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31 October 2016

Review: 'The Girls from See Saw Lane' by Sandy Taylor (2016)

Brighton 1963. Mary Pickles and I walked along the street with our arms linked, looking in shop windows. We were best friends and together we were invincible.

Dottie and Mary forged a friendship over a bag of penny sweets when they were eight years old. They’ve shared everything together since then – the highs and lows of school, family dramas, hopes and dreams and now, at seventeen, they’re both shop girls, working at Woolworths.

As they go out in the world in pursuit of love and happiness, the simplicity of their childhood dissolves as life becomes more complicated. The heady excitement of first love will consume them both, but the pain of unintentional betrayal will test their friendship in ways neither of them could ever imagine…

As some of you might know by now I love to pick up some historical/wartime romance fiction every now and again. I can really enjoy the nostalgic feel of these novels, especially when you stumble upon a really well-written and compelling one. 'The Girls from See Saw Lane' is my first experience with author Sandy Taylor's writing, but I'm a big fan of publisher Bookouture, so straight away knew I wanted to give this book a go. It's actually the first part of the Brighton Girls Trilogy, so I hoped I would end up enjoying the novel, especially with the thought of having two more parts to read and get lost in after finishing this one!

Set in Brighton in the 1960s, 'The Girls of See Saw Lane' tells the story of best friends Dottie Perks and Mary Pickles. Ever since they met at primary school when they were eight years old Dottie and Mary have been there for each other: playing together, walking home together, sharing secrets, developing their first crushes on boys, dreaming about their futures. When they are seventeen, both working at the local Woolworths and ready to leave school, life suddenly gets more complicated and Dottie and Mary's friendship is tested; will they be able to continue to be there for each other or are some things simply too difficult to forget...?

From the first chapter of this novel I grew fond of main characters and best friends Mary and Dottie, and I'm happy to say I continued to be interested and moved by their story until the last few pages of the book. We meet Dottie and Mary when they're eight years old and are given the chance to follow them until they are older. I could say more about the plot, but I really enjoyed reading the book without knowing too much about where the story was going to go, so I don't want to ruin that experience for others. I really enjoyed the author's well-paced writing style which included the right amount of both dialogue and background information and really suited this kind of story, and I definitely look forward to reading more of her work in the future.

One of the things I enjoyed most about reading this novel was the nostalgic feel of it. The author really managed to recreate that feeling of Brighton in the 1960s and it made me think of my nanna and the stories she told me of when she was in her twenties in the UK which added a lovely personal touch. I really enjoyed this a lot more than I initially expected and can't wait to read the second part in the series, 'Counting Chimneys', which was released in June. On the whole, 'The Girls from See Saw Lane' is a well-written, touching and simply lovely coming-of-age story I personally couldn't have enjoyed more; a great read!
Rating:9/10
 
For more information about this book: Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

30 October 2016

November 2016 Releases!

And the end of the year is slowly getting closer and closer... I can't believe we're almost in 2017; I'm still getting used to it being 2016, to be completely honest with you! I think for the first month this year I don't have an incredibly long list with exciting book releases to share with all of you. There are still some great novels coming our way, luckily, but it seems the world of fiction is giving us some time to breathe and read up on some of the great releases we might have missed. Check out the lovely releases coming up in November, ready to snuggle up with on the couch or in bed...!

Which releases are you excited about? I'd love to hear from you! If you'd like me to include your book release in this list, feel free to contact me via e-mail or Twitter! :)

'Love Literary Style' - Karin Gillespie (1 November)

They say opposites attract, and what could be more opposite than a stuffy literary writer falling for a self-published romance writer?

Novelist Aaron Mite meets Laurie Lee at a writers’ colony and mistakenly believes her to be a renowned writer of important fiction. When he discovers she’s a self-published romance author, he’s already fallen in love with her.

Aaron thinks genre fiction is an affront to the fiction-writing craft. He often quotes the essayist, Arthur Krystal who says literary fiction “melts the frozen sea inside of us.” Ironically Aaron doesn’t seem to realize that he’s emotionally frozen. The vivacious Laurie, lover of flamingo-patterned attire and all things hot pink, is the one person who might be capable of melting him.  
Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads
 

'The Other Wives Club' - Shari Low (1 November)

Three women are thrown together on a Mediterranean cruise to celebrate a milestone birthday of the man they all once loved. What could possibly go wrong?

Tess Gold - the current wife. 
When Tess married Drew Gold, she knew his two ex-wives were still in his life. 

