The Italian Wife by Kate Furnivall

Title | The Italian Wife

Author | Kate Furnivall

Publisher | Sphere / Little Brown UK

Publication Date | 7th May 2015

Source | Review Copy & Purchased

ISBN | 9780751550764

Purchase | Amazon

A Page of Fictional Love Rating | 5/5

Italy, 1932 -- Mussolini's Italy is growing from strength to strength, but at what cost?
One bright autumn morning, architect Isabella Berotti sits at a café in the vibrant centre of Bellina, when a woman she's never met asks her to watch her ten-year-old daughter, just for a moment. Reluctantly, Isabella agrees -- and then watches in horror as the woman climbs to the top of the town's clock tower and steps over the edge. 
This tragic encounter draws vivid memories to the surface, forcing Isabella to probe deeper into the secrets of her own past as she tries to protect the young girl from the authorities. Together with charismatic photographer Roberto Falco, Isabella is about to discover that secrets run deeper, and are more dangerous, than either of them could have possibly imagined . . . 
From the glittering marble piazzas to the picturesque hillside villages and winding streets of Rome, Kate Furnivall's epic new novel will take you on an breathtaking journey of intrigue, romance and betrayal.

I was drawn to this book based on it's location; Italy. I have always had a love for Italian culture, history and art. It's still a dream of mine to honeymoon in Venice, and Tuscany. This book, The Italian Wife is set in historical Italy, the time of Mussolini, and it's a beautifully emotive novel that touches not only your heart, but gives you a strong appreciation for Italian history. 

The first chapter alone, had me wiping away tears in the bathtub. The beautiful picturesque Italy is described in breathtaking detail, so much that you feel that you are there, or at the very least bearing witness to the events that unfold. 

The romance aspect to this novel is delectable and warms your heart through and through. At times I was taken aback by the events, fears and intrigue, but still the pages kept on turning. I devoured this book like I would a favourite film; curled up with a blanket, a cup of coffee and a notice that I was not to be disturbed.

I encourage anyone who is interested in Italian culture, lifestyle, romance and history to read this, even those who are not historical fiction fans - as I would not describe myself as such, but this book certainly will stay with me for a very long time. I enjoyed this book so much that I went and purchased the paperback copy too! 

One Small Act of Kindness by Lucy Dillon

Title | One Small Act of Kindness  
Author | Lucy Dillon

Publisher | Hodder

Publication Date | 23rd April 2015 

Source | Review Copy 

ISBN | 9781444796025

Purchase | Amazon 

A Page of Fictional Love Rating | 4/5 

What can you do to make the world a better place?

Libby and her husband Jason have moved back to his hometown to turn the family B&B into a boutique hotel. They have left London behind and all the memories – good and bad – that went with it.

The injured woman Libby finds lying in the remote country road has lost her memory. She doesn’t know why she came to be there, and no one seems to be looking for her.

When Libby offers to take her in, this one small act of kindness sets in motion a chain of events that will change many people’s lives . . .

I adored this book! One Small Act of Kindness is a story of hope,friendship and human decency. I was deeply touched by the delicate pace of this story that carried a powerful message of what performing an act of kindness can do for good of mankind. 

We meet Libby and her husband Jason as they get to grips with their new home and business - the family B&B that they are taking over following Jason's fathers passing. Jason's mother was finding it hard to stay on top of the maintenance so they agreed to take it on. Libby's finding it hard to get used to her new life as she misses her friends, who agree to help her and visit her when they can. Jason never seems to be around, and Libby has to try and see if she can cope with Jason being around his old friends and not so much around the B&B... at least to begin with. 

Libby shows her true gentle nature when there is an awful accident right outside the B&B and a woman lies injured... when she comes to in the hospital she doesn't know why she's there, where 'there' actually is, or who she is. She has no idea if she's being missed by anyone. She doesn't know her own name. Without ID on her, Libby feels for her and they slowly become friends as they try to discover who the mystery woman really is and where her place in life is. 

I don't want to spoil the rest of the story because it's one that will warm your heart, and inspire you to go out and perform random acts of kindness.. or maybe some not so random acts of kindness to the people around you. Because you can never truly know just what that simple act of kindness can do to someone else's life. And I think that's what makes this book so beautiful. The fact that is reinstates faith and hope into society. A hope for a kinder world.  

Waiting for Doggo by Mark B. Mills

Title | Waiting for Doggo  
Author | Mark B. Mills

Publisher | Headline  
ISBN | 9781472218339

Source | Review Copy

Purchase | Amazon

A Page of Fictional Love Rating | 4/5 

No-one ever called Dan a pushover. But then no-one ever called him fast-track either. 

