Flying Duo by Zoe May @zoe_writes #BookReview #Publication Day

I am honoured to pop an extra post on today, to help celebrate the publication of Zoe May’s newest release, Flying Duo, which is out today!

Flying Duo by Zoe May

A laugh-out-loud romantic comedy chick lit novel about love, dreams and self-discovery by bestselling author, Zoe May

London lawyer Rachel Watson has wound up in an Indian ashram with hippy heartthrob lover, Seb.

A high-achiever, Rachel has always lived life according to her Life List, ticking off goals along the way. But now that she’s in India, Rachel is going with the flow, or at least trying to…

Rachel’s visa is running out and it’s time to decide whether her relationship with Seb is a holiday romance or built to last.

The pair embark on a trip to Nepal for an Everest base camp trek, but will their relationship survive this gruelling expedition or is it time to part ways?

★ Flying Duo is the second romantic comedy in the ‘Flying’ series, following on from bestseller, Flying Solo. If you are looking for escapist women’s fiction, Flying Duo is offers a heartwarming romance in classic feel-good, funny chicklit style. It guarantees armchair adventure during lockdown. ★

And, here’s my review!

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Right, so, I read Flying Solo last year, and totally fell in love with the whole Eat Love Pray kinda feel, even though our heroine wasn’t off to find herself, in India, but to rekindle her romance with her ex, who had left her back in England.
Still, the descriptions of the Ashram that Rachel found herself at, and the ensuing adventures, the people she met, followed by the romance she did find (not with that ex!) made me hanker for more, and I was over the moon to get a chance to read Flying Duo, the sequel.
Rachel is in a happy place with her Ashram love, Canadian Sam. After turning things upside down in the ashram, by sparking an investigation of the head honcho there, she isn’t as welcome as she thought, and her visa was fast running out.
A flippant comment sees the duo end up in Nepal, experiencing uncomfortable hostels, as well as deciding to climb Everest to the basecamp.
Not quite the relaxing break Rachel had wanted, but it ends up being an enlightening time.
We see Rachel grow, in a different way, through the course of Flying Duo, as she decides what to do with her life, and with whom.
There are some gigglesome moments throughout, and some more disturbing ones (Bloodsucking leeches, anyone?) but the ending is truly fitting, and again…. might we see a Flying Trio soon???

And if you’ve not read the first, here it is, too!

Zoe has written several successful romantic comedies, and I highly recommend her books for a bit of escapism, especially right now!

February 2021 Books #AmReading Laura Briggs Month @PaperDollWrites and then some!

It’s February, and the Love month is upon us, as well as a crazy birthday month for our family… Here’s to reading!

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This month, I am going to work through some of the list of Laura Briggs books I have accumulated… (and I am also reading a couple of arcs for writer friends, and the first draft of a novel by a colleague!) The Little Hotel In Cornwall is an eight book series, that I’d like to complete, by Laura, as I have heard some lovely things about it.. I have another series by her, but, will savour them another time, as my penchant for picking up NetGalley arcs means I need to read them, too!

A Little Hotel in Cornwall

A Little Hotel in Cornwall by Laura Briggs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have had a good few Laura Briggs books on my Kindle for a while now, through the recommendation of several reader friends of mine, and thought why not read them this month?
So the first book in the series is this, A Little Hotel in Cornwall.
A cute start to the series, where our American heroine ends up in this lovely hotel in Cornwall, and, instead of being a guest, finds herself working there.
Why is she there? Not for a holiday, no, but on a search for a well-known author, who she wants to mentor her…
I won’t go into the ins and outs, because that would spoil the story, but it all happens in quite a comical way.
A fun read.

A Spirited Girl on Cornish Shores (A Little Hotel in Cornwall Book 2)

A Spirited Girl on Cornish Shores by Laura Briggs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another fun chapter in the life of Maisie, living and working in a Cornish hotel, under an assumed name, totally by accident!
Will she pull off her act, in order to fulfil her dream of finding her elusive author target, to become her mentor?
Who knows, because she keeps getting pulled in all sorts of different directions!
This time, the aspiring author is helping an Earl to celebrate his 100th birthday, with the Penmarrow Hotel booked exclusively to house his family.
And it’s Halloween.
And the Earl has a few spooky activities planned, including seances.
Oh, and don’t forget that blossoming romance with Sidney…
Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m beginning to have some thoughts of my own, about what might transpire by the end of this series… still, it’s the suspense that keeps me wanting to read more!

Sea Holly and Mistletoe Kisses (A Little Hotel in Cornwall Book 3)

Sea Holly and Mistletoe Kisses by Laura Briggs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another fun step into the life of Maisie and her quest for writerly fame, while working in a Cornish hotel.
This time, she gets caught up in an ice sculpture contest with a guest who is a fellow American, and who also appears to have taken a liking to our writer…
Does this mean the end of the road for the budding romance between Maisie and Sidney, the local(ish) handyman?
Lots of little twists and turns, and another end on a cliffhanger.
Of course, I want to read on. I need to know if my hunch is right!

The Cornish Secret of Summer's Promise (A Little Hotel in Cornwall Book 4)

The Cornish Secret of Summer’s Promise by Laura Briggs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The next in the series following our author to be, Maisie Clarke, who has managed to settle into a Cornish hotel, as a maid, after travelling there to pursue her literary dream.
This time, she gets embroiled in a jewellery heist!
And, I will tell you now, that my hunch from the last two books has been proved wrong, but another shocker, in its place!
Light-hearted, easy to read, and extremely addictive. Off to read book 5 now!

A Train from Penzance to Paris (A Little Hotel in Cornwall Book 5)

A Train from Penzance to Paris by Laura Briggs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another great chapter to our Author to be Maisie Clarke’s journey to writing fulfilment.
She’s only just realised she’s in love, when the chance to chase her literary dreams, with the help of her Author hero, has sprung.
A tough decision to follow her writing heart leads her to situations she would never have found herself in, ordinarily.
It was interesting to get out of her Cornish background for a while, and learn more about Maisie the writer, rather than Maisie the American wannabe writer, turned hotel maid.
We meet some more interesting characters and visit different locations, but I have to say, I kinda missed the hotel, the staff, the eccentric guests, and definitely Sidney!
As did our heroine.
Oh, and that twist I thought I had got right, then wrong… well, I might be on track, again!

A Cornish Daisy's Kiss (A Little Hotel in Cornwall Book 6)

A Cornish Daisy’s Kiss by Laura Briggs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well, this was a sequel that really got into the nitty-gritty of some of our favourite characters!
Maisie is back in Cornwall, at the hotel and in the village that has become something akin to home for her, on her quest for literary success.
Only now, she wants, more than ever, to develop her relationship with Sidney, who has his own secrets.
As always, the story is peppered with mysteries, that aren’t all fully solved, here, but enough to make you think. I’m still sure of my original hunch, re: that famous reclusive author, but still don’t know!
I really enjoyed this book, as it dove into the characters more, and we learned a lot about Sidney, Dean, and even Mr Trelawney, the hotel manager.
Can’t wait for the penultimate one. About to get right in there!

