Saturday, 23 June 2018

Book tour: The Cottage on Sunshine Beach - Holly Martin (Sandcastle Bay #2)

Melody Rosewood loves her new home in idyllic Sandcastle Bay. The beautiful little cottage on the edge of Sunshine Beach, with its bright yellow door and view of the sea has captured her heart. And she loves being close by to her family and best friend Tori Graham

Life by the sea is pretty much perfect, there’s just one thing missing… 

Gorgeous Jamie Jackson, with his cheeky grin and adorable puppy, works as a sculptor opposite Melody’s jewellery shop. From the moment he and Melody meet sparks fly. But despite their instant attraction, a past heartache is holding Jamie back. 

As Melody starts to make a life for herself in the close-knit, quirky seaside community, she realises Jamie could be the one for her. But as the two of them take a chance on romance, it’s one dating disaster after another. Are they destined to always be just good friends? 

Or will Melody finally find her happily-ever-after in Sandcastle Bay? 

My opinion.
Fun, gloriously romantic and heartwarming: you guessed it, it's another wonderful Holly Martin book! We return to Sandcastle Bay where we left Tori and Aiden starting their happily ever after, to focus on the cute connection Melody and Jamie share. 
As always, both are hesitant to put themselves out there and take a risk. Although I must say Melody's past and reservations didn't really "hit" me as hard as Jamie's did and I couldn't always understand her reasoning when she was hesitant towards Jamie and their relationship.
What I do absolutely love about both Melody and Jamie, is their unwavering loyalty towards their friends and family, their 'spark' and their creativity. Holly Martin's sense of humor throughout is contagious and will have you laughing out loud. In true romantic comedy style, there are some cringe-worthy awkward situations, usually resolved with lots of laughs and even romance! The meddling villagers however, couldn't charm me in this one. When we first met the people of Sandcastle Bay in 'The Holiday Cottage By The Sea', the first installment in this series, their meddling, over-sharing and gossiping was somewhat charming and funny, but I think it went a step too far for me, and lost its sense of a realistic community.
Right from the start, Holly Martin transported me to this quaint, rustic and calming village, making me forget that I wasn't actually on holiday at the sea-side... but really wishing I was, by the time I finished this book!
Love, laughter, passion and humor: 'The Cottage on Sunshine Beach' is the perfect holiday read.


Read all about book #1 in the Sandcastle Bay series here:

About the author: 
Holly lives in a little white cottage by the sea. She studied media at university which led to a very glitzy career as a hotel receptionist followed by a even more glamorous two years working in a bank. The moment that one of her colleagues received the much coveted carriage clock for fifteen years’ service was the moment when she knew she had to escape. She quit her job and returned to university to train to be a teacher. Three years later, she emerged wide eyed and terrified that she now had responsibility for the development of thirty young minds. She taught for four years and then escaped the classroom to teach history workshops, dressing up as a Viking one day and an Egyptian High Priestess the next. But the long journeys around the UK and many hours sat on the M25 gave her a lot of time to plan out her stories and she now writes full time, doing what she loves.

Holly has been writing for 8 years. She was shortlisted for the New Talent Award at the Festival of Romance. Her short story won the Sunlounger competition and was published in the Sunlounger anthology. She won the Carina Valentine’s competition at the Festival of Romance 2013 with her novel The Guestbook. She was shortlisted for Best Romantic Read, Best eBook and Innovation in Romantic Fiction at the Festival of Romance 2014. She is the bestselling author of 18 books

Follow her on Twitter @HollyMAuthor

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Book review: The Island Villa - Lily Graham

When Charlotte’s husband James tragically dies, he leaves her an unexpected gift – her grandmother’s beautiful villa, Marisal, on the Spanish island of Formentera. 

As she begins to explore her new home, and heal her broken heart in the warm golden sunshine, Charlotte discovers that her grandmother Alba has been keeping secrets about her life on the island. Intrigued by her family’s hidden history, Charlotte uncovers a devastating love affair that put many lives at risk and two sisters torn apart by loss. 

Can the heartbreaking truth of the island’s dark history finally be laid to rest? Or will the secrets of the past shake the new life and love that Charlotte is close to finding? 

My opinion.
When we first meet Charlotte, she's just experienced one of the worst things imaginable: she's lost her husband, the love of her life. Heartbreaking and raw, those first few chapters almost feel like you're intruding on her grief. It actually hurt to read, at times. Beautifully written.
Slowly but surely, life - and the book - gets lighter, sunnier, once she starts finding her place on the island. I loved discovering her family's history along with Charlotte. It's set in a time and place I'm not particularly familiar with, which made it all the more intriguing and surprising. I would say though that there was a bit of a missed opportunity here in not elaborating more on her grandmother's story, as well as the ancestors some generations before. There could have been a story about love, loss, hope, family and tradition in three different generations, whereas now I felt like the connection between the earlier ancestors and her grandmother Alba's history wasn't explored enough. Both the story and I, as a reader, could have done with a couple of more chapters!
The scents, flavours and views of Marisal are described wonderfully and I could easily imagine myself sitting on the island, enjoying the sun and seeing these amazing characters' stories unfold. With lots of drama and hardship in the characters' lives and incredible attention to detail when it comes to their characteristics and personalities, 'The Island Villa' draws you in and keeps you glued to the page until the very last paragraph.


Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Book review: The Not So Perfect Mother - Kerry Fisher


From Amazon chart bestseller Kerry Fisher comes a hilarious and straight-talking read for anyone who has ever despaired at the politics of the school playground… 

Maia is a cleaner for ladies who lunch. With mops and buckets in tow, she spends her days dashing from house to house clearing up after them, as they rush from one exhausting pilates class to the next. 

But an unusual inheritance changes the lives of Maia and her children, as they join the highly exclusive world of Stirling Hall School – a place where no child can survive without organic apricots and no woman goes a week without a manicure. 

As Maia and her children try to settle into their new life, Maia is gradually drawn to the one man who can help her family fit in: Mr. Peters, a teacher at Stirling Hall School. But is his interest in her purely professional? And will it win her any favors at the school gate? 

My opinion.
What a fabulous read. Judging from the cover and a quick glance over the blurb, I was expecting a lighthearted, funny romantic comedy. This novel, however, is much more than that. Maia had a big impact on me. Yes, there were some really funny and romanticly charged moments, but the story went much deeper than that. Kerry Fisher touched on a lot of different subjects and issues. The class difference between "the haves" and "have nots", the strain money has (on both sides of the fence) on relationships and families and the empowerment good friendships can bring.
Kerry Fisher's characters are very easy to love and you can't help but feel very much invested in their lives and happiness. Maia is an inspiring lead character. Life has not been easy on her, but the determination and selfishness she musters to give her children the best future possible is really moving. 
This novel would make the perfect movie script - and one of those all time classic romantic comedy movies.
I absolutely loved reading this eye-opening, yet wonderful feel-good comedy.