#BookReview by Lou of Hot Desk by Zara Stoneley @ZaraStoneley @0neMoreChapter_ @HarperCollinsUK #Romcom #Fiction #OfficeReturn #OfficeRomance #Humour #Uplifting

Hot Desk
By Zara Stoneley

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Hot Desk provides great escapism that is packed full of delightful entertainment  with really good humour and romance.

Thank you to One More Chapter (Harper Collins UK) for gifting me a copy of Hot Desk and giving me the opportunity to review.

Follow onto the blurb and my full review below.

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Blurb

Same desk, different days. A post-it note is just the beginning…

A must read for fans of Beth O’Leary, Mhairi McFarlane and Sophie Kinsella!

Alice loves her job and wants to keep it – whatever the price. But then she’s told the company is switching to flexible working and hot desking…Alice’s desk might look a mess, but she knows exactly where everything is. Or she did. Until she found out she’s going to share it with the most annoying guy in the office.
 
Jamie can work from anywhere. He’s quite happy to sweep his work life into a box at the end of the working day. But can sharing a desk with Alice be as much fun as teasing her in person?
 
With no option but to try it and see, will their relationship turn into open warfare or will it ever progress beyond a post-it note?

Review

Hot DeskHot Desk is set post Covid-19 and people are adjusting to being back in the office with new working practices. Something so many office workers would now be able to relate to. This reality is there, but it’s not all about Covid-19. This is about Alice and how she handles going back to the office of ‘We Got Designs’. It presents itself, even from the first page, to be a very funny book indeed. The comic-timing in the writing is divine. A little bit further in and there is the clear signs of romantic frission between her and fellow colleague – Jamie and it is so well written. It’s great that this is set out near the beginning and then to see how this progresses. It’s a bit like listening into office gossip when reading Hot Desk. It’s all rather a deliciously enticing book that is so entertaining that it compels you to read to see how it all plays out.

There are serious notes to the story too, one being the real fear of the office’s future. There is also the whole fear of hot desking looming and then becoming a reality, with all the terms and conditions attached and the emotion that goes with it. Readers will be able to relate to how things can be when a desk is no longer your own. Alice finds out she has to hot desk with Jamie, so confides in her friend Lou quite a bit.

There is a sweet growing romance that sprouts in the office and yet in a light way, also brings endangered animals and conservation into the conversation. It’s lovely to organically watch Alice and Jamie getting to know each other.

Ultimately this is a rom-com that is properly funny and properly romantic. The mix of these ingredients with the premise of returning to the office and having to share a desk works wonderfully well and makes me smile. Readers can watch this office to see if the spark of their romance grows further into a sizzle or not, even with all the new things to get to grip with, this element still lives on.
After a hard day’s work, whether you’re in an office or not, Hot Desk provides entertaining, sweet and touching escapism that hits the spot very well indeed.

#BookReview by Lou – The Bookshop of Second Chances By Jackie Fraser @muninnherself #TeamBATC @simonschusteruk #RomanticFiction

The Bookshop of Second Chances
By Jackie Fraser

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Charming, uplifting, but without life’s complications in a Scottish town – The Bookshop of Second Chances is one you won’t want to miss! Thanks to Team Books And The City – part of Simon and Schuster for inviting me to the blog tour to review and for gifting me a copy of the book in exchange of an honest review. Please find more about the book in the blurb and the rest of my review below, as well as some buy links. Please note, I am not affiliated to anything.

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Blurb

The Book of Second Chances 3Set in a charming little Scottish town, The Bookshop of Second Chances is the most uplifting story you’ll read this year!

 

Shortlisted for the RNA Katie Fforde Debut Romantic Novel Award 2021.

Thea’s having a bad month. Not only has she been made redundant, she’s also discovered her husband of nearly twenty years is sleeping with one of her friends. And he’s not sorry – he’s leaving.

Bewildered and lost, Thea doesn’t know what to do. But, when she learns the great-uncle she barely knew has died and left her his huge collection of second-hand books and a house in the Scottish Lowlands, she seems to have been offered a second chance.

