Book Review: Return to the Little French Guesthouse by Helen Pollard

Return To The Little French Guesthouse

Book 30 in my Goodreads Reading Challenge is Return to the Little French Guesthouse by Helen Pollard.

‘When Emmy Jamieson leaves her life behind and moves to La Cour des Roses, a gorgeous guesthouse amidst vineyards in France, everything is resting on her success as the new guesthouse manager.

Looming in the calendar is the biggest booking ever, when the entire eccentric, demanding Thomson family will descend for a golden wedding anniversary. With airbeds on the floor and caravans in the garden, La Cour des Roses will be bursting at the seams.

Emmy knows she’s up to the challenge, especially with the support of the gorgeous Alain, the half-French, half-English, caramel-eyed accountant. But she hadn’t counted on a naked, sleepwalking travel blogger, or the return of owner Rupert’s venomous ex-wife Gloria.

Gloria has a few things to say about Emmy’s new role, Rupert’s finances, and the unsuspecting Alain, which send everybody reeling. Just when Emmy can see a future for herself of endless sunshine, true love and laughter, are her dreams about to be ripped at the seams?’ (Thanks Amazon!)

As you will be aware, I read The Little French Guesthouse (My review can be found here) a while ago, and so was excited to read Return to the Little French Guesthouse, the second novel in this series.  I loved both Emmy and Rupert, and so was more than happy to find out what happened to them next, particularly given the setting they could be found in.  La Coeur de Roses is a beautiful little French guesthouse that Emmy is determined to put on the map following her own stay there.  After bonding with Rupert during her initial visit, he asks her to join him in running the guesthouse following the departure of his wife Gloria.  This is where we join the story, as Emmy gives her life in England for the sunnier, beautiful climate of France.  A certain handsome half French, half English accountant may also have influenced her decision!

This novel did not disappoint, with its glorious setting, the description of some amazing food and wine, and lovely characters that you can’t help but like (well maybe not Gloria!).  I’m already looking forward to reading the next in the series, Summer at the Little French Guesthouse.

Rating: 📖 📖 📖 📖

Book Review: The Next Always by Nora Roberts

The Next Always

Book number 29 in my Goodreads Reading Challenge is The Next Always by Nora Roberts.

‘The historic hotel in Boonsboro has endured war and peace, changing hands, even rumored hauntings. Now it’s getting a major facelift from the Montgomery brothers and their eccentric mother. Beckett is the architect of the family, and his social life consists mostly of talking shop over pizza and beer. But there’s another project he’s got his eye on: the girl he’s been waiting to kiss since he was fifteen.
After losing her husband and returning to her hometown, Clare Brewster soon settles into her life as the mother of three young sons while running the town’s bookstore. Busy, with little time for romance, Clare is drawn across the street by Beckett’s transformation of the old inn, wanting to take a closer look . . . at the building and the man behind it.
With the grand opening inching closer, Beckett’s happy to give Clare a private tour – one room at a time. It’s no first date, but these stolen moments are the beginning of something new – and open the door to the extraordinary adventure of what comes next.’ (Thanks Amazon!)

I have had this book for a really long time…I clearly bought it based on the blurb, because since purchasing it I haven’t read it as I didn’t find the cover enthralling enough.  Well as we all know, never judge a book by its cover!  I loved this book! It’s a typical American romance, but the characters are really lovely – I wanted to know more about each of their back stories.  The central love story was subtle and realistic, even despite the addition of the supernatural!  As for setting, well I want to visit Boonsboro and I want to stay in that Inn with it’s beautifully crafted literature lovers themed rooms!

The set up for the remaining novels in the Inn Boonsboro trilogy was obvious but not unwanted.  These two novels now find themselves on my wishlist, and I will be reading them when i’m in need of a little light romance.  So if that’s what you’re looking for – a little romance, well rounded, good characters and a beautiful setting then this series may be for you!

Rating: 📖 📖 📖 📖

Book Review: The Heat Is On by Poppy J. Anderson

The Heat Is On

Book 28 in my Goodreads Reading Challenge is The Heat Is On by Poppy J. Anderson.

