May 2022 Books #AmReading

I cannot believe we are in May! I can’t promise as many books will have been read as last month, but I’ll give it a good go!

Ah, so it was around 17… not bad, in the end!

A Midlife Holiday by Cary J. Hansson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

You know when you are fast approaching that midlife period, and 50 is a heck of a lot closer than ‘young’?
I’m there now, so the prospect of reading about women in that age bracket appealed.
Three women who have been firm friends since their university days are either turning 50 or already there.
One, Helen, married with two adult children and a husband more interested in finding his adventure abroad than at home.
Two, Kay, divorced and caring for her parents and a son with autism.
Three, Caro, the highflying businesswoman with everything she ever wanted, apart from a relationship and her own family.
They end up on holiday in Cyprus, which bears different fruits for each of the women, in turn.
Now, in some ways, there were two stereotypes plugged here; the frumpy housewife-style middle-aged women who have put on the lbs and are no longer fun; instead, they are more intent on keeping house and losing their own identities then there is the sharp-edged woman who appears to have forsaken all of the above in order to secure her great career, and wealth, and ended up lonely.
However, it was good to see them trying to claw back a little bit of what made them individuals, throughout the story, and I would be intrigued to find out how the next stage in their midlives pans out.
Many Thanks to NetGalley and Hansson Publishing for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 17th May, 2022

The Forgotten Beach by Amanda James
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I do love a story that has its roots based in something that occurred in the past of a main character, and The Forgotten Beach was exactly that.
Sennen finds out the story of her grandmother’s first love, along with a poem, that tells of a forgotten beach and a special hidden treasure which forsees the future of couples. Settled in a relationship which she wants to move to the next level, Sennen has a plan.
She is eager to trace the origins of this story, and finds herself at Nancarrow House, searching for her grandmothers past happiness, and finds a whole lot more than just a hidden beach, in the end.
Complex characters, with a simple love story, and a heartstopping final arc, but the ending we all wanted!
Many thanks to NetGalley, Harper Collins UK and One More Chapter for an Arc in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 27th May, 2022

Wild Fires by Sophie Jai
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Many thanks to the publisher for an ARC.
This debut novel by Sophie Jai is an interesting insight into the Indo Trini community, and more so about the dynamics within quite a dysfunctional family.
Cassandra heads back to Toronto, Canada where her family settled, after leaving Trinidad, after hearing of her cousin’s death.
But it’s not just a straightforward trip, because she isn’t just there to mourn and attend a funeral. Cassandra knows the family has many secrets, and the women in the family live in ways that are alien to most others. Her own mother is one of five sisters, and they all live under the same roof, apart from one who stayed on in Trinidad with her husband, and another who passed away under tragic circumstances. Also, there are Cassandra’s older and younger sisters.
The story took me a little while to get into, as there is a lot of to-ing and frow-ing from past to the present, with the POV appearing to change, but each trip back adds another layer to the story. There are many secrets hidden within the family, and we still do not learn everything by the end of the story, but Jai’s beautiful prose keeps you hooked.

The Mixed-Race Experience: Reflections and Revelations on Multiracial Identity by Natalie Evans
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An insightful read into how it really feels to be of mixed-race heritage, and how we can be sensitive to their needs and feelings. BLM brought the long known mistreatment of black people to the forefront of everyone’s eyes, but it still didn’t highlight the mistreatment and racism that other folk who fall into the BIPOC and Mixed-Race categories. This really looks into personal experiences in a different light.
As the. aunt of two mixed-race nephews, I read this with real interest. Interesting reading that made me think, even more.
Many thanks to Netgalley, Random House, and Vintage for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 7th July, 2022

The Bad Mother’s Diary by Suzy K. Quinn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I finally got to the end of a list of books I needed to read and thought I would dive into this, and I am so glad I did.
Juliette and her antics as a relatively new mother, with a fiance who doesn’t seem to be engaging with her or his daughter as much as he should, an interfering mother in law to be, an overinvolved family, oh and a vow to complete the London Marathon, all whilst feeling extreme self-doubt, overweight and unattractive, make for a fantastically funny read.
(Sorry, hugely long sentence, there!)
The diary format is reminiscent of Bridget Jones, but it’s not the same at all, and so funny that I immediately bought the next five books in the series!

The Bad Mother’s Detox by Suzy K. Quinn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The next instalment in Juliette’s life as she navigates being a single mum, with her ex, shacked up with her ex-best friend, and they are pregnant, and him wanting them to get back to gether. Add in the crazy family, as well as her on off love interest, Alex, and you have a laugh out loud tale of how she has to bend over backwards to do everything she can to ensure she retains residency of her precious little girl.
Going back to work after maternity, trying to find a place of her own, dealing with dodgy bosses, and errant boyfriends (ex and otherwise) as well as her sister’s pregnancy, and dealing with the growing number of people living under her parent’s roof, above the pub they own, doesn’t make for a smooth journey, but it was a fun one!
Easy, funny read. On to book three!

