The One Plus One By Jojo Moyes

Published by Michael Joseph in February 2014.

One single mum

With two jobs and two children, Jess Thomas does her best day after day. But it’s hard on your own. And sometimes you take risks you shouldn’t. Because you have to . . .

One chaotic family

Jess’s gifted, quirky daughter Tanzie is brilliant with numbers, but without a helping hand she’ll never get the chance to shine. And Nicky, Jess’s teenage stepson, can’t fight the bullies alone.

Sometimes Jess feels like they’re sinking . . .

One handsome stranger

Into their lives comes Ed Nicholls, a man whose life is in chaos, and who is running from a deeply uncertain future. But he has time on his hands. He knows what it’s like to be lonely. And he wants to help . . .

One unexpected love story

The One Plus One is a captivating and unconventional romance from Jojo Moyes about two lost souls meeting in the most unlikely circumstances.”

MY REVIEW

First of all I’d like to thank the publishers for sending me a copy of this book to read and give my honest opinion.

For me the whole storyline gave off a homely feel so I found that I quickly felt comfortable with it. The characters were easy to become familiar with and this made me care about them pretty much from the start.  Jess and her family’s touching tale oozed realness and I followed their day-to-day ups and downs with interest.

Something I particularly enjoyed was the range of emotions I felt whilst reading, there were heartbreaking moments which had me in floods of tears but there were also lighter moments which had me laughing out loud!

Bullying and the effects it has on a person and those surrounding them was a prominent feature of this book for me, this was one side of the storyline which really pulled at my heartstrings and I felt that the author tackled it sensitively and with care.

My favourite part of the storyline had to be the entertaining road trip, it was so easy to visualise and had me giggling at the awkwardness of the situation.

This was a compelling read that drew me in and wouldn’t let go.

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Vets In Love by Cathy Woodman

Vets in love

“Glamorous GP Nicci (aka the galloping doctor), and Matt, the very handsome equine vet, have caught each other’s eyes. On paper it looks like a match made in heaven.

There are problems, however: Matt’s jealous ex-girlfriend being one of them. But the main trouble is Nicci’s determination to qualify for the Badminton horse trials. Because although Matt treats horses for a living, a tragedy in his past makes him terrified every time Nicci competes.

So when Nicci has a terrible accident, a devastated Matt gives her an ultimatum: it’s either him or the riding.

Nicci can’t believe he means it. But can she risk putting him to the test?”

MY REVIEW

I’ve always enjoyed the Talyton St George series by Cathy Woodman (reviews here) so I couldn’t resist buying this one!

In no time at all I was drawn in by the warm characters and rural setting. The blossoming romance was the main feature of the story but it was surrounded by the fascinating day-to-day lives of a village GP and vet.  The medical scenes were written convincingly and in such a way that I felt like I was taking part too! This was something that I particularly enjoyed.

Cathy’s relaxing writing style made this book a pleasure to read and as you’d expect from a series there was a sense of familiarity when characters from previous books made appearances.  Horse lovers will enjoy the horsey events and activities, following Nicci as she fulfills her riding ambitions. The gentle drama was just enough to keep me on my toes.

Vets In Love was another lovely read from this author, wrapping me up in the feeling of rural life beautifully.

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Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts – Lucy Dillon

lost dogs and lonely hearts

“When the abandoned strays from a local dogs’ home are matched with brand new owners, it turns out it might not just be the dogs who need rescuing.

Rachel’s aunt has left her a house, a Border Collie and, despite knowing nothing about dogs, a crowded kennels. But since her life has collapsed she’s not sure she can deal with any more lost souls.

Zoe’s ex-husband has given their children a puppy. The kids are in love, but she’s the one stuck training Toffee the impossible Labrador. She’s nearly at the end of her tether – until Toffee leads her to a handsome doctor…

Meanwhile Natalie and Johnny’s marriage hasn’t been easy since they started trying for a baby. But is a fridge-raiding, sofa-stealing Basset hound like Bertie really the child substitute they’re looking for? 

As the new owners’ paths cross on the town’s dog-walking circuits, their lives become interwoven. And they – and their dogs – learn some important lessons about loyalty, companionship and unconditional love . . .”

This was another birthday money purchase and is the first book I have read by this author – I had read a couple of good reviews for it and as you may or may not know I’m a huge animal lover so it sounded right up my street.

Rachel’s life had changed dramatically in a very short space of time so when she was sat in a solicitor’s office being told about her inheritance she was understandably a bit dazed.  She was about to enter a whole new phase in her life and a very different one at that! I must admit that I enjoyed her reaction to her new surroundings, I chuckled at her interactions with the dogs and also with the local vet George who was very abrupt (but rather handsome so we’ll forgive him ;)).

There was something about Rachel’s aunt Dot (who left her the inheritance) that was slightly mysterious but I couldn’t quite figure out what it was.  When all was revealed I have to say that it wasn’t what I was expecting at all!

