Synopsis:

Somewhere between a car accident and a divorce, Annie Applegate stopped believing in happy endings.

Now, she just wants to disappear. And the tiny town of Promise fits the bill. With its winding streets and melting-pot of residents, it’s the perfect place for Annie to hide away and open the bookshop she always dreamed of owning.

Until her new-found peace and quiet is disturbed by Lucas, a widower who rivals Annie as the most cynical person in town.

With his troubled past and precocious children, Lucas is the last person she should be getting involved with. But when he asks for her help, Annie comes to realise that, maybe, going it alone isn’t the solution after all…

Previously published as Promise, Texas

I haven’t read a Debbie Macomber book in a while, and to be honest this was not one of my favourites. I was intrigued by the book, and wanted to know the outcome of the various storylines – which led me to finish the book, but this wasn’t a great read.

I was looking for a quick and easy read having just finished Citadel by Kate Mosse, and this book ticked that box. This is a fast read, easy text and not a challenging read.

I thought there were too many characters and too many storylines. No character was explored in depth, and occasionally I forgot who was who!

Most of the individual stories were not believable, and all wrapped up conveniently. I think I have read so many chick lit books, and several books by Macomber that I found this one very predictable.

All of the above said; I did finish this book. It ticked the box for easy read, and it did keep me entertained. If you like a chick lit novel, a nice and light read, then this is for you!

I am rating it 3 out of 5

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I opened the door to the postman earlier to discover a parcel of books from a friend – yay! My friends are the best!

I got:

  • Lazy Ways to Make a Living by Abigail Bosanko
  • The Peacock Emporium by Jojo Moyes
  • Certainty by Madeleine Thien
  • Acting Up by Melissa Nathan

I am one very happy girl! Thanks Beverley!

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I’m gutted to put this down as Nicholas Sparks is one of my favourite authors but for no real reason I just cannot get into this book.

Synopsis:

As a science journalist with a regular column in Scientific American, Jeremy Marsh specializes in debunking the supernatural and has a real nose for the strange and unusual. A born skeptic, he travels to the small town of Boone Creek, North Carolina, determined to find the real cause behind the ghostly apparitions that appear in the town cemetery. What he doesn’t plan on, however, is meeting and falling hopelessly in love with Lexie Darnell, granddaughter of the town psychic. Now, if the young lovers are to have any kind of future at all, Jeremy must make a difficult choice: return to the life he knows, or do something he could never do before-take a giant leap of faith.

Like I said, there is nothing glaringly obvious that caused me to struggle with this book, and I imagine if I was to pick this up in a few months time I would enjoy it, but as a firm believer in there being too many books to read to waste your time with one you don’t get on with, I have chosen to put this one aside as I just cannot get into it. Gutted, but such is life.

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marshmallows for breakfast

Synopsis from Amazon:

When Kendra Tamale returns to England from Australia she rents a room from Kyle, a divorced father of two, and begins a new job. She’s looking forward to a fresh start and simple life. Kyle’s five-year-old twins, Summer and Jaxon, have other ideas and quickly adopt Kendra as their new mother – mainly because she lets them eat marshmallows for breakfast. Kendra eventually becomes a part of their lives, even though she’s hiding a painful secret that makes her keep everyone – especially children – at arm’s length. Then Kendra bumps into the man who shares her awful secret, and things fall apart: she can’t sleep, she can’t eat, she’s suspended from work, and the kids are taken away by their mother. The only way to fix things is to confess to the terrible mistake she made all those years ago. But that’s something she swore never to do …

This is a truly beautiful book which touched a whole range of emotions. This is chick-lit, but with hard issues that add amazing depth to this book. Kendra is good at running away. Something bad happened to her when she was twenty. It changed her. She became someone who didn’t really feel, she became jumpy and she locked away her feelings. When a chance to leave England arose, she leapt at the chance, and off to Australia she went. But she fell in love over there, with someone who she couldn’t have. So she returned to England when she could, and move into the studio in the Gadsborough’s back garden. She has the shock of her life when she wakes up on the first morning to see Summer and Jaxon, six year old twins standing in her flat. She soon grows attached to them, as she realises their life is falling apart because their parents are getting a divorce. For someone who wanted to keep away from children, she quickly becomes their “other mumma”, and can’t live without them. So when their mum kidnaps them she is distraught. alongside that, she has to face up to what happened to her when she was young, and the reason why she left Australia.

