The Last Piece Of My Heart by Paige Toon

Synopsis

A successful travel journalist, Bridget has ambitions to turn her quirky relationship blog about the missing pieces of her heart into a book. But after a spate of rejections from publishers, she accepts an alternative proposition.
 
Nicole Dupré died leaving behind a bestselling novel and an incomplete sequel. Tasked with finishing the book, Bridget is thankful to have her foot in the publishing door, even if it means relocating to Cornwall for the summer and answering to Nicole’s grieving husband, Charlie

Review

If you have read a review of mine of Paige’s books, or spoken to me about books for more than 5 minutes, you probably know I adore Paige’s books. So there is never any doubt in my mind that I will enjoy any new books she puts out, the question is can she beat my favourite of hers, Chasing Daisy? Paige’s last book ‘The One We Fell in Love With’ was certainly a contender to do that, and this one has surpassed that, so the books just keep getting better and better.
 
It is wonderfully written. Binge reading at its finest. I found myself enamoured and charmed by the characters, but most of all the setting. Cornwall sounds just beautiful. Reminiscent of childhood holidays, and full idyllic vista’s, I want to go and have a long weekend there myself, though maybe avoid Hermie, while it was more charming than I could have imagined beforehand, I’m not sure I could deal with a camper van.
There is also a focus on Thailand, as it’s where the book Bridget is writing is partially set, so there is a visit there, and the resort does make Thailand seem even more exotic and dreamy than it already is.
 
Bridget was an absolute joy to read. I completely adored her. She was a lot of fun to be around, had great eclectic taste in music that featured throughout the book, and her sense of humour was fantastic. I loved how despite the initial awkwardness, she soon found her groove and her natural friendliness shone though. She always describes her boyfriend, Elliot as someone who no-one dislikes, but I think she also deals into that category. Her confidence was also something I admired about her, while obviously the negative comments on her blog would have hurt, she certainly didn’t take them to heart like I know I would.
 
Now Charlie, where does one begin? I loved him, simple as that really. I really felt for him after losing his wife. He clearly adored April and wanted what was best for her, but also struggling with grief. The relationship between him and Bridget, was great to see them become friends, Bridget helped him push himself.
 
This book is as fantastic as I had expected. I didn’t want it to end, it made me feel warm and fuzzy and also struck emotional chords as well. The book you need to put in your suitcase on your summer holiday, or just read on a lazy sunday afternoon in the sun.
 
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Published by: Simon & Schuster
Gratefully received from the Publisher for review
 
Released 18th May 2017
View Book on Goodreads
Order on: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Book Depository
 
 

A Year And A Day by Isabelle Broom

ayearandadaySynopsis 

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…

Review

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!
 
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Published by: Michael Joseph 
Gratefully received from the Publisher for review
 
View Book on Goodreads
Order on: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Book Depository
 
 
 
 

How to Find Your (First) Husband by Rosie Blake

howtofindyourfirsthusbandSynopsis

Isobel Graves moved to LA determined to be the Next Big Thing. Instead, she is dressed as a giant prawn handing out fliers promoting a fish market. Rather than attending glamorous parties and dating exciting men, her evenings consist of watching box sets with her sort-of boyfriend, whose idea of romance is a late-night drunken text.
 
Where did it all go wrong?
 
When Isobel catches sight of Andrew Parker, her childhood sweetheart, in the background of a TV news story she feels it’s a sign. If she’d stuck with Andrew everything would have turned out better. Now she just needs to find him…

Review

I really enjoyed Rosie’s last book ‘How to Stuff Up Christmas’ and this one sounded even better, and I wasn’t wrong! The prologue starts in precisely the manner the book continues in, full of light hearted fun. It start at Isobel and Andrew’s wedding quite seriously, then there is a slight twist on the proceedings I certainly wasn’t expecting, and it was quite an original take on things. It made me laugh out loud for a good while, though I’m not sure Isobel would take quite the same outlook!
 
The hapless antics of Isobel and her quest to find Andrew was a great mixture of absolute fun and laughs. As you get to know Isobel and the cast of characters, I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. Even more so when the book arrives in Tioman Island, Malaysia also known as paradise! I swear authors only set books in these lovely places so they can go on exotic holidays, all in the name of research. Not that I blame them!
 
Isobel hasn’t completed her goals after moving to L.A. and it is stuck in her mind that if she had stuck with Andrew, her life would be better. Hence her adventure to find him to find out once and for all. This is hugely admirable, but equally a bit of a mad idea.
 
