REVIEW: From Notting Hill to New York . . . Actually by Ali McNamara

Love Actually, Notting Hill, London, Love, Romance, Chick Lit, Fiction, Reading, Books, Ali Harris, Little Brown Book Group, Sphere, Blog A Book Etc, Fay, From Notting Hill to New York . . . Actually

The Back of the Book

Movie addict Scarlett O’Brien is finally living the jet-setting life she’s always dreamed of – but it all hangs by a shiny, golden thread.

Flying between London and New York, running two businesses, planning her wedding to handsome fiancé, Sean, with best friends Oscar and Maddie – life couldn’t be better.

But then Scarlett meets paparazzi darling, Gabriella Romero, and life suddenly becomes even more extravagant and glamorous than she could ever dream of.

As she begins to experience the other side to being rich and famous, it’s not only Scarlett’s perfect wedding that’s put in jeopardy, but her whole world.

My Thoughts

As we continue our love story with Scarlett & Sean we are thrown between New York and London for a life of fun, frolics and serious business. If you have already read the first book you will be used to Scarlett’s wild escapades already and if not welcome to her world. It is world that you either embrace or simply do not tolerate. Thankfully whilst Scarlett and the other characters in this book are traipsing around two of the best cities in the world the reader is able to enjoy the trip from the comfort of a cosy arm chair.

Even though the pair of lovebirds are happy Sean starts to notice that Scarlett is getting itchy feet and encourages her to take a trip with bestie Oscar to the big apple. A hop skip and a plane ride later she is flitting around the big city and finding even more troublesome antics than she can shake a stick at. Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a mere walk in the park for our lovely Scarlett.

People magnet Scarlett and her sidekick Oscar attract people at every opportunity even to the tune of a major celebrity heart throb which when you read it you will find out who. Two people that really have got the readers attention are Jamie (TV presenter) and his Max (Cameraman) who become fast friends with our colourful Londoners. Scarlett finds herself oddly drawn to Jamie who is tall, dark and oddly handsome.

From picnics in Central Park to finding long lost relatives on Ellis island this tale of love, friendship and just amazing chick lit screams READ ME! From one beautiful city to another the descriptions are truly amazing and there is even a map in the back to show you around. Having been to New York a couple of times these books make me want to take another trip very soon to explore!


rating4* worthy fix

I am currently reading the next installment . . .

Love Actually, Notting Hill, London, Love, Romance, Chick Lit, Fiction, Reading, Books, Ali Harris, Little Brown Book Group, Sphere, Blog A Book Etc, Fay, From Notting Hill with Four Weddings . . . Actually


Read-A-Thon – DONE . . . Well!

deweys readathon, deweys 24 hour readathon, 24 hour readathon, reading, books, fiction, non fiction

Well it is finally over. The Read-A-Thon is done and dusted although I have to say I am slightly disappointed with myself. As I had things to do throughout the day I was unable to read as much as I would have liked. As usual I will be playing catch up and will read for a lot of tonight and tomorrow. Actually managing to finish a book is a great feeling so onto the next – I have actually started it but I am going into power mode right now as I have finally settled for the evening at home.

As I will be busy tomorrow there will be moments that I will be able to steal some time but it will be sporadic bursts. I am hoping to finish the second book tomorrow!

What Am I Reading Now?

The Christmas Surprise, Jenny Colgan, Fiction, Books, Reading, Chick Lit, Festive, Christmas, Winter, Little Brown Books UK, Sphere, Blog A Book Etc, Fay

Q & A For the End

Which hour was most daunting for you?

I think I was a little on edge throughout as I knew that despite having the day off work I still had a lot of other things to do not completely allowing me to commit my time only to reading. 

Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?

All depends on what will be coming out at the time and the individuals reading tastes. I don’t know yet what I will consider reading and whether it will be a new release or older book.

Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?

I love being part of the read-a-thon and I think it goes very smoothly so a bit stumped here. 

What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?

From a co-host point of view the team work is AMAZING.
From a readers point of view the posts and cheers were engaging and the social media was incredibly supportive.

How many books did you read?

Finished the end of one (half a book) and started another.

What were the names of the books you read?

From Notting Hill with Love . . . Actually by Ali McNamara

The Christmas Surprise by Jenny Colgan (Started)

Which book did you enjoy most?

They are both great books with their own merits.

Which did you enjoy least?

Neither as I picked both books based on the type of books I enjoy reading.

If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?

I wasn’t a cheerleader but loved being a co-host. Advice for the cheerleaders would be keep up the pep talks as even when I was flagging and felt a bit flaky it really helped.

How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?

Most definitely and same again. I LOVE being a co-host and love the activities involved. 

REVIEW: The Mill River Redemption by Darcie Chan

The Mill River Redemption, Darcie Chan, Books, Reading, Blog A Book Etc, Fiction, Sphere Publishing, Little Brown Books UK

The Back of the Book

Having unexpectedly lost her husband and lacking the means to support herself, Josie Di Santi and her two daughters take refuge in the small town of Mill River, to live with Josie’s aunt, Ivy. The sisters, Rose and Emily, are inseparable growing up – until a shocking tragedy tears them apart.

