‘Daughters of the Bride’ by Susan Mallery

dotb smSTORY: With Joy, Love and a Little Trepidation, Courtney, Sienna and Rachel Invite You to the Most Emotional Wedding of the Year… Their Mother’s

Courtney
~ The Misfit ~

As the awkward one, Courtney Watson may not be as together as her sisters, but she excels at one thing—keeping secrets, including her white-hot affair with a sexy music producer. Planning Mom’s wedding exposes her startling hidden life, changing her family’s view of her—and how she views herself—forever.

Sienna
~ The Free Spirit ~

When Sienna’s boyfriend proposes—in front of her mom and sisters, for crying out loud—he takes her by surprise. She already has two broken engagements under her belt. Should she say “I do” even if she’s not sure she does?

Rachel
~ The Cynic ~

Rachel thought love would last forever…right up until her divorce. As Mom’s wedding day draws near and her ex begs for a second chance, she’s forced to acknowledge some uncomfortable truths about why her marriage failed, and decide if she’ll let pride stand in the way of her own happily-ever-after.

REVIEW: I’m really glad to have chosen this particular book as my first Susan Mallery read.

In one word, this was a DELIGHT! I enjoyed it immensely, from the characters (and there are many!) through the dialogue and onward to humor, shedding a tear or two along the way.

This heartwarming story can teach all of us about family ties and what they really mean. It also perfectly takes you through some very emotional situations that require forgiveness and unconditional love, without it being too “preachy”.

If you want to be entertained and taken on a rollercoaster of emotions, this is the book for you!

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘My Not So Perfect Life’ by Sophie Kinsella

mnspl-skSTORY: Katie Brenner has the perfect life: a flat in London, a glamorous job, and a super-cool Instagram feed.

Ok, so the real truth is that she rents a tiny room with no space for a wardrobe, has a hideous commute to a lowly admin job, and the life she shares on Instagram isn’t really hers.

But one day her dreams are bound to come true, aren’t they?

Until her not-so perfect life comes crashing down when her mega-successful boss Demeter gives her the sack. All Katie’s hopes are shattered. She has to move home to Somerset, where she helps her dad with his new glamping business.

Then Demeter and her family book in for a holiday, and Katie sees her chance. But should she get revenge on the woman who ruined her dreams? Or try to get her job back? Does Demeter – the woman with everything – have such an idyllic life herself? Maybe they have more in common than it seems.

And what’s wrong with not-so-perfect, anyway?

REVIEW: Catherine (Cat) Brenner lives in London and battles the tube travel commute every day which take her well over an hour one way. Her boss, Demeter, complains about her 25-minute commute, which makes Cat roll her eyes. Cat works at a branding and strategy agency called Cooper Clemmow. Demeter is married with two children, makes an enormous salary, and lives in a stunning house. Cat, on the other hand, lives in a tiny room and barely makes enough to get by.

Demeter is juggling lots of contracts and depends on her assistant to help her. Unfortunately, Demeter is not liked by many in the office because they feel as though they were passed over for her job.

Cat is trying hard to make friends at work and to try and get noticed by her boss. One day, a handsome man named Alex asks Cat to help him look over some items to decide if they would be worth supporting/branding them. She soon finds out that he is Demeter’s boss. She dreams about how wonderful it would be to date him. She gets embarrassed when her drunken co-worker tells Alex at the office Christmas party that Cat has a crush on him. Mortified, Cat cannot face him.

Cat’s name is actually Katie and she grew up on a farm in the countryside. Her mother passed away when Katie was little and it was her father who raised her. Katie heads home for the Christmas break. Her Dad has always had a lot of get-rich schemes that never paned out. Katie suggests that he offer a country vacation spot complete with yurts, great good, and lots of games and exercise. She even does up a fabulous brochure and after working it through, it becomes a reality. This is a good thing because as soon as Cat gets back to work after Christmas break, Demeter fires her. Totally shocked, she heads back home and tells her Dad she is on sabbatical from her job. So, she delves in and works to make the vacation spot a success.

They get many people coming and enjoying themselves. When Demeter and her family show up, Katie disguises herself and does all she can to get back at Demeter under the guise of healthy exercise. But when Alex arrives to see Demeter, things get really rough.

This is a terrific story that only Sophie Kinsella can write. I have loved all of her books and this one did not disappoint. Grab a copy of this book and come join the fun. I’m betting you will love the story.

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Connie for b2b

‘The Mistress’ by Danielle Steel

tm-dsSTORY: Natasha Leonova’s beauty saved her life. Discovered on a freezing Moscow street by a Russian billionaire, she has lived for seven years under his protection, immersed in rarefied luxury, while he pursues his activities in a dark world that she guesses at but never sees. Her home is the world, often on one of Vladimir Stanislas’s spectacular yachts manned by scores of heavily armed crew members. Natasha’s job is to keep Vladimir happy, ask no questions, and be discreet. She knows her place, and the rules. She feels fortunate to be spoiled and protected, and is careful not to dwell on Vladimir’s ruthlessness or the deadly circles he moves in. She experiences only his kindness and generosity and believes he will always keep her safe. She is unfailingly loyal to him in exchange.