There is so much addressed in this book. Ashlyn, the twins mother is an alcoholic, there is attempted suicide, rape and divorce. Brave issues to tackle in a novel, but Koomson handled all of them well, and she brought believable and realistic conclusions to each issue. She dedicates sections and memories to each issue and storyline so they are thoroughly examined. This in effect means Koomson can look into these issues properly, but it also allows the characters to develop in their own right.

I loved the characters, and Koomson writes in such a way that I was completely in tune with them. When the twins were upset or scared my heart broke for them; when they went missing I felt Kendra’s pain and anguish – this is just a well written novel. I loved the twins. They were easily my favourite characters. They were so vulnerable and so easy to love. They were just gorgeous children.

I really enjoyed this book. It was a gripping book that I didn’t want to put down. Well worth reading even if chick-lit is not a genre you usually enjoy.

9/10

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the undomestic goddess

Synopsis from Amazon:

The story of a girl who needs to slow down. To find herself. To fall in love. And to discover what an iron is for…Samantha is a high-powered lawyer in London. She works all hours, has no home life, and cares only about getting a partnership. She thrives on the pressure and adrenalin. Until one day…she makes a mistake. A mistake so huge, it’ll wreck her career. She walks right out of the office, gets on the first train she sees, and finds herself in the middle of nowhere. Asking for directions at a big, beautiful house, she is mistaken for the interviewee housekeeper and finds herself being offered the job. They have no idea they’ve hired a Cambridge-educated lawyer with an IQ of 158 – Samantha has no idea how to work the oven. Disaster ensues. It’s chaos as Samantha battles with the washing machine…the ironing board…and attempts to cook a cordon bleu dinner. But gradually, she falls in love with her new life in a wholly unexpected way. Will her employers ever discover the truth? Will Samantha’s old life ever catch up with her? And if it does…will she want it back?

Samantha is one of the best lawyers in England – then she discovers a memo on her desk that needed urgent attention a few weeks before. This is a £50 million mistake. When she realises what has happened, she flees. She jumps onto the first train and ends up in the countryside. When she stops at a house for help she is mistaken as a housekeeper. Not knowing what she is doing she accepts the job. Except she doesn’t even know how to use a toaster, how is she going to cope? And will London ever find her?

This was a fun book. This is easy chick-lit reading. I found it amusing and a quick read. It wasn’t particularly believable, but I was hooked anyway. Kinsella is great at this genre. She writes wonderful characters, amusing characters and ones you can easily fall in love with. I liked Nathaniel’s mother, a solid lady, happy to look out for her son and Samantha, and happy to help in every way.

I think you will only enjoy this if you like Kinsella’s work and if you like chick-lit. However, I loved it! It only took me a couple of days to finish it. Yes it was predictable and unrealistic, but thoroughly enjoyable.

9/10

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ps i love you

Synopsis:

A wonderfully warm and heartfelt debut from a stunning new talent. Everyone needs a guardian angel! Some people wait their whole lives to find their soul mates. But not Holly and Gerry. Childhood sweethearts, they could finish each other’s sentences and even when they fought, they laughed. No one could imagine Holly and Gerry without each other. Until the unthinkable happens. Gerry’s death devastates Holly. But as her 30th birthday looms, Gerry comes back to her. He’s left her a bundle of notes, one for each of the months after his death, gently guiding Holly into her new life without him, each note signed ‘PS, I Love You’. As the notes are gradually opened, and as the year unfolds, Holly is both cheered up and challenged. The man who knows her better than anyone sets out to teach her that life goes on. With some help from her friends, and her noisy and loving family, Holly finds herself laughing, crying, singing, dancing — and being braver than ever before. Life is for living, she realises — but it always helps if there’s an angel watching over you.

