The Bed and Breakfast on the Beach by Kat French

Synopsis

A Greek island solves all life’s problems…doesn’t it?
 
Winnie, Stella and Frankie have been best friends forever.
 
When their lives unexpectedly unravel, they spontaneously decide to buy a gorgeous B&B on a remote Greek island. Drenched in hot sun, Villa Valentina is the perfect escape from reality. But when Winnie meets Jesse, their brooding neighbour, she finds that Greece is full of its own complications – not least how attractive he is…
 
Meanwhile, Frankie and Stella are discovering that Villa Valentina has its own secrets – starting with the large supply of gin in the cellar and the arrival of a famous rock band. A band with one very good-looking member who just might distract Frankie from thoughts of her husband…

Review

I’ve only read one book by Kat French before now, and it was absolutely amazing and one of my favourite books of that year, so I was excited when I saw this book. From the cover you get a great summer vibe, and it was another epic summer read!
 
The setting is perfect for summer, when I hear the words Bed and Breakfast I think rustic, quaint and charming, and the B&B the girls buy is certainly all of those things, add to that it opens out onto the beach is just the finishing touch for setting the scene, making you long for a summer holiday. The fact the island isn’t a very touristy one makes it seem all the more idyllic for those wanting peace and quiet for their blissful holiday.
 
This book focuses on 3 characters who buy the B&B, Winnie, Frankie and Stella, and while Wine was probably focused on more, I really enjoyed all of their individual story arcs.
 
Winnie was recovering from a divorce she she bought the B&B and it was interesting progressing with her friendship with Jesse, I think she seemed much older than her 34 years, but as she got to know Jesse, her mature front faded when she was around him, you could see herself shine through as she healed from her painful divorce.
We also read from Jesse’s point of view which was a real treat. I was a big Jesse fan, he had a great sense of humour and despite his original gruffness, he was such a kind person at heart.
 
Frankie was very focused and the most unsure of their new venture and move to Skelidos. I really liked her and would love to get to know her a little better, as for much of the story she was a closed book.
 
Stella was also lovely and possibly my favourite of the three ladies. Her story arc was absolute perfection in my eyes. It was sweet and had great values, I almost awed out loud as I read her conclusion.
 
This book is another great read either on the beach or when you’re dreaming of a holiday there. It’s charm relaxes you completely and you can just read it in one sitting with ease if you have the time. Preferably with a Gin and Tonic in hand.
 
 
Published by: Avon
Gratefully received from the Publisher for review
 
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The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond

Synopsis

Newlyweds Alice and Jake are a picture-perfect couple. Alice, once a singer in a well-known rock band, is now a successful lawyer. Jake is a partner in an up-and-coming psychology practice. Their life together holds endless possibilities. After receiving an enticing wedding gift from one of Alice’s prominent clients, they decide to join an exclusive and mysterious group known only as The Pact.
 
The goal of The Pact seems simple: to keep marriages happy and intact, and most of its rules make sense: Always answer the phone when your spouse calls. Exchange thoughtful gifts monthly. Plan a trip together once per quarter…
 
Never mention The Pact to anyone.
 
Alice and Jake are initially seduced by the glamorous parties, the sense of community, their widening social circle of like-minded couples–and then one of them breaks the rules. The young lovers are about to discover that for adherents to The Pact, membership, like marriage, is for life, and The Pact will go to any lengths to enforce that rule. For Jake and Alice, the marriage of their dreams is about to become their worst nightmare.

Review

After reading a few Chick Lit novels, I was in the mood for something a little darker, and the plot of this book sounded intriguing and thought this was the perfect read for me, especially as I was about to get married myself.
 
