summer on blossom street

Waterstone’s Synopsis:

This is Lydia’s newest knitting class is called “Knit to Quit”. It has four members: Abbie, a woman who’s dealing with a broken engagement; Alix who wants to quit smoking before she gets pregnant; Margaret and – for the first time – a man, Brain Hutchinson, who joins the class to help deal with stress. There’s also the chance to find out what’s been happening with other Blossom Street regulars including Lydia and her husband, Brad, who want to adopt; Anne Marie from Twenty Wishes; and Ellen, whose biological father has tracked her down. With romance and friendship on the horizon, Lydia’s “Knit to Quit” class is going to have a busy summer!

This is the next book in the Blossom Street series, and as good as the others. Macomber has become my favourite author and I love reading her work. This novel involves the majority of the old favourites: Lydia, who is hosting a new knitting class; Alix, who is attempting to give up smoking; Margaret, who is working in the shop, as cynical as ever and Anne-Marie, who has just met the man who might be Ellen’s biological father…

Having read many Macomber books I find that she often tackles serious issues, and Summer on Blossom Street is no exception. This novel sees the arrival of Casey, a girl who has been in many foster homes. I loved how Macomber explored how she would react being moved into a new home, and looked for ways for her to experience real joy and open up. I am not acquainted with social services and foster care myself but I felt that Macomber was very honest with Casey’s character and showed how she would seem difficult and non-responsive at first because she has been moved around so many times that she no longer wants to grow attached to where she is placed.

I loved that even though Anne-Marie didn’t participate in the knitting group Macomber included her in the story. Having met her in the last book – Twenty Wishes – it was lovely that we saw how her life was going – I liked that she wasn’t forgotten.

This is classic Macomber – there are serious issues explored, friendships formed and developed and love winning out. This is excellent chick-lit and I loved it. Macomber did not let me down, well worth reading.

8/10

Share on Facebook

 

Amazon Description:

When newly single Tilly Cole impulsively quits her London job for a fresh start in the small town of Roxborough she finds she’s arrived in a hotbed of gossip, intrigue and rampant rivalry for the most desirable men. Tilly has no intention of joining in – she’s just happy with her new Girl Friday job. Then she meets Jack Lucas. Jack is irresistible… and he’s got his eye on Tilly. But there are shocking rumours about his wicked reputation. Tilly doesn’t want to be just another notch on anyone’s bedpost. But is she being mature and sensible – or is she running away from the love of her life?

This is the second Jill Mansell book I’ve read and I really enjoyed it. I found it an easy, girly read. The main character, Tilly, has moved to Roxborough where her best friend lives to get away from her ex-boyfriend. She is always running from relationships when she feels that they have turned sour. In this story she is running again, this time away from a man who has seemingly slept with all the other women in the village.

I liked this book. I found the story engaging and amusing. I wanted to know what happened in the end – although of course I could guess. There were storylines in the book which surprised me and kept me on my toes, which added to the enjoyment of the book. Although Tilly is the main character, Mansell has written in some excellent co-stars; such as Max, who Tilly lives with. I loved his dry sense of humour and just his presence in the book.

This is unashamedly chick-literature. This is a romance novel with all the right trimmings. It has a lovable cast, a great location and a fun storyline. There are some parts which are predictable, some bits I didn’t believe, but that didn’t spoil the book for me. Mansell seems to be a good women’s author, and if you like this genre, you will like this book. Not the best I’ve read, but highly entertaining and worth reading.

8/10

Share on Facebook

shopaholic and baby

Amazon description:

Becky’s life is blooming! She’s working at London’s newest fashion store The Look, house-hunting with husband Luke (her secret wish is a Shoe Room)…and she’s pregnant! She couldn’t be more overjoyed – especially since discovering that shopping cures morning sickness. Everything has got to be perfect for her baby: from the designer nursery…to the latest, coolest pram…to the celebrity, must-have obstetrician. But when the celebrity obstetrician turns out to be her husband Luke’s glamorous, intellectual ex-girlfriend, Becky’s perfect world starts to crumble. She’s shopping for two…but are there three in her marriage!

This is the final book in Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic Series, and it is just as good as the other books. Becky is a compulsive shopper, and this pregnancy has given her another reason to go out and spend a great big whack of cash. In regards to shopping, there were a few times I chuckled – like when Luke and Becky go pram shopping in a warehouse full of prams…scary to anyone!

