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Archiwum - Wrzesień, 2014

Blog Tour: Sweet Occasions by Linn B. Halton / eBook Review + Giveaway

30 wrz

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Festival of Romantic Fiction reader’s award for ‚Best Author Published’ nominee, Linn B Halton, is taking her new feel-good romance novel on tour! Sweet Occasions is set to feature on a host of book blogs over the coming days, so why not follow the action and keep up-to-date with the reviews, exclusive guest posts and excerpts, and a giveaway.

 

Unknown-472What they say:

‚Katie’s relationship has had more than its fair share of problems. After a difficult few years things begin to pick up and Katie finally realises her dream of opening up a bakery. Sweet Occasions specialises in novelty and celebration cakes, plus the most inspiring range of cupcakes anyone could possibly ask for!

Utilising her passion and skill helps to inject happiness back into her life, but it’s short-lived as things begin to fall apart. The reality is that you need to run a business with your heart AND your head. Help is at hand in the shape of her partner, Steve. He has the necessary experience, but does Katie want to tie herself to him financially, as well as personally?

Then one rainy, wintry day a bedraggled customer steps inside the door to order a cake …

Sometimes a turning point centres around one single moment in time: sometimes it takes two Christmases and three birthdays.’
Rating: 3/5

 

Perhaps it will come as a shock, but „Sweet Ocassions” is the first book by Linn B. Halton that I’ve read. Yes, it still can happen! But you know how much I love to discover new authors – new to me. Having said this, I didn’t know what to expect from Ms Halton and started to read the book with open mind and ready for an adventure in a cupcakes and fairy – tale cakesland. This book was a little different to all the romance books that I usually read, and although you can say, well, what is so different, a girl meets boy, they fell in love although they don’t realise it, they overcome all the obstacles to stay together, yes it was different, because it was about mature people who learn that life isn’t quite as they want it to be but nevertheless, they take matters in their hands and make small steps towards their happiness.

Only looking at the cover makes me desperate to eat a cupcake, what about you? It’s beautiful, this cover, and it fits the story perfectly!

Katie is struggling to keep her dream shop „Sweet Occasions” over the water, while her boyfriend wants her to either stop or take the business in other, more aggressive and expanding, direction. One very rainy day a stranger comes into her shop and Katie not only dine him, but also lends him her clothes… He buys cake for his grandmother and leaves. But they both find they can’t forget each other… Then life makes them meet each other from time to time, Katie get to know Adam’s daughter Lily and grows found of her very much, but life goes on, and they must live their lives. But still thinking about the other one…

 

The characters were so good and so understanding that there were moments I thought oh my, can you please do something wrong, say something wrong? But despite this they were likable and very warm people, all of them carrying their cross and fighting their own demons. Katie, because she wasn’t sure if she was in the right relationship and I liked the way she grown to her decision and although there were some strong strings attached she did what she thought was right for her. Adam, trying to find the right way to spend as much time with his together as possible, earn a living and finding a new love, in between having to take care of his beloved grandmother. So they don’t know it yet, but they have some things in common, and it’s that they are actually unhappy.

Grace, as it often happens with the older heroes, was a warm, wise woman, with some of very true wisdoms, and her story was a very beautiful one. The characters feel really realistic, with all their feelings of love and fear.

What didn’t work out for me though is the fact that everybody and their kith and kin were trying to match – make Katie and Adam, and I thought, why? They didn’t know each other so good, they didn’t know if they have something in common, they used to see each other twice a year, so really, why? What did all the other people see that I didn’t? Don’t get me wrong, but how would you feel if a woman that you only heard about invited you to your house and told you that she knows/feels/is absolutely sure that you should be together with her grandson? Well, yes, they liked each other, there was some kind of attraction between them but I would never say that there is chemistry.

The chapters are told alternately from Katie, Adam and a few from Grace’s point of view, so we know what all of them are feeling and thinking. I guess I have never read a book written in such style as „Sweet Ocassions”, when we meet the characters on Christmas and then half a year later, and then again on Christmas, although they tell us then what happened in this time. The narration concentrated more on the present, and like I said, we are informed about some things that happened in the past, but those were just short dialogues between the characters, although it was enough to keep on track and not lose the overview. Interesting and refreshing, though I must admit I think I’m more into details. But the story has a good pace, and I really liked the idea of it telling it over two years. I didn’t have a feeling that the author is dragging it out, no, it all felt very realistic and natural, and Linn  gave the characters a chance to grow, develop and to find out what they are really looking for in life. There was nothing forced or pushed in this book, there were no things happening out of the blue, we got to know the characters on the same day as they got to know themselves, and we followed their story together with them, without a feeling that something has happened out of nothing.

Altogether, it was a sweet, warm, optimistic book with a feel – good factor, written in a very subtle, gentle way, without any exaggerated drama. Touching and with an original story line, with some twists, will let you to dive into Linn B. Halton’s world for some time.

 

Click Here To Buy This Book – UK

Click Here To Buy This Book – US

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images-293Author Bio:

Bristol born Linn B Halton lives in Gloucestershire, in the small village of Lydbrook. It nestles on the edge of the Forest of Dean; she resides there with her adorable husband and cat with attitude – Mr Tiggs!

Whilst Linn love to write romanctic novels and there is often a psychic ‘touch’ to her stories. Many of the paranormal events that feature in some of her books are real-life experiences

She is the author of five novels, one true story and three novellas. Linn is signed by HarperImpulse and US publishers Sapphire Star.

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Author Links

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Buy | Pinterest | Loveahappyending Lifestyle |

HarperImpulse | Sapphire Star Publishing | Romantic Novelists’ Association

 

Giveawayimage

Enter to win the following:

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First Prize: Signed paperbacks of The Quintessential Gemini and The Restaurant @ The Mill

Second Prize: Signed copy of Never Alone

Third Prize: E-copies of Never Alone, Touched by the Light, The Quintessential Gemini and The Restaurant @ The Mill

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Terms and conditions:

All ebook prizes will be given to winners in a format chosen by the author, Linn B Halton. No responsibility is taken for the non arrival of paperback prizes. Linn B Halton and CandleLit Author Services reserve the right to cancel and/or amend giveaway details at anytime and without prior notification.