Years later, Rose and Emily return to Mill River for the reading of their mother’s will, where they learn that Josie would do anything to force their reconciliation: the sisters must move into neighbouring houses for the summer and work together to locate the key to Josie’s safe deposit box, which contains their inheritance. And so, left with no choice, Rose and Emily reluctantly begin their search. But in a place known for its magic and miracles, little do they know that an even greater treasure awaits them . . .

My Thoughts

This is a book that took some time for me to get into – you know the sort that you give yourself at least until you get past page 50 before you put it down for the first time. The one thing that gave me the extra push was that the publication date was looming and I was asked to post my review on this day (not set in stone thanks to the lovelies at Sphere!).

Yet another book that jumps from past to present is here in my lap and I cannot put it down. Way past the page 50 mark and I hooked entirely. The Di Santi sisters are quite a couple of characters both together and alone they really do shake things up. This book has most definitely reaffirmed that making assumptions and jumping to the wrong conclusion really can mess things up.


Mrs Materialistic with the ideal marriage, home and life – or so one would think. With a turbulent past that has sadly shaped her current life and possibly future Rose is on the war path to finding the buried treasure. With her brilliant son at her side and loathed sister next door Rose in effect locks herself away from the world and only comes out when she feels ‘calm’. What it takes to make her feel that ‘calm’ is shockingly heartbreaking as it eventually leads to a tragedy that nobody should have to face.

With nothing but disdain Rose tends to her sister and neighbours with a very long spoon. However she shows her soft side with her aunt Ivy and son Alex. If only everyone else was treated with such tenderness Rose would find it a lot easier to live in Mill River. She does not want to be there for long nor does she want to get to know any of the people who ‘never change’.

As with everyone Rose has a lot going on in her life and there is a point that even when you think you cannot stand her any more you as reader will want to slap her and then help her.


As she wafted into Mill River Emily bought with her not only her trusty Gussie-pup but an air of happiness and freedom. The polar opposite to her sister Emily looks kindly on the Mill River way of living and tends to love thy neighbour as one ‘should’. DIY queen that she is, Emily rolls up her sleeves and just gets on with life as if staying in her old home town was what she intended to do all along.

Although the olive branch she put out to her sister has been broken it is blatantly obvious that this hurts her and she wants her sister back. However being just as stubborn as her sibling next door cruel tricks and public brawls seem to be the way forward.

Going back to Emily’s entrance into town this is one girl you would not think hangs on to the past as she travels like a hobo with the clothes on her back and a few other worldly goods. But as with everyone else in the world something is on Emily’s mind and it is the reason why she and her sister do not get along.


Firstly I have to say – I want an Aunt Ivy. Not only does this elderly dame know how to have a laugh but she has many levels of serious that her advice rings true from start to finish. She is there for both of the girls throughout their tragic ordeal and is quite a substantial character in the story. Of course Ivy has her own back story but that is something that you will just have to find out.


By the time I reached the end of this book not only did I almost drown from shock and drop the book whilst reading in the bath my heart melted. This is a story that as mentioned before reaffirms that jumping to conclusions and making assumptions can just make trouble. Not only that but it reminds the reader that family really does mean everything and if you have the chance forgive now and work the rest out later.

There are a couple of other characters in the book which really do sizzle things up and you will no doubt find out when you pick up this book. Once I got over the initial unsure stage and blew past page 50 this story had me hooked and as I said almost drowning in the bath to finish it.

The Mill River Redemption was sent to me by Sphere as an ARC. My review contains only my opinion and nothing written has been influenced due to the book being a gift.


rating3* Mediocre Beans



This wonderful meme is the brainchild of Sheila from Book Journey. Sadly due to work commitments I do not partake as much as I would like. However my toe is dipped in the water enough to be classified as lukewarm!

This week there has not been much reading going on over a Blog A Book however I am aiming to catch up with myself – after the steak dinner and glass of red my friend will imminently provide.

So the nitty-gritty . . .

Currently Reading

Our Tragic Universe, Scarlett Thomas, Books, Reading, Fiction, Canongate, Blog A Book Etc

This book is surprisingly difficult to get into and my feelings towards it at the moment are far from positive. However thinking back to The End of Mr Y – I will stick with it for another 50 pages and see how I go.

Finished Reading

For Once in My Life, Marianne Kavanagh, Books, Reading, Review, Fiction, Relationships, Blog A Book Etc

All I need to say here is Marianne Kavanagh is a great writer and just all out lovely person. Her book was enjoyable as you can read HERE and she is just so sweet which you can see HERE.

Next To Read

Bridget Jones, Helen Fielding, Books, Reviews, Reading, Fiction, Chick Lit, Blog A Book Etc

As listed in my books to read in August this is the next book on my list that is one out of my pile of many that have been sitting there for some time. HOWEVER . . . There are a few books that I received the other day that I really do want to get stuck into. Take a look.

Books, Blogger, Book Blogger, Reading, Paulo Coelho, Adultery, Hutchinson Books, Penguin Random House, Penguin Books, Penguin, The Mill River Redemption, Darcie Chan, Little Brown Books UK, Sphere Books, Sphere Publishing, Sphere, Little Brown, What I Had Before I Had You, Sarah Cornwell, Harper Perennial, Harper

Nice little pile there right! Am I not a lucky girl! Well I think so anyway! Relevant thank you’s have been sent out over t’internet via the wonderful Instagram – click on the link you know you want to see what I get up to!

How is your Monday going so far?