Addition: E-book
Genre: Fiction, chick-lit
Published: 2001
Rating: 2 out of 5

Emma and Dexter meet for the first time on the night of their graduation. Tomorrow they must go their separate ways. So where will they be on this one day next year? And the year after that? And every year that follows?

Twenty years, two people, ONE DAY.

This novel follows the lives of two people, Emma and Dexter, on the same day for twenty years. They meet on the night of their graduation and stay up talking, amongst other things. In the morning they must go their separate ways. The novel visits them on 15th July, St. Swithin’s day, for twenty years. We follow them through their twenties, when Emma is struggling to find direction for her life and Dexter is on TV; and through their thirties where Emma has made it as a Young Adult author and Dexter has a failing marriage and no direction for his life. We follow their friendship, various romances and all the things life throws at them. There is a twist at the end of the novel, but I won’t give any more away than that.

I was really excited to read this book a few years ago when the book came out. I remember there was a lot of hype – and a lot of people questioning whether Anne Hathaway should have been chosen to play a Yorkshire girl (I haven’t seen the film so can’t comment on that decision!) I remember I was traveling home from York, stuck on the M25 and Fearne Cotton was raving about this book. I immediately downloaded it as I needed something to do but I didn’t get very far. I managed a few chapters – up to the point of Emma working in a Mexican restaurant and Dexter travel ling and realised I was bored. I stopped reading the book then. This year I have decided to take part in the 2014 Mount TBR Challenge, which can be found on Goodreads. I selected this novel as one of the books I would read that had been hanging around for a while.

To be completely honest, I did not like this book. I found it very slow and really sad. This is not an uplifting read. I was bored most of the way through this book. I’m disappointed to be writing this because this book has won a lot of awards, but in my opinion the book is dull. There a several reasons for this I think:

  1. I didn’t like the characters – any of them. There isn’t much to say about that! I found Emma quite miserable. I wanted her to man-up most of the book and stop complaining. And Dexter, I felt like he needed to grow up and get help for many issues in his life. I wasn’t bothered by any of the supporting characters either.
  2. Although a clever concept, one day in time, I found it missed out huge chunks of their lives so I never felt like I could relate or that I knew the characters very well. For me, it felt like there was a lot missing from the book because it just focused on that solitary day.
  3. I didn’t relate to any of the issues. There was nothing I could empathise with, nothing that stood out for me.
  4. I kept reading because I knew there was twist coming. However, when it arrived I wasn’t surprised at all. I had suspected that it would happen from quite early on in the book.

It is unusual for me to finish I book I dislike so much, but I really wanted to complete a book in my TBR Challenge. I think that is the single reason why I completed the book – not a great reason at all! I’m rating this book 2 out of 5 simply because even though I didn’t like it at all, I did finish the book.

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Addition: E-book
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 5 out of 5

The new novel from bestselling author Rachel Hore, much loved for her stories in which past and present are grippingly entwined.When Emily Gordon, editor at a London publishing house, commissions an account of great English novelist Hugh Morton, she finds herself steering a tricky path between Morton’s formidable widow, Jacqueline, who’s determined to protect his secrets, and the biographer, charming and ambitious Joel Richards. But someone is sending Emily mysterious missives about Hugh Morton’s past and she discovers a buried story that simply has to be told…

One winter’s day in 1948, nineteen year old Isabel Barber arrives at her Aunt Penelope’s house in Earl’s Court having run away from home to follow her star. A chance meeting with an East European refugee poet leads to a job with his publisher, McKinnon & Holt, and a fascinating career beckons. But when she develops a close editorial relationship with charismatic young debut novelist Hugh Morton and the professional becomes passionately personal, not only are all her plans put to flight, but she finds herself in a struggle for her very survival.

Rachel Hore’s intriguing and suspenseful new novel magnificently evokes the milieux of London publishing past and present and connects the very different worlds of two young women, Emily and Isabel, who through their individual quests for truth, love and happiness become inextricably linked.

I loved this book. I have really enjoyed all of Rachel Hore‘s books; each of them has been highly rated. I lost my reading bug a few months ago as I have recently given birth and I was too tired and busy to read. This is the first book in a while that has captured my attention and made me long for a few minutes to myself so I can read a couple more pages.