Despite the plan being a bit stalker-like,you can’t help but fall in love with Isobel’s character. She is incredibly funny, especially her inner monologue. At one point she is questioned how she knows Andrew, and debates with herself how she was tempted to say ‘I’m his wife’ . When explained it doesn’t seem so funny, but in full context it really made me laugh. It’s moments like that which kept me smiling throughout.
 
Isobel’s best friend Mel is really funny too, especially when she is giving all the juicy details of her sex life to Isobel, who is far from keen on hearing it. Mel and Isobel’s chemistry together is great, even though through much of the book they are thousands of miles apart.
 
Andrew was a surprise in one way. Isobel built so much hype round him, I was expecting to be won over at some point in the book, but it shows Isobel hasn’t seen him in a long time, because when we do meet him, he doesn’t seem as fun-loving like Isobel and just didn’t seem into 90% of the conversations they had. I did like his friend Duncan though, he seemed a great laugh.
Zeb in complete contrast to Andrew really stood out. I loved his personality, and the way he teased Isobel, even if she didn’t always appreciate it.
 
This book was absolutely fantastic. Fun and light hearted, simply perfect for a summer read, or on holiday when escaping Britain’s cooler weather.
  
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Published by: Corvus
Gratefully received from the Publisher for review
 
View Book on Goodreads
Order on: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Book Depository
 

Why I Love…New York

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I think I am literally the living, breathing version of the famous ‘I love New York’ campaign, made most famous by the I Heart NY logo. There is no place I’ve visited that I love more. Not even Disneyworld, which is the obvious choice if you know me. I first visited NY in October 2000 with my school’s Art trip. My first flight ever was 3 hours delayed, but eventually we got there and to our room at about midnight (so 5am UK time!!), after some sleep, I woke up and fell in love. This trip was amazing, and I must have gone on and on about how wonderful it was, as my mum and I visited very soon after in February 2001. While October was warm enough to just wear a Jumper, February was cold, and on the last full day there it started snowing, which was simply a magical end to the trip.

After that, other than planning dream vacations online, flying first class and staying at The Plaza, I didn’t visit New York again (which I realise I am incredibly lucky to have been there multiple times) till February 2010 with my Fiancé, Simon. It was our first holiday outside of Europe, and I couldn’t have been more excited to show him my favourite place on earth. We got the train into Manhattan, and threw our bags in the hotel room, barely stepping foot in it, so we could get the most of our time there. We visited all the landmarks, wandered around central Park in the sunny but chilly weather, with small patches of snow around us. It was just perfect, Simon even let me go to the Engagement Ring floor in Tiffany’s and naturally I zoned onto the only pink diamond in the room. Bit out of our budget at $400,000 (excluding tax), but can you blame me for dreaming ;). On the last day we visited the Museum of Modern Art and saw an exhibit from Tim Burton, featuring models from Nightmare before Christmas, Concept artwork, even a picture book he wrote as a child, it was fascinating!

 nyskyline_park   nyskyline_park

 

2013 was an unexpected trip to New York. A school friend of Simon’s who now lives in America was getting married and we were invited to the ceremony in Amherst, Massachusetts which is a couple of hours drive away from NY, so Simon and I decided to stay in NY for 3 days, drive to Amherst for the wedding and celebrations then head back to NY to catch our flight. Quickly arranged but even though we didn’t get to do much compared to the previous trips, this might just be my favourite one. I FINALLY got to go up the Empire State Building at night (something we planned to do in 2010 but never managed it – long story). We were a little tipsy after an amazing meal at our favourite steakhouse (evidence provided with the photos below) and it was an unplanned trip up there, so I didn’t have my camera, but, actually, I wouldn’t change it for the world, blurry iPhone photos and all. Simon and I have such fond memories of this trip. I could go on for days about it.

Me_ny     Simon_ny

 

New York is just beyond special. Central Park is beautiful, and beyond the trees, you can see the city that lays past its boundaries, it would be the perfect place to just sit and read all day in the summer. The shopping is obviously fantastic, but I just love wandering down the avenues and streets and looking at the architecture. I love the bustling and the busyness that embodies New York. Every time I visit places I’ve visited before while there, there is always something new that I notice. It’s just perfection for me, and given a choice, there is no place on Earth I would rather be and there will be more to look forward to, as Simon proposed to me recently, and what better place to get married than New York?

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Recommended Reading:

iheartny     charmbracelet     ShopaholicAbroad

I Heart…New York by Lindsey Kelk
The Charm Bracelet by Melissa Hill
Shopaholic Abroad by Sophie Kinsella

 

 willyoustillloveme     fixyou     fromnottinghillNY

Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? by Claudia Carroll
Fix You by Carrie Elks
From Notting Hill To New York…Actually by Ali Mcnamara