Image credit: Freepik

 

 

Dead Romantic by Ruth Saberton / eBook Review

29 wrz

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Dead Romantic by Ruth Saberton

 

Publisher: Notting Hill Press

Publishing Date: 2nd October 2014

Source:  Received for review.

 

 

Amazon Summary:

What do you do if you come face to face with a ghost?

Put it down to a bump on the head and work stress if you’re a respected academic like Cleo Carpenter. With Christmas approaching, professional rivalry afoot and a best friend determined to interfere in her love life the strain is clearly starting to get to her.

Guilt-stricken and deceased, Alex Thorne is desperate to make amends with his brother, Rafe, a tortured musician trapped in a spiral of destruction. When an encounter with Cleo forges a link between them she becomes his only hope. So what if the only person who can see him is a sceptic?

As Cleo starts to doubt her sanity, the safe world she takes for granted crumbles around her. Setting out to regain control and prove once and for all ghosts don’t exist, she embarks on a journey of self discovery and surprise, learning that love really does defy science, logic and maybe even death itself…

Rating: 5/5

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So, and here I am, again facing the biggest challenge: how to write a review that is going to do a book justice. I have already told so many praises about Ruth Saberton that I really have no idea what to say more, maybe except for the fact that with every book Ruth excels herself, her every new novel is better that the previous one (how is it possible if each book is just brilliant!) and yes, I start every book fearing that this one can be weaker, or won’t live up to my expectations, as Ruth has spoiled me with her wonderful, funny, exceptional stories, but no worries, guys, „Dead Romantic” is, I think, her best yet!

As ever, Ruth has delivered some of the best characters, and no matter if we talk about living or dead. To be honest, I loved Cleo from the very beginning, but Alex and his ghost company just took my breath away. How could one to kill such a character as Alex I really don’t know, Ruth! He was incredibly funny and I laughed out loud at the way he behaved, he danced, he spoke. Sexy as hell, oh my word, world you’ve just lost the best singer. Sniff. And the other ghosts, the ones helping Cleo, Aamon and the old professor, were just adoring, and of course as ghosts they didn’t have to watch out their mouth and said what they thought.

Cleo was a wonderful, brilliant leading character. She could show the biggest sceptics what passion is, what love is, what grief is. If she did something, than she put her heart and soul into it. I loved to see how much her character developed through the whole story and I adored the way she changed. I liked so much how she found this what she actually wasn’t looking for and how her orderly life was turned a little. She could seem to be a real geek and workaholic but oh my, in fact she was a tender, funny girl and I’d love to have her as my friend!

I am actually aware that it was Rafe who should be in my spotlight, as he was the one that Cleo couldn’t forget, and yes, he was smoking hot, even when drinking, but for me it was Alex who has stolen the show. If he weren’t a ghost I would pester Ruth to write a story about him. With a great sense of humour for a ghost (although what do I know about ghosts, maybe they are really funny, on principle) deadly (no pun intended!) handsome, musician, so, so lovely!

This book has unleashed all kind of emotions in me. I have found myself holding my breath till I was green in the face, and when Cleo gave Simon her laptop I wanted to run in circles, tear my hair out and scream No, Cleo, no!, I wanted to punch Simon on his nose and I soooooo wanted to hug Alex… OK, I must admit, I think I have a small crush on Alex, which wouldn’t be a problem, but as he is a.. ghost… What does that say about me????

I admire Ruth with my whole heart. She has proved with this book that she’s like Midas, whatever she touches, it changes into gold. Whatever she writes about, it is going to be a wonderful, brilliant, fantastic, complex book, a book that you wouldn’t be able to put down. And she wrote about the whole ghost theme with such conviction that I am able to start to believe in ghost, really, especially if they are like Alex. I was all the time thinking, my, research for this book must have been really complicated, let’s be honest, how can you research ghosts, but Ruth found a way out and everything what I read felt so true! I have just followed the magic and felt in love with the whole story. I mean, ghosts, it’s not so realistic per se, but it totally works out in this book so let just go with the flow.

Ruth’s is the one of the most brilliant writing styles that I had a pleasure to come across in the books. She can write about details in a  very detailed way (repetition intended!) and the descriptions just suck you into the story. She writes about things that we normally take for granted, that we usually don’t pay attention to, such as playing with hair, touching each other, about feelings in a very tender, gentle way and she can put into words every single feeling and thought. This is why her books are so colourful, so livid and her characters live their own lives. They are literally popping out of the pages, they feel realistic, so much that I had a feeling they are going to come any second and give me a hug. The plot belongs to one of the most original and refreshing ones. Yes, of course, from time to time there are authors that try to add some magic to the story, and sometimes it works out and sometimes not, but to read a book where the ghosts subplot is so important and relevant, I don’t remember.

I also love how Ruth always at the end of the book explains why she wrote this story and where the idea comes from.

This book has it all and even more, it has totally lived up to my expectations. There is fun, there is some sadness, there is love, romance, drama, brilliant plot and larger than life characters. The writing was flowing, it was fluid and smooth, with wonderful descriptions and every detail was polished to perfection. This book had me gripped from start to the finish, it was unputdownable and I felt really unhappy when I must have put it down because of life getting in the way. Ruth Saberton is one of my absolutely favourite chick – lit authors and all of her books brought joy and laughter to my dull life. Wonderfully pieced together, with this book she proved why she is one of my favourite authors and I really am waiting for her Christmas novel!

 

Weekly Wrap Up #17

28 wrz

Hi guys! No, I didn’t abandon you, I’ve just felt a little low for my liking lately but I’m slowly coming back to normal and Weekly Wrap Up is back, after the little break:) Reading was really the last thing on my mind and I guess I’ve lost my reading mojo for a short time but it looks that everything is on the right track now :)

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BOOKS I HAVE RECEIVED/BOUGHT THIS WEEK/LAST WEEK

PAPERBACKS:

Hilary Boyd „A Most Desirable Marriage”

Rainbow Rowell „Fangirl”

Laurie Graham „The Grand Duchess of Nowhere”

Adele Geras „Cover Your Eyes”

Tammy Cohen „Dying for Christmas”

 

KINDLE:

Ruth Saberton „Dead Romantic”

Monica McInerney „Hello from the Gillespies”

Nick Spalding „Fat Chance”

Can you see it? I was a good girl, wasn’t I? I haven’t requested almost any book on NetGalley although the button „Request” was blinking, sparkling and calling „click me” to me. Yes, there are some books on NetGalley that I’m interested in but I’m trying my strong will here.