The story follows Emily and Isabel, two women moving in the world of publishing, but many years apart. Emily is given the opportunity to oversee the publishing of a new biography of the famous author Hugh Morton. She is quickly sucked into his world, and the world of Isabel, as someone keeps leaving her extracts from Isabel’s diary. Emily is determined to see Isabel’s story told – the girl who ran away from home and entered publishing by chance. Here she fell in love with Hugh but marriage changed her. What ever became of her? And could Emily get past Hugh’s widow to let the story of Hugh’s first wife out?

I am a huge fan of Rachel Hore and get very excited every time a new novel is released. I like that she is an author who isn’t churning out more than one novel a year and that her books don’t seem samey after a while. She has a similar style to Kate Morton, another author I love reading. Hore’s books are not quite as long though! I find Hore’s novels draw me in and immediately I want to sit and read the whole thing in one go (and I would of done, if I didn’t have a baby and husband to look after!)

I instantly liked Emily and did find myself envying her job – she gets to read books all the time! I loved getting a glimpse into the world of publishing; hardcore but a lot of fun discovering now authors and talents. I found myself liking Isabel a lot too and really empathising with her throughout the novel. She had to face a lot – finding a job in a world that didn’t think women should be educated, falling in love with an older man and competing with a woman who was in love with her husband. Not only that, but she had to face post-natal depression; an illness not recognised back in the 1950’s and 1960’s. I thought all of this was dealt with very well by Hore. She addressed the issue in a sensitive manner but didn’t hide how hard it must be to suffer so soon after giving birth.

This was a well told story. Hore moves between the present day and the past seamlessly and I always knew where in the story I was. She writes really well. I often find when I am reading that the grammar in many books is appealing – things such as sentence structure are simply shocking. However, I didn’t find that with Hore. The writing drew me in, it didn’t distract me and annoy me. I loved the fact this novel isn’t “chick-lit”. It is well written fiction, with a historical twist and a romance. There is much more to the book than the latest love affair. We see life in the 1950’s; we see what the publishing world might be like then and now and we see two strong, independent women striving through life and being a success.

I have rated this book 5 out of 5 because I loved it. I loved how well it was written; I loved the story lines and the characters; but most of all I loved that this is the first book I have wanted to read in a long time and it is the book that has returned my reading bug. For me, this is easily a top rated book.

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Addition: Review e-book from Netgalley
Genre: Historical fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5

Mattie was never truly mine. That knowledge must have filled me as quickly and surely as the milk from her breasts. Although my family ‘owned’ her, although she occupied the center of my universe, her deepest affections lay elsewhere. So along with the comfort of her came the fear that I would lose her some day. This is our story…

So begins Lisbeth Wainwright’s compelling tale of coming-of-age in antebellum Virginia. Born to white plantation owners but raised by her enslaved black wet nurse, Mattie, Lisbeth’s childhood unfolds on the line between two very different worlds.

Growing up under the tender care of Mattie, Lisbeth adopts her surrogate mother’s deep-seated faith in God, her love of music and black-eyed peas, and the tradition of hunting for yellow crocuses in the early days of spring. In time, Lisbeth realizes she has freedoms and opportunities that Mattie does not have, though she’s confined by the societal expectations placed on women born to privilege. As Lisbeth grows up, she struggles to reconcile her love for her caregiver with her parents’ expectations, a task made all the more difficult as she becomes increasingly aware of the ugly realities of the American slavery system. When Lisbeth bears witness to a shockingly brutal act, the final vestiges of her naiveté crumble around her. Lisbeth realizes she must make a choice, one that will require every ounce of the courage she learned from her beloved Mattie.

This compelling historical novel is a richly evocative tale of love, loss, and redemption set during one of the most sinister chapters of American history.

I received this book from Netgalley some time ago and am ashamed to say I have only just found time to read it. I picked this book because I wondered if it would be like The Help by Kathryn Stockett, a book I really enjoyed. If I am honest, there are some similarities between the two stories and I would recommend them both.

