Five Wakes and a Wedding by Karen Ross *Publication Day*

Five Wakes and a Wedding

Five Wakes and a Wedding by Karen Ross

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Nina is your average 30-year-old with a steady job, a nice home – and dead bodies in her basement. As an undertaker, she often prefers the company of the dead to the living – they’re obliging, good listeners and take secrets to the grave.
Nina is on a one-woman mission to persuade her peers that passing on is just another part of life. But the residents of Primrose Hill are adamant that a funeral parlour is the last thing they need… and they will stop at nothing to close down her dearly beloved shop.
When Nina’s ‘big break’ funeral turns out to be a prank, it seems like it’s the final nail in the coffin for her new business. That is, until a (tall, dark and) mysterious investor shows up out of the blue, and she decides to take a leap of faith.
Because, after all, it’s her funeral…

My thoughts : This book needs to be made into a movie!

I didn’t expect to laugh out loud so much when reading about an undertaker and funerals. I loved this book by an author who is new to me and I look forward to reading more by Karen Ross.

This book follows Nina as she opens ‘Happy Endings’. It covers life, death, family issues and relationships but still leaves you feeling happy. Loved the twists in the story and demolished this book in 2 days.

Thank you to NetGalley and Avon Books UK for a review copy – I can honestly say I love the book.

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Hearts and Farthings by Beryl Kingston

3 stars out of 5

To this alien world of Victorian Britain comes Alberto Pelucci, an early immigrant from distant Italy, dreaming of adventure and romance. Adventure enough is the verminous room of his first night’s stay in London, but romance seems more rewarding when the shy Alice accepts his hand. Only on their wedding night does he realise that his bride will never share his passion for physical pleasures. 

And so when Alberto meets Queenie Dawson – exuberant, sensuous star of the music halls – his ordered new life is flung into turmoil . . . 

Hearts and Farthings: the heart-warming saga of a man torn between two women, and of children born in the last, bittersweet days before the war that should have ended all wars. 

My Thoughts:

Thank you to NetGalley and the Timeless Fiction Review Club for a free digital copy of this book to review.

This books starts really well and the early part of Alberto’s journey to and life in England was very enjoyable. The characters were brought to life well by the author and the descriptions of the places (and the smells) were vivid.

However I found the second half of the book was less enjoyable as it became repetitive and predictable. There was also an issue in Chapter 32 where the number of children going on holiday was impossible due to a death in an earlier chapter.

Having researched the book after reading it, I can see that this was first published in the 1980’s – perhaps a current editor should have made some tweaks?

How to Build a Boyfriend from Scratch by Sarah Archer – Ebook available now

How to Build a Boyfriend from Scratch

How to Build a Boyfriend from Scratch by Sarah Archer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Meet Kelly. A brilliant but socially awkward robotics engineer desperately seeking a wedding date…

Meet Ethan. Intelligent, gorgeous, brings out the confidence Kelly didn’t know she had and … not technically human. (But no one needs to know that.)

With her sister’s wedding looming and everyone in the world on her case about being perpetually single, Kelly decides to take her love life into her own hands – and use her genius skills to create Ethan.

But when she can’t resist keeping her new boy toy around even after the ‘I do’s’, Kelly knows she needs to hit the off switch on this romance, fast. Only, when you’ve found (well, made) your perfect man, how do you kiss him goodbye?

My thoughts : I must admit that I enjoyed this book much more than I expected.

As the ‘blurb’ states, Kelly (age 29) needs a date for her younger sister’s wedding. As an engineer in the Silicon Valley, you imagine that Kelly would only meet other engineers, who never appear as romantic or interesting characters in books. So she creates Ethan who is perfect – or is he?

This book explores how Kelly’s experience of her parents relationship has led to her making decisions about her own life which have ensured self preservation from being hurt but at the cost of being lonely. It also covers sibling relationships, family dynamics, trying to keep secrets and friendships.

It is a work of fiction and you do need to keep an open mind about the speed of Ethan’s development, but that didn’t spoil the story. There are lots of funny moments and I am happy to recommend it.

Thank you to NetGalley and Harper Collins for a free digital review copy.

