Book Review: The Cocktail Bar by Isabella May

A big hello to Isabella May. She joins me today with the blog tour for her book, The Cocktail Bar. 

Rock star, River Jackson, is back in his hometown of Glastonbury to open a cocktail bar… and the locals aren’t impressed.

Seductive Georgina is proving too hot to handle; band mate, Angelic Alice, is messing with his heart and his head; his mum is a hippie-dippy liability; his school friends have resorted to violence – oh, and his band manager, Lennie, AND the media are on his trail.

But River is armed with a magical Mexican elixir which will change the lives of three lucky people. Once the Mexican wave of joy takes a hold of the town, he’s glad he didn’t lose his proverbial bottle.

Pity he hasn’t taken better care of the real one…


Fed up with life on the road as a musician, River returns home to Glastonbury. His plan… to open up The Cocktail Bar and, thanks to an encounter with a mysterious woman named Mercedes, potentially change the lives of three people.

To begin with, the locals are not happy. Old school friends are trashing his bar, his ex manager is on his trail and the local aristocracy is up in arms.

There is also the matter of Georgina, a girl from his past. He is soon in a casual relationship with her. However, she has her own agenda and believes Karma is a dish served cold.

Things become even more complicated when Alice, his former bandmate, returns home. She also happens to be the girl that River is actually in love with.

Having previously read, Oh! What a Pavlova, I was looking forward to taking part in the blog tour for Isabella May’s latest novel, The Cocktail Bar.

Told from the point of view of River, Alice and Georgina, it did take me a couple of chapters to settle into the novel and connect with the characters. Once I did though, I couldn’t put it down.

River is an interesting man. Deep down, he is fiercely loyal to the people he loves, if not a little naive to the behaviour of some of the people around him. He, like many people, including Alice, is trying to find his place in the world and that is something many readers will be able to relate to.

I found Georgina an unlikeable character, even before you find out what she’s up to. However, she does add tension and conflict to the story. The same can be said for Lennie.

I adored other characters, such as Heather, Terry and especially Hayley. She was hilarious.

The plot did develop well. As I discovered with the previous novel I’d read from Isabella, there is more to this story than meets the eye. There is much more to these characters and this story than is on the surface.

Yes, revenge and bitterness are some of the themes but it also covers the importance of family (which can be the community you’re in as well as relatives,) honesty, courage and the faith to go for what you want out of life.

There were some very sweet moments in this book. There were also some laugh out loud moments and the story, for me, came to a very satisfying end. There is also more of a hint of magic which gave it a lovely whimsical feel.

Overall, The Cocktail Bar is a fun novel and I really enjoyed it. If you’re looking for something to take on holiday or disappear into for a while, this book is perfect.



About Isabella May:

Isabella May lives in (mostly) sunny Andalusia, Spain with her husband, daughter and son, creatively inspired by the mountains and the sea. She grew up on Glastonbury’s ley lines and loves to feature her quirky English hometown in her stories.

After a degree in Modern Languages and European Studies at UWE, Bristol (and a year working abroad in Bordeaux and Stuttgart), Isabella bagged an extremely jammy and fascinating job in children’s publishing… selling foreign rights for novelty, board, pop-up and non-fiction books all over the world; in every language from Icelandic to Korean, Bahasa Indonesian to Papiamento!

All of which has fuelled her curiosity and love of international food and travel – both feature extensively in her cross-genre novels, fused with a dollop of romcom, and a sprinkle of magical realism.

Isabella is also a Level 4 Pranic Healer and a stillbirth mum.

Say hello via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or via Isabella’s website

The Cocktail Bar is part of the Foodie Romance Journeys series. Click to buy on Amazon UK 


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I’m Laura. I started Novel Kicks in 2009. I wanted a place to post my writing as well as give other writers like me the opportunity to do the same. There is also a monthly book club, a writing room which features writing prompts, book reviews, competitions, author interviews and guest posts.

I grew up by the sea (my favourite place in the world) and I currently live in Hampshire. I am married to Chris, have a cat named Buddy and I would love to be a writer. I’m trying to write the novel I’ve talked so much about writing if only I could stop pressing delete. I’ve loved writing since creative writing classes in primary school. I have always wanted to see my teacher Miss Sayers again and thank her for the encouragement. When not trying to write the novel or writing snippets of stories on anything I can get my hands on, I love reading, dancing like a loon and singing to myself very badly. My current obsession is Once Upon a Time and I would be happy to live with magic in the enchanted forest surrounded by all those wonderful stories provided that world also included Harry Potter. I love reading chick lit. contemporary fiction and novels with mystery.

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