Thursday, 26 January 2017

5* review - White Lies and Wishes by Cathy Bramley

Flirtatious, straight-talking Jo Gold says she’s got no time for love; she’s determined to save her family’s failing footwear business. 

New mother Sarah Hudson has cut short her maternity leave to return to work. She says she’ll do whatever it takes to make partner at the accountancy firm. 

Bored, over-eating housewife Carrie Radley says she just wants to shift the pounds – she’d love to finally wear a bikini in public. 

The unlikely trio meet by chance one winter’s day, and in a moment of ‘Carpe Diem’ madness, embark on a mission to make their wishes come true by September. 

Easy. At least it would be, if they hadn’t been just the teensiest bit stingy with the truth…

With hidden issues, hidden talents, and hidden demons to overcome, new friends Jo, Carrie and Sarah must admit to what they really, really want, if they are ever to get their happy endings.

Jo, Carrie and Sarah meet under strained circumstances at the funeral of a mutual friend. After chatting and realising that life truly can be cut short at any given moment, they all realise they have unfulfilled ambitions and devise a list. The list is first deemed as a bit of a joke (by all except super-organised Sarah) and they aren't quite as truthful as they could be.

Jo, who is now at the helm of the successful family business, Golds, a leading shoe manufacturer, wants to conquer her fear of heights - but feelings run deeper within her and that is only partly what she craves for in life. Carrie wants to wear a bikini in public and shed a few pounds to gain back her confidence, but her weight isn't really what's at the root of her problems; and new mum, Sarah, is desperate to become a partner in the accountancy firm she works for, but for the right reasons?

As their friendship builds they discover more about themselves and realise what it is they really need to change to become who they want to be.

Since her debut novel, Conditional Love, Cathy Bramley has been releasing books initially as a four part series - leaving readers itching for more after ten chapters, but White Lies and Wishes has taken a different format of being released a whole book, and I for one LOVE IT. Also, Ivy Lane, Wickham Hall etc have all been focused on the titled places whereas here the story centres far more around the three leading ladies, a move that really has paid off.

As much as there are differences, the book is written with all Cathy's warm wit and love. I was laughing and most definitely crying with the girls and loved them from the start, even Jo who initially I admit I definitely misread as a cold fish - she quickly won me over. This is an inspiring and beautifully written tale of love, friendship and empowerment. 

I adore this offering from Cathy Bramley and will definitely return to re read. A truly feel good tale! 

More about Cathy...

Cathy is the author of the best-selling romantic comedies Ivy Lane, Appleby farm, Conditional Love, Wickham Hall and The Plumberry School Of Comfort Food. She lives in a small Nottinghamshire village with her family and Pearl, the Cockerpoo.
Her recent career as a full-time writer of light-hearted romantic fiction has come as somewhat of a lovely surprise after spending eighteen years running her own marketing agency. However, she has always been an avid reader, hiding her book under the duvet and reading by torchlight.

Find Cathy here on Facebook - Cathy Bramley
Twitter - @CathyBramley
Website -

Sunday, 15 January 2017

5* review: All I ever Wanted by Lucy Dillon

Caitlin's life is a mess. Her marriage to a man everyone else thinks is perfect has collapsed, along with her self-esteem, and breaking free seems the only option.
Nancy, her four-year-old daughter, used to talk all the time; in the car, at nursery, to her brother Joel. Then her parents split up. Her daddy moves out. And Nancy stops speaking.
Nancy's Auntie Eva, recently widowed and feeling alone, apart from the companionship of two bewildered pugs, is facing a future without her husband or the dreams she gave up for him.
But when Eva agrees to host her niece and nephew once a fortnight, Caitlin and Eva are made to face the different truths about their marriages - and about what they both really want . . .

I had never read anything by Lucy Dillon before this caught my eye on NetGalley, and I am thrilled that it did. 

Caitlin is recently separated from Patrick, the man that came along and rescued her and young son Joel as their car broke down when Joel was small and Caitlin was bringing him up on her own. He provided her with stability, but for free spirited Caitlin it came with a heavy cross to bear, and Patrick seeing her as the perfect wife was too much for her to cope with.

He begins to take to children for weekends with his sister, Eva, who has been recently widowed and not completely child friendly in her shiny show home house that usually only houses her and her pugs (who have the most amazing voices that I was hearing mentally for days after finishing.)

Eva, and particularly Nancy who has been mute since Patrick left, form a close bond, helped by Bumble the pug, and Eva starts to question a lot about her marriage to actor, Mike. The introduction to her of his memoirs is another step into the journey of her questioning their life together, and a serendipitous meeting with his editor sparks an interesting friendship.

I truly haven't enjoyed a book as much as I did this for a long time. Dillon's voice is strong, funny and empathetic and tells a really good tale. I loved the characters, especially Joel who had me weeping and laughing.

It ended beautifully and has left me wanting to race through the back catalogue of Lucy Dillon's work.

Many thanks to the publisher for an ecopy provided in exchange for an honest review.