A Stargazy Night Sky (A Little Hotel in Cornwall Book 7)

A Stargazy Night Sky by Laura Briggs
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, my goodness! The twists and turns! Laura Briggs, I am going loopy with all that keeps happening in Maisie’s life!
If she wasn’t planning on being a writer, her experiences over the last couple of years should have convinced her to become one, anyway!
From chasing a reclusive, successful writer, to taking on the identity of another person, to get a job, helping to solve mysteries and burglaries, break-ins, random trips to Paris and London with a person who turns out to be someone entirely different. I could go on, but then what’s the point of you reading the series?
It was so lovely to re-enter our favourite American author-to-be’s world, again, with her happily ensconced in a fledgeling relationship with Sidney.
Okay, so I have changed my tack on the mystery famous author’s identity, since the end of the last book, but WOW! to certain revelations in this book!
We can sense a thawing in the demeanour of Dean, the rather cranky university friend of Sidney, and the secrets of Norman, the gardener. Maisie is so close to finding out who her secretive author is, and has news of her own to share, by the end, but then the twist at the end!
Oh! What is going to happen in the last book?
Quick, I need to read it now!

The Cornish Key to Happiness (A Little Hotel in Cornwall Book 8)

The Cornish Key to Happiness by Laura Briggs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

And, just like that, the series ends!
What a fabulous ending to a wonderful series. Again, this one took part more out of Cornwall, than at the hotel in the series title, but all loose ends were tied up!
Sidney disappears at the end of the last book, and we pick up with our soon to be published authoress, distraught. Maisie has no idea where her man has gone, but his friend, Dean, is able to shed some light, leading Maisie on another unexpected journey to find out what is going on.
Another case of many layers being peeled, to reveal the reality of certain characters, Sidney, in particular.
Oh, and that main mystery, that has followed, all through the series? I was RIGHT!
Loved reading the whole series. I did it in thirteen days!
Sad to see the end, but in a good way, as I can see nothing but happiness, and I am glad there are a whole other bunch of books I can read by the very talented Laura Briggs!

The Littlest Library

The Littlest Library by Poppy Alexander
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s fair to say that the majority of us don’t want to rock the life ‘boat’ too much. As long as we have everything we need to continue, comfortably, it’s just easier to continue, isn’t it?
This is Jess. Living her life as she always has, with her librarian job, and her home with her beloved grandma.
She’s had enough boat rocking, early on in life, so the smooth-sailing suits her fine.
Until her grandma passes away, leaving her alone in the world. Then her job goes.
She realises that its time to take the wheel, herself, and steer her life in a new, unknown direction
She ends up selling their home, and moving to a small village, buying a quaint, but ramshackle cottage, and setting into the close-knit community.
Here, she meets several locals and finds that a solitary phonebox, officially on her land, ends up binding her to the community, more than she could ever think possible.
Creating the Littlest Library in that red phone box ends up being something she is most proud of, but it’s not until she’s on the brink of losing it, and her new, near-idyllic life, that she realises that its time to embrace the new direction her life ‘boat’ has veered towards.
What a truly lovely story.
Jess is a dear woman, who has had her fair share of grief, and I was cheering for her, the whole way through the story. Her collection of books, which was actually curated by her grandma, ends up in the hands of many, bringing the joy only books can, but it was the little veiled messages that I loved. Pencilled in notes, and highlighted passages, that her grandma had marked in some of the books, that were only brought to her attention by the readers, as they borrow books, reading into the messages as if they were left for them, but in reality, for Jess.
And, of course, there is the romantic tension. Jess never envisioned herself settling down, so meeting a man so soon after arriving in the village doesn’t even register on her radar… but, as will happen, she does meet someone, Someone with enough of their own baggage. Easier to steer clear… but that would be boring, wouldn’t it?
I loved the other characters, from Hannah, the long-distance best friend, to Diana and Mungo, the eccentric members of the parish council, and Becky, a surrogate best friend. Oh, and, obviously, Aidan. bat-counting, tree surgeon, single dad, Aidan. That man.
All I know is that I want to find a little red phone box and turn it into a library… I’m quite possibly moving to that small village, soon… what are the odds?
Thoroughly enjoyed it!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Orion Publishing for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 18th March, 2021

The Lost Hours: The most emotional, gripping fiction novel of 2021 from the bestselling author

The Lost Hours: The most emotional, gripping fiction novel of 2021 from the bestselling author by Susan Lewis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Now, that was a psychological thriller and a half!
The disappearance and subsequent uncovering of the body of seventeen-year-old Karen Lomax, over twenty years ago has been forgotten by most. Unable to trace the murderer, or the events that led to her death, the case is closed.
Fast forward to the present day.
Annie and David Crayce seem to have it all. A wonderful marriage, three beautiful children, a hugely successful business, and a supportive family behind them.
Who knew that the chance arrest of their daughter, as someone just around when a crime was committed, could lead them to the turmoil of being in the middle of a reopened murder case?
Wow. Just Wow.
Susan Lewis, you have done it again, haven”t you? You reeled me in, and kept me hanging right til the very end! There were so many moments where I questioned my self as to who might have actually been responsible for the death of a poor teen, but the way the PTSD of war years was woven into it, as well as the thoughts and actions of the police involved, I was kept on tenterhooks.
And, yes, had it not been past 1 am last night I would have carried on reading to get to the end, but I had to put the book down.
Fantastic.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins UK for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing April 1st, 2021

The Single Dad's Handbook

The Single Dad’s Handbook by Lynsey James
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Evan Harper lost his wife, leaving him a widower and a single father.
He’s wallowing in grief, still, two years on, with a little girl about to start school, and his. family and friends wanting him to take the next steps to move on.
Before she passed away, Claire carefully collated a notebook, filled with letters for her husband and daughter to read, at key moments in their lives.
This set of letters ends up being the catalyst for change, in Evan’s life, and he finds himself beginning to embrace life, and a few people, too…
A cute story, an easy read, Very similar to a lovely book I read a couple of years ago, about a husband who passes on and leaves a notebook for how to fall in love again, for his wife.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collines, One More Chapter for an ARC. in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 2nd April, 2021

The Magician's Soul (The Great Dagmaru, #3)

The Magician’s Soul by Linda G. Hill
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was so excited to read the latest chapter of the Great Dagmaru series, and I wondered whether it would be the last…
But, after reading it (all in one day, I’ll have you know), I’m sure there must be more to come. Please, Linda, tell me it is so!
We’re back with Herman and Stephen, as they plan their wedding, and the bliss of being together, finally with the curse from The Dagmar family finally behind them.
Or so they think.
Every time I read the next one of these books, I think, “surely, everything will be smooth-sailing for them, now!” then something else gets thrown at them!
Well, the curse may have given up on them, but there is still a huge evil force trailing them.
This time we get to know Herman’s fathers alter ego much better, and another member of her family,
Rudy, who is key to a whole new set of twists and turns that Linda takes us on, in this book.
Another fab read!

