The Bridge Club: A Novel by Patricia Sands

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For more than forty years, the mantra of the eight women in the Bridge Club has been “one for all and all for one.” Beginning their monthly soiree in the psychedelic Sixties, unpredicted twists of fate weave through the good times and strong friendship they share as the years pass. The constant from one decade to the next is loyal and nonjudgmental support, even when agreeing to disagree is the final solution. From the exhilarating cultural changes of their early times together through the “zoomer” years, their connection never falters. As they celebrate turning sixty (give or take a year) at a group birthday weekend, each woman recalls a challenging time in her life when the Bridge Club came to the rescue. After tossing around ideas mixed with a generous helping of common sense and a large dose of laughter they decide to refer to that time as their “SOS.” Eight chapters document each one’s story.

Everything is put into perspective and the strength of their friendship is truly tested when one of these women faces a life-altering decision. Her choice profoundly affects all members of the group, pushing the limits of their beliefs and values. The unique alliance they share is confronted with a crisis none of them might have imagined.”

MY REVIEW

Firstly I’d like to thank Janice from Loveahappyending for sending me this eBook to read and give an honest review.

The book began with an intriguing prologue which raised lots of questions in my mind, I love a prologue that makes me want to know more! This is why I was so surprised to find that I struggled to become fully engaged with the main storyline to begin with.  However, as I learned more about each character and followed them through their “SOS” memories, I became more involved and was able to connect with them more easily. They were a group of women supporting each other through life’s many ups and downs, this in itself was inspiring to read but the writing style gave me such a feeling of warmth and camaraderie (even when there were disagreements) that it made me want to join them.

I’m pretty sure that most people will be able to relate to at least one of the issues raised within the storyline, I know that I was nodding my head in familiarity quite a few times whilst reading.

The author took me on an emotional rollercoaster right to the very end, which I found to be rather different with certain information being omitted. I personally thought it was an appropriate ending and with an epilogue that brought tears to my eyes, it just felt right to me!

A story of life and everything it can throw at you, this was a well-rounded read with something for everyone.

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Recipes For Disaster by Sheryl Browne

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Published in January 2012

“She’s a single. He’s a widower. She wants him. He wants her. She wants to impress. So does he. There’s just one catch – she can’t cook.

To get him, she needs to get past the big fish – his mother. Lucky her, she’s got an Ace up her sleeve and all she’s got to do is impress this one time. Bad luck, though, her new guy can’t cook either, her dog Rambo is on the loose and now they’ve got to pull off the big lunch at the club.

Will it be a match made in heaven? Will they be able to pull off a culinary miracle? Will their combined efforts result in love at first bite? Or is it simply a Recipe for Disaster?”

MY REVIEW

Firstly I’d like to thank Janice from Loveahappyending for sending me this eBook to read and give an honest review.  I always enjoy Sheryl’s books (previous reviews here) and the idea of this one thoroughly intrigued me. I was curious to see if a cookbook within a story would work for me and if Sheryl could achieve the right balance of both elements.

Other than the recipes, one of the stand-out parts of this book was the comedy  – I was laughing out loud after just a few pages at Lisa’s kitchen disasters.  Once again Sheryl’s sense of humour spoke to me and I found that I was able to connect with the storyline easily.  There were plenty of funny and, at times, crazy antics to keep me entertained and on top of all that were lots of yummy recipes and useful cooking tips which I shall definitely be using myself!

Reading from the perspective of different characters meant that I got a full picture of what was going on in each of their minds, this is something that I always find enjoyable when I read.

A pinch of lust and a spoonful of misunderstandings added yet more twists to this addictive book and I simply can’t write this review without mentioning Rambo the dog and Flint the parrot who were particular favourites of mine – their scenes were so funny!

This book was light-hearted, fun to read and full of delicious recipes. A big thumbs-up from me.

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So, You Think You’re A Celebrity… Chef? by Caroline James

So you think...

Mix together…

A tough-cookie media agent who’s clawed her way to the top, and a con-man who wants to open a cookery school. Add in a washed-up celebrity chef whose career needs re-building…

Flavour with…

An aging rock star fresh from rehab, and a Sloane Ranger food writer who gets her own TV show…

Bring to the boil…

At a Gourmet Food Festival, in Ireland, where anything goes!”

MY REVIEW

Firstly I’d like to thank Janice from Loveahappyending for sending me this eBook to read and give an honest review.  I think this is only the second book I have read about chefs so it was a refreshing change for me, particularly as this one involved celebrity chefs.

The descriptive writing brought everything to life, it made every scene so easy to picture in my mind and there was even a moment which was so beautifully described it made me seriously crave a bacon sandwich for the rest of the day!!  I loved reading from each characters point of view because it gave me a deeper insight into their lives and personalities.  It also meant that there were many different sides of the story so I felt like there was always something going on to keep me interested.