Now Drew has planned a luxury cruise to celebrate his birthday... and the former Mrs. Golds are all coming too.

Mona Gold - the second wife. 
When it comes to style, fashion editor, Mona, never puts a Louboutin wrong. 

Now it’s time to reclaim the only man she ever really loved... if she can tempt Drew away from his new wife for a second time.

Sarah Gold - the first wife, the original. 
When Drew left her for Mona, Sarah’s emotions went into hibernation. 

Now she’s decided to shave those legs and start living again...

Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads
 

'Christmas Under the Stars' - Karen Swan (3 November)

Worlds apart. A love without limit.

In the snow-topped mountains of the Canadian Rockies, Meg and Mitch are living their dream. Just weeks away from their wedding, they work and play with Tuck and Lucy, their closest and oldest friends. Meg and Lucy are as close as sisters - much to Meg's sister's dismay - and Tuck and Mitch have successfully turned their passion for snowboarding into a booming business.

But when a polar storm hits, tragedy strikes. Alone in the tiny mountain log cabin she shares with Mitch, Meg desperately tries to radio for help - and it comes from the most unexpected quarter, a lone voice across the airwaves that sees what she cannot.

As the snow melts and they try to live with their loss, the friendship Meg thought was forever is buckled by tensions, rivalries and devastating secrets. Nothing is as she thought and only her radio contact understands what it is to be truly alone. As they share confidences in the dark, witnessed only by the stars, Meg feels her future begin to pull away from her past and is forced to consider a strange truth - is it her friends who are the strangers? And a stranger who really knows her best?

Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads
 

'A Fairy Tale for Christmas' - Chrissie Manby (3 November)

What could be more magical at Christmas than a fairy tale come true?

It's the festive season and the members of the Newbay Theatre Society, more commonly known as the NEWTS, are preparing to put on a show. Being cast as Cinderella is the realization of a dream for newcomer Kirsty, not least because she hopes starring in a panto under the direction of her boyfriend Jon will bring them closer together.

But Kirsty soon learns that it's not all glitter and good cheer behind the scenes at the amateur theatre as bitter rivalries nurtured through decades, wardrobe mishaps and suspicious near-fatal accidents threaten to derail the production. And then there's Prince Charming himself. Will working together with Jon bring Kirsty her happy ever after... or reveal their love to be nothing but a 'showmance'?

With Christmas just around the corner, it's going to take more than a Fairy Godmother to get Kirsty and her cast-mates to the ball.

Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads
 

'It's a Wonderful Life' - Julia Williams (3 November 2016)

Christmas with the family. Cosy, relaxing…and a total nightmare?

Driving home for Christmas, Beth has everything she wants. The kids and the house, the career and the husband. So why is it that when the New Year comes, she can’t stop thinking about her old college boyfriend?

Her husband Daniel is tasked with bringing a struggling school up to scratch, but when family life catches up to him, can he be a good father and a good teacher at the same time?

Beth’s sister Lou has just been dumped…again. Single and childless, she can’t help but be jealous of her sibling’s success. But is the grass really always greener?

Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads
 

'Mistletoe on 34th Street' - Lisa Dickenson (3 November)

Olivia has never experienced a snow-covered, 'traditional' Christmas before. Having grown up in a family that chose winter sun over decking the halls, she's not sure what all the fuss is about. So when she and her co-workers are stranded in New York after a work trip, Olivia is perfectly happy spending the holiday season in The Big Apple.

John, Olivia's friend, on the other hand is so upset and is desperate to get home in time for his big family get-together. Nevertheless, determined to make the best out of the situation he sets out to show Olivia how enchanting Christmas in New York can be. And when she adds handsome New Yorker Elijah into the mix, could the magic of the season finally be working its charm on Olivia? As December 25th draws closer, Olivia suddenly finds herself with a decision to make: who does she really want to kiss under the mistletoe this Christmas?

Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads
 

'Be My Baby' - A.L. Michael (7 November)

Two’s company…

If you asked Mollie whether she struggled as a single mum, she’d have to cover her daughter’s ears before answering. Surrounded by friends, watching Esme grow into the sassiest eleven-year-old in North London, and building her name as TV chef Mollie Makes, Mollie’s never been happier. Well, that’s what she’d tell you. But as her best friends pair off, and Esme starts getting into trouble at school, Mollie wonders whether life would be different – not better…but easier – with a team mate.

Three’s a crowd?

