Saturday, 9 March 2019

The Little Cafe at the End of the Pier - Helen J Rolfe

Available Here 

Goodreads Blurb:
When Jo's beloved grandparents ask for her help in running their little café at the end of the pier in Salthaven-on-Sea she jumps at the chance.
The café is a hub for many people: the single dad who brings his little boy in on a Saturday morning; the lady who sits alone and stares out to sea; the woman who pops in after her morning run.
Jo soon realises that each of her customers is looking for love  and she goes about setting each of them up on blind dates - each date is held in the café, with a special menu she has designed for the occasion. But Jo has never found love herself. She always held her grandparents' marriage up as her ideal and she hasn't found anything close to that. But could it be that love is right under her nose...?

A quick note:
A Year at the Café at the End of the Pier is the collected Café at the End of the Pier novellas. If you have already read and enjoyed the novellas then you have already read A Year at the Café at the End of the Pier.

My Review:
Rather ashamedly I admit this was my first book from the always lovely Helen (@HJRolfe) but it definitely will not be my last.
When Molly and Arthur realise they need a change of pace, they ask granddaughter Jo to come back to Salthaven-on-Sea and help run the cafe. The book takes us through her first year of running the much loved, community focal point and chronicles the ups and downs of not only Jo's life but also of the friends and regulars at the café.
We see Jo struggle initially - a complete change of pace to her former life of being a teacher, it seems that she may have bitten off more than she can chew. Her fears and doubts are increased by the less than enthusiastic insistence from her Mother that she is wasting her life back in Salthaven. This is all Jo needs to fuel her determination and she sets out to prove her wrong.
As we go through the seasons and special occasions of this first year, we see Jo's character bloom and grow in confidence, this in turn is reflected in the success of the café. I loved Jo's attempts at playing Cupid - she seriously seems to have a knack for match-making. Jo soon realises that she herself has a secret admirer and I for one was as stumped as Jo at who it could be.
I loved the mystery of who had fallen for Jo- as I thought all of the characters set up as potential love interests could have been great matches for her. I couldn't figure out which man it would be - even right to the last few pages and I love that I was kept guessing. I was definitely happy with the end result though (for Jo and for other characters involved).
A great cast of characters with their own little stories created a real sense of community, I loved their individual personalities and what they all added to the book. Written with wonderful detail, including some absolutely mouth watering food descriptions, this book was a real pleasure to read, fun and full of emotion and suspense.
I would highly recommend The Little Café at the End of the Pier for a cosy, snuggle up and binge read book. I look forward to catching up on more by Helen J Rolfe too. 

Comfy Rating:
👍👍👍👍👍




Tuesday, 26 February 2019

The Northern Lights Lodge - Julie Caplin

Order HERE

Goodreads Blurb:
With a shattered heart and her career completely in tatters, Lucy needs to get away from her life in the UK. But, when she takes a job as hotel manager of the Northern Lights Lodge, she doesn’t quite expect to find herself in the middle of a snowy nowhere, in a land of hot springs and snowflake-dusted glaciers, and in the company of a gorgeous Scot, Alex.
Determined to turn her life around, Lucy sets about restoring the lodge to its former glory as the number one romantic destination in Iceland – even if romance is the last thing she wants or needs. However, as Alex and Lucy grow closer under a blanket of stars and the dancing lights of the aurora, Lucy might just learn how to fall in love again…

My Review:

I could try and play it cool (haha Iceland, cool.. get it?!) but I can't I LOVED this. I've only just stumbled upon this series and have read the previous books in very quick succession so I was thrilled at the chance to head to Iceland on this next adventure. That being said, it works as a standalone (they all do) so you really don't need to have read any of the others. If you have - then you will recognise a few characters!

Alex is one - he's really a secondary character in The Little Paris Patisserie but I liked him then and now he comes into his own - I am so pleased we got to see more of him. The spy/love interest for our main lady Lucy, you are already on his side (even knowing his 'undercover' position) and it is soon clear he is actually falling for Lucy in every way possible.

Lucy has been through a lot, mistakes in her past and awful behaviour by others abusing their power and position have left her needing the job nobody else would take on. She's pretty desperate. You don't really discover what has happened for a while, you see that she is vulnerable, lacking confidence and needs support. If I'm honest, I'd imagined far worse than what we find out but maybe that's just my mind - it isn't a pleasant situation for anyone to go through though.