Running away to a little town where no one knows her seems like exactly what Thea needs. But when she meets the aristocratic Maltravers brothers – grumpy bookshop owner Edward and his estranged brother Charles, Lord Hollinshaw – her new life quickly becomes just as complicated as the life she was running from…

An enchanting story of Scottish lords, second-hand books, new beginnings and second chances perfect for fans of Cressida McLaughlin, Veronica Henry, Rachael Lucas and Jenny Colgan.

The Book of Second Chances starts on Valentine’s Day. The day for lovers and shed loads of romance, but it is the exact opposite for Thea. She’s not got a lover anymore and needs to work out what furnture she wants and to top it all off, she’s also just lost her job. Just the year before, her Great Uncle Andrew died in Scotland. She’s pretty restrained, perhaps too nice, after all that, but then she also has her interests to protect too. You get a feel for her character and how she deals with things.

When a surprise letter is found from a solicitor, Thea’s life dramatically changes. It ups a lot of gears and suddenly she finds herself travelling to Scotland to a huge estate she has inherited, including a lodge and an array of precious first edition books. Jackie has created a history of the lodge, as though this was a true story and has made it feel like it is real and been around for centuries. It feels authentic as a result of her research and/or knowledge. It sounds amazing and many people would jump at the chance of staying, but Thea’s recent past holds her back initially as she considers selling it.

Readers, along with Thea then start to meet the locals, like Jilly and Cerys and get an impression of the surrounding areas.

This is also great for librarians who will appreciate the mention of The Dewey System and shudder at even the mere thought of repairing a book with sellotape. The chat about social media also seems so familiar too. There are lovely snippits of book and music as well.

The bookshop is absolutely wonderful, but all isn’t well with Charles and Edward there with a longstanding feud, with a dark and brooding atmosphere, as Thea discovers and ends up being caught up in. Life then becomes rather complicated for Thea in ways she wasn’t expecting, since she is trying to work out how to leave the complex life behind. Thea, however shows she is pretty reslient most of the time, which works really well for her characterisation. She has her principals, but there’s always that bit of a tug between going home to Sussex or staying in Scotland and making an area there her home. There is also the unescapable fact that there is romance brewing and that bookshop really providing a second chance at life, but you’ll need to read to find out all the nuances and if Thea really thinks this is so and will work well for her or not. It’s not a straight-cut decision to make, which brings some realism in this otherwise relaxing read.

The Bookshop of Second Chances is overall a warm, cosy delightful read that is highly enjoyable.

Buy Links

Waterstones       Bookshop.org     Amazon

#Review By Lou – Alice, Shaken and Definitely Stirred by Paula Smith @PaulaSmith2424 @lovebooksgroup @lovebookstours

Alice, Shaken and Definitely Stirred
By Paula Smith

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Food, Films, Famous People, Romance and a lot of fun… What more can a girl ask for? This book is jam-packed full of all of that. Thanks to Love Books Group for inviting me to review and for The Conrad Press for gifting me the book. The book was published in 2020 and I am delighted to be part of this blog tour.

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Blurb

This uplifting romantic comedy takes you on Alice’s journey, interweaving her relationships with real-life characters and dreams involving her favourite romantic screen idols.

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 Aunty Betty says, ‘Men, dear, are like buses, there are none on the horizon then three come along all at once.’ Alice certainly is shaken and definitely stirred.

Review

AliceLBT2The tone of friends who are also related together (Alice and Sue), just chatting, reminiscing, gossiping is just pure fun and something to relax into from the start.

There’s humour to be had and a dream that starts off exquisitely and romantically… until it starts to come tumbling down, down, down, until reality totally hits and there’s work to go to. Alice works for Mr Frobersham as a director and is in the business of buttons for all the top named stores and brands… until things changed when she was off work.
She also has a social life of sorts, involving all sorts of food and drink. This is a book you may want to prepare a snack and a drink before you sit back and relax in the summer sun with.

The interweaving of real life and dreams is quite different and is easy to differentiate from the two, one because of the famous people’s names, two, because it says when she’s having a dream, three, the style of text changes slightly. They are also pretty outlandish and definitely odd, but adds to the fun of Alice. If you enjoy films you’ll enjoy this book, with its references, . In a way the book almost plays out like a film within a book, or a tv show in a book as there are some references and names from tv too  and the fact it’s a romcom makes it more so.