The Summer Job

The Summer Job by Lizzy Dent
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Birdy Finch is kinda stuck in a bit of a rut. No family that she feels worthwhile being around, no decent. boyfriend, and not even a proper job to keep her going. All she has is her best friend Heather, and even she is leaving her, for a chance at happiness, for a while, at least.
With no place to live, and nothing else she can do, other than give in and go back to her parents, Birdy decides to pretend to be her friend for a summer, taking up a job she was offered, in the depths of Scotland. No one will know, right?
Except Heather is a sommelier and a very good one at that, and the place she was meant to be working is a hotel restaurant with aspirations of their first Michelin star…
Armed with the knowledge that there is red, white and rosé, oh, and bubbles, too, Birdy finds herself plunged deep into the world of wine and hospitality, far removed from her brief experience as a barmaid.
Oh, and what’s the chances that while she is pretending to be someone else, she meets someone who could be the love of her life, but he doesn’t even know who she really is?
The Summer Job is chock full of fantastic characters, and Birdy’s situation, though a tad unrealistic, is hilarious, at times, heart-rending at others.
The descriptions of the lochs and scenery around the hotel take you right there. I could almost smell the fish at the port!
You know she’s going to get found out. That’s a given, isn’t it? But the little twist at the end makes for a fresh reveal!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Penguin UK for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 2nd April, 2021

Into the Blue (By the Sea, #3)

Into the Blue by Kay Bratt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hats off to you, Kay!
Another heartwrenching story centring around a family based in Maui.
I have truly enjoyed all the stories in this trilogy, and this final episode was the icing on the cake, tying many little threads together to create the perfect finish.
This time we concentrate on Jules, a mother who has already suffered her own losses in her life.
And Jonah, her son. Always allowing himself to think he was to blame for his little sister, Nama, disappearing in the sea, as a child, then experiencing the horror that was active service in the army.
Finally, Helen, the matriarch of a fractured family, fractured, but still reset, and working well.
When Jules youngest daughter, Kira disappears, the family pulls together in a way you’d hope all families, did, but the shock of Jules suffering a stroke at the same time puts untold pressure on them all.
This story speaks of culture, tradition, faith, and most of all, family.
A beautiful read. Seriously. Go get it! As soon as it is out!

Releasing 19th March, 2021

The Wife Who Got a Life

The Wife Who Got a Life by Tracy Bloom
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh my, reading this book made me think someone had been spying on certain aspects of my life, but then again that is the beauty of a book like this. So many women will read it, and something from it will resonate with them.
So, we have our heroine, Cathy Collins, late forties, about to hit menopause, but not too sure, teenage children hitting their own milestones, a husband who might just be having his middle-aged crisis, wanting to leave his great job, to chuck it all in, to teach.
This leaves Cathy wondering how they will manage, financially, since she only does a little extra work on the side, and anyway, who’s going to employ someone like her, a middle-aged woman, whose CV will consist of cooking awful dishes, cleaning her house constantly, and collating the receipts of a couple of local businesses. Oh, and cleaning her parents’ loo!
On top of that, her high flying older sister in the US sends here a motivational diary for Christmas, and despite all her misgivings, she decides to add a few goals to it.
Peppered with fantastically humorous episodes, as well as much more serious issues, The Wife Who Got A Life, is a brilliant read, and the cast of characters are a joy too. From Cathy’s family, to the book club ladies who are a support system in themselves, as well as the gang at The Mustard Factory, you are in for a great ride, as well as a great read!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins UK for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 15th April, 2021

Flying Duo by Zoe May

Flying Duo by Zoe May ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Check out my post tomorrow for the review, on release day!

S'more to Lose (The Campfire Series, #2)

S’more to Lose by Beth Merlin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book has been sitting on my kindle for a little while, now, so I thought it would be a good time to read it. I was unaware, when buying, that it was the second in a series. Now, usually, I want to read books in order, but I let that go.
Now, after reading the book, I think I will, at some point go back to book one, and then read the subsequent two, as I thoroughly enjoyed the story.
Gigi is one half of the G Malone design duo that is about to take the world by storm, having been asked to design the wedding dress for the future Queen of England.
Unbeknown to her, tangled within the ‘nearly’ Royal family that she is working with, is her ex-fiancé, who is in a relationship with the sister of the bride to be.
What a mess.
Her feelings for him, are still not fully resolved, as they never had proper closure, and, to top it off, shes got a Viscount falling for her, too!
So much angst and torment!
Will she get the dress, and the wedding wardrobe designed, with her partner, Jamie? Will she succumb to the charms of the man she was in love with for four years? Or, will she end up becoming a part of the British aristocracy, herself?
I had great fun, reading, and as I mentioned, I think I will have to invest in the rest of these!

The little ice cream shop by the sea

The Little Ice Cream Shop By The Sea by Lizzie Chantree
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Take a few scoops of family drama, drizzle it with some hot men, scatter some sprinkles of misunderstandings along with a wafer of romance, and you get Lizzie Chantree’s new novel, The Little Ice Cream Shop By The Sea.
Genie has devoted the whole of her life so far, to helping her parents and grandparents keep their family business afloat, a restaurant and ice cream bar on the seafront, in an Essex town.
She’s only twenty-two, but everything revolves around the restaurant, especially since her grandmother passed away. Genie works hard to try and retain the soul of a business fast going under.
Changes in circumstances mean her parents decide to sell the business, and move to Cornwall, and her Grandfather plans to travel the world. But Genie can’t let her heritage go to waste, like that.
Enter Ada, an older woman with her own griefs. She’s a widow, with many memories, and they are the reason she is there, having left the rest of her family in the US.
An unlikely friendship between the two is the catalyst for them going into partnership, and Genie’s hopes of keeping her family business, stay alive.
Of course, it would be far too simple if that was the end to the story.
Enter a hunky waiter, a handsome son of Ada’s friend, and a gorgeous, tanned Adonis of a grandson (of Ava’s) and you have your heartaches and romance too.
Oh, and not forgetting all the family secrets hidden deep below the surface, that work their way up and out into the real world again!
I really enjoyed reading this and devoured it in a day!
I sometimes forgot how old, or young, Genie actually was, what with all she has experienced in her life. The early twenties are the time to chase your own dreams, make your mistakes and find your true path, but it is as if Genie has been treading that path since she was a fourteen-year-old.
I felt quite sad for her that she hadn’t had much of a chance to live her own life, but understood her insistence in wanting to keep the legacy of her family alive.
An easy read, with some interesting twists, and a few sizzling scenes, too… just make sure they don’t melt your ice cream

And there you have it. My February reads! Were there any in there to tickle your tastebuds?

The Little Ice Cream Shop By The Sea by @Lizzie_Chantree #BlogTour

I am delighted to welcome the very talented, and generally very lovely Lizzie Chantree to my blog today, to introduce her new book, releasing tomorrow!

Over to you, Lizzie!

Why did you choose the setting you chose and do the locations hold any real life significance to you?I chose this setting because I’m from Essex and the coastline is beautiful here. I’ve always wanted to write a local story and I was sitting in a little cafe by the sea, when an elderly lady came in, sat down and began crying. The young waitress rushed up to comfort her and they spoke for quite a while. After the lady left the waitress told me they had only just met, which it made me think about the kindness of strangers. The cafe I was in was beautiful and had been family owned for generations. I wondered what would happen if they all fell into a state of disrepair and a story grew from there. The little ice cream shop by the sea is about unexpected friendships through the generations and how family heritage can sometimes mean more to some than others.
This story has a bankrupt celebrity chef in it who flies in to protect his grandmother. What made you think of this character?
Cal has had such success but overstretched his business and his world collapsed around him, so he’s been hiding and licking his wounds. Hearing about the ice cream shop owner, Genie, and her new friendship with his grandmother, he decides that Genie must be after his family money and rushes to protect his grandmother, Ada. He doesn’t realise that a few of his actions make the cracks in Genie’s relationship with her own parents even deeper and he uncovers a family secret he really wishes he hadn’t. 

