Monday, 29 May 2017

Review - Kiss Me at Willoughby Close by Kate Hewitt

Whilst I’ve read a number of Kate Hewitt’s previous books, Kiss Me at Willoughby Close was the first book I’ve read in the Willoughby Close series. Given that this was the fourth book in the series, I went into this book both knowing that I’d missed out on a lot from the previous three and worried that this would prevent me from enjoying it. However, I can safely say that this worry turned out to be for nothing as I absolutely adored this book and found it a real pleasure to be reunited with Kate’s wonderful writing style once again. 

Kate wastes no time in throwing the reader straight into the midst of the drama as we meet Ava who after the sudden and unexpected death of her husband finds herself left homeless with just £10,000 to her name, her clothing, dog Zuzu and red mini. Left with very little choice and unable to afford much more, Ava quickly moves into a cottage at Willoughby Close where she soon becomes friends with not just her neighbours but Jace the caretaker too. As surprise after surprise is thrown in Ava’s direction, will Willoughby Close provide that all important fresh start for Ava and will her future be brighter than her past?

Not having read the previous books in the series, one thing that really struck me when I picked up Kiss Me at Willoughby Close was the strong sense of community spirit that was present throughout the entirety of it. Undoubtedly this was all thanks to the wonderful characters that Kate had expertly created, who all seemed to be exceptionally well developed. I particularly loved Ava’s character and thought that she was a fabulous lead character, someone who clearly hadn’t had the best of luck in life but who was strong and so determined to overcome this. Subsequently I found myself glued to the pages of this book, following Ava’s story with much interest. 

Where most series of books require the reader to have read them all in order to understand and appreciate what’s going on, it must be said that Kiss Me at Willoughby Close is quite refreshing in this respect. Working wonderfully as a standalone novel, with the reader not needing to have any knowledge of what has taken place previously, I quickly became immersed in the story that was being told and never felt like I was missing vital information. From reading a few of her previous books I can honestly say that Kate’s writing in Kiss Me at Willoughby Close was everything I hoped it would be from beginning to end with divine descriptions, lots of humour and plenty of heartwarming moments. 

Whilst I deeply regret having missed out on the previous books in the Willoughby Close series of books, it was wonderful to get to know the delightful community that I could picture so perfectly that it almost felt real. Those who haven’t yet discovered the glorious world of Willoughby Close are in for a real treat with this book and I’ll definitely be back to read the book number five when it’s released. 

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Review - Last Witness by Carys Jones

Despite not having read Wrong Number, the first book in the series, when I got an email about Last 
Witness by Carys Jones I really couldn’t say no. As a fast-paced, action-packed book from beginning to end that fits so much into a relatively short number of pages, this was a book that held my attention from the very first page. My only wish is that I’d had the opportunity to read Wrong Number before!

Amanda’s husband, whose real name she never knew, has died but there’s no time for her to mourn his death and get her head around what’s happened. The person responsible for his death is still very much a free man, walking around without a care in the world and Amanda’s terrified that he’ll return for her husband’s son. Despite not having known the little boy for very long, she’s now all he has left and she’s determined to do whatever it takes to protect him even if that involves putting herself in danger…

The book was full of some incredibly strong and powerful characters, some of whom I loved and some of whom I hated. Despite making some questionable decisions that I did not agree with, I have to say that I did find myself warming to Amanda for the way she stepped up and was so willing to look after the little boy that found himself left without a father. As she went through all that she did I was glad that she had someone like Shane by her side, who was loyal, supportive and in short exactly the sort of person Amanda needed in her life. I loved seeing the way their characters developed and grew as the story progressed. 

Last Witness was a well written book in terms of the fact that there was plenty going on to hold the attention of readers throughout the duration of it although I have to say that I’d highly recommend reading the first book in the series. I didn’t do this and have to say that I spent a lot of my time feeling like I’d missed out on a whole heap of information about the characters and their past relationships that I’m sure would have been revealed in the first book and would have helped me to understand and appreciate what was going on a lot more. Although this is certainly a dark and gritty story, something that potential readers should prepare themselves for, I really appreciated the inclusion of a few lighter moments throughout this particular book, especially the blossoming relationship that we witnessed between two central characters. 

Being the first book of Carys’ that I’ve ever read before I have to say that I was left feeling very glad to have had the opportunity to discover her writing having heard so much about it previously. Who knows whether there’ll be another book in this series but if there is I’d definitely read it as I’d like to see where life takes the characters to next. If you’re tempted to read Last Witness then I say go for it but make sure you’ve read Wrong Number first. 

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Review - The Woman Who Met Her Match by Fiona Gibson

Over recent years I’ve had the pleasure of reading a number of wonderful books written by the author that is Fiona Gibson. As an author who has a very real talent for writing novels that are guaranteed to pick you up and leave you with a smile on your face, I was really looking forward to reading The Woman Who Met Her Match, which is Fiona’s latest release to date. This was a book that more than lived up to my expectations and one that I thought there was so much to love about. 

Having lost her partner and the father of her children in a tragic accident, Lorries lives with her daugher Amy, her son Cam and her lodger Stu who she has known for many years. With her two children being keen to see Lorrie in a happy relationship they write Lorrie’s profile and encourage her to sign up to an online dating site, but after a few disastrous dates as a result of this she soon suspends her account. One day, she receives a friend request on Facebook from her first love, Antoine, who she met some thirty years when she was on an exchange trip to France in 1986 when she was just 16 years old. Will things work out with Antoine and be as good as Lorries always hoped they would be or will she realise that the person who is right for her has been right in front of her all along?

Throughout the entirety of this book, I found Lorrie to be a wonderful lead character who I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know. Apart from working hard as a manager at a cosmetic counter in a major department store, Lorrie is a person who is passionate about everything she does and is clearly determined to be the best mother she possibly can be to her two children. As a very down-to-earth character, Lorrie was someone who never seemed to take herself too seriously, tried to adopt a positive attitude and never wanted to let her problems defeat her and as such I admired her greatly. The people that surrounded her who we met along the way from her children, to her lodger Stu to her mother and many more as well all added something special to the story and helped to make it as successful as it was.

As many who have read Fiona’s previous novels will know, Fiona has a truly fabulous writing style that I personally adore and I’ve found that her books just keep getting better and better. The Woman Who Met Her Match was certainly one of these books, my favourite of Fiona’s to date and I particularly loved the way in which there were a number of different subplots running throughout the book, all of which helped to keep me entertained and interested. I loved the way in which Fiona has thrown a number of surprises into the novel to keep us on our toes, turning The Woman Who Met Her Match into an unpredictable read and one that I found to be very hard to put down. 

The Woman Who Met Her Match was an uplifting and often hilarious read that I couldn’t get enough of. It was so lovely to be reunited with Fiona’s writing after what feels like a very long time and I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for an enjoyable, easy read, full of characters who you can really relate to and care for. I’m already looking forward to reading what Fiona writes next!