Yellow Crocus follows two characters: Lisbeth, the daughter of the plantation owner and Mattie, her wet nurse, a slave on the plantation. Mattie is brought into the house to feed Lisbeth but Lisbeth is so attached to her that Mattie basically raises Lisbeth. Mattie longs to be able to raise her own son – Samuel – instead and finds ways of entwining Samuel and Lisbeth’s lives. However, this can’t continue forever and Samuel is soon sold to a neighbouring plantation. It is around this time that Lisbeth starts to realise that the life she leads is very different to Mattie’s. She is quietly outraged by the treatment of the slaves but keeps that to herself until one afternoon, as she is looking for her fiancee she finds him mistreating a young black girl. This is the last straw for Lisbeth who sets off on a course that will only upset and embarrass her parents, but one she knows is right.

When I was looking at this book on Goodreads I noticed that the rating for this book is 4.1 out of 5, based on 2059 votes. I have to say, I’m not surprised that the novel has such a high rating. I really enjoyed this book. I read huge chunks of it at a time because I was drawn in and found I just wanted to know what was going to happen to both Mattie and Lisbeth.

This is historical fiction at its best. It looked back to a turbulent time in America’s history, when the South was playing host to a great number of black slaves. I felt the book was written with discretion – although this is a sensitive subject, it was dealt with in an elegant manner. I would love this to be a true story – I can’t confirm that it is – but I really hope there were white people during that time who did stand up for what is right.

I liked both Lisbeth and Mattie. I was rooting for both of them throughout the whole book. I felt for Mattie, who was taken away from her child when he was only 3 months old to look after someone else’s baby but I loved the relationship she formed with Lisbeth. Lisbeth idolised Mattie and I found that very sweet. I loved that for Lisbeth, even with all the teaching she received, the colour of their skin did not stop them forming a strong bond. Both women were incredibly brave in completely different ways and I just wanted to see them both win the battles they were facing.

I’m glad I chose to read this book. I really enjoyed it and would highly recommend it. If you liked The Help, then I think you will like this book. The two novels are different but both show that there were some people who had compassion towards those in slavery and I love the idea that there are people who stand up for the rights of others – even today. This book is well worth reading.

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Addition: Paperback
Genre: Chick-Lit
Rating: 4 out of 5

Sian Bishop has only ever experienced one moment of recklessness – a moment that resulted in her beloved son Rory. So when dependable Richard suggests a move to the beautiful English countryside, she throws herself into the picture-postcard cottage garden and her furniture restoration business. Her good intentions are torpedoed with the arrival of Gus Berresford. One-time explorer and full-time heartbreaker, Gus is ridiculously exciting and a completely inappropriate love interest for a single mum. Sian has no use for a fling, she simply mustn’t fall in love with the most unlikely suitor ever to cross her path – even if he has now crossed her path twice. But who knows what can happen in a summer of love…

This was the perfect book to ease me into the Christmas break. It was light-hearted chick-lit which ticked all the right boxes for me. We saw confusion, heartache, family love, friendship and romantic love.

Sian has moved to the beautiful English countryside with her son Rory – the result of one night of passion. In her new home, she makes new friends, including Fiona, an older lady who takes Sian under her wing, and begins work on her furniture-restoration building. No one knows who Rory’s father is, as after their one night together he left to go travelling. Fiona’s son Angus has returned home and is everything Sian is not looking for in a man – but he will he melt her heart and win Rory’s? And will the identity of Rory’s father come out too?

I found this book just flowed. Once I started reading it, I didn’t want to put it down. I liked Sian. I liked her attitude towards life – she knew she had to love and support Rory, so that is what she did. Rory was a sweet child, which made him easy to like reading the book. I probably would have been put off the story if he had been a grumpy, moany little boy. My favourite character by far was Fiona! I laughed at some of the situations she ended up in – such as going on a date with a man she had met online, only to be taken to some deserted plant nursery where she thought she might die! As always, there were characters I didn’t like too. People like Melissa, who saw Sian as an imposter or thought she was competition when it came to Angus, so she did things like persuade Sian’s landlady to sell the cottage Sian and Rory were living in to her.