Various situations arise as she'd getting to grips with running the hotel and Lucy, with a good team of staff/friends, handles everything in a typically unique way and we see her rediscover passion for the job, remembering why she chose the career in the first place. She is hardworking and determined and it shows true spirit that she can bounce back. I like her, I hoped she wouldn't be a weak, sorry for herself kind of character but you see she is quite daring and willing to put herself out there. 

Just like the previous books, the setting sounds incredible. It is well written and moves along at a nice pace, yet again reading one of Julie's books makes me want to book a trip.So thats Copenhagen, Brooklyn, Paris and Iceland on the travel list!!  In fact, Iceland and the Northern Lights has never really appealed to me before but now I could really be tempted.

Julie Caplin gives us a wonderfully romantic escape with characters and places you'll love. I cannot recommend The Northern Lights Lodge enough, perfect for a cosy, snuggled up read. I will eagerly await the next book!


Many thanks to Harper Impulse and Netgalley for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. 


Comfy Rating: 👍👍👍👍👍

Friday, 22 February 2019

*COVER REVEAL* - One Last Greek Summer - Mandy Baggot

I am so so so happy to be able to reveal the FANTASTIC cover for Mandy Baggot's upcoming release 'One Last Greek Summer.' 


I love it - so bright and eye catching, a sure fire summer sensation! Just makes me want to be under the sun, lazing by a pool and diving into the book!

About the book: 
Bestselling author Mandy Baggot returns with another sun drenched Greek adventure
Beth Martin is 31, newly divorced and wondering just what life holds for her… Best-friend, Heidi, is adamant that all the answers lie in Corfu – the island where the girls’ partied away their youth. So cue a trip to a sun-drenched Greek island, ouzo cocktails, a trip down memory lane…and Alex Hallas, the man Beth has never quite forgotten.  
As they dance under the stars, the sand beneath their toes, old feelings begin to resurface and Beth might just have a chance to take back her life. If they can learn to love the people they’ve become… 
Will Jess be able to find the right life/work balance? Or will she wish she'd never turned to a world online? 

Pre-order links: 


About the author: (SHE'S ACE!!!)

Mandy Baggot is an international bestselling and award-winning romance writer. The winner of the Innovation in Romantic Fiction award at the UK's Festival of Romance, her romantic comedy novel, One Wish in Manhattan, was also shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists' Association Romantic Comedy Novel of the Year award in 2016. Mandy's books have so far been translated into German, Italian, Czech and Hungarian. Mandy loves the Greek island of Corfu, white wine, country music and handbags. Also a singer, she has taken part in ITV1's Who Dares Sings and The X-Factor. 

Mandy is a member of the Romantic Novelists' Association and the Society of Authors and lives near Salisbury, Wiltshire, UK with her husband and two daughters. 


You should definitely follow Mandy:  Facebook: @mandybaggotauthor 
                                                               Twitter: @mandybaggot 

I guarantee a lot of smiles, fun and eye candy if you follow Mandy on social media. Plus you will jump into a world of wonderful books waiting to be discovered!

Follow Aria 
Twitter: @aria_fiction 
Facebook: @ariafiction 
Instagram: @ariafiction 


Thursday, 21 February 2019

A Wedding at The Comfort Food Cafe - Debbie Johnson

Order here

Goodreads Blurb:
Wedding bells ring out in Budbury as the Comfort Food Café and its cosy community of regulars are gearing up for a big celebration…
But Auburn Longville doesn’t have time for that! Between caring for her poorly mum, moving in with her sister and running the local pharmacy, life is busy enough – and it’s about to get busier. Chaos arrives in the form of a figure from her past putting her quaint village life and new relationship with gorgeous Finn Jensen in jeopardy. It’s time for Auburn to face up to some life changing decisions.
Settle in for a slice of wedding cake at the Comfort Food Café – a place where friendships are made for life and nobody ever wants to leave.

My Review:

I LOVE this series of books. The Comfort Food Cafe has brought me, as a reader, so much joy. What wonderful, feel good stories, warm, lovable characters and a wicked sense of fun and friendship - we have been spoiled with these books and feel part of that much loved community so, it's only right  to feel a sense of grief creeping in knowing that this is our last visit.
And what a flourishing finale it is! I was hooked from the off - which isn't unusual, you can always count on Debbie for a cosy, engulfing hug of a book. I enjoy how we always get to focus on one of our much loved residents whilst still revisiting the lives of other characters.
Auburn, the former wild child, has seemingly settled in Budbury, found love with Finn and is almost at a place where she'd agree her life was going well. With shock revelations and a visitor that sends Auburn right back to the wild, reckless days she thought she'd moved on from, we see how she distances herself from the wonderful Finn, she contemplates how her life could be moving forwards and we see her as she starts to question her choices, is it too hard in Budbury and should she give in to the temptation  being offered?
 