‘When Hayden’s fiancé breaks off their engagement, Hayden’s whole world falls apart. After all, she has loved Heath Fitzpatrick since they were children. Though she can hardly believe he really wants the breakup, she picks up the pieces of her life and tries to accept the new situation.
But her efforts are thwarted time and again by the rest of the Fitzpatrick clan, who have always been part of her life—and who are notorious for being outspoken, persistent, and downright meddlesome. None of Heath’s siblings are above adding their own two cents. Or twenty.
Even Heath himself, a daring firefighter, seems to be having trouble adjusting to his new single life. So how in the world is Hayden supposed to move on, forget the plans they made for the future, and get Heath off her mind? And even more difficult—she’ll need to banish him from her heart, forever.’ (Thanks Amazon!)

The Heat Is On is the first book in the Boston 5 series. Very unlike me, I have actually started a series with the first book!  So the Fitzpatrick siblings are all heroes in their own right…doctors, firefighters, police officers.  This first novel focuses on firefighter Heath and his ex-fiancee Hayden.  Hayden has been a part of the Fitzpatrick clan for as long as she can remember, following the death of her father.  Following the death of Heath’s father, her relationship with Heath breaks down, with him ending it abruptly with no warning.  He won’t listen to her, he won’t listen to his work colleagues and he certainly won’t listen to his family.  This novel is about his struggle with grief and the loss of his father, with a love story intertwined despite his best attempts to thwart it.

I wasn’t too sure what I thought of this novel at the beginning: Heath just seemed like he was being ridiculous shutting out everyone he loved, and I felt that Hayden was a little wet. However as the novel progressed I found myself really starting to feel for Heath, and understanding what it was he thought he was doing.  I also began to sympathise with Hayden, who had had everything she knew ripped from her in a moment.

This is a lovely novel, which dealt with both love and grief in a sensitive manner.  It wasn’t entirely what I expected, but I will be reading more in the Boston 5 series!

Rating: 📖 📖 📖 📗

Book Review: The Little Bookshop of Promises by Debbie Macomber

The Little Bookshop of Promises

So book number 27 in my Goodreads Reading Challenge is The Little Bookshop of Promises by Debbie Macomber.

Somewhere between a car accident and a divorce, Annie Applegate stopped believing in happy endings.

Now, she just wants to disappear. And the tiny town of Promise fits the bill. With its winding streets and melting-pot of residents, it’s the perfect place for Annie to hide away and open the bookshop she always dreamed of owning.

Until her new-found peace and quiet is disturbed by Lucas, a widower who rivals Annie as the most cynical person in town.

With his troubled past and precocious children, Lucas is the last person she should be getting involved with. But when he asks for her help, Annie comes to realise that, maybe, going it alone isn’t the solution after all…‘ (Thanks Amazon!)

Firstly I would like to say that I did not choose this novel because it’s based in a small American town.   In this instance, that was just a by-product! I of course chose this book because it was set in a bookshop – if I can’t have my own bookshop then I shall read about lots of fictional characters who are allowed one!

This novel is not exactly what I expected.  If i’m entirely honest, I may not have picked it up if it hadn’t appeared to be about a bookshop.  That is not to say that I didn’t enjoy it, I just felt like it was missing something.  I even wish I could tell you what it was missing but I can’t.  I liked Annie a lot, and I really felt for Lucas and his beautiful children.  However I didn’t really feel that this novel was about them.  There were so many characters involved in this novel that I initially thought that it was part of a series, and i’d missed the first couple of books.

I really don’t want to be too negative though – this book was sweet, and I did enjoy all the interlinking stories of the residents of Promise.  Give it a try!

Rating: 📖 📖 📖

Book Review: Mischief in Montana by Pamela Kelley

Mischief in Montana

Book 26 in my Goodreads Reading Challenge is Mischief in Montana by Pamela Kelley.

‘Travis Jones has been in love with Isabella Graham for what seems like forever, but he’s never done anything about it, especially since his best friend Christian was dating her. But now that Christian is married to someone else, Travis is finally ready to make his move.

But Isabella has no idea how Travis feels. She thinks of him as her bossy friend and an attorney that she does a lot of work with. She would like to date Aidan who just moved back to town after living in NYC for many years as a celebrated artist. Aidan seems somewhat interested but is hard to read, making him that much more of a challenge…and has Travis wondering if he even has a chance. But he isn’t going to give up trying.

Add in Missy, a new bubbly blonde realtor that Isabella has to train, and her conniving, fake Southern Belle cousin Bethany, who is newly divorced and has set her eyes on Travis, and Isabella has quite a lot to deal with!’ (Thanks Amazon!)

