Book Review: I Heart New York by Lindsey Kelk

What’s it about?

Angela’s running from the world’s worst wedding for a new life…

Fleeing her cheating boyfriend clutching little more than a crumpled bridesmaid dress, a pair of Louboutins and her passport, Angela jumps on a plane – destination NYC.

Holed up in a hotel room, Angela gets a New York makeover from her NBFJenny and a whirlwind tour of the city that never sleeps. Before she knows it, she’s dating two sexy guys and writing about it in her new blog. But it’s one thing telling readers about your romantic dilemmas, it’s another figuring them out for yourself …

Angela has fallen head over heels for the big apple, but does she heart New York more than home?

My thoughts

It’s not in my usual bookish nature to pick up a rom-com but I’d had this on my Kindle for some time, ok a long time, and it was like a breath of fresh air after the rather heavy going brutal serial killer thriller I’d just finished.

This is the first book in the I Heart series and it’s a good read which I enjoyed.  It’s light-hearted, sad, funny and is mostly set in one of the best cities in the world.  Having been to New York I do like reading about places I’ve visited as I have much more of a clearer image of the setting – this book just made me want to go back even more!

Our heroine Angela is a somewhat clichéd character who thinks of herself as a bit of a lush but I think she’s actually stronger than that and has got her head screwed on exactly where and how it should be.  I totally see where her actions were coming from on her arrival in America and would think that a lot of women who’d been through what she had would rebel.

It’s not without faults, some of the storylines are a little far-fetched but overall it’s an entertaining read.  I’m not sure if I’d continue with the series…maybe if they were on Kindle offer I might be tempted.

Book links: Goodreads | Amazon

Author links: Website | Twitter

Small print for info
Source: Purchased
No of pages: 322
Publisher: Harper

Book Review: A Stitch in Time by Amanda James

A Stitch in TimeWhat’s it about?

Sarah Yates is a thirty-something history teacher, divorced, disillusioned and desperate to have more excitement in her life. Making all her dreams come true seems about as likely as climbing Everest in stilettos.

Then one evening the doorbell rings and the handsome and mysterious John Needler brings more excitement than Sarah could ever have imagined. John wants Sarah to go back in time …

Sarah is whisked from the Sheffield Blitz to the suffragette movement in London to the Old American West, trying to make sure people find their happy endings. The only question is, will she ever be able to find hers?

My thoughts

I recently took an educated guesstimate that this was the book that I’d had on my TBR pile the longest so decided I should get on and read it.  It’s been on my Kindle for at least 2 years!

The book started off really well and I immediately enjoyed the author’s humour and Sarah’s character.  I thought she had a Bridget Jones kind of style to her.

I thought it was a clever idea with the Needles and the Stitches and how the author has incorporated phrases about time stemming from the time travel.

If I’m being honest I enjoyed the historical parts more and appreciated the research that would have gone into these because they came across as very realistic.  I liked Sarah being thrown into the past with her not knowing where or what kind of situation she’d find herself in and how she’d cope and having to remember to not let anything slip about the future…I would have liked more of this.

And less of the the scenes in the present!  I found her and John’s relationship overly schmalzy and somewhat predictable especially the scenes involving Josephina. However, that is just me because I think the majority of readers will enjoy the romantic side of the story.  Overall I’m glad I picked it up and enjoyed the read.

Do any UK readers remember that TV mini series Lost in Austen? this kind of reminded me of that.

Book links: Goodreads | Amazon

Author links: Twitter | Blog

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Book Review: Bella’s Christmas Bake Off by Sue Watson

Bella's Christmas Bake OffWhat’s it about?

Bella Bradley is the queen of television baking – a national treasure. Her Christmas specials have been topping the ratings for years and her marriage to Peter ‘Silver Fox’ Bradley is the stuff of Hello magazine specials.

But this year things are going to be different.

For Amy Lane, Bella’s best friend from school, life hasn’t held quite the same sparkle. And when Amy’s husband walks out three weeks from Christmas, it seems their lives are further apart than ever.

Amy has watched Bella’s rise to fame fondly, despite the fact Bella was always a terrible cook. But when she realises that Bella’s latest Christmas book is made up entirely of Amy’s mother’s recipes, the gloves are off…

My thoughts

I think there’s just time to fit in a quick Christmas book review and as it’s quite an easy read you can squeeze it in before the holidays are over

It took me a while to get into the story as it wasn’t quite what I expected and found the opening few chapters a tadge slow but it does pick up pace and with some nice character development.

I think fans of The Great British Bake Off would enjoy this as it comes with some interesting insights into tv programmes and so comes as no surprise that the the author worked in the TV industry. You’ll also enjoy this if you like books with copious amounts of lovely foody descriptions and festive goodness that’ll make you feel a little bit warm inside (I even found myself unexpectedly filling up towards the end during one particular poignant scene, quite unusual for me).

No real plot surprises for me but I enjoyed the writing and the humour and so I don’t think it’ll be my last Sue Watson novel.

