Overall Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
“When magic’s in the air, anything is possible…”
Another witty, feel-good rom com from one of my favourite authors of this genre! I always get incredibly excited when there’s a new book from Audrey, and the second book in this series has been one of my absolute favourites yet. Perfectly written and full of everything I love. I’m so happy to be sharing my review for A Wish For Jo! If you like the sound of this book, please support the author by buying yourself a copy or sharing this review!
About the book:
Jo Milligan’s café is her pride and joy. But icing cakes and baking pastries in a sleepy Scottish village isn’t hitting the sweet spot. She needs some excitement in her life, but the arrival of gruff stranger Harvey Quinn doesn’t fill her with joy. Nor does the appearance of an unlikely assistant with an unexpected gift and an attitude problem.
Genie Aaliyah grants Jo three wishes, but the pair lock horns as she struggles with what to wish for. Add to the mix Aaliyah’s talent for putting her foot in it, and village life becomes ever more challenging.
As Jo grows closer to Cranley’s newest resident, secrets threaten to derail their relationship.
Can Jo find a way to cook up a happy ending, or do the ingredients amount to a recipe for disaster?
After a quick whizz through my review of A Wish For Jinnie to get me back up to speed, I was beyond excited to be returning to the little Scottish village of Cranley and to catch up with some old friends! Reading Audrey’s work again after well over a year (has it really been that long?!) felt like coming home, and the fun begins from the very first page (not that Jo would see it that way – she has a baking disaster…) It was so lovely to be focusing on a different character in book two of this series, and it seemed like Jo had a great adventure in her ready to spring out and surprise us all. It seems like nothing is going her way at the start, and for that reason alone, I became attached to her instantly. I’ve definitely felt a bit like that lately! I always find Audrey’s writing to be incredibly soothing and so easy to take in, and A Wish For Jo very quickly became the book that accompanied me into the garden on those hot sunny days we had recently. Bliss 😊
I always love when characters from previous books pop into new ones, and of course, with this being book two in a series, it was bound to happen! Even one character from book one that we’d heard about but not met, Aaliyah, is introduced in style, and I loved her! She brings the magic to this book straight away; if you don’t know what goes down in the first book, I’d recommend you read that first! How she appeared in Jo’s life is briefly described at first, but that’s all that was needed. I really like how Audrey doesn’t have to explain every little detail – she cleverly makes our imaginations fill in the gaps, something which really makes all the difference. Aaliyah is such a silly character; making mistakes that made me smile (she probably wasn’t Jo’s first choice as an assistant) and her whole aura was fantastic. I just knew she’d be one of my favourite characters in the series. The fact she had that unforgettable Geordie accent too made her even more brilliant!
“I’ve finished the filling for the sausage rolls, but I couldn’t find the mice droppings.”
“She means the chocolate chips,” said Jo, huffing out an exasperated sigh. “Aaliyah has a dark sense of humour.”
Aside from the complete mayhem of Jo and Aaliyah’s time at the café, we also hear about a new guy in town – a rude stranger who is also a bit attractive to Jo, not that she thinks much about it. Who was he and what had brought him to Cranley? To my delight, we change POV to the mysterious Harvey Quinn (great name Audrey, 10/10) and begin to learn the start of his story – where he’d come from, his interesting life, the reason why he couldn’t spend the rest of his days with his beloved Lindsey… it left me wanting to get to the bottom of his story, and I was definitely intrigued by him! The references to Jinnie and book one were subtle but excellent, and I got a nice fuzzy feeling whenever these were mentioned in some way. I loved how there was also a more detailed chapter about who Aaliyah really was, and how she’d become Jo’s responsibilty; she’s a Genie who grants her three wishes, fresh from one of two lamps she’d bought from Sam Addin’s antique shop. Well, for a fiver for the pair, why wouldn’t she?!
Reading the book from the perspective of two characters was fabulous and it helped me to get a really good view of the story from different angles. The description is just lovely and even by this point, I’d had a good giggle at some brilliant scenes and dialogue that I think only Audrey would be able to pull off the way she does! My smile was permanent with each chapter that passed, and pretty much every scene with Aaliyah in it was unforgettable. After Jo starts reminiscing about her past and her parents, she decides on her first wish – to spend one last day with them, to say all the things she never said, to tell them she loves them. And oh my god, I could feel my eyes tearing up and the lump in my throat forming! I had a feeling this book would be a tad more emotional than Audrey’s previous, but only time would tell… The opening to the book was excellent, as expected, and I couldn’t wait to hear about more of Jo’s journey with Aaliyah!
The more we learn about Harvey, the more my heart went out to him after everything he’d been through, everything he’d lost. Audrey is exceptionally good at creating characters with heart; people you can vividly imagine and invest in from the very start. Even when Jo is taken back in time, I found myself sharing her memories as if they were my own, even thinking long and hard about different times from my own past which was really nice. To my delight, Harvey plucks up the courage to ask Jo to his place for dinner. Just dinner, mind you. This definitely wasn’t ‘a date’… I loved each of these characters so much already, and knowing exactly what their early feelings were about each other was just super cute – even when Jo hadn’t particularly warmed to him at the start! They both had their own secrets, things that they weren’t willing to share with one another just yet, and that was perfectly okay. The fact they’d started to spend time with one another was a good start, AND he’d just volunteered to help her at the café…
A lot of what we learn in book one is important in the story here, and although you’d probably be able to get your bearings if you haven’t read the first story, I’d recommend you read the books in order for full satisfaction! I got stupidly excited as Jo begins to think about her second wish and it really got me thinking about what I’d wish for if I got three wishes from a Geordie Genie. Jo chooses something very different from her first wish which I was more than happy about. This time, there’s so much fun involved as she does something she’s always wanted to do. And, of course, the fantastic description takes you right there with her! The balance between the emotional, heartfelt scenes in her first wish compared to the fast-paced, frantic nature of her second was so great and written perfectly. My smile wouldn’t leave!
