Holiday reads: Part 1

As I am currently soaking up the rays with lots of good books (and possibly a cocktail in my hand!), I thought that I would share with you some of my recommendations for books to read wherever you go on holiday this year – whether it is a deckchair in the back garden or somewhere slightly more exotic. The first five of my picks are featured today, with the second part on Thursday! Enjoy…

18516205Imogen and her friends have had their fill of budget holidays, cattle-class flights and 6 a.m. offensives for a space by the pool.


So when one of the group wins a VIP holiday at Barcelona’s hippest new hotel, they plan to sip champagne with the jet set, party with the glitterati and switch off in surroundings of unapologetic luxury.


But as they mingle with movie stars, mafia bosses and millionaires, it becomes clear – with riotous consequences – that even in the most glamorous of locations, things can go wrong. Very wrong . . .

You can read my review here.

 

 

 

22351228Faye Dobson has lost her sparkle. Living on film star fantasies and vague memories of a marriage that once was, she can’t help feeling that life is passing her by. She dreams of being whisked to Paris for dinner, making three wishes at the Trevi fountain and having sex under the stars. But the wrinkles are multiplying, her husband’s passion is for plumbing, and the nearest she’ll get to Rome is a take-away pizza.

So when Faye meets Dan the gorgeous Australian surfer guy working in the local deli she can’t help but wonder what it would be like to see the world. He is blonde, tanned, ten years younger and bakes the most amazing lemon cake. Unlike her husband Dan actually listens to Faye, his smile makes her feel fizzy inside, and when he smiles… Oh. My. God.

But is Faye being silly? What would Dan see in someone like her? Even if he did have feelings for her, could she give everything up to be with him?

A laugh-out-loud, bittersweet comedy about taking your life back before it’s too late.

You can read my review here and my interview with Sue here.

 

22032626At her beloved husband’s funeral, Carla Pride discovers that Martin never divorced his first wife and has been living a double life with her. And his other wife, Julie Pride, is determined to take everything from Carla – her home, her money, and her memories.

When Will Linton’s business goes bust he at least thinks that with the support of his trophy wife Nicole he will rise to the top again. But Nicole isn’t going to stick around with ‘a loser’ and Will finds himself at rock bottom.

Molly Jones is being bullied into going into a retirement home by her ‘concerned’ daughter-in-law Sherry and son Gram. Then the love of Molly’s life walks in through her door – a man who broke Molly’s heart into little pieces many years ago. But he says he is dying and wants to spend the time he has left with her.

All people in need of a little love and compassion which they find by chance in the stationery and teashop on the corner run by the ever-cheerful Leni, a woman that site developer Shaun McCarthy finds annoying beyond annoying for her ability to remain unrealistically upbeat about everything.

But is the world of Leni Merryman as full of rainbows and sparkles as everyone thinks? Or is her smile papering over many cracks in her heart that will soon be shattered unwittingly by her new friends?

You can read my review here.

18394999Two couples, one honeymoon destination, and enough secrets to end both marriages. Perfect for fans of Jill Mansell

How can one honeymoon cause so much trouble?

Much as Emma loves Tom, she would never have got married if he hadn’t insisted. But with Tom sick for the whole week, shouldn’t she at least take advantage of the entertainment?

Winston married Melissa after a three-month whirlwind romance. As a breakfast TV fitness star, he’s anxious to keep things private. But the arrival of Melissa’s two children soon puts paid to that.

Rosie arrived at the Villa Rosa homeless and pregnant when she was just seventeen. Now, sixteen years later, she runs the place. However, the appearance of Winston throws her into confusion. He might not remember her, but she has never forgotten him.

By the end of the week, none of their lives will be the same. But how will they cope after the honeymoon is over?

You can read my review here and Janey’s guest post here.

 

21194214Is Italian really the language of love? A new class of students hopes to find out. Anna’s recently been told the father she’s never met is Italian. Now she’s baking focaccia, whipping up tiramisu and swotting up on her vocabulary, determined to make it to Italy so she can find him in person. Catherine’s husband has walked out on her, and she’s trying to pick up the pieces of her life. But she’ll need courage as well as friends when she discovers his deception runs even deeper than infidelity. Sophie’s the teacher of the class, who’d much rather be back in sunny Sorrento. She can’t wait to escape the tensions at home and go travelling again. But sometimes life – and love – can surprise you when you least expect it. As the evening class gets underway, friendships form and secrets from Italy begin to emerge. With love affairs blossoming in the most unlikely places, and hard decisions to face, it’s going to be a year that Anna, Catherine and Sophie will never forget.

You can read my review here

 

 

 

After the Honeymoon

18394999

Two couples, one honeymoon destination, and enough secrets to end both marriages. Perfect for fans of Jill Mansell

How can one honeymoon cause so much trouble?

Much as Emma loves Tom, she would never have got married if he hadn’t insisted. But with Tom sick for the whole week, shouldn’t she at least take advantage of the entertainment?

Winston married Melissa after a three-month whirlwind romance. As a breakfast TV fitness star, he’s anxious to keep things private. But the arrival of Melissa’s two children soon puts paid to that.

Rosie arrived at the Villa Rosa homeless and pregnant when she was just seventeen. Now, sixteen years later, she runs the place. However, the appearance of Winston throws her into confusion. He might not remember her, but she has never forgotten him.

By the end of the week, none of their lives will be the same. But how will they cope after the honeymoon is over?

My opinion:When I was contacted by Janey about After the Honeymoon I jumped at the chanceto read and review it as it sounded great. I got stuck into it straight away and was immediately hooked into the worlds of the characters.