But Esme’s dad, Jamie, would be the last man Mollie would team up with. After all, he made it clear eleven years ago that he wasn’t interested in playing the family game. So when he suddenly reappears, Mollie can’t believe her eyes. And soon, she’s got to ask herself the hardest question yet: she knows she can succeed as a single mum. But what if her daughter doesn’t want her to?

Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads
 

'A Very Merry Manhattan Christmas' - Darcie Boleyn (7 November)

Lucie Quigley hates Christmas. It’s the time of year when everything goes wrong in her life. So this year, when she’s asked to be a bridesmaid at her friend Petra’s Manhattan wedding, she jumps at the invitation to escape the festivities.

Dale Treharne has been best friends with Lucie for as long as he can remember. He’s used to looking out for his oldest friend and when she asks him to be her plus one, he can’t seem to find a reason to refuse. Instead, he sees it as a way to help Lucie get through what is, for her, the most miserable time of the year.

In New York, as the snow starts to fall, Lucie and Dale start to realise that their feelings run deeper than just friendship. But can they overcome their pasts, and make it a very merry Manhattan Christmas?

Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads
 

'A Year and a Day' - Isabelle Broom (17 November)

For Megan, a winter escape to Prague with her friend Ollie is a chance to find some inspiration for her upcoming photography exhibition. But she's determined to keep their friendship from becoming anything more. Because if Megan lets Ollie find out about her past, she risks losing everything - and she won't let that happen again . . .

For Hope, the trip is a surprise treat from Charlie, her new partner. But she's struggling to enjoy the beauty of the city when she knows how angry her daughter is back home. And that it's all her fault . . .

For Sophie, the city has always been a magical place. This time she can't stop counting down the moments until her boyfriend Robin joins her. But in historic Prague you can never escape the past . . .

Three different women.

Three intertwining love stories.

One unforgettable, timeless city.

Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads
 

'The Dress' - Jane L. Rosen (17 November)

Legend has it that every season there is one dress. The dress that can make your career, ignite a spark with that special someone, or utterly transform your life. For Felicia, who has been in love with her boss for 20 years; for Natalie who has sworn off men since her ex dumped her – for them and for others, life is about to change. 

And all because of their brush with the dress of the season, the perfect little black number that everyone wants to get their hands on…

Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads
 

'All of Us and Everything' - Bridget Asher (24 November)

What if you learn something as an adult that makes you question your entire childhood?

This is the scenario the Rockwell sisters are faced with.

Esme: eldest child, control-freak, perfect wife and mother. In fact, her husband has run off with his dentist and their teenage daughter is live-tweeting the entire mess to her 3,000 followers.

Liv: middle child, fianc stealer, squatter. Holed up in her ex-husband's apartment with her acupuncturist and a bottle of whiskey.

Ru: youngest child, writer, runaway. Hopes to find inspiration for her second novel by studying the behaviour of elephants - and fleeing her fianc.

One-by-one the siblings return to the family home, where an even bigger drama unfolds. A box of old letters is delivered to the house containing the answer to the mystery they have all lived with, until now: who was their father, and why the hell did he disappear?

Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads
 

28 October 2016

Review: 'When Only Cupcakes Will Do' by Daisy James (2016)

When life gives you lemons, make lemon drizzle cupcakes…

Lucie thought that proposing to her boyfriend in Tiffany’s would be the best day of her life. Until he said no. In just a few seconds, her whole world is turned upside-down! And when she accidentally switches cocoa powder for chilli powder at work, she finds herself out of a job, too…

Baking has always made life better in the past, but can Lucie really bake her way to happiness? Starting her own company, selling cupcakes out of an old ice cream van might just be the second chance that Lucie needs!

Of course, she never expected to find love along the way…

I'm not afraid to admit I'm a sucker for pretty book covers, so I definitely would have picked up 'When Only Cupcakes Will Do', no matter the author or the story description. However, this novel appears to have the whole package! Several months ago I read and reviewed Daisy James' novel 'If the Dress Fits' (click here to read my review), which I really liked and was curious to read more from this author. Next to that I also love novels about cupcakes/bakeries/cafes etc., so I was really excited and thankful when I was approved to read this novel via NetGalley and had my fingers crossed I'd at least enjoy it as much as my first Daisy James read, if not more!

When you're completely in love with someone, why not just take that next step and make sure you'll be together for years to come? That's exactly what Lucie is thinking when she decides to propose to her boyfriend Alex. Things don't go quite according to plan, though; shook up by Alex' refusal, Lucie ends up making a horrible mistake at work and loses her restaurant job. She moves in with her sister, trying to come up with a way to make money and use her passion for baking at the same time. The idea of a travelling cupcake company is born, and Lucie is set on making this work. But starting your own company from scratch is not the easiest thing in the world, especially not when all kinds of things, including a handsome food critic, could be getting in your way...

