The Woman Next Door by Sue Watson

51O3YxPqDjLSynopsis: Lucy has a kind and adoring husband, a job she loves as a teacher, and a house on Mulberry Avenue with floaty curtains and the softest bed linen. After her troubled childhood, she knows life will never be perfect, but it’s pretty close.

She’s also got Amber, right next door. They never run out of things to talk about. Even if Amber’s life – with her high-profile job and handsome, wealthy boyfriend – is more glamorous than Lucy’s.

But then Amber starts to hint that her life isn’t all it seems, and when she comes to Lucy, terrified, saying that she’s getting threatening messages, Lucy promises to protect her. Continue reading

Our Little Lies by Sue Watson

226x346Synopsis: Marianne has a life others dream of. A beautiful townhouse on the best street in the neighbourhood. Three bright children who are her pride and joy.

Sometimes her past still hurts: losing her mother early, growing up in foster care. But her husband, Simon, is always there. A successful surgeon, he’s the envy of every woman they’ve ever met. Flowers, gifts, trips to France: nothing is too good for his family.

Then Simon says another woman’s name. The way he lingers on it, Caroline, gives Marianne a shudder of suspicion, but she knows it’s nothing – she can’t entertain this flash of paranoia.

In the old days, she’d have distracted herself by excelling at work, but Marianne left her glamorous career when she married. She’d speak to a friend, but she’s too busy with her children and besides, Simon doesn’t approve of the few she has left.

It’s almost by accident that Marianne starts to learn more about Caroline. But once started, she can’t stop, because what she finds makes her wonder: is the question she should be asking not ‘should she be jealous’, but… ‘should she be scared?’

Kat’s Rating: 5/5 Continue reading

BLOG TOUR – Love Lies and Wedding Cake by Sue Watson

Synopsis: Faye Dobson is in crisis. You wouldn’t know it, because of the big fat smile on her face, but inside, she’s one step away from nuclear meltdown. And she shouldn’t be. Dan ?? is the man of her dreams. Her really quite energetic dreams, that frequently come true. Sometimes twice in one night. And he’s just asked her to marry him.

But Faye’s been down the marriage road before and it ended up with her having Ryan Gosling fantasies while her ex-husband obsessed about the plumbing. The actual plumbing. Faye and Dan have been living their lives to the fullest, travelling around the world, having sex under the stars… They haven’t argued about unrolling socks before putting them in the laundry.

Besides, even if she wanted to say yes, how could she move to the other side of the world? Because marrying Dan would mean living in Australia. Beautiful, warm and a gazillion miles from Faye’s daughter, Emma, a single mum with her own crazy little girl who both need Faye every single day. Leaving them – even for someone who makes her laugh as much as Dan – simply isn’t an option. 

Dan is offering Faye everything she ever wanted. So why does she feel like she’s about to lose it all? Continue reading

Snowflakes, Iced Cakes and Second Chances by Sue Watson

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Synopsis: Escape to the cosy little village of Appledore for hot chocolate with extra marshmallows and a second chance at love. Will this Christmas prove that miracles really can happen?

A year after she separated from her husband, Gianni, on Christmas day, Chloe’s heart is finally on the mend as she unpacks the decorations for her first ever festive holiday alone. That is, until the phone rings…

It’s the manager of Gianni’s new seaside restaurant in Appledore, begging for Chloe’s help. Equally famous for his gold-leaf Christmas puddings and his explosive temper, Gianni has been really stirring up a sensation with the locals – and not in a good way! It’s the last thing she wants to do, but Chloe knows she is the only one that can help.

As pans fly and the temperature in the kitchen rises, Chloe’s calming influence and magic touch might just get critics back on side in time to save the restaurant from sinking like a sad soufflé. But as Chloe’s eyes meet Gianni’s as they tussle over a plate of turkey tartlets, could there also be a chance for new romance on the menu? 

Kat’s Rating: 5/5

Kat’s Review: I am as many of you know a huge Sue Watson fan, but that’s not to say I adore every one of her books…but this one I ABSOLUTELY do! This book is Christmas wrapped up in a toe tinglingly festive read, that needs to be accompanied preferably with an open fire and a mug of hot chocolate. Sue has written a few books set in Appledore, and although they are all standalone books they all feature some recurring characters. Appledore is a quaint little place near the sea and it’s where Chloe’s estranged husband Gianni has gone to open his latest restaurant. 

