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

 

 

 

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One Night in Italy

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Is 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.

My opinion: I was really excited to read this book. I love a book with a beautiful Meditteranean setting and this book also has a gorgeous cover!

The book centres around three main characters, whose lives eventually become intertwined. Sophie has been travelling for years and is in Sorrento when she gets a call to say that her dad is ill. She ends up going back home to the UK and teaches an Italian class to make some money. She also has to face up to what she ran away from all those years ago. Catherine finds her husband in bed with another woman and when he leaves her she finds that their life together wasn’t all it cracked up to be. She decides to make a new start and joins an Italian class to meet people and learn something new. Anna is a journalist who loves to cook. She has never known her father, but an elderly relative lets slip that he’s Italian. Anna decides to learn some Italian so that when she eventually tracks her father down she will be able to converse in his mother tongue.

This book isn’t small by any means, coming in at around 400 pages. But I really didn’t want it to end. I loved this book right from the Harry Potter reference in the opening pages, right until I put it down and felt like I was leaving friends. I loved all of the characters and felt that I could have joined the Italian class and made friends with them all. I think my favourite was Catherine though and loved reading about her transformation from downtrodden housewife to independent woman.

This book also made me very hungry! The recipes cooked up by Anna (particularly the foccacia!) made my mouth water and I loved the bonus recipes at the back of the book. The book truly lives up to its beautiful cover and I would love to read more about any of the characters. I have always wanted to go to Italy and this book just made my ambition even stronger! A wonderful holiday read whether you are lying by the pool or having a staycation in the UK. I will definitely be reading more by Lucy Diamond.

My rating: A  bellisimo five stars

I received an advance review copy of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review

Christmas at the Beach Cafe

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A Christmas short story from bestselling author Lucy Diamond, revisiting her Beach Café characters.

After a hectic summer running her beach café in Cornwall, Evie Flynn is looking forward to her first Christmas with new boyfriend Ed – she’s determined that it’s going to be the most perfectly romantic one ever. Cosy nights in front of the fire, spicy mulled wine, mince pies . . . what’s not to love? But the peace is shattered when Ed’s ex suddenly gets in touch again, and then some unexpected guests arrive: Ed’s surly brother Jake and Evie’s heartbroken best friend Amber. Add in the stress of trying to finish her very own recipe book, snow blizzards and family dramas and Evie’s Christmas starts to look as if it’ll be a total turkey. Will any of her festive wishes come true . . . or is this Christmas just a recipe for disaster?

An absolute Christmas cracker from Lucy Diamond, bestselling author of The Beach Café and Me And Mr Jones. This novella is the perfect present for anyone who loves women’s fiction, heartwarming stories and the festive season!

My opinion: I have wanted to read The Beach Café now for a while, but haven’t got around to it yet due to the monster size of my TBR pile. You may have noticed that I have been on a bit of a Christmas book reading spree recently, so what better excuse to read this festive novella?!

Evie is gearing up for her first Christmas since inheriting the Beach Café from her aunt earlier in the year. She has lots of plans for decorating the café, producing a recipe book for the locals who have supported her, and having lots of cosy romantic evenings with her boyfriend Ed. But unfortunately a few unannounced guests, unexpected weather and other stresses it looks like Christmas is going to turn out to be a disaster.

I really enjoyed this book and it makes me want to read The Beach Café even more now! I know I’ve done it a bit backwards by reading this novella first, but I feel like I’ve got to know the characters enough to ensure that reading the full novel will be time well invested!

This is a lovely Christmassy short story that was a great quick read in between books. It was a well contained story that works well as a standalone even if you haven’t read the first book (like me!), and has some great characters that I am looking forward to getting to know better.

My rating: A festive four stars!