Links: Goodreads | Amazon

Connect with the author Sue Watson

Website | Twitter

Book Review: The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett

The Versions of UsWhat’s it about?

What if you had said yes . . . ?

Eva and Jim are nineteen, and students at Cambridge, when their paths first cross in 1958. Jim is walking along a lane when a woman approaching him on a bicycle swerves to avoid a dog.

What happens next will determine the rest of their lives.

We follow three different versions of their future – together, and apart – as their love story takes on different incarnations and twists and turns to the conclusion in the present day.

The Versions of Us is an outstanding debut novel about the choices we make and the different paths that our lives might follow.

What if one small decision could change the rest of your life?

My thoughts

Although the Netgalley challenge has finished I still have a couple of books left on my reading list that I wanted to read and feed back on. This book has been there since about April so it was about time!

I’ve seen this book likened to One Day meets Sliding Doors which pretty much nails it: I can’t analogise any better!

“Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take”

I did enjoy this book, it’s quite slow paced and very character invested; I did feel engaged with the characters and the 3 different plot lines but the problem I had was the actual structure and format of the book itself.

Let me explain…it starts on Version 1, the next chapter Version 2, the next Version 3. It then goes back to Version 1 and repeat, you get the idea. This meant I was struggling to remember what’s happened in the previous Versions, it was impossible to read and not make notes or flick back several chapters to refresh your memory. Although each of the Versions share main characters, scenes, events and conversations obviously things take different courses.

The book is written in 3 parts and I wonder if maybe it would have been better to have Version 1 as Part 1, Version 2 as Part 2 etc rather than all intermingled but this is just my personal preference in order to alleviate the memory issues.

As I was reading I was constantly wondering which Version is the real Version; or as a reader do we make up our mind as to which Version we would have preferred to be the true Version. If that’s the case, I think Version 2 would be my preferred.

Despite my issues with the format and structure of this novel it’s incredibly well written with a clever plot. I did feel slightly bereft although relieved when I finished it.

It does just end but I felt that it was all wrapped up rather nicely.

“This is how it ends…
It also ends here…
It ends here too…”

It’s definitely worth the read if you can handle the 3 way plot.

You can listen to Laura Barnett discussing The Versions of Us on Radio 4’s Open Book programme here.

Many thanks to the publishers W&N for approving me for an ARC via Netgalley.

Links: Goodreads | Amazon

Connect with the author Laura Barnett

Website | Twitter

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Book Review: Snowflakes on Silver Cove by Holly Martin

Many thanks to Holly for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for her new book, billed as “a festive, feel good Christmas romance

Snowflakes on Silver CoveWhat’s it about?

Libby Joseph is famous for her romantic Christmas stories. Every December, readers devour her books of falling in love against the magical backdrop of the Christmas season. If only Libby believed in the magic herself…

Struggling to finish her current novel, Libby turns to her best friend and neighbour George Donaldson to cheer her up. But George also needs a bit of support himself. Nervous about getting back into the dating saddle after splitting from his wife, he and Libby strike a deal. She will teach George how to win over the ladies, and Libby will in turn be inspired to inject her novel with a good dose of romance.

As Libby and George explore the beautiful White Cliff Bay on a series of romantic Christmas-themed dates, Libby finds herself having more fun than she’s had in ages and…discovers feelings that she never knew she had for George.

But is it too late? Will George win someone else’s heart or can Libby act like the heroine in one of her stories and reach for her own love under the mistletoe this Christmas?

My thoughts

This is the second in the White Cliff Bay series, you can read my thoughts on book one Christmas at Lilac Cottage here. I enjoyed going back to White Cliff Bay; mingling with old and new characters and touching on events that happened in Snowflakes on Silver Cove but from an alternative character’s point of view.

This is a rom-com with some real laugh out loud snorting moments, I liked the characters in the book and have book friend envy in George and Libby’s initial friendship.

It definitely made a nice change to have an insecure male lead character with a dominant female lead. I can’t think of another book in this genre that I’ve read with this dynamic.

Maybe as I’m a bit older than this book’s intended audience I would like to hear more about Verity’s story, I bet she has some tales to tell, and once Judith gets on her cruise I have a feeling there’ll be no stopping her.

With Holly’s easy flowing writing style I was able to read the book in a day when I was ill in bed and was the perfect pick me up.

Many thanks to Bookouture for approving me for an ARC via Netgalley, and Holly as always, best of luck with this new book!

Links: Goodreads | Amazon

About the author Holly Martin

Holly has been writing for six years. She was shortlisted for the New Talent Award at the Festival Holly-Martin-500pxof Romance. Her short story won the Sunlounger competition and was published in the Sunlounger anthology. She won the Carina Valentine’s competition at the Festival of Romance 2013 with her novel The Guestbook. She was shortlisted for Best Romantic Read, Best eBook and Innovation in Romantic Fiction at the Festival of Romance 2014. Holly lives in Bedfordshire.

Connect with Holly

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Do check out the other bloggers on the tour