Chloe and Gianni are separated and as the story begins we take a walk down memory ane with Chloe and she describes their past and how they have reached the place they are both at now. With Gianni retreating to Appledore to open a restaurant after turning his back on the glitz and almost celebrity status he had in London, his fiery italian temper has got him in to hot water. With signs of his restaurant dying before it’s even begun Gianni’s Manager asks for Chloe’s help. Chloe who has spent a year building her career in events decides that rather than spend Christmas alone she will help Gianni try and salvage his restaurant (and reputation) and maybe they will become friends..

I instantly loved both these lead characters and they are extremely funny. Gianni with his ridiculous interpretation of the English language leads to some funny moments when he is explaining his thoughts on the beach! I can’t say that this is the most original storyline but it’s positively packed to the brim with Christmas spirit and a good old-fashioned romance. What made the story so enjoyable for me was the characters and the place itself. Having read all the other books set in Appledore I was thrilled to see the return (albeit fleetingly) of some familiar places such as Roberta, Dani and Sue.

We see Chloe and Gianni battle both on a personal front as well as a business one. Although the majority of the storyline is constantly peppered with humour there are more serious issues meaning both characters have their own chinks in their armour and makes them all the more likeable  The character Marco (who again featured in previous books) was a perfect fit into this story too! I read this in one sitting and loved every single page. If you are looking for a festive read that will make you smile then this here is the answer. One word of warning though, don’t read it if yu are hungry as you may find yourself reaching for food! This would be the perfect stocking filler and is highly recommended!

Blog Tour: Curves, Kisses and Chocolate Ice Cream by Sue Watson

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Synopsis: Dani’s on a mission to get her life back on track by the end of the Summer. Running, rowing, aerobics and more, but perhaps all she needs are sweet treats and a second chance? 

Twenty years ago, Dani fled Appledore with a broken-heart and a suitcase full of shattered dreams. Only now is she brave enough to put her past behind her and return for a summer selling homemade ice-cream and getting fit by doing sit-ups by the sea. 

But the new-look cafe is filled with old memories of Jude, her teenage sweetheart-turned-sour. She thinks of him every time she swirls warm sauce onto a “chocolate-bockaglory” and even with the help of Chris, her gorgeous personal trainer, the urge to break her diet is everywhere she turns. 

When Jude makes an appearance at the cafe on the eve of Dani’s birthday party, history threatens to repeat itself. Is Dani strong enough to say no? And is the love she’s been longing for much closer than she thinks? 

Kat’s Rating: 4/5

Kat’s Review: We are back in the town of Appledore and this time we meet Dani. She left Appledore twenty years before with a broken heart and now she is back, overweight and desperate to become thinner and more fabulous in time for her fortieth birthday. Dani is a very likeable character and to be honest you just know that she is going to struggle on her weight loss challenge. The first quarter of the book really sets the scene and the reader really gets to see what Dani is up against including some very funny scenes when she attempts to go to the gym.

Once Dani is in her stride she is joined by Chris from the gym who is on a mission to help her with her plan to lose weight. It was also nice to see brief glimpses of characters from the first book set in the same town. Although these are all set around the town and the Ice Cream Cafe, each book can certainly be read as a standalone. As the story progresses you soon understand that this is the reader experiencing Dani’s journey with her, including all the pitfalls and funny moments too.

In one respect this was very different from her last book but actually that made no difference and it was nice to have such a departure. As usual Sue Watson has created a book that will lift your spirits and more importantly make you laugh. I am a huge fan, and although this may not be my favourite of hers, it’s a brilliant addition and one that I thoroughly loved. Be warned though, with the sheer descriptive deliciousness, don’t expect to NOT want to eat a number of summer deserts whilst reading. The perfect beach read that will have you laughing into your Cocktail!

Ella’s Ice Cream Summer by Sue Watson

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Synopsis: Ella’s life just hit rock-bottom, but can a summer by the sea mend her broken heart? When life gives you lemons… make ice-cream!