Romantic tension, criminal activity and unexpected twists were just some of the features of this book that made it so readable for me.  I wasn’t sure how it was going to end but I had a firm idea in my head of how I wanted it to go – as I read the final few pages I had a smile on my face so you can be assured I was pleased with the result.

This was a fun read full of interesting characters, who knew the celebrity chef world would be so fascinating!

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Breaking the Ice by Mandy Baggot

Breaking the ice

“When routine driven box office assistant Samantha Smith meets the stars of ‘Skating on Broadway’ her life is turned upside down. Immediately attracted to lead skater Jimmy Lloyd, Samantha does her best to deny her feelings. But when all you can do is burst out laughing and hyperventilate every time you’re under pressure, keeping things under wraps is a hard task. 
 
When the future of her beloved Civic Hall is threatened Samantha must rise to the challenge to ensure its survival. 
 
Constantly scrutinised and criticised by her zany sister Cleo and her brogue wearing boyfriend Jeremy, can Samantha save her job, save the Civic Hall and stop her panic attacks just long enough to give away her heart?”

MY REVIEW

Firstly I’d like to thank Janice from Loveahappyending for sending me this eBook to read and give an honest review. If you are a regular reader of Me, My Books and I you will know that I’m a big fan of Mandy’s books so I really couldn’t wait to get started on this one – from the blurb it sounded like another hit and I’m pleased to say that it most definitely was!

Getting to know Samantha was interesting for me because I seemed to have quite a few things in common with her – organised, liked her own company, not interested in shopping (unless it involved books) and most of all completely tongue-tied when trying to have a conversation with someone.  There were times when her awkwardness and spectacular meltdowns made me cringe, especially as I could totally understand how she felt.  I liked being able to relate to the main character in this way though because it made it so easy to jump into the storyline.

At twenty-four years old Samantha’s sex life surprised me, this side of things was a real source of fascination for me and I loved how the author described her feelings on the issue.

The first time Samantha and Jimmy Lloyd met was rather amusing and soon led to more uncomfortable scenes for Samantha. Jimmy made her very nervous and the result was a mixture of awkward conversations and funny situations that entertained me throughout.  Jimmy was a wonderful character who was super easy to develop a crush on, the way he handled Samantha was particularly endearing.  The romance that followed was gentle yet exciting and kept me flicking through the pages to see if it would end how I hoped it would.

When Samantha’s world seemed to be crashing down around her I must admit that I expected her to react differently but I really admired the way she dealt with it all.  A scene involving a wedding dress mannequin and a key was a particular favourite of mine so look out for that when you read this book.

As I have come to expect from Mandy’s writing I was utterly captivated from start to finish, she has the wonderful ability to draw the reader into the story and make you feel part of it – I just didn’t want it to end!

This was a heart-warming read that left me smiling.

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Neurotically Yours by Bonnie Trachtenberg

Neurotically yours
Published in November 2013.

“Smart, attractive, and ambitious, thirty-seven-year-old Dara Harrison is, nonetheless, still single—and on sabbatical from dating. Ironically Los Angeles’ most renowned relationship advice columnist, Dara has become a Southland sensation with her “tell-it-like-it-is” approach to the mating game.

Parlaying her success into a new business, Dara launches a revolutionary dating service geared for the perennially single and romantically challenged. Its no-holds-barred theme soon makes the company a roaring success, even catapulting Dara onto the national talk show scene—until, of course, it all backfires. 

With her company under threat and a publicity stunt gone haywire, Dara is forced to join the ranks of her lonely heart clientele, and suddenly realizes that saving the business she cherishes, means facing her lifelong fears—and maybe even falling in love again.”

MY REVIEW

Firstly I’d like to thank Janice from Loveahappyending for sending me this eBook to read and give an honest review.

It felt like I learned quite a bit about Dara’s character in the prologue – it highlighted a moment in her childhood that was clearly going to play a part in her dating future.  Moving forward to the present day and I instantly liked grown-up Dara, she was the kind  of person I would be friends with in real life and this made it easy for me to relate to her.  She also had a lovely connection with her cat and being such a huge animal lover myself I really enjoyed this side of the storyline.

I absolutely loved the whole idea of MateSearch, Dara’s new business venture, particularly the Rate-a-Mate idea which I just knew would create some awkward situations. I was excited to see what kind of characters would take part and how this opportunity would affect Dara’s life.

When I was first introduced to Tony, Dara’s ex-boyfriend, there was something about him that I just really liked and I was keen to see what would happen to their friendship.  Nick was a wonderful character, he was going through a tough time and so was naturally a little bit grumpy – this grumpiness made me laugh and simply made me like even him more!  The court case was highly amusing and had me laughing out loud on more than one occasion.  I had a feeling quite early on that Dara’s love life could go one of two ways with two possible love interests on the scene, I was curious to see which direction she would take and when it all became clear I felt happy with her choice.

The writing style was captivating and kept pulling me back for more, making this a quick read for me.  I became totally caught up in the day-to-day running of the dating service and also in each of the characters lives – the drama that seemed to follow them all was an added bonus!

