ARC Review: Late Summer in the Vineyard by Jo Thomas

imageLate Summer in the Vineyard
by Jo Thomas
Published: 11th August 2016
Publisher: Headline Review
ISBN: 9781472223722
Goodreads

Available to purchase from
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Synopsis:

Emmy Bridges has always looked out for others. Now it’s time to put down roots of her own.
Working for a wine-maker in France is the opportunity of a lifetime for Emmy. Even if she doesn’t know a thing about wine – beyond what’s on offer at the local supermarket.
There’s plenty to get to grips with in the rustic town of Petit Frère. Emmy’s new work friends need more than a little winning over. Then there’s her infuriatingly brash tutor, Isaac, and the enigmatic Madame Beaumont, tucked away in her vineyard of secrets.
But Emmy will soon realise that in life – just as in wine-making – the best things happen when you let go and trust your instincts. Particularly when there’s romance in the air…

My Thoughts:

Firstly, thanks to the publisher and Bookbridgr for the opportunity to read and review this great book! Again, as with my last 2 reviews, look at the cover!! This is bright, cheerful, and instantly you know it’s going to be an amazing book. The digital image does nothing for the actual physical book.

My goodness. What a beautiful, heart-warming, gorgeous *insert whatever warm fuzzy word you’re thinking here* book. It’s certainly left me with that warm, romantic, loving feeling.
This is the first book I’ve read by Jo Thomas, I regret not reading The Oyster Catcher, which I’ve had for months, sooner to find out that she is an outstanding author.

Emmy is an excellent character. She’s down on her luck, looking for a means to help out her Dad. So what does she do? Throws herself so far outside her comfort zone, and succeeds in every way you want her to. She grows, becomes more confident and falls in love along the way. Isaac is the lone, travelling wine-maker, looking for somewhere – and someone – to settle down. He’s handsome, charming, and just utterly perfect for Emmy.

The chemistry between them sizzles off the page and I just love it. Every character adds something special to this book. Madame Beaumont is just the perfect character for, she is by far the best old lady I’ve come across recently in books.

Jo Thomas’s writing style has left me with a warm feeling, and has definitely left me wanting more. I would love it if there was a second book following Emmy and Isaac. I will be hurrying to pick up everything else by Jo Thomas now.

France is a perfect backdrop, set in a quaint little village that I really want to visit now. Or just visit France in general, anywhere in such a stunning country would be fine!!! I seem to be having a European reading spree at the moment!

My Rating: With excellent characters, a wonderful French setting, and romance pouring from pretty much every page, I give this book a huge sloppy kiss and an even bigger 5/5. This book is perfect for settling down with on a late summer’s evening, with a glass (or 2) of wine.

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ARC Review: Escape to the Riviera by Jules Wake


Escape To The Riviera by Jules Wake
Published: 30 June 2016
Publisher: HarperCollins UK, Avon
Format: EBook:
Pages: 400
ISBN: 9780008185305
Goodreads

Available to Purchase:
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Synopsis:

Carrie Hayes has a job she enjoys and a perfectly nice boyfriend. She’s sorted. Isn’t she?

But Carrie’s life wasn’t always like this. As a young, wild drama student, she married fellow actor, Richard Maddox, after a whirlwind romance. Life back then was full of possibilities, but when Hollywood beckoned Richard, Carrie was left behind.
Now an A-list superstar, Richard’s life couldn’t be more different to Carrie’s, so when their paths cross in glamorous St Tropez, she can’t help but wonder what might have been.
But with lovely, sensible Alan in tow, Carrie knows she needs to do the right thing. The only problem is, Carrie and Richard never quite got round to getting a divorce…
Lose yourself this summer on the French Riviera, the perfect read for fans of Lucy Diamond and Jane Costello.

My Thoughts:
Firstly, Thank You to Netgalley and the publisher for my copy in exchange for my review!!
How stunning are the colours on that cover?? That’s the main reason why I requested this book! I’m not afraid to admit it, it was all about the cover!! I barely paid attention to the description, and too be honest I’m sort of glad I didn’t.