Life hasn’t always been easy for single mum Ella, but she has just hit an all-time low; she’s jobless, loveless, very nearly homeless and, to make matters worse, now the owner of a pocket-sized pooch with a better wardrobe than her.

Packing her bags (and a bigger one for the dog), Ella sets off for the seaside town of Appledore in Devon to re-live the magical summers of her youth and claim her portion of the family ice-cream business: a clapped-out ice-cream van and a complicated mess of secrets.

There she meets gorgeous and free-spirited solicitor, Ben, who sees things differently: with a little bit of TLC he has a plan to get the van – and Ella – back up and running in no time.

Kat’s Rating: 5/5

Kat’s Review: I have been a huge Sue Watson fan for a long time now and once I had finished reading this book I actually pondered over exactly what it is about her books that make them so special. It comes down to the fundamentals, which for me is the characters. Yes she has amazing ability as a storyteller and creates wonderful tales that will keep you entertained, but what does she do differently that others maybe don’t? Characters….that’s what! All of Sue’s books have a wonderful laugh out loud quality to them but most of this is instilled in each character and none more so than this latest book Ella’s Ice Cream.

Ella is feeling like her life has stalled. She has two children ready to fly the nest on gap years and a seventy something Mother who seems more at ease with technology than she could ever be. Then there is the smarmy ex-husband Dick who is currently shacked up in Spain with his boss. When Ella discovers that her aunt has left her a share of her Ice Cream business down in Appledore she is taken aback. Appledore is a place that holds fond memories for her as a child, however a family rift stops her from delving too far into the past. Ella takes the bull by the horns and makes her way to Appledore against her Mothers wishes.

As much as I adored Ella, the star of the show for me was her mother Roberta! I literally fell in love with the Mother who is obsessed with Mob Wives and sexting! With Italian roots, some of the scenes that I read involving Roberta had me laughing out loud. I could literally picture some of the scenes unravelling in front of my very eyes and I felt like I was sitting on the beach at Appledore observing this crazily lovable family. The fact that there is another book coming made me jump for joy and I cannot wait to get started on it.

This book is an absolute corker and a joy to read from start to finish. Sue Watson has produced a wonderful book that I think everybody would enjoy. I cannot recommend this author highly enough and think that more people need to discover the pure joy of her books. An outstanding book that is an absolute must for your Summer Holidays!

The Christmas Cake Cafe by Sue Watson

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Synopsis: As the Prosecco chills and Bing Crosby croons, Jen Barker just knows that her long-term boyfriend is about to propose. But instead of a diamond ring nestled in her champagne flute, Jen finds cold flat rejection. Her once perfect life and dreams of a husband and family seem even further from reach.

A working holiday to the Swiss Alps with her younger sister Jody might not be the Christmas Jen had it mind, but it offers her the chance to recharge her batteries and recover from heartbreak.

When Jen meets handsome ski instructor Jon Zutter her hopes for a happy-ever-after seem within her grasp again. Jon is kind and gorgeous and as they bond over Sachetorte at the picturesque Cake Café, Jen thinks he might just be her perfect man. But a relationship with him comes with a catch – and there are some things even cake can’t fix.

As the snow falls and Christmas approaches, could this be the place that restores Jen Barker’s faith in love?

Kat’s Rating: 4/5

Kat’s Review: Thank goodness…another Sue Watson in her usual humorous style, it feels like forever since I have read one like this! I admit I am a bit of a Sue Watson fan, and always know that her books will cheer me up and make me laugh like a drain. Thankfully this book was no exception and once again it cheered me up immensely! However (yes there is a however) I did find the main character a bit annoying in the beginning (hence the 4 stars and not 5)!

So Jen Barker is the main character in this Christmas book and as she is planning her wedding in her mind, she had no idea she is about to be unceremoniously dumped. So a year after  her disastrous break up she finds herself facing another Christmas alone with just her cat (named Mrs Christmas) for company. Her half sister Jody decides enough is enough and manages to convince Jen to take a working holiday with her and her friends over Christmas at a Swiss Alps ski resort. 