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The First Time Lauren Pailing Died by Alyson Rudd *Publication Day*

The First Time Lauren Pailing Died

The First Time Lauren Pailing Died by Alyson Rudd

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Lauren Pailing is born in the sixties, and a child of the seventies. She is thirteen years old the first time she dies.

Lauren Pailing is a teenager in the eighties, becomes a Londoner in the nineties. And each time she dies, new lives begin for the people who loved her – while Lauren enters a brand new life, too.

But in each of Lauren’s lives, a man called Peter Stanning disappears. And, in each of her lives, Lauren sets out to find him.

And so it is that every ending is also a beginning. And so it is that, with each new beginning, Peter Stanning inches closer to finally being found… 

My Thoughts:

Thank you to NetGalley and HQ books (HarperCollins) for a review copy.

I really enjoyed this book – especially as a ‘light sci-fi’ fan – the idea of Lauren living (and dying) in multiple lives creating multiple interesting stories.

I am happy to recommend this book as a five star read. I look forward to reading more from Alyson Rudd in the future.

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The Magnificent Mrs Mayhew by Milly Johnson *Paperback publication day*

Treated myself to the hardback book for the Easter holiday. I have read and loved many of Milly’s books and hoped this one would be as good.

I’m pleased to say it was even better than expected and I had a happy (and lazy day) enjoying this novel. I think there may be a few partners of politicians or celebrities who wish they could utter the line on page 114 when their partner has betrayed them in this way!

#MillyJohnson #TheMagnificentMrsMayhew

Swallowtail Summer by Erica James *Publication Day 11th July 2019*

Swallowtail Summer

Swallowtail Summer by Erica James

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Linston End has been the summer home to three families for several decades. The memories of their time there are ingrained in their hearts: picnics on the river, gin and tonics in the pavilion at dusk, hours spent seeking out the local swallowtail butterflies. Everyone together. But recently widowed Alastair is about to shock his circle of friends with the decisions he has made – and the changes it will mean for them all… Can these friends learn to live life to its fullest?

My Thoughts:
I loved reading this book – a wide number of characters with lives interwoven over almost 50 years coming to terms with how life changes after the sudden death of one of the group.

I’m glad I didn’t read the other reviews until after I had read the book – I must admit that I do wonder if I’ve read the same book as some of the other reviewers.

I have read a number of other books by Erica James and have always enjoyed how well written they are. This book features families, friendship, romance, tragedy, jealousy, secrets, sailing and food set in the Norfolk Broads.

There are a lot of characters, but all are brought to life convincingly and it is similar to watching a TV show such as Cold Feet, where two generations are being followed at the same time. The book had lots of twists and turns in the story as secrets were uncovered, and I hadn’t expected the ending to turn out the way it did. My poor dog had to wait his walk so I could finish the book yesterday.

Well worth reading and definitely worth 5 stars.

Thank you to NetGalley for this digital copy in return for a honest review.

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A Very French Affair by Sue Roberts

Life just got a whole lot more complicated for thirty-eight-year-old single mum Liv. Her son Jake is practically perfect in every way, but he’s started asking some difficult questions, and the answers lie in a holiday romance twenty years ago. Back when Liv was staying with her aunt on the French Riviera…

Returning to the Cote d’Azur, with its white sandy beaches, her supportive aunt, and exquisite wine and cheese is harder than it sounds though. Because – if she’s going to give Jake the answers he needs – Liv knows she has to hunt down her first love Andre. And since she’s a professional baker rather than a professional investigator, she doesn’t even have a clue where to start.

At first, finding the one that got away proves even trickier than she thought. And if she succeeds, how will he take the bombshell secret Liv has been keeping? Liv has to do the best thing for her family, but does that mean closing the door on this very French affair?

Thank you to Netgalley and Bookouture for a review copy in return for an honest review.

I loved this story – just wish I could have read it on a sun lounger whilst eating delicious food – food is very important to this book.

The story flows well, the characters are brought to life beautifully and you feel much happier after reading about stunning scenery, fabulous food, families, friends and romance.

I haven’t read any books by Sue Roberts before but now need to.

Definitely a book to enjoy on a sunny day.