Theo Luca is the son of a brilliant, world famous, and difficult artist, Lorenzo Luca, who left his wife and son with a fortune in artwork they refuse to sell. Lorenzo’s widow, Maylis, has transformed their home in St. Paul de Vence into a celebrated restaurant decorated with her late husband’s paintings, and treats it as a museum. There, on a warm June evening, Theo first encounters Natasha, the most exquisite woman he has ever seen. And there, Vladimir lays eyes on Luca’s artwork. Two dangerous obsessions begin.

Theo, a gifted artist in his own right, finds himself feverishly painting Natasha’s image for weeks after their first meeting. Vladimir, enraged that Lorenzo’s works are not for sale, is determined to secure a painting at any price. And Natasha, who knows that she cannot afford to make even one false move, nevertheless begins to think of the freedom she can never have as Vladimir’s mistress. She cannot risk her safety for another man, or even a conversation with him, as Theo longs for a woman he can never have.

From Moscow to the Riviera, Paris, and London, The Mistress is a riveting tale of vast fortune, cruelty, creative genius, and daring courage, as uncompromising individuals chart a course for collision.

REVIEW: The 500 foot yacht, Princess Marina, named for his mother, is owned by Vladimir Stanislos, 49, one of the richest men in Russia whose worth is estimated at $40-$50 billion. His mistress is Natasha Leonova, 26, whom he has been with for 7 years. She had a very poor life as a child and he rescued her off the streets of Russia. She was very sick with pneumonia and he nursed her back to health. Natasha knows that he refuses to have any children with a mistress. But she is the perfect companion who always knows what he needs from her. Vladimir is an art lover and collector and Natasha enjoys it as well. They spend time on their yacht or at one of their other residences around the world.

Maylis Luca is the widow of famed artist, Lorenzo Luca. Their son, Theo. is also a talented artist. Maylis owns a posh restaurant in Cap d’Antibes which displays a number of Lorenzo’s paintings, but none are for sale. Occasionally, Theo helps out at the restaurant when they are short handed.

One night, Vladimir and Natasha have dinner at the restaurant. Both are very taken with Luca’s paintings and want to buy one. However, Maylis gives them a firm no even though Theo encourages her to sell it. Theo thinks Natasha is very beautiful, but he does not care for Vladimir and his arrogant manner. However, when Vladimir offers an outrageously high figure for the painting, Maylis accepts the offer.

Theo is so obsessed with Natasha that he spends an enormous period of time painting her from memory working until he feels it is perfect. When he gifts her with the painting, Vladimir becomes jealous and revenge erupts.

This is a typical Danielle Steel novels that rambles along making it a very easy read. Of course, there are a lot of repeated sentences but that is the signature of this particular author. I have read a number of her books but not all. I chose to read this particular novel because it takes place in my beloved Paris and the south of France. If you are looking for a nice story with lots of descriptions, do pick up this book. It is quite good.

Connie for b2b

‘Heroes Are My Weakness’ by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

hamw-sepSTORY: The dead of winter.

An isolated island off the coast of Maine.

A man.

A woman.

A sinister house looming over the sea …

He’s a reclusive writer whose macabre imagination creates chilling horror novels. She’s a down-on-her-luck actress reduced to staging kids’ puppet shows. He knows a dozen ways to kill with his bare hands. She knows a dozen ways to kill with laughs.

But she’s not laughing now. When she was a teenager, he terrified her. Now they’re trapped together on a snowy island off the coast of Maine. Is he the villain she remembers or has he changed? Her head says no. Her heart says yes.

It’s going to be a long, hot winter.

REVIEW: I am still new to this author and thus am feeling torn about this story. I have a feeling that if I were used to her writing voice, some of the things would have “fallen into place” much more easily.

What made this a disappointment for me was the lack of chemistry between the two leads. Try as I might, I just couldn’t get them to click in my mind’s eye. On the other hand, I liked both characters and their individuality. So, separate, they were kind of cool, but together, they were just blah.

Plot wise it wasn’t bad. It was interesting and at times entertaining and funny, but because of its slow pace, I enjoyed it less.

In the end, if you’re a fan of this author, I have a feeling you’ll like it much more than I did.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the

‘The Coldwater Warm Hearts Club’ by Lexi Eddings

tcwwhc-leSTORY: For Lacy Evans, returning to flyover country is the definition of failure. She had everything she wanted an award-winning design firm, a chic city condo, a handsome, aristocratic almost-fiance. Then her boyfriend ran off with her receptionist and her clients’ money. Now she s out of business and crashing on her parents couch. When she slides into a booth at the Green Apple Grill, she’s feeling lower than a worm’s belly.

But Lacy s old classmate Jacob Tyler is happy to see her. Coldwater s football hero came back from Afghanistan short part of a leg and some peace of mind, but he s counting his blessings, and Lacy could be one of them. Then there s her ex, Daniel, wearing a sheriff s badge and a wedding ring, but looking like young summer love. And a host of unlikely serendipities: the selfless do-gooders who sneak around taming curmudgeons and constructing second chances. The Fighting Marmots. The sprawling, take-no-prisoners Bugtussle clan.