When practically swearing off men, 3 enter her life – Ollie, Malcolm and Alistair and it’s rather a conundrum for her to choose which guy would be more suitable for her and to work out who may have a bigger chance of breaking her heart. Mixed in with this, is the hard truth that she needs to find a new job, which brings more than a dose of reality to the book.

The book is set at Christmas time, but not too many references to it. It’s one of those that doesn’t feel like it matters too much when you read it. It’s just a feelgood, cosy rom-com, that I think will make people feel warm inside and can have a very nice time with.

Alice Shaken Twitter

#BookReview by Lou – The Art of Loving You by Amelia Henley @MsAmeliaHenley @HQstories #Fiction #Books #RomanticFiction

The Art of Loving You
By Amelia Henley

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Art of Loving You is a love story in a complex, devastating situation, written beautifully and well observed.
Thanks to publisher HQ Stories for gifting me the book to review, especially since. Find out more in the blurb and my review.

The Art of Loving You

Blurb

They were so in love . . .
And then life changed forever . . .
Will they find happiness again?

Libby and Jack are the happiest they’ve ever been. Thanks to their dear friend, eighty-year-old Sid, they’ve just bought their first house together, and it’s the beginning of the life they’ve always dreamed of.

But the universe has other plans for Libby and Jack and a devastating twist of fate shatters their world.

All of a sudden life is looking very different, and unlikely though it seems, might Sid be the one person who can help Libby and Jack move forward when what they loved the most has been lost?

Review

The Art of Loving You starts with a pretty gripping beginning, during the prologue. Jack and Libby have a lovely life together and have a nice relationship with 80 year old Sid, who is in a carehome and is in contact with them by having Face to Face Time on the computer and he’s ready and willing to help them out in many ways. It’s all a very sweet, tender friendship that Libby and Jack have with Sid. Life was great and then there’s a horrific incident that happens to Jack. It is so sudden that you can’t help but wonder what happens next. You really feel for Libby, her pain and feel her time moving so slowly, this isn’t to say the book moves slowly, it does not. The pacing is spot on.

The Art of Loving You shows the turning upside down of life in a way that unfortunately may well resonate with some readers and other readers should pay attention to because what occurs, covers a serious subject.
So many emotions that come through this book that is written so beautifully, with intent and purpose.

The Art of Loving You is a love story, but not, as you can tell, a straightforward one. It has complexities within this relationship. Each one presents itself with such deep emotions, even to the point of playing the “What If game”. 

This is sad and heartwrenching and so well observed, but it also turns corners that brings a light and beauty to the situation of life, love, death. It’s such an absorbing book that will take readers through the whole gambit of emotions and leave you perhaps thinking “phew” and leaves a rather sombre, but satisfied feeling of it being a great book, but then, when you land on the very last page, it also leaves you wanting to give everyone a huge hug.

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#BookReview by Lou – What Planet Can I Blame This On by Ellie Pilcher @ElliePilcher95 @Hodder_Studio

What Planet Can I Blame This On
by Ellie Pilcher

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Laugh out loud funny, this book is one comedy of life that is great to relax into and tickle those funny bones.
Thank you to Ellie Pilcher and Hodder Studio for the invite to review and for gifting me a book.

What Planet Can I Blame This On

Blurb

The stars are not in position  and Krystal Baker is determined to make them fall in line.

It’s Krystal’s 29th birthday. This year:

· Her boyfriend finally proposed after six years of dating (only for her to find out he cheated on her for five and a half of them)

· She landed her dream job as a writer at Craze magazine (which swiftly fell into administration)

· She moved into her dream flat overlooking the city (just for the pipes to explode making the place unliveable)

As she mourns everything wrong in her life, her best friend mutters the dreaded words: Saturn Return. The time in a woman’s life where Saturn returns to the position it was in on the day of their birth, 29.5 years ago, and, according to legend, everything falls apart. Krystal has never bought into astrology but maybe it’s time to re-evaluate – because if the stars got her into this mess, they can get her out of it. And she only has six months to make things right.