In the beginning I didn’t instantly like Jen, in fact I would go as far as to say she was a bit of an annoying woman that thought her whole life was over and she was only 41!!! Thankfully as Jen embarks on a new chapter, her sister and new friends make sure she starts to change her ways. Thankfully the whingeing became less and finally she becomes a woman that starts to take some risks.  There are some extremely funny moments in the book which normally revolved around Jen’s choice of clothes, or comments from her new friends. 

Jen’s life seems to roll from one hilarious disaster to another when she is in Switzerland and with the addition of a rather handsome Ski Instructor named Jon things get so much better and I found myself laughing and hoping for the best for her. The last quarter of the book was fabulous, pure magic and a great end to the book. It certainly has all the right elements for a Christmas stocking filler and is a great feel-good read. For me I mark every book of Sue’s against her book ‘Love, Lies and Lemon Cakes’ which to this day is still one of the funniest books I have ever read. Thankfully Sue always delivers a feel good book with the humour thrown in so this was still a great read (but Sue, can we PLEASE have a less whingey woman next time)!

We’ll Always Have Paris by Sue Watson

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Synopsis: When she was almost seventeen, Rosie Draper locked eyes with a charismatic student called Peter during their first week at art college, changing the course of her life forever. Now, on the cusp of sixty-five and recently widowed, Rosie is slowly coming to terms with a new future. And after a chance encounter with Peter, forty-seven years later, they both begin to wonder ‘what if’ . . .

Kat’s Rating: 5/5

Kat’s Review: I have to confess when I read the synopsis I was a little worried. Sue Watson has been a favourite author of mine for some time and her writing style is peppered with humour which normally has me crying with laughter. The synopsis with this latest book seemed a little less like her normal style so I wondered whether I would enjoy it as much? Thankfully this latest release shows that Sue Watson seems able to turn her hand to any style without any problems. 

Rosie Draper is the lead character in this book and being in her sixties means she falls outside the normal twenty or thirty something woman. Rosie is an absolutely brilliant character, but sadly the opening sees her struggling to come to terms with the loss of her husband after a long and happy marriage. Luckily she has her two adult children supporting her along with her granddaughters. Her two daughters run their flower shop and Rosie decides to return back to working with them in an effort to return her life to something approaching normalcy. 

She didn’t count on running into her first love Pete from when she was 17 whilst attending and preparing some wedding flowers. Peter and her slowly claw back their friendship as Rosie struggles to get the perfect balance between her family and her own personal happiness. This book was certainly a change from her normal work but a story that I just fell in love with. I adored the family, Peter and Rosie herself. The story is told with warmth and love and is a real hear string puller!

I can certainly say that this book was an absolute joy to read. Sue Watson has managed to create a wonderfully warm love story which focuses on a lady slightly older than most I read about. It pulls the heart strings, and feels like a big warm hug at the end of a hard working day. I can truly say I think this book will be hugely popular and I for one cannot wait to see what Sue comes up with next, it seems there isn’t a lot this lady can’t do!

Bella’s Christmas Bake Off by Sue Watson

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Synopsis: Bella Bradley is the queen of television baking – a national treasure. Her Christmas specials have been topping the ratings for years and her marriage to Peter ‘Silver Fox’ Bradley is the stuff of Hello magazine specials. But this year things are going to be different. 

For Amy Lane, Bella’s best friend from school, life hasn’t held quite the same sparkle. And when Amy’s husband walks out three weeks from Christmas, it seems their lives are further apart than ever. 

Amy has watched Bella’s rise to fame fondly, despite the fact Bella was always a terrible cook. But when she realises that Bella’s latest Christmas book is made up entirely of Amy’s mother’s recipes, the gloves are off. After winning a competition to appear on Bella’s TV show, Amy is going to make sure that for Bella and her viewers, this will definitely be a Christmas to remember… 

Kat’s Rating: 5/5

Kat’s Review: Thankfully, I have my Sue Watson fix under control with her latest release Bella’s Bake Off. SW covers are as always incredibly enticing and since the Great British Bake Off has now finished for 2015, this was a perfect solution now I no longer had any left to watch. The book doesn’t wait to launch into Sue’s comedic patter between characters and launches straight into a very funny scene featuring Amy Lane and her husband. Within a matter of pages I was (as usual with these books) laughing my socks off and immediately fell in love with the slightly crazy Amy. The thing is it soon becomes apparent Amy Lane is far from crazy. She is the sort of character you can empathise with; you just know full well that one of your friends fits the bill for Amy’s life.