Holly is lucky; she found her soul mate when she was young. Except she is unlucky – he dies young of a brain tumour. Her life is ripped apart. What is she going to do? Her husband has dead. Yet her mother is holding a letter for her, one from Gerry. There is a note for every month of the rest of the year, which will help her carrying on living.

This is a well written, touching book. To lose your u at a young age must be horrendous, and that is how Ahern writes it. It is so sad, very heartbreaking. Ahern looks at what losing your spouse does to you, how relationships change, who are your real friends, and how you can keep going. I loved the idea of notes, and everything Gerry set up for her to help her. What a lovely thing to do. It was so beautiful that he was there supporting her through these few lines a few. Ahern’s writing is gripping and draws you into the story. I felt the emotions Holly was feeling, and could have cried along with her.

I don’t think I have a favourite character in this book. Everyone was well written and I liked how they developed over the year. It was interesting to see how Gerry’s death affected everyone. It was good to see how Ahern remembered the other characters and incorporated their grief in the book too.

It is important to note that not all the book is sad, and there are moments of joy, fun and laughter. Ahern looks at a range of emotions and the rollercoaster of grief.

I really enjoyed this book. It is chick-lit, but it explores a hard issue. It did not take long to read this book – it was just a good novel.

9/10

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cover-dreamstreetSynopsis from Amazon:

Leah and Toby have lived across the street from one another for years without meeting … and Leah has been itching to peek behind the front door of Toby’s eccentric house, always packed to the rafters with weird and wonderful tenants. When fate finally lets her in, Leah finds that Toby needs her as much as she is surprised to realize she might need him. Sometimes life needs a helping hand and with a sprinkle of romance and their own special magic, Toby and Leah’s dreams show the glimmer of a chance of coming true. 31 Dream Street is a wonderfully warm and insightful novel that will capture the imagination and soothe the soul.

One ordinary day Leah is going about her business when she notices the old man from across the street lying face down on the ground. She goes to investigate and discovers he has died. She runs to the eccentric house for help and meets Toby, the owner. This is their first meeting and a friendship is quickly born. Time spent together brings Toby out of his shell, helps him make some decisions about the house and enables him to befriend his tenants. It also has Leah re-examining her life. This death has been the beginning of many changes….

I found this to be a thoroughly enjoyable book. I have read Jewell’s Thirty-something and Ralph’s Party, and enjoyed both, so I had high hopes for this novel, and I think I enjoyed it even more than the other two. This is pure chick-lit, but a wonderful read. It is over 400 pages long, but I read most of it in a day. It is engaging, humorous and a great read.

I loved Leah and Toby, but they are not the only characters whose stories are told in this book. Toby’s tenants are introduced as well and woven into the story. They have their own chapters so we can get to know them as well. This adds to the story, making it more enjoyable as you want to know what is going to happen to the house mates, as well as wanting to know about their past.

Jewell looks at the illness Cystic Fibrosis. She examines the disease through a conversation and looks at how it can affect people’s lives, as well as fears of those first encountering the illness. She also describes how this can negatively affect relationships. I think this was very well written and dealt with.

The only thing I did not like about the book was the swearing. I found there to be too much of it and it spoiled the book.

Overall, a great chick-lit book, highly recommended.

8/10

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pemberley

Synopsis from Amazon:

Attempting a sequel to “Pride and Prejudice”, this novel brings the original characters back to life. It is a story in which their pasts catch up with them, yielding dramatic results.

Pemberley is a sequel to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. The story is based at Darcy’s Derbyshire mansion, where Elizabeth is now residing as his wife. Everything seems blissful – Darcy has been softened and loves doting on Elizabeth, but all is about to return to how things were before the wedding as it is Christmas, and everyone in the family are embarking on a trip to Pemberley. Elizabeth is very concerned: Jane is about to give birth, Wickham will be present, and what about her mother? Will she keep her cool? Will Darcy revert to his prideful, sullen self? Is Christmas going to be a disaster?

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I was concerned that it would just be a copy of Pride and Prejudice, but it isn’t. It holds it own, and although the characters are the same, as are the location, it is not the same as Pride and Prejudice.