The Bad Mother’s Holiday by Suzy K. Quinn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A shorter chapter in the escapades of Juliette and her daughter Daisy, as she navigates tricky relationship waters, with Alex, her posh kind o but not, boyfriend, and balances him and his moods with her ex.
Of course, things are never simple especially when family are so involved in her life, and not just her family. There is also her ex’s mum, as well as Alex’s mother.
Holidays are meant to be relaxing, but the three she manages to take within a few months, show that they can truly be otherwise, but equally rewarding in other ways.
Funny, quick read and a great continuation to the story.

The Bad Mother’s Christmas by Suzy K. Quinn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Continuing the saga of Juliette and her life, as she struggles with being a single mother, albeit in an relationship, with an ex who can’t seem to let her go, and a loony family! Christmas is always a right laugh in their household, but this year, they go from a family do at her parents, to plans changing and her and Alex planning to host an elaborate Christmas to commemorate his father who passed away, and as problems keep popping up, Juliette deals with them in her own classic way.
Another fun episode.

The Bad Mother’s Virus by Suzy K. Quinn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have to say that reading this book in the series really brought back some memories of those early months of the pandemic and lockdown!
There were the laughable times when panic buying was at its height but coupled with the awfulness of loved ones being stuck where you couldn’t see them, or your nearest and dearest falling ill. And of course a nod to BLM as well.
Juliette and her crew go through the wars, as the world did, with issues with housing, Alex being stranded in Italy with his mother, Nana on a cruise ship stuck in the Orient, and ad extremely close family member succumbing to the virus, ending in a hospital stay.
Add in an ex who wants to try and gain residency of their daughter, and Juliette with a collapsed roof, then an overcrowded temporary residence, followed by a nightmare of building issues, due to the pandemic, and deliveries not arriving, she had a right headache!
I related to the whole schools closing and homeschooling nightmare, as a teacher. In fact, I felt I was reliving part of the whole circus as I read!
Good job!

The Bad Mother’s Wedding by Suzy K. Quinn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The last in the series (though I have seen the prequel novella that is floating about, too…) and what an ending!
Obviously, we have been gearing up for a wedding, but there have been so many will they/won’t they moments over the last couple of books, what with moody fiances, needy exes, troublesome in-laws and, well, the pandemic!
Well, this last tale details the awfulness of trying to get married during the pandemic. Remember the waits for that Monday announcement from BoJo and his gang, as we all waited to see which of our life occasions they were going to ruin this time… And it is all done in such style!
Juliette always has a lot to deal with, what with her family, her exes family and her in-laws to be, and trying to please everyone is never going to be easy. Something tells me that Juliette doesn’t like easy!
There are some hairy moments, but the ending is lovely!
I’ll miss the Bad Mother gang, truth be told!

The Maidens by Alex Michaelides
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is not my usual genre of books to read, but the blurb intrigued me, so, when I was sent a copy, I had to read it.
Mariana is a group therapist and a widow, who has a young niece under her care. When a murder happens at Cambridge University, where her niece, Zoe is studying, Mariana leaves her patients to support her.
From the beginning of the book, it seems that all arrows are pointing to Edward Fosca, a worshipped lecturer at the university, especially since he has a small coven of female students, known as The Maidens, at his beck and call. And more importantly, the initial murder victim and subsequent ones are all members of this coveted group.
Tenuous links to Mariana’s own past mean that she can’t just comfort her niece and leave her. Instead, she decides to stay on and try and find out the truth behind the serial killer mystery.
The story was intriguing, but I felt it lacked depth in certain key areas, and the ending did feel a bit rushed, though surprising.

The Good Servant by Fern Britton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, what a timely read, considering the Queen’s jubilee is mere weeks away!
I have enjoyed Fern Britton’s books in the past and this was a little different from her other reads but no less brilliant.
This fictionalised account of a real story follows Marion Crawford, a young Scottish woman who finds herself becoming the governess for the tiny Princesses, Lilibet and Margaret, and follows her years with them, until an awful misunderstanding occurs, causing her to be cast out of the Royal fold, after many, many years of devoted service.
Marion, lovingly renamed Crawfie by her two Royal charges, never planned for this: a life looking after two privileged young girls. Her dream had been to educate herself so she could help the less fortunate children in Scotland, but fate lent her hand, and she ended up somewhere completely opposite.
This is based on a true story, but a lot of it is fictionalised, and what a story, Britton has written. I truly felt for Crawfie.
She seemed so happy in some aspects of her life but had to give up many dreams of her own, to continue to serve the Royal family. This included her hopes to work with young Scottish children and a lengthy engagement to the man she loved, even though he is depicted as a rather underhand character. (FYI, I really didn’t like George and wish she had seen through his awfulness, and heeded the warnings she had been given…)
Yes, I know it isn’t 100% accurate, but I was hooked from the beginning and I read the whole book in pretty much a day! Loved it!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins UK for an ARC in exchange for an honest opinion.