This book is everything we would expect from the Comfort Food Cafe - friendship, love, community. Everyone in place to support each other and welcome new additions - whether they end up being for the good of our favourite characters or not.  I love how all of the characters have their own little back story and how it's interwoven into this one too.
Although it is the last in a series of books it works well as a stand alone, but I urge anyone to read the other books too because they are just as good as this.
A fantastic read to cosy up with, a gorgeous binge read or perfect for a holiday book.
Thank you to Debbie Johnson, Netgalley and Harper Impulse and Killer Reads for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. 
Comfy Rating: 👍👍👍👍👍

A Wedding at The Comfort Food Cafe is out 7th March 2019.. 
Check out the review I posted for ' A Gift from The Comfort Food Cafe' by Debbie Johnson. 

Monday, 18 February 2019

Knowing You - Samantha Tonge

Available to order here 
Goodreads Blurb:
An abrupt change; a new friendship; a dark secret...
Kind-hearted Violet has never fitted in, but despite being bullied at school is now content. She is dating ambitious Lenny, has her dream job in publishing and runs a book club at the local retirement home. However, when her relationship with Lenny begins to falter, Violet, hurt and alone, seeks the advice of her new flatmate, Bella. She changes her image and with her head held high aims to show that she doesn’t need Lenny in her life to be happy and successful.


My Review:

A thought provoking and emotional book. I was not prepared at all for what it a lot of more than your standard 'chick- lit' /women's fiction - I was engrossed throughout, what a brilliantly written tale of the fragility of relationships, friendships and control. 

Violet , our main character, is really likable and relatable. She thinks of herself as an odd ball who doesn't quite fit in or deserve any of the good things in her seemingly happy, comfortable life. She is a normal - kind hearted girl, loved by those around her and is admired for who she is. Only problem being that she doesn't see it. 

The breakdown of her relationship with Lenny is the catalyst for her examining every part of her life and deciding that she needs to stop being the oddity, she needs to be better ao to compete with the type of women Lenny now wants to be with.

I enjoyed the use of flashbacks - helping to understand the reasoning and details of why Violet feels and acts how she does. To see how the issues she struggles with have deep seated roots.

The additional characters in the book are interesting. Some characters are the people she needs - the ones that stick by her no matter what; some are the people she desires - although they aren't necessarily the ones who want the best for her and are people she could do without. I liked how the friendships Violet had remained strong, how she had people on her side throughout.

Admittedly, I had my suspicions about certain elements of the book  but I was still surprised and shocked. I'm not giving anything away - but I was pleased the twists were there. I think it's important to have a book like this around in today's climate. 

Some may find it a tough read, it's emotional and quite hard in some parts. Don't get me wrong, it's not all dark and gloomy, but it is a read that will have you hooked until the end. It tackles some difficult, but realistic themes but Samantha Tonge has done so in a careful way, sensitively where you feel connected to the character and emotionally involved.

My first Samantha Tonge read and definitely not my last.
Comfy rating: 👍👍👍👍
Thank you to Netgalley and Canelo for the copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Monday, 11 February 2019

The Book Buying Ban - How to tackle the TBR pile.

As an ardent book lover, buyer and as a library regular, I am always surrounded by books; old, new, second hand, borrowed. I love buying new releases, I desperately hunt down favourite authors in charity shops and I navigate straight to the book aisle when I do the weekly shop. I love adding books to the 'Tower of TBR' - even if it wobbles, I merely see it as a challenge to build it higher.

I know this is not unusual; it may even remind you of yourself. I mean, we all have massive TBR piles don't we?



So why a book buying ban?

Just before New Year I had a vague count up of the books I had yet to read. Littered across shelves, the bedside table, the drawers, the dressing table.. and it was A LOT. Let's say it was roughly 50...ish (OK OK, more toward 65..ish).

It surprised me; I don't know why as I had bought them all but I was still shocked it was so many. Although I read steadily and always have at least on the go, the pile never seems to go down. So I came up with the (some would say) drastic plan to have a month where I bought NO books. Ridiculous right? No new books, no e-books, no charity shop books - none at all. 

