Books
0 Comments

Dates can be comical or dire..

The Twelve Dates of Christmas
Jennifer Bayliss-Jennings
Pan Romance
Pan Macmillan
November 12, 2020
352

On the first day of Christmas, a dating app offered me Twelve tailored chances for perfect harmony . . . Kate Turner is happily single – a bit too happily, in fact. Since returning to her hometown of Blexford, a sleepy village where everybody knows each other, and between catching up with her oldest friends Laura and Matt, a flourishing career as a fabric designer, and taking care of her beloved dad, love hasn’t really had a look in. But Kate does love Christmas. So when Laura insists she signs up to the Twelve Dates of Christmas, a brand new dating app service, she doesn’t need too much persuading. Twelve perfect festive dates with the area’s most eligible men – who could say no? Amongst the twinkling lights and over hot chocolates and glasses of red wine, romance is easy to find. But with each date, Kate learns more about the men, and even more about herself. As the big day approaches, Kate’s left wondering – is it really the season for true love, or will this Christmas be the coldest yet?

  • This was a light and fun story about someone who signed up with a dating app for 12 experience dates. Each experience was designed such that she would get a different partner. Sometimes this worked well. Sometimes it didn’t… and sometimes it was best to swap with your gay friend as he was a better dancer!
    • It all sounded very hard work as the 12 dates took place in a very few days but also was a way to experience a lot of potential partners and decide what makes a good one. Of course, sometimes that didn’t work out. But as this was a romance, a happy end was experienced.
Liberty London Advent Calendar 2020 ON SALE TODAY and here's what's inside  the legendary calendar

Share This:

Books
0 Comments

Trace a new Arc

The Summer Job Book Cover The Summer Job
Lizzy Dent
Women's fiction, Contemporary fiction
Viking
April 29, 2021
352

Have you ever imagined running away from your life? Well Birdy Finch didn't just imagine it. She did it. Which might've been an error. And the life she's run into? Her best friend, Heather's. The only problem is, she hasn't told Heather. Actually there are a few other problems... Can Birdy carry off a summer at a luxury Scottish hotel pretending to be her best friend (who incidentally is a world-class wine expert)? And can she stop herself from falling for the first man she's ever actually liked (but who thinks she's someone else)? If you're looking to replace that Fleabag sized hole in your life, look no further: you'll laugh at her, you'll cringe with her but ultimately you'll fall in love with Birdy Finch. For fans of The Flat Share, this is a rom com like you've never seen before, The Summer Job is the hottest read this summer.

A light hearted story about a somewhat chaotic character.

Our heroine, Birdy, has never managed to keep herself in their job – or any kind of training for enough length of time to become skilled at it.  She had a chaotic upbringing with an alcoholic father and a mother who was his facilitator –  so much so that when he sold items eg her clarinet when she was seven years old, her mother told Birdy she had lost it herself, rather than admitting that her father had sold it to pay off a debt.  As a result she found it difficult to maintain any emotional attachment to people except for her best friend Heather.

Heather had also had a difficult upbringing but in a very different way. Heather’s father had been a successful wine merchant and when he died and left her a small amount of money she used it to train as a sommelier and had become very well known in her particular field, and very experienced, but because her relationship with her father again was difficult she sought out love from men who were unsuitable in different ways .

This story begins late spring when Birdy is unemployed (again) and Heather decides to go to Italy with her current boyfriend. There is a problem with Heather’s current boyfriend in that he already has another girlfriend, but he promises to break up with her. Birdy has her own problems in being not only being unemployed but having nowhere to live. She had been sharing Heather’s flat but Heather had leased it out for the summer. Birdy then wonders what she’s going to do.. .What she does do is to pretend, as she has often pretended, to be Heather  – but before for small occasions but this time she was attending a an event for British wines.  And she meets a delightful lady called Irene there, who says oh you are Heather and chats to her, and they have a very nice time whilst Birdy’s very unreliable boyfriend Tim gets very drunk .What Birdy doesn’t know about Irene comes back to bite her later .

I enjoyed this book. I enjoyed Birdy trying for the first time in her life to learn a skill and failing miserably initially. I enjoyed her character arc and how she developed and learned to be more than she had been before. I recommend that if you are having a struggle learning who you are meant to be, what your job should be, what your place in life is, what you could become, that you read this book and see what Birdy’s trajectory was and ponder.

Share This:

Books
0 Comments

And it snows..