Sometimes you stumble upon a novel in which everything just seems to be right, and that's the feeling I got while reading Daisy James' 'When Only Cupcakes Will Do.' This heart-warming novel really has it all: a likeable main character which I'm sure readers can relate to, a great plotline, some romance, and a fun and comfortable writing style. I liked Lucie from the start and really loved joining her on this journey, building up her life again from scratch, but especially the idea of this travelling cupcake company is one I simply loved. Lucie's love for baking easily shines through in the story and I loved reading about the different delicious treats she came up with and discovering where her ideas would get her and how she dealt with any issues coming her way.

An enjoyable chick lit novel needs a good romance, in my opinion, and luckily this novel has two male characters at its core. On one side we have Alex, Lucie's boyfriend, and the other side we have Ed, a well-known food critic who used to go to school with Lucie and now unexpectedly makes a reappearance in her life. This novel has made me fall even more in love with author Daisy James and I already can't wait for her next release; she's slowly becoming one of my favourites! Overall, 'When Only Cupcakes Will Do' is a sweet, warm-hearted and fun read about baking, friendship and a good dose of romance; a lovely and uplifting read that will leave you with a smile on your face!
Rating:9,5/10
 
For more information about this book: Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

27 October 2016

Review: 'Christmas at Lilac Cottage' by Holly Martin (2016)

Snow is falling on the charming seaside town of White Cliff bay, where Christmas is magical and love is in the air...

Penny Meadows loves her cosy cottage with its stunning views over the town of White Cliff Bay and her job as an ice-carver, creating breathtaking sculptures. Yet her personal life seems frozen.

When Henry and daughter Daisy arrive at the cottage to rent the annex, Penny is determined to make them feel welcome. But while Daisy is friendly, Henry seems guarded.

As Penny gets to know Henry, she realises there is more to him than meets the eye. And the connection between them is too strong to ignore . . .

While the preparations for the ice sculpting competition and Christmas Eve ball are in full swing, will Penny be able to melt the ice and allow love into her heart? And will this finally be the perfect Christmas she's been dreaming of?

On October 20th Holly Martin's lovely Christmas novel 'Christmas at Lilac Cottage' was released as a paperback by publisher Bonnier Zaffre. I already got the chance to read and review the book last year and really enjoyed it, so when I received a stunning paperback copy of the book I couldn't wait to share my review with all of you again! I read Holly Martin's 'Fairytale Beginnings' (click here to read my review) last year, which was a great read, and have really enjoyed all of her other books since. If you're a chick lit fan, definitely don't hesitate to pick up one of Holly's novels; trust me, you won't be disappointed!

Penny Meadows hasn't always had it easy. After some difficult years, she has managed to build a life for herself as an ice-carver, a job she loves, in the lovely village of White Cliff Bay. However, Penny hasn't been lucky in love, so she decides to rent out the annex of her cottage in order to surround herself with some more people. The rooms are rented by Henry and Daisy, whom Penny expects to be a married couple but are actually a single father and his 16-year-old daughter. The sparks start flying between Penny and Henry as soon as they first meet, but Henry is guarded, not wanting to disrupt his daughter's life too much after some bad experiences, and Penny isn't sure she is ready for romance, after everything that has happened. Will the two be able to find some happiness together or does this Christmas have other plans in store for them?

I've seen other readers comparing Holly Martin's novels to Disney films and I understand the comparison; cute and simple stories with a guaranteed happy ending. I am a big Disney fan and also thoroughly enjoy Holly's books, including the first part of her new White Cliff Bay series, 'Christmas at Lilac Cottage.' At the core of the novel there are some simply wonderful characters that I easily warmed to. Protagonist Penny is just lovely and I wanted nothing more than for her to find love; Henry and Daisy are both warm and interesting characters as well, and I couldn't help but fall in love with Penny's dog, Bernard, and the whole town of White Cliff Bay.

