June 2022 Books #AmReading

I cannot believe we have reached the end of June, meaning we are halfway through 2022! Well, I already hit my Goodreads target, lol, and I have a little heap of ARCs I volunteered to read for my publisher, too, as well as the usual NetGalley ARCS… I know. I cannot help myself, but since it was also my publication month, I couldn’t refuse! We all need those readers and reviews as authors, don’t we?

It ended up being a month FULL of ARCS, and what an interesting bunch of books I got to read!

His Dark Shadow by Phil Price
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thrillers, mysteries, crime novels, a few years ago I would have shaken my head at you and refused to believe I would ever read them. Well, let me tell you, a few books have turned my head, and though I won’t stop reading my favourite genres, these kinds of books definitely hold more interest, now too!
So, I received His Dark Shadow by Phil Price as an ARC from the Publisher, Spellbound Books, and the premise of the story immediately captured my attention!
Mike is a successful author, who has experienced one of the worst tragedies a person could face: losing his child (and his wife, but that is another matter, altogether!)
We follow his story, in a dual timeline, as we learn how he is coping without his child, as he settles back in the UK, as well as when he first met his wife, Alina, while living in Majorca.
The events of both eras read like the novels our fictional author Mike writes, as gangsters and attacks, vie with unsolved mysteries.
But there is extra heart in our main character. One thing I loved was how he was unafraid to show emotion. After all, a loss as big as that would affect anyone badly.
The cast of characters who join him on his journey is a colourful bunch, from the Romanian in-laws with sinister connections to the wonderful community and book club in his new hometown in Shropshire.
And there may be the hope of a brighter future, too… just don’t take my word for it. Go and read!

Released 19th June, 2022

The Undateable Gay by Mark David Woollard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well, wasn’t that a Savvy B-filled romp of a read?
Mark Morgan charts his relationship fails and successes in an extremely humorous, sometimes rather crude, way, and it absolutely had me hooked!
From the relationship with his best friend to his misdemeanours as he navigates the LGBTQ+ world, many moons before it had that label, you are in for a right laugh!
Definitely a camp, Bridgit Jones-esque read that will have you giggling, cringing and wishing the best for our hapless hero.
Okay, so I am not from the LGBTQ+ community, but there was so much other content I could relate to, including places he visited, meaning, I was picturing scenes as I read them, and, I have friends who would definitely relate to the story!
Did it end well? Well, I can’t tell you that, but what I can foresee is a follow-up, because, Mark (author Mark!), you can’t leave us like that!
If you are looking for a fun-filled read that will make you cringe at times, but also laugh out loud (I am warning you, don’t be taking large sips of Savvy B, or anything else as you read!) then grab it right now and have a read!

Released 3rd June, 2022

Living Is Losing by Cassius Cox
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Living is Losing immediately caught me with the blurb, hooking on the emotional trauma issues that are dealt with within its pages.
Okay, so I’m no boxing fan. Yes, I’ve watched the odd Rocky film, and The Eye of The Tiger will make me think of the sport, and I know of a few famous names, but that’s about my limit, however, the way that boxing is used within the story, gave me a different viewpoint of the sport, as well as realising how key its discipline was to the plot.
Jack and his family suffer a terrible loss when he is a young teenager, losing his older brother Sam in a tragic accident. The incident affects the family, and Jack’s friends who were there, for a long time.
After struggling with trauma-related aggression for some time, Jack reaches out for help in the form of therapy, as suggested by his mother, and the structured outlet of boxing, to the relief of his father and friends.
The story follows the next few years of his life, as he climbs the boxing ranks, and then, is faced with the prospect of another huge loss in his life.
Championship fights, relationships, and his own son; Jack is winning in life, with Sam at the forefront of his mind, until someone threatens his son, George.
I have to say I was gripped from the off. The storyline lay heavy on my heart as I read on, and I found it hard to take everything in too quickly. I usually read fast, but I needed to digest everything slowly since the story doesn’t just involve Jack; the parallel plot, involving another key character, and his own inclinations (trigger alert) made me feel more and more uncomfortable.
That doesn’t mean I wasn’t enjoying it.
I could see the importance of the issue to the story, and by the end, I was unable to put the book down, because I needed to know what happened at the end. I was literally on tenterhooks, devouring the words, to reassure myself that all would be okay… But was it?
I am not going to spoil the ending for you. You need to read this, yourself.