This book did have comedy in, as well as love and friendship. The book didn’t take me by surprise. I quickly worked out who Rory’s father was, and I enjoyed watching that unfold – even though it wasn’t always pleasant for any party involved. The description of the village Sian had moved to sounded beautiful and I enjoyed being taken there whenever I opened the book. This was an easy read, but enjoyable and one I would recommend if you are looking for a heart-warming romance to read.

4 star

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Review e-book from Netgalley
Genre: Christian chick-lit
Rating: 4 out of 5

Molly Allen lives alone in Portland, but her heart is back in Franklin, Tennessee, where five years ago she walked away from a man she cannot forget, a rare sort of love she hasn’t found since.
Ryan Kelly lives in Franklin and spends plenty of time at The Bridge-the oldest bookstore in historic downtown Franklin-remembering the long hours he and Kelly once spent there.
Now, Ryan and Molly’s favorite bookstore is in trouble. For thirty years, Charlie and Donna Barton have run The Bridge, providing the people of middle Tennessee with coffee, conversation, and shelves of good books-even through dismal book sales and the rise of eBooks. Then in May a flood tore through Franklin and destroyed nearly every book in the store. By Christmastime, the bank threatens to pull the lease on The Bridge and is about to take the Bartons’ house as well. Despondent, Charlie considers ending his life. And in the face of tragedy, miracles begin to unfold.

I received this book from Netgalley to review. I love Karen Kingsbury books – I recently finished the Above the Line series and fell in love with Kingsbury and how she writes. I will definitely be reading more books by her!

The novel focuses around The Bridge bookshop. It is owned and lovingly run by Charlie & Donna, who named the place The Bridge because they saw books as a bridge to people and their problems. This is where many friends and couples spend many an hour hanging out and reading. This is true of Molly Allen and Ryan Kelly. When they were at college they would spend hours in The Bridge reading and falling in love. But it seems life has different plans for them and Molly ends up finishing college at home at her Father’s request; leaving them both heartbroken. Several years later a flood hits Nashville, destroying The Bridge. For 18 months Charlie & Donna try to find the funds to rebuild and restock but to no avail. In a desperate act, Charlie drives down country lanes in thick snow and straight into a tree. His accident brings Molly and Ryan back as they seek to help Charlie & Donna rebuild and as they pray for Charlie to survive.

This is chick-lit with a twist. The book is full of love, hearsay and misunderstandings. But the twist is this: the characters all believe in God and hear His voice during the book. When Charlie is in despair, he cries out to God. Unbeknownst to Charlie, as he is driving down that road, Donna is seeking God to keep him safe. Friends of the bookshop, Molly & Ryan all cry out for Charlie to come through the coma on Christmas Eve – and they see the miracle of that. God answers His children in this book, He speaks clearly sometimes and always is He there. I loved that element of the book.

This was a lovely read. It was a bit predictable – like all chick-lit really, but it was a quick and engaging read. This is one of those books I read in a matter of hours. It isn’t long but it is really enjoyable. I love reading storylines that involve books – no surprise there! – and I loved the idea of The Bridge. I really liked Charlie & Donna. Although they had faced many hardships they were still madly in love and cared for others over themselves. I really admired them and felt so bad for Charlie as he fought to save the bookshop, and thought that he had lost. All he wanted was to serve others, including Donna, and that was so touching.

The storyline between Molly and Ryan was fairly standard for a chick-lit novel. Molly wasn’t allowed to date at college and she certainly wasn’t allowed to bring them home, even as friends, so their friendship grew in the bookshop. They spent one magical evening at Molly’s, while her staff were out, but one of them was back in time to witness their first kiss. Molly assumed they weren’t spotted as she never heard anything of it, but in fact her Father called Ryan and made it clear she was in love with someone from home. Ryan backed right off, which helped Molly make the decision to go home. Years later, both assumed the other one was married due to what others had said yet they were still in love with each other. Charlie’s accident drew them back to Nashville and after a few awkward encounters, back into each other’s arms. I didn’t mind the predictability of this storyline, although I did roll my eyes in places! I liked them both and it was sad to see how other people can influence us when it comes to making decisions.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and will read more Kingsbury novel. Thank you Netgalley for letting me review it! I am rating this 4 out of 5 because it was a bit predictable and it didn’t completely blow me away, yet I did enjoy it and will recommend it to others. This is a nice, fun read – a good novel to read in an afternoon.

