August 2022 Books #AmReading

Okay, so now it is August, the month I have pretty much all off, from school, so it is time to ease up on school pressures, get words down, and do family things. But you know I will be reading throughout!

Stay tuned for a review on the Blog Tour post on 9th September!

Christmas at the Borrow a Bookshop by Kiley Dunbar
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Now, I shall not leave my review here for you to read, since Kiley is appearing on a very special post tomorrow morning to celebrate the release of her new book, so I hope you will pop over. It is such a wonderful read!

Releasing 1st September, 2022

Releasing 1st September, 2022 Review will be posted on 1st September on a Blog Tour post!

A Colourful Country Escape by Anita Faulkner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have just finished this fantastic debut by Anita Faulkner, and I am blown away!
What a brilliant read!
Lexie Summers’ life appears much like her thrift shop clothes. A bit borrowed, a bit colourful with quite a history, and no longer needed by previous owners.
When she finds herself ousted from her home and relationship with a rich boy who was playing at being your average rock band singer bloke, Lexie takes off in Penny, her aunt’s old camper van, and heads off to areas unknown in search of a new start, a new job and new friends.
What seems like the ideal job for her, as a social media manager for a small family-run paint company in the village of Tewkesbury, ends up being quite different from what she imagined. And it includes wealthy families and rich boys she’s sworn off for life, along with a matchmaking circus she has no intentions of getting involved in…
Oh, and some pretty feisty peacocks, too!
I loved Lexie and her colourfully tweaked CV that got her a position that her life experiences had already qualified her for. She’s a caring, compassionate soul who just can’t seem to put herself first, even when she knows that is what she should be doing.
Enter rich boys, Ben and Cory, brothers who are like chalk and cheese. Ben is the uptight, business-minded (bland, some might say) but kinda cute older brother in charge of recruiting for a role he really doesn’t understand. Cory is the free-spirited, hunky surfer-dude-styled younger one, without a care in the world, who wants to help his brother bring their family business into the 21st century.
Okay, so we’re reading contemporary romance, so you kinda know that things will work out in the end, but it’s always the journey that we’re here for, isn’t it, readers?
And the side characters.
Because without a colourful cast, things can get a bit monochrome.
Lexie’s sister, Sky, is a flakey hippie who lives on a commune in a quadruple with Billy-Bob…
Grace is a posh version of Lexie, and they become firm friends, despite the differences in their backgrounds.
Then you have Mrs Moon, the homely, widowed housekeeper at Nutgrass Hall, and Tom, the dear gardener, with his own yearnings.
And how could I forget Mrs Carrington-noble, Ben and Cory’s mother, who spends most of her time looking down her nose at common Lexie and is convinced she is only in the job for the family fortune?
Truly loved this book, and I cannot wait for her next release!

The Direction of the Wind: A Novel by Mansi Shah
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Mansi Shah created a fantastic story here of a search for individuality in a culture where it is expected of you to do what everyone else before you has done.
Sophie is a young woman from Ahmedabad, India. After losing her mother at a young age, she was brought up by a loving father and her aunts until tragedy struck again, and she lost her father, too.
The thing is, she finds out a family secret after hearing her aunts talk and through some intriguing letters that her father had always kept. Her mother didn’t die but left her and her dad to go to France.
The story plays out on a dual timeline, as we follow the young Nita to Paris, hoping to realise her dream of becoming an artist rather than staying at home being a wife and mother, and we follow a modern-day similar journey with Sophie. She goes to Paris to try and find the only family she has left.
The story moved along beautifully, and I felt for Nita, stuck in a life she didn’t want to be living, and how the twists and turns of fate treated her in Paris.
Equally, the shock and hurt of Sophie’s predicament kept me hooked.
I almost wish the ending weren’t as rushed, but there was sadness and some joy to finish the story.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Publishing 17th January, 2023

Before I Do by Sophie Cousens
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

You know when you start a book and are convinced you know what the outcome will be? That was me at the beginning of this story.
Audrey is the bride-to-be, and the story’s beginning sees her stumble out of the church in a rather unconventional manner.
As we visit different times in her past, fragments of her life join up to create the picture we think we will see at the end.
Six years before, she was a single woman with not a lot to write home about. In fact, she was still living at home, so there was no need to write.
A chance strip of photos left in the rack of an old photo booth triggers something in her that leads to meeting someone who could just be the one.
Fast forward to now, and that didn’t materialise how she dreamed, but Audrey has her true Prince Charming, Josh, waiting at the end of the aisle.
But, many signs, bad omens, if you believe that, like old Granny Parker, mean she ends up questioning whether this marriage is the right path for her. Especially when Photo Booth Guy turns up at the wedding as a plus one.
I don’t want to go into this anymore for fear of giving the story away, but suffice to say, many deep-rooted issues from Audrey’s past need revisiting to reset her life and thoughts for the future.
I enjoyed the story. Another great read by Sophie Cousens.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Hodder, and Stoughton for an ARC in exchange for an honest opinion.

