The Year of Surprising Acts of Kindness by Laura Kemp

When Ceri Price arrives in the small seaside village in West Wales, she only means to stay for a couple of nights - long enough to scatter her mother's ashes, and then go back to her life as a successful make-up entrepreneur.

But when a case of mistaken identities means she lands a job as the barmaid in the local pub, she unexpectedly finds friendship, and perhaps a chance at love.
But when the plans for a new housing estate put the local woodland under threat, she fears the way of life here could disappear.

Then mysterious acts of kindness start springing up around the village - a string of bunting adorns the streets, a new village signpost appears out of nowhere and someone provides paint to spruce up the houses on the seafront. Who is behind these acts of kindness and can they help in the race to save the village from the faceless developers…?

Welcome to the Village of Love. Where friendship flourishes and love blossoms…

Title: The Year of Surprising Acts of Kindness
Author: Laura Kemp
Series: /
Pages: 392
Genre(s): Contemporary, UK
Hot Buttons: Death/Grieving


This is a sweet and enjoyable tale that is more than a romance - it touches on subjects of grief, hope, love, friendship and belonging.

I really liked the character of Ceri although it did annoy me that she took such abuse from her sister in the first chapter. I mean, you’re not a bad person just because you make a lot of money and others around you are struggling. It wasn’t that Ceri didn’t try to help. This was just the explanation of why she took that first trip to Wales but it just irked me some. At least it made me root for Ceri, and angry on her behalf, rather than put me off her.

The story meandered along nicely. It’s a sweet tale with lots of interesting characters and lots of little twists and turns. The random acts of kindness made me smile and gave a nice little happy buzz to the book. Very uplifting.

The setting of a small, forgotten village in Wales is done nicely. I’m not sure if the author is Welsh but regardless, she clearly has a love of the country and people - but can make fun of them just as well. To be fair, I’m not Welsh, so I’m not sure if, for them, it would be as cringe as when I read a book set in Scotland or with Scottish people.

I could have done with things being wrapped up a little bit earlier than 5 bloomin’ pages before the end of the book - enough to give me anxiety. But by the end, I was smiling - and closed the book with a happy sigh.

This is a fun, light and easy-going book that I would recommend to chick-lit readers. It’s uncomplicated, not too deep but gives you enough story to get your teeth into. An enjoyable 4 star read.


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His Best Mistake by Lucy King

Is it too much to ask for a relationship that works?

When Stella Grant realises her perfect romance is a lie and that she's the other woman, she flees to her remote cottage in the Highlands to lick her wounds.

Billionaire currency trader Jack Maclean has nothing but contempt for the woman who stole not only his sister’s fiancĂ© but quite possibly a family heirloom to boot. Nonetheless, he wants answers and he intends to get them. A quick trip north should do the trick. Never in a million years could he have predicted a kamikaze sheep and inclement weather would leave him stranded.

Jack might be gorgeous but Stella isn’t in the market for a man, especially one who hates her. No matter how attractive he finds her Stella is the very last person Jack should want. The trouble is, they’re all alone and the chemistry is irresistible, and, well, what happens in Scotland stays in Scotland, right?

Title: His Best Mistake
Author: Lucy King
Series: The Maclean Family Legacy
Pages: 145
Genre(s): Contemporary, UK
Hot Buttons: Death of a spouse/baby


I started reading this book with trepidation. I liked the sound of the premise but it was partially set in Scotland and that makes me nervous for ‘och aye the noos’ and etc. I didn’t actually realise until I started reading that the characters were English, and I’m assuming, the author is too. I relaxed…

…and started to really enjoy the read. I liked Stella from the offset. SHe’s feisty and honest, takes no nonsense and goes after what she wants - but her inner dialogue showed what she was really thinking and feeling giving us insight into her worries and fears. Real and likeable is the vibe I got from Stella.

Jack is just delicious. I don’t remember getting much detail about him but I do love the classic tall, dark and handsome. Oh and the fact that he was, at least on occasion, darkly broody - that really rings my bell.

The first sex scene in the book happens to be the only one, which was a shame because it was so well written and just a little bit scorching. A delicious little thrill for what is quite a short book (145 pages). There was chemistry between the pair during this and during the rest of the book as they got to know each other on another level. I felt it and I wanted the pair to be happy.

