The Life You Left by Carmel Harrington

lifeyouleftSynopsis

It started out like any other day for Sarah Lawler; getting the kids ready for school, making the pack lunches and juggling baby Ella’s feeds.
 
There was no way of knowing that her husband, Paul, would leave for work that morning and simply not come home.
 
Now the questions are piling up quicker than the unpaid bills and, unable to answer her children’s questions about where their Daddy is, Sarah is getting desperate.
 
But it turns out she isn’t quite as alone as she thought she was. When her beloved childhood friend, Edward, comes back into her life, Sarah thinks she’s finally been thrown a life line.
 
There’s just one problem with Edward: Sarah is the only person who can see him.

Review

Carmel Harrington is an author whom I’ve heard nothing but good things about  but have somehow let pass me by. Until now that is.
 
Initially I found the first 10% a little hard to get into, but as soon as I got past that, something in my brain switched on and I could barely put it down. This story has some supernatural elements to it in the presence of Edward, Sarah’s Guardian Angel and Sarah’s dreams and visions. This was a subtle inclusion which drove some important plot points but they never seemed strange or out of place, just slightly magical and mysterious.
 
While the book focuses on Sarah for the majority of the book, the plot that Sarah’s visions drives was a complete surprise, great, but I would not have guessed it in a million years just from the synopsis and cover. You get to see the viewpoints of a couple of different characters for this part, which I loved and while that part of the plot isn’t based on a happy event, it was a nice contrast to Sarah’s personal life and I really enjoyed the mystery element to this book.
 
Sarah was a likeable character overall. She was quite shy, delicate and introverted and it was clearly because of the issues she faced with her parents, but when she was with people she loved like James and Ruby, you saw her come alive.
There was one moment that really got to me about her (cue twitter rant) butane I thought it through I cut her some slack. She said it kind of in the heat of the moment, and also because I’m not a mother, I think I have a more colder outlook on it, so may have been too quick to judge her, so while at one point I was initially irked, actually it kept her grounded as a real person rather than the picture of sainthood and perfection that actually can be really annoying to read. Who wants a character you can’t relate to because they’re better than you and your insecurities in every possible way?
 
Her husband, Paul, is basically the most inconsiderate person alive (well alive in the readers mind). What he does is ridiculous and despicable. Not only to Sarah, and his mother, but more importantly to his children. While I think he had a point at one moment in an argument with Sarah about money, he was completely wrong in everything else he said and did. Completely infuriating.
 
Sarah’s brother James was fantastic, Such a lovely character, kind and supportive, especially to Sarah. He melted my heart completely, and the scene in the gym with Ruby was hilarious.
 
Overall this book is definitely one worth picking up. It’s full of emotion, unexpected mystery and a tiny hint of magic.
 
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Published by: HarperImpulse
Gratefully received from the Publisher for review
 
View Book on Goodreads
Order on: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Book Depository
 

The Little Wedding Shop by the Sea by Jane Linfoot

thelittleweddingshopbytheseaSynopsis

Brides by the Sea, the cutest little wedding shop in all of Cornwall, has it all, including cake baker Poppy who lives upstairs. But wedding planning is not the piece of cake Poppy thought it would be, and when her best friend Cate’s wedding planner walks out, Poppy has to tie up the loose ends so her bestie can tie the knot.
 
Double-booked venues, ‘rustic’ locations and gorgeous but grumpy farmer Rafe have this wedding pro feeling like she could be Cate’s ‘something blue.’
 
Will the wedding, the shop and the cake all come crashing down on her? Or will Poppy pull it off to give Cate – and herself – the happy ever afters they deserve?

Review

Jane Linfoot has such pretty covers, especially this one. It’s impossible to ignore the beautiful illustrations and dainty colours.However I have never read any of her books before, so I set about correcting this pronto. I love weddings and everything that goes with it. The cake, the dress (especially the dress), the romance of it. So what better book to start with?
 
The book is fun and pretty light hearted. It has a few moments that are sad and thoughtful but overall it is a book where you can just sit back and relax. The writing style is good and draws you into the story, the times I had to put it down for work, food and sleep, I was always eager to pick it up as soon as I had a chance to.
 
Poppy was an incredibly relatable character. Most of us have had our hearts broken, and at times it seemed to hit Poppy harder, but for a lot of the time it was more an emotional attachment to her wedding dress than her ex, Brett. No that I really blame her, if I had found ‘The Dress’ I would get emotional too, but when you’re more sad over never wearing a dress rather than losing ‘The One’, then it’s clear that Brett was never Mr Right.
 
She sounds a really conscientious person who cares about everything she does and when she first started her job on the farm in an unorganised chaos, I really felt her nightmare and annoyance at the previous event manager’s lack of any form of professionalism. I was begging for a scene where Poppy and Carrie would meet, just so I could meet Carrie and see her infuriating and useless ways rather than hearing second hand about her ineptness from her boss and ex-colleagues.
 
The two best friends were great. They annoyed me a little at times, but when push comes to shove, whenever anyone needed help and support they were all there for each other. Poppy shows herself as incredibly generous and kind, especially to Cate, and I am sure that Cate would help Poppy if the tables were turned, especially as Poppy deserves it. Rafe was the dark brooding type, and even though he was a grumpy so and so, you could instantly tell he could steal anyone’s heart. the only character that really got on my nerves (other than bridezilla Nicole) was Jules, he always seemed a bit… I don’t know, slightly too cocky maybe but something about him put me on edge.
 
Simply put, this book was a perfect romantic read. I cannot wait for the rest of the series!
 
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Published by: HarperImpulse
Gratefully received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
 
View Book on Goodreads
Order on: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Book Depository
 

Kate and Alf by Carrie Stone

KateandAlfSynopsis

Kate loves Alf. And Alf loves Kate… Doesn’t he?

Kate can’t wait for her long-term boyfriend Alf to propose. So he might be a bit of a control freak who’s obsessed with his career … and he also seems to have conveniently forgotten their two-year plan to get married, buy a bigger house and have children. But Kate’s sure that ring will be on her finger soon.

When her thirty-second birthday ends in humiliating, proposal-less disaster, even Kate is left wondering if Alf really is The One. Then Alf’s friend, Marcus, needs a place to stay. With his dark eyes, easygoing manner and kind concern for Kate, Marcus is everything Alf is not – and it’s not long before Kate begins to wonder if there’s more to life than diamonds.

It Girl by Nic Tatano

itgirlSynopsis

Veronica Summer is stuck in the dream job from hell.
The spunky New York reporter is offered the network’s morning anchor position, but she doesn’t want it because she’s a night person. Then the network plays a trump card, promising her the evening anchor chair in three years. So the fiery redhead takes the plunge, with the ultimate gig waiting down the road.
Problem is, that road is filled with two am wake-up calls and the only social life she has is one with bats and raccoons. She quickly realizes she’ll never survive the grind and decides the only way out is to get fired by being her snarky self on live television.
And the ratings skyrocket.
Veronica becomes the nation’s It Girl, so the network makes her a celebrity contestant on its most popular nighttime dance competition show, Dance Off. While her journalistic credibility is shot to hell by the show’s skimpy costumes, she’s thrown into close contact with two incredibly attractive men; her dance partner and the show’s sarcastic British judge.
And she soon discovers that love is the ultimate gig.