Book Review: The Bed and Breakfast on the Beach by Kat French

BookReview


The Bed and Breakfast on the BeachThe Bed and Breakfast on the Beach by Kat French

Published: June 2017
Publisher: Avon Books UK
Format: Ebook
ASIN: B01NAXJCBL
ISBN: 9780008236762

Goodreads
Amazon UK

Description

A Greek island solves all life’s problems…doesn’t it?

Winnie, Stella and Frankie have been best friends forever.

When their lives unexpectedly unravel, they spontaneously decide to buy a gorgeous B&B on a remote Greek island. Drenched in hot sun, Villa Valentina is the perfect escape from reality. But when Winnie meets Jesse, their brooding neighbour, she finds that Greece is full of its own complications – not least how attractive he is…

Meanwhile, Frankie and Stella are discovering that Villa Valentina has its own secrets – starting with the large supply of gin in the cellar and the arrival of a famous rock band. A band with one very good-looking member who just might distract Frankie from thoughts of her husband…

My Review

Kat French knows how to write incredible men (and books), I’ll give her that. Robinson in One Hot Summer, Gabriel in Love Your Neighbour (previously published as Undertaking Love), and Hal in My Perfect Stranger (previously published as The Piano Man Project). Now we have Jesse in this book. Good god he was amazing. He’s up there with my obsession with Robinson. Just yummy.

Anyway, I loved Winnie, Stella and Frankie. They were feisty, determined, witty, and in need of a good turn in the lives. My favourite would probably have to be Winnie, going from an awful time in her life to gaining her confidence, and becoming a brave (very brave), independent woman. Willing to open up to the possibilities of life.  I liked her witty come backs, her sense of adventure and just her in general. Her chemistry with Jesse was perfect,with it bouncing from the pages instantly. Stella also had great, steamy chemistry with Angelo, and in a strange way, I’m glad things worked out for Frankie with her husband Gavin.

The writing style was very easy to get into, with you instantly wrapped up in their lives. I instantly clicked with all of the women and liked everything about them. I wanted them to succeed with the B&B, to get the happiness they all deserved.

This book was fun, romantic, steamy, and just fabulous. The island’s residents made me chuckle with how faith they put into something so… strange? No, not strange. Something so normal. It was normal, and it was a fantastic addition to the story.

I’ve given this a 4/5. With Jesse, the girls, the B&B and the magical island of Skelios I was hooked.

 

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Stacking The Shelves #1

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Stacking The Shelves is hosted at Tynga’s Reviews and is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course Ebooks!


Review Copies

I’ve been extremely good and stayed away from the “Request Now” button on NetGalley. I think I need to read as many as I can from my NetGalley shelf before requesting more!!!

I lied…. I’ve added 2 books:

  • The Long Walk Back by Rachel Dove
  • The Queen of Bloody Everything by Joanna Nadin

The Long Walk Back by [Dove, Rachel]  The Queen of Bloody Everything by [Nadin, Joanna]

I was also invited to review one by the publisher:

  • Friends and Other Liars by Kaela Coble

Amazon Freebies

I can safely say that I have not seen any Amazon Freebies this past week. Shame really, I’ve found some incredible books when I’ve gone hunting for freebies.

Again, I lied.. I really shouldn’t write these posts in advance….

  • The Shadow Rises (Witch-Hunter #1) by K.S. Marden

The Shadow Rises (Witch-Hunter Book 1) by [Marsden, K.S.]

Purchased

  • The Language of Spells by Sarah Painter
  • The Secrets of Ghosts by Sarah Painter
  • How To Stop Time by Matt Haig
  • The Memory Book by Rowan Coleman
  • The Book of Dust by Philip Pullman
  • The Tethered Mage Melissa Caruso
  • The Long Way To A Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

The Language of Spells by [Painter, Sarah]  The Secrets Of Ghosts by [Painter, Sarah] How to Stop Time by [Haig, Matt] La Belle Sauvage: The Book of Dust Volume One (Book of Dust Series) by [Pullman, Philip] The Memory Book by [Coleman, Rowan] The Tethered Mage (Swords and Fire Book 1) by [Caruso, Melissa] The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet: Wayfarers 1 by [Chambers, Becky]