I liked that Tennant was consistant with the characters – so Mr. Collins was as ridiculous as ever, and Mrs. Bennett as flamboyant as Austen wrote her. Tennant added new characters too, which I think helped her move away from Austen’s work and helped her novel to develop on its own accord.

This is not a long book – it is under 200 pages. It was an easy and enjoyable read. I was drawn in  and connected with the wonderful characters again. I was eager to find out what would happen in the end. The story was a fun read but I did think the ending was a bit rushed. However, I will be looking to read Tennant’s new installment: Pemberley Revisited.

If you like Pride and Prejudice I don’t think you will be disappointed by this novel. Obviously not as good as the original it is a great follow up book.

8/10

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the chocolate run

Synopsis from Amazon:

Amber Salpone thinks in chocolate – talk to her for three minutes and she’ll tell you what kind of chocolate you’d be. In fact, most days, if she was asked to choose between chocolate and relationships, there’d be no contest. At least chocolate has never let her down. Unlike her family. Growing up in the Salpone household has taught Amber to avoid conflict – and love – at all costs. So, when she does the unthinkable and has a one-night stand with womaniser Greg Walterson, her uncomplicated, chocolate-flavoured life goes into meltdown. Especially when Greg announces she’s the love of his life – and Amber finds it hard enough to decide if she wants plain or Fruit & Nut …Meanwhile, her best friend, Jen, seems to be launching a bid to become Bitch Of The Year and Amber’s family are making unreasonable demands. Amber has two choices: to deal with her past and the people around her, or to go on a chocolate run and keep on running …

Amber is not a chocoholic – if you ask her – she is just a chocolate sniffer, needs chocolate to think, and compares everyone to chocolate. It is her constant in life, her safety net.  But running for chocolate is not going to help her this time. She has been off relationships for 18 months, and has loved it. Yet she is falling for Greg, the womaniser. As she pursues this line she realises that her best friend is being turned into skinny, selfish, horrid person, who Amber doesn’t know, or want to know. The some dark secrets come out – not only does Amber have to confront her childhood fears, but she must make choices about friends and lovers.

I really enjoyed this book. This is the second book by Koomson I have read and liked it so much I have bought a third novel. Koomson is a great writer. She is exciting and gripping. I didn’t want to put the book down. The story flows easily off the page and incredibly readable.

I loved the characters. Koomson writes in a way that you feel how Amber feels – so when she was sad you were too; when her heart broke, so did yours. I really liked Renee and Martha her work collegues – they were funny but good people – great friends to have around.

This is chick-lit, but anyone who likes a good story of friendship, love and family should read this book.

9/10

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the teahouse on mulberry street

Synopsis from FantasticFiction:

The old tea house on Mulberry Street in Belfast hasn’t changed much over the years. But it’s about to bear witness to some significant transformations Daniel Stanley might make the most glorious deserts in the whole of Ireland, but he won’t support his wife Penny’s desire to have at least one bun in the oven. And the owners of Muldoon’s Tea Rooms are just two of the people inside hoping for change. Struggling artist Brenda sits penning letters to Nicholas Cage and dreaming of a better life. Sadie finds refuge from her diet and her husband’s infidelity in Daniel’s famous cherry cheesecake. Clare returns home from twenty years in New York, still cherishing the memory of the one night she truly loved and lost. And Penny herself discovers a secret from the past and a sexy estate agent very much in her present. They all want their lives to change but are they willing to face the consequences? And the possibility that you might not always be able to have your cake and eat it.

This was another author I had not read before and found her to be OK. The book is a bit disjointed. The characters don’t really mix – all of them led separate lives which did not connect.

However, I enjoyed the story. I found it interesting to discover what would happen to Penny as she tries to change her unhappy life, Sadie plots revenge on her cheating husband, Clare pines for and hunts down the love of her life and Brenda as she paints and longs for Nicholas Cage. There were more characters that I can’t even remember much about. There was just a little bit too much going on and it didn’t come together neatly.

All that said, I did read to the end and wanted to know what happened. Maybe the ending wasn’t too convincing but then that didn’t spoil the story too much.

This is an OK chick-lit book.

7/10

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