Publishing 20th September, 2022

Make You Mine This Christmas by Lizzie Huxley-Jones
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s been a long while since I’ve read a sapphic romance, and this was a perfect way to get back into them!
Make You Mine This Christmas is a laugh-out-loud romance with all manner of kerfuffles, including rude jumpers and rescuing reindeer. Oh, and falling in love with your fake boyfriend’s sister in the middle of a charade set up to make life easier…!
Haff finds herself in Oxley with Christopher, a relative stranger, having only met by chance at a party she has crashed, pretending to be his girlfriend to stop his parents with their matchmaking efforts as he nurses a bruised heart and a bit of an identity crisis.
Thing is, she hadn’t expected to meet a woman who could turn her world upside down, only to lose her, then find her again, in the most complex of situations.
Haf is a fantastic heroine, and kudos to Huxley-Jones for all the representation in this book! So, Haf: well, she’s a plus-sized, bisexual woman about to spend her first Christmas alone, not through any choice of her own.
Then you have her flatmate and good friend Ambrose, who has carved a career out for themselves as an influencer, and they are the most straight-talking friend you could ever have.
Christopher, the fake boyfriend, is a sweet guy who is being pressured into following in his father’s footsteps rather than following his own dreams.
And how could I forget Kit, the aforementioned fake boyfriend’s sister? Kit is a tall, beautiful, strong woman with a fantastic career, a potty mouth, and a disability that makes everyone think she can’t be capable of all she can.
There are plenty of other characters that help make this story a joy to read, but if I detail them all, you would find everything out in the review, and that is not what I want to happen at all!
A really fun read, where I did laugh out loud. several times and I was so happy with the ending. We all need supportive friends, even though they can interfere a bit too much sometimes!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton, Hodder Studios for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 13th October, 2022

You Don’t Know What War Is by Yeva Skalietska
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Reading any situation from the eyes of a child can be eye-opening, and harrowing, and the view of war, is one of the toughest to read.
Yeva’s recount of those first few days of the Russia/Ukraine war was touching and heartbreaking. This is exactly like a modern-day Anne Frank story, filled with pictures and diary entries, as well as transcripts of WhatsApp group messages between Yeva and her classmates.
Something the youth of today should maybe read, too, so they realise what war in the now is really about.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Bloomsbury Publishing for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 25th October, 2022

A Year at the French Farmhouse: Escape to France for the perfect BRAND NEW uplifting, feel-good book for 2022 by Gillian Harvey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have been following Gillian Harvey for a while. However, this was my first read by her, making me want to put her other books at the top of my teetering TBR pile!
A fabulous story about a middle-aged woman, ready to spread her wings as her chick flies the nest and embark on that adventure she and her husband have been planning for many years.
Lily’s redundancy couldn’t have come at a better time. Her son, Ty, is off to university, meaning the pay-out money can help her and Ben realise a dream they have been nurturing for a long time. Moving to France to live a wonderful life out there.
Only, she finds out it might not have been Ben’s dream, only hers.
In a state of emotional drunkenness, Lily makes the sort of eBay purchase that makes her cringe in the morning.
A dilapidated farmhouse. In France.
How’s this one going to work out?
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story as anything about women my age grips me straight away. Wouldn’t we all like to move away, somewhere new, and begin living our lives for ourselves, after decades of being wife/mum/slaves to our jobs?
Lily has to battle the fact that her husband wasn’t interested in fulfilling the dream they had always talked about and decides to just go for it, with or without him. A strong woman!
Moving to a different country will always have its ups and downs, and to do that alone and to find out exactly how dilapidated the property you bought on a drunken whim could be classed as a huge dip in your line of ups and downs.
Fortunately, Lily meets some fantastic people along the way, and she still has her best friend, Emily, as a support for her, by phone, message and impromptu visits.
There is even a little romance, but, how do you explain to your teenaged-son that you might be going on dates but that it doesn’t mean anything, even though you and your husband have split up?
A Year at The French Farmhouse was an easy read with a great ending, and it fostered the spirit of never being too =old to make our dreams come true!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Boldwood Books for an ARC in exchange for an honest opinion.

