Review: Paris for One and Other Stories by Jojo Moyes

Paris for One and Other StoriesParis for One and Other Stories by Jojo Moyes

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m generally not a fan of short stories, they’re far too short, so why I decided to pick up this collection is probably a fair question. The answer was very simple, Jojo Moyes. I absolutely love Jojo Moyes writing and think I have read pretty much every book she’s written. I was therefore very curious to see what she would do with the shorter format. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve been really let down by a favorite authors attempt at a short story but thankfully Moyes didn’t disappoint.Read More »

ARC Review: Spring at Blueberry Bay by Holly Martin

Spring at Blueberry BaySpring at Blueberry Bay by Holly Martin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Funny and sweet romance. This put a big ginormous smile on my face and made a cold and miserable day so much brighter.

When I spied this on Netgalley I couldn’t resist requesting as it sounded like just the type of book I was in need of. Having read some heavy and kind of depressing books I was looking for something light, fluffy and romantic to get me out of a slump so this seemed like the perfect choice. From the very pretty cover to the enticing blurb this was definitely a story that appealed and it didn’t let me down.

Read More »

ARC Review: New York, Actually by Sarah Morgan

New York, Actually (From Manhattan with Love, #4)New York, Actually by Sarah Morgan

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I always look forward to Sarah Morgan’s next book and this one, the fourth in her From Manhattan with Love series, didn’t disappoint.

It’s funny, romantic and kinda hot. There are some definite sparks in this contemporary romance and I’m loving the New York setting. Perfect for a lazy day spent reading.


The Blurb (from GoodReads)

Meet Molly

New York’s most famous agony aunt, she considers herself an expert at relationships…as long as they’re other people’s. The only love of her life is her Dalmatian, Valentine.

Meet Daniel

A cynical divorce lawyer, he’s hardwired to think relationships are a bad idea. If you don’t get involved, no-one can get hurt. But then he finds himself borrowing a dog to meet the gorgeous woman he sees running in Central Park every morning…

Molly and Daniel think they know everything there is to know about relationships…until they meet each other that is…


Thoughts

It’s not the most original of stories, man pretends to be something he’s not to catch the eye of someone he fancies, but Morgan does it so well. It’s an addictive and fun read that I read from cover to cover in the space of a day. Molly is a very likeable character and, while she has a troubled past she was trying to get away from, it wasn’t at all what I thought it would be and definitely brought a unique twist. I loved how she was both vulnerable and also quite fiery. She doesn’t take any nonsense and is very able for the supremely charming and persuasive Daniel.

Daniel, well he’s determined to get what he wants and will go to any lengths to get it (even if it means borrowing a dog and pretending to be a dog person) but you can’t help but like him. He also hasn’t had the best past and despite the charm and the polish there’s a very kind and caring man underneath it all.

The relationship between the two is brilliant. Morgan knows how to create some real chemistry between her characters and there were some definite sparks. There’s a lot of banter and teasing (and one hilarious moment of revenge) but there are a lot of quite sweet moments too. They were definitely a couple I was rooting for.

The supporting characters were well developed and I loved how heavily the dogs Valentine and Brutus featured although I do now want a dog. This book did introduce a few new characters who weren’t in the original trilogy and for me they were welcome additions.

Overall a great story that I’d recommend to any one looking for a fun and romantic read with a few surprises along the way. I should also add that while it is the fourth in the series it could quite easily be read as a standalone as there isn’t too much of an overlap with previous books.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for providing me with an ARC. All views are my own.

ARC Review: All She Ever Wished For by Claudia Carroll

All She Ever Wished ForAll She Ever Wished For by Claudia Carroll

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Probably wrongly, I feel a little bit misled by this book. Based on the cover, the title and the release date of October I kind of thought that this was going to be a Christmas romance and unfortunately it’s not. I no doubt should have paid a bit more attention to the blurb but I just got too excited about a Claudia Carroll Christmas story. I absolutely loved Meet Me In Manhattan and would probably rate it as one of my all time favourite Christmas romances.

Alas in this case it was not to be. That’s not to say this is not a great story, because it is. It’s the story of two women, Kate and Tess who are at very different points in their lives. Kate’s marriage to billionaire Damien King is over and Tess is planning her wedding to art historian Bernard. Their lives intersect one day on the Ha’penny bridge, when Tess comes across Kate in tears, and then a couple of years later when Tess is called for jury duty and ends up embroiled in a legal dispute between Kate and Damien over a painting.

The chapters alternate between Tess and Kate for the most part (Bernard gets a couple of chapters) with Tess’s chapters set in the present and telling the story of her wedding plans, the court case and her relationship with Bernard, his family and hers. Kate’s chapters are mostly flashbacks, telling the story of her relationship with Damien from their first meeting to the events that resulted in them in court battling over custody of a painting.