Blurb

From the international bestselling author of If you love me, I’m yours, Ninja School
Mum and Babe Driven.
Genie’s family is in crisis. Their seafront business is failing with the loss of Genie’s
grandmother and her legendary ice cream flavours. Genie is determined to be the one to save
her family’s heritage, but suddenly her mother wants to sell to developers and leave their shared
history behind.
Buying the business and taking on a sixty-eight year old business partner, Ada, with a
mysterious past and a gorgeous but distracting grandson, Genie sets out to prove her parents
wrong.
Ada’s grandson, Cal, wants to protect his gran from ‘pensioner persuader’, Genie, but soon
realises that living in a little seaside town and away from the paparazzi in Hollywood can actually
give him time to heal. Hiding in a seafront business with its fiery owner and working as kitchen
staff, is the only way he can think of to keep his ex-Hollywood glamour-puss, gran from harm.
But his meddling might also ruin Ada’s second chance at love. 
Hiring a private detective and learning about Genie’s parent’s past makes Cal regret his own
impulsiveness. The information he has unearthed could destroy their blossoming romance and
turn Genie’s world upside down.
Genie soon discovers that friends can become enemies and your closest family can have lied to
you for your whole life.

Book links: Lizzie Chantree.

Universal book buy link for The little ice cream shop: viewbook.at/IceCreamShopByTheSea

Universal book buy link: Networking for writers: viewbook.at/NetworkingForWriters

Universal book buy link: If you love me, I’m yours: viewbook.at/IfYouLoveMe-ImYours

Universal book buy link: Ninja School Mum: viewBook.at/NinjaSchoolMum

Universal book buy link: Babe Driven: viewbook.at/BabeDriven

Universal book buy link: Love’s Child: viewBook.at/Amazon-LovesChild

Universal book buy link: Finding Gina: viewbook.at/FindingGina

Bio
International bestselling author Lizzie Chantree, started her own business
at the age of 18 and became one of Fair Play London and The Patent
Office’s British Female Inventors of the Year. She writes books full of
friendship and laughter, about women with unusual businesses, who are
stronger than they realise.

Social media links:

Website: www.lizziechantree.com

Author page: https://www.viewAuthor.at/LizzieChantree

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Lizzie_Chantree

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LizzieChantree/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7391757.Lizzie_Chantree

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lizzie_chantree/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/LizzieChantree/pins/

FB Groups: https://www.facebook.com/groups/647115202160536/

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/lizzie-chantree

LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/lizzie-chantree-03006425/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnCop-RlAcGqggZG3JfE-Mw

January 2021 Books #AmReading #Bridgertonuary

Hey guys! Can you believe we are at the end of January, already? And I have had to embrace distance learning with my class, as well as battle a son who is meant to be doing his mock GCSEs, through the fiasco that has been mass testing of students in schools, all while many are off because of this virus – Yup, it’s still around…

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So, I have given myself a little challenge, this month, to read the Bridgerton series, after binge-watching the Netflix adaptation on Boxing Day in December… How did I get on? There are nine books in the series… let’s see!

Did it, and read extra, on top of that, too!

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Bridgerton: The Duke and I

The Duke and I by Julia Quinn
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It is January, and in my reading world, I have declared it #Bridgertonuary, having binge-watched the Shonda Rhymes series, and now wanting to read the original.
Yes, yes, I am well aware that there are plenty of things being written/said about this book, the series, and ‘that’ scene.
So, I wanted to experience it all myself, rather than have a second-hand view via anyone else.
So, the first thing was that, because I had watched the series first, I already had the character’s images in my mind, so sometimes, that was a little issue, as the descriptions in the book, of the main characters, such as Daphne having darker hair, and the Duke having piercing, blue eyes, didn’t quite match up.
But, hey, I’m not expecting an adaptation to fully follow the book. They never do! I mean, they added a Queen in the series, that isn’t in the book, at all, and a few extra characters, which I am sure will feature in future books, to set the scene for following serials, I’m sure.
So, back to the book.
It’s a Regency Romance, and, overall, I did enjoy the story of the first of the eight Bridgerton siblings.
Daphne is the oldest daughter, and has three overprotective brothers, in lieu of her father who passed away. She’s been presented to society and is three seasons in, yet still unmarried.
Simon, the new Duke of Hastings, arrives back on the London scene, an old friend of Anthony, the eldest Bridgerton Brother. He’s keen to stay out of the public eye, having his own demons about the title he carries, but ends up embroiled in a charade of sorts, to assist Daphne in finding a husband.
Of course, it’s a romance, so they do end up together, which is great.
Now, ‘that’ scene…
I’m not sure it was entirely necessary, as it facilitates a form of rape, led by the female, but I understand its relevance to the plot.
A man refuses to have children, for his own reasons. A woman wants a child and even though she agreed to not having kids, in principle, feeling misled by her husband, she almost seeks revenge… but what is sad, is that there is love there, and this act mars that love.
But, other than that, I did enjoy the rest of the book. It’s an easy read. Not sure it’s one I’d read over and over, though.
Still, onto the next one!

The Viscount Who Loved Me (Bridgertons, #2)

The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Okay, so I think I may just have enjoyed this one more than the first, since I had no TV series to compare it to!
This time, we hone in on the life of Bridgerton sibling #1, aka the Viscount, Anthony Bridgerton.
He’s never been fussed about marriage, but this season, he decides, will be the one where he finds a suitable wife, and settle down.
Kate Sheffield is the elder sibling in her family, too. Stepping out into the London season a couple of years later than desired, she is in the shadow of her beautiful stepsister, Edwina. Her stepmother, Mary desires for both girls to find good matches, but the burden is on, to Edwina find the catch of the season.
He’s dashing.
And also a rake.
Who doesn’t have the approval of the sister, Kate, but seems to affect her in all manner of inappropriate ways.
What ensues is a great enemies to lovers story, where we see both parties fight their attraction to each other, until they are not able to any more.
Such fun!

An Offer From a Gentleman (Bridgertons, #3)

An Offer From a Gentleman by Julia Quinn
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An Offer From A Gentleman is the third in the Bridgerton series of books, concentrating on the love life of the second sibling, Benedict Bridgerton. It’s been a couple of years, and with his older brother married, attentions are turned to him, and Colin, brother number three. But he’s in no real hurry.
Sophie Beckett is the illegitimate child of an Earl, who has never openly acknowledged her but allowed her to live in his house as his ward. He passes away, leaving her in the care of her stepmother and two stepsisters, who have no interest in housing her, but suffer her presence, as they get a good allowance to keep her in the house.
In a Cinderella-esque twist to the story, Sophie is given the opportunity to attend one of the Season events, at Bridgerton House, during a Masquerade ball, with the housekeeper and staff being her collective Fairy Godmothers.
There she meets Benedict Bridgerton, and their two hour evening leaves them wanting more, but unable to have it.
The second part of the story follows their journey to meet once more. Will Benedict realise she is the woman in the silver gown who stole his heart, two years ago?
It’s Cinderella, of course, he will, but not before plenty of other twists present themselves in the tale.
An easy read, but definitely not my favourite of the Bridgerton books, so far.

