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

 

 

 

The Teashop on the Corner

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At 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?

My opinion: Milly Johnson super fan alert…. I LOVED this book!

Carla is at her husband’s funeral when she discovers, in a scene worthy of any British soap, that another woman is legally his wife and he has been living a double life with her behind Carla’s back. Martin never divorced first wife Julie and when they met up again many years later, they got back together. He just forgot to tell Carla this, amongst many other things. Molly lives next door to her twin sister and brother in law and lives a perfectly fine life. Apart from her horrible son and daughter in law who are trying to put her into a home and sell off her house, and a few skeletons in her closet. Will loses his business, his home and his shallow wife who doesn’t seem to remember the “for poorer” part of her wedding vows. Each person’s life gets intertwined with one anothers following the opening of Leni’s teashop, where they meet each other, make new friends and have lots of tea and cake!

As soon as I started reading this book I was hooked yet again. I love Milly’s style of writing, and although I have only recently discovered her book, what a discovery that was!! I really liked and felt attached to each of the main characters, but felt especially drawn to Carla as she rebuilt her life on her own and moved on from finding out that her life had been a lie. I also loved Molly and her story. Each of the characters had so much depth and there were some real shockers lurking in the back of closets. These storylines were sensitively handled without feeling as though the author was afraid of the topics, and worked so well to really turn the characters into real people.

I loved the detail that went into this book, partiularly about all of the literary gifts in Leni’s cafe. The only thing I love more that bookish gifts are books about books! I had a bit of a book geek moment with this book and may have bought myself some book themed gifts when I finished! Another fabulous book from Milly Johnson. I can’t wait for the next book, but feel lucky that I still have to acquaint myself with her back catalogue – very much something to look forward to!

My rating: Five fabulous stars

I received an advance copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review

Here Come the Boys

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Angie Silveroak and her husband are taking a much-needed holiday on the cruise ship Mermaidia, so the last person she hopes to bump into on the first night is her one-time best friend Selina and the man Selina stole from her and married twenty years ago.
And what she needs even less is to be marooned in Malaga with Selina when both of them manage to miss boarding the ship in port.
It will take three days for them to travel across Europe to catch up with the ship again in Croatia. And in the company of each other twenty-four/seven, a lot of old baggage is going to be unloaded.

My opinion: I am fast becoming a massive Milly Johnson fangirl. I have only recently discovered her writing and am yet to read a book that is less than fabulous.

This novella follows Angie as she goes on an indulgent cruise holiday with her husband Gil. They meet some characters on board, although poor Gil gets seasick, leaving Angie to go sightseeing in Malaga alone. She misjudges the time that the ship is due to leave and ends up getting left behind with only her handbag and ship boarding card to her name. However, she isn’t left behind alone. Selina, her former best friend was aboard the ship as well, with her husband Zander. Who she stole from Angie twenty years ago. With three days until they can meet the ship in Croatia, they have a lot of catching up to do.

This is a very quick read, but still a great story. Angie still holds a candle for her ex and has never forgiven Selina. But of course, things are never as they seem. I read this in one sitting and only wish it was longer. I am hoping that we will meet Selina and Angie in a future book as I would love to know what happens next.

At the end of the book there is an excerpt from Milly’s newest novel, The Teashop on the Corner. I have been lucky enough to read it already and can guarantee that it is another cracker! The Teashop on the Corner is published on the 19th June and I will review on the same date. It is available for pre-order now!!

My rating: Five stars

The Yorkshire Pudding Club

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Three South Yorkshire friends, all on the cusp of 40, fall pregnant at the same time following a visit to an ancient fertility symbol.

For Helen, it’s a dream come true, although her husband is not as thrilled about it as she had hoped. Not only wrestling with painful ghosts of the past, Helen has to deal with the fact that her outwardly perfect marriage is crumbling before her eyes. For Janey, it is an unmitigated disaster as she has just been offered the career break of a life-time. And she has no idea either how it could possibly have happened, seeing as she and her ecstatic husband George were always so careful over contraception. For Elizabeth, it is mind-numbing, because she knows people like her shouldn’t have children. Damaged by her dysfunctional childhood and emotionally lost, she not only has to contend with carrying a child she doubts she can ever love, but she also has to deal with the return to her life of a man whose love she must deny herself.

