Book Review: If You Could See Me Now.

cover117308-mediumSomething happens in this book, something completely out of the blue, which, even having read the blurb on NetGalley, I didn’t expect – and the shock of it almost made me give up.

All credit to the writing of Keris Stainton, who has a number of books, in a variety of genres, to her name, that I continued to the end because, while it wasn’t what I’d signed up for, I enjoyed this funny, heartwarming and actually rather beautiful story.

Here’s the blurb (and, just as a note, there is a different one on certain sites that gives away the surprise element so if you want to remain in the dark, stick to this one):

Izzy Harris should have it all – but her boyfriend has been ignoring her for months, she’s been overlooked for a promotion, and the owner of her local coffee shop pervs on her every time she has a craving for a salted caramel muffin.

Then her life is unexpectedly turned upside down.

Izzy dumps her oblivious boyfriend, and leaps on the chance to win a big pitch at work. Needing to work closely with gorgeous colleague Alex is an added perk…

But then her best friend has her heart broken, the pitch is way more complicated than expected, and Alex is keeping secrets. Does Izzy have what it takes to help her friend, save her career and get the guy?

There are some lovely moments in this story but while I liked the characters, I didn’t warm to them entirely. Some of the dialogue also felt a bit forced, especially the swearing. I don’t mind a bit of swearing in books – authors like Joanna Bolouri make it seem natural – but it just didn’t sit well in this one.

What I did like was the overall message. It’s not subtle by any means but it was very positive and empowering nonetheless.

If you’re looking for a quick and quirky read then this would be a great pick.

Format: Kindle.
Price: 99p.
My rating: Three and a half stars.

With thanks to Bookouture for the ARC in return for an honest review.

Book Review: Summer At Bluebell Bank.

cover115657-medium-2“…because happiness is found in a bookshop.”

Sold! How could I resist a book with a strapline like that? Impossible. Luckily, Jen Mouat’s debut novel, Summer At Bluebell Bank, didn’t disappoint.

In fact, from the cover (I know, I know, not only picking a book for its strapline but also judging it by its cover. Tut, tut) I thought it was going to be a light and breezy beach read, which would have been great, but actually it goes much deeper than that, which was even better.

The way Jen writes the emotional drama between family and friends made me invested in the story to the point I found it hard to put down.

Here’s the blurb:

Returning home is never smooth sailing…

Summoned by her childhood best friend, Kate Vincent doesn’t stop to think. Instead she books at one-way ticket from New York back to Wigtown, Scotland, leaving her glittering new life behind. Scenes of idyllic holidays at Bluebell Bank with the Cotton family dance in her mind, but not everything has stayed the way it once was… Especially when her first love, Luke, returns to town.

Emily Cotton never expected one email, sent off in a wine-fuelled daze, to bring her old friend barrelling through the front door of her dismally failing bookshop. But life for the Cottons isn’t what it once was; Emily’s brothers are hardly speaking, her beloved grandmother isn’t quite the same and Emily…well, Emily is the one most in need of Kate’s help.

Kate has given herself until the end of the summer to stay in Wigtown. Can she bring the Cottons back together, and save the family who once saved her?

Jen does a great job of weaving past and present without interrupting the flow of the story. She has a lovely way of phrasing things that had me tapping the highlighter option on the Kindle throughout.

We know early on that both Kate and Emily have their secrets (no spoilers, promise) and I really enjoyed the gentle drip of clues, building to the big reveal.

I also enjoyed learning more about Wigtown, which I’m embarrassed to say I’d never heard of before – and I call myself a book lover! Officially designated as Scotland’s national book town, Jen makes it sound like a place I MUST add to the bucket list.

On the whole this book is a thoroughly enjoyable read. It seems to me that happiness is not only found in a bookshop but in reading about them too.

Format: Kindle.

Price: £2.99.

My rating: Four and a half stars.

Thank you to HQ Digital (via NetGalley) for the ARC in return for an honest review.

Book Review: Single For The Summer.

cover111373-mediumThank goodness I was in the comfort of my own home while reading Mandy Baggot’s new book, Single For The Summer.

Had I been on a bus or a train, I would definitely have been that annoying woman people moan about on social media by constantly guffawing.

There was no keeping it in though; it’s a laugh out loud kind of funny, full of little quips (there’s even a reference to Donald Trump), weaved into a feel-good romance, perfect for the beach.

Here’s the blurb:

Tess Parks has made up her mind: love isn’t for her.

When it comes to dating she has one rule: after six weeks with a guy, she ends it. So when her heartbroken best friend invites her for a girly getaway in Corfu, Tess is sure she can stick to their pact to stay single for the summer.

But then she meets the gorgeous restauranteur Andras…

To keep his overbearing mother off his back, Tess agrees to pretend to date him. But as the two spend time together, Tess begins to realise that this fake relationship is starting to feel like the best one she’s ever had…

While I have been reading and enjoying some new authors lately, it’s so lovely to go back to a familiar favourite.

Even though Mandy’s books always feature different characters and stories, I already know I love her writing style and that I’m in for a treat – and Single For The Summer is certainly that.

Tess’s six-week rule, which results in some truly cringe-worthy situations, comes from having her own heart broken.

Witnessing her slowly heal makes for some really touching moments, especially when they are set against such a beautiful backdrop.

As it says on her website “Mandy loves the Greek island of Corfu” and that shines through in this book where we are taken on a lovely tour (thank you Andras).

Having holidayed there myself, I was able to picture the warm, sandy beaches, glistening azure sea and green, rugged mountains perfectly but even if I had never visited, Mandy’s descriptions would have been enough.

If you’re looking for a book to take away with you, I’d recommend this one – as long as you make sure you sit far from other people while you’re reading (just in case your guffaws are as loud as mine).

Format: Kindle.

Price: £4.99.

My rating: Four and a half stars.

With thanks to Ebury Digital (via NetGalley) for the ARC in return for an honest review.