Wednesday, 26 January 2022

22 Books I Definitely Want To Read in 2022


Guest Review: The Staycation by Cressida McLaughlin

Travel agent, Hester Monday, has been keeping a secret …

Thanks to her fear of flying, she hasn’t been on a plane in years. Now Hester wants to make a good impression on her newest client, Jake Oakenfield, who was heroically injured saving an old lady, and is now laid up in a luxury hotel.

For Jake, unable to return to New York, binge watching Netflix just won’t do. He wants Hester to invent the ultimate escape and re-create her most magical holidays abroad from the confines of his hotel room.

As their perfect mini-breaks around the globe take on a life of their own, Hester wonders if her world of make-believe is all starting to feel just a little too real…

Review: I always enjoy books written by Cressida McLaughlin, and have recently been following and entranced by her Cornish Cream Tea series. I was pleased to find this new story from her and was intrigued to find out what kind of staycation I was to be treated to; we have all become much more familiar with this term of late, but it means very different things to different people. I was instantly alert as my eye was drawn to my surname on the very first page of the story, but this was a mere detail in a tale that had me engrossed from this page to the last.

The story concerns mainly two people - Hester Monday, a travel agent with a fear of flying, and Jake Oakenfield, a tourist marooned in London following an accident, injuries from which have prevented him for now from flying home to New York. Jake is lucky enough to be spending his enforced vacation in a luxurious hotel, but is frustrated by his inability to get around and in dire need of entertainment. When his sister sends Hester along to plan a holiday for him when he has recovered, he instead asks her to visit daily and describe details of what he imagines are her magical escapes around the world. Of course, Hester, unable to board a plane, hasn’t been to any his desired destinations, but, with the help of the hotel staff, manages to transform Jake’s hotel suite into some exotic locations and depict some experiences to be enjoyed there. As the days pass, Hester begins to feel herself drawn to Jake and he to her, but she is worried about how he will react when he finds out she has been lying to him.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book from beginning to end and would not hesitate to recommend it to others. It is, as described, a romantic escape and one that I did not want to end. The story is filled with interesting and well formed characters who I’m confident I would enjoy meeting. I loved watching as Hester and Jake became closer and closer, but, like Hester, feared the outcome when Jake discovered the truth, as of course he must; I was never quite sure how he would react. The ending was all that I hoped it would be, but the story was so skilfully written that it was never a foregone conclusion. Although the circumstances of Jake’s ‘incarceration’ were unfortunate, his suite and the hotel as a whole sounded absolutely wonderful, especially with that amazing concierge on hand; I wouldn’t mind spending a few days there myself. I am already missing Hester and Jake - the sign of a good story - I would love to know what they did next.

To get your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

Tuesday, 25 January 2022

Top Ten Tuesday: New To Me Authors I Read in 2021



Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

I love this week's list and it ties in nicely with this week's scheduled video! We've ended up with nearer to 20 BUT I've enjoyed the reflection so I chose 19!

Wednesday, 19 January 2022

Guest Review: Ice Creams at Carrington’s by Alexandra Brown

The third book in the delightful series set in Carrington’s Department Store
Georgie Hart and Carrington’s Department Store have got the world at their feet. Since a reality TV series put them both on the map, life has been amazing! Carrington’s profits are in the pink, Georgie has carved herself a place in the nation’s heart and even better, her romance with Tom, the store’s boss, has finally blossomed after a shaky start.
Now summertime has come to Mulberry-on-Sea and Georgie is in great demand. The town is holding a big summer festival and she and her mates from Carrington’s are planning on making sure that Mulberry puts on the show of its life!
But Georgie is about to get the offer of a lifetime – one that is just too good to turn down and something that will test her loyalties to their limits… Will Georgie be able to pull off it off once again, or has her luck finally run out?

Review: This is book 3 in a series about Carrington’s department store, set in the fictional town of Mulberry-on-Sea, and the staff who work there. I have read and liked quite a few of Alex Brown’s more recent books, and thought I would give one of her older novels a try. I have read it as a stand-alone and found it unnecessary to have read the other two books in the series; relationships between characters are well enough explained. It certainly sounds a wonderful store to visit and to work in.

As the reader joins the story of the store, the central character, Georgie Hart, is in a blossoming relationship with store boss Tom Carrington, and has established herself as a valuable employee in her role as personal stylist. Her abilities are put to the test when she is chosen to represent the company in organising a regatta in the town. However, at the same time, she is given an amazing opportunity that involves a fantastic trip that she could only have dreamed of, she has worries about her father’s health, and Tom is pressing her to take their relationship to another level. How can she cope with all the pressures at once?

This was an engaging and well written story with lots of interesting characters in addition to Georgie herself. I think it would make an excellent summer read.

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US