Romancing Mister Bridgerton (Bridgertons, #4)

Romancing Mister Bridgerton by Julia Quinn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Okay, so I think this might be my new Bridgerton favourite, so far!
Colin, the third Bridgerton sibling is the centre of this particular novel, but, actually, he isn’t.
The central character, the one I was rooting for, especially since I had come to love her in the last three books, Penelope Featherington, and her story, stole the show!
Penelope has spent most of her life being shuffled around behind her two older sisters, slightly plump, with that unfashionable red hair, she spends her seasons being dressed in inappropriately coloured clothing, making her the laughing stock of the ‘Ton.
Now at the ripe old age of eight and twenty, she is considered one of the spinsters, as her older sisters have secured their husbands, and her younger, more conventionally attractive sister is now the one in the eyes of the suitors.
She’s quite happy to be in the background. A true wallflower. At least no one else will notice her unrequited love…
Colin, meanwhile, a childhood friend of Penelope, one of the Bridgerton crew, and all-round ‘nice’ guy, finds himself developing feelings for her.
Oh, it was great how they got their happily ever after, and there was another HUGE reveal within this book!
Such fun! I would have finished it sooner if it wasn’t for this dang Lockdown, and work commitments!
Can’t wait… bring it on Book 5!

To Sir Phillip, With Love (Bridgertons, #5)

To Sir Phillip, With Love by Julia Quinn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Just finished book 5 of the Bridgerton series and, what can I say?
It was wonderful!
We wander into the life and love of Eloise Bridgerton, fifth sibling, and second daughter in the clan.
Eloise has been a firm favourite of mine since watching the series and reading the first books.
She is, I guess, a regency rebel, turning down proposals, and, at eight and twenty years, actually looking forward to a life of spinsterhood, with her best friend Penelope Featheringon by her side.
Until Penelope decides to fall in love with Eloise’s brother, Colin, and he does the same.
Taking the matter of her life and future into her own hands, Eloise embarks upon a stealthy trip to visit a certain Sir Phillip Crane, a widower who she has been corresponding with for the last year.
I don’t want to go into the nitty-gritty, but I absolutely loved it!

When-He-Was-Wicked-by-Julia-Quinn/Romance-Review/All-About-Romance

When He Was Wicked by Julia Quinn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oh my goodness!
This was by far the raunchiest of the Regency series, the Bridgertons!
Francesca is #6 in the order of siblings to get the Julia Quinn treatment, and it had been a long time coming.
At some point, during the other books, Francesca married and was whisked off to Scotland to take her seat with her Earl.
Sadly, two years into their blissfully happy marriage, he passes away.
Four years after being widowed, she realises that she wants to marry again. She wants, desperately, to be a mother.
Michael, John’s cousin, has been one of her best friends, throughout her short marriage, but, in her widowhood, he disappears off to India.
He’s been described as the Merry Rake, and now, as the new Earl, when he arrives back in the country, there is no shortage of offers for marriage. But none come close to being the right woman. Because the right woman is the one woman he can’t have.
Another great addition to the Bridgerton series, and the raunch factor was definitely upped in this one!

It's In His Kiss With (Bridgertons, #7)

It’s in His Kiss by Julia Quinn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book 7 of the Bridgerton series, DONE!
Another fun read, this time, the focus is on Hyacinth, the youngest of the Bridgerton siblings. Yes, Quinn has skipped one, again, but I think that’s her prerogative, as the author!
Hyacinth is a fantastic character, very down to earth, and full of spunk.
Gareth St Clair ends up as her love interest.
St Clair is estranged from his own Baron father, who is aware that he is not the boy’s real father.
What ensues is a cute love story and a fantastic treasure hunt.
There isn’t much about the rest of the Bridgertons in this one, but it was wonderful to get to know Lady Danbury in more detail since Gareth is her grandson.
Enjoyable read!

On the Way to the Wedding  (Bridgertons, #8)

On the Way to the Wedding by Julia Quinn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Finally at the end of the eight-book series, charting the lives and loves of the Bridgerton siblings.
The last sibling to get the Quinn effect is Gregory. He’s not the youngest, but, I guess, that is how Julia Quinn rolls!
Gregory is the fourth male child of a viscount. He’s the youngest boy. He’s led a blessed life, comfortable at every stage, no responsibilities put upon him, and highly unlikely to ever have the title foisted upon him.
Still, he’s getting a little older, and that pull to marry, settle down, and find a purpose to his life, is beginning to burn.
He understands that when he sees the woman of his dreams, the one who will fam the flames of true love, he will just ‘know’.
And, arriving at his brother’s country seat, exactly that happens.
He sees the curve of a neck and is done.
Hermione Watson is all he wants, and more.
But is he all she wants?
He ends up with the support of Hermione’s best friend Lady Lucy Abernathy, and together, then try to bring the couple together.
Lucy is promised to another, already, despite not having had a season. She will be marrying for duty, but even so, there is that wonder about love and all these feelings people talk about. Even Hermione, who has given her heart already, to a most unsuitable man.
Which is why she needs to help her friend make the right choice.
Another less than straightforward story, which ultimately ends up with the perfect love match, but it’s never quite as you expect.
Not as much raunch as the previous books, but that isn’t a bad thing!

The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After (Bridgertons, #1.5-8.5; 8.6)

The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After by Julia Quinn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A lovely end to a riveting series!
I picked up this book of second epilogues, though many copies of the books I had already downloaded had them within.
When you become invested in a series, it’s easy to be left feeling a little empty. You want to know what happens after the ‘Happily Ever After’.
These second epilogues all follow the stories of each sibling. Some a few years later, some more, some less, but they tie up the stories even more firmly than the original epilogues.
And the addition of a short novella focussing on Violet, the matriarch of the family was a lovely surprise too!
My #Bridgertonuary is complete, though I have now realised that there are a few other books I could read, The Rokesby collection, which is a series of 4 books that are set pre this particular Bridgerton clan, and work as prequels.
They may just be another set I have to read!

Concrete Rose (The Hate U Give, #0)

Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After reading an extended sampler of this book, I was dying to read the rest, and was glad there were mere days before the release date.
I enjoyed reading Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give, a couple of years ago, and finding out this was a prequel, looking back at the father of Starr Carter, the main character, Maverick Carter, I just knew I wanted to read more.
Maverick is young. He’s seventeen, and stuck in a bind, part of the gang his father was king pin in, before being incarcerated, but his heart isn’t really fully in it.
Then he finds out he’s become a father, and the mother isn’t his girlfriend.
What followes is the wave of emotions changing within him, as he realises and attempts to handle the responsibility of fatherhood, and being a good son, as well as working through the conflicting feelings that come with being part of a gang, and wanting to avenge deeds done to those he loves.
What is more important – family or feuding?
Fantastic book.

Light Perpetual

Light Perpetual by Francis Spufford
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I read the blurb for this book, and was sucked in by the premise of the book. A group of five children, all obliterated in a bomb blast in WW2, where nothing survives the hit, neither building, nor body.
The twist comes when the author reimagines what would happen if these children had never been hit by that bomb.
As I said, a fantastic premise.
We revisit each of the five characters at regular intervals up to the year 2009.
This is where I got lost. I’m not sure. Maybe it was because we had five very different characters, and five extremely different ways of telling their story, but I got lost. It felt very disjointed, and I found it hard to follow the stories.
Not so much a novel as a set of interweaving short stories.
Sorry, not for me.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Faber and Faber for an ARC, in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 4th February, 2021

The Spinster (Emerson Pass Historicals #2)

The Spinster by Tess Thompson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, I loved immersing myself in the historical world of Emerson Pass again and reconnecting with the Barnes family.
Josephine Barnes, the eldest of the Barnes children is a self-confessed spinster. After losing her beloved in the war, she fears she will never give her heart to another. Instead, she throws herself into being the best elder sister she can be to her siblings, and into keeping her library flourishing.
Phillip Baker is in love. He clutches a bundle of love letters, not even addressed to him, but belonging to one of his fellow soldiers. These letters, no longer belonging to anyone when their owner gave his life to the war, have been a lifeline to a man who grew up an orphan.
Phillip travels to Emerson Pass, not only to hand the letters back to their writer but with the hope that he may receive her heart in return.
I truly loved this story, where Josephine is portrayed as a very strong woman, but as you get to know her, you realise her fears. It made my heart warm and fuzzy to read as both lost characters find each other.
Packed within the story is the issues of PTSD, suffered by one of Josephine’s twin brothers who has witnessed more than his fair share of tragedy over his short life, even before going away to war. Something not easily overcome but handled with true sensitivity.
Thank you, Tess, for a lovely story!
I won this book in a competition.