I will be honest, it took me quite a few attempts to get into this book, but I did eventually! Once I got going, it was impossible to detract the kindle from my hands! I’m only a little bit ashamed to say that I nearly, very nearly, forgot to feed my child…. Is that bad??? It’s rare that I really struggle to get into a book and continue to read it, but I’m absolutely delighted, no ecstatic, that I stuck with this and finished it.

This book is one of the books that I will recommend to everyone and anyone – who will listen to me rattle on about it anyway!!  The whole storyline was fantastic, I loved the fact it wasn’t following normal rules of the first falling in love storyline, it was about falling in love all over again.  It was about finding who you are, and taking life by the horns and going for what you actually want.  I’m glad the whole storyline didn’t revolve around the movie star status, that would have been a bit tedious.  Instead it was more about who he was before, the man he was before.  The memories of Carrie and Richard made me smile, laugh (discreetly), and make me root for them even more!!

The 3 leading ladies were brilliant, they worked well off each other and I could have read about them for a very long time! Carrie is a superb leading lady, she’s funny, witty, determined.  Jade is a typical teenager – celebrity obsessed, technology addict – and Angela is the voice of reason behind everything. Richard…. Richard…. What can I say about I can say about Richard? He comes across as smooth, romantic, charming, gorgeous, and just…. Swoon-Worthy? The chemistry between Carrie and Richard is electric, and you can feel the love between them.

The setting of the Riviera was fantastic, and is perfect for a summer read. I love books set on mainland Europe, and this didn’t budge that feeing at all.  I rarely read books set in France but this has changed that.  I shall be on the lookout for more similar books!  It was written brilliantly, with witty moments, intense moments, and near happy tear moments.

My Rating: I loved this book. I loved the characters, the setting, storyline, everything.  it will stay with me for a lone time, and as I said, I will recommend it to be many people! On that note, I give it a huge 5/5.

ARC Review: The Sunflower Cottage Breakfast Club by Lynsey James


The Sunflower Cottage Breakfast Club (Luna Bay Book2)
by Lynsey James
Published: 1st August
Publisher: Carina UK
Format: Ebook
Pages:
ISBN: 9780008189952
Goodreads

Available to purchase:
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Synopsis:
Emily Reed is having a bad day. Her mother has just dropped a devastating bombshell—the dad she’s known and loved for twenty-five years isn’t her biological father!
Desperately in need of answers, Emily heads to Luna Bay covering her personal quest up as a work trip to Sunflower Cottage B&B.
Setting up the ‘Sunflower Cottage Breakfast Club’ should be a great way to meet the locals and maybe even find out who her father is. The only problem is brooding and insanely gorgeous, Noah, who is determined to make Emily’s stay perfectly uncomfortable.
Discovering the truth after all these years was never going to be simple, but Emily will stop at nothing to uncover her past… even if her heart is getting in the way!

My Thoughts:
Firstly, Thank you to Netgalley and Carina UK for the opportunity to read and review this book. This book is the second one in the Luna Bay series, the first is The Broken Hearts Book Club, which I have read and enjoyed.

Lynsey James is slowly becoming a firm favourite with me, she writes brilliantly funny and touching books. All the covers to her books are pretty, especially this one!! It’s gorgeous! I know we shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover but we all do it, don’t we?!

It was great to have characters from The Broken Hearts Book Club as involved with this story, it was unexpected in a way but made everything feel familiar and like you were coming home.  Luna Bay is a perfect little setting for this book, it works so well.

The additions to Lucy and Jake’s story (from Broken Hearts) is fantastic and glad that we get a little glimpse into their lives.  All new characters – Noah, Rose and Emily’s family – all add something, and grow along with Emily in her journey.  Noah starts off moody, distant, and becomes loving, affectionate, and warm.  Rose is the sensible, grand-motherly voice throughout the whole book and wish I could sit down and have a cup of tea and a big bit of cake with her!! Emily’s family – especially her mum- adds that element which every family has – unconditional love, a home, and arms that are always open for a hug.  It may be a bit of a strange way of putting it, but that’s how I saw them..

