Meet Me at Beachcomber Bay by Jill Mansell

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Love is in the air in St Carys, but you’d never know it – the people of this seaside town are very good at keeping secrets…

The man Clemency loves belongs to someone else. She has to hide her true feelings – but when she ropes in an unsuspecting friend to help, wires start to get crossed.

For the first time in Ronan’s life his charm has failed him in winning over the woman he wants. Loving her from afar appears to be his only option.

Belle seems to have the perfect boyfriend, but something isn’t quite right. And now a long-buried secret is slowly rising to the surface.

The truth has a funny way of revealing itself, and when it does St Carys will be a very different place indeed…

I do like a good Jill Mansell book, Jill’s books to me are the equivalent to a nice cup of coffee – makes me feel warm inside, addictive and can’t go a day without having it.

The opening of this story is set on an aeroplane, Clemency almost misses her flight and is all in a fluster, so it’s Sod’s law she is seated next to the handsome Sam. Initially Sam comes across as rude but as he gets to know Clemency he mellows and they are soon getting on like a house on fire. But Sam is not all he seems and gives Clemency false hope. I got really excited when Clemency mentioned she lived in Northampton – my home town and was really looking forward to reading about Clem shopping down Abington Street but this wasn’t to be as the story soon fast forwards 3 years and Clemency has moved to St Carys in Cornwall and has gone from selling cars to selling houses. It doesn’t take long for Sam to appear in the story again but he’s out of bounds to Clem although the chemistry is still visibly there.

There are lots of characters in this story- Ronan is Clemencys friend and work colleague who comes across as a bit of a floozy with the women. Belle- Clemencys spoilt step-sister who is actually harbouring a secret that explains why she is the way she is. Katie , the lovely postie who like Clemency, longs for a man she can’t have yet puts up a hard front. These are just a few of the many characters, each of the characters all have their own secrets and pasts that have a habit of catching up with them and are all very likeable. I loved how all the characters were linked in some way and each chapter delved further into each particular characters story, so you really get to know the characters.

A steady paced story that was full of unexpected surprises , drama and friendship, that I didn’t want to end.

Thanks to Netgalley and Headline Review for the review copy in exchange for an honest opinion.

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My tbr books

I have so many books to read- there are books hidden behind books on these shelves !! Yet I still keep buying them , my latest buy was ‘A Year at the Star and Sixpence’ by Holly Hepburn. I saw it in The Works today for a bargain price of £2 ! So as you can see I have lots of reading and reviewing to get done and even more on my kindle !!

Best crack on.

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My treasures (signed books)

I was sorting through my book shelf this morning and thought I would share with you my prized possessions -my signed books. The David Nicholls one was sent very kindly to me from David – due to not getting it for my birthday. All the others I won in competitions. I will never get rid of these, they are my treasures which eventually will be passed on to my daughter.

Which books do you have that are signed ?

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Chasing Daisy By Paige Toon

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Daisy has been dumped, unceremoniously jilted. Not by any ordinary guy, no…Daisy has a secret in her past that she won’t even tell her best friend, Holly. She’s given up on men – and on her own family. But life still has to be lived and where better to recover than as far away from home as possible. Grabbing a chance to see the world, Daisy packs her bags and joins the team catering to the world’s highest-paid, supercharged racing drivers on the Formula 1 Grand Prix circuit. From Brazil to Italy, from Melbourne to Monte Carlo, life passes in a dizzying whirlwind. But nothing – and no one – can stop Daisy from falling again…this time for a man who is prepared to risk his life, and his heart, for the sake of speed, danger and ultimate success.

Another fantastic story from my favourite author , Paige Toon. This story is full of thrills, heartache and love. The story pace is perfect and kept me wanting more every time I had to put it down !

The opening scene with Daisy and Luis reminded me of the Top Gun car – motorbike scene, a hit straight away for me. I loved it how the story was set in so many different countries and even though I haven’t visited any of them, I had a clear picture in my mind of what they looked and felt like.
I am not a fan of formula 1, I remember one year when the Grand Prix was on I was heavily pregnant with my daughter and was willing my waters to break so I wouldn’t have to endure my husband watching cars go round a track !! But after reading this, I don’t think I will mind watching it so much, I got a rush of adrenaline when Will or Luis were racing and could almost hear myself cheering them on !! I loved the term ‘screwdriver’ it was very apt and made me smile.

I really warmed to all the characters except Catalina, she was a horrid piece of work. I loved it how Johnny Jefferson got a mention in the book, that’s one thing I love about Paige Toon books, characters from different books seem to pop up in all her books. I fell in love with both Will and Luis and could feel Daisy’s angst when she was torn between the two of them.

Although I read this book after ‘The Longest Holiday’, I still made sense of what was going on and it has given me the perfect excuse to re-read ‘The Longest Holiday’ – not that I need an excuse to read a Paige Toon book !

The Secret Lives of the Amir Sisters by Nadiya Hussain

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The four Amir sisters – Fatima, Farah, Bubblee and Mae – are the only young Muslims in the quaint English village of Wyvernage.

On the outside, despite not quite fitting in with their neighbours, the Amirs are happy. But on the inside, each sister is secretly struggling.