As Luck Would Have It

As Luck Would Have It by Zoe May
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well, put it this way. I started this late last night. And I finished today.
Usually indicative of a good read, for me!
Natalie is thirty-two and living back at home with her mum, baby in arms. Not the situation she ever imagined herself in, but then again, you don’t really imagine your fiancé cheating on you, do you?
Will is also back in town, a failed marriage, and redundancy on his shoulders.
They both meet, or reconnect, at a local fundraiser, where they are involved in a raffle prize mix up and end up on a romantic getaway to Marrakech, together!
I’ve never been to Marrakech, but I really want to go, now, reading about the colourful markets, the scenery, the delicious food, and the mint tea – well that just sounds delicious.
But let me get back to the story.
It’s a second chance romance, in essence, with two people who have a shared past, meeting up in different circumstances, that turn out, this time to be better ones.
Natalie is, or was, a feisty, working woman, who now feels less confident about love and relationships after having her awful experience with her fiancé, Leroy. (Leroy. Hm, I’m sorry but even the description of him made me turn up my nose, and snarl a little. what a git!) As a mother, she has more at stake than your average single woman.
Will is a gem. I loved learning little snippets about him, and he seems like the most wonderful, kind-hearted character until you find out what he did to Natalie during those fragile teenage years.
Thrown together on a romantic break, in a beautiful setting – so much could happen, couldn’t it? There are countless gigglesome moments, where confusion reigns, and the lies they have to tell, to justify them being in this beautiful Honeymoon Suite make you cringe, and laugh at the same time.
Will they overcome the past, and embrace the accidental holiday they won?
Well, I’m not telling you, but I put the book down, smiling!

Darker (Fifty Shades as Told by Christian, #2)

Darker by E.L. James
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

What can I say?
It’s a retelling of the same story in Fifty Shades Darker, but this time, from Christian’s view.
I do like stories that have parallels like this, as, when you have already read one story, you often want to know more about or have a deeper knowledge of, the other characters.
This time we learn even more about Christian, which does bulk up the story, but it’s the same criticism of the other books in the series. Things start to feel a little repetitive, after a while.
The sex scenes are samey.
The dialogue feels samey.
Still, it was a pleasurable enough read.

Half a Heart

Half a Heart by Karen McQuestion

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


What a heartbreaking, but ultimately, heartwarming tale!
Logan is a nine-year-old on the run.
Mute, through shock from an incident a few years previous, he’s trying to get away from an abusive father.
Unaware that there are others out there, who love him, Logan finds himself in a small town, far away from his old life.
His escapade touches the lives of many more people than he could have imagined.
From an old lady and her dog to a middle-aged childless couple, his old therapist, and his Grandma Nan, all feel the fallout of this little boy running away in fear.
Karen McQuestion always writes amazing stories, and this was another beautifully crafted tale.
I’ll admit that I was second-guessing what would happen to Logan, all the way through, and the ending was not what I had envisaged, but wonderful, nonetheless.
A great read. Recommended.


December 2020 Books #AmReading

Well, ’tis the month to be jolly. Usually there would be less time for reading, what with all the preparations, and socialising. This year, it will be a much quieter one, so I am sure there will be plenty of books read!

Oh, and with the fact that at least 10 days of this month involved me in self -isolation, along with a very quiet tier 4 Christmas for us, means that a few more books than I expected, got devoured… (19, I think!) and did I reach my Goodreads target? You’ll have to see the end to find out!

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The Last Goodbye: A Novel

The Last Goodbye: A Novel by Fiona Lucas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a beautifully heart-rending story!
Anna is struggling. It’s been a couple of years since she lost the love of her life, Spencer. She’s cocooned herself away from the most of reality, preferring to wallow in her memories.
A New Years Eve midnight phonecall to Spencer’s old number, just so she can hear his voice on the answering machine, turns into something different, when, instead of a message, someone answers.
On the other end of the line is Brody, who has also suffered a huge loss.
Together, two strangers come to terms with their grief and heal more than each other’s hurt.
I really loved this story, and finished it in one day, unable to put it down.
Both Anna and Brody are deep, wonderfully pained characters, and the portrayal of how grief can affect you is insightful.
Many thanks to NetGalley and HQ for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Published 20th December, 2020

Fragile Monsters

Fragile Monsters by Catherine Menon
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I chose this book, after reading the blurb, and had high expectations for it.
A story set in Malaysia/Malaya ranging from 1920s to more modern times, tracing the entwined story of a grandmother, Mary, and her granddaughter, Durga.
Secrets unfolding amidst a sea of make-believe stories.
I found it hard to stay with the story, as sections jumped this way and that, back and forth from early years to now, from one viewpoint to the other, and I was still a little confused at the end.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Penguin General UK – Fig Tree, Hamish Hamilton, Viking, Penguin Life, Penguin Business for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.


Releasing on 7th January, 2021

An Ordinary Life

Saving this review for nearer publication day on 9th February, 2021, but YES! It’s my favourite, Amanda Prowse, and for me, a definite 5 star!

The Promise by Lucy Diamond
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Love a Lucy Diamond book, and The Promise was another fantastic read.
Patrick Shepherd is dead, and the fallout from his early demise, takes a while, but when it surfaces, there is an almighty blast.
Dan, his brother, suffering guilt at being the last person who saw him, and having argued, just before they separated company, goes out of his way to try and bring comfort to his brother’s wife and family.
Zoe, his wife, is existing, not living. Unable to function without the love of her life, she struggles to accept any help from her brother-in-law, initially, until they fall into an easy pattern.
It doesn’t take long for huge secrets to begin raising their heads, and with them arriving, will they rock the relatively steady boat, Dan and Zoe are trying to sail?
So many twists and turns, as the relatively simple life of family man, and builder, Patrick, sheds its shroud, and many home truths are revealed.
I truly loved reading this and finished it in a day.
I loved Dan’s relationship with his niece and nephews, and even how he developed an easy working relationship with the tenants of his brother’s rental properties.
He’s a real good guy, for whom everything seems to just go wrong, or be taken the wrong way.
Zoe’s grief is raw and it has been portrayed so well. It is so true how when someone leaves us, it is far easier to remember the good, allowing the bad to fade from memory…
I’m not one for spoilers, but initially, I feared romance would occur with the two main characters. There is romance but in a more unlikely place.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Pan Macmillan for an ARC, in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing on 18th February 2021

The Restaurant

The Restaurant by Pamela M. Kelley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was lucky enough to win a copy of Pamela Kelley’s book The Restaurant and was excited to read it because I have heard lovely things about the book.
Three sisters are thrown back together, after their Gram passes away, leaving certain conditions in her will, regarding her restaurant, Mimi’s Place.
Each sister has her own story, situations they are either running from, or figuring out, and through the year they are instructed to be together, things happen, stale relationships are finally put to bed, old flames rekindled, new partnerships forged.
An easy read. I almost wish there was more there, developing some of the relationships, giving us more about the sisters, and their personal situations.

