

I would definitely recommend this book and rate it as 4 star ****

Review of Just Breathe

I absolutely loved this book. I did not expect to enjoy it as much as I did, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this!

Dee Nichols is a yoga teacher. She took up yoga after a terrible car accident left her paralysed, but she was determined her injury was not going to define her and so took up yoga. She gained so much from the yoga that she became a yoga teacher.

Before the accident she had the kind of man in her life that many a woman dreams about – handsome, successful, wealthy….but after the accident Dee’s ex just could not accept her and so he dumped her.
This made Dee determined never to get involved with a suit again. That was before she met Ethan Roxborough, a wealthy, handsome, successful businessman.

Dee was invited to the Christmas party of Lucy Roxborough, Ethan’s sister whom she teaches yoga to, and the moment they met they became intrigued with one another.
Lucy offers Dee a job for a health insurance company that the Roxborough company owns, and given that Dee is short of cash she accepts.

We follow Dee on her journey to success. Prior to her accident she was a radiographer and had the kind of lifestyle her socialite mother approved of. After the accident Dee became so scared of committing to anything, or anyone, that she found she was thoroughly content with her “hippie” lifestyle, much to her mother’s disdain.

After the success of the yoga commercial Dee becomes involved with Ethan, as a protege of sorts. Ethan offers Dee free business advice and promises to help her network. Inevitably they grow close and a secret romance starts up.
Ethan has a reputation of being a ladies man – he is always photographed in the media with a different woman on his arm, these women are dubbed Roxborough girls – and Dee is not so keen to fall into this category.

Inevitably their secret gets out and Dee overhears Ethan and Lucy discussing the matter, but misunderstands what they are saying. she storms out of Ethan’s appartment, hurt, confused, humiliated, not giving either Ethan or Lucy the chance to explain themselves.
It is also at this time that Lucy goes away and her assistant cancels her yoga lessons with Dee, leaving Dee to feel that Lucy does not think she is good enough for her brother.

After a couple of weeks of moping and thoroughly feeling miserable, plus having quite a few business options to decide upon, Dee decides she may as well just follow her best friend abroad to help him with his yoga tours. But her mother suffers a heart attack and this tragedy helps Dee make her peace with her mum and also face the demons that have been haunting her since her accident.

It is at this time Lucy returns to the country and gets in touch with Dee, explaining her absence – which had nothing at all to do with Dee and Ethan and everything to do with her father-in-law taking ill. After realising she had been wrong about the day she overheard Ethan and Lucy talking about the affair. After a long chat, Lucy assures Dee that her brother is interested in her and also explains about the Roxborough girls – which is everything to do with publicity shots for social functions and nothing to do with Ethan’s personal life.
She finally makes her peace with Ethan, and as is the way with this genre, they get their happy ending.

Highly recommending this book and giving it ***** 5 stars. Well worth a read!!!

Review Of Beneath Outback Skies

Paige Quinn runs the family farm in the Australian Outback. She comes across as a bit of a tomboy, certainly not one to ask for help for anything. She also comes across as a tough cookie – one would have to be to survive in that sort of job in that kind of terrain.

Her father is worried about her though. He is confined to a wheelchair after a tractor accident several years earlier, so he is unable to do any of the physical stuff. He can, however, do the paperwork and he knows that Banora Downs, the name of the family farm, is in poor financial health. Once upon a time Banora Downs used to take in paying guests, but that has not happened so much recently. Paige’s father has a plan though.

Cue Tait Cavanaugh. He turns up at the farm looking for a place to stay for a little while. Paige is pretty bewildered by his arrival as it has been sometime since Banora Downs has had paying guests. She demands to know how Tait found out about the farm, but he is pretty evasive about how he discovered the farm, blaming his secretary for looking the place up online.
Paige does not really believe his story, but she cannot be certain the farm does not still have a web presence. Tait claims he wants to spend some time out of touch with everyone he knows, and he also wants to experience life in the outback.
Paige is amused by this, Tait has arrived in a very expensive car and has the markings of a wealthy man, a man more suited to the boardroom, not the wilderness of the Australian outback. She agrees to show Tait what life is like, but she does not trust that he is being totally honest with her about his motives for being in the outback.

The story follows the pair as they grow closer and secrets are revealed. It is an easy narrative to follow and a pretty pleasant read. I enjoyed reading this book and can recommend it to lovers of this genre.

**** 4 stars.

Review Of Voodoo On the Bayou

Craig Thibodeaux is the ultimate ladies man.  Commitment is a dirty word to him.  That is until he dates the granddaughter of a Voodoo Priestess.    Madame LeBieu casts her magic on Craig, he will be a man by night and frog by day, unless he finds love.  The one snag is he must do so by the full moon – which is only a couple of weeks away!!!  If he doesn’t find love by then he will remain a frog forever.

Elaine Smith is a scientist in New Orleans.  Involved with a man who is cheating on her she decides to come to Bayou Miste after receiving an anonymous sample claiming there is pollution in the lake and it is killing the wildlife.  Elaine sees it as an opportunity to get away from her cheating ex, by burying herself in her work.