The storyline of this book is quite basic and not too complicated; great for a festive chick lit novel like this one. However, what makes this novel such a good read are Holly Martin's storytelling skills; she is wonderful at setting the scene, making it easy for readers to imagine everything, and I fell in love with the community spirit that she managed to convey with her writing. I did personally think everything went a bit fast (the story is set over the time span of a week), but this didn't really influence how much I enjoyed the book. Overall, 'Christmas at Lilac Cottage' is a really cute, simple, festive romance that will undoubtedly warm your heart during the cold winter days before Christmas. A great start to this new series and I'm already excited about picking up the second book!
Rating:9/10
 
For more information about this book: Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

26 October 2016

Review: 'Seven Exes Are Eight Too Many' by Heather Wardell (2010)

Madeleine-Cora Spencer is the last person who should be on reality TV, but when she's shunned by a friend's new wife because "you can't trust desperate single women", her pain and humiliation drive her straight to the "Find Your Prince" dating show. But when she arrives to meet her potential loves, she gets dumped... on a remote island with seven ex-boyfriends. Seven exes! Could this be any worse?

Quite some time ago I managed to get a NetGalley review copy of Heather Wardell's novel 'Seven Exes Are Eight Too Many', a romantic-comedy-meets-reality-TV read that was first released back in 2010. The book is actually the first instalment of a three-part series, and it's also my first experience with Heather's writing, which is always quite exciting! I have to admit I am not the biggest reality TV fan, but I was straightaway intrigued by the plot of this novel and curious to see how the author would manage to make this concept, including a deserted island and a whole load of exes, work in the form of a book...!

So far, Madeleine-Cora Spencer, known to her friends as MC, has had no success in finding her very own Prince Charming. There have been different guys, but with none of them it really worked out in the end. Madeleine decides to hand over the reins of her love life to someone else by taking part in a reality show that will help her find the right guy. However, a surprise is waiting for her in the form of seven of her exes when she shows up on the first day. The show is going to be slightly different from what Madeleine expected: together with seven exes she will need to survive on a deserted island, while competing with another team consisting of that one ex-boyfriend she never quite forgot about and seven of his ex-girlfriends... Let the games begin!

I can honestly say I've never read a novel like Heather Wardell's 'Seven Exes Are Eight Too Many' before, which is basically a season of a reality TV show written down on paper. The novel focuses on main character Madeleine-Cora, also known as MC, who finds herself taking part in a show that is a combination of 'The Bachelorette' and 'Survivor'. Together with several ex-boyfriends she needs to form a team and survive while competing with a team of women led by that one ex she never quite managed to get over. Definitely an original plotline to start a story with and even though I am not a big reality TV fan, I was intrigued and curious to check it out and see what would happen to MC and the other characters.

While the book is a fun and fast-paced read, I couldn't help but be confused by the large group of characters. There's MC at the core of it all, but we have her 8 exes and another 7 women, the presenter of the show, a few family members and friends... Overall it was just a bit too much and I felt a bit lost until the end of the novel, also because the characters weren't described in a lot of detail and had no clear background story. I definitely think the potential is there, though; I enjoyed the author's writing and am curious to read the other parts in this series. On the whole, 'Seven Exes Are Eight Too Many' is a novel that quite confused me at times, but it's also a fast-paced, fun and original read and I look forward to checking out the sequel!
Rating:8/10
 
For more information about this book: Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

25 October 2016

Blog Tour: 'The Christmas Promise' by Sue Moorcroft

For Ava Bliss, it’s going to be a Christmas to remember …

On a snowy December evening, Sam Jermyn steps into the life of bespoke hat maker Ava. Sparks fly, and not necessarily the good ones.

Times are tough for Ava – she’s struggling to make ends meet, her ex-boyfriend is a bully, and worst of all, it’s nearly Christmas.

So when Sam commissions Ava to make a hat for someone special, she makes a promise that will change her life. She just doesn’t know it yet…

Today I'm incredibly excited to share a bit of early Christmas cheer with all of you by being part of the blog tour for Sue Moorcroft's newest book 'The Christmas Promise', which was released by Avon UK on October 6th! I have no idea why, but this is actually my first Sue Moorcroft novel, and I was really looking forward to finally checking out her writing after many years of hearing about her lovely books. Next to that, the book already sounded like a great read I definitely would have picked up myself, and not just because of it's Christmas theme! If you want to read more about this title, be sure to check out some of the other blogs taking part in the blog tour, you can find all the links on the blog tour poster!

Ava Blissham is trying her best to get by on what she earns as a hat maker. She loves the fact that she set up her very own business, but would be lying if she said it made her life easier. Next to that, it's almost Christmas, a time she isn't the biggest fan of because of her parents who never really felt the need to celebrate, and her ex-boyfriend Harvey keeps on popping up in her life unwanted. When Ava joins her best friend and room mate Izz as a plus-one to a work party, she meets Sam Jermyn, and she can't ignore the sparks between them. However, Ava doesn't want to date anyone right now. But when Sam asks her to make a hat for a special someone in his life, Ava can't possibly say no...