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Addition: Paperback
Genre: Chick-Lit
Rating: 3 out of 5

Nothing could tear Lola and Dougie apart, except his mother Seventeen-year-old Lola has no intention of accepting when her boyfriend’s snobbish mother offers her a huge bribe to break up with him. Then Lola discovers a secret that makes her think again, and the only way she can help one of the people she loves most in the world is to take the money and break Dougie’s heart.

Ten years later, when Lola meets Dougie again, her feelings for him are as strong as ever. She’ll do almost anything to get him back, but she can never tell him the truth. Can she overcome his bitterness and win his heart? She’s attractive, persuasive, and endlessly optimistic, but even Lola’s got her work cut out for her this time.

I enjoy Jill Mansell’s books, she never lets me down! I have several of her novels on my bookcase waiting for me to read. I’ve had this one for a while, so it qualifies for the TBR Challenge 🙂

This novel follows Lola, a girl of just 17 who is offered £10,000 to dump her boyfriend – by her boyfriend’s mother. She believes Lola isn’t good enough for her son Dougie. Lola shoots her down, but then discovers she needs the money to help her step-father get out of trouble. She promises to tell no-one about the money, or why she took it, so she dumps Dougie and leaves the country. Ten years later, back in the UK, she stops a mugging, only to later find out the lady who was being attacked was Dougie’s mother. Whilst she is round at the celebration meal, Dougie overhears her on the phone telling Gabe, her cute next-door neighbour about the money. When he hears this all he can feel is anger and hate. However, in her distress, Lola strikes up a friendship with Sally, Dougie’s older sister, who ends up living across the hall from her. Lola can’t believe how she feels for Dougie though when she sees him again and finds ways to keep seeing him – of course this is helped by her friendship with Sally. Yet Dougie is not interested at all…can his heart be changed?

I liked Lola. I felt sorry for her having to take that money to help out Alex, her step-father, after he lost everything gambling. I loved that she refused to tell anyone that was the reason why she took the money too. However, her persistant longing for Dougie was a bit annoying after a while – she seemed to pine for him all the time! I actually found Doug arrogant and a bit annoying! He was the injured party but he seemed to think he was better than Lola because he came from more money (like his mother in face – who I really didn’t like!) I did like Sally though! She seemed like she would be a fun person to hang out with! I liked Gabe too and felt sorry for him that the new job direction he was going down wasn’t going well!

This is an entertaining book, a chick-lit novel about first love, friendship and what we will do for those we love. If I’m completely honest, this isn’t my favourite Jill Mansell novel. It was a simple story with a predictable outcome – the only shock being that Lola’s biological father turned up out of the blue. I didn’t find myself desperate to know what was going to happen, but that said, I did read it to the end and I did enjoy it. This didn’t challenge me or move me in anyway, but I did enjoy it and it did entertain me.

This was a fairly quick read, even if it was over 400 pages long! The outcomes – the different romances – didn’t surprise me at all. I thought that there was an excessive amount of talking about sex – wondering if they were having it, why they weren’t etc. It didn’t add anything to the story and I was a bit fed up of it by the end. This is a light read though, entertaining and fun. This isn’t the best Mansell I’ve read but it hasn’t put me off her books. I’m glad I’ve finally read this book and I did enjoy it.

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Addition: Library book, paperback

Genre: Chick-lit

Rating: 4/5


On the anniversary of his beloved wife’s death, Dr. Michael Everett receives a letter Hannah had written him.
In it she reminds him of her love and makes one final request. An impossible request — I want you to marry again. She tells him he shouldn’t spend the years he has left grieving her. And to that end she’s chosen three women she asks him to consider.
First on Hannah’s list is her cousin, Winter Adams, a trained chef who owns a café on Seattle’s Blossom Street. The second is Leanne Lancaster, Hannah’s oncology nurse. Michael knows them both. But the third name is one he’s not familiar with — Macy Roth.
Each of these three women has her own heartache, her own private grief. More than a year earlier, Winter broke off her relationship with another chef. Leanne is divorced from a man who defrauded the hospital for which she works. And Macy lacks family of her own, the family she craves, but she’s a rescuer of strays, human and animal. Macy is energetic, artistic, eccentric — and couldn’t be more different from Michael.
During the months that follow, he spends time with Winter, Leanne and Macy, learning more about each of them…and about himself. Learning what Hannah already knew. He’s a man who needs the completeness only love can offer. And Hannah’s list leads him to the woman who can help him find it.

