Jenny’s life as she knows it is about to end. After husband Zak drops a couple of big bombshells on her, she packs up and leaves with their 10-year-old daughter, April. The local coffee shop owner, Noah, offers her a job as well as a place to stay and Jenny strives to survive away from her pampered world.
As the title suggests, this story focuses on new beginnings – and not just for the main character, Jenny. The journeys of April and housemate Elle were also particularly endearing. In fact, I found the characters and story grew on me the more I read. All in all, a pleasant way to while away the day.
Having left her executive job in London to run a tea shop on the
sleepy Greek island of Taxos just four months ago, Pippa is now set to marry her childhood friend Niko. With the wedding preparations in full swing, and a Christmas fair planned to ease the financial strain the people of the village have been feeling, the arrival of Pippa's ex Henrik throws everything into doubt. Pippa has to choose - is she really happy in Taxos with Niko, or is she missing the high life in London too much?
This is a sequel to Game of Scones, and I would advise reading that before this one, as while it could be read as a stand-alone novel, you will get more out of it if you are already familiar with the characters and their stories. The plot here was well thought out, there was plenty of action and suspense throughout. Pippa and Niko felt like old friends so I was excited to see how they were getting on and if their wedding would go ahead as planned. I commend the author on highlighting the issue of Syrian refugees, and dealing with it with a sensitive yet realistic approach. My only criticism is that I didn't quite feel the sparkle of Christmas in this one, it didn't feel like a festive novel to me and could have been set at any other time of the year and still been as enjoyable. (LO)
Pippa spent many childhood summers in the little village of Taxos in Greece, where she and her friend Niko had many wonderful adventures. Now as an adult she is returning for a holiday with boyfriend Henrik. But the recession has hit Taxos hard, and business is far from booming. With Henrik's large company planning on turning Taxos into a tacky tourist destination, Pippa teams up with the locals to help put together a plan to save the village, and the main attraction is a little tea shop run by Pippa and serving her delicious scones.
This is a perfect easy summer read. The descriptions of Taxos make you feel as though you are there with Pippa on her holiday. I liked Pippa from the start, and her scones sounded mouth-wateringly good! I didn't take much to Henrik, I was glad she was having doubts about him. And I didn't feel that strongly either way about Niko, which isn't very positive. At times the plot was a bit slow moving, and elements of the story were a bit implausible, but if you're looking for an easy holiday read, then this is a good bet. (LO)
Kimmy has big dreams of running her own cake baking business. However, her boyfriend Adam thinks it's unrealistic, and urges her to get a proper job. Their disagreement leads to their separation, and Kimmy finds herself suddenly homeless. Along with best friend Jess, they take on a house-sitting job at the magnificent Mistletoe Mansion. Despite having no experience whatsoever, they are confident they can
do the job well. But at Mistletoe Mansion they encounter much more
than they bargained for!
Tonge has a real talent for creating main characters who are charismatic and funny, and Kimmy is no different. She is very likeable, and I became invested in her story from very early on. There was a great supporting cast of characters, neighbours Melissa and Terry being my favourites. The paranormal element to the novel, while not usually my thing, was written in such a way that it was just one aspect of the plot, so I enjoyed it despite not being a believer in these things. Again a very enjoyable book by this author. (LO)
Gemma Goodwin is now a celebrity, thanks to the success of her appearance on Million Dollar Mansion, and her relationship with Lord Edward is still going strong, although she has yet to agree to marry him. Now they are off to Paris, where Gemma hopes to learn more about French cuisine, and Edward is embarking on a career as a journalist. Once there, Gemma is approached by mysterious Joe, and recruited to undertake a top-secret mission. The pressure of this, coupled with the charismatic Monique, soon leads to trouble in Gemma and Edward's relationship, and Gemma finds comfort in the arms of her new friend, Blade. Paris doesn't turn out to be as idyllic as Gemma had hoped.
Having previously read Doubting Abbey and enjoyed it immensely, I was excited to read this sequel and delve back into Gemma's life. She is such an amazing character, really memorable and I loved going on this journey with her to Paris. There is something about Gemma, maybe the fact that she comes across as the underdog, that really makes you take her side and invest in her future. Even though the plot was quite far-fetched, this didn't make it any less entertaining. The descriptive passages were well written, so you can imagine yourself in the streets of Paris easily. There was also a good twist at the end. I did miss some of the characters from the prequel though, such as Lady C, who only makes the briefest of appearances in this book, and Abbey. (LO)
Gemma Goodwin is an ordinary girl with a love of fake tan and false eyelashes. Without them however she looks remarkably like her roommate Abbey. Abbey's aristocratic family need her to be an integral part of their bid to win reality show Million Dollar Mansion, so the prize money can help restore their estate. But she and her boyfriend are going to Africa to do some charity work, so Gemma agrees to fill in for her, without anyone else knowing about it. Even with the etiquette classes and make-under, can Gemma really pull off being a lady and fool a whole nation into thinking she is Abbey Croxley?
I really liked the characters in this book, they were well written and developed. Gemma particularly was relatable and loveable, and she grew immeasurably as the story progressed. The competition itself was excellent, very entertaining. Charlie Chingo was a believable host, and there was plenty of scandal and unexpected twists. I was hooked from the start by this impressive debut novel. (LO)