 

 BOOKS THAT I READ THIS WEEK/LAST WEEK

„The Rosie Effect”  – reviewed

„One Step Closer to You” - reviewed

„A Husband’s Confession” – to be reviewed next week

„Strings Attached” - reviewed

„Lily Does LA” – reviewed

„Sweet Ocassions” – to be reviewed on Tuesday

„Dead Romantic” – to be reviewed next week

 

Am reading right now:

„Death of an Avid Reader” by Frances Brody

„Before You Say Yes: Is Love Without Sex Really Enough?” by Amy Griffin

 

In the last 2 weeks I reviewed this week:

The School Gate Survival Plan by Kerry Fisher 5/5

The Beginner’s Guide to the Birds and Bees by Sophie Hart 2.5/5

Saving Grace by Jane Green 3/5

One Step Closer to You by Alice Peterson 5/5 + Hall of Fame

Strings Attached by Mandy Baggot 3/5

Lily Does LA by Nicola Doherty 4/5

Shopaholic to the Stars by Sophie Kinsella 5/5 + Hall of Fame

The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion 5/5

Well, those two weeks were relative busy then and I can’t wait for the following weeks to come. There are some brilliant books being published on October!

 
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The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion / eBook Review

26 wrz

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The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion

 

Publisher: Penguin

Publishing Date: 25th  September 2014

Series: Don Tillman #2

Source:  Received for review.

 

 

Amazon Summary:

The Rosie Effect is the charming and hilarious sequel to Graeme Simsion’s bestselling debut novel The Rosie Project.
With the Wife Project complete, Don settles into a new job and married life in New York. But it’s not long before certain events are taken out of his control and it’s time to embark on a new project . . .
As Don tries to get to grips with the requirements of starting a family, his unusual research style gets him into trouble. To make matters worse, Don has invited his closest friend to stay with them, but Gene is not exactly the best model for marital happiness. As Don’s life with Rosie continues to be unpredictable, he needs to remember that emotional support is just as important as practical expertise.
Join Don and Rosie in the next chapter of their weird and wonderful journey in Graeme Simsion’s unmissable new novel, The Rosie Effect.

 

Rating: 5/5

Since I’ve found out that there is going to be a sequel to „The Rosie Project”, I was visiting NetGalley on daily basis with the hope that the book is finally there, up for grab. And when it finally, magically appeared there, there was no end to my joy. I know, I’m sad, but I have loved the first Rosie immensely, with all my heart, so please be understanding. I’m just a girl. And, if you ask me for a book recommendation, or my best read in 2013, I will without hesitation point you to „The Rosie Project”. And now also to „The Rosie Effect”. Those are the kind of books that everybody should read. You haven’t yet? What are you waiting for?

Just one little notice at the beginning, I personally think that before reading the second book, the first one should be read – to know why Don is like he is and how it all began.

„The Rosie Effect” is a sequel and it follows the story of Don and Rosie in New York, where they moved from Australia. Don is working at the University and Rosie is studying medicine and trying to write her PhD thesis and they both are still working at the bar and serving cocktails. But then their world turns upside down as Rosie discovers she’s pregnant. How is Don going to get accustomed to the fact that he’s going to be a father? How much is this going to shudder his daily routines and meals plans?

Oh my God. I really don’t know how to write a review for such a brilliant book. Graeme Simsion proves that the success of his first book was not a coincidence, as „The Rosie Effect” is in my opinion the same Ivy League among books. Written in the same ironic way, the reader must be able to read between the lines, it shows us in a very humorous way how Don is coping with the news, how it changes his daily routines, his scientific approach to being a father and his preparation for this fact. In between he of course puts himself in a lot of troubles, is being arrested, sent for psychological evaluation, makes a lot of foes but also friends… Just typical Don’s life. He tries to  adapt his specific, cold, rational way of thinking onto the whole pregnancy thing which leads to many misunderstandings and a lot of stress with Rosie.

I guess Don’t strength lies in the fact that he’s funny – funny totally unintentionally, and for me it’s a great joy to read the book from his perspective. I’m guessing here that for Don himself the situations are not as enjoyable as they are for me, so sorry for this Don. Helping so many people with his straight and forward approach, more than often complicating his own life because of the same approach, and often putting other people before himself and Rosie. How can you not like Don? Impossible.

While Don was Don, with his love to order in life and his special social skills, I had some issues with Rosie. Firstly, she was rarely to be seen in the story and when she appeared, she has changed into whingeing, unhappy monster but okay, she’s pregnant, she’s hormonal, although there was a time that I though, pregnant or not, Rosie get a grip! Yes, she has the most unusual husband but she knew about this when she married him, so why this doubts right now?

„The Rosie Effect” also sees the return of some of the characters that we got to know in the first book. There is Gene on his sabbatical from work and home, his wife Claudia and Rosie’s father but also we are introduced to some new people in Don’s life, like David and his wife Sonia who helps Don by impersonating Rosie, and Don’s new landlord, an ageing rock star George. Not more – because as we know, Don and his specific social skills…

The story is written in a very specific way, almost like a scientific dissertation, and while I must have read some of the passages more than once, I really didn’t feel it’s a problem. It’s a novel about Don – how he speaks and what he thinks, and if it’s the way he communicates, then let it be so. It’s actually a real phenomenon in my eyes as I am a very straight – word type of girl and it makes a great change :)

In my opinion, the whole book, the idea of it, the characters are one of the most unique that you can find in books. Don is a pedant, Don takes everything serious, Don can’t be bothered about conventions and how people perceive him, Don (almost) always tells the truth and how the things are and still, he’s one of the most lovely, warm and honest characters. Graeme Simsion’s writing style is as unique as the whole novel, and he always takes us on a journey full of unexpected situations, characters, dialogues. This is a bittersweet novel, incredible story that you won’t forget for long. This sequel has fully lived up to my expectations, though not for a single moment have I thought it couldn’t not be so, so much I believed in Don and Rosie. If you enjoyed „The Rosie Project”, then this book is also for you.