I liked the fact that we get Jake’s point of view and not Alice’s. I don’t think I’ve read a thriller style book with it being solely a man’s point of view and it was a nice change. The writing was easy to read, it kept me addicted, so much so I stayed up to the early hours of the morning trying to sneak the final few pages. The story was written with good emotion from the husband, but also at times it was very matter of fact. This occasionally led to information that was surplus, like when we were informed how many siblings Jake’s co-workers had, which really jarred my attention away from the book for a little, as it wasn’t relevant to the book at all as we never really hear about his colleagues again. That said, I always eagerly returned.
 
At times the book delved into over the top, could this really happen? Would people react like Jake? This didn’t put me off, more made me freak out about how terrible it would be if it did.
 
Jake was an interesting lead. He was clearly devoted to Alice, almost idolised her in a sence, whereas Alice is very much a free spirit in some regards. Yet it’s him that is the more wary of the pact. I was unsure of Alice at times, her aloofness made me like her at times but also liking her at other times.
 
The pact itself is batshit crazy to put it mildly. Yes it sounds nice, simple and absolutely utopian in theory, and some of the clauses like giving a gift every month, going away on a long weekend every 3 moths or so, all nice, but it’s very cult like when talking to other members.
 
Overall this book really took hold of me and despite the unrealistic premise of the pact, or at least the severeness and creepiness of it all, I really enjoyed this book, and cannot wait to see what Michelle Richmond writes next.
 
 
Published by: Penguin
Gratefully received from the Publisher for review
 
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Anatomy Of A Scandal by Sarah Vaughan

Synopsis

Sophie’s husband James is a loving father, a handsome man, a charismatic and successful public figure. And yet he stands accused of a terrible crime. Sophie is convinced he is innocent and desperate to protect her precious family from the lies that threaten to rip them apart.
 
Kate is the lawyer hired to prosecute the case: an experienced professional who knows that the law is all about winning the argument. And yet Kate seeks the truth at all times. She is certain James is guilty and is determined he will pay for his crimes.
 
Who is right about James? Sophie or Kate? And is either of them informed by anything more than instinct and personal experience? Despite her privileged upbringing, Sophie is well aware that her beautiful life is not inviolable. She has known it since she and James were first lovers, at Oxford, and she witnessed how easily pleasure could tip into tragedy.
 
Most people would prefer not to try to understand what passes between a man and a woman when they are alone: alone in bed, alone in an embrace, alone in an elevator… Or alone in the moonlit courtyard of an Oxford college, where a girl once stood before a boy, heart pounding with excitement, then fear. Sophie never understood why her tutorial partner Holly left Oxford so abruptly. What would she think, if she knew the truth?

Review

ARGH! THIS BOOK! Okay, that sounds pretty negative, but I’m all about the drama, and this book got under my skin, in such a good way though, I assure you.
 
I’ve read Sarah’s debut novel ‘The Art of Baking Blind’ a few years ago and I really enjoyed it, but this is a whole level of greatness. Sarah’s writing is completely absorbing and there wasn’t one moment that I thought “I’ll just leave it here for a bit”.
 
You hear mainly from the three women, his wife and the prosecutor from the courtroom, and the girl who fancied him in college. There was also a couple of chapters from James himself, and these were definitely among the most interesting, even though he wasn’t a pleasant character.
 
The book makes you ask lots of questions to yourself, not least of all if you think James is guilty or not. James is a politician, so instantly there was a part of me that already distrusted him (and I think that was a clever move of Sarah), add to that as he comes across as arrogant and unlikeable in his chapters, it’s easy to condemn him as guilty straight away, but in a court of law, it should be innocent until proven guilty. On the other hand, it feels terrible even thinking the woman who has accused James of rape would lie and your gut instinct is to trust her. It’s a heinous and very topical crime, and one which is often not reported due to being one person’s word against the other among others, especially when the assault occurs in a relationship or with a person you know. Why would anyone make this up? It’s horrific to think of. This book makes you think and that can only be a good thing.
 