He likes driving slowly, playing Sudoku on his iPhone, swapping one scruffy jumper for another. 

He’s been with Clara for four years and he’s been perfectly happy; but now she’s left him, leaving nothing but a long letter filled with incriminations and a small, white, almost hairless dog, named Doggo. 

So now Dan is single, a man without any kind of partner whether working or in love. He’s just one reluctant dog owner. Find a new home for him, that’s the plan. 

Come on…everyone knows the old adage about the best laid plans and besides, Doggo is one special kind of a four legged friend…and an inspiration.

This book has been hailed as 'male chick-lit' and rightly so. Our shelves need far more books filled with the male perspective of love, heartbreak, moving on, finding yourself, and love again. Mark B. Mills has delivered that, in this one book that may be small in size, but boy is it packed with simplistic viewpoints of the wows and woes of daily life. 

As a woman, I loved this book, because it broke down the situations we all go through when having endured a break-up, finding love again, finding ourselves again, the office politics we face at work, and most importantly, those of us with four legged friends can appreciate the 'conversations' we have with them - yet all from a super-refined male perspective. No complications added, life throws us enough of those itself, no meltdown dramas (don't you find them just exhausting?), no endless analyzing of why it went wrong - just a pure innocent acceptance of what is. What is not to love? 

The characters we meet are so realistic you find yourself thinking that you actually know them, the situations, again as I've said we've all faced them, or can easily put ourselves in those shoes, ... Doggo - that dog that's at first described as 'ugly' actually turns out to show you just how beautiful HE is, how beautiful life is.. can be... when you allow it to be.

What gripped me what the letter that Clara ... Dan's ex left him letting him know it was over. It was heartfelt... it was humorous, it was honest.  

I don't want to complicate this review because I feel it will spoil the book. This book is simplistically unique, a modern day breath of fresh air, one that will stay with you until the end of time. As will Doggo. 

Showcase: The House on Cold Hill by Peter James

Title | The House on Cold Hill 

Author | Peter James

Publisher | Pan Macmillan 

ISBN | 9781447255901

Publication Date | 8th October 2015 

Pre-Order | Amazon

They said the dead can't hurt you . . . They were wrong. 

The House on Cold Hill is a chilling and suspenseful ghost story from the multi-million copy bestselling author of Dead Simple, Peter James. 

Moving from the heart of the city of Brighton and Hove to the Sussex countryside is a big undertaking for born townies, Ollie Harcourt, his wife, Caro, and their twelve-year-old daughter, Jade. But when they view Cold Hill House - a huge, dilapidated, Georgian mansion - they are filled with excitement. 

Despite the financial strain of the move, Ollie has dreamed of living in the country since he was a child, and with its acres of land, he sees Cold Hill House as a paradise for his animal-loving daughter, a base for his web-design business and a terrific long-term investment. Caro is less certain, and Jade is grumpy about being removed from all her friends. 

But within days of moving in, it soon becomes apparent that the Harcourt family aren't the only residents in the house. At first it is only a friend of Jade, talking to her on Facetime, who sees a spectral woman standing behind her. Then there are more sightings of her, as well as increasingly disturbing occurrences in the house.

Two weeks after moving in, Caro, out in the garden, is startled to see faces staring out of an upstairs window of the house. The window of a room which holds the secret to the house's dark history . . . a room which does not appear to exist . . . 

I simply HAD to share the news of this book on here because it sounds absolutely brilliant! It's different to my usual genre of chick-lit and romance books I know, but as you may have noticed, I am branching out and starting to read more genres that are new to me which is helping me really feel like im starting out all over again, re-discovering my already HUGE passion for books and reading.

Also, this book is out just in time for Halloween, so if you fancy a spooky read before hitting the festive books (come back soon for more posts on festive books!), then I highly recommend this one! I cant wait to read it myself because I just know I'm going to LOVE it! 

Review: Fairytale Beginnings by Holly Martin

Title: Fairytale Beginnings
Author: Holly Martin

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication Date: 10th July 2015

ISBN: 978-1910751169

Source: Review Copy

Rating: 5/5

Purchase: Amazon

Love is an open door…except when it keeps slamming in your face.

Hopeless romantic Milly Rose has had her fair share of heartbreak. Obsessed with all things Disney, she refuses to give up on finding her Prince Charming – he’s out there somewhere, isn’t he?

