Lily Holmes is excited at the idea of leaving London behind and starting a new life in Marram Bay, a small touristy town in Yorkshire. But her hopes quickly crash when she finds out that she and her eight-year-old son Frankie are not particularly welcome in the village because the opening of the new deli that Lili is there to manage is not accepted by the other villagers. Her only allies are a lovely elderly couple and Alfie, her handsome and too-good-to-be-true neighbour. Lily has a lot on her plate between convincing the villagers of her good intentions, getting her son to fit in at his new school, dealing with her feelings for Alfie, and facing someone from her past.
Like all the Portia Macintosh’s novels I've read so far, this one is rather enjoyable and charming. With engaging characters, cute animals (especially Alfie’s pug), and an atmospheric setting, this book is a fun summer read. (NP)
Mia Valentina just got engaged to Leo, her boyfriend of four years, but her happiness is disrupted by the many things going on in her life. She misses her old life in Los Angeles; her house is an ongoing construction site; her mother hired a wedding planner without consulting her; no one wants to be her bridesmaid; she barely sees Leo who is working overtime as a firefighter; and she is ghostwriting the biography of a rock star who is often drunk. As the Christmas holidays loom and the pressure for the wedding becomes too much, Mia makes a series of bad decisions that make her wonder why she is not as excited as everyone expects her to be.
I found the character of Mia a bit too self-centred and preoccupied by the way she looks, but she is also funny and honest and I love the sarcasm she reserves for the members of her family. It’s a heart-warming, funny and romantic novel where love, family, and friendship come together to create an enjoyable Christmas read. (NP)
Candice Hart is stuck in a dead-end job, feels miserable on her new diet, is desperately trying to be perfect, and Danny, the cute but annoying new guy at work, keeps asking her out. To be honest, she doesn't really feel like herself lately. A romantic getaway with her boyfriend, Will, is exactly what she needs to unwind. Unfortunately, her Will is her boss. And he's already married. And it isn't exactly a romantic getaway, it's more of a business trip. Still, Candice takes what she can get. She knows that Will is going to leave his wife soon. He's already told her that they've separated, and doesn't love his wife anymore. It's only a matter of time. But when Will gets a call at work saying that his wife has gone into pre-term labour, he cancels his trip away with Candice, leaving her confused and angry. In an attempt to hurt Will back, Candice invites Danny, the new IT guy, to accompany on her on this business trip instead. Over the next week, Danny and Candice go drinking, get into some strange situations, and gradually, Candice starts to feel like herself again. Maybe it isn't too late to discover who the real Candice Hart is.
This is a quick read - the beginning and ending were strong, but the middle dragged. I also had a hard time liking Danny. I found him incredibly annoying, he didn't seem to have many redeeming qualities. (CK)
Mia Valentina, a 29-year-old rom-com writer living in LA, is single, rich, and has a seemingly endless supply of handsome men to keep her company (but only for the night). She's come a long way from her chubby teen years, when her sister and practically everyone at school made fun of her. Even though she writes romantic comedy for a living, she doesn't really believe in love. When Mia is invited back to the UK to be her sister's maid-of-honour, Mia decides that even though she dreads being around a family that doesn't understand her life choices, she'll go and do her best to fit in. Within days of arriving in the UK, she's accidentally injured the groom, taught her nephews some colourful new language, ruined the wedding cake, and slept with the best man. With the wedding falling apart around her, Mia is determined to help put it back together. Will she succeed? And what will she do when the best man wants more than a one-night stand?
This entertaining story will make you laugh out loud. Mia's outlook on love and marriage is jaded and funny, a refreshing twist on the usual wedding rom-com. (CK)
Nicole Wilde has always wanted to be famous. She is a music journalist who spends her time interviewing rock stars, partying, touring, and falling for band boys. Her best friend is Dylan King, rock star extraordinare and lead singer of The Burnouts. She writes for her own music magazine, Starstruck, and is about to go on tour with Two For the Show, whom she's been touring with before they were famous. She has a major crush on their sexy drummer, Luke. Slowly, her life starts to unravel. Some compromising pictures of her partying with rock stars are leaked to the media, and she gets a taste of fame. Fame loses it sheen, however, when she loses her boyfriend, her job and her best friend. Will Nicole be able to turn her life around, or is she destined to be labelled as a groupie forever?
This was a quick, entertaining read. The characters are well written, their individual personalities shine through. Although I enjoyed parts of the book, I found the main character, Nicole Wilde, very annoying. She seemed to have good intentions but appeared very naive for someone who lived such a worldly lifestyle. She was constantly getting herself into trouble, not thinking twice about how her actions might affect the future. Dylan King was mildly annoying as well. I understand that his life is sex, drugs, and rock'n'roll, but it gave off the impression that he needed to be babysat all of the time, lest he get himself into trouble. This book just fell flat for me and the ending dragged. (CK)