The Little Café of Second Chances by J. D. Barrett

littlecafesecondchancesSynopsis

Lucy Muir is leaving her husband. It’s complicated.
 
As joint owners and chefs at one of the best restaurants in town making a clean break is tough. But, let’s face it, a woman can only take so much cheating, recipe stealing and lack of good grace.
 
Then Lucy happens upon an old, empty terrace that was once the city’s hottest restaurant: Fortune. One minute she’s peering through grimy windows into an abandoned space, the next she’s planning a pop-up bistro.
 
When Lucy fires up Fortune’s old kitchen she discovers a little red recipe book that belonged to the former chef, the infamous Frankie Summers. As Lucy cooks her way through Frankie’s recipes, customers come flocking and slowly Lucy begins to regain her confidence. It turns out that courage, passion and just a tiny bit of magic might be the secret recipe for a better life…

Review

Simply put this book is cute. A good sounding synopsis, a beautiful story with an unexpected element to it all interwoven with delicious recipes that I’m dying to try, especially those cheese soufflés.
 
The unexpected element I mentioned above is magical and supernatural, and while a surprise it was entirely welcome. It added more to the story, more depth, more history to the restaurant and Frankie’s life. The book had funny scenes, emotional scenes and scenes where you wanted to shout at the more despicable characters in the book. It was a great read from the start and the way it was written kept my attention throughout.
 
Paula is clearly a passionate and talented chef, and quite concientious too. Which is why her signing the contract and using the last of her money to get a lease on an old, delapidated restaurant ‘Fortune’ is  out of character but she’s both excited and nervous all at the same time. However, she has some great support from her best friend and it spurs her to strive even harder to make Fortune a success. She’s a great character, and her shy nature made it easy for me to connect to.
 
Frankie is the previous owner of Fortune, and we get two stories from him. One in the present day, where, while he can have a temper, you get to know a softer side to him. The other is the past when he owned Fortune, and for a lot of it you’re not sure if you like him or not, cheating on his wife and not being there for his only son isn’t a great character reference, but towards the end of the history parts, again he seems to show a more human side that’s easier to empathise with.
 
I loved Leith. Not quite the reaction I think the author was after, but he was so awful, I enjoyed his scenes immensely as I love a good villain. Someone I can roll my eyes at, or frown in anger while screaming at them (in my head).
 
As I said in the opening of this review, the book is a cute read. It has magical charm and the a wonderful sense of romance. The cooking sounded delicious and I will make sure to try some of the recipes for sure.
 
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Published by: Piatkus
Gratefully received from the Publisher for review
 
View Book on Goodreads
Order on: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Book Depository
 
 
 
 

Danger, Sweetheart by Mary Janice Davidson

I am so happy to be asked to be part of this tour for this book, I hope you enjoy my review, and the extract that follows it. Don’t forget to check out the other hosts on this tour on the poster at the bottom 🙂

mjanicecoverSynopsis

Blake Tarbell has a town to save. Rich, carefree, and used to the Vegas party lifestyle, Blake is thrown for a curve when his former cocktail-waitress mother pleads he go back to her roots to save the town she grew up in. Blake’s used to using money to solve his problems, but when he arrives in Sweetheart, North Dakota, this city boy has to trade in his high-priced shoes for a pair of cowboy boots – and he’s about to get a little help from the loveliest lady in town . . .
 
Natalie Lane’s got no time for newbies. The prettiest gal to ever put on a pair of work gloves, there’s nothing she can’t do to keep a farm up and running. But when a handsome city-slicker rolls into town with nothing but bad farmer’s instincts and good intentions, Natalie’s heartstrings are pulled. She’s about to teach him a thing or two about how to survive in Sweetheart. And he’s about to teach her a thing or two about love.

Review

I’ve never read any books by Mary Janice Davidson, but when I was given the chance to read this, it sounded sassy and fast paced so was looking forward to reading it.
 