This is number 7 in Debbie Macomber’s Blossom Street Series. I love this series – it is about friendship, love and knitting. These are fun, easy-to-read, heartwarming books that will appeal to most women.

This book follows Michael, a man who a year ago lost his wife to cancer. Hannah was the love of his life and her death devasted him. On the anniversary of Hannah’s death he goes out for dinner with her brother, who gives him a letter Hannah has written. In it she writes that she wants him to re-marry and has suggested three ladies who might be suitable. Michael hates the idea of this but to honour Hannah he meets all these woman – and one of them will change his life.

I was reading what Debbie Macomber had to say at the beginning of this book and I was touched to find out that this is based on a true story – she had a friend who did this and I thought that was lovely.

I love the Blossom Street books. I find I can’t put them down once I’ve started. Macomber has a way of drawing me into the story and adding in the characters from other books in the series to keep it all tied together. I felt for Michael – how hard must it be to lose your spouse and then to receive a letter they have written asking you to remarry? I felt his character was well written – sometimes he was sad, other times angry – at everything, including Hannah – and yet we watched him heal so often by the end he was happy – and of course he fell in love, which was so nice to read.

Honestly, the storyline is not a surprise. The ending isn’t hard to guess but I don’t mind that in Macomber’s books because I get very engaged in the story. I liked the characters – all had their own story and I loved reading about their lives and seeing the effect one person could have on them all. Hannah seemed so special and friends and family really were rooting were Michael to love again.

These books are enjoyable, lovely, engaging reads. I can easily read one straight after the other. Macomber is one of my favourite authors and I highly recommend her. I love the storyline, her books don’t contain bad language or graphic love scenes, her writing is easy to read and easy to follow and I love these books! It isn’t hard for me to give this book four out of five – maybe next time the ending will surprise me!

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Edition: E-book, review book from NetGalley

Genre: Chick-lit

Rating: 3 out of 5


Just when she thought she had life and love all figured out…

Divorce attorney Harper James can’t catch a break. Bad enough that she runs into her ex-hubby, Nick, at her sister’s destination wedding, but now, by a cruel twist of fate, she’s being forced to make a cross-country road trip with him. And her almost-fiancé back at home is not likely to be sympathetic.

Harper can’t help that Nick has come blazing back into her life in all of his frustratingly appealing, gorgeous architect glory. But in Nick’s eyes, Harper’s always been the one. If they can only get it right this time, forever might be waiting—just around the bend

I received this book from NetGalley – an online book review site.

The story follows Harper, a divorce attorney with a very cynical view of love. She married young to Nick and it didn’t take long for the marriage to break up. Since then she has been sceptical about relationships. She is currently dating a fireman, who is younger than her and doesn’t have equal intelligence. They have been together 2 years and she has decided to finally make the relationship serious by proposing. It doesn’t go well – he isn’t that interested. Then she gets a call – her sister is getting married again. She is unimpressed with her sister and the fact that she is mid-twenties and about to marry for the third time. And the man she is marrying is Nick’s brother. This means she has to see Nick again at the wedding – where he makes it clear that he believes Harper is still the only one for him. When flights get cancelled Harper realises the only way home is a road trip with Nick. Will this cause them to rethink their relationship? Is Nick right – are they made for each other?

To be honest, this isn’t the best book I’ve read recently. It is predictable and in places not that exciting. Harper is a woman who is scarred and hurting. She blames Nick for their break up – and of course he blames her. I found there was a lot of that taking place in the book. There were also some scenes which I just found really unrealistic – such as making up with Nick to then have Dennis propose and all his family come round. Would that really happen? This is typical chick-lit and an Ok book.