This was a thoroughly enjoyable, easy read with some touching moments thrown in too.  I look forward to reading more from this author.

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Shannon’s Law by Emma Calin Including Giveaway!

shannons law

“Wild child inner city cop Shannon Aguerri walks a dangerous line between her methods and justice. When the bosses lose their nerve, after yet another maverick mission, she is transferred to green pastures to play out the role of a routine village cop. In Fleetworth-Green she encounters signs of people and drug trafficking and homes in on serious millionaire criminals. 

As a loner she has attracted men but nothing has stuck. When she meets Spencer, the hunky and widowed Earl of Bloxington, there is an immediate rapport between them. Their social differences mean nothing to their passion and need. Already in the mix is an upper class female rival – who has long plotted her way into the Earl’s bed. The jealousy is an evil shade of green and the anger is a violent scarlet. 

Often inhibited by a sense of duty and honour, Spencer is slow to reveal his feelings. When Shannon confronts him with the need to choose between her word and that of her rival, he does not immediately support her. 

All the same, when they are forced together to carry out a desperate rescue mission, their love is stronger than everything ranged against them.”

MY REVIEW

Firstly I’d like to thank the author for sending me this eBook to read and give an honest review. Having previously enjoyed the first book in the Passion Patrol series (review here) I was keen to get reading.  Although this is part of a series I would just like to say that it also works very well as a standalone read.

The storyline jumped straight into the action and I found myself quickly hooked on Shannon’s straight-talking attitude.  She yearned for something exciting to happen in the quiet village of Fleetwood-Green so she could put her police skills to good use. She came across a group of teenagers in the woods and this led her to Earl Spencer who had an instant affect on Shannon.

Shannon was a brilliant character, she was very strong and feisty, some of her comments literally had me laughing out loud!  I was curious as to why she was transferred to the village from Brixton but it soon became clear.  Spencer was a mixed character – he had a nervous, sweet side but I also got the feeling of strength and power from him.  The supporting characters were as interesting as the main characters, I particularly liked Mel who made up a great comedy duo with Shannon.

The criminal side of things was really interesting for me, a gruesome discovery got me thinking up all sorts of things – I felt like a detective as I tried to solve the case alongside Shannon.  There were some very tense moments as she performed her duty as a police officer, a heart-pounding rescue mission was one of my favourite parts of the book.

Once again there were times when I found the authors writing style to be almost poetic, especially the romantic/steamy/sexual scenes.  Shannon’s sexual encounters were described in detail so please bear this in mind when you choose to read this book – it may not suit everyone’s tastes.

This was another enjoyable read from Emma Calin, romantic and sexy with a twist of police action!

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Made In Nashville by Mandy Baggot

Made in nashville
Published by Harper Impulse in February 2014.

“An on-stage attack left Honor Blackwood with more scars than just the one on her face. It’s been ten years since she left her spot as Nashville’s brightest country music star. Is now the time to return? And is she brave enough to do it?

Country rebel and rock star, Jared ‘Jed’ Marshall is hot property on the Tennessee music scene in more ways than one. He’s wild, he’s sexy and everybody wants a piece of him. But when he sets his sights on Honor, is it pure attraction or just distraction on his mind?

Honor’s record label sign the ex-boyfriend that dumped her and suddenly going back to her old life is harder than she thought. And when a secret from the past becomes public knowledge it’s no longer just about the music… Are all the people in her life lying to her to get what they want?

Join the country scene to find out!”

MY REVIEW

Firstly I’d like to thank the author for sending me this eBook to read and give an honest review.  I’m a big fan of Mandy’s writing (reviews here) and I always look forward to her new releases, this was no exception and I’m pleased to say that it did not disappoint!

I quickly found myself lost in the storyline, Mandy’s words pulled me in and wouldn’t let go.  The first couple of pages were so intriguing that I just needed to know exactly what had happened to Honor. The intrigue continued throughout as the many twists and turns kept me glued to the pages.

I wasn’t sure if I liked Jed to begin with but it didn’t take long to fall in love with him and his passion for music.  I really enjoyed reading from his point of view, when it became clear that he was keeping a big secret from his past I came up with all sorts of scenarios!

Honor seemed so sad and broken at the start and I was keen to see how, or if, she would be able to put herself back together. Everything seemed to happen very naturally, particularly Jed and Honor’s relationship which was intense but so beautifully written.  The sexual tension between the two of them was hot and felt incredibly real.

The musical side of the storyline was fantastic, especially the touching lyrics which I really enjoyed.  As I was reading I could almost hear the angelic voice of Honor and sexy voice of Jed in my mind – Mandy really brought these characters to life for me!

I was hit by surprise after surprise, particularly towards the end of the book and as always with Mandy’s books it was such a pleasure to read, before I knew it I was reading the epilogue (which I absolutely loved by the way).  

This was a romantic, musical treat with an edge of mystery – another Mandy Baggot masterpiece!

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