 

Christmas Book Week #6: Snowflakes on Christmas Street by Ivy Pembroke

Snowflakes on Christmas Street

Snowflakes on Christmas Street by Ivy Pembroke

Publisher: Sphere (Little, Brown Book Group UK)
Published: 2nd November 2017
Format: Ebook
Pages: 384
ASIN: B01MUUV6R4
ISBN13: 9780751569728

Goodreads

Amazon UK

Description

On a little street in a big city, everything is changing

Bill has lived on Christmas Street since he was a young man. He’s seen families come and go, watched children grow up… Now he wants to be left alone.

Everything seven-year-old Teddy loves is in America. But his widowed father, Sam, has brought them both back to England to be closer to their family. Sam’s one wish is for Teddy to be happy again.

As Teddy and Sam settle into their new life, a very special four-legged neighbour is determined to make them feel at home. Jack, the Christmas street dog, is welcome in everyone’s house – but will it be in his power to help a little boy and a lonely old man remember the true meaning of the season?

As the snow sparkles on the ground, one small act of kindness will give a whole street a happy Christmas…

My Review

Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for mu copy of this magical book in exchange for my review.

This book is a magical story, filled with love, and the warmth of friends and family.  I didn’t see where Jack was going to fit into this book, thinking he would be a side character but he ended up having a starring role.  He effects peoples lives massively in ways that a dog really shouldn’t. He’s the connection between each resident of Christmas Street and I love how the story weaves together.

My favourite residents probably would be Sam and Teddy though. Sam, with his witty comments about beetroot (yes, beetroot), and Teddy with his caring nature.  Teddy really hit a soft spot with me, he was a wonderful little boy.  One part of the book really moved me, involving him, his class members, and another character, Bill his next door neighbour.  It really moved me, and it showed perfectly that children always see the good in the world, while there is so much pain and suffering.  It was a moving moment which fitted perfectly within in this story.

I cannot believe that this is Ivy Pembroke’s first book, it reads beautifully with fantastic characters. I love the fact that the only common link, except living on the same street is Jack.  Jack being the street dog.  His backstory is a sad story but I like to think that the was he lives now is better than what it was. At least as the “street dog” he has more people loving him, more affection, more food.  Obviously.

Each chapter is split into sections for each resident of the street.  We have Teddy and Sam, Bill (Mr Hammersley), Pen, Pari and her family (brother Sai, mum Diya, and dad Darsh), Max and Arthur, and Emilia with her parents Anna and Marcel,and of course Jack.  Each character adds something to the story, be it stability, adventure, young love, family.  They all add it.

I loved this book, and I don’t think I can portray actually how much I did.  It made me think of how people around us impact our lives, be it an animal or an unknown neighbour.  It all happens when it’s supposed to.

I give this book a huge 5 out of 5.

Blog Tour: It Was Only Ever You by Kate Kerrigan

It Was Only Ever You

It Was Only Ever You by Kate Kerrigan
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Published: 13th July 2017
Format: Paperback & Ebook
Pages: 448
ISBN13: 9781784082420
ASIN: B01AATYCBS

Goodreads

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Head of Zeus Link

Description
Set in late 1950s Ireland and New York, the story of three women and the charismatic man with whom their lives are interwoven.
Set, like Maeve Binchy’s early bestsellers, in late 1950s Ireland and New York, this is the story of three women and the charismatic man with whom their lives are interwoven.
Patrick Murphy has charm to burn and a singing voice to die for. Many people will recognise his talent. Many women will love him. Rose, the sweetheart he leaves behind in Ireland, can never forget him and will move heaven and earth to find him again, long after he has married another woman. Ava, the heiress with no self-confidence except on the dance floor, falls under his spell. And tough Sheila Klein, orphaned by the Holocaust and hungry for success as a music manager, she will be ruthless in her determination to unlock his extraordinary star quality.

But in the end, Patrick Murphy’s heart belongs to only one of them. Which one will it be?

