Blog Tour: Summer’s Lease by Carrie Elks


Cesca Shakespeare has hit rock bottom. After one prize-winning play that ended in disaster, writer’s block turned up, moved in and got a Netflix subscription. Six years later, she’s just lost her crappy job and is about to lose her flat. Worse still, her sisters have no idea how far she’s fallen. So when her fairy Godfather offers her a free summer holiday in a beautiful Italian villa, she grudgingly agrees to try writing a new play. That’s before she finds out the house belongs to her arch-nemesis, Sam Carlton.
Having just hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons – again – Hollywood heart-throb Sam Carlton needs a place to hide out. Where better than his family’s gorgeous empty villa on Lake Como? Except when he arrives, it isn’t as empty as he’d hoped.


It seems like ages since Carrie’s last novel ‘Fix You’ was released so I was excited when I saw that this book was releasing this summer. It sounded exotic, excitingly romantic and the ultimate book to relax with in summer.
The opening scene is in London where Cesca gets fired from another job, mind you maybe a cat café isn’t the best place for waitressing when you’re not an animal person, but most of us have had a job we’ve had to take for money, while looking for something else I’m sure. Anyway she manages to get a job house sitting a villa for the Carltons, who are quite a famous family. The start of the book is quite humorous when Cesca is talking to her cat café boss but you soon start to feel for Cesca when you realise there is some deeper than just laziness or uselessness at keeping a job.
The book is mostly set in Italy though on the aforementioned house sitting job. Near Lake Como, it truly sounded one of the most relaxing places on earth. You could easily waste away a week in one of the café’s, piazza’s or anywhere by the lake, even better on a private beach at the end of your luxury villa. Add that with the friendly and kind locals, the rustic and delicious food and of course the local wine, and you have yourself the perfect summer destination, and it’s so easy to imagine yourself there with Cesca. One of the best things I liked about the books is the ability to transport you anywhere with just words, and this book does it incredibly well.
Cesca was certainly a feisty character, never scared to let you know how she felt. As it happens she was also quite insecure, and while she had every reason to be mad at Sam, her extreme reaction was a clearly a reaction that masked her annoyance at herself as much as Sam, if not more, but then you’re always your own worst critic aren’t you? When relaxed though, you could see Cesca was lots of fun, and her exchanges with Sam while they were sparring were great to read, as was the scene where she had too much to drink and Sam found her.
Sam was obviously handsome and fairly self assured, not in the arrogant way Cesca accused him of. He was also sensitive though, especially with family so it was easy to like him. However I felt at times he was far too possessive at times, I don’t always like people telling people ‘You’re Mine’, it can be romantic, but the tone in which it sounded was like Cesca was a possession, not a human, meant to be loved in return as well. Generally though, Sam was incredibly likeable if you over-look this.
Christiano was charming as well, but at times he came across as too enthusiastic, though maybe it was just me. He was very passionate, and the attention he lavished on Cesca would embarrass me, as I don’t like to be the centre of attention to that extent, but that’s a personal thing, and maybe if I met someone like him, I would like to be told how amazing I am.
This book was definitely a summer scorcher. It’s got lots of fun moments, with just enough drama that makes you want to keep turning pages long after this book is finished. The epilogue is the picture of perfection, just like ‘Fix You’, which also had one of my favourite epilogues, this one’s ending satisfied my appetite to know what happens to our hero and heroine.
Published by: Piatkus
Gratefully received from the Publisher for review
Released on July 15th 2017

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Thank you to Carrie and Piatkus for letting me participate in this fantastic blog
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A Year And A Day by Isabelle Broom


For Megan, a winter escape to Prague with her friend Ollie is a chance to find some inspiration for her upcoming photography exhibition. But she’s determined to keep their friendship from becoming anything more. Because if Megan lets Ollie find out about her past, she risks losing everything – and she won’t let that happen again…
For Hope, the trip is a surprise treat from Charlie, her new partner. But she’s struggling to enjoy the beauty of the city when she knows how angry her daughter is back home. And that it’s all her fault…
For Sophie, the city has always been a magical place. This time she can’t stop counting down the moments until her boyfriend Robin joins her. But in historic Prague you can never escape the past…