There was something about Harper that I liked – she was a determined woman and she fought for what she wanted. I liked that. I didn’t understand why she was with Dennis, other than he was an attractive man. He irritated me a little bit – not the type of man I want to have around! I liked Nick. He helped Harper do things she never thought she would do – such as finally going to see her Mum again after years of never seeing her or hearing from her.

I took two attempts to get into this book. It was alright once it got going. The storyline isn’t challenging and the outcome is predictable. This is an easy read with a nice ending. Not the best book I’ve read but not overly bad. If you want a light read, this book is for you.

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This is a new feature I will regularly do on my blog.

The author I am recommending is:

Wendy Virgo

Wendy is a gifted writer, a great theologian and a wonderful teacher. She has written many books over the years, most of which I have had the pleasure of reading. And yes, even though her books are full of Biblical truths, they are pleasurable reading. Her writing takes on many shapes: in books such as The Prophetess she is simply interpreting the Bible story of Deborah and retelling events in her own words; and yet Life Issues looks at Titus 2: 2-5 and examines how this passage of the Bible can practically help women today.

I never have a bad word to say about Wendy’s writing. She is easy to follow and understand, and she is engaging and interesting. I love reading her books and cannot wait until I pick up another by her. Her book Mary: The Mother of Jesus was the first theology book I read, at the mere age of 15 and loved it. She is an author I seek out and hope that she writes more! Her books are also books that I would happily read again because I have found her teaching so helpful to my walk with God. I don’t think I can recommend her highly enough – especially as I know she is a humble, loving person as well. If you can, investigate her books, and read them!

These are all the books she has written (links will take you to my review):

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Clayton Miller’s promising media career and personal life are in tatters. To put it all behind him he retreats to a secluded country house. There he meets Alice, who goes to great lengths to avoid telling the truth about herself. When Alice and Clayton discover the truth about each other they form an unlikely friendship…

I love Erica James’ novels ♥ I have read them all, except one, which I have waiting to be read, and like the others, I was not let down by The Queen of New Beginnings. The story follows two characters: Alice and Clayton. The former is private and wants to keep her past hidden. She is a voice-over artist and makes her living reading stories for audiobooks or recording adverts. She has changed her name and lives in a quite, secluded village. Clayton, on the other hand, has had his life ruined in the media. He is a screen writer who has come to the same village to hide out. His girlfriend and best friend have shacked up and are blaming him for the loss of their unborn baby. It is all over the press and Clayton has been shamed. He meets Alice and eventually gets the truth of her past out; only to use it for his salvation…

This is a great story. Alice is a very likeable character – and she made me laugh at the beginning of the novel when she took the persona of  a woman called Katya, who was intimidating, even to Clayton. She has a sad story – a girl who lost her mother, then fell for her step-brother who used her and then broke her heart. She had lost contact with her father over the years and had been living a new life, albeit a fairly lonely one. I enjoyed reading her story and seeing her open up.

I liked Clayton too. He is in hiding, but as we learn more about him, I just felt so sorry for him. Barry, his ex-best friend and his old writing partner really betrayed him, and I felt more angry at him than Clayton’s ex-girlfriend. Clayton does make a monumental mistake – but I understood why he did it, and it had good consequences, which made good reading.

They are not the only two characters who make this book though. James writes some wonderful people, and my overall favourite was easily George, the mad old lady. When we first meet her she is pointing a gun at Clayton, and from there her eccentric ways continue. She even knew Alice as a girl, which was a lovely link to the past. She was wise, very good at reading people, and just a great personality.

There is a lot in this story, with a whole range of characters and events. James keeps you interested the whole way through and it did not take long to read this book. I really enjoyed it. It was realistic, and I found myself getting involved. James has done it again – written a cracking book! This is more mature chick-lit, and I loved it! James writes wonderful locations too, all of which I can still picture, even though I read the book a month ago! I remember the story clearly, and there are some shocks in the story line. The end was fairly predictable, but there were moments when I could have cried, and times when I laughed. And I liked how Clayton and Alice worked as a team and how everything worked out. Top marks from me!

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