So I picked this book, not realising that I had already read the first book in the series, Six Months in Montana.  This was a nice surprise, as I had already been introduced to a number of the characters.  As you all know, I enjoy reading a series where I get to learn more about other characters.  If i’m honest Isabella wasn’t at all how I expected her to be – I felt that she had been portrayed very differently in the first novel.  Admittedly, as this is the third book in the series I may have missed some important information about her, but until I read the second book i’ll never know!

I felt that a bits of the storyline were nice and believable (like fancying the wrong man, when the right man is right in front of you – we’ve all done that), and we’ve met people like cousin Bethany who will attempt to get what they want at any cost.  Isabella isn’t weak or stupid though, so don’t think that before picking up this novel.  She’s a strong woman just looking to cement her place in the world.  So the characters tick the boxes.

Setting – I love small-town America romances, so also a positive.  Not much more to say on that one for me!

If you are looking for an easy read romance, where you know how it ends but that’s part of the charm then this is a good book for you.  Let me know what you think!

Rating: 📖 📖 📖 📗

Book Review: Home Front by Kristin Hannah

Home Front

So book 25 in my Goodreads Reading Challenge is Home Front by Kristin Hannah.

‘From a distance, Michael and Jolen Zarkades seem to have it all: a solid dependable marriage, exciting careers and children they adore. But after twelve blissful years together, the couple has lost their way. They are unhappy and edging towards divorce. Then an unexpected deployment tears their already fragile family apart, sending one of them deep into harm’s way and leaving the other at home, caring for the children and waiting for news. When the worst happens, each must face their darkest fear and fight for the future of their family.’ (Thanks Amazon)

I don’t even know where to start with this novel.  I usually love novels that are based around World War II, so this was a little different for me.  This is a modern novel about a modern couple unexpectedly caught up in a modern war.  Michael and Jolen Zarkades have loved each other throughout their solid marriage, and have created a family of their own.  However grief has caused a wedge to grow between them, and at a defining moment in their marriage they find themselves torn apart as Jolen finds herself on the frontline in Iraq, leaving behind her a broken marriage and two daughters fighting to find their own place in the world without their mother.

This is a story about love and loss: the love between lovers, the love between friends and what it might mean to lose that love.  It’s a story about strength and hope, and about fear and weakness.

I loved this novel – I didn’t know what to expect, and I didn’t know which route this story would take but I loved it.  It is heart wrenching and tragic, with only the faintest hint of hope shining through, but shine through it did.  Reading a novel based around an event that is so recent in modern history gave a realness to this story.  The characters were deep, flawed and authentic.  I wanted to know their back stories and what caused them to act the way that they did.  I also wanted to know what would happen to them, I wanted to know how their story would end.  I can’t recommend this novel enough – let me know what you thought.

Rating: 📖 📖 📖 📖 📗


Book Review: Cowboys Don’t Cry byAnne McAllister

Cowboys Don't Cry

Book 24 in my Goodreads Reading Challenge is Cowboys Don’t Cry by Anne McAllister.

‘When Wyoming cowboy Robert Tanner promised to help out the new owner of the Three Bar C, he didn’t expect to have to teach a city girl schoolteacher how to run a ranch. Worse, Maggie MacLeod was a beautiful feisty redhead with flashing eyes and kissable lips — a woman who could tempt a saint.

Tanner was far from a saint. He didn’t do permanent, he didn’t do relationships. The smart thing would be to leave. But a man was only as good as his word. Trouble was, the longer he stayed, the more Maggie got under his skin…’ (Thanks Amazon!)

Cowboys Don’t Cry is the first in the Tanner Brothers series.  The chick lit continues for Chapter and Cake…I enjoy a cowboy romance, and this one fit the bill.  Tanner is a troubled cowboy who has run away from his past to run the Three Bar C ranch.  He loves his job, but he finds himself in a compromising position when Maggie MacLeod leaves the city to take over running the ranch.  Whilst teaching Maggie the ropes, Tanner finds himself falling for her, despite promising himself a long time ago that he would never fall in love again.

This was another easy read that I flew through – a story about two people who meet but cannot be together until they have worked through some issues.  I enjoyed the read, although if I am entirely honest I may not rush to pick up the next in there series.  It was an easy, enjoyable read, but it did not leave me wanting more.

Rating: 📖 📖 📖