Oh, what a lovely December read! I really enjoyed everything about 'The Christmas Promise' and am so glad I finally got to check out Sue Moorcroft's writing. Even though I know absolutely nothing about the art of making hats, I straight away loved the fact that Ava, the main character, is a milliner and it was really interesting to read more about it and see how happy Ava can make people with a new hat that suits them. It was easy to warm to Ava, and I also instantly liked Izz, Ava's best friend, and Sam, who really is the knight-in-shining-armour type which I'm sure many readers will fall for, just like me. I love it when a book has a good and convincing romance at its core and that was definitely the case here.

While the novel is a lovely read with a good dose of Christmas cheer, it is not as festive as some other holiday reads out there and deals with a few quite serious topics in the various plotlines (another thing which I loved about this novel; more than enough to keep my interest!). However, the author really manages to do this in a suitable manner and doesn't make the read an incredibly heavy/dark one. I really enjoyed Sue Moorcroft's writing and hope I'll be able to read more of her work. Overall, 'The Christmas Promise' is a heartwarming, festive, and well-written read; perfect for this time of year and well worth picking up!

Rating:9/10
 
For more information about this book: Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

24 October 2016

Review: 'The Sunshine and Biscotti Club' by Jenny Oliver (2016)

Moving to Italy to set up a baking club is a dream come true…

…until Libby catches her husband cheating just weeks before The Sunshine and Biscotti Club opens its doors.

With the first wave of guests set to arrive any day, Libby has no choice but to tie on her apron and get set to bake. But with a dash of sunshine and a sprinkling of old friends, Libby’s kitchen nightmare might just become the best thing that’s ever happened to her.

After all, you can’t bake biscotti without breaking a few eggs…

Last year I got the chance to read and review 'The Grand Reopening of the Dandelion Cafe' (click here to read my review), which was my first experience with author Jenny Oliver's writing. I always see a lot of positive messages about her writing on Twitter and other blogs and have to admit I love the titles and covers of her works. However, up until now I just haven't really had the chance to actually read more of her writing, until 'The Sunshine and Biscotti Club', that is! Thanks to the lovely people over at publisher Carina I got a review copy and as it was pouring down with rain last week, I decided I needed a bit of sunshine in my life and the gorgeous book cover and promising book blurb had me feeling that was exactly what this read would bring me...!

Libby is living the dream; she's a popular food blogger about to open her very own hotel/baking club in beautiful Tuscany. The only problem is that she expected to do this together with her husband Jake; the same husband she discovered was actually cheating on her and has now left the country. Luckily, Libby quickly realises she is not completely alone; she has her group of old university friends to fall back on as they all make their way to Italy to help out with the renovations and start-up of the Sunshine and Biscotti Club. Will Libby be able to pull this off by herself in just a few weeks' time, especially when not just her friends but their individual problems are also thrown into the mix...?

Jenny Oliver's 'The Sunshine and Biscotti Club' is the kind of read that's great for a lovely warm day in the garden or the beach, or a rather chilly or rainy day when you're craving that bit of sunshine and holiday feeling. The book focuses on main character Libby who is busy starting up her own hotel and baking club in Italy but needs to call in the help of her friends when her husband turns out to have been cheating on her. Next to Libby, we meet all of her friends with a specific focus on Evie (who is stuck in an unhappy marriage with two children and needs a break from it all) and Jessica (who is a complete workaholic that devotes all her time to her own design agency, but decides she could use a quick break away from it all). The reader gets to follow these three female characters with chapters told from each of their point of view, with the Sunshine and Biscotti club at the centre of it all.

I don't know whether I maybe had too high expectations of this novel going into it, but I didn't enjoy it as much as I initially hoped I would. I liked Libby, but didn't really warm to her, and neither did I with any of the other characters. Especially the male characters confused me a bit; I couldn't remember who was who and missed some background information and character details. I was also a bit disappointed there was hardly any attention paid to the actual Sunshine and Biscotti club and the hotel. I definitely think the potential for an amazing story is there, it just didn't really work for me personally, but other readers might disagree, and rightfully so. I have no doubt I will pick up another of Jenny Oliver's novels in the future, but while 'The Sunshine and Biscotti Club' is an enjoyable and fun read, it just didn't quite live up to my expectations.
Rating:7,5/10
 
For more information about this book: Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com / Goodreads

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.