#BookReview: The Second Chance Cafe in Carlton Square by Lilly Bartlett

the second chance cafeAbout the Book

Everyone expects great things from Emma Billings, but when her future gets derailed by an unexpected turn of events, she realizes that getting back on track means traveling in a different direction.

She finds it in the closed-down pub on Carlton Square. Summoning every ounce of ingenuity, and with the help of her friends and family, she opens the Second Chance Café. The charity training business is meant to keep vulnerable kids off the streets and (hopefully) away from the Metropolitan Police, and her new employees are full of ideas, enthusiasm … and trouble. They’ll need as much TLC as the customers they’re serving.

This ragtag group of chancers have to make a go of a business they know nothing about, and they do get some expert help from an Italian who’s in love with the espresso machine and a professional sandwich whisperer who reads auras, but not everyone is happy to see the café open. Their milk keeps disappearing and someone is canceling the cake orders, but it’s when someone commits bloomicide on all their window boxes that Emma realizes things are serious. Can the café survive when NIMBY neighbors and the rival café owner join forces to close them down? Or will Emma’s dreams fall as flat as the cakes they’re serving?

My Review

I was so excited to get a follow up from The Big Little Wedding in Carlton Square, because that book was a chick lit delight! I’m happy to report that I thought truly the same thing about The Second Chance Café in Carlton Square. It was a blast catching back up with Emma, now married and a mother of twins, and about to open her own café. There was the usual loveable drama, from Emma’s friends and mommy-group, her close-knit family, and her husband, but there was also the main drama of opening her café and the sabotage she has to deal with from a rival business woman. And I can’t forget the little crush from a customer that added a fun twist as well! I breezed easily through this and quite enjoyed it from beginning to end. I highly recommend both from Lilly Bartlett!

5 stars

#BookReview: The Barefoot Summer by Carolyn Brown

the barefoot summerAbout the Book

New York Times bestselling author Carolyn Brown returns with a heartbreakingly hilarious novel about three women who had nothing in common, except their husband.

Leaving one widow behind is unfortunate. Leaving three widows behind is just plain despicable. Oil heiress Kate Steele knew her not-so-dearly departed husband was a con man, but she’s shocked that Conrad racked up two more wives without divorcing her first. The only remnant of their miserable marriage she plans to keep is their lakeside cabin in Bootleg, Texas. Unfortunately, she’s not the only woman with that idea.

Fiery, strong-willed Jamie wishes Conrad were still alive—so she could kill the scoundrel herself. But for their daughter’s sake, she needs that property. As does Amanda—twenty-eight, pregnant, and still weeping over the loss of her true love. On a broiling July day, all three arrive in Bootleg…with a dogged detective right behind who’s convinced that at least one of them conspired to commit murder. One momentous summer filled with revelations, quirky neighbors, and barefoot evenings on the porch offers three women the chance to make the journey from enemies to friends, and claim a bright, new beginning.

My Review:

I did listen to this book in audio form, and the storyline definitely caught my attention right away. Three very different women, all married to one con artist of a man. They meet face to face to face at his funeral after Conrad is gunned down in a flower shop, and tensions immediately run high. Who is his legal wife? What about his children? Are there more wives? Kate, Jamie and Amanda each decide to find closure at the cabin in Bootleg, Texas – the cabin where Conrad took each of the three women on their honeymoon. Each woman has her own reason for wanting to stay in the cabin, so they must learn to co-exist with one another while coming to grips with who Conrad really was.

It was very interesting to read about how the women started to actually get along with one another once they all arrived at the cabin. Each has a different scenario – Kate and her oil company, Jamie and her daughter, Amanda and her unborn child, but each was interesting to read and learn about. I really enjoyed the first half of the story, but the second half little things started to stick out to me that I didn’t love. Kate had a near obsession with Jamie’s daughter that actually had me wondering if a big plot twist was coming, and Amanda just continually got on my nerves. The mystery of Conrad’s death was almost a bit of a let down as well. With so much build up along the entire read, it was over and done with in a blink. Other than those few areas, I did quite like the book and thought it to be very thought-provoking. I also liked the setting of Bootleg and the supporting cast fit in well with the story. Overall, it held my interest throughout and I would recommend for women’s fiction fans.

4 stars

#BookGiveaway: The Summer of Impossible Things by Rowan Coleman

the summer of impossible thingsAbout the Book

Thirty years ago, something terrible happened to Luna’s mother. Something she’s only prepared to reveal after her death. In settling her mother’s affair, Luna finds more questions than answers, until something impossible and magical happens…Luna meets her mother as a young woman back in the summer of 1977. If she can truly travel back in time, she can change things. But in order to save her mother’s life, will she have to sacrifice her own?

Thank you to Ebury Publishing for sponsoring this giveaway! 

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