When Milly is given a job to investigate the origins of an historical building in the village of Clovers Rest, she’s not sure what to expect. What she discovers takes her breath away - a beautiful real life Cinderella castle, complete with turrets, a magnificent drawbridge AND a very handsome owner…Cameron Heartstone.

As Milly and Cameron begin to unearth the secrets of Clover Castle, they can’t ignore the intense chemistry building between them. But they’ve both been hurt badly before. Can they take a big leap of faith and find their own happily-ever-after?

A deliciously enchanting read that will delight fans of Rachael Lucas, Lucy Diamond and Miranda Dickinson or anyone who has ever blubbed at a Disney movie. Who says real life can’t be a fairytale?

I really enjoyed this book! It's an adult's version of a Disney romance, and a total page turner! 

I admit it took me a while to fully immerse myself into it, but I don't think that its the books fault, it was mine...and life got in the way a tad, so I won't be judging the review on that. When I found myself unable to put it down even though I was exhausted and bleary eyed I couldn't. I had to know what happened next, how did the Milly-Cameron relationship go on, what secrets did they uncover, what passageways were found. I needed to know. 

The relationship between Milly and Cameron is one of "love at first sight" and whilst like all good romances take their time to get off the ground, Milly and Cameron both had painful pasts that they needed to heal before they could even think about starting anything new...with anyone. 

The castle was described in the most captivating way, and the level of detail Holly gave us is simply outstanding. The will they - won't they get together relationship between Milly and Cameron kept me guessing and mostly hoping and wishing for them, right until the end, especially as they had to endure tests of faith in each other, trusting each other, trusting themselves and their feelings, not to mention a meddlesome PA who simply got on my nerves and showed her true colours...and they weren't pretty either! 

I'd love a sequel to Fairytale Beginnings....because I doubt that the 'ending' really was THE ending for this lovely couple who puts the faith in finding true love and romance back into the hearts of women everywhere who've been left hurt, and heartbroken. Please say there's more Holly? 

Showcase: Jayne Ann Krentz & Nora Roberts

Today I'm bringing you a "Showcase" special featuring two of my favourite new authors that I've had the pleasure of discovering this year. The publishers at Piatkus are going to be bringing us two very new and very exciting titles by Jayne Ann Krentz, and Nora Roberts. Lets get the details below and discover what we can look forward to.

Published on 8th December 2015 
Trade Paperback | price £13.99   
 Pre-Order | Amazon                             

No one does romantic suspense better than Jayne Ann Krentz. Now, the New York Times bestselling author of Trust No One and River Road delivers a novel that twists and turns into a read that will leave you breathless.
Madeline and Daphne were once as close as sisters-until a secret tore them apart. Now it might take them to their graves.
They knew his name, the man who tried to brutally attack twelve-year-old Madeline in her grandmother's hotel. They thought they knew his fate. He wouldn't be bothering them anymore...ever. Still their lives would never be the same.
Madeline has returned to Washington after her grandmother's mysterious death. And at the old, abandoned hotel-a place she never wanted to see again-a dying man's last words convey a warning: the secrets she and Daphne believed buried forever have been discovered.
Now, after almost two decades, Madeline and Daphne will be reunited in friendship and in fear. Unable to trust the local police, Madeline summons Jack Rayner, the hotel chain's new security expert. Despite the secrets and mysteries that surround him, Jack is the only one she trusts...and wants.

Jack is no good at relationships but he does possess a specific skill set that includes a profoundly intimate understanding of warped and dangerous minds. With the assistance of Jack's brother, Abe, a high-tech magician, the four of them will form an uneasy alliance against a killer who will stop at nothing to hide the truth... 

Next up is a brand new series of stories from Nora Roberts.

Published 5th November 2015
Hardback | £16.99
Pre-Order | Amazon
Book One in an enchanting, brand-new trilogy of love, magic and destiny from Nora Roberts - the world's greatest storyteller
Sasha Riggs is a reclusive artist, haunted by vivid dreams and nightmares that she turns into extraordinary paintings. Desperate to understand her visions, she finds herself drawn to the Greek island of Corfu.
She has only just arrived when she encounters Bran Killian, an Irish magician with a warm charisma and secrets dancing in his eyes. Sasha has never met Bran before, but she knows him only too well - because this is the man from her dreams. The man she has painted over and over again. The man she seems fated to be with...if she can find the courage to accept who she really is.
Sasha soon discovers that four other strangers have been lured to the island. Like Bran, they are all desperately searching for a mysterious jewel known as the fire star - before it falls into the wrong hands. Together, they might just succeed. But first they must learn to trust one another, and reveal their deepest secrets.