Releasing 29th September, 2022

Releasing 6th October, 2022

Twenty-One Nights in Paris by Leonie Mack
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a fantastic story by Leoni Mack!
Heiress Ren is used to a luxury lifestyle and living in hotels like the Ritz.
Sacha is a man from the wrong side of the Parisien tracks.
One night, they meet in rather unfortunate circumstances, yet their meeting was fated.
Ren is trying to understand her life or the lack of control that she has over hers. Sacha is dealing with his ghosts.
Somehow, he gets roped into helping Ren get over a broken relationship, to the horror of her grandmother,
But, as we know will happen, acting soon turns into reality.
But, just how they end up at that stage is an endearing, deep story filled with poetry and exploration of feelings.
I really enjoyed reading this, as well as now wanting to go and revisit Paris!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Boldwood Books for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Their Surprise Safari Reunion by Ella Hayes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An easy-to-read second chance romance where two meant to be together individuals were separated due to circumstances out of their control, only to meet again to rekindle their relationship.
Maddie and Kaden met as teenagers and were in a relationship when the actions of Maddie’s father meant she and her mother had to flee the country, leaving the two lovers estranged, with no contact between them.
Years later, her identity changed; Lina embarks upon a visit to a newly opened safari park and lodge in her position as a well-respected travel blogger.
Only to be met with a face from her past.
A lovely read, dotted with realistic descriptions of the wilds in Africa, as well as sympathetic views on the main characters’ vulnerabilities.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin Romance for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Wishful Thinking by Kay Bratt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I thoroughly enjoyed the first set of The Wishing Tree Books and am thrilled that the second wave of instalments is coming through now!
It was lovely to go back to Linden Falls, visit familiar faces like Neve, follow what happened with her new housemate, Janie and her daughters, and meet newcomer Coco, the News Anchor wannabee.
The Wishing Tree plays a huge part, as always, in this book, as the community fights to save its existence when an outsider buys a property which includes the tree in its land, and they want to tear it down!
Each book centres around one or two specific characters in the area, and in this, we find out how Janie is settling into Linden Falls after separating from her husband, Max. She has set up a new business which she is very proud of, and though it isn’t anywhere as lucrative as her previous career, it fills her with passion.
Coco is the newcomer this time. She’s moved to Linden Falls for a couple of months to reset herself, and lose weight, to get the job she always wanted, but ends up in the thick of the local Wishing Tree trauma, when she helps the local journalist, who is incapacitated, to raise awareness of the potential loss of a tree which is dear to so many.
We have family ups and downs, slow-burn romance, and cats and dogs. What more could you ask for?
Thanks to Kay Bratt for an ARC.

Releasing 8th September, 2022

Wishes of Home by Barbara Hinske
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this instalment of The Wishing Tree series, even though, as I am reading arcs, I have been reading out of order!
Pam has moved to Linden Falls after a divorce that we learned about in a previous book in the series.
She’s back in her home town, living in her grandmother’s home and renovating it, helping her mother with her Saturday market stall, and being a Personal Trainer at the local gym.
When we left her last, she was starting a relationship with fellow PT, Steve.
The Wishing Tree is the catalyst for more adventure in the book; as a wish Pam helps Neve, the keeper of the wishes, to rescue from the tree when it has been raining, strikes a chord.
This wish plays on Pam’s mind, as she thinks of what she could be doing with her free time now the renovations are done.
There is love, self doubt, investigations, suspicions, and a TV series in the middle, as well as cats and dogs! Love this series!

Releasing 29th September, 2022

Picture Perfect by Jeevani Charika
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Having read a couple of Jeevani Charkica’s books before, I was excited to start this one, and I’m so glad I read it!
Niro is a photographer who has lost her mojo. setbacks in the forms of broken relationships and constant derogatory comments have worn her down.
Vimal is a hard-working guy who tries his hardest to win back his girlfriend of four years after being told he is simply boring.
Through the meddling of the Sri-Lankan Aunties, they are introduced and somehow end up on holiday together with a mutually beneficial deal in place; she gets her photography mojo back and he wins back the girl.
Is anything ever so simple?
I absolutely loved this story with kudos to Charika for her POC heroine, who is not only overweight but dark-skinned too. The issues brought about by constant remarks about those two attributes weigh heavy on Niro’s heart and mind and have huge, detrimental effects on her confidence.
And the best thing is that this story embraced both facts and showed that it is possible, and fine, to look beyond these two factors, and love the person within.
And, sorry to say this but shame on the Aunties for making Niro feel so low with their constant comments about her appearance! Beauty is in everything, and the most beautiful shine from within, not outwardly.
Vimal is a person I feel I know. He is intelligent and capable but so unconfident because he thinks he will never ‘fit in’ with many of the people he works with. Yet he wants to change himself to win back the love of his life.
The side characters’ cast was also great, with Sam, Niro’s cousin and cheerleader, and the new friends she makes on this ‘working’ holiday. Felicity was one who helps to break other stereotypes. Not all young beautiful, and rich people are the shallow, selfish people some think they are. loved how she became another of Niro’s cheerleaders!
I honestly wanted to slap Lucien. What a pompous, institutionally racist piece of rubbish! But, again, there are people like that, unfortunately, and good on the author for calling him out!
I raced through this book and loved it, especially the ending. READ IT!
Many thanks to NetGalley and HQ Digital for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 21st October, 2022