My Review

Thank you to the publishers and Kate Kerrigan for the chance to read this book and to be involved in the blog tour.

This book started slow to begin with, and it does jump around a bit between the women and with time, but it all slowly comes together in the end.  The way it is all done works well, there is a lot of path crossing and potentially big what ifs, but it does work.  It did get confusing with how quickly the time did move, and it made me question whether things were all moving at the same pace with all the people when it came to their chapters, or paragraphs.

The one person everyone has in common is Patrick, and it works perfectly.  All the women add something to the book, and all have their own parts to play when it came to him.  Of the 3 women, I felt more of a connection with Ava or Sheila.  I wasn’t really keen on Rose though, whether that was her naivety or her innocence, she just didn’t click with me.  Ava knew exactly what was expected of her, but she still bit the bullet and went for what she truly wanted.  Girl after my own heart.  Sheila had a sense of purpose, maturity, and a feeling of toughness that the other girls lacked.  I would say that Patrick is full of regrets, but does what is right and does what is for the best.  He loves Rose, and he does love Ava.  But his heart will always go to his music first, but he does finally realise who is love is.

Kate Kerrigan has a unique writing style, I enjoyed it, I felt for the characters and their love, their heartache, their losses.  This book was beautifully written, but it took me a long time to get into it.  While I enjoyed it, and did feel for the characters, I felt it was a little rushed and was missing something to make it spectacular.  I can’t pinpoint what I thought it was lacking though.  The ending was a sudden thing, I would have loved to have known if everyone was happy with their choices, and if it worked out well for them. It leftbtoo many what ifs and do they/don’t they for me, I would have liked things to be wrapped up neatly.

I give this book 3/5.  I liked the majority of characters, I liked the romance, loved the setting (who doesn’t love a New York story?!), the music references, it was written beautifully, but as I said, I felt it was missing a spark.  Something to make it so much better and mind-blowing. 

Blog Tour: Summer’s Lease by Carrie Elks

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Summer’s Lease by Carrie Elks.
Publisher: Piatkus
Published: 13th July 2017
Format: Paperback
Pages: 368
ISBN13: 9780349415505

Goodreads

Amazon UK

Synopsis
Cesca Shakespeare has hit rock bottom. Six years after the play she wrote bombed at the box office, she’s unable to hold down a job, keep an apartment, and worst of all her family have no idea how far she’s fallen. So when her fairy Godfather offers her the use of his friend’s Italian villa for the summer, she grudgingly agrees to try writing a new play. That’s before she finds out the house belongs to her arch-nemesis, Sam Carlton.

When Hollywood heart-throb Sam Carlton sees his name splashed across a gossip rag, all he wants to do is hide. That’s how he finds himself traveling to Italy, deciding to spend the summer in his family’s empty villa on Lake Como. Except when he arrives it isn’t as empty as he’d hoped.

Over the course of the hot Italian summer, Cesca and Sam have to come to terms with their pasts. What begins as a tentative friendship quickly grows into an intense attraction – and then a scorching fling. But they can’t hide from reality forever . . . as their different worlds collide, Sam and Cesca face a choice: is this just a summer romance, or could their love weather even the coldest winds?

My Review

A delight to read on a horrible wet, windy, typical British summer day.  Thank you to the publishers for the chance to read and review this spectacular book.  Any book set in Italy will always have me in its grips within pages, especially one written by Carrie Elks.  I have only read one  other book by her, but I loved this one just as much as that.  Her writing is wonderful, her characters bounce from the pages and read spectacularly.

Cesca was an amazing leading lady, going from her downward spiral unconfident ways to a confident, young woman who goes for what she wants.  She comes across as a bit of a stray to begin with, forever trying to find her place in the world.  She thought she had her place once, but then it all fell apart.  Since then, Cesca has always blamed one person: Sam Carlton.  I’ll get to him in a minute.  I loved Cesca’s story, her backstory, everything.  Her sense of loyalty to her family is wonderful, especially the bond she shares with her 3 sisters.

