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Summer In The City By Fiona Collins

Summer In The City‘Summer In The City’ is the latest book by Fiona Collins.

Prue is not someone you would notice willingly. She likes to keep herself to herself and fade into the background. If it were not for the birthmark on her left cheek, she might actually succeed at becoming invisible. She spends all of her time with her blind father, Vince. Together, they sit in silence and ignore the vibrant city just on their doorstep. Life is as good as what’s on TV. That is, until something forces them both to go outside and see what they have been missing. For Vince, that means discovering how to see the world without his sight. For Prue, that means finding the courage to finally love and be loved in return.

For an uplifting story about new beginnings, I’d wholeheartedly recommend this book.

The story is seen through the narrative Prudence who lives with her father. Both people are reclusive characters, her father is blind whilst Prudence has a large birthmark on her face that she’s so self conscious of. The birthmark has really effected her self esteem and results in her not able to hold down a job or make new friends. Prudence and her father spend their days inside the house, until one day her father gives her a list of places that he’d like to visit in London. Now, both Prudence and her father have to step outside their comfort and embrace new adventures and friendships.

This is such a lovely warm-hearted story that made for joyous reading. Prudence is quite an introverted character who’s made hurt a lot in the past, not only by family but also in relationships, because of this she keeps to herself. She’s her father’s carer and spends her day inside the house whilst he listens to audio books and cooks delicious meals.

The interaction between the pair of them is lovely, as the fair of them face their fears and step outside. Prudence’s father hasn’t always been blind and as they rediscover the famous sights of the city and it’s touching as Prudence describes the scenes and her father reminiscences on his own memories. Her father was an architect and it’s fascinating to hear the history behind some of London’s most famous buildings.

It’s lovely to read the interaction between the pair of them and see them both grow in confidence as the story progresses and they begin to meet new people.

This is a beautifully written story and really captures the magic of London and new friendships. Descriptions are so vividly written and Prudence’s narrative is so descriptive that I literally felt like I was seeing London through new eyes. I loved Prudence, she’s shy but also straightforward which makes her a witty character. I loved joining her on a journey of self discovery and finally finding her place in life.

‘Summer In The City’ is a stunning story of new beginnings, and getting back out there. A feel good and poignant book that sweeps you away on holiday without leaving the house.

You can buy ‘Summer In The City’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Rebuilding Alexandra Small By Mo Fanning

Rebuilding Alexandra Small‘Rebuilding Alexandra Small’ is the latest book by Mo Fanning.

Six years sober, Alexandra Small has it all… and then one day, she very publicly doesn’t. When her perfect world crumbles, a face appears from Allie’s drunken past, hell bent on revenge. Can she rebuild her life before a stranger destroys it forever? And should she spend three weeks in an overheated shed having colonic irrigation with daytime TV’s Megan Macmillan? In this laugh out loud treat of a novel, Mo Fanning tackles the difficulties and misadventures of work, love, and being seen for who you really are.

Can I just say, that I loved this book!

I started reading it late on a Sunday evening which was a big mistake and spent most of Monday looking longingly at when I couldn’t read it.

The story is seen through the narrative of recovering alcoholic Allie, who’s life has fallen apart when her marriage to a famous footballer ends, she’s loses her job and someone is selling stories about to her the press.

All these things happen to Allie in a short time and not once does she give up. She keeps strong and is determined to reinvent herself and start a new career owning the childhood cafe that her and her best friend Izzy went to. She hires a handsome Polish solicitor called Tomas to sort out her divorce and like her, I found myself falling for the sweet character who’s like Allie in many ways.

I loved the characters in this book, they were vibrant, bitchy and strong females all out for justice and independence. Another character who was great was Megan, who was the face of daytime telly and is determined that Allie works with her to get both their careers back on track with her own failed marriage. She’s outspoken and ballsy and made for hilarious reading in parts.

The story is also written in the past tense in some parts, as Allie reflects on how she became an alcoholic and reliant on drink. This makes for sad reading at times, as her childhood was far from perfect with her own father battling depression.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, but I did have one small gripe. There was one character who was particularly vile to Allie and I would have loved to have seen more of her getting her comeuppance. Apart from that issue, this book was a fantastically uplifting read.

‘Rebuilding Alexandra Small’ is a fun and witty story about new beginnings, love and facing new challenges that is genuinely lovely reading.

You can buy ‘Rebuilding Alexandra Small’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Alice, Shaken And Definitely Stirred By Paula Smith

Alice, Shaken And Definitely Stirred‘Alice, Shaken And Definitely Stirred’ is the latest book by Paula Smith.

Lamenting the loss of her long-term partner and having been made redundant, Alice makes a New Year’s resolution to get on with life, and definitely without a man. But things don’t quite go to plan. As her Aunt Betty says, ‘Men, dear, are like buses, there are none on the horizon then three come along at once.’ Alice certainly is shaken and definitely stirred.

This is a deliciously upbeat start that made for fantastic reading.

Alice is dealing with the aftermath of her husband leaving her and suddenly having no job. But she was wise with her income and has some savings to tie her over and decides that a bit of a new look is in order. But this new look attracts all kinds of unwanted attention, particularly Ollie who’s looking after Alice’s favourite coffee shop. Alice can’t warm to Ollie even though everyone else has succumbed to his charms, she prefers her neighbours brother Alaistair and finds herself drawn to his charms.