 
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Shopaholic to the Stars by Sophie Kinsella / Book Review

25 wrz

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Shopaholic to the Stars by Sophie Kinsella

 

Publisher: Bantam Press

Publishing Date: 25th  September 2011

Series: Shopaholic #7

Source:  Received for review.

 

 

Amazon Summary:

Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood) has stars in her eyes. She and her daughter, Minnie, have joined husband Luke in LA—city of herbal smoothies, multimillion-dollar yoga retreats, and the lure of celebrity. Luke is there to help manage the career of famous actress Sage Seymour—and Becky is convinced she is destined to be Sage’s personal stylist, and go from there to every A-list celebrity in Hollywood! But things become complicated when Becky joins the team of Sage’s archrival. How will charming and supportive Luke deal with this conflict? Is it possible that what Becky wants most will end up hurting those she loves most? Shopaholic fans old and new will devour Sophie Kinsella’s newest adventure!

Rating: 5/5

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I guess that „BECKY IS BACK” is the most repeated sentence lately. Because, people, yes, Becky is back! The good, old Becky Brandon (nee Bloomwood). She’s never going to change but that’s brilliant! You can either love or hate Becky with her attitude and approach, and I personally belong to the former category. No matter how irritating she is, how much air – headed she is, what kind of mess she makes – I was, am and will be her fan. Heck, after all I have chosen her as a friend to sit at my lunch for one of the Top Ten Tuesdays.

 A lot of people say Sophie Kinsella should put the series to bed, that Becky is over, and I ask, why? Perhaps Becky is not the most developing or maturing character in the world but that’s the point of the series! I don’t understand giving the book 1 star review without reading it, and explaining it with their aversion that the series continue. That’s not the right way! And I am very curious what you guys are going to say when you hear that „Becky will return. SOON”. Roll on, book number 8!

It’s unbelievable but Becky is in LA – for the first time in her life! She can only think about becoming a celebrity although, as she’s going to see, the way to become famous is not as easy as she’d like it. And then it’s even more difficult. While LA is sunny, beautiful and has the best shops in the world (YESSS!!!), not everything runs as smoothly as Becky would like. She has problems to find a job, Luke doesn’t want to introduce her to his client Sage Seymour, the very hot actress in Hollywood, and although they were able to put Minnie in one of the best pre – schools that ever existed, it turns out that it’s only thanks to Alicia Bitch Long -  Legs! On the top of it all, Suze also comes to Hollywood, together with her whole family, which means children and Tarkie! Yes! Tarkie! But not only the Cleath – Stuarts are there, but also Becky’s father, looking for his long – lost friend, and he suddenly goes AWOL…! But Becky, is this glossy lifestyle really what you want? Are you able to pay every price to let your dreams come true? Are you going to forget what’s most important in your life?

Really. Really. Really. The book is so packed with action that you have not a single second time to leave Becky’s world. Becky hasn’t lost her ability to complicate life – her own and this of people surrounding her, and she’s still as prone to accidents as she ever was. She first says/does and only then thinks about the consequences, or rather the consequences come and bite her on her backside. She’s still full of optimism and conviction that everything will work out somehow. What Becky always wants is only the best for everybody but it usually more than often goes wrong and she can’t understand why. She has dreams and is not afraid to follow the dreams, she only can’t think, or doesn’t want to think, about the consequences, and hence putting herself in the most outrageous, incredible situations. You can’t help but cringe or sigh about some of them but on the other hand, Becky has such a good, big heart that you root for her, keep your fingers crossed for her. She also stands for herself, even when everybody thinks she’s crazy, and this endless belief in her own dreams is really moving and makes me feel warm.

There was so much told about Becky and actually everything that is true. She’s shallow, she’s an air – head, she’s egoistic, she never grows up BUT she’s the most hearty person on the planet Earth. She’s loyal, she’d do anything for her family and friends. Yes, after putting herself first on the red carpet but that’s Becky for you, I haven’t expected anything different. I was really wondering what she can put herself into in this part of Shopaholic, but hello, it is LA, place of everything possible, and Kinsella’s imagination knows no limits, so really, be prepared for a crazy roller – coaster of things, more or less possible, happening. Spot the celebrities, watch TV to see Becky on the red carpet, open the tabloids to see her pictures there, take part in a charity run although you have never in life trained for this but you have a wonderful new gear, catch a film star by shoplifting and of course put yourself in a lot of mess with your family and best friends.

The only oasis of peace in every book is Luke, oh my, how I admire this guy! He’s patient, he’s calm, he reacts with a lot of understanding but also he has his limits and in every single part of the Shopaholic I FEAR that he’s going to say I can’t anymore and leave for ever. It would kill me. But he couldn’t be more supportive and Becky has the biggest luck in the world to have such husband, which she sometimes takes for granted.

The only character that I still can’t agree with is… Minnie. „Shopaholic and the Baby” was my least favourite part of the series and I’m really very sad to report that I still can’t warm to this child. She’s not funny, she’s spoiled rotten and to be totally honest, it’s my biggest nightmare that my personal daughter is going to be like Minnie. Right now she’s practising „miiiiine” and „pleeeeeaaaase” together in one sentence.

It was great how the author mixed all the old characters in the book, I have felt as if I were meeting all my old mates. We have Danny, the lovely, crazy Danny, we have Suze with her family…I have only so wished for more of Suze and Tarkie, he was incredible after dropping his traditional scottish clothes and putting on shorts and T – shirts and being under influence of some kind of hippie -  guru but, after reading the last chapter of this book, I am SO hoping for much more of them in the next book.

This book couldn’t be more LA even if it would like to be. It’s full of sun, palm trees, designer shops, film studios, stars and celebrities and Becky between them all, with stars in her eyes. But Becky being Becky was totally LA and LA was totally Becky. And of course the book ended with a big cliff – hanger. I couldn’t believe my eyes and kept checking if it is really the last page. I am desperate to read the next book, I’m guessing it’s going to be something like a road movie, Vegas here we come!