Adventures of an Urban Homesteader Book Cover Adventures of an Urban Homesteader
Brooke L. Davis
Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Humour
Gallatin River Press
June 30, 2020
294

After three years under the thumb of a cretinous boss who’s sucked all the joy out of working a 9-to-5 job, twenty-eight-year-old Kendall Whitney has had enough. She flees San Francisco, her annoying roommates, and her overbearing mother, and takes refuge in Bozeman, Montana, where it feels like the big sky’s the limit. Safely ensconced in her best friend’s guest room, she promptly launches a three-pronged plan: to live alone for the first time in her life, develop a successful graphic design career, and figure out what she wants in a relationship. She embarks upon Operation Kendall Independence, only to realize that she doesn’t know the first thing about adulting. Hangovers, homemaking, freelancing, friendships, and modern cowboys bent on monogamy . . . it’s enough to send a single girl running for the gin & tonics. With self-deprecating charm and endearing humor, Adventures of an Urban Homesteader is the raucous and heartwarming diary of a young woman who’s determined to seek stability and security on her own terms, and to make her own safety net in case she fails.

Ah Montana – the mountains, the cows and cowboys that you need for them, and then there is the cold! Lots of cold.  Bozeman where our heroine moves to, is noted for being trendy – and snow can fall for 3/4 or more of the year! So coming from San Francisco was surely quite a shock to her. Clearly hadn’t invested in the correct undergarments – try Uniqlo in future… they even have self-heating jeans.

I liked the format of the book and the writing style was engaging and fun. Her ‘adventures’ with cows and cowpats and ‘wild’ creatures were amusing and I liked her friends and her boyfriends.

This was a lively book to read and enjoy in the less than freezing temperatures of Southern UK where you can giggle at our current 17 degree c in mid November and all the flowers blooming – and no need to put on woollies – wellies yes though as it has rained a lot! See La Sevillan rose and our LiquidAmbar in full glory in our garden late October 2020.

Oh and do look up the blog from High Country News which gives 10 reasons not to move to Bozeman – funny. The author is debunking all the people who say move to Bozeman for the laid back life etc. A small paradise it is often said.

https://www.hcn.org/blogs/goat/top-10-reasons-not-to-move-to-bozeman

So number 1 reason is the Name – lame.. and number 2 is the weather… it has been known to snow heavily in June. That said, snow in the UK comes later – or earlier – in the year, depending on how you look at it, in the South rather than the North, and has frequently snowed on our son’s birthday late April – but only a sprinkling.

Share This:

Books
0 Comments

Not so young as their name.

Fake It Book Cover Fake It
Young Brothers Book 1
by Brisa Starr
New Adult | Romance
BooksGoSocial
Pub Date 26 Sep 2020

Harper Dallas is so desperate for the job, she's willing to lie on her resume to get it. But she has a good reason, and she's qualified. So that makes it OK, right?

Ethan Young is her devastatingly hot and sexy new boss, and he hired her based on her lie. He's wonderful, and he's falling hard for Harper. But office romance is forbidden, so he can't touch her, no matter what his heart and hormones say. 

But when the boss and employee take a business trip to Las Vegas, well... what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas! 

Eventually, Harper knows she must tell Ethan the truth, even if it means risking everything... her newfound happiness, her amazing job, and the man of her dreams. 

Her lie is eating her alive. If she comes clean, will their love survive? 

Author’s Note: Fake It is a standalone steamy romance novel about a hot-n-sexy boss and employee relationship. It has a happily every after ending. It’s also the first book in a romance series, with stories about Ethan’s brothers, Gavin and Benjamin!

This book is a series of three about the Young brothers who own restaurants across Arizona. Book One deals with marketing. I thought that the marketing ideas were rather old hat and as for lying on your CV that’s okay we all exaggerate and take a little bit of what our bosses do into our own tasks and responsibilities. The office was based on the West Coast laid back style with games and nap chairs type but still seemed rather more conventional than many I have read about. I did like the element of autism that was brought in very empathetically. I give this four stars

Book 2 of the Young brothers dealt with a lot of body enhancements. I found it very difficult to warm to the characters as they were so extreme in their views – there was the view of frugality as opposed to spending; the issues of biohacking; and it seemed to me that saving a million is not enough to retire on especially if it’s invested in the stock market  – as it would require interest and the stock market goes up and down loads.  And interest is often negative on savings. And then, using houses as retirement savings is also a dodgy area, in that you need a. the renters and b. what happens if the economy crashes. A lot of friends of mine ended up with negative equity with the last house price crash, and I understand that it is worse in the US. If the writer had made more of the true finances of retirement and savings at present, I would have given this book another .5 star. I give this three stars. Book 3 is not yet out.

