Book Review: A Season Of Hopes And Dreams.

A season of hopesCleo Jones has to be one of my favourite heroines – written with such honesty and compassion that I felt an immediate bond.

While many of the lead characters in books I’ve read have past struggles that influence their present decisions, very few are still going through them to any real degree – unlike Lynsey James’ creation in A Season Of Hopes And Dreams.

As she struggles with her weight and self-esteem, Cleo is very much in the thick of it, which makes this story a refreshing read – one that doesn’t shy away from some harsh realities.

Here’s the blurb:

It’s been a difficult year for Cleo Jones. The car accident that crushed her leg didn’t just destroy the village baker’s dreams of becoming a dancer, but crushed her confidence too. And recovering from that has been harder than healing from any number of broken bones…

But this season is going to be different. Life is turning around for Cleo! Maybe it’s the invitation from her childhood bully to their high-school reunion that’s shocked her out of a ten-year slump. Or joining Carb Counters and finally starting to shed the weight she’d piled on during her recovery – or maybe it’s catching the eye of her gorgeous personal trainer!

Whatever the answer, this is going to be a feeling she never forgets… watch out world, Cleo Jones is finally fighting back!

I think anyone who has battled with body and confidence issues will be able to relate to Cleo and will definitely want to see her succeed. That only builds as we find out more about her and her past.

However, while this might sound like a really heavy book, it’s not thanks to the way Lynsey writes. There are some genuinely laugh out loud moments together with references to things that brought on a bout of nostalgia, including Neighbours and late 90s girl group Cleopatra (comin’ atcha).

I love her supportive bestfriend, Emma, and Scott Robinson, the personal trainer, is swoon worthy.

Most of the ending is fabulous but I was mildly disappointed with the way Cleo dealt with her childhood bully. I won’t give anything away but it just felt too easy.

Having said that this is a great read that had me feeling all the emotions.

Format: Kindle.

Price: £1.99.

My rating: Four stars.

With thanks to HQ Digital for the ARC in return for my honest opinion.




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.

Book Review: Spandex And The City.

spandexAnd now for something completely different – well, not completely, exactly, but there’s certainly some extraordinary qualities to Spandex And The City.

When I opened the email asking if I’d like to read this book I was hesitant because it’s not totally my sort of thing. I then saw it was written by Jenny Colgan, under the pen name Jenny T Colgan – an author I have enjoyed on more than one occasion – so I thought “why not?”.

I’m so pleased I did (and also thinking I should break out of my comfort zone more often).

Have a read of the blurb and you’ll see what I mean:

Mild-mannered publicist Holly Phillips is unlucky in love. She’s embarrassed beyond belief when the handsome stranger she meets in a bar turns out to be ‘Ultimate Man’ – a superpowered hero whose rescue attempt finds her hoisted over his shoulder and flashing her knickers in the newspaper the next day.

But when Holly’s fifteen minutes of fame make her a target for something villainous, she only has one place to turn – and finds the man behind the mask holds a lot more charm than his crime-fighting alter-ego.

Can Holly find love, or is super dating just as complicated as the regular kind?

So, it turns out that a relationship with a superhero – especially one dressed in purple and, let’s be honest, who doesn’t have the greatest “good guy” name, is actually even more complicated than the “regular kind” – who knew?

Not that Ultimate Man is really into dating, despite (or perhaps because of) the truly explosive chemistry between him and Holly. It seems the life of a superhero is a lonely one, something else he has in common with Holly, on occasions, even in a city crammed full of people.

But these two can’t seem to keep apart, especially when Holly catches the attention of the “bad guy” (if you thought Ultimate Man was an unlikely name, wait until you meet him).

It certainly makes for an entertaining, funny and, at times, emotional read. It is also rather thought provoking but in a gentle way (no lectures here).

Jenny, who under her pen name has written the Doctor Who tie-in novel Dark Horizons and several Doctor Who short stories, takes us on a crazy ride where the lines between good and bad, fact and fiction, are certainly blurred.

It has all the elements I love in the books I generally read – romance, comedy, drama and a happy ending – but it turns out adding a touch of science fiction is a turn-on not a turn-off.

I’m definitely going to add her first book with this added extra, Resistance Is Futile, to my TBR pile.

Format: Kindle (out on May 18th).

Price: £4.99.

My rating: Five stars.

With thanks to the Little, Brown Book Group (via Netgalley) for the ARC in return for my honest opinion.