I really like Becky series. They may not be the most ambitious and stimulating reads in the world but do you always need such reads? I don’t, and this is why I’m giving this book 5 stars. Becky can irritate, she can be shallow and irresponsible but she was born to be like this, and either take it or leave it. I’m totally, fully taking it! With each new book in the series there is this fear, this apprehension that the book may not be good enough, may not live up to my expectations, which – sadly – was the case with „Shopaholic and the Baby”, but with „Shopaholic to the Stars” the good old Becky is back, the series is back and the book is as good as it only could be. I couldn’t put the book down, it made me feel so good and warm inside. It’s written in this typical Sophie Kinsella style, light, easy, smooth and so hooking, with a lot of humour but also some tender moments and you feel as if you are back with your old best friends again. It has blown me away to be totally honest and it took me by surprise how much I have missed Becky and Co. It’s an absolute must – read for all of Sophie’s fans!

 

Lily Does LA by Nicola Doherty / eBook Review

24 wrz

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Lily does LA by Nicola Doherty

 

Publisher: Headline

Publishing Date: 25th  September 2011

Series: Girls on Tour #2

Source:  Received for review.

 

 

Amazon Summary:

The second instalment in this hilarious, romantic and unputdownable five-part series. Perfect for fans of Lindsey Kelk’s I Heart… novels.

Lily is an actress. At least, that’s what she tells people, even though she’s currently working in a call centre and her last big part was an ad for Sofa Warehouse. So when she’s invited to her cousin Alice’s wedding in LA, it’s a dream come true. Alice’s fiancé Sam is actually a Hollywood agent; how can Lily fail to get talent-spotted? There’s only one problem; not only is Lily banned from mentioning acting, parts or producers to Sam, she’s expected to spend the entire week doing wedding-related prep (read: chores) with Sam’s boring groomsman Jesse. But Lily firmly believes that rules were made to be broken …

Girls on Tour is an irresistible series of interlinked stories about four friends, ordinary girls who have extraordinary fun in faraway places. Expect the unexpected, the utterly hilarious and unforgettable, on this rollercoaster ride of love, laughs, surprises and sparks. You have a VIP pass to join each girl’s adventure, so pack your bags and buckle your seatbelts, because just about anything is possible…

 

Rating: 4/5

 

„Lily Does LA” by the very, very lovely Nicola Doherty is the second part in the „Girls on Tour” series and I am very happy to announce, my amigos, that the series can be read absolutely as stand – alone short stories, which, with my holey memory and tendency to forget why I went upstairs, what about the characters in books, is a brilliant thing.

Lily is an actress, at least she has learnt to be an actress. We meet her when she’s being fired from work – again. The invitation to her cousin Alice’s wedding in the very sunny LA couldn’t arrive at better time then. The only problem is that Alice’s husband – to – be works as Hollywood agent and it is STRICTLY FORBIDDEN to speak to him about the job in film, about castings, acting, actors, directors… About anything connected with film industry actually. Moreover, Lily is supposed to help Alice with the last – minute organization of the wedding and as she doesn’t drive, she’s stuck with Jesse’s company, a very boring and wearing a tie Sam’s cousin.  Is Lily going to keep her promise? Is she going to really help, or rather disturb?

Lily was a great character. Oh yes, there was a moment that she was acting very selfish and I really had no idea that one person can make so much mess in one single day, but she was a good girl altogether and she always wanted to fix the mistakes that she made. That she more than often makes the wrong choices… well, that’s life for you. Life pulls the rug from under her instantly and does all to complicate everything for her but our Lily faces up all the obstacles. She’s very creative and full of ideas and is open for anything new, not necessary logic or obvious.

Nicola belongs to those authors who could write brilliant, larger than life, full of life characters, characters with their own personality. They’re vivid, colourful and every single one that she introduces to us lives her/his own life. Even those of them that we don’t know personally and only through email (ekhm, Lily) you can only like, or like to hate. Actually, she has described Jesse in such a way they my mind about him changed as many times as Lily’s. Oh yes, he was a complex character :) Am not sure if necessarily my type but well, it’s a story about Lily :)

The descriptions of LA were brilliant. You could say, what new can you write about LA, but yes, Nicola can. She introduces us to places that we don’t often visit in  books and makes it with a great fun, even if she writes about palm trees. She has described the places with such  accuracy and certainty that I don’t feel the need to go and see them with my own eyes (although it would be nice one day).

But okay, I’m babbling. Altogether, I enjoyed LA much more than Paris, I had a feeling that here the writing was flowing smoothly, was lighter, as if Nicola found her fantastic, typical writing style again. I just had a feeling it’s much more optimistic – maybe it was the sun? It was a great story with new beginnings, new friends, new city and finding things that you actually weren’t looking for. And it is amazing that Nicola could make such a short story full of action, full of laughter but also with some softer and poignant moments. Can’t wait for the part Nr. 3 – roll on Maggie in Meribel!

 
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Top Ten Tuesdays: Top Ten Books on my Fall TBR List

23 wrz

toptentuesdayOh, today’s topic is great, the guys at The Broke and the Bookish have the best ideas ever! There are some best books out in Fall and I really can’t wait to get them in my hands, hold them, strike them and finally, read them! So, let’s start with

Top Ten Books on my Fall To Be Read List:

1. The Woman Who Stole My Life by Marian Keyes. It’s not a secret that I love Marian endlessly, I have read all of her books, some of them more than 5 times, and I never have enough. I guess I was one of the first who has requested the book on NetGalley and one of the first who received this book, as am auto – approved by Penguin (THANK YOU GUYS!!!) and I haven’t read this book yet because I’m so, so scared to start it! Silly, I know, and I’m going to read it ASAP!

2. I Will Marry George Clooney (…by Christmas) by Tracy Bloom. Tracy is one of the funniest authors ever and I fell in love with her writing after the first word I have read. The blurb of this book sounds brilliant and I’m sure it’s going to be one of the best reads this year!

3. The Christmas Party by Carole Matthews. Carole, the Queen of chick lit and christmassy books. She can’t do wrong with her books and she for sure belongs to my auto – buy authors.

4. From Notting Hill with Four Weddings… Actually by Ali McNamara. After reading previous two From Notting Hill books I literally can’t wait for this one, as I loved them very much, much more than ali’s stand – alone novels. Hurry up, post!

5. The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion. To be honest, I have already read this book. It was hilarious and I really don’t know how to write a review that do this book a justice.

6. One Step Closer to You by Alice Peterson. Yes, I have read and reviewed this book yesterday but it was on my Fall TBR pile, so I guess that counts? It’s my second book in my Hall of Fame and I loved it with all my heart!