Fatima is trying to find out who she really is – and after fifteen attempts, finally pass her driving test. Farah is happy being a wife but longs to be a mother. Bubblee is determined to be an artist in London, away from family tradition, and Mae is coping with burgeoning Youtube stardom.

Yet when family tragedy strikes, it brings the Amir sisters closer together and forces them to learn more about life, love, faith and each other than they ever thought possible.

A fantastic story that is too good to be a debut novel, Nadiya is so talented and inspiring.

The characters in this novel are all so different, Bubblee is the independent, adventurous and bold sister that got away from the family for a life in London, Mae is the youngest who is a social media addict and totally lives her life through social media which is a great portrayal of how people live today, Fatti is the opposite of Bubblee, stuck at home and a born worrier and Farrah is the mother hen to the family, putting others needs first to block out her worries and pain. Then there is the prodigal son Jay, who is very mysterious and cannot do no wrong in the eyes of his parents even though he is hardly around and doesn’t bother with his family. I could relate to Fatti as I too am a worrier and as I read the story I felt sorry for her, her lack of attention from her family caused her low self esteem. I loved how each chapter was told by each sister.

The story flowed really well, it was full of secrets and betrayals. It covered a lot of issues, I especially thought it was good how it highlighted the dangers of how one click of sharing something on the Internet can be seen by everyone and can damage lives.
It also made me realise that even though you think the grass is going to be greener on the other side it is not always the case. There was a real feel of community spirit within this story. I loved the part set in Bangladesh and how the Bangledeshi culture & beliefs are so different there.
I really hope that there will be more stories focusing on each sister.

Thanks to Netgalley and Harlequin for approving me to read and review this book in exchange for an honest review.

Hurrah for Gin: A book for perfectly imperfect parents by Katie Kirby.

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This book is not a how-to-guide. It won’t tell you how to get your baby to sleep, how to deal with toddler tantrums, how to be a good parent, a cool parent or even a renegade parent. It is a book about parenting that contains absolutely no useful advice whatsoever.

Instead it shares beautifully honest anecdotes and illustrations from the parenting frontline that demonstrate it is perfectly possible to love your children with the whole of your heart whilst finding them incredibly irritating at the same time.

From pregnancy to starting school, Hurrah For Gin takes you through the exciting, frustrating, infuriating and wonderful whirlwind of parenthood, offering solidarity and a friendly hug after a tough day.

Best served with gin. 

I follow Katie Kirby on Facebook and absolutely can relate to a lot of her posts, so I was really looking forward to getting my nose stuck into this book. The title ‘Hurrah for Gin’ had a couple of people questioning what I was reading, my mum thought it was a book about gin until I told her the second part of the title.

This book is so realistic and so much more useful than any baby book that you will read, this tells you the truth about parenting whilst not making you feel like a failure as many of us probably do because in the society we live in today we all compare ourselves to other mums- which just makes us feel even worse a parent when all we need to focus on is the fact that we love our children and as long as they are fed (even if it is beige freezer food) , dressed (who cares if it’s Joules or Primark, kids ruin clothes) and cared for that’s all that matters.

I am always beating myself up about not feeding my children fresh-made from scratch meals everyday or not playing with them 24/7, so reading this book was really refreshing and made me realise I’m not alone.

I loved every part of this book (I read it in 2 days) but my favourite part was the ‘Now and Then’ chapter, it brought back so many wonderful childhood memories and reminded me of how good my childhood was without the need for iPads, YouTube and mobile phones. I plan to share some of this fun with my children. I was going to pass this book on to a mummy friend but I have decided I am going to keep it as my bible. Thanks Katie Kirby for making me feel much better about myself. I really hope you write another book.

 

Christmas Under a Starlit Sky by Holly Martin

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Neve Whitaker loves managing the Stardust Lake hotel. She gets to work alongside her wonderful family and she’s spending Christmas on the most enchanting, snow-covered island in Scotland. So why is her heart so heavy this festive season?

It might have something to do with the gorgeous actor Oakley Rey, the man she finished with before he left for California and the man she loves more than anything. With Oakley’s career in Hollywood soaring, Neve is convinced she’d only hold him back. She had to end it with him – at least that’s what she keeps telling herself. 

But now she has a secret she’s struggling to keep, and when Oakley arrives on Juniper Island determined to win her back, Neve is thrown off balance. Will Neve’s fear of having her heart broken again push Oakley away for good, or is it time for her to take a leap of faith?

A fantastic festive read that made me smile , gasp and cry.

I started reading this as soon as I had finished ‘Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky’ , I loved how it started exactly where ‘Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky’ ended, it felt like when you have recorded some of your favourite series on TV and get to watch them one after another and not have to wait to see what’s happened.

Juniper Island really is a magical love island, not just for Neve and Oakley but for others too, I won’t say who as I don’t want to spoil it for you. It was great to be reunited with Pip, Gabe and Wren again, I didn’t think the relationship between Neve and Oakley was going to be anywhere near as good as Pip and Gabe’s , I was wrong it was better. There was more suspense within this story as to will they won’t they ! I especially loved how Christmas continued long after Christmas Day on Juniper Island, it made me feel even more festive. The ending was a perfect way to say goodbye to the festive season.

This story has taught me that you can’t let the past define your future , I always worry about what could of been but now I’m going to look forward not back.

Thanks to Netgalley and Bookouture for this review copy.