The Little Shop of Hopes and Dreams by Fiona Harper

"The good girls are always so much fun when they're persuaded to be just a little bit bad." 

Title - The Little Shop of Hopes and Dreams
Author - Fiona Harper 
Publisher - Mills & Boon
Publication Date - 3rd October 2014
Format - eBook (Provided via NetGalley)
Pages - 400

The blurb

Nicole Harrison is planning the proposal of the century. Too bad its not her own...

Nicole, a born organiser and true romantic, has created her dream job when she sets up the Hopes & Dreams proposal agency - staging YouTube worthy proposals... until she's hired to plan a proposal by gorgeous photographer Alex Black's girlfriend.

Alex is the New Year's kiss that Nicole hasn't been able to forget - and now she's planning his wedding to someone else! But if she lets herself fall for Alex's charms, her reputation and business will be ruined before it's even got off the ground! Suddenly the girl whose always prepared is at a loss... and falling head over heels. 

Becca's thoughts

I'll start this review as I normally do, by thanking the publishers and the wonderful author. The publishers for accepting me via Net Galley for a copy of this absolutely stunning book, and Fiona Harper, the author, for creating such a gorgeous little world to lose myself in. And I'd also just like to add another cheeky little thank you to Fiona for creating Mr Alex Black, with his camera and his sexy, chunky boots. Mm mm mmmmm. Gotta' love a man in boots!

I'm not going to try and pretend that I didn't fall in love with the cover, because let's face it, that's exactly what I did. Head over heels in love. But I mean, COME ON, just LOOK at it! I dare anyone to look at that cover and not swoon or bat their lashes. It is just perfect. Everything about it. From the balls of snow to the cosy, lit windows, you just feel warm and wrapped up. Funnily enough, that's exactly how I felt right the way through reading this book. I was cocooned within Nicole Harrison's proposal-focused world, and I didn't mind it one bit, because Fiona made me feel incredibly welcome, with her lovable, charming characters, and the pretty settings. I could have gladly remained reading this book for a good couple of weeks longer, wrapped up within the dilemma that Nicole somehow managed to find herself in. 

The Little Shop of Hopes and Dreams was the perfect story for me. This is the type of the book that makes me fall in love with the romance genre all over again. Fiona had a smart and witty heroine who worked as a proposal planner. From a 007 themed proposal, to a full-blown, "money doesn't mean a thing" party, Nicole had planned them all. Her occupation worked excellently alongside the cheerful, bubbly tone of the story, and I savoured every single word. The plot had everything that a feel-good chick-lit should have, including an absolutely magnificent dilemma that stunned me completely, and a devastatingly handsome and captivating hero, who I really just couldn't get enough of. I cannot rate Fiona's writing enough. It's almost as if she delved right into the mind of a hopeless romantic, and answered their every wish. I became totally wrapped up within Nicole's dilemma, within her job, her thoughts, her hopes and dreams (see what I did there?), and by the end of this book, I was just besotted with the characters. 

Something that helped to achieve my overall excitement of this gem of a book was Fiona's switching of narrative. Not only was I given Nicole's point of view, and able to get an insight into her life and her job, but I was also given Alex's too, and if you know me, then you'll know how much I adore seeing things from a guy's point of view. It mixes things up, it's thrilling, and ultimately, I think it makes you feel that little bit more involved in the story itself. I found myself constantly looking forward to hearing what Alex had to say or thought about different situations. Anything that came out of that delectable mouth of his appealed to me!

Nicole Harrison was excellently developed. Fiona really breathed life into her heroine. She was comical, good at her job,but also, she wasn't perfect. She constantly found herself in awkward situations, and I just wanted to squeeze her! There was also Nicole's two best-friends Mia and Peggy. Despite only being side-characters, Peggy and Mia were full of life and spirit. They knocked the enjoyability meter up a notch or two, that's for sure. When the time came for Fiona to drop her dilemma into the mix, I could not stop grinning. I know, it's horrible isn't it? Life did not get any easier for Nicole, or Alex for that matter, but reading how it played out, in Fiona's beautiful story-telling words, made me want to squeal with delight. 

The whole theme of weddings and proposal planning was just gorgeous, addictive even. There was such an atmosphere around the story, it definitely needs to be classed as a "feel-good" book, because it truly did make me feel good. And happy. And enthusiastic. I cannot believe that I have never read anything by Fiona Harper before now, and I feel like I've missed out on loads! I'm sure I'll make up for lost time though! 

Becca's Books is rating Fiona Harper's The Little Shop of Hopes and Dreams with an incredibly worthy five cupcakes! Fiona really has hit the romance nail on the head with this book. I really didn't want it to end. I could have just kept on reading, on and on and on... Thank you for such a delightful, enjoyable read, Fiona! It was perfect! 




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