I loved Alice, she’s vibrant, she’s outgoing and she’s at her most happiest when with her lovable nephew called Ben. I felt such empathy for Alice, having committed her life to her husband only to be treated so cruelly. Ben is such a warm little boy who adds some charm to the romantic story with his innocence.

This story is packed with drama and sass and made for genuine uplifting and fun reading. Filled with wit, warmth and relatable characters, ‘Alice, Shaken And Definitely Stirred’ is a coming of age story about finding yourself in life with a few mishaps along the way.

You can buy ‘Alice, Shaken And Definitely Stirred’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Real Men Knit By Kwana Jackson

Real Men Knit‘Real Men Knit’ is the latest book by Kwana Jackson.

Kerry Fuller has worked at Joy Strong’s knitting shop – Strong Knits – for years. And she’s had a secret crush on Joy’s son, heartbreaker Jesse Strong, for even longer. When Joy unexpectedly passes away, Jesse vows that he will keep the shop open, no matter what. And with no idea of where to start, he reaches out to Kerry for help. Soon Kerry is teaching Jesse all the knitty-gritty parts of the business – all the while trying to keep her heart from getting broken. The longer they spend together, the closer they become. But Kerry doesn’t believe their relationship can last longer than she can knit one, purl one. It’s up to Jesse to prove her wrong.

This was the perfect book to curl up with this morning, a story of love and friendship set in New York.

The story is seen through the narrative of Becky and Jesse, as they deal with the aftermath of losing their foster mother, Mama Joy. A huge spirit who helped many children including Jesse’s other brothers Damian, Lucas and Noah find a stable and loving home. With her passing, the brothers and Becky are determined that her knitting shop will continue.

Jesse and Becky are great characters. Jesse is a bit of a womaniser who leaves a string of broken hearts in his path and is adamant that Mama Joy’s knitting shop will be a success with him in charge and determined to prove his brothers wrong. He’s always had a bit of a soft spot for Becky but she’s completely oblivious whereas Jesse always had a piece of her heart. But when she has to move in with him when her apartment is being renovated, it’s interesting to see the dynamics between the pair of them. Becky witnesses the women coming and going and Jesse has to deal with new feelings with Becky as well as process his own grief over Mama Joy. I loved Becky’s spirit and her passion and she made for entertaining reading. The dual perspectives are also a great addition to the story as they interacted with each other and misinterpreted actions and words.

Although not blood brothers, Jesse and his brothers are always there for each other. Sweetly written with great characters, ‘Real Men Knit’ is a great story, that no matter the gender, everyone can knit and and it’s a powerful message that you don’t need to be connected by blood to be family.

You can buy ‘Real Men Knit’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Worst Idea Ever By Jane Fallon

Worst Idea Ever‘Worst Idea Ever’ is the latest book by Jane Fallon.

Georgia and Lydia are so close, they’re practically sisters. So when Lydia starts an online business that struggles, Georgia wants to help her – but Lydia’s not the kind to accept a handout. Setting up a fake Twitter account, Georgia hopes to give her friend some anonymous moral support by posing as a potential customer. But then Lydia starts confiding in her new internet buddy and Georgia discovers she doesn’t know her quite as well as she thought. Georgia knows she should reveal the truth – especially when Lydia starts talking about her – but she just can’t help herself.Until Lydia reveals a secret that could not only end their friendship, but also blow-up Georgia’s marriage.

Jane is back with another fascinating story delivered with her trademark wit and insight into the complexities of female friendships. I started this book late one night, which was the best/worst idea ever as I was wrecked the following day, but it’s such a gripping story that I was unable to put it down until I reached the final page.

The story is about best friends Georgia and Lydia, they’ve been friends since university and have quite a complex friendship. Even though they are close and are there for each other, underneath it all is simmering resentment and jealousy towards each other. Georgia has achieved it all, a happy marriage, children and a successful career as a children’s author. Whilst Lydia goes on failed dates, lives alone and aspires to be a published author but is yet to find success. Georgia feels sorry for her best friend and reaches out to her on social media in the guse of another person who loves Lydia’s illustrations and believes in her, as the pair become close Lydia confides in Georgia and as much as Georgia wants to back from the fictional friendship, she becomes even more involved.

I find it hard to review Jane’s books, because her writing is so cleverly crafted and twisted that it’s so easy to put in a spoiler in or a big reveal. As per Jane’s previous books, I loved this one just as much. Her observational writing made for insightful reading about friendships, how hard they can be and how there’s always that one friendship that requires a bit more work than others.

Both Georgia and Lydia are fascinating characters and although they are there for each other, the underlying tension between the pair of them is evident from the first page and this really sets the story up for me. I liked Georgia, she’s thankful for the life that she has been given and is aware of her luck and wishes that Lydia’s was better and that more stable, whereas Lydia is somewhat bitter that life has become what she dreamed off.

Fun witty and injected with Jane’s trademark dark humour, ‘Worst Idea Ever’ is another fabulous story delivered by Jane that is riddled with deceit, suspense and revenge.

You can buy ‘Worst Idea Ever’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.