Share This:

Books
0 Comments

When a horse is aristocratic

Ten Days with a Duke Book Cover Ten Days with a Duke
12 Dukes of Christmas
Erica Ridley
Fiction, Romance, Regency
Erica Ridley
November 13, 2020
200

From a New York Times bestselling author: a second chances, enemies-while-lovers reunion romance where nothing is as it first appears, and everyone’s motives are suspect… Olive Harper's family has been feuding with the Westons for decades. The Westons’ stud farm is the biggest, but the Harpers’ is the most famous... and she's the sole heiress. Or was, until her father brokers a truce by offering the Weston heir the Harper farm. The only way to get it back is to marry the knave who kissed her and humiliated her, twice—or prove to her father that some rifts can never be healed. Scholar and botanist Elijah Weston is dreadful at feuding. For one, he prefers horticulture to horses. For two, he's been desperately in love with his mortal enemy ever since he kissed her—and, yes, publicly destroyed her—all those years ago. When he's given ten days to win Olive's heart, he arrives with marriage license in hand. But where lies and double-crosses abound, how can lifelong rivals learn to trust their hearts? The 12 Dukes of Christmas is a series of heartwarming Regency romps nestled in a picturesque snow-covered village. Twelve delightful romances… and plenty of delicious dukes!

So we are back in Cressmouth aka Christmas where we have a horse ranch that that we have we have heard about before as they supply the horses that pulled the sledges up the very steep High Street; and of course Prinnie, the Prince Regent, wanted to buy Duke the amazing stallion who doesn’t like anyone to ride him – apart from one person – that is the person who nursed him through his foal- hood, who bottle fed him and who trained him. Our heroine in other words.

However as we know, in Regency times we have come across this problem before – women cannot inherit or own property  – they need a man, and so it’s necessary for our heroine to find a man. Also her father thought she should be married so that she could then own the horse farm through him, or at least that’s what he told her.

He had long ago had a major argument with his partner which had led to the horse business being split into 2;  one part in Christmas and the other part in London. He now contacted his ex-London partner to facilitate a rapprochement, and suggested that his son might marry our heroine and this is where the Story starts. There is one problem however with the London son – he’s a botanist doesn’t really like horses. He is concerned with a major avenue of research – finding a herbal remedy for when the placenta is retained in childbirth – as this leads to the mother bleeding out – as his own mother had. Of course, this does not please his father, but he continues, and is in need of money to hire the necessary scientists for his project. He thus agrees to woo the heroine in =exchange for funding from his father.

 I’ve looked into some of the plants that are mentioned here in the book to see which ones do have some medicinal impact and some of them certainly do, others are really just decorative. The first one mentioned is nelumbo nucifera also known as the sacred Lotus or Indian Lotus. It is completely edible in all its parts and may be an antidepressant or anti diabetic; the second plant mentioned is olea sylvestris which is in fact the wild olive and as we know olives are very edible indeed. There is a mention of the grass that the horses have in their pasture – phleum pratense,  this is a perennial grass and actually isn’t all that good for horses to eat when it is still green. It is sometimes called cats tail and is especially good when added to hay as it produces fibre and is good for the horses teeth as it is rather tough.

One of the things being researched into are plants that can induce Labour. Sometimes midwives will recommend castor oil or raspberry tea, or blue cohosh tea. However, there are no reliable studies to support that any of them actually work.

There are two orchids that are also mentioned, a Costa Rican orchid also called the Easter orchid –

Cattleya mossiae orchid plant care and culture | Travaldo's blog

– and an epiphytic orchid from the Asian Sub Continent which is miniature and very floriferous called vanda ampullacea.

🌿 Vanda ampullacea, formerly Ascocentrum ampullaceum - Compact Orchid  Species | eBay

This series is fun and the Dukes in question are often unexpected. In this particular book, the Duke is a horse. I always enjoy this writer and is interesting to see that she has brought into the story plants from the part of the world in which she lives – Costa Rica. Which is a wonderful plant friendly  part of the world!

Share This:

Social Media Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com