Releasing 9th June, 2022

Review to follow next month on the blog tour!
Releasing 21st June, 2022

One Night In Edinburgh by Nina Kaye
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I must confess to having some of Nina Kaye’s previous releases on my Kindle, but I haven’t got round to reading them. However, now I have finished One Night in Edinburgh, I am sure I won’t be waiting long before I do read them!
Steph is reeling from the break-up of a long term relationship and ends up spending a magical night with a certain someone on New Year’s Eve.
She feels the connection, and is sure he did, too, but the situation is such that he leaves without leaving any contact details.
Cue some creative ways to contact the elusive, but lovely, Jamie, which reap benefits, but uncover other discrepancies in his lifestyle and personality.
Things do work out in the end, but not without a whole lot of kerfuffle, especially from her pretentious family, and concerns from her own close friend Anna and ex-boyfriend, turned bestie, Connor.
It was a fun, easy to read book, which would be perfect as a beach read, or any time read, to be honest!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Canelo for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 23rd June, 2022

Radio Ha Ha by Kiltie Jackson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My first Kiltie Jackson. I’m pretty sure it won’t be my last!
Fresh out of a long term relationship, Mats is not too delighted to find that her best friend, Penny, has lined her up as a possibility for a live blind date interview on the radio.
Embarrassed, Steven (with a V) can’t believe he drunk emailed a radio station to help him find a date for his brother’s engagement party.
Washed up, used to be famous DJ Marky Sparks needs a break, as does the small radio station he now works for.
So, when the aforementioned email arrives at the radio station, there’s a flutter of excitement; could they help fix someone up? And, could this be the thing they need to promote their flagging popularity?
I won’t go into details here, because you should really read the book for that, but what I will say is that I really became invested in the characters.
I loved Mats and her straight-talking nature, mixed in with a heart of gold.
I felt so sorry for Steven when he wasn’t able to make his feelings clear enough.
And old Marky Sparks? I’ll be honest, it took me a little while to warm to him, but I did, especially after a scene where his vulnerability was shown in greater detail.
All in all a great read, which I sped through over a day!

Releasing 27th June, 2022

Tahira in Bloom by Farah Heron
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A cute YA book which looks at the whole influence of social media and followers on the youth of today, as well as whether it is better to follow your heart or your parent’s ambitious ideas.
Tahira is a young Muslim girl born and brought up in Toronto, Canada. She has dreams of becoming a fashion designer, and once her parents were on board, being the high achieving South Asian kind, they put The Plan into action; where she studies, what she studies, building followings on Social Media, where to gain valuable experience and references through placements… Then a spanner plops into the works, meaning that a highly sought after placement with an up and coming designer also of South Asian heritage, has to be cancelled.
Tahira finds herself in the middle of a little country village, Bakewell, where it’s all about flowers. Leaving her boyfriend behind, but bringing her best friend Gia with her, Tahira navigates a very different summer from what she had expected, including a moody, but good looking neighbour and his overly chatty sister, her aunt’s small fashion boutique and lots of flowers!
Lots of layers to this book, with the social media influence being a key theme, but also casual racism, as well as sexuality is covered.

The Pieces of You and Me by Rachel Burton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a poignant, beautiful story!
If you like second chance romances, where the couple have much to overcome, this would be for you.
Jess is in the throes of celebrating one of her best friends’ pre-marital rituals, namely the hen do when a familiar voice catches her ear.
Her first love and ex from ten years ago.
What follows is a story with the past entwined so we get a feel of their budding romance, and why it ended, as well as being filled in on the last ten years of their lives.
Sensitive handling of particular health issues within are also to be commended, as I know many suffering from this particular hard to diagnose ailment, and it is not easily understood.
I raced through the book within 24 hours!

So, tell me what you have been reading, and what caught your eye from the above!

11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ann
    Jun 02, 2022 @ 19:00:22

    These look like some interesting books. No Place to Run catch my attention.
    Have a great June reading month.

    Liked by 1 person


  2. Rae Longest
    May 31, 2022 @ 19:09:47

    Several of your reads caught my eye. I haven’t read any of them!

    Liked by 1 person


  3. apeacefultree
    May 31, 2022 @ 17:04:23

    Thank you for an interesting roundup of books that I wouldn’t have otherwise known about.

    Liked by 1 person


  4. johnrieber
    May 31, 2022 @ 15:43:32

    I read an absolutely horrible work of fiction about Hollywood, so immediately retreated to Linda Ronstadt’s memoir of her life and the music she made for us…

    Liked by 1 person


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