I didn’t particularly like Emily much to begin with, she came across as selfish, demanding, and maybe a little bit too naïve.  BUT!! By the end of the book, she is as far from that as she could possible be.  She becomes more of an adult, more grown up, less like the teenager she originally come across as.  She’s stronger, happier, she’s in love – I know it doesn’t make much difference in our world, but in her world, it’s everything.

I’m secretly hoping that Book 3 (Yep, there is one!! YAY!!) will have more about Alice.  She was an intriguing character and I wanted to know that little bit more about her.  She seems to have so much potential, a clean slate in a sense.  But then, the theme of the books seem to be a young woman coming in and finding her true self.  Maybe it’ll be Diane’s daughter?? She comes home to find out she’s got a sister… I’m all for it, whatever happens in it!!

Lynsey James has a writing style that makes you feel warm, cosy, happy and content.  She manages to capture everything that the characters are feeling in perfectly formed words and makes you feel everything along with them.

My Rating: With brilliantly written characters, a cosy little village and that loving feeling, I give this book a huge 4/5.

Book Review: An Ember In The Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes, #1)
An Ember In The Ashes
by Sabaa Tahir
Published: June 2015
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Format: Ebook
Pages: 451
ASIN: B00QPT7KPS
Goodreads Link

Able to purchase from:
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Synopsis:

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death.

When Laia’s grandparents are brutally murdered and her brother arrested for treason by the empire, the only people she has left to turn are the rebels.

But in exchange for their help in saving her brother, they demand that Laia spy on the ruthless Commandant of Blackcliff, the Empire’s greatest military academy. Should she fail it’s more than her brother’s freedom at risk…Laia’s very life is at stake.

There, she meets Elias, the academy’s finest soldier. But Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined – and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

My Thoughts:

This book…. Although a simple read, it was highly enjoyable! My first thought when I finished it was like “OH COME ON!!!?!?!”
I can safely say I did not want it to end.  This book is full of promises, and the way it ends is a brilliant way to set up the second.

I wouldn’t be able to say which character I liked the most, they all have good and bad points. Laia was a little annoying and yet she was a good, independent leading lady, Elias was something kind of special but then on the otherhand he was just… ARGH!!!!!! Helene was a good, down to earth addition, although she was a bit stupid not actually knowing what her ‘best friend’ believed in or felt about things. Izzi was the only one that I would have liked to know more about.  Was she related to Cook? Are they Mother/Daughter? Also, on the subject of Cook… Was she the traitor? Was she responsible for Laia’s pain?

Laia’s attraction to Keenan is a bit… Unexpected if anything.  She has hardly seen him, hardly interacted with him and he just feels a little wrong.  The chemistry between them is nothing compared to the chemistry between Laia and Elias.  I’m intrigued as to who will be cast for the movie when they start – I’ve read somewhere recently that it’s being adapted.

Sabaa Tahir’s writing style is simple, yet effective.  It’s straight to the point, yet has an enchanted feel to it. I loved the way it would switch between Laia and Elias. How’s that going to work in the 2nd book as they will be together? I feel like it may be a little repetitive… maybe…I’m very very excited for it though. The world the book is set in seems pretty special, and I hope we get to experience more of it during the second book.

My Rating: With the enchanting writing, the very promising world building, and the characters, I rate this book an extremely high 4/5.

Book Review: Cloudy with a Chance of Love by Fiona Collins


Cloudy with a Chance of Love
by Fiona Collins
Published: 21st July 2016
Publisher: Carina UK
Format: Ebook
Pages:
ISBN/ASIN: 9780008189907

Synopsis:
Every cloud has a silver lining when it comes to love…

Daryl Williams never minded the fact that she had a big bottom. It’s always been behind her. In fact, it was one of the things that her husband loved about her. Until he ran off with her best friend, Gabby.