Emma is a young mum of two who gets married to her childhood sweetheart Tom. She loves Tom and their little family, but had never been too fussed about getting married. They married at Tom’s insistence and one of their wedding presents was a honeymoon at a small villa on a Greek island. Just the two of them, without the children. With her mum looking after the children, and Tom getting sick as soon as they arrive, one week becomes a testing situation for the newly weds and gives Emma some chance to be herself for the first time in a few years.

Winston is a TV star fitness trainer (I was imagining a modern Mr Motivator!) and has married mother of two Melissa. They met on set when she was his make up artist, and three months later they are on honeymoon at the same small villa in Greece, in an attempt to get some privacy away from the press on their own. That is until his step children get shipped over by their father who should be looking after them, and the past comes back to haunt him.

Rosie is part owner of the Villa Rosa and runs it with the help of her son Jack, friend Greco and island lothario Yannis. Rosie is trying her best to keep the business going and has been helped by friends back in the UK to spread the word about the villa. When Winston turns up, she has some decisions to make on whether to drag up the pastor just to let sleeping dogs lie.

As soon as I started reading this book, I just knew I was going to love it. The lives of the characters are wonderfully intertwined and everyone of them has real depth and well thought through back stories. My favourite character was Rosie. She just seemed so genuine and grounded, a real salt of the earth type person. As I got to the end of each chapter, I just wanted to read more. The book also made me look forward to my own Greek holiday this year!

The book is quite hefty at nearly 500 pages, but doesn’t drag in any way, is well paced and I could have kept reading it for even longer! It was a very welcome companion on a couple of long train journeys and I felt like I could lose myself in the story completely. Janey’s writing style is very easy to read and friendly. I was really impressed by how detailed each of the storylines were, how they intertwined in such a perfect way and how no stone was left unturned!

This book would make a fantastic holiday read and I urge everyone to go out and buy it to share my enthusiasm! You may have guessed that I really loved this book and really want to read some more of Janey’s previous books.

My rating: A wonderful five stars

I was sent an advance copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Guest post: Janey Fraser – Honeymoon Horrors

picture janey fraser

Today on Sheli Reads I am very pleased to welcome the lovely Janey Fraser, author of After the Honeymoon, with her guest post about honeymoon horrors! After the Honeymoon will be published on 22nd May 2014 by Arrow Books.

It was a night to remember for newly-weds Karen and Dave*. But for all the wrong reasons! Karen’s mum and dad had given them two nights at a swanky London hotel as a honeymoon. It had everything. An ensuite bathroom that was as big as their flat. An enormous bed which could have taken an entire family. And marble floors……Which proved to be their undoing.

When Karen and Dave got out of their wedding finery to celebrate their first night as a married couple, they found that confetti had got stuck in their clothes. Laughingly, they brushed them off but some of the petals were damp from champagne and sweat. (Great mixture, don’t you think?) To Karen and Dave’s horror, the petals fell on the floor and immediately left pink and blue stains.

“Quick,” said Karen. “We need to wipe them off or else we could be landed with a bill for damages.”

Grabbing the white hotel towels – they couldn’t find anything else – the pair rubbed away at the stains only to find it made the floor worse. It also stained the towels too!

So Dave dashed out to buy some cleaning materials: not an easy task since it was 2 in the morning and there weren’t any handy corner shops in this expensive part of London. Eventually, he returned and the couple spent all night rubbing away at the stains until they finally came off.

In the morning, they both looked exhausted. “Everyone thought we’d been up all night , doing what newly-weds are meant to do,” laughed Karen. “But in fact, we’d both got housemaid’s knee from kneeling on the cold floor.”

This was one of many honeymoon stories which I came across when researching my new novel AFTER THE HONEYMOON. The story itself is fiction: two very different couples from the same small English town go to a small Greek island for their honeymoon. But the woman who runs the hotel, just happens to have known one of the grooms in the past…..

As I was writing my novel, I kept thinking about my own honeymoons. I first got married when I was 22 and my mother had given us a night in a modest bed and breakfast near our home in Harrow. In the morning, we couldn’t get out of our room – the lock had stuck! So we had to put our heads out of the window and yell for help. If I tell you that we were the butt of several jokes at breakfast, you get the picture!

In fact, my second husband and I didn’t have a second honeymoon when I got married again, some years later. I didn’t want to leave my then-14 year old son and he refused to come with us , even though we offered. That made me think. How would a stepfather without children manage if his step-kids turned up on honeymoon? I don’t want to give my plot away but trust me, it causes mayhem…..

When I told friends that my next novel was about a honeymoon, they kept telling me about their own honeymoon ups and downs. So I decided to include some real stories in between chapters. There was the bride whose American parents came with them (luckily the son in law got on with them). Then there was the friend whose new husband loved camping (the tent blew away just as they were reaching the pinnacle of passion). And then there was the couple who split up six months after the honeymoon because the bride realised she loved someone else.

In fact, the honeymoon is only the first part of my novel. The second tells us what happened to those two couples (and the taverna owner) after the honeymoon.

I hope you enjoy it. Meanwhile, please email me by May 30 with your honeymoon story. The top three will each receive a copy of one of my novels. janeyfraser@gmail.com

AFTER THE HONEYMOON BY JANEY FRASER. TO BE PUBLISHED BY ARROW (Random House) on May 22

http://www.amazon.co.uk/After-Honeymoon-Janey-Fraser/dp/0099580845/

http://www.janeyfraser.com