A Wedding in the Country

A Wedding in the Country by Katie Fforde
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have read and enjoyed many Katie Fforde books over the years, and was thrilled to be given an opportunity to read an ARC of A Wedding in the Country.
Fforde’s books tend to be set in more contemporary times, so it was a pleasant change to read a novel written entirely in the 60s.
Lizzie, or Elizabeth, as her mother insists she be called, has come to London to take a course in cooking and certain skills that become a young lady, and gives her that extra ‘something’ when she is looking for an eligible groom.
Lizzie is not that interested in getting married, just yet, but the thought of coming to London, and widening her very narrow horizons, gives an air of extra excitement to the whole adventure.
Along the way, she makes new friends and ends up living in a house with her new friends, in the rather affluent Belgravia area.
It’s not only new friends that she makes, but she gathers a couple of admirers, too.
And she manages to find herself in quite a predicament…
I enjoyed reading the story, immensely and loved certain characters, like David, the not-quite closet homosexual housemate Lizzie has.
A lovely, easy read.
Many thanks to NetGalley, Random House and Cornerstone UK for an ARC in exchange for an honest review,

Releasing on 18th February, 2021

Can I Give My Stepkids Back?

Can I Give My Stepkids Back? by Aurélie Tramier
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve read some reviews of this book that describe it as hilarious.
I have to disagree.
In fact, when I started it, it took me a little while to get into it, but once I did, I was fully in.
Morgan has led a disturbing life and is haunted by ghosts of the past. It has affected her as a person, and how she handles herself and interacts with others immensely.
She’s happy in her little job as a nursery manager, living with her old dog, Snoopy. Then one day, a terrible tragedy means that she is left as the guardian of her nephew and niece.
Ths story is told through the point of view of both Morgan, and her nephew Elliott.
There is much to smile about at the end, but there is also so much pain and suffering, both from the children, and their aunt, and it is told in a very readable manner.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing on 25th February, 2021

The Rose Code

The Rose Code by Kate Quinn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thanks to this book, I am suffering from lack of sleep. Seriously, I tried to put it down and go to sleep but had to go back to reading and finishing this book, meaning a past 3 am bedtime for me.
The Rose Code is a story set in 1947, just before the Royal wedding of Princess Elizabeth to Prince Phillip, and jumps back to 1940, where the story starts.
Three women, tied together by a huge wartime secret, are brought back together to solve a huge mystery.
Osla, Mabs and Beth couldn’t; be from more different backgrounds.
Osla is one of those ‘scatty debs’ who people just assume has no brains.
Mabs has pulled herself up from a tough life, and is in search of a life that she feels she deserves,
Beth is a timid, mousy girl, who is in fear of her overbearing mother.
The summons to work at Bletchley Park as a part of the WW2 codebreakers brings much-needed purpose into their lives until things start to happen…
I love books with a hint of truth in them, and ones that take history, and twist it slightly (artistic license) to add flavour to the plot, and this was perfectly done in The Rose Code.
I don’t want to give the story away, but if you like a bit of wartime in your books, spiced up with twists, this is definitely for you!
Codebreaking excitement throughout the whole book!
There is suspense, romance, history, and a gripping plot that keeps you reading until the very end!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins for an ARC, in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 18th March 2021

Silver Bells (River's Sigh B & B Book 5)

Silver Bells by Ev Bishop
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was lucky enough to win a copy of Ev Bishop’s Silver Bells, in a competition, and to be honest, it couldn’t have come at a better time.
It’s nearly Christmas, here, and we’re facing a bleak one, what with me being in isolation, as well as knowing we can’t see loved ones, so to have something positive to read, that is Christmas oriented? Bring it on!
Bryn is stuck in awful snow, on her way to her family. She’s dreading it, as much as looking forward to it, being surrounded by loved ones, and all the children… a reminder of something she can never have.
Sean is making his way through that same snow, thoughts all over the place, when he loses control of his car, and ends up crashing, not far from Bryn.
Together, after unusual introductions, they make their way to River’s Sigh B & B, and what follows is a beautiful love story, packed with emotion, that keeps you turning the pages.
Ev, I think you may have found a River’s Sigh B & B returner, here 😉

Asking for a Friend

Asking for a Friend by Andi Osho
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s a crazy time right now, and any excuse to fall into a world that takes you away from the horrors we are living through, right now, right?
I got approval for this book yesterday, and read and finished it today.
That is how invested I ended up, in the story!
Three friends, all with backstories of their won, that mould the women they’ve become.
One an aspiring actor, one an agent and one an author.
Love and relationships are both things that all three find hard to come by.
Then the chance to help each other out by playing a dating game, brings some relief, some giggles, but brings other issues to the surface.
I really enjoyed this, and one takeaway lesson… remember, if you’re talking to a writer, you never know how much of what you’re saying may just end up in a future book…!
Many thanks to NetGalley and HQ for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 21st January 2021

A Court of Contempt (Oakland, #1)

A Court of Contempt by Rebekah Lee Jenkins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was gifted A Court Of Contempt, a mere few days ago, as I was to be stuck indoors, dealing with a ten day long insolation period (that feels like it’s lasted ten weeks already), and today I opened it on my Kindle to read, and today, I finished it, too!
Set in Canada in the early 1900s, this historical fiction story highlights the true plight of women and their lack of rights, at that time, following the story of Cora, a woman who ends up the first female lawyer and barrister on Canada and Great Britain.
She’s been through a lot to even get to the place she stands at, at the beginning of the novel, almost ready to give in on her dream, when her services are demanded, by another woman, wanting a divorce from her mobster husband.
I won’t go into the story, too much, after all, that is your job, to read the book, yourself, but what I will say is that I was swallowed into the world of Cora, and her eventual determination to get where she wants to be, and, with a host of amazing characters to support her, along the way, as well as after, I’d say this was a brilliant read!
Off to read another…!

The Night They Came For Til (Oakland, #2)

The Night They Came For Til by Rebekah Lee Jenkins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh My Goodness!
If it hadn’t been the run up to Christmas, I would have finished this in a day, as I did the first book.
Rebekah Lee Jenkins has totally sucked me into her historical world, writing about women and, in particular, women who fought for the rights we all have now.
This book The Night They Came For Til, follows the story of a young woman trainee doctor, who has spent many of here few years, already, working as a midwife, alongside her aunt, Til, in London.
Circumstances beyond her control find her on a ship to Canada, to work as a private midwife for a family in Oakland, and, distressingly, she finds herself pregnant, too…
I was totally swallowed up by the whole story, how she ingratiates herself within a community, making such difference, with a huge secret behind her, and the chance of love, with Cole, the local policeman…
I’m not spoiling the story, but, if you are aa historical romance fan, this is one for you. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I’ve already downloaded book three!
I was gifted this book, and I am so glad I was given the opportunity to read it!