The story is fun and entertaining.  Madame LeBieu’s granddaughter sounds awful and I felt sorry for Craig; he was trying to do the right thing by her, but his reputation as a ladies man meant Lisa’s lies would be believed, causing the ultimate trouble for Craig.It is heartwarming to see Elaine come out of her shell, as well as Craig fall hook, line and sinker for Elaine.  There are some really great characters in this novel, as well as some slimey toads!!!

This is a great and fun read for lovers of this genre.

Rating = 4 stars ****

Recommended for all lovers of this genre.

A Review Of A French Affair

 

A French Affair by Katie Fforde

 

Having never read anything by this author before I expected the story to be your typical chick-lit affair. It was, but it wasn’t. OK, that is a contradiction in terms, so maybe I should say it is chick lit but it isn’t as frothy as most other books from this genre.

The story follows Gina and Sally, two sisters, who inherit an antiques stall, along with Matthew, the owner of the house where the antiques business is located.

Gina has just come out of a long term relationship and isn’t looking for love, but throughout the story you find yourself rooting for her and Matthew.
It is an easy read, thoroughly enjoyable and most of us will find we can relate to the sisters.

There were times when I wanted to shake the living daylights out of Matthew, he has an ex wife who is trying to get him to sell the house where the antiques business is, but everything comes good in the end. 

I have to admit I didn’t think I would enjoy this story, it had a theme I was unfamiliar with – the antiques business – and I imagined the story and characters to be quite stuffy. I was quite wrong and pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book.

**** 4 stars.

Review Of Kiss River

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It was only after I had started reading this story that I realised there was actually a prequel.  That said, if you do not read the first book in the series you won’t be missing out on anything really.  The book is typical romance genre, but perhaps not as sugary.

It follows Gina on her journey to Kiss River and her subsequent fight to raise the lens of an old lighthouse from the sea.  Gina has a secret as to why she wants the lens raised so badly, but she is keeping that under wraps.  Pretty early on she befriends the occupants of the house beside the lighthouse – a brother and sister – becoming romantically involved with the brother.  We find out Gina’s secret around the middle of the book and I think this really surprised me, it certainly was not what I expected it to be.

The book jumps back and forth from the present day to the 1940’s, wartime in the USA.  This part of the book acts like a diary from this era and the author of the diary has an intriguing secret too.

The book was a decent enough read, despite not having read the first in the series I did not feel there were gaps in the story that would have been filled had I read the prequel.  The author keeps the suspense going right through the book, which is always good, and I felt quite satisfied with the conclusion.

 

I will give this book 4 stars.  ****

Review of The Trouble With Valentine’s

The Trouble with Valentine's by Kelly Hunter

 

Hallie works in a shoe shop in Chelsea, London. Nick stops by with his mother on Valentine’s day. They have an instant rapport and Nick propositions Hallie to be his pretend wife for a week whilst he is on a business trip to Hong Kong. 

The last time Nick had dealt with this particular associate his daughter had tried to seduce him. Nick had not wanted to offend her or his business associate, so he had told the young woman he was married. Now he was about to embark on yet another business trip to John Tey’s house in Hong King and he needed a wife, pronto!

Hallie captures the hearts of all who meet her, including Nick. He wants a nice smooth business transaction between himself and Hallie whilst he ties up the business arrangement with John Tey. What he hasn’t planned for is falling head over heels with his pretend wife.

This was a thoroughly enjoyable book from start to finish. I love romantic novels and yes, even those very cliched romantic novels. This book was full of fun and wit fro start to finish. The characters were believable, the plot was good and strong. I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves reading this genre. 

5 star read *****

Review Of A Man Like Mike.

A Man Like Mike

 

 

This book is a romance novel  by Sami Lee.  It follows the same format as most novels from this genre and is a pretty good novel if you are a fan of this genre.

The book is about Eve O Brien and Mike Wilcox.  Eve’s best friend, Jacinta, was married to Mike’s brother, Derek, until they died in a tragic accident.  After their deaths Eve became sole guardian of their son, Bailey, and Mike inherited the house.  Mike let Eve and Bailey live in the house on their own whilst he was travelling overseas.

One day Mike returns and moves back into the house – into the attached apartment – unnerving Eve somewhat.  She hasn’t had a brilliant relationship with her best friend’s brother in law so far, so she is nervous about sharing a house with him.

The story charts their coming together, in a slow and gentle manner, whilst dealing with Eve’s own turmoil from her past and her learning to trust and love Mike.  A well written book, lovely read and the obligatory happy ending sees me give this book 5 stars *****

Review Of Makeover Miracle.

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An easy story to read. I connected with the main character – Abbey – right away. Whilst some readers might find it hard to believe that an ordinary woman like Abbey could get with a high profile TV producer, the story does offer hope to the countless millions of us ordinary women who believe we have to be stick thin to succeed in life.

I give this book full marks – five stars ***** – for addressing the issues of low self-esteem, lack of confidence and distorted body image. When heroines are normal, curvy women, or even women who are slightly overweight then you know the story is going to be a breath of fresh air.

Great read for all lovers of this genre.

*****