From Notting Hill to New York… Actually – Ali McNamara

Notting hill to new york actually

“Scarlett O’Brien, utterly addicted to romantic films, has found her leading man. She’s convinced Sean is Mr Right, but the day-to-day reality of a relationship isn’t quite like the movies. With Sean constantly away on business, Scarlett and her new best friend Oscar decide to head to New York for the holiday of a lifetime. 

From one famous landmark to the next, Scarlett and Oscar make many new friends during their adventure – including sailors in town for Fleet Week, a famous film star, and Jamie and Max, a TV reporter and cameraman. Scarlett finds herself strangely drawn to Jamie, they appear to have much in common: a love of films and Jamie’s search for a parent he never knew. But Scarlett has to ask herself why she is reacting like this to another man when she’s so in love with Sean . . .”

I really enjoyed the first book From Notting Hill With Love… Actually (review here) so I was very much looking forward to the next part of Scarlett’s story.

Scarlett’s life with Sean didn’t appear to be what she thought it would be; although they still had great chemistry I think she had started to get bored with the mundane day-to-day reality of the relationship.   I loved them as a couple so I felt rather concerned about her feelings and I hoped it would be something they could work out.

When Scarlett arrived in New York I could almost feel her excitement about the trip.  Oscar played an even bigger part this time and I was thrilled about that because I thoroughly enjoyed his contribution to the last book.  He was such a wonderful character and I found it so easy to visualise him in his colourful attire.  I particularly enjoyed his crazy behaviour at the sailor party they attended.

A mysterious brooch was the starting point for her whole adventure and once again Scarlett found herself in all sorts of tricky situations, some of my favourite moments included: a misunderstanding at the TV studio, hairy fun at the Empire State Building, a hangover that revealed an unwelcome surprise, a tense picnic in the park and a fantastic treasure hunt!

There were so many laughs and although I guessed what the twist would be quite early on in the book I still enjoyed the journey to get there.  I ended the book with a great big ‘awwwwww’ because it was such a romantic moment and I hope for more from these characters in the future.

This was action-packed, fun and romantic. Another hit from Ali McNamara!

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From Notting Hill With Love… Actually – Ali McNamara

With love actually

“She was just a girl, standing in front of a boy . . . wishing he looked more like Hugh Grant. 

Scarlett loves the movies. But does she love sensible fiancé David just as much? With a big white wedding on the horizon, Scarlett really should have decided by now . . . 

When she has the chance to house-sit in Notting Hill – the setting of one of her favourite movies – Scarlett jumps at the chance. But living life like a movie is trickier than it seems, especially when her new neighbour Sean is so irritating. And so irritatingly handsome, too. 

Scarlett soon finds herself starring in a romantic comedy of her very own: but who will end up as the leading man?”

This was one of those books that I had heard lots of good things about but never actually got round to reading it, well I’ve finally read it and this is what I thought…

When I first met Scarlett she had just arrived in London where she was pretty much expecting to walk into a scene from her favourite movie Notting Hill.  Her excitement at seeing buildings and roads that she recognised from the film really made me smile.  It wasn’t long before she bumped into a grumpy Londoner and an absolutely fabulous character called Oscar who I liked instantly.

I loved the clever way in which the author described the events that led to Scarlett going to London, the tale was beautifully woven into the storyline in a conversational manner that captivated me as much as it did Oscar!  I must admit that Scarlett’s fiance David wasn’t painted in the best light and I really struggled to like him even if I did feel a bit sorry for him sometimes.

Scarlett was a lovely character, I’m a bit of a daydreamer myself so I could definitely relate to that side of her personality.  During her quest to live out some of her favourite movie scenes she somehow got thrown together with her London neighbour Sean.  I loved the irritation that sparked between them to begin with and even though their friendship was a little predictable at times I still found myself surprised by some of the moments in between.

There were some wonderful scenes in France, my favourite being Scarlett’s time in Disneyland Paris because it brought back so many memories of my own trip there.  The author successfully teased my imagination with her descriptive writing so that I could almost imagine I was there alongside Scarlett!

I laughed out loud a fair few times whilst reading this book but towards the end I also found my eyes filling with tears as the storyline became sentimental and touching.  The final pages were incredible and so much better than I had expected, I can’t wait to read the sequel From Notting Hill to New York… Actually which is currently sat on my bookshelf waiting for its turn to be read :).

This was a fabulous read – romantic escapism at its very best!

From Notting Hill With Love… Actually can be purchased from The Book DepositoryAmazon or from most good book retailers.

To find out more about Ali McNamara:

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Breakfast at Darcy’s – Ali McNamara


This was another book that caught me with it’s cover and another book that I simply couldn’t put down until I had finished.

Darcy’s Aunt Molly passes away and being the only family member left Darcy inherits her rather large estate.  Darcy had no idea that her Aunt had so much money and even less idea that she also owned a small island off the west coast of Ireland called Tara.  In Aunt Molly’s will it states that to fully inherit Darcy must move to the island and set up a new community of at least fifteen people for a whole year.  Darcy has no idea why her Aunt wants her to do this but as things aren’t going great with her current life she decides to go for it.

There are many obstacles to cross and issues to resolve but Darcy tackles them all head on with the help of a group of people who have joined her on the journey.  This book is packed with love, lies and heartbreak and the secrets that the island holds had me hooked to the very end.

I absolutely loved the idea of this story, to move to an island that belongs to you and pretty much start a new life sounds really magical (hard work but still magical).  I found myself wishing that I could move to Tara and join in with the adventure.  The characters were interesting and likeable especially Darcy and the two main male characters, Conor and Dermot, who for some reason don’t exactly get along.

As always I tried to predict how this book would end and on this occasion my predictions were right, although there were quite a few events and revelations that I really didn’t expect or predict.

This is a heart-warming story of rediscovery and romance that captivated me from start to finish.  I look forward to reading more from Ali McNamara.