Released 19th June, 2022

Girls, Assassins, and Other Bad Ideas… A Memoir by Mae Wagner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s very, very brave to write a memoir.
We say it is hard to write a book, and it is, but fiction, though it takes time to come together, is just that, a made-up story.
When you write about your life and experiences, you are opening yourself up to the world. And when your life story is filled with hardships and difficulties, it is even tougher as you relive times in your life you might rather not think about.
Mae Wagner is this brave soul right now. Girls, Assassins and Other Bad Ideas is a book filled with some harrowing experiences she suffered as she grew up and even in young adulthood; however, there is this ring of positivity within everything she writes about.
Primarily, this is about her relationship with her mother – a woman with her own mental health difficulties, who swung between loving and loathing her daughter to such extremes that Mae was separated from her family for many years.
I felt emotional pulls as I read how she had to deal with abuse, then was sent to the Christian Ranch and never brought back her clamouring for validation and affection, and the troubles with her own chances at motherhood…
It’s not an easy read, by any stretch, but you are left feeling the heartache of a young girl who just wants her mother’s love.
Beautifully sad.

Releasing 22nd August, 2022

Her Sister’s Baby by Emma Bennet
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Her Sister’s Baby is a short book but boy, does it pack a punch.
The essence is a romance, but one that blossoms out of a huge tragedy.
Sophie is pootling along in her life in London when she gets horrifying news about her sister in Brighton.
Finding herself literally holding the baby, when she arrives to extremely sad news, Sophie has to navigate her own life, now entwined with that of a baby, and try to unravel the mysteries of her estranged sister, not least who the father is.
Samson had a shock one night when an old fling of his arrived on his doorstep with a baby who she claimed was his. After absorbing the news, he attempts to meet her, only to find her no longer alive and a prickly sister holding a child who supposedly is his.
I loved both of the main characters, and though there was a teeny bit of a conflict, it was minor. Instead, we were able to concentrate on the emotions of the journey they both travelled.
The way Bennet navigates through the twelve chapters to a very satisfactory conclusion was perfect, and I was happy to read a book which was easy to read but filled with strong feelings, too.

Review to follow on book tour 4th July

Releasing 12th July, 2022

Take a Chance on Greece: Prepare to fall in love with the romance of the summer by Emily Kerr
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Can I start by saying I have harped on about this book to several people already, and I only finished it yesterday night!
A real feel good funny romantic comedy where we find our hapless heroine, Lydia on her way back from a holiday with friends to find she has brought back more than just a tan from Kefalonia!
A tattoo with the name of a mysterious, but apparently ‘awesome’ man, leads her to finish a relationship that was going g nowhere, and head back to the Greek island, where she goes on a huge adventure to find this man.
Lots of hiccups, but she finds friends, a job, and in the end, love!
Really fun!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins UK. One More Chapter for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 1st July, 2022

Love You From A-Z by Linda Corbett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Linda Corbett, I blame you for my newfound desire to rehome a guinea pig!
Sorry, let me take a couple of steps back.
I absolutely ADORED this book. So much so that I read it in a day. That’s not a huge feat for me, usually, but when it is this time of year and my day job takes every ounce of my energy, and reading is a joy, but a huge effort, too, I can take a lot longer to read, but I whizzed through this book, today.
Jenna’s life is coasting. She is in a safe relationship, with a steady income and a roof over her head. Then her partner decides to jack his job in for a riskier alternative – buying storage containers and selling the contents in the hope of finding that priceless treasure. She helps him unload and sift through his first buy and finds a box of unlikely treasures, including a letter which leads her on a little adventure of her own.
Through this letter, she meets Henry, who is looking for something that belonged to him, which she realises they have in that storage container.
The story follows a shift in Jenna’s own character as she realises where she is now is not where she wants to be.
She finds herself moving in with her sister Evie and partner, Kat, who live simply on a farm and run a guinea pig rescue centre that is facing the threat of closing.
I don’t want to tell you more because there is so much to find as you peel back the layers of this story, from the effects of gambling to living with a disability and the trials and tribulations of love… obviously!
Such a heart-warming read that will leave you with that fuzzy feeling inside!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins, One More Chapter, for an ARC in exchange for an honest review,

Published 24th June, 2022

Not Safe For Work: The sharply written new novel about the women trying to survive Hollywood by Isabel Kaplan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A very topical story set in Hollywood, before the days of #MeToo, highlighting the nature of the entertainment business.
The story follows our narrator, who is an intern in a TV network office, and details the sexual harassment and discrimination women faced, and still do, within the industry.
Not only is she contending with competing for recognition within this company, but she is dealing with a loving but extremely controlling mother.
Quite a tough read, in some aspects but some light moments, too.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Random House for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 4th August, 2022

Isaac and the Egg by Bobby Palmer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well, I am not quite sure what to write, here, apart from Wow!
Okay, so I know I have to write a few more words than that, so here goes.
When you read a blurb, and it leaves you feeling no clearer as to what you are about to read, but intrigued? That was my feeling upon starting this book.
We start by meeting Isaac, our main character, who is at the lowest of low places, contemplating taking his own life by jumping off a bridge, when a loud shriek brings him to some sort of sense. Following this noise, he ends up discovering the egg in the title, and what followed is a heartwarming, sad, but filled with happy pockets, story about grief, and finding your support.
I don’t think I can write much more about the story, without ruining it for someone, but it absolutely isn’t what I was expecting, and more than lived up to my expectations!