**Potential spoiler**: There’s obviously the issue of Jack’s first wife who died in tragic circumstances. I normally don’t like this in a novel as I don’t like the thought of our hero having a previous ‘love of his life’ before the heroine! (Unrealistic, I know - but I don’t read these books for real life to intrude!) I’m happy to say that while Jack obviously loved his first wife, there was no pining and I believed that Jack 100% wanted Stella with all his being. Sure, he was celibate since his first wife’s death but I thought this was down to a combination of guilt, apathy and a little bit of grief rather than because of a severe depth of love for his first wife. **Spoiler Ends**

I do have to admit that I laughed at the ‘location’ of Stella’s Highland cottage. They flew to Inverness and then ‘went’ to the Highlands. I can assure you that one: Inverness is in the Highlands, and two, the Highlands are a massive place full of both built up and remote areas. Turn left at Inverness for the Highlands. Made me chuckle but didn’t affect my rating of the book.

Oh and this is apparently the first in what is currently a two book series about the Maclean family. Cora, the heroine of the next book, Her Forbidden Warrior, is Jack’s sister and the ‘real’ fiancee of the man with whom Stella has been unknowingly having an affair. She pops up in this book before heading off to Spain with Jack’s private investigator friend Luke to confront Ben/Brad. In the epilogue for this book (yay for epilogues!) Jack mentions Cora and her soon to be hubby Luke. What? When? How? Hmmm - well played Ms. King, well played.

This is an enjoyable read that had a slightly hint of Mills and Boon about the story but in a mature and funny way. There were funny moments (Stella calling the baby by whatever size it was at the time ‘lime’, ‘lemon’ etc was a particular favourite), I loved the writing style and the story and characters hooked me from start to finish. As above, I’m now away to get the second book in the series. 4 stars from me.


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* I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. *

Maclean Family Legacy series:

Unsolicited Advice by Melinda Di Lorenzo

Heidi Bluthe is Miss Anonymous—queen of a confident, snark-laced advice column. Too bad she can’t take her own advice to fix the hot mess reality of her life. When one of her readers shows up claiming her advice ruined his life and demands she fix it, Heidi agrees to try. She is, after all, a professional and helping him will help further her career. But what happens next, falling hard for sexy British charmer, William, really knocks them both for a loop.

A year ago, William Rutherford was living the dream. Beautiful fiancĂ©e. Perfect home in the suburbs. All that changed in an instant. And the advice Miss Anonymous—aka, Heidi Bluthe–gave might not have been the root cause, but it was certainly the shove that sent things over the edge. William’s determined to have her set things right, even if that means unexpectedly risking his heart in the process…

Title: Unsolicited Advice
Author: Melinda Di Lorenzo
Series: Between the Sheets
Pages: 222
Genre(s): Contemporary, US
Hot Buttons: Cancer, Suicide


This is the first Melinda Di Lorenzo book that I have read and, as it would appear, the third in a series. But fear not, I can confirm that not only does this book stand completely alone - Ms Di Lorenzo’s writing style is fun and interesting, and her storytelling, engaging and damned hilarious.

We kick off the story right at the start of the action. William, our British hero on a mission, is found sans trousers in our heroine, Heidi’s, back garden causing much alarm and only a little bit of lust! Despite going right into the action, it took until the pair were on their road trip for me to really get into the story. I enjoyed the first two or so chapters but once the pair got going, that’s when I didn’t want to put the book down and found myself thinking about it when I was supposed to be doing other things like working and sleeping.

Normally I avoid contemporary books where one of the pair is British. It just gives me the cringe when people over egg the jolly good, alright old chap, British folk. I’m happy to say that William was not one of those characters. Sure he used Britishisms - which we Brits probably don’t even realise are Britishisms - but he wasn’t over the top and I felt he was realistic. My only complaint on his Britishness was that there was a specific mention of him not understanding miles since he was British. Nope - we use miles, too. :)

Heidi was just great. Loved her. She was a normal girl yet she had her quirks and issues. I can’t say I have any clinical knowledge of these things but I did find myself saying “me, too” to a lot of things. But my favourite part was the way that William behaved towards Heidi. He was there for her, sure, but he wanted her to be happy for her. It was #relationshipgoals.

As well as the absolute cuteness of the developing relationship (which was slightly steamy if not scorching), the book was laugh out loud funny. And real laugh out loud. Kind of snorty, puff of breath laughing. The banter. Oh, how I love me some banter.

And there were little twists and turns along the way of the book that I didn’t see coming. Not mysteries as such, but plays on words that when revealed, I had to tip my hat to. Clever.

A few typos and wrong words were smattered about the book but overall, this is a fantastic story by an author that I’ll definitely be looking out for more of. I loved Heidi and William’s story and I’m not ashamed to admit that I felt a wee bit teary at the end. Sigh. 4 stars.


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* I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. *

The Between the Sheets Series:


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