Taking Til (Oakland, #3)

Taking Til by Rebekah Lee Jenkins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve just finished Taking Til, the third in the Oakland series by Rebekah Lee Jenkins, and boy am I glad I did.
Taking Til concentrates more on Til Stone, a woman doctor and gynaecologist who stands for trying to ease women’s suffering in childbirth, miscarriage, and other women health issues, as well as promoting contraception at a time when it was really not acceptable.
She has her reasons.
And, as her life unravels around her, losing the only man she trusts and loves, as well as finding out her der niece has been kidnapped, Til is sent on a journey across the Atlantic, to try and help solve a huge white slavery ring, assisting Canadian police officer, Asher Grayson.
Another hugely strong woman, whose story ties in with the two main heroines from the last two books, female lawyer, Cora, and doctor, Shannon.
I really enjoyed this book, as much as the first two. Fantastic historical fiction!

Twelve Days of Kisses: A contemporary R…

Twelve Days of Kisses: A contemporary Romance Collection from The New Romance Cafe by Sofia Aves
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A collection of short stories, all with a little Christmas sparkle, giving readers a taste of some new to them authors.
There’s something for everyone here, with various different contemporary romance tropes involved.
And another great thing? the proceeds go to Charity!

The Rise of Gadreel (Fantasy Angels Series Book 3)

The Rise of Gadreel by Vashti Quiroz-Vega
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve read the first two of Vasti Quiroz-Vega’s series, the Fantasy Angels, and I was truly immersed within the stories, awaiting the next one.
As soon as this came out, I got it, and had to read, to find out the fate of the next fallen angel.
Gadreel has finally made her decision to see her twin daughters, who are merpeople, and with Dracul by her side, son of. Lilith and Satan, she makes her way to her family.
Things aren’t as simple as that, though.
While Lilith and Satan were banished to the depths of the underworld, trouble is brewing.
Gadreel, Dracul and three new members of their team end up on a mission to stop the darkness from spreading through the whole world, thanks to the escape of Satan.
I absolutely loved the whole story, and eagerly devoured each page.
Thank you, Vashti, for another fantastic read!

The Samurai’s Honor (The Heart of the S…

The Samurai’s Honor by Walt Mussell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was gifted a copy of The Samurai’s Honor, while on an enforced break (Covid Self Isolation).
History in different cultures always fascinates me, and this novella, which is a prequel to The Samurai’s Heart, really piqued my interest.
Sen is the younger daughter of a prominent swordsmith, and an inquisitive one at that.
She craves information about whatever happens in her father’s workshop, and ends up finding herself in a bit of a murderous pickle.
Herself and her elder sister.
A delightful step inside the world of the Samurai, and a great read to whet the appetite for the full-length novel that follows.
Sen intrigues me, and I think that I am highly likely to put The Samurai’s Heart on my TBR pile!

Starstruck: A Second Chance Novella

Starstruck: A Second Chance Novella by Falguni Kothari
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Tania is an agent to the stars in Bollywood. Right now, she’s orchestrating a fake engagement between one of her biggest clients, and one of the bad boys of Bollywood… a boy she’s been a bit bad with, in the past.
Things could get awkward!
A quick, cute read with all the drama and glamour of Bollywood, and a little backstory to melt your heart!

Sunshine and Second Chances: A heart-warming, feel-good summer read about friendship, love and second chances.

Sunshine and Second Chances: A heart-warming, feel-good summer read about friendship, love and second chances. by Kim Nash
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, what a wonderful book filled with hope, and positivity, and looking beyond your struggles, finding solutions, and living your best life, even if it may start at around fifty!

Olivia, Debs, Samantha and Fiona are firm friends and have been, for decades. Life may have moved them away from each other physically, but theirs is a friendship where you can pick up where you left off, be it a day ago, or even if you left it months.

The last time they went away was for their collective 21st birthdays. This time, they are celebrating their fiftieth birthdays together on a break in beautiful Portugal.

Each woman has her own internal struggle, which they haven’t been entirely honest about with their friends.

Olivia, happily married to a successful man, with two boys, a dog, a dream house, and everything she could wish for. Or does she?
Debs has found comfort in food since her marriage broke up. The constant nagging doubt of not being good enough drives her to fill her voids with food, resulting in a body she is unhappy with, especially considering her ex found his new future in the shape of a gym bunny.
Samantha is still grieving. She lost her husband, and while trying to bring her son up, with only happy memories, she covers many of her own feelings had issues. Her son is now grown, and has his own life, but she can’t seem to find her own.
Fiona has given up all her hopes and dreams to care for her mother who is sinking, slowly into the depths of Alzheimer’s. She can’t leave mum for a second but desperately needs a break.

Just the introduction of these four women brought feelings of resonance in me. I could relate to certain situations they were in.

They travel, tentatively, to Portugal, to a villa that is well beyond their average means but funded mainly, by Olivia’s husband.

Each woman falls back into their friendship, and over the week they are there, they discover new things about each other, small shadows that each has been trying to conceal.

It was heartwarming to see how all four women grew, during that week, with the support of their old friends, and a few new ones too.

Mikey was a sweetheart, too, the holiday host with a secret of his own, which the ladies help him to overcome.

And there is romance, too, but I’m not spoiling any of the fun! Set in the beautiful Algarve, it’ll help to warm the cockles of your heart, and give you a taste of sunshine, especially at a time where we are unable to get out ourselves!

I loved immersing myself in their world, and it made me think of those special friends I have, the ones who I’d drop anything for… and thinking ahead five years, about a possible trip together…

Thank you, Kim Nash, for a wonderful story. I, for one, would love to know what happens next for them all. I’m definitely up for joining their 70th cruise!

First Comes Like (Modern Love, #3)

First Comes Like by Alisha Rai
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a delight First Comes Like was, to read!
Having enjoyed the first two of the Modern Love series, by Alisha Rai, The Right Swipe and Girl Gone Viral, I was chomping at the bit for this next instalment in the series.
This time we focussed on Jia, a Social Media influencer and successful vlogger, and her love life choices.
It was a breath of fresh air to have a heroine with a headscarf, but that not to be the main point. Heaven knows women of all backgrounds have love lives and similar feelings, but they are not often all portrayed in mainstream writing.
Jia is a girl on a mission; She’s already gone against her family’s wishes by moving out, after quitting her medical degree, to be an influencer.
But deep down, Jia still has her family ideals and morals ingrained within; mindless flirting and sex before marriage are a no-no.
This is why she is heartbroken when an online connection that felt real ends up being far from it.
Even worse, it was with Dev Dixit, from a hugely popular Bollywood family.
Enter the brooding hero, who, it turns out, didn’t even know he was meant to be that particular romantic hero.
Recently moved to the USA, to try and cross over to the Western screens, with a newly acquired young niece under his care, Dev is struggling to keep afloat, and the appearance of this beautiful headscarf-wearing woman throws him.
Tackling a few issues within the story, including cultural clashes, classism, as well catfishing, First Comes Like is a fantastic read, and a feel-good one, to match!
Many thanks to Netgalley, Avon and Harper Voyager for an ARC in exchange for an honest opinion.

Releasing 16th February 2021

And so to my Goodreads Challenge.

I planned on, hoped for 50 books to be read, not knowing what this year was going to be like… And I tell you, I had no clue it would end up with this figure!

Thata is 344% of my target!

So, now I revealed my statistics, I’m curious… what about you? How many did you read in this unforgetable year of 2020?

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