I was really excited to read this book because I had heard rave reviews about ‘My Map of You’ but I resisted reading for a few months because I was visiting Prague so I thought I would read it a week or two so it was fresh in my mind and so I could get even more excited for my few days away.
The setting of Prague was perfectly described in loving detail. Before visiting myself, I almost knew the place. Prague is a very pretty city and Isabelle gets that across, it’s clear she loves the city, and I can see why. It’s great to see a book set in a location I’ve never read about before, a breath of fresh air. You completely felt the city, the atmosphere, the chill of the snow which gives it a slight magical feel and the romance of it all.
I loved the multiple, intertwining  storylines. Each character was different so they probably wouldn’t socialise in any other situation, but they made great friends, and looked out for each other in times of need.
Out of all 3 main characters I think that I related to Megan the most. Probably because Simon and I are around the same age as her and Ollie, and the activities that they got hip to sounds exactly like what Simon and I enjoy on holiday as well. Sight-seeing, random wandering and lazy afternoons in a bar. However at times Megan was incredibly frustrating with her denial of feelings with Ollie and fear of commitment. Ollie was such a genuinely nice person, it’s beyond me how she could have resisted, even despite her issues.
Hope and Charlie’s storyline had me humming and aching if I liked Charlie or not. Sure he was charming, but almost too charming, you know? Something came off as slightly controlling at times, but other times he seemed completely genuine. I did love this part of the story as well though. The couples dynamic was different to Meg and Ollie’s and my suspicion of Charlie put a different edge to it.
Sophie was more a closed book, she obviously is a bit down as she is waiting for her fiancé to join her, unfortunately he’s had to get a plane a few days later than her. Because she’s more closed, I felt like I got to know her less, but did love how her and Robin were so passionate on the outside, travel and adventure, and also how they celebrated their anniversary of meeting by visiting Prague, where they met, it was really sweet. She was very delicate, and it was understandable why the others felt protective of her.
I adored the descriptive writing, totally setting the scene for some drama, romance and emotion. Simply put, this book is intensely addicting and you need to read it to enjoy the magic for yourself. Now, I’m off to check when I can next go to Prague, as just thinking of this book wants me to pack my bags once more!
Published by: Michael Joseph 
Gratefully received from the Publisher for review
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The Little Café of Second Chances by J. D. Barrett


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…


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.
Published by: Piatkus
Gratefully received from the Publisher for review
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Miracle On 5th Avenue by Sarah Morgan


Hopeless romantic Eva Jordan loves everything about Christmas. Even if she is spending it alone housesitting a spectacular Fifth Avenue apartment. What she didn’t expect was to find the penthouse still occupied by its gorgeous–and mysterious–owner.
Bestselling crime writer Lucas Blade is having the nightmare before Christmas. With a deadline and the anniversary of his wife’s death looming, he’s isolated himself in his penthouse with only his grief for company. But when the blizzard of the century leaves Eva snowbound in his apartment, Lucas starts to open up to the magic she brings…


So until February this year, I had yet to read any of Sarah Morgan’s book, plenty of them sitting on my kindle, but while I was working my way round to them, Sarah’s ‘Manhattan in Love’ series captured my attention, if you know me there will be no surprise as to why that is. Anyway, ever since I read ‘Sleepless In Manhattan’ I am a fully fledged Sarah Morgan fan.  The cover in this book is as absolutely stunning, the colours are gorgeous and the Christmassy, twinklyness of it is just beautiful. The series has just got better and better. I really enjoyed the first two books, don’t get me wrong, but Sarah has definitely saved the best for last. Throughout the last two books, Eva has been my favourite of the three girls, so I guess it was inevitable that I would feel this way.
The absolute best thing about this book was the New York setting, and how Sarah captures the atmosphere, essence and spirit of New York in all of these three books. It provokes memories of times I’ve visited the city. Many authors write about New York, and lots do it well, but Sarah in this book has captured it the best that I remember. I would love to read some books of hers set in LA  or real life places I haven’t been to, as I am sure she would do an equally good job there.
While I said the setting was the best thing in the book, but naturally her characterisation is also fantastic. Basically everything is polished and pretty much perfection in 352 pages.
Eva is a romantic at heart, and I completely connected with her from the first book, so couldn’t wait for a whole Eva focused book. She’s actually shows quite a feisty side to her at times, which made me smile. She clearly cares for people, and wants to make them happy, even though she’s hurting inside at the loss of her gran. I simply am a bit in love with Eva.
Lucas has a lot of mystery to him, and that makes him the perfect lead. He’s also very gruff and can come across as rude and stand-offish, but the sneak peeks you get at the ‘real’ him keep you holding out hope. Infact this book was almost like a Beauty and the Beast re-telling, but more like Beauty and the Stunningly-Gorgeous-Author.
If I had to sum up this review in three words? Buy it NOW!
Published by: HQ Stories
Gratefully received from the Publisher for review
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