Natalie and Johnny’s struggles to start a family really touched me, I felt that the author handled this sensitive issue with care and created a believable atmosphere.  Zoe was adapting to life as a single mum and once again the author carefully detailed the more difficult aspects of her life.  The characters were all strong, each one of them was as enjoyable as the other and before I knew it I found myself completely caught up in their lives.

The rescue kennels were at the heart of all the activity in the book, this was something I liked because I really got the sense of being there.  It took me back to my own experiences of volunteering at a local rescue centre and on more than one occasion I filled up with tears over the dogs and their histories.

This was a lovely read that pulled on my heart-strings, I look forward to reading more from this author.

Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts can be purchased from The Book DepositoryAmazon or from most good book retailers.

To find out more about Lucy Dillon:

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Pink Wellies and Flat Caps – Lynda Renham

Pink Wellies and Flat Caps

“Alice Lane has everything; a wonderful fiancé, a responsible job and a lovely flat in Chelsea, but after she has a bra fitting her life goes tits up.

Homeless, and with just a sparkling engagement ring as a memory of her previous life Alice accepts a live-in farm managers job and discovers that things actually can get worse.

Come with Alice as she makes her hilarious career change and struggles to cope with her moody employer, Edward. But can Alice turn her back on romance and resist the dashing Dominic or will the past come back to surprise her?”

Firstly I’d like to thank Raucous Publishing for sending me this eBook to read and give an honest review.  I previously read and loved Coconuts and Wonderbras by the same author and you can find my review of this here.  Like the previous book this had a witty and intriguing title, when I read the blurb I just knew that I would find the book interesting because of my own farming experience (I won’t go into details of that entertaining time of my life though!).

The very first sentence had me laughing out loud and that is always a good way to start a book in my opinion.  Alice was humorously shopping for bras with her friend Georgie when she received a shocking text that was set to change her life dramatically.  Her move to Cornwall was another big shock to her system – it was very different to her life in London and I found her reactions to the adjustment extremely funny!

I loved the feisty banter between Alice and Edward, they were really comical whenever they were sniping at each other.  Alice was a fantastic character who had the tendency to let her imagination run away with her and I simply loved how dramatic she was, her London friends were just as funny especially when the three of them got together – I couldn’t stop giggling at their antics.

About halfway through I was surprised to find an incredibly sad moment, I went from laughing out loud to crying buckets in just a few pages – having been through something similar this sad episode definitely touched a nerve with me.  When the story first switched to another point of view I was surprised by what was revealed and had a feeling that it would seriously complicate Alice’s new life.

There were so many fantastic parts to this book but some of my favourites included: a hilarious job interview, an outburst in the cowshed, a fun visit from Alice’s friends and a rescue mission towards the end which was highly entertaining!

This author has such a naturally fun style of writing which makes it so easy to read her books, I really struggled to put the book down and felt like I was actually part of the story – I didn’t want it to end.

This was another fantastic read from Lynda Renham, if you are looking for a book with lots of laughs then I would definitely recommend Pink Wellies and Flat Caps (even the title makes me smile :)).

Pink Wellies and Flat Caps is available now from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

To find out more about Lynda Renham you can visit her blog, follow her on Twitter or like her Facebook page.

The Sweetest Thing – Cathy Woodman

The Sweetest Thing

“Jennie Copeland thought she knew the recipe for a happy life: marriage to her university sweetheart, a nice house in the suburbs and three beautiful children.  But when her husband leaves her. she is forced to find a different recipe.  And she thinks she’s found just what she needs: a ramshackle house on the outskirts of the beautiful Talyton St George, a new cake-baking business, a dog, a horse, chickens…

But life in the country is not quite as idyllic as she’d hoped, and Jennie can’t help wondering whether neighbouring farmer Guy Barnes was right when he told her she wouldn’t last the year.

Or perhaps the problem is that she’s missing one vital ingredient to make her new life a success.  Could Guy be the person to provide it?”

I love the Talyton St George series by Cathy Woodman and although I’ve not read them in order I’ve enjoyed them nonetheless.  This was the only one I hadn’t read so when I saw it at a bargain price in my local book shop I just had to buy it!

Right from the start I got the sense of new beginnings – Jennie was attempting to rebuild her life after her divorce and was clearly feeling the strain.  Her move to the countryside from London was entertaining and regularly had me chuckling, adapting to the country way of life proved a bit tricky for Jennie and her children but it was particularly hard for her teenage son whose troubles ran throughout the story.

The whole book had a feeling of homeliness but also excitement.  I loved how each chapter focused on a different type of cake or biscuit, to say that this book made me hungry for sweet treats is a massive understatement 🙂

It was fantastic to see Jennie’s character grow before my eyes, I was interested to see how she would deal with every obstacle that was thrown her way so I couldn’t stop turning the pages.  Guy was a sexy but troubled character who I found very easy to visualise!  The rocky romance between the two of them was beautifully written, it didn’t feel rushed or forced and although it may have been a predictable pairing it didn’t matter to me because it was so enjoyable.

There were a few familiar folk from the other Talyton St George books and this is something I love about reading a series, it makes me feel like I’m catching up with old friends.