The prologue was exactly that, however after that I found it difficult to get into. I’m not entirely sure why but it took me a while to get used to the writing style, I couldn’t quite connect with any of the characters, but I was interested where the plot was going so I persevered and I am so glad I did. About a quarter to a third of the way through, in the turn of a page, my mind completely changed. It became everything I was expecting, and from that moment on, I couldn’t have finished it faster (unless reading by some osmosis-like absorption). There was a certain fact that kept being repeated on almost every page, and while this drove me to insanity at the start, it all culminated to one moment that was one of the biggest laughs in the book.
 
Blake and Rake are twins, both rich and living the dream bachelor lifestyle, sleeping with many women until their mum needs help, then it’s Blake alone to the rescue (because Rake is terrible). However his mum isn’t happy with Blake and sets him to work to teach him a lesson. While it took me a while to warm to Blake, once I did, I was almost head over heels. He was much more sensitive than I imagined. The scene when he was ill was quite hilarious, obvious illness isn’t generally thought of to be funny, but if you read it I’m sure you will be laughing as well.
 
Natalie was a bit judgemental at first and also a bit mysterious, but while obviously it’s not really nice to judge before you know someone, she isn’t the first and won’t be the last, especially about a subject she is blatantly passionate about so I can’t hold it against her.
 
The rest of the cast all add to the lovely warm humour of this book, and none more so than Garrett, who was the perfect character you love to hate. His cruel yet self-entitled demeanour made me smile massive amounts, I would love to get inside that character’s mind more, if only to cheer me up on a gloomy day.
 
I’m so pleased that I didn’t miss out on this warm, laugh out loud book and I cannot wait to read the sequel so that we get to know more about the terrible Rake as he sounds more troublesome than Blake, who sounds quite sensible in comparison.
 
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Published by: Piatkus
Gratefully received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
 
View Book on Goodreads
Order on: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Book Depository
 

Extract:

Natalie Lane watched the rented truck cover the last half mile to Heartbreak and was not impressed. This would be the first of what promised to be weeks of awful days, and not for the first time she wondered why she didn’t give up, give in, and get lost. Follow half the town out of town. Let Sweetheart die.
 
Not even if he stuck a gun in my ear. Because it wasn’t the town, it was never the town, it was always the people. Well. Most of the people. Garrett Hobbes, for example, could fuck right off. The world needed more golf courses like a diabetic needed a glucose drip.
 
The truck passed the last gate and pulled up between the farmhouse and Barn Main. The engine quit and she could see him in the driver’s seat, moving his hands, and was he . . . ? Was he patting the steering wheel? In a well done, mighty steedway? Yes. Yes he was.
 
Self-congratulation must run in that family, she mused.Oh, and look at this. He remembered to kick out the ladder this time.Too bad. She’d have loved to see him on his ass in the dirt. Again.
 
“It’s you!” he said as he hopped down, having the balls-out nerve to sound excited. Except where did she get off ? Before she knew who he was, she’d have been happy to see him, too. If anything, she was more pissed because she had liked him on short acquaintance. What if he’d never seen her in her other life? When would she have found out his terrible truth? Their first date? Their first month–aversary? Their wedding night?
 
Wedding night? Jeez, Natalie, get a grip.
 
“Hello again.” He stuck out his hand, which she definitely didn’t notice was large and looked strong, especially in contrast to her own teeny paws. Nor did she notice he had big hands and, as a glance at his shoes told her, big feet, and she definitely didn’t form a theory about his dick based solely on his sizeable mitts. She also didn’t notice how his smile took years from his face, or how his pricey clothes beautifully set off those long legs and wide shoulders, that  the color of his crisp button-down shirt was the same color as his dark blue eyes, that his tan slacks
 
(slacks? Seriously? Slacks?)
 
fit like they were made for him
 
(of course they were; guy’s probably got a fleet of tailors stashed somewhere)
 
and that his swimmer’s shoulders made his waist appreciably narrow in contrast.
 
He was still holding out his hand, and she gave it a brief listless shake, the limp kind with the bare tips of her fingers. “You’re late.”
 