Releasing 18th August, 2022

The Love Experiment by Kitty Wilson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I thoroughly enjoyed Kitty Wilson’s previous book, so was thrilled to be given the chance to read her latest release.
The Love Experiment is an easy-to-read contemporary romance book, which touches on several serious issues, such as abusive relationships, infertility and PCOS, as well as the fear of ‘coming out’ within, too.
“He can’t date, she doesn’t date…but what happens when they fall in love?”
Lily is an expert in all aspects of relationships. Such an expert that she is the Love Doctor with her own guidance podcast, on top of her day job as a real Dr. of relationships. Except she finds it extremely hard to commit, given her own medical history. As a sufferer of PCOS, she knows her chances of ever being a mum are extremely low.
Jay just wants to find the one. In fact, he seems to view everyone he decided to date as possibly the one until they disappoint him by not living up to his expectations.
He’s forced to take a break, in order to deal with some issues surrounding his younger sister’s relationship. and in doing so, vows chastity for six months.
And you know what is going to happen… as soon as you make a decision like that, you know that certain someone is going to come galloping into your life…
They are both lovely characters in their own right and have issues to contend with before they can see the wood for the trees.
I loved Jay’s character. Such a kind, considerate man, with everyone’s feelings at the forefront of his mind. There were times I fancied shaking Lily to make her realise she should be going with her gut instinct.
Thankfully I didn’t have to as the cast of side characters were there to do the very thing I wanted. Not least of all Keith, or High Jinx, Lily’s best friend and drag queen, who is still in the closet to his parents, and Cassie, a sassy sixteen-year-old, who only wants the best for her mentor, Jay.
I whizzed through this in a day and it is definitely a feel-good read with some added layers of seriousness, providing food for thought.
Many thanks to NetGalley, And Harper Collins, One More Chapter for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 15th July, 2022

The Ex Between Us by Nicola Marsh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Every time, Nicola Marsh. Every time!
You suck me into a story, you mess with my head, spinning my emotions and thoughts around as if you flung me in the tumble dryer, and then I finish, astounded at the ending.
The Ex Between Us was no different.
Two friends who have been through a lot over the years of their friendship, Jo and Abigail.
Both are very different women, with differing upbringings, yet they support one another, through many ups and downs.
Life is changing, as Abigail’s son, Rob heads off to college, and Jo is there to help her through the empty nesting she is experiencing.
She meets a man, someone who seems almost too good to be true, the complete opposite of Rob’s father, but she feels happy.
Then things start to happen. Little things at first, like plants being dug up but they build up, and not only to Abigail. Jo starts receiving spray-painted messages on her door and porch.
I really don’t want to say much more because I don’t want to give away anything, but I can tell you this, I was constantly guessing, and second-guessing who the person was, who was messing with these friends’ heads. I did work it out, eventually, but not without a lot of umming and aahing, wondering, and confusion.
Safe to say we never know anyone 100%…
Many thanks to NetGalley and Bookouture for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 12th August, 2022

Lily Bennett’s Bucket List by Katherine Dyson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lydia has lost herself.
After making herself the perfect wife, and devoting her time to being mum to Ollie, she’s found herself alone.
With a divorce on the horizon and her ex sporting a new, younger model on his arm, she can think of nothing more than how to win him back.
Enter stage left, that bucket list.
See, i’s not hers, but Lily Bennnet’s list.
Now, I won’t tell you the whys and the wherefores, but that list is in Lydia’s hands, and from afar, her daughter engineers a way for her to complete this strangers list, to feel more adventurous
Enter stage right, Jake.
The constantly smiling man who she ends up enlisting to help her.
Only, he doesn’t know who she is.
And, does she really know him?
The story is one of despair, discovery, growth and acceptance.
I loved the addition of Lydia’s family, with her Polish mother, and her almost silent, English father, and the smorgasbord of characters who make up their family of friends,
I really enjoyed reading this!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins, One More Chapter for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 9th September, 2022

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

9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. OIKOS™- Art, Books & more
    Jul 03, 2022 @ 19:11:50

    When shall i read them all, Sis ? 🙂 Never again say you are working less.If you wanted me to read them all in one day, we first would have to increase the 24 hours to four weeks. 😉 Thanks a lot, for these very great recommendations. xx Michael

    Liked by 1 person


  2. OIKOS™- Art, Books & more
    Jul 03, 2022 @ 19:09:06


  3. Miriam
    Jul 02, 2022 @ 13:23:07

    So many great titles, thanks so much for the reviews and the reading inspiration. I’ve actually saved your post so I can follow up on a lot of these! 😊

    Liked by 1 person


  4. beth
    Jul 01, 2022 @ 22:22:38

    sounds like an intriguing mix! thanks for the reviews

    Liked by 1 person


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