Sam, your typical Hollywood actor. Handsome, “chiseled”, charming, what else can you ask for?  Except, with the beginning of the story from Cesca’s view, he only ever thinks of himself.  But he doesn’t, and Cesca realises that.  I loved Sam.  He hides from his mistake, yes to protect himself, but also to limit the damage done to his family.  He cares about what will happens to his mother, and his sisters.  Not so much his father though.  Sam is caring, he comes across as a sensual man, a sexy man.  He definitely knows what he wants.

Chemistry flows from the page the first time they come into contact with each other, and it just gets more intense as the book goes on. With a few hot and steamy parts further on in the book, I was expecting it to be quite cheesy and a bit cringey but I was wrong. It was done in a non-cringe way and didn’t leave anything to the imagination.  They work well together, whether they are arguing, having a normal conversation or having sex.  They work perfectly.

I’m glad things work out well in the end, I don’t think I could have handled it if it didn’t.  I will happily read anything else to do with Cesca.  I wonder if we’ll be getting one for each sister? I’m very intrigued by them.  I would love to know each of their stories.

I happily give this book a huge 5/5.  In fact, I would happily give it 10/10!!!!

About the author

Carrie Elks lives near London, England and writes contemporary romance with a dash of intrigue. She loves to travel and meet new people, and has lived in the USA and Switzerland as well as the UK. An avid social networker, she tries to limit her Facebook and Twitter time to stolen moments between writing chapters. When she isn’t reading or writing, she can usually be found baking, drinking wine or working out how to combine the two.

 

ARC Review: The Summer of Serendipity by Ali McNamara

The Summer of Serendipity by Ali McNamara
Published: July 2017
Publisher: Sphere (Little, Brown Book Group UK)
Format: Ebook
Pages: 368
ISBN13: 9780751566215
ASIN: B01MQJVNBC

Goodreads
Amazon UK

Description

My Review

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for copy, in exchange for my honest review.  I’m so glad I got to read this, I’ve loved other books by Ali McNamara and this one does not disappoint.

I found this to be a magical story, full of folklore, history, mysteries and romance.  It was interesting to read the different legends.  I know it’s a fictional place, but it made me realise that everywhere has these little stories, legends, rumours, whatever you want to call it.  They all stem from somewhere don’t they?

Written well, as always for Ali McNamara. The characters all had feeling, depth, and a likeability that touches you.  There is a lot of eye-rolling though, and winking. What’s that all about? Anyway, I liked all of the characters.  The setting was beautiful, as is all of Ireland.

Ren is determined, stubborn, but a very likeable woman.  Kiki plays well against Ren. For Ren’s matureness, Kiki is the opposite. She’s ditzy, doesn’t get a lot of Ren’s references, but she’s still very likeable.  Finn.  I’ve been trying to find the right words for Finn but I’m struggling.  He’s likeable, you get to see a little of his history, his backstory but on the other hand I don’t know…  I felt like I didn’t get a lot from him.  I don’t know.  All the characters worked well together, there is chemistry between all the characters, a fondness between them.  Kiki and Ren found their home in Ballykiltara and it shows.

It makes a nice change that the loss that a character’s suffers is an animal.  Many stories centre around the loss of a person, not an animal.  People’s lives are affected by the loss of a pet or like Finn, a business.  it shows that it does change the way people are.

This book was just great.  I loved how it was written, I loved the majority of the characters, and I just really enjoyed it.  I give it 4/5.

 

Blog Tour: Q&A/Review: The Once in a Blue Moon Guesthouse by Cressida McLaughlin

The Once in a Blue Moon Guesthouse by [McLaughlin, Cressida]

The Once in a Blue Moon Guesthouse by Cressida McLaughlin
Publisher: HarperCollins
Published: 29th June 2017
Format: Ebook
Pages: 500
ISBN13: 9780008219284
ASIN: B01MY458DB