 
Make sure you check out the other hosts on this tour
(click picture below for bigger version)
 
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Blueprints by Barbara Delinsky

I am happy to be taking part in the Blueprints Blog Tour, please check out the other bloggers listed on the poster below!

blueprintsSynopsis

Jamie MacAfee’s life is almost perfect. She’s sure she loves her fiancée, even if she hasn’t quite worked out why she won’t set a wedding date and she certainly adores her job, working as an architect on their family home renovation show. Meanwhile, her beloved mother Caroline has built up her confidence after a painful divorce, working closely alongside her daughter as the very successful host of Gut It!. Everything is going to plan, until the lives of both women are changed overnight.
 
When the TV channel plan to replace Caroline with Jamie as the show’s host, Caroline is left feeling horribly betrayed – and old in the eyes of the world. Then tragedy strikes, leaving Jamie guardian to her small, orphaned step-brother and fiancée to a man who doesn’t want the child.
 
Who am I? Both women ask, as the blueprints they’ve built their lives around break down. While loyalties shift, decisions hover, and new relationships tempt, it’s time to find out what they really want – and where their future lies…

Review

I’ve never read anything by Barbara Delinsky before, but her books have always caught my eye and I’ve always thought ‘one day’ and I was happy to be given the opportunity to read and review her newest book Blueprints. The plot sounded emotive and just the type of story, similar to those that I love from the likes of Diane Chamberlain and others.
After a brief intro to the TV show ‘Gut It’, we’re introduced properly to Jamie as she meets with her father, Roy. He breaks the news that it’s been decided that Caroline, Jamie’s mum will not host the show. Jamie is unhappy about this and the drama unfolds from there. Most of the time, I found myself absorbed into the story, however about a third of the way in, I found it a bit too slow paced and my interest waned. However, this didn’t last long and as soon as Jamie finds Chip, a new friend to help her with her new found motherhood, things picked up again.
It was great to read two viewpoints, both Jamie’s and Caroline’s. Hearing Caroline’s reaction to her being replaced was fascinating, how her upset turned into doubt, and accusatory tones towards her daughter and best friend Jamie. It was understandable, but at the same time frustrating, you know she’s completely wrong, and while Jamie could have done things slightly differently, ultimately, I can’t claim I would have done different. As I said though, I can understand why Caroline was suspicious.
I think because I am about the same age as Jamie, I can relate a lot more to her than I could Caroline. At times Caroline frustrated me, not just over the initial mistrust of Jamie, but seemingly  her stubbornness in keeping the tension between them. It felt that Jamie was trying so hard at times, especially with everything else going on. There were a few other things that I wasn’t sure about with Caroline’s story arc, and I do feel it’s more than likely because of the age difference between Caroline and I. Ask me in about 25 years and then I’ll let you know how I feel and understand her then.
The other characters were all really well written. Brad was utterly infuriating, it was hard to imagine why Jamie had ever gone out with him, they were chalk and cheese. Chip was charming, as was Dean. I really, really liked Samantha, and while she would have had no reason to turn up earlier in the book, I wish I had got to know her better.
Overall I enjoyed this book, it had a cute epilogue that I really enjoyed and I was utterly enthralled to see where Jamie’s story would end. This at heart is a book about family, and what it means by overcoming obstacles, and getting over the hurt we can unintentionally cause.
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Published by: Piatkus
Gratefully received from the Publisher for review
View Book on Goodreads
Order on: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Book Depository

BlueprintsBlogTourposter

The Liar by Nora Roberts

WeekofDeceit

TheLiarSynopsis

When her husband Richard dies in a freak accident, Shelby Pomeroy is devastated. But his death reveals a horrible truth – Richard was a liar and a cheat. Now Shelby is left with the consequences – huge, terrifying debts and mounting proof that her late husband betrayed her in every conceivable way.
 
Heart-broken but unbowed, Shelby is determined to fix her problems – if only for the sake of her gorgeous little daughter Callie. Returning home to Tennessee and the family she thought she’d lost for ever, she discovers a new sense of strength and freedom. And hope, too, in the handsome form of carpenter Griffin Lott – a straight-dealing man who couldn’t lie to her if he tried.
 
But not everyone is thrilled to see Shelby Pomeroy back in town. And when a shocking act of violence is traced back to Richard’s shady business, it becomes clear that she is not safe from him, even in death. With her life in danger, Shelby must face the lies of the past – or lose everything.