7. It Started with Paris by Cathy Kelly. It’s already long since I last read Cathy Kelly’s book and I’m missing her novels. The blurb of this one is very promising and it has such a beautiful cover…!

8. The Christmas Surprise by Jenny Colgan. I wonder what can this surprise be…?

9. Christmas in the Snow by Karen Swan. Every new book by Karen is better than the last one, although it sounds impossible, as she writes only BRILLIANT books.

10. Shopaholic to the Stars by Sophie Kinsella. It was worth to wait so long for Becky’s comeback! There is only one Becky and she’s never going to change, and that’s brilliant! Review to come this week.

 
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Blog Tour: Strings Attached by Mandy Baggot / eBook Review + Giveaway

23 wrz

Mandybanner

 

Mandy Baggot is amping up the romance with her smash hit book Strings Attached! The contemporary romance author will be dancing her way around numerous blogs over the coming days so stay tuned to get the lowdown with reviews, a guest post and a hefty giveaway.

 

Unknown-463What they say:

‚Strings Attached – One pull could change your life

Caterer George Fraser has a mission. She’s going to prove everyone wrong. Ambitious owner of catering firm Finger Food and black sheep of her family, she’s determined to succeed in business where she’s so far failed in her personal life. Asked to cater for gorgeous rock star Quinn Blake’s after-show party her life suddenly takes a turn for the dramatic.

Magnetically drawn together, George and Quinn embark on a relationship that no one must know about. But is Quinn everything he seems or is there more to his star life than he’s telling her?

Things hot up when George is invited to the wedding of the millennium and her integrity very soon becomes compromised. With celebrity obsessed colleague Marisa in the mix and her beloved Adam spending more time in her life can George keep her secrets and hold on to her ambition, or will love finally get in the way?’

 

Rating: 3/5

 

I’ve just finished reading „Strings Attached” and all my thoughts are whirling around. Wow. It was my first book by Mandy Baggot (yes! I can hear you! Impossible, I know) and so I really didn’t know what to expect, although as I have heard wonderful prises for her work, I have started reading this novel with – of course – expectations highly set.

George has her own catering company, Finger Food. One day she’s asked to cater for the after – party for the international rock star Quinn Blake. As soon as they meet, there is something sparkly between them, something that attracts them to each other. Unfortunately, Quinn is engaged to be married soon and, oh irony, George agrees to cater for his wedding in Spain. Then the situation in Spain escalates and many hidden secrets are revealed…

George, short for Georgina. I admit, I couldn’t get adjust to this name, just couldn’t, and at the beginning felt often very confused. No, I’m not so short – minded :) I really admire that fact that Mandy decided to write such a controversial main heroine. I think it’s clear that a lot of us readers are going to condemn George for her affair with Quinn, and while it was also the case with me (well, maybe I didn’t condemn her, I just felt a little uncomfortable and confused, what with her attitude that it’s not her problem, it’s Quinn’s), as she so simply went for this what Quinn told her, George was also one of the bravest, strong  – minded, independent, warm and funny characters in the books that I’ve read. I liked her, simple as that. I admired how she coped with her past, I felt for her when I read about her relationship with her mother, and I liked how she went for her dreams to make them true. At first I really couldn’t understand why she so easily believes in all what Quinn says, even if he doesn’t say much, only that he despises the woman he must marry and that he doesn’t love her, and so I just wanted to shake George and make her to either finish it or give him an ultimatum.

I guess I had much bigger problem with our rock star Quinn. He pissed me off. I was not at all a fan of him acting as if being a mistress was actually nothing for Georgina, that she’ll go for it without a single word and be happy that he, pasha, married, has her on the side. No matter what other people did to him, helped him or not, he is a man to himself and he should decide about his life, so I guess I had a problem with his attitude. He wanted to have a cake and eat a cake.

There were of course some of the other characters in the book as well. The members of Finger Food, especially Helen, she was a lovely, understanding woman and I have no idea how she could raise such a big – mouth Marisa, who mostly only played on my nerves. Then we had Adam, George’s brother, who was a very average, normal character. And a witch of a mother, George and Adam’s mother. I would never understand what kind of mother could behave like this one.

Now don’t get me wrong but I’m still feeling really a little too overwhelmed. With the plot, with the characters, with the situations. I’m leaving aside the fact that two people were having an affair, because there are affairs and there are affairs, but the whole idea of the story seemed a little too perfectly obvious. I mean, what are the possibilities for this really happening? Of course it is fiction but well, there must be some reality in the story as well. Here the biggest twist, which I didn’t see coming, was just too unrealistic.

And I was feeling really confused, because for a long, long time I couldn’t understand, why stay in a relationship with a woman if you know that you don’t love her? The excuses „just because” somehow was not enough for me and was not too convincing. And then, putting myself in such a situation as Georgina’s, totally knowingly… Only because the guy told me that I should believe him? I mean, I am the last to judge but in the whole it just made me feel uncomfortable for a very long time.

I was tired with the never ending catering descriptions, tired with Quinn hiding his secret, tired with the excuses our two main characters were making to see each other again but doing nothing to solve the problem. And let’s be honest, an adult young man who can’t stand up to his boss / future father – in – law and playing like he wished, being scared of stating his own opinion… must it really be? Is it still believable? Not for me personally. What I liked though was how the story developed, how this forbidden relationship went through highs and lows, ups and downs, and how Mandy managed with all other threads running parallel through the story. And so we get glances on George’s childhood, why her relationship with her mother went all bad but we still, till almost the end, don’t know what in fact happened. The same with Quinn’s story: we know there is something that happened in the past that ties him to Roger, but being so stubborn, or just ashamed, he doesn’t reveal it till almost the end. And that leads us to this end of the story which, for my liking, was a little too crazy and hasty, everything cumulated in those few last pages and it was too much at once.

The thing with the book is that while the plot, the idea of the story, the characters not necessarily rubbed me up the right way, I still enjoyed the book. Its strength and power lie in the writing: it’s light and easy to follow, and some of the dialogues and one – liners were great getaway and a great way of distraction. While I didn’t agree with the way the characters coped with their lives, I continued the reading because it was interesting, fresh and enjoyable. And high five to the author for really one of the biggest twists that I haven’t seen coming! I may have suspected one of them but till it was revealed I was not absolutely sure, and the second one has taken me absolutely by surprise. Altogether, although written in a very soap – opera style, a little over the top, it was enjoyable read and has aroused my curiosity to read other Mandy’s novels.