Goodreads

Amazon UK

Synopsis
Robin Brennan has come home to Campion Bay. Now her parents have retired, she’s set to become the new landlady of The Campion Bay Guesthouse.
Bookings have been as thin as the hand towels, and it doesn’t take long for Robin to realise that the place needs a serious makeover. Perhaps throwing herself into the task will help to heal her sadness at the tragic end to her dreams in London.
As she gives the guesthouse a new lease of life, Robin encounters old friends and new, including old flame Tim, who’d clearly like to reboot their romance. But what about Will, the new arrival at No. 4, who’s rocked up with the cutest dog ever?
Caught up in a flurry of full-English breakfasts and cream teas, Robin’s never sure what, or who, the next check-in will bring…

Q&A With Cressida McLaughlin

1. What does your writing day look like? And do you have a favourite place to write?

My brain is much better first thing, so I like to start early, 7.30 or 8am, and will try and work through until lunchtime on writing or editing, whatever stage I’m at. After lunch I’ll do other things, social media or blog posts or Q&As like this. The main hazard is Twitter, which can suck up hours of my time if I let it. I should put one of those ‘no internet’ thingies on my computer, but it would frustrate me not being able to look something up if I needed to. (Which is obviously a rubbish excuse from a Twitter addict.)

I have an office in one of our spare bedrooms at home, and I love it. I can have music playing, my sparkly lava lamp on, coffee and tea when I want, a candle burning. It’s very snug and colourful – it has lots of Poldark postcards on the walls – and it’s the ideal space for me to be creative.

2. Do you remember the first story you ever wrote? Can you tell us a bit about it?

I feel bad that I don’t remember the first story I ever wrote, but I do remember that whatever I did write, I always wanted it to look like a book. I folded sheets of A4 paper in half, stapled them at the fold and then drew a cover on the front, writing the words and adding pictures on the pages inside. My parents taught me about the magic of books from day one, and I loved the idea of my words being inside one – an ambition I feel very lucky to have realised. I remember very vividly a murder mystery my sister wrote for primary school. The story was brilliant, it was put together like a proper book, and I remember wishing that I’d written it. That has stayed with me much more than any of the stories I wrote when I was small – she was definitely an inspiration to me.

3. Do you have a favourite film adaptation of a book? What was it and why?

I thought the adaptation of Gone Girl was excellent, and very faithful to the book, but my favourite has to be the BBC adaptation of North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell, with Daniela Denby-Ashe as Margaret Hale and Richard Armitage as John Thornton. It’s bleak, dramatic and very romantic. The scenes in the mills, with the cotton falling like snow while John Thornton stalks about in his stark black suit and hat, are so powerful. It’s a classy adaptation that I never get bored of re-watching.

4. If you were forced to write a different genre, what would you chose?

Creepy ghost story, definitely. I may have the beginnings of one on the go at the moment, just to see if I can do it . . .

My Review:

Firstly, thank you to Netgalley, and the Publisher for my copy of this book in exchange for my review.  Also, for letting me take me part in the blog tour.

A light hearted story, revolving around Robin who is starting fresh in her home town of Campion Bay. Taking over her parents guesthouse, she starts from scratch after losing her friend and closing her events business.  A likeable character but a little predictable. She comes across as kind, caring, thoughtful, if not a little held back because of her time in London.  The whole story was a little predictable but then again that’s what we all need as a pick me up from time to time!! This book is definitely a pick me up book. It was heartwarming, friendly, a little amusing, and has some delicious recipes at the end.

Throughout the whole book we have likeable characters, from Molly, Will, Paige, the guesthouse guests and other people from the town. Of course, we have a villain (in a sense anyway) in the form of Robin’s childhood sweetheart, Tim. Not so much a likeable character but it works for this story.  He comes across as sleazy, a little too confident and thinks he’ll get his own way no matter what.

The writing style was easy to read, it kept me reading and was easy enough to keep track off. The book is separated into 4 parts (I think they were published individually before?), each part flows brilliantly into the next. The time frame is only over a couple of weeks but doesn’t feel like that as you read it.  But then on the other hand, it goes by so quickly you don’t really get a sense of the timeframe of everything.  Such a quick pace is always good for me, I love getting caught up in everyone’s stories.

I think it’s safe to say that I liked this book, a lot.  I loved the writing style, the quickness of it, the characters.  I can’t really pinpoint one thing that I didn’t really like about it.

I give this book 5/5