On the sun-drenched island of Corfu, love and magic are sparked into life. And for Sasha, nothing will ever be the same again.

Both of these books sounds equally fabulous and I for one cannot wait to get my hands on them and devour them page for page. Get in early now, and pre-order to guarantee your copy lands in your hands on publication day.

The Stolen Weekend by Fern Britton

Title: The Stolen Weekend 
Author: Fern Britton

Publisher: Harper

Publication Date: 5th June 2014

Pages: 80 (eBook)

Source: Purchased

Rating: 5/5 

ISBN - 13: 978-0007595365

Purchase: Amazon

A sparklingly brilliant short story from the wonderfully warm and wise Fern Britton – the Nation’s favourite TV presenter.
Fern Britton weaves a warm and witty short story set in Cornwall, full of mischief and fun!
Best friends Penny Leighton and Helen Merrifield have swapped their hectic London lives for the leisurely pace of life in the pretty Cornish village of Pendruggan.

Penny is in constant demand and juggling her life as a vicar’s wife alongside her day job as a hotshot TV producer is exhausting.

Helen is at the end of her tether. Cornwall has been battered by the worst storms in living memory and the roof of her little cottage is in a terrible state. Her other half, the brooding Piran, isn’t being much help.

The two women cook up a scheme to leave their Pendruggan men behind and get back to London for a weekend of blissful indulgence. But you know what they say about the best laid plans… Will Penny and Helen’s stolen weekend be everything they’ve dreamed of, or something else entirely?

Before reading The Stolen Weekend I'm ashamed to admit that I had never before read anything by Fern Britton, but had always seen her books in the supermarkets and huge book stores in town, wondering what they were like. Well, I can tell you now... from simply reading this 80 page eBook you must go out and buy all of her books because they are quite simply extraordinary.

Instantly, I liked - loved the characters, I felt that I was peeping into their lives, getting to know them on a personal level as a new friend would, and the story line was believable, enjoyable, and unforgettable. What I enjoyed the most about The Stolen Weekend, was that right at the end, we are told that we can continue our journey with the characters in another of Fern's paperbacks!!

The story is set in Cornwall, a beautiful part of England that I have fortunately had the pleasure of holidaying in, so picking up this little gem was like a method of instant transport back to my favourite UK holiday location. Upon finishing this book I visited amazon and purchased a couple more of Fern's books which I am thoroughly looking forward to devouring... but first I have one to read from Fern's publishers who were so kind to send me her latest novel in hardback (Thank You!!).

Whilst I won't go too much into the story line given its only a very short read, what I will say is that it shows the strength in a good relationship, a good marriage with Penny being able to take off for the weekend and leave her husband in a pickle, and for him to only love and support her in this. It showed that sometimes, couples don't have to be in each others pockets 24/7 in order to help each other, support each other, and give each other exactly what the other one needs in order to grow. They say that writers write what they take what you will from this with Fern Britton having written a truly remarkable and beautiful short story for us all to enjoy.

Without a doubt, I must give The Stolen Weekend by Fern Britton;

Book News: Stirred With Love by Marcie Steele

Sometimes the best friends can be found where you least expect them … 

Still grieving after the loss of her beloved husband, Lily Mortimer is determined to do something with the time she has left. 

After the end of her fairytale marriage, thirty-something Kate is trying hard to mend her broken heart. 

Chloe, a young woman with the world at her feet, is struggling to know what to do with her life. 

When Lily embarks on a new venture in the picturesque town of Somerley, the three women come together to open The Coffee Stop, the most charming café for miles around. 

But opening a coffee shop is never as simple as it seems, especially when you add neighbouring competition, local heart throbs and heartbreak to the mix. 

When tragedy strikes, can the three women pull together to make the new business fly, or will Lily’s last chance disappear down the drain along with yesterday’s coffee grinds? 

As comforting as a cappuccino and a better pick-me-up than a grande Americano, Stirred with Love will captivate readers of Milly Johnson, Carole Matthews and Jenny Colgan.

Dawn's Initial Thoughts: 

I am so looking forward to reading this debut novel by Marcie Steele. The cover is utterly delightful, and word is that 'Marcie Steele' is actually a cover name for a well known writer whose decided to write a little bit of chick lit. 

Bookouture, the publishers of this lovely looking - and sounding book is doing a #WHOISMARCIESTEELE campaign on twitter and facebook right now... it's all really rather thrilling. Personally, I don't care who Marcie Steele is... (Sorry!), but I am eager to find out all about how the three women in this book are going to overcome the problems of starting their new coffee shop! I'll be back with my review soon!