Amy spends her lead up to Christmas watching Bella Bradley, who is the queen of Television baking. She appears to have absolutely everything with her high flying career and amazingly gorgeous husband. The thing is Amy and Bella were best friends all the way through their childhood. It becomes clear from the beginning that Sue is giving nothing away that easy about why they stopped speaking but slowly and surely things start to unravel and make sense to the reader. When Amy decides to enter a competition to appear on Bella’s show you just know there are high jinks ahead.

When Amy finally makes it to Bella’s TV show the book goes from being brilliant to being AMAZING. Sue Watson has such a knack for the humorous side of characters and she is an author I have fallen a little bit in love with from very early on. Her humour, writing style and stories never fail to hit the spot and are guaranteed to cheer me up, make me laugh and generally improve my mood. Sue has once again swept me off my feet with the characters, although my first love (her book Love, Lies and Lemon Cakes) will always remain my all-time favourite. Please don’t look for any hidden meanings, secret morals or anything that you take away and seriously debate. However, if you want a book to make you laugh you’re a*se off and cheer you up then Sue Watson needs to be top of your list!

Summer Flings and Dancing Dreams by Sue Watson

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Synopsis: Laura Watkin’s heart isn’t broken, she’s just forgotten how to use it. After years on her own, the highlight of single mum Laura’s week is watching Strictly Come Dancing with a glass of Pinot Grigio and a large helping of imagination. 

With her daughter Sophie going travelling, Laura knows the time is right to do something for herself for a change. One disastrous Zumba class later and Laura ends up at the feet (literally) of gorgeous dance instructor Tony Hernandez. 

A natural dancer and inspiring teacher, Tony rekindles in Laura a passion she inherited from her ballroom dancer father – and with it comes a dream… to make him proud. But when Tony enters them to perform at the National Dance Festival, can Laura’s new-found confidence survive the test? And with a once-in-a-lifetime chance to learn Flamenco in Spain, could Laura truly learn to dance like nobody’s watching… and love like she’ll never get hurt? 

Kat’s Rating: 4/5

Kat’s Review: I am a HUGE of Sue Watson and if you have a rather filthy sense of humour, and like a good giggle her books don’t fail to raise a smile. MAKE SURE you read the description of what type of book it is before you read it and then slate it…it clearly states it’s a funny and uplifting romantic comedy. Thankfully this does exactly what it says on the tin. Laura Watkins is your average divorcee who is working to make ends meet and is trying to ensure her daughter doesn’t go off the rails following a disastrous relationship. I know that quoting lines can be irritating for some people but I just knew that when I read the below lines within the first chapter that I would be laughing at quite a few lines in this latest book.

“I would be sending a very stiff email to ‘God.Com’ when all this was over, telling him and his staff to sort their s*it out. No wonder people were going to Supermarkets on a Sunday instead of going to Jesus”

When Laura’s daughter Sophie goes travelling and she realises her life consists of working and nights in front of Strictly Come Dancing, she is determined to make a few changes. And that is exactly what she does along with some wonderful characters. Enter Tony the Dance Instructor who is a hilarious character that has bucketful’s of attitude, glitter and stories to tell. He is determined to teach Laura to dance and for once do something for herself.

The journey they take from there on in is brilliant. The story is everything you want from this sort of book. I wanted Laura to become the person she could be and found myself wishing I could watch this in a film too! There is one particularly funny chapter entitled ‘Slut Dropping Zumba Queens and Someone Else’s Leggings’. Suffice to say it was a very amusing chapter that I’m pretty sure quite a few people can sympathise with.

By the time I finished this book I wanted to book myself on a trip to Grenada to see all the sexy Spanish men and women dancing Flamenco. This is a cracking book which had me smiling and laughing and it’s the perfect tonic for the everyday boring blues that most people experience.  Some people may wonder why only 4 stars instead of 5, well Love, Lies and Lemon Cake was one of my favourite books of 2014 and Sue has to go some to top that. Another fantastic read and as usual I can’t wait to read the next one!