#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: Owning It by Leah Marie Brown

owningitSummary:

The chance of a lifetime . . . or just another bad decision?

Delaney Lavender Brooks needs to grow up. At least, according to her parents. After getting evicted from her apartment and wrecking her car, Laney is almost ready to trade in her paintbrushes and surrender to a more sensible 9-to-5 existence. Almost. Until she’s awarded an internship at a prestigious art gallery in Paris. What else can the free-spirited artist do but follow her dreams? Even if her latest attempt at chasing rainbows might cost her a real future . . .

Once in the city of lights, Laney is almost undone by the glaring truth: maybe she isn’t sophisticated or talented enough to make it as an artist—or an independent woman, for that matter. And when she’s hotly pursued by a seductive Frenchman, she has to wonder if she’s about to be a fool for love, too. Soon Laney’s greatest challenge is not proving herself to her parents, but having the courage to live the life—and love—of her dreams . . .

Review:

Owning It was a fast-paced chick lit read that had me smiling while imagining myself in Paris. I thought the beginning was such a funny way to start the book, and it captured my attention immediately. When Laney got to Paris I was still definitely engaged in the story, but I didn’t quite feel the connection between Laney and her romantic interest. I did enjoy meeting the secondary cast, especially Rigby, and the interesting scenarios Laney always managed to find her in.  I wish I would have felt more between Laney and Gabriel but still a fun read.

4 stars

Book Review: Tangled in Sin by Lavinia Kent

Publication Date: April 18, 2017Tangled in Sin

I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Reviewer: Andrea

The Summary:

An innocent young woman flirts with scandal and becomes the mistress of her own forbidden desires in this stimulating Regency romance from the author of Mastering the Marquess.

Lady Cynthia Westhope can’t believe the shocking rumor is true. Her childhood friend, the daughter of a duke no less, has become the madam of London’s most exclusive and notorious brothel. Though she’s known as “Sin,” Cynthia is scandalized—and surprisingly curious. Just picturing the whips, the chains, the uncontrollable urges men gratify behind closed doors sends a jolt of electricity through her body. Still, Sin can’t imagine taking part in such games—until she’s snatched off the street during a raging storm and swept away to a remote cottage.

When James Winters encounters the comely virgin, he assumes she’s one of Madame Blanche’s fresh new beauties, especially after Sin pulses in ecstasy as he ravishes her. Then he discovers that she’s Lord Westhope’s virgin daughter . . . or was. Now they will both be compromised, unless James devises a plan to save Sin from disgrace. Before long, they’re entangled in a web of tempting propositions, family secrets, and sensual intrigue—and bound together so tightly that James never wants to let go.

The Review:

This is the second Bound and Determined novel that I have read, and true to form, it is both traditional and not. The plot was a little tired. Girl gets trapped with boy in a secluded locale. Boy feels honor-bound to marry girl, girl resists, until they both realize they can’t live without each other. The typical historical romance storyline, but where these novels differ the ordinary is in their handling of mature content. This series will make you wonder what all those starched, stiff Victorians were really doing behind closed doors.

The more interesting story to me was that of James’s sister, Jasmine, a fallen woman from a good family who ends up with a baby and a brothel. That’s really the story I wanted to hear. Cynthia and James were both a little too goodie, goodie for me, too perfect. I like my protagonists to have more angst–just a touch. It was a quick read but lacked a real storyline for me. It was just okay, nothing new.

A little disappointed with this one.

3 stars