Loaded with crystals, horoscopes, tarot cards and a carefully aligned chakra or two, Krystal’s determined to have her life back on track by the time Saturn returns. No longer shall she brand herself a ‘human disaster’ because this time it’s not her fault, it’s written in the treacherous stars.

It’s Krystal versus the universe in a fight for her future that she’s determined to win.

Review

This is surprisingly very funny. It starts with Krystal’s birthday and her bemoaning her playlist, of which I may have furrowed my brow at Stay Shakespear’s Sister, but each taste is different. Moving on… It’s her birthday and her playlist dislike is the absolute least of her worries. Her boyfriend and his behaviour is her biggest problem. Luckily she has friends, Tina and Paige to turn to. The conversation that ensues is seriously funny and the humour in the descriptions and dialogue continue throughout as they decide what they want to do with the bad boyfriend. There’s also a funny description and reference to Villanelle in Killing Eve and Harry Potter and other references to things such as pop culture and more, carefully placed, and in a witty way
Life just tumbles for her as she then loses her job and finds herself which planet or star she can blame it all on. It’s a book that lives and breaths in grown-up millienials in some ways and in another, in the most funniest ways, that the planets and stars have a lot to play in her life. As much as throughout, it is fun to laugh with Krystal and her friends and at her, it is easy to cheer her on and hope that things pick up in her life again, from all the freefalling catastrophes that life can throw at people. She then relies on horoscopes and planet alignments to help her re-evaluate her life and to try to change it and her friends are there too, full of kindness.
Whatever stage you are in life, there will be something relatable and it is ultimately a laugh-out-loud book, that’s as good as some sitcoms in some of the humour.

The humour makes this a wonderful book to sit with a glass of wine or something, out in the sun.

 

Happy Publication Day for Photographed In The Writer’s Room by Michelle L. E. Price A #NewBook for #ValentinesDay @MichelleLEPrice @rararesources #Fiction #RomanticFiction #BlogTour

Photographed in the Writer’s Room
By Michelle L. E. Price

Come and check out Photographed In The Writer’s Room by Michelle L. E. Price. It is published today and will be a lovely read for and after Valentines Day. Read further to find out about this author and about her book. I have a blurb and links to her social media and her book too. It makes you wonder if the main character Brandi Tyler will find her new life and if it really can be a happy one. Can she also find some romance along the way…. Find out a bit more below…

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Purchase Links

US – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08T6HGFG6

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08T6HGFG6

About the Author

Born in Montreal but raised in New England, author Michelle L. E. Price has been writing as long as anyone can remember. An avid reader who was on the verge of losing her mind as a mom to two small children, Michelle began writing her first book, Hidden in the Writer’s Room, as an escape… at least her characters would do exactly what she told them to do and she could always count on a happily ever after ending. She also enjoys wine, re-watching 90’s sitcoms and occasionally running, but heavily relies on writing to stay sane. Michelle is a firm believer that laughter and love are the best parts of life.

Social Media Links

https://www.instagram.com/michelleleprice/

https://twitter.com/MichelleLEPrice

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Blurb

photographed in the writers room - frontFormer TV star Brandi Tyler’s big screen debut crashed and burned amid rumors of an affair with her married co-star… Now, she wants nothing more than to quietly slink away from Hollywood. When she’s offered an opportunity to get out of town and work on a project involving the photographer that launched her career, it seems like the perfect escape! Unfortunately for Brandi, her famous face makes hiding out even a huge city like Houston a little tricky.

When the celebrated photographer’s son offers to let her use his home for privacy, it seems like everything is falling into place. Little does she know that Michael Ames a gorgeous best selling author, and he comes with the package! As Brandi makes her way through old photographs and new scandals, Michael struggles with his next project, and they both fight the growing attraction between them.

Maybe a posse of new girlfriends, some Texas-sized boozy brunches, and a little private time in the writer’s room will help this leading lady find her path back onscreen. And, if she can just picture it, maybe this time she’ll even find love?

Purchase Links

US – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08T6HGFG6

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08T6HGFG6

Photographed in the Writers Room