 

 

Click Here To Buy This Book – UK

Click Here To Buy This Book – US

 

Unknown-464Author Bio:

Mandy Baggot is a romantic fiction author. In 2012 she won the Innovation in Romantic Fiction award at the UK’s Festival of Romance. Her self-published title, Strings Attached was also short-listed for the Best Author Published Read award.

Also in 2012 she signed with American publishing house, Sapphire Star Publishing, who produced her novels, Taking Charge and romantic suspense, Security.

In June 2013 she signed a two book deal with Harper Collins’ digital first romance imprint, Harper Impulse.

She is a regular contributor to writing blogs and on-line magazine, Loveahappyending Lifestyle

In May 2014 Mandy signed with Kate Nash of the Kate Nash Literary Agency.

Mandy loves mashed potato, white wine, country music, World’s Strongest Man, travel and handbags. She has appeared on ITV1’s Who Dares Sings and auditioned for The X-Factor.

Mandy is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and lives near Salisbury, Wiltshire, UK with her husband, two daughters and cats, Kravitz and Springsteen.

She is an advocate for women in business and belongs to the networking group Women on Wednesdays

 

Follow Mandy

Twitter |Facebook | Goodreads | Website

Giveawayimage

Enter via the Rafflecopter to win:

1st Prize: £20 Amazon gift voucher + e-copies of Breaking the Ice and Made in Nashville

2nd Prize: E-copy of Excess All Areas

3rd Prize: E-copy of Knowing Me Knowing You

4th Prize: E-copy of Taking Charge

5th Prize: E-copy of Public Property

6th Prize: E-copy of Security

7th Prize Do You Remember?

MandyPrizes

a Rafflecopter giveaway

All ebook prizes will be given to winners in Kindle format. Mandy Baggot and CandleLit Author Services reserve the right to cancel or amend giveaway details at anytime and without prior notification.

 

 
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Blog Tour: Q&A with Alice Peterson

22 wrz

Today I am exceptionally excited to welcom Alice Peterson to my side. She has taken the world of chick lit by storm and she for sure belongs to my favourite authors. All she writes is full of emotions, sparkle and humour and all of us should read her book, period. And she’s also a warm, friendly, open person!

Alice has taken some of her precious time to answer some of my questions. Thank you so much for this Alice, and thank you Margot of Quercus for making it possible! So ladies and gentlemen, I give you Alice Peterson! (Photo of the author by Alicia Clarke).

alice-front

1. Hi Alice, can you please introduce yourself to our readers?



Firstly, thanks so much for inviting me on to your blog! I’m Alice and I can’t believe I’m 40, but I am, and I’ve been writing since my early 20s. I never thought I’d be a writer; I was always ‘Alice, the tennis player’. I trained with Tim Henman, I was one of the top players in the country under eighteen, but then, overnight, my life turned upside down. I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, and I haven’t played tennis since, a sadness that will always be with me. However, I have found a new path. I have channeled the determination and grit I had on the tennis court into being a writer. My books tend to feature disability (Megan in Monday to Friday Man and Cass in By My Side are just two examples) and I like to put my own experiences into my books. I enjoy writing about love, romance, loss, pain, joy… and above all, hope. I am an eternal optimist. 

 

2. Dogs seem to be very important characters in your books. Do you have one?



I have a Lucas Terrier called Mr Darcy. He is now seven and my best buddy. I have always grown up with dogs, I don’t remember a time when there was no basket in our kitchen, but it’s very different having my own one. Darcy is all my responsibility. Since having him I have realized even more now how much of a difference dogs can make to people’s lives. Mr D has opened up a whole new world of doggy friends which inspired my romantic dog walking comedy, Monday to Friday Man. Darcy was also a big reason why I chose to write about assistant dogs in By My Side. From now on a dog will always feature in my novels because they are the best.

 

3. Can you please tell us shortly about your new book One Step Closer to You?


 It’s a story about family secrets, addiction and relationships, both good and bad. Ultimately, it’s a love story One-Step-Closer-To-You_PB21.jpgwith a dramatic twist, based on real experiences, exploring the choices we make and how it is possible to change direction on even the darkest path in life.

4. How did you research for this book?



I enjoyed writing the love story element, especially the theme of friendship, and can men and women be just friends? I really love my Facebook followers as they help me with any love/romance questions I have! On the addiction side, I spoke to a range of people from recovering addicts to specialist counsellors in this field. It was fascinating, moving, thought-provoking. I learned a lot.

 

5. I know there is some story behind the title for this book, you had already other one
 and than changed it into One Step Closer To You. Why this title? How did it get chosen?



Yes, originally it was called, It Had To Be You but then we realized there was a book by Ellie Adams that was due to be published only a month earlier, with the same title, so we had to think again! All the team at Quercus, along with my agent, Charlotte Robertson at United, put our heads together and came up with One Step At A Time.  In AA there is a 10 Step Recovery Programme and the motto is very much ‘one day at a time’ so we rather liked this title. However, the problem with it was it did sound a little too much like a self-help book so to convey the romance we changed it to One Step Closer To You. This book is possibly one of my most romantic. I really enjoyed developing the relationship between the two leading characters.

 

6. Are any of the characters in the book inspired by real people?



Yes, in that I spoke to a couple of recovering addicts who truly inspired me. It’s not their story, but I aim to capture their spirit and put across as much as I can from what I’ve learned from their experiences.

 

7. Is there a scene in the book that you find really difficult to write?



There’s one with Polly and Matthew in the kitchen. I don’t want to give it away but it wasn’t easy to write.

 

8. Is there a favourite scene in the book?



There’s a scene by the hospital lift that I love because it’s so romantic. I know you don’t often put hospitals and romance in the same bracket, but it’s a lovely, deeply emotional scene.

 

9. Where did the initial idea for the book come from?



I met someone who had lost nearly everything to addiction, but had pulled herself back together. That journey interested me so I wanted to find out more.

 

10. If you could be a fictional character for a day or two, who would that be?


I’d like to be Elizabeth Bennett, walking through the woods carrying a basket and wearing a bonnet. Then I’d get to meet the other Mr Darcy, on horseback… ‘Oh, Mr Darcy…’ I’d say, composing myself.