Lacy thought she knew her hometown, and herself. She just wanted to get on her feet and keep running. But the longer she stays, the more she finds to change her mind. . .

REVIEW: Lexi Eddings is a new voice of contemporary romance, however Mia Marlow is one of my all time favorite historical romance authors. Knowing that, I was praying that I’d at least like this new reincarnation of her writing voice. And guess what? I loved it!

For me, even though this was Lacy and Jake’s story, it just felt more of an ensemble tale, and that’s because we have multiple points of views and because every character you meet is three dimensional.

I was also pleasantly surprised by the author’s choice of including Jake’s faith throughout the storyline. That’s something I hardly encounter in romances, unless they’re marked as “Christian”.

If you’re looking for a new voice in contemporary romance, I highly recommend Lexi Eddings and her heartwarming story of second chances, redemption, faith, hope and love.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘The Christmas Surprise’ by Jenny Colgan

tcs-jcSTORY: From the New York Times bestselling author of Little Beach Street Bakery and The Bookshop on the Corner comes a delightful holiday tale full of sweetness, love, heartbreak, and happiness—perfect for fans of Debbie Macomber and Elin Hilderbrand.

Rosie Hopkins, newly engaged, is looking forward to an exciting year in the little English sweetshop she owns. But when fate deals Rosie and her boyfriend Stephen a terrible blow, threatening everything they hold dear, it’s going to take all their strength and the support of their families and their friends to hold them together.

After all, don’t they say it takes a village to raise a child?

REVIEW: This is my first time reading a Jenny Colgan novel and I loved it. It made me want to move to the English countryside village and savor snow days at Christmas.

Despite the predictability of the plot, I enjoyed the drama because it was someone elses for a change 😉

If you’re looking for an easy book to read while you sip your hot cocoa, grab this one. You’ll like it.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘The Little Bookshop on the Seine’ by Rebecca Raisin

tlbots-rrSTORY: Le Vie En Rose

Bookshop owner Sarah Smith has been offered the opportunity to exchange bookshops with her new Parisian friend for 6 months! And saying yes is a no-brainer – after all, what kind of a romantic would turn down a trip to Paris? Even if it does mean leaving the irresistible Ridge Warner behind, Sarah’s sure she’s in for the holiday of a lifetime – complete with all the books she can read!

Picturing days wandering around Shakespeare & Co, munching on croissants, sipping café au laits and people-watching on the Champs-Elysees Sarah boards the plane. But will her dream of a Parisian Happily-Ever-After come true? Or will Sarah realise that the dream isn’t quite as rosy in reality…

REVIEW: Sarah lives in a small town in Connecticut and is struggling to keep her bookshop open. It’s called The Bookshop on the Corner. Her boyfriend is Ridge, a reporter, who is traveling doing freelance work. This means that their time together is minimal. Sophie owns Once Upon a Time bookshop in Paris. It’s located right along the Seine and is in a perfect location. Sarah and Sophie have become friends via a bookshop blog and Skype quite often. So, when Sophie’s heart is broken by her boyfriend, she suggests to Sarah that they exchange working at each other’s bookshops for a period of time as Sophie needs to get away. Living in Paris has always been on Sarah’s bucket list and so she agrees. They will live in each other’s apartments so it all works out perfectly.

When Sarah arrives in Paris, she is thrown right into the bookstore and becomes fascinated with the numerous customers and vast size of the store itself. Excited about being in Paris, she finds herself constantly tied to the store juggling all of the customers and endless duties. She soon discovers that while she is willing to work as many hours as necessary to get the jobs done, her French counterparts work when it pleases them to do so. However, she manages to steal some time away from the store here and there to explore the beautiful city of Paris.

Readers follow Sarah as she meets some of the regulars who come into the bookstore and stay all day. There are writers and painters and poets. The business at the bookstore is enormous with the tourists who line up to buy from the large and varied displays of books. Once Sarah lets her co-workers know she will not tolerate their attitude toward working, they come to respect her more and they become friends. They introduce Sarah to the little shops and restaurants that the tourists don’t know about but which thrill Sarah.

Although Sarah is having a lovely time in Paris, she is disappointed that her plans to spend time with Ridge keep being put on hold as he flies from one country to another chasing news stories. After three months in Paris, she is sad that they have only had one day together. With both of them so busy, they are constantly missing one another’s phone calls as well.

As Christmas approaches, Sarah is in her element making plans to decorate the bookstore for the holiday and offer lots of festive events. While she loves Christmas and is excited about it, she is hurting because Ridge is not there and she cannot help but question where their relationship is heading. As a romance novel lover, Sarah is hoping that she will be able to find her own HEA.

I loved this book. The author described the Paris that I personally know and love, including all of the things that make it such an exciting city. Romance book lovers everywhere will want to read this. I promise you that it will be a book you won’t soon forget.

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Connie for b2b