I don't really make New Year resolutions but thought this could be an interesting way to start the year- save some pennies and tackle that TBR Pile. Mind firmly made up, I even roped in fellow book reviewer, Kirsty from Kirstys Book Buying Addiction - (https://kirstysbookbuyingaddiction.home.blog/

As 2019 hit, our self imposed ban took hold. Many of the book loving community we love being part of on Twitter were surprised, some laughed and didn't believe we could do it whilst others openly admitted they couldn't do it. Let me tell you, I wasn't fully convinced I could myself.

I saw review after review of amazing books, I got emails about new releases that I just knew I'd love, every shop and supermarket seemed to be teasing me with glorious looking shelves of books with gorgeous covers and what was with all the emails with special discount codes for all of my favourite book buying sites?!


I'd say the first week was easy, just reading books from my TBR pile and loving them. I was making a brilliant start to this years Goodreads reading challenge (I set my target at 60) and was really pleased with myself - HA a month was going to be a piece of cake!

Slowly, as we settled into January and I went back to the day job the more I began getting twitchy - seeing books sneaking up on me and teasing me with their wonderful covers and descriptive synopsis. Reading books in the TBR pile was one thing but it meant I was discovering authors I hadn't read before and upon loving what I read, I wanted more.

Middle of the month was the worst, deflated after the festive period and general winter blues - usually I would pick myself up with a little dabble on Amazon or a trip to The Works. So I started to tease myself - creating wish lists on Amazon of all the books I would be buying if I wasn't on this ban. I'm not sure why I was intent on making life harder for myself but I clearly was.

Although I nearly broke once or twice and even though I was desperate for certain titles - I suffered on and as we got to the 22nd, 23rd, 24th of January I realised the end was in sight. I was going to be able to do it. 

I originally set the ban so I could tackle the TBR pile - the books I had selected to buy over however long it had taken me to amass such a collection but had never actually read. You know what, the ban worked - during January alone I read 20 books!



Now February is here and normal service has resumed. I would love to say I maintained a stoic view of not needing to buy more books, persevering with demolishing the wonderful TBR tower but that would be a lie. 

I think putting myself on a ban may have been a bad idea, stored up the problem and now February has come along and unleashed all that book buying energy. 

I have purchased a few books - I think it may be 25 ish books. OK, so I went a little bit crazy, splurged a little (a lot) but I'm determined it was just this month and I will be trying curb my booking buying for the rest of the year (month)... 

But can we all agree: Pre-orders don't count do they?

Sunday, 10 February 2019

The Little Brooklyn Bakery - Julie Caplin

Available here
Goodreads Blurb:
When Sophie Bennings arrives in New York, love is the last thing on her mind. Still reeling from a painful break up, she throws herself into her work as a food editor on a top-notch magazine.
Columnist Todd McLennan is everything that Sophie wishes she didn’t want. Like the gorgeous bakery below her Brooklyn apartment, he’s as tempting as the sugary cupcakes on daily display. Surely a little of something you fancy can do you good?
As Sophie and Todd get to know one another, a love of food isn’t the only passion they share. In the city that never sleeps, has Sophie finally met the man of her dreams…?

My Review:
Fun, light and sweet - I was addicted and was soon fully immersed in Sophie's story. It helps I have a never ending affection for New York but this book ticked all the boxes of a warm, chick-lit rom-com with added yummy food/cakes and sexy phwoar factor.

I was hooked - read it in a couple of sittings and stayed up past my bedtime as I was so into it. I hadn't read the previous book in the series - but it doesn't matter as this works as a stand alone anyway. I will be rectifying that though, no doubt about it.

Sophie, or should I say Lady Sophie, is a nice girl who is wronged by a terrible, and not in the least bit appealing, man. I wasn't really expecting the scenario that played out with their relationship but I already knew it would be the best thing to happen for Sophie. She is a really likable character, to be honest I would've done the same and legged it to New York so I was supportive and all for her doing well from the start.
 

Todd is our phwoar factor. From the way he is described he is one hot male lead. He is charming, playful and just what Sophie needs to bring her out of herself in New York. You know he is deeper than his "play boy" image as you can see how much he cares for people i.e. his cousin Bella (who I think is a brilliant best friend type character for Sophie!)

I loved the sense of community and friendships within the book. As I mentioned I love New York and I have always been blown away by how friendly people are there. I was once told nobody in New York would be friendly or interested in conversation but, like in this book, they are! I loved the authors descriptions of locations - taking me back to some places and making me feel like I was exactly there with them all. It makes me want to head over and check out Brooklyn some more.

Definitely a binge worthy read - I can't wait to take a trip to Copenhaden and Paris next!
Comfy Rating: 👍👍👍👍👍