Daryl knows that she needs to get back in the dating game, she just doesn’t know how. So when her friend suggests taking a fortune forecast, she reluctantly agrees. And it looks like Daryl’s luck is in, by Friday she has a 99% chance of falling in love!

Only, even when it’s written in the stars, finding the one after the one is never easy…

My Thoughts:

Firstly, thank you to Netgalley and Carina UK for the opportunity to read and review this great book! I loved the cover to this book, it’s bright, playful, and just lovely.

Daryl is a fantastic character! It’s been wonderful to read about a woman who does not care if she has curves, or a big bottom, or anything like that! It’s been absolutely wonderful!!! I immediately liked Daryl, she’s definitely a one-of-a-kind!  As I said, she truly does not care about any of it! And she’s not ashamed.  We need more characters like this.  Sam was another great character, even if she is the complete opposite to Daryl.  Calorie counting, fitness crazy, but does still love a good time.  It would have been nice to have found out more about Peony but we didn’t. I don’t think she even really needed to be involved full stop.  I really enjoyed the thought of Daryl’s Mum and Aunt, they seemed like the elderly relatives any family would be proud off!

I found myself giggling to this book on more than one occasion.  I’d imagine myself being like that in my 40’s, passed out in my driveway, face planted in the gravel!! Or being found stuffing my face with cake at 2am! I’d also be as embarrassed as Daryl if found by a hunky neighbor!! I love books that make me giggle, so this was definitely a hit for me!!

This book was written well, it was brilliant to read about a “real” woman.  I will happily read anything else written by Fiona Collins.  It was funny, heart-warming and delightful.

My Rating: A wonderfully deserved 4/5. Can we please have another book involving Daryl and co?

ARC Review: Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet by Charlie N. Holmberg


Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet
by Charlie N. Holmberg
Published: 28June 2016
Publisher: 47North
Format: Ebook
Pages: 296
ISBN/ASIN: 1503935604 (ISBN13: 9781503935600)

Synopsis:
Maire is a baker with an extraordinary gift: she can infuse her treats with emotions and abilities, which are then passed on to those who eat them. She doesn’t know why she can do this and remembers nothing of who she is or where she came from.

When marauders raid her town, Maire is captured and sold to the eccentric Allemas, who enslaves her and demands that she produce sinister confections, including a witch’s gingerbread cottage, a living cookie boy, and size-altering cakes.

During her captivity, Maire is visited by Fyel, a ghostly being who is reluctant to reveal his connection to her. The more often they meet, the more her memories return, and she begins to piece together who and what she really is—as well as past mistakes that yield cosmic consequences.

From the author of The Paper Magician series comes a haunting and otherworldly tale of folly and consequence, forgiveness and redemption

My Thoughts:
First I’d like to thank Netgalley and the publishers for my copy in exchange of my review.

I think that this book is just only slightly better than The Paper Magician trilogy. What could be so wrong with cakes and magic? Not a thing it seems!! I’ve read, and fairly enjoyed, The Paper Magician Trilogy.  I didn’t know how I was going to feel about this book.  Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet is completely different, but again has magic as a main focus point of the story.

As soon as I started enjoying and finally getting into the book, it just changed.  It didn’t feel, or read, the same as it started out.  Once I got used to that, it ended.  It just… finished.  Too quickly. I didn’t like the ending of the book.  It happened in a way that I wasn’t really expecting, or even thinking about.  I didn’t particularly like the way it jumped from memories to Maire and Fyel and back again.  It confused me, but obviously helped explain a lot of backstory.

I would have been happy to sit there and read about Maire’s life in her little bakery for a whole lot longer than I actually did.  What I mean by it not reading or feeling the same is that it wasn’t the same Maire. She became ‘more’ if that explains it? She didn’t come across of the Baker with magical cakes anymore, she came across slightly as “I’m better than everyone”, or maybe just selfish?  I’ll hold my hands up and say that I liked her in the beginning of the book but not the ending.