There are other elements to this book, and series however. There is love, friendship – and in this book, jealousy and panic. Becky is a vain, self-obsessed women but I did feel sorry for as she went up against Luke’s ex-girlfriend. This is something I like about Kinsella’s writing – I feel empathy even when the characters are self-centred. I did like other characters – her mum is completely irrational, which is fun to read, and her friend Suze is just a gem.

This is pure female fiction. It is unashamedly girly. It is an easy, quick read. Fairly predictable and unrealistic – but that adds to the magic that is The Shopaholic Series. I have absolutely loved this series. It is engaging and gripping, light-hearted and fun. I’m sad that this is the end of the books, I’d love more. If you like chick-lit, this book is for you.

9/10

Share on Facebook

comfort food

Amazon description:

The ingredients: Why can’t Gus find time to organise her own birthday party? Because shes too busy sorting out the problems of her friends and family; it seems everyone is facing a career challenge or a romantic dilemma.

The recipe: A series of Sunday suppers (televised, of course) that show real people making real food. And over delicious dishes, relaxed chat and a few bottles of wine, her guests find they have nourished their souls as well as tempting their tastebuds.

Comfort food. A celebration of life itself.

This is the third book by Kate Jacobs that I have read. It is different from her other two pieces: The Friday Night Knitting Club and Knit Two, but just as enjoyable. This is female fiction at a high standard. Instead of focussing on knitting, Jacobs takes us on a journey of food and life in the media.

The book is full of heartache, determination and recipes. Gus finds herself in competition for TV ratings with Miss Spain, and when they are forced to work together pandemonium breaks out. There are heart-wrenching moments in this book, but also some entertaining ones; for example I thought Gary and the team-building weekend was hilarious.

I enjoyed reading this book. I like Jacobs style – she draws you in and holds your attention. There were times when the story could be predicted but it was entertaining all the same. I have found that her novels are not quick-reads but well worth taking the time over. She writes some great characters, and instead of having them just on the side-lines she has chapters dedicated to them. I think Hannah, Gus’ neighbour was my favourite character. I loved that she always had a constant supply of junk food with her – my kinda gal!

I enjoyed reading this book, it was time well spent. As ever, Jacobs wrote an entertaining story that I really enjoyed.

9/10

Share on Facebook

twenty wishes

Amazon description:

What do you want most in the world? Bookshop owner Anne Marie Roche wants to find happiness again. Her life hasn’t turned out as she expected and recently widowed, she’s never felt more alone. On Valentine s Day, Anne Marie and a several other widows get together to celebrate…what? Hope, possibility, the future. They each begin a list of twenty wishes, things they always wanted to do but never did. As Anne Marie works her way through her wishes, she learns that dreams can come true – but not necessarily in the way you expect.

I am a large fan of Macomber and was not let down by this book, which is the fourth book in the Blossom Street series. The difference between this book and the other three are that instead of focussing on Lydia in the knitting shop, we are with Anne Marie in the book shop. This opened up a path for new characters and storylines, whilst still keeping the other shops and their occupants present in the book. I enjoyed this new side to Blossom Street. I think for Macomber to have branched out to another shop is a good idea and it made for wonderful reading.

I enjoyed all the characters in this story. Anne-Marie is the main character, but as is typical Macomber, she has a small circle of friends all whom we spend time with. All four ladies are trying to get on with their lives after their husbands died and I enjoyed how Macomber didn’t neglect anyone – we read about all their struggles and joys. I liked all the women and am not sure I could pick a favourite.

This is a touching book that is extremely readable. I felt the ending was a little bit rushed but it did answer all questions. I also found some of the storylines predictable, but I didn’t mind that at all. Widowhood is a tough subject for someone to tackle but I think Macomber stood up to the challenge exceptionally well, exploring different routes and things people do to resolve grief. The idea of making a list of twenty wishes to achieve I liked; it gives direction and purpose.

This book took me a day to read, I didn’t want to put it down. Macomber is one of my favourite authors and I am yet to read something of hers I don’t like. Yes it is female fiction, but thoroughly enjoyable and I highly recommend it.

9/10

Share on Facebook