‘I trust your parents are well,’ he’d say back to me, gazing into my eyes.

 

Alice Peterson, One Step Closer To You

Quercus, 25th September

alicepeterson.co.uk

 
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One Step Closer to You by Alice Peterson / Book Review

22 wrz

One-Step-Closer-To-You_PB21.jpg

One Step Closer to You by Alice Peterson

 

Publisher: Quercus

Publishing Date: 25th September 2014

Source:  Received for review.

 

 

Amazon Summary:

After Polly ends her relationship with the father of her young son, Louis, she is determined to move on. All she wants is to focus on her job, her friends and to be a good mum. No more looking over her shoulder. No more complications…

Then Polly meets Ben.

Ben is guardian of his niece, Emily. They become close, with Polly teaching Ben how to plait Emily’s hair, and Ben playing football with Louis. Their friendship is unexpected. Polly’s never been happier.

But when Louis’s dad reappears in their life, all Polly’s mistakes come back to haunt her and her resolve weakens when he swears he has changed.

Will she give herself a second chance to love?

 

Rating: 5/5

Hall_of_Fame1

 

It’s not a secret that I am one of the biggest Alice’s fans. Although I haven’t read all of her books yet (YET!!!) I have fallen in love with her writing style, with the way she writes about so important issues in our lives: soundly and expressive yet tender and with a lot of understanding. I was really, totally excited when I heard she’s publishing a new book, and although her novels always make me cry (buckets!!!), it didn’t troubled me to read „One Step Closer To You” as soon as possible.

And! Can you see what I’ve spotted when I opened the book??? Hallelujah, thank you Quercus so much for including me in prises for Alice.

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„One Step Closer to You” follows a story of Polly, a single mother of a five – year – old Louis, working in a cafe. She used to be a teacher and loved her job but well, the circumstances in her life have changed a lot and after having her baby she hasn’t returned to school. Her life seems very stabilised right now, doing a school run, going to the meetings, working, spending time with Louis. One day she meets Ben who’s in a custody of Emily, a girl from Louis’s class, and they start to hang around together. Their friendship develops, they open their hearts to each other, they know their darkest and deepest secrets. But then, out of the blue, Matthew appears, claiming he’s changed and that he wants to be present in Louis – and Polly’s – life. Is this really true that he’s changed? What is Polly going to do? Is Ben going to understand her decisions?

I loved Polly. Simple as that. She has done a lot in her life, and tried many things but I can’t say more because I don’t want to spoil this story for you. But she’s one of the best female characters written ever, she felt so realistic and vivid, I had a feeling she’s sitting next to me and telling me her story herself. I have admired how she got her life back on track. I loved her relationship with her brother Hugo. This reality of her made her in my eyes the perfect heroine, she’s made mistakes in her past but she learnt by them, and those were also the kinds of mistakes that we often tend to make in our lives. And seeing that she could pick herself up, recover, put her chin up and continue with her life was really great, uplifting and made you feel warm inside.

Yes, there was a time that I wanted to shake her very, very strongly and it started with Ben stating his feelings to her and Polly behaving strangely from that point on. OK, it didn’t help that Matthew was back on the scenes but nevertheless, Polly, didn’t you learn your lesson? I was thinking you are this strong, independent woman, you yourself were so sure of this fact, so why suddenly those doubts? I have so felt for Ben through this part of the book (hell, I liked him so much from the very first scene, didn’t suppose could like him more but yes, I could) and I would feel exactly like he did, as if I were the second best. And you didn’t see it Polly.

Alice can write brilliant characters, characters that you’re not going to forget too quickly. It was the same in „One Step Closer to You”, no matter if they were the main or the background characters. They are all significant to the plot and add tons to the whole story. They are vivid, warm and full of life, they behave in realistic ways and they speak like we do. No matter if they are  adults or children, they are wonderfully described, colourful and you love them or love to hate them. Yes, such characters are in this book as well! Ben and Hugo are the main male characters and I could just eat them both, they’re sweet, sexy and with their own minds. Loved what Ben did for Emily, and loved to see how he grown to love this girl so much that he even changes the interior of his house and bought a dog. Yes! Another great dog in Alice’s book! Believe me or not but I once also had a Nellie dog :) The children were adorable and I was heartbroken reading about Emily and her drama, and loved how Polly and her little son took her to their hearts and how much they were engaged to help Ben to put a smile on her face or just to teach him how to braid her hair.

Polly’s aunt Vivienne and her ex – boyfriend are also playing big role in the story. I couldn’t help but disliked Matthew from the very beginning, hated the way he treated Polly and how he played with her feelings, and how he behaved after his comeback. Vivienne has also seen and done a lot in her life, things that none of us would like to experience, and still, she found her way back, she got going again and kept Polly under her wings.

This book was in some way different to the previous Alice’s books. In my opinion it was a little more optimistic, a little different written, in a little more cheerful way. Although it included characters with some impairment, and they were very relevant heroes to the story, their handicap didn’t dominate the plot. It was not the main story but still, very important, very significant, and I loved how Alice managed this subplot. She showed again that partial blindness doesn’t mean you must walk on the pavement with a white cane but you can enjoy the life and find a great job.

The story has a brilliant pace and there was enough action to have me hooked. Alice has done a brilliant research about alcohol addiction and described the meetings and people involved in them in a fantastic, realistic way and I felt as if I were there. She’s again writing about people with handicaps but in a very approachable, light way, way that not only doesn’t put as away but has us rooting for the characters. As the plot revolves, Alice surprises us with many new information and facts and most of them we just don’t see coming, especially at the end of the story.

It was a real pleasure to read. There was enough tension but also a lot of humour and the dialogues were sharp, witty and realistic, and the language the characters used was like this used by us. Nothing felt too forced or too pushy. The story was full of turns and twist but  there is no such a thing as plethora of information. There were scenes that made me laugh out loud, scenes that brought tears to my eyes (and both together – especially the scene with Polly singing at the school fete, although she couldn’t sing!), scenes that took my breath away. Yes, this book has it all, and even more. It has fulfilled all of my expectations and there is not a single thing that I didn’t like in this novel. It was absolutely one of the best reads this year and I would highly recommend this book to all of you. It’s such a warm, uplifting read that you should enjoy it immensely.