A Little in Love by Florence Keeling
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Okay, so I nabbed this little beauty when it was on offer a couple of weeks back, and I didn’t regret my purchase at all!
Rose Pedal is quite happy at home, living with her parents in the local vicarage. Yup, dad is the local vicar. Things haven’t quite worked out on the job front until she has a brainwave and sets up a business for weddings, Pedals and Prosecco, and begins the rounds of the local wedding fayres, hoping to drum up some business to get her venture on the map.
Of course, things were never going to run smoothly for Rose, were they? Because, quite honestly, it seems that life has never been kind to her regarding her decisions about her future…
She has a near miss on the way to her first fayre and arrives in a dishevelled state to find the drenching culprit, a stall owner at the same fayre.
James Blume is there to showcase his family business, Blumes; flowers, obviously! But his arrogance and seeming lack of tact rub Rose the wrong way.
Rose and James begin to clock through a series of mishaps and coincidences. Still, the road to romance is never smooth, and various characters along the way crop up to create obstacles in their budding relationship.
Oh, I loved it! Knowing who I wanted to get together and seeing it progress, albeit with a few stops and starts, was fantastic.
The setting in Weddington (love the name!) and its surrounding villages in the English countryside was quaint, and you could feel the sense of community among the residents, the strong friendships within the cast of characters, and the camaraderie between the local wedding businesses, as they help to straddle all sorts of problems.
Two very different families with their own ups and downs and supportive, though meddlesome, best friends provided a lovely supporting cast to our ‘will they, won’t they?’ couple.
The romance was a wonderful slow burn, and the ending was perfect.
Florence Keeling, I shall be visiting your books again very soon!

Review to follow in October when I am on Diana’s Blog Tour! But, it is a very different book to the kind I have been reading, recently!

Overdue Wishes by Tammy L. Grace
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another wish to Linden Falls and the Wishing Tree!
This time, Author Tammy. L. Grace is showing the way with a story about Norma Braxton, the school’s librarian with a secret.
A secret that’s about to come tumbling out with the surprise visit from a face from her past.
Norma is so scared that the impact of the knowledge about an event that occurred when she was much younger will tarnish her relationships and respect that she hides from someone who really doesn’t want her to disappear.
What a sweet conclusion to a story that could have had a much harsher ending, if her thoughts were true.
I enjoyed this next visit to Linden Falls, and fall a little more in love with the whole community whenever I read another book!

Releasing 15th September, 2022

I managed 17 books over the summer, along with finishing my first draft for my own book 2! Not bad going, eh! Let me know which books tickled your fancy!

16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. OIKOS™- Art, Books & more
    Sep 05, 2022 @ 14:42:14

    Gosh, my shelves are filling up so fast, Sis! Thanks your efforts on introducing all these nice books. xx Michael

    Liked by 1 person


  2. petespringerauthor
    Sep 02, 2022 @ 05:10:49

    I’m reading the Necromancer’s Daughter right now.

    Liked by 1 person


  3. Carl Wright
    Aug 31, 2022 @ 22:16:53

    The Direction of the Wind involving India and France sounds very intriguing.

    Liked by 1 person


  4. johnrieber
    Aug 31, 2022 @ 22:03:00

    A great collection of summer escapism and more!

    Liked by 1 person


  5. Carol anne
    Aug 31, 2022 @ 21:44:58

    These all sound like great books! I shall have to check out net gally!

    Liked by 1 person


  6. Colleen Chesebro: WordCraftPoetry
    Aug 31, 2022 @ 20:33:21

    Wow, Sis. These all sound like great reads. I’m reading the Necromancer’s Daughter now… 🥰

    Liked by 1 person


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