Sophie, James’ wife was a complex character, who I went through phases of how much I liked her. Whilst at college, she was clearly one of those people who were just happy to ride the waves of popularity, taking advantage of her new friend, Holly. Therefore it was hard to like her. As an adult though, while still seemingly snobby, her complex feelings due to James case was great to get into her head and mindset and made me a little more sympathetic towards her.
 
I liked Kate too, a few times I wavered, thinking she was too sure James was guilty, which whilst it was her job, it seemed she was judging him without even looking at any facts at times, but actually, the fact she cared about the victim and the case was actually nice, and maybe I was being too judgemental of Kate.
 
Holly was relatable to anyone who has felt slightly like an oddball whilst at school or university. So I enjoyed her chapters, to me, at least at the start it felt the most comforting to me, whilst the rest of the book was quite dark and full of unease.
 
This book has the drama, the moments where I found myself holding my breath with the apprehension of what was about to happen. It has everything I wanted from this book and more. If you want to read something that is powerfully written and will stay in your mind for a while, this is definitely the one to choose!
 
 
Published by: Simon and Schuster
Gratefully received from the Publisher for review
 
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It Started With A Tweet by Anna Bell

Synopsis

Daisy Hobson lives her whole life online. A marketing manager by day, she tweets her friends, instagrams every meal and arranges (frankly, appalling) dates on Tinder. But when her social media obsession causes her to make a catastrophic mistake at work, Daisy finds her life going into free-fall . . .
 
Her sister Rosie thinks she has the answer to all of Daisy’s problems – a digital detox in a remote cottage in Cumbria, that she just happens to need help doing up. Soon, too, Daisy finds herself with two welcome distractions: sexy French exchange-help Alexis, and Jack, the brusque and rugged man-next-door, who keeps accidentally rescuing her.
 
But can Daisy, a London girl, ever really settle into life in a tiny, isolated village? And, more importantly, can she survive without her phone?

Review

I’ve read one of Anna’s books a few years ago and really enjoyed it. I do own every other one of her books, but never read them as of yet. This clearly needs to be corrected though as I’m disappointed in myself having not read any of her others yet, especially after finishing this book, which I completely adored.
 
It is classic chick lit at it’s very best. The book is inviting and completely relatable, especially if you use social media often (or roll your eyes thinking your Facebook friends use it too much – whether they’re vague-booking or showing every single thing they’re eating/drinking on their weekend away). The scene where Daisy goes on a Tinder date is absolutely hilarious, one of the funniest I’ve read in a long time. Dominic was arrogant and a complete pain in the bum. He had me squirming and cringing, but also chucking to myself at how pretentious and up himself he could be.
 
I loved the story, the small community that Daisy and Rosie join, leading to some great characters, especially in the local shop and of course the trials that Daisy goes through on her digital detox, as she reluctantly gives up her digital life, but her antics at trying to cheekily cheat the detox means frequently needs rescuing, cue handsome but annoying Jack to save her from these sticky situations.
 
Anna Bell writes very true to life characters. I loved Daisy as a character. She was quite outspoken, but not in an over-the-top way, she knew when to keep quiet. She is the type of person you’d want as a friend. I think that her addiction is quite easy to relate to. Maybe not to the same extent, but I am sure most of us have been there where we’ve convinced ourselves to share every little thing on instagram, or spend just 5 more minutes catching up on twitter/facebook, oh, and of course a quick search to look up that thing, so you can prove to a friend you were right (all in good humour of course). The message the book gives is I think very important.
 
I also loved Rosie, Daisy’s sister. To start with she seemed to lack confidence in herself. Though this digital detox also helped her grow as a person and do something for her, rather than always trying to please her husband. Not that he was mean and controlling, but she seemed to be a people pleaser, so it was nice to see her spend some ‘me’ time.
 
This book has a message behind it, but is also full of fun and a real warm feeling at the centre of it all. This is one you should definitely be adding to your TBR piles!
 
 
Published by: Bonnier Zaffre
Gratefully received from the Publisher for review
 
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