Apart from all of that, Maire is a likeable person.  She may have no memories, but that just adds to her character and charm.  I would have liked to have got to know more about Arrice and Franc as they are a huge part of Maire’s story.  Allemas is a strange addition and not easy to like, although it does become sort of clear who is he, and why he’s like he is, as the story goes on.  The addition of what I can only guess are his thoughts at the beginning of each chapter is wonderful.  It gives us an insight into his feelings towards Maire and Fyel.

The authors writing is as magical in this book The Paper Magician Trilogy, if not a whole lot more.  It sparked my imagination in brilliant ways and made me desperately to want to get my bake-on! Some of Maire’s recipes would have been an incredible addition!

I do have a couple of questions as well about the ending, mainly the epilogue.  Was the Mother and Father at the end Maire and Fyel? I’m taking a huge leap and saying yes it was.  Was it Maire’s punishment from the Gods, to touchdown? Or completely their own choice? I’d like to think it was their choice maybe, to fufill Maire’s dream, or even to correct her mistakes.

My Rating: 3/5. Although I eventually enjoyed the book, there was just too much that I didn’t like.

ARC Review: Daemoneum by Laney McMann


Daemoneum (The Primordial Principles #2) by Laney McMann
Published: 1st July 2016
Publisher: Jagged Lane Books
Format: Ebook
Pages: 361
ISBN: 9780996329569

Synopsis:
Boulder, Colorado is too quiet, and no one needs to remind Cole Spires how unnatural that is.
In the aftermath of Dracon’s death, the Daemoneum have gone into hiding. Every known Hive has been shut down and evacuated, and for the first time in Cole’s memory, the Brotherhood, Kinship, and all common houses across the country and abroad are considering lockdown. Leygates are being systematically closed around the world, and the Primordial are waiting …
In the bunker underneath the Brotherhood, Kade Sparrow is as safe as she can possibly be, or that’s the idea, but no one can explain how her Astrum necklace found its way into her bedroom. There were no footprints, no traces of breaking and entering, no evidence of any kind that someone had infiltrated the Brotherhood common house. Yet the necklace still sat on her night stand, wound in a perfect circle of gold, the tiny star glinting on its chain. And the only person who could have put it there … is dead.
In the second installment of The Primordial Principles, strange occurrences are happening across the globe. Relationships will be tested, old players will become new, foes will turn into allies, and an unlikely adversary will force Cole and Kade to go on the run.
As the fallen rise, the Primordial must unite as one.
Or all could be lost.

My Thoughts:
Firstly, Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the chance to read this book.

It wasn’t what I was expecting to be honest.  It started up days after where the first one, Crystallum, ended and didn’t really get anywhere quickly again.   I enjoyed it, slightly, and read it just to get it over with.  Cole is still the only character I like even remotely, although the more in depth introduction of Heru added a little extra something as well.

The whole thing just read as a gigantic kissing session.  That feels like all I’ve read about in the last two days.  There wasn’t enough action happening, and the twists weren’t really all that surprising for me.  There were huge paragraphs what could have been skipped, and one to many declarations of love and staring at each other.  A lot of things kept being repeated which wasn’t really necessary and kind of bugged me a bit.

Saying all that though, I  somehow still managed to keep up and understand what was what, who was who, and what was happening. There were maybe one or two moments where I was questioning whether it was worth finishing but I’m glad I did.  I was very disappointed with how the book ended though, it could have finished a couple of pages earlier, if not a whole chapter.  But, it’s ended one another cliffhanger so I’ll just have to read the next one when it’s published next year.

My Rating: As with the first one, I’m giving 3/5.  While I enjoyed it, I felt there was a lot missing from this book.  For a book where I expected pages of action, all I got was a few pages.  Bit disappointed but it kept me going.