As I’ve mentioned many times before I love animals so this book was right up my street, it was full of cows, chickens, dogs and ponies – following all the ups and downs of owning these kind of animals was fascinating.

This was a lovely comforting read, perfect for animal lovers and those wanting to escape to the countryside without all the mud!

The Sweetest Thing can be purchased from The Book DepositoryAmazon or from most good book retailers.

To find out more about Cathy Woodman visit her website or blog.

The Village Vet – Cathy Woodman

“In Talyton St George, vet nurse Tessa Wilde is on the way to her wedding…

It should be the happiest day of her life.  But then her car hits a dog, and though the dog is saved thanks to Otter House vets, her wedding is not.

Animal welfare officer and part-time fire-fighter Jack Miller spends his life saving animals and people.  As one of Tessa’s oldest friends, he feels he has the right to interrupt her wedding and rescue her from a marriage that can only end in tears.

But does he? Tessa is sure she doesn’t need rescuing, least of all by Jack.

When they begin to work together at the Animal Rescue centre, however, Tessa begins to wonder whether being rescued by Jack might not be such a bad thing after all.”

Having read and enjoyed other books by this author (review of It’s a Vet’s Life here) I couldn’t resist buying this one which is number five in the Talyton St George series.

Before the story begins there is a little map of Talyton St George, this is something that I really like because it gives me a clearer picture in my mind of where everything is.

The only issue I have with books about vets is that I find it very difficult to read about hurt/injured animals, even fictional ones, so seeing as this book started off with a dog being hit by a car I kind of felt like I couldn’t read on.  Obviously I did carry on reading and I’m glad I did because, as always with books by this author, the personal lives of the villagers are so entertaining that I can forgive a little bit of upset and tears over the animals (I just have to keep reminding myself that they aren’t real!)

Tessa’s wedding day was brilliant, it was very eventful and ended with a bizarre confession from her great-aunt!  I was pleased when she decided to take on the running of the animal sanctuary as I felt it would be a fresh start for her, it certainly brought about a lot of changes in her life – some good and some not so good.

I really enjoyed reading about the day-to-day running of the sanctuary, having done some volunteer work at an animal sanctuary myself I loved all the memories it brought back.

The romance side of the story was good, the tension between Tessa and Jack was so exciting to read but just when I thought I had it all figured out something happened that completely shocked me!

There was also a sinister side to the story with Tessa being secretly watched and when all is revealed she found herself in quite a scary situation.

This is another fantastic read from Cathy Woodman, creating a mixture of emotions throughout.

The Village Vet can be purchased from The Book DepositoryAmazon or from most good book retailers.

To find out more about Cathy Woodman visit her website here.

Somebody To Love – Sheryl Browne

“After that idiot of a husband ran off with that broomstick of a girl, single-mom Donna thinks there’s no sunshine in her future. What she needs now is a hunk of a guy who loves her and her three-legged dog with no complications.

Solution? Call the police.

Mark is a single dad with two big worries – protect and serve, and his autistic son Karl. Desperately he wants someone who’ll love him and his son without question and with no complications. He’s been hurt before and Karl needs stability – not short dates. So he’ll do anything for his kid – even lie to protect him.

Can these two get it together and get together? Is Mark the hunk Donna needs? Is Donna the rock Mark can lean on? If they look hard enough, they’ll find Somebody to Love.”

I got this eBook when it was available as a free download from Amazon (its current price at the time of writing this review is £1.98).

I was quickly absorbed by the story and ended up staying awake until past midnight with the old ‘just one more chapter’ routine.  This meant that I finished the book in less than a day – I was just so engrossed in the characters lives that I had to know what would happen next for them.

When Donna and Mark met for the first time they got very friendly very quickly and I was a bit surprised when they began blurting out their feelings for one another – at that point I thought the story would be over before it had started!  Things soon cooled down and actually appeared to move backwards instead of forwards, this was one of the things that kept my interest so fully because I was wondering if or when they would get together.

The characters were all interesting, with the only exception being Donna’s ex-husband who was definitely the villain of the story.  There were also lots of pets in the story and this always gets a few extra points from me because I’m such an animal lover, Sadie the three-legged dog was a particular favourite.

Now to mention Mark, lovely lovely Mark, he was adorable and I have to confess to falling a little bit in love with him.  He was kind and caring but tough and gorgeous as well, I loved him and Donna as a couple because they were so much fun together.  His son Karl had autism spectrum disorder, something I didn’t really know much about so this side of the story I found incredibly interesting.  The story showed how the disorder affected the family as well as the child and Karl, the child in question, quickly became my favourite character.  I loved his interaction with Starbuck the dog, it was really touching to read, I had tears in my eyes and a big smile on my face many times whilst reading about Karl’s progression.

This book had funny and sad times, many misunderstandings, heart-warming moments and towards the end things even took a sinister turn.  All this combined made Somebody To Love a fantastic page-turner that I would definitely recommend.

To find out more about Sheryl Browne visit her website here.