I have to admit that initially I found the story a little on the slow side and this wasn’t helped by the fact that I didn’t really take to either Tess or Kate. Both came across as quite weak characters, with Tess particularly frustrating me with her blindness to the fact that she and Bernard were a complete mismatch.

Where the story really picks up however is when the court case begins. I really enjoyed Tess’s attempts to get out of jury duty and loved some of the conversations between the jurors who are primarily composed of pensioners.

I don’t think I ever took to Kate unfortunately and this is probably the main reason why I rated it as I did. The flashbacks were interesting but as a lot of them were in the form of newspaper articles it was kind of difficult to get that connection. She felt a bit absent to me and honestly I don’t think I cared what the outcome of the case would be.

Bernard and his family were also a little annoying to me. They were just that bit too stereotyped as socially awkward, eccentric, intellectuals. I think I spent most of the story waiting for Tess to come to her senses and call the wedding off which I suppose in a way did keep me reading.

As a Claudia Carroll book it is well written and there is some fantastic dialogue but it just seemed to be missing that little spark for me.

Overall, therefore I’d say good rather than great.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.


Blurb (from GoodReads)

A gorgeous story of chance meetings and unexpected friendships . . . because sometimes what you’ve always wished for isn’t necessarily what life has in store . . .

Marriage. It’s a dream come true. Isn’t it?

One wet winter night, two women meet on a bridge. One is Tess Taylor, a personal trainer on the way to meet her boyfriend for date night. The other is Kate King, a celebrity married to a handsome billionaire who just happens to make her cry. In the cold dark evening, there is nothing to link them together but the bridge they shiver on. Little do they know they’ll both hold the key to each other’s future marriage…

All She Ever Wished For tells the story of what happens when your dream is about to come true. And what happens when that dream turns into a bit of a nightmare…

Book Review: Who’s That Girl by Mhairi McFarlane

Who’s That Girl?Who’s That Girl? by Mhairi McFarlane

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is how chick lit should be written.

I’ve read a couple of Mhairi McFarlane’s other books and enjoyed them but I think this may be her best yet. She somehow manages to create very real characters who don’t always act they way you want them to but who you can’t help but get behind. It isn’t your usual predictable chick lit but I think that’s why it really works. I laughed, I cried and I was completely hooked and didn’t want it to end.Read More »

Book Review: Sleepless in Manhattan by Sarah Morgan

Sleepless In ManhattanSleepless in Manhattan by Sarah Morgan

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I was absolutely stunned to read the back of this book and find that Sarah Morgan has written 75 books. That is certainly impressive. What’s more impressive is that I still enjoy pretty much every one I read. I will admit I haven’t read all 75, probably more half a dozen, but she’s definitely one of my go to authors when I’m looking for a nice and easy romantic read for a lazy afternoon.

This book is no exception. It’s an enjoyable read, with great characters and a believable (at times sizzling) romance.

Synopsis

This story marks the start of a new trilogy set in New York and similar to her last Puffin Island series features three friends and their romantic entanglements. For this book center stage goes to Paige Walker. Paige spent her childhood in and out of hospital and now she’s pretty much all clear she’s determined to live life to the fullest and prove to everyone she can do it on her own.

She’s loving life in Manhattan and knows she’s a dead cert for promotion at work however her plans fall apart when instead she’s laid off. Unable to find another job she decides to go into business for herself but it’s a big risk for both her and those who depend on her.

She’s determined to go it alone but when things are slow to take off it looks like she’ll need some help. Unfortunately Jake Romano, her brothers best friend, seems like her best option but given their past he’s the last person she wants help from.

Thoughts

I think you can probably guess just from the synopsis how it all ends but I have to admit it’s an enjoyable journey. Yes the characters are a little bit stereotyped, yes a lot of it seems unrealistic (they all seem to live in huge apartments, Jake is a millionaire IT whiz), but who cares.

The author writes characters who are likeable and, one of the key things for me, these characters include a number of strong, independent, intelligent women. Almost every character male and female is of course stunningly attractive and there are a lot of troubled histories but you still can’t help rooting for them.

What I always like most about Ms Morgan’s books however is that she has a special talent for creating chemistry between the leads. There are far too many romances that fall flat because of that missing spark. Pretty much every book of hers I’ve read however has been a success on that level and this is no exception.  There are some very definite fireworks between Paige and Jake.

The plot is a little bit on the predictable side but the writing is very readable and the pacing is pretty much spot on. I had a few little gripes here and there but nothing too major.

Unfortunately I don’t tend to find this type of book particularly memorable, hence the low-ish score but it was definitely enjoyable at the time.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an advance copy.