Heart-warming, up-lifting, tear-jerking and lovely, THE YORKSHIRE PUDDING CLUB is the story of how three women find themselves empowered by unexpected pregnancy. How it revitalises one woman’s tired marriage, strengthens another’s belief in herself and brings love and warmth to a cold and empty life.

My opinion: After loving Milly’s latest book It’s Raining Men I have been looking forward to reading another of her books as soon as I can. When The Yorkshire Pudding Club was reduced on the Kindle, I couldn’t refuse a bargain and had to pick it up.

The Yorkshire Pudding Club follows the story of three best friends from Yorkshire, Helen, Janey and Elizabeth. Helen has been trying for a baby with her husband for a long time, but without luck. She manages to convince her best friends Janey and Elizabeth to visit an ancient fertility symbol with her as a last ditch attempt to change her luck and get pregnant. A few months later, she is not the only one who finds out that she is pregnant, although her friends aren’t quite so pleased. Janey has just been promoted at work, and even though she loves her husband, has never been entirely sure about whether she wants a baby. Elizabeth has just lost her job, isn’t in a relationship and hasn’t come to terms with her own childhood, let alone feel able to be responsible for someone elses.

This book is written in Milly’s lovely, friendly style and was brilliantly funny. I wasn’t sure about whether this book would be a bit predictable as it progressed, but I was pleasantly surprised that as it unfolded, it became more complicated and the story became a lot deeper. Despite the cheery cover and seemingly predicatable start, the book deals with some really tough issues and I commend Milly for her tact in the way she has dealt with them, whilst still making it feel real.

I really enjoyed this book and would love to hear more about the friends’ lives as their babies get older and how their love lifes have turned out. I’m already excited to read another book by Milly and expect to do so very soon!

My rating: Four stars

It’s Raining Men

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Best friends May, Lara and Clare are desperate for a holiday. They have been dreaming of a little cottage away from it all, long walks in the country and just a bit of time away from it all. But when they arrive in Ren Dullem, a small Yorkshire seaside town, it seems it is not the place they thought it was…

May has never quite found her niche in life, or her Mr Right. Then in Dullem she falls hook line and sinker at first glance for one of the inhabitants – but he’s already taken.

Lara is living with James and his awful step-children who taunt her with tales of his younger, prettier ex whom they adored. The woman who Lara walks in to find James in bed with despite all his protestations that he wouldn’t touch her again with a barge pole. Reeling from the hurt, she needs the sea air of Dullem to heal her. What she doesn’t need is to be constantly in battle with the owner of the holiday cottage – a man who is every bit as bitter and resentful and untrusting of the other sex as she is.

Clare’s fiance Hugh wants her to go and live abroad with him for two years, but she’s just been offered the promotion of a life-time. She needs some headspace to think about what she needs to do, but then she meets a very bad boy who is everything Hugh isn’t – impulsive, wild and dangerous. Will this holiday be the break they all need?

Or will it bring them all to breaking point…?

My opinion: This is the first Milly Johnson book I’ve read, despite having had a few on my TBR for ages. I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to read one of Milly’s books as I absolutely loved this book!

It’s about a group of three friends with high powered London jobs who all have bad luck with men and no time to relax. They decide to go off on a spa break to relax and catch up, but things don’t quite go to plan. They end up in Ren Dullem which seems like a seaside equivalent to Royston Vaysey! Despite initial reservations, they carry on with their holiday and adventures ensue.

Each of the characters in this book were well crafted and easy to visualise. I loved the way that he book was written and the detail was enough to ignite the readers imagination without being too heavy. The book has a sprinkling of fantasy, but just enough to make it a bit different without going into the realms of vampires and trolls.

I really enjoyed this book and looked forward to picking it up in any spare time, which is definitely the mark of a good book. If I could have I would have stayed up all night to read it! I won’t leave it too long before picking up another of Milly’s books!

My rating: A fabulous five stars!

Birthday book haul

It was my birthday this week and I thought I would share with you my book haul!

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As you can see I had lots of books! Around half of the books are presents of books that I haven’t read yet, and the other half are books I bought myself for my birthday that I have read on my Kindle and just had to have a paperback copy of! Does anyone else do this?

The only problem is now, I have no space left on my bookshelves and this is even before you add my four TBR piles into the mix! Do you have book storage problems too?