“Her first wish had helped heal her aching heart. Perhaps her second would inject some much needed excitement into her life. What did she have to lose?”
It’s clear by now that our Genie friend, Aaliyah, is not only extremely confident, but that she’s also not afraid to break a rule or two to get her own way. This was what made her character so exciting and unpredictable! However, there was a particular scene that had me on the edge of my seat as she tries to woo local barman, Jamie. I LOVED how cringey, but also brave the whole ordeal was, and I thought it really summed up who Aaliyah was and what she was like. Just brilliant! Despite all that, her heart is always in the right place when it comes to Jo. Love is most certainly in the air as Jo and Harvey’s friendship goes one step further, and I felt a huge feeling of joy – I loved that two people who had gone through so much had found each other to lean on and to *hopefully* love. N’awwww! But would Jo let him in on the huge secret that is Aaliyah and the magical lamp?
Jinnie, Jo’s old friend from book one, shares her concerns with Jo about Sam, the owner of the antique shop. Was he hiding something? Were genies not a new concept to him? Did he know more than he was letting on? Or was everything just a huge coincidence? I loved all the smaller stories in this book which all added together to make such a memorable and fun experience, and I especially loved Jo’s smear test scene. Bloody hilarious, and I’m still laughing about it as I type this! The pacing continued to be perfect all the way through and there was always something to think about whenever I took a break. This book took over my life for a while and I just couldn’t get Jo and Harvey out of my brain! Just as things seem like they can’t get any more perfect for Jo, she and Aaliyah run into a slight issue involving a character I was secretly hoping would make an appearance in this book… and my god I wasn’t disappointed by what came next!
In a lot of my favourite rom coms, there’s always someone unwelcome who shows up on a character’s doorstep, threatening to cause trouble, and even though this is a pretty familiar trope, it doesn’t half ramp up the excitement and suspense for me! In this case, we hear of Abby, someone from Harvey’s past who I despised before we’d even met her. Another thing I must give credit to Audrey for – creating slimy, unlikeable characters you just wish would go away! (I mean this in a good way, of course, as I’ve already mentioned her character creation is stellar!) I couldn’t help but worry that Abby would mess up Harvey’s life, get in the way of his growing relationship with Jo, or even send him back to rock bottom. I’d be keeping a very close eye on her… Saying all this, I really liked the idea of her character, and the back story to go with it was really well put together. It certainly sparked my curiosity!
There was a great chapter towards the ending of the book where Harvey realises just where his life is going and how much he could potentially lose. It was here where I connected with this character the most and I wanted to jump into the pages and share a whiskey with him, explaining just how he can make things right again and turn his life around! Although he could do with laying off the booze a little… How he speaks out loud to his late wife continued to break my heart, but it was clear he found comfort in knowing she was with him in his heart. I’m sure we’ve all spoken to someone who isn’t physically there to get some clarity on an issue or to calm and soothe us when we need it most. I just loved how the author has approached all of this! The alternate points of view from Harvey to Jo in these chapters continued to flow so well, and I just couldn’t take a break! I needed these two characters to be happy and I wanted them to work out their issues together, emerging stronger on the other side.
“When you thought you’d hit rock bottom, finding another level of misery below did little for a person’s self worth.”
When you live in a small town like Cranley, secrets are going to get out. Harvey’s secret (which the reader knows for a while) finally gets to Jo, and I started to panic that she wouldn’t be able to see past something that Harvey didn’t actually do! I shared Harvey’s frustrations, and of course, because we know the truth, I was desperate for Jo to see it too. Would she ever believe Harvey’s side of the story? Or would she side with the woman who lied to get her own way? There is so much tension as these chapters play out, but even though things are rocky between Jo and Harvey, I could still sense that something between them, that pull that simply couldn’t be ignored, and I absolutely loved that. What I loved even more was how Jo thought about her third and final wish, and what she does decide just shows the kind of selfless person she is, someone who would do anything for anybody. Everyone needs a Jo in their lives at some point!
One thing I adored about Jo and Harvey’s relationship was that it wasn’t ‘love at first sight’, nor are they truly madly deeply in love throughout the book. Their relationship has delicately become ‘something’ over time, it’s grown at the perfect pace and I loved the slow burn of it all. It was just what the book needed and it fit in wonderfully with both of their lives. The ending of the book gave me such an amazing feeling of hope and happiness, and wasn’t what I initially predicted, especially with Abby lurking… it’s amazing what a bit of magic can do! Sam becomes a bigger part of the story towards the end for a very interesting reason, and it made me wonder just how much he’d be involved in the third and final book of the trilogy! A perfect ending for a perfect book, with plenty to mull over and dream about for the third and final instalment. I can’t wait to catch up with some of my favourite characters again!
I never feel let down with Audrey’s writing. In fact, it’s got to the point where I’ll just buy her books without even reading a blurb. A Wish For Jo was no exception! It’s fun, charming and very difficult to put down, and has instantly captured my heart, just like the author’s previous books! The characters have become some of my favourites, their stories so heartfelt and memorable. The humour, as always, is right up my street, and the magic that comes with it makes this book unlike any other. I loved everything about it! Another triumph, Audrey! 🥳
A huge thank you to the lovely Audrey Davis for yet another incredible book! You spoil us! You can purchase your own copy of A Wish For Jo over on Amazon, available on Kindle and in paperback. Make sure you’re following the author on Twitter and Instagram for more updates!
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