August’s Books #BookReview

August falls in my summer break from school, and I hoped to be reading plenty, though my other priority, #RiNoEdMo, had to take a little presedence. Still, I didn’t do too badly, and read a couple of books in Beta reading capacity too, which I can’t review on here yet!

Still, here’s what I did read!

American Royals

American Royals by Katharine McGee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m not sure what I was expecting when I requested this book, but I am definitely glad I did.

Imagine America with a royal family.
Imagine knowing you would be Queen one day.
Imagine knowing you would never be as important as your sister.
Imagine a life where you can’t wear what you want, eat what you want, love who you want…

And all the ups and downs of being a Royal, with all the expectations on you.

We are introduced to the Washington family. This is America’s first family, in a Royal way.

The King and Queen, and their three children; Beatrice, heir to the throne and on course to be the first-ever female monarch of the country, and in love with the wrong person, Samantha, one-half of the Royal twins, a Princess with a mischevious streak, and is in love with the wrong person, and Jefferson, the other twin, a fun-loving eighteen-year-old, who just happens to be a handsome Prince, fighting off the advances of many, yet in love with the wrong person.

A bit of a running theme there.

Forbidden love.

Connor, a member of the Royal Revere Guard.
Teddy, or rather Lord Theodore Eaton, a prospective groom for the Heir to the throne.
Nina, best friend to Princess Samantha and daughter of a Latino lesbian couple, one of whom happens to be a Cabinet minister.
Daphne, titled socialite, and daughter of a Baronet who has spent every moment of her life preparing to be a princess.
Ethan, best friend of Prince Jefferson, and holding a torch for someone.

It took me a little while to get into the story, but within a few chapters, I was hooked. My Kindle went everywhere with me, and I would whip it out whenever there was a spare moment to read a little more of the story.
I had my own thoughts on what the ending would be, and when it didn’t pan out that way, I was teetering on edge.
How could the author leave the book like this?
Then the final page told me that American Royals was due out next year, and I heaved a sigh of relief because I really want to know what happens next!

Many thanks to NetGalley, and Penguin Random House for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Published 5th September

Rewrite The Stars

Rewrite The Stars by Emma Heatherington
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As I opened the book, the song from The Greatest Showman of the same name kept running through my mind. Quite apt, considering the musical theme that runs through the book.

There are moments in all our lives where we wonder “What if?”

This story was exactly that. The story of Charlie Taylor, a young teacher with a passion for songwriting.
She meets Tom, a drummer who plays in her brother’s band.

He turns her life upside down within one meeting.
He feels like The One.
He understands her music.
He makes her feel unbelievable.

Yet her brother goes to many lengths to keep them apart.

A chance meeting a few years later makes her wonder whether she should have heeded her brother’s warnings, or listened to her heart.

Tragedy strikes and she is torn away from him again.

More time passes and she is happy, settled and married, with a wonderful husband, great friends and a life she is more than happy with.

But that “What if?” keeps popping up in her head, on the radio, in magazines…

What if, indeed.

I’ll tell you something, One sign of a good read for me is when I don’t constantly look at the percentage counter on my Kindle, to see how much is left, or how much I have read. With this book, I glanced down at 38%. The next time I looked, it was at 73% and then, it was finished!

It only took me over two days to read, because kids needed their mother, but a wonderful read. I’d recommend, definitely.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Published 6th September

Unlearn: 101 Simple Truths for a Better Life

Unlearn: 101 Simple Truths for a Better Life by Humble the Poet
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve dipped in and out of this book by @humblethepoet over the last couple of months and found different meanings to what I read each time. Definitely a book not to be devoured in one sitting, but to ponder upon in a leisurely fashion.
There might be a little repetition in it. It’s not necessarily the most literarily correct book, but the thoughts behind the chapters resonate.

The Second Chance Supper Club

The Second Chance Supper Club by Nicole Meier

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This was just my kind of feel-good story, about sisterhood and family.

Julia makes a major mistake while on air, as co-anchor for a daytime TV show. The consequences aren’t pretty, and she just needs to get far away.
Of all the places in the world, it ends up being her home town in Arizona that pulls her close.
Better weather than New York, yes, but she has to overcome the cold from her older sister Ginny who she hasn’t spoken to for three years, since their’ parent’s death.
Ginny, a Michelin starred chef, who gave up all her accolades in New York, to manage her parent’s affairs after their untimely demise.
After accepting that she wasn’t going anywhere fast, Ginny sets up a secret supper club, with the begrudging help of her daughter, Olive.
Julia walks into a tension that is high, and drama that is higher.
Will her sister even want her there?
Will her employers want her back?

Well, you have to read it to find out!

I enjoyed the whole concept of the story, and though there were romantic elements, I liked how it concentrated on the relationship between the two women.

I would recommend this as an easy read, with a heartwarming ending.

Many thanks to Netgalley and Lake Union Publishing for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Published 10th September

Roar

Roar by Cecelia Ahern
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A collection of short stories by award-winning author Cecelia Ahern.
What’s not to like?
This was a collection of 30 well-written stories, all woman-centric, with a moral behind most.
I could have read it in one sitting, but I didn’t want, to as it felt better to read a couple at a time and digest them.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins for an ARC in exchange for an honest review

Why Mummy Drinks

Why Mummy Drinks by Gill Sims
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An absolutely hilarious recount of being a mum on the 21st century!
I have to say, I laughed eleventy billion times and guffawed out loud a good few too!
Yup, so many bits I could relate to, though, as a near tee-totaller (apart from the odd gin) my eleven-year-old daughter did question my choice of book, given that I don’t drink, and why family is a “sentence”, looking at the cover!
Funny.
And I am looking forward to seeing why we swear next!

Why Mummy Swears

Why Mummy Swears by Gill Sims
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Welcome to the world of Ellen, or a more realistic Bridget Jones as a mother, with plenty of sweariness!
As I said after the first book Why Mummy Drinks, I caught myself giggling eleventy billion times.
I could picture scenes in this book identifying with some parts, and nodding at the absurd situations Ellen managed to get herself into.
Her moppets, Peter and Jane are brilliant. In fact Jane is the fictional version of my 11 year old, and I actually sent her a photo of the passage where Jane was insisting on an Instagram account at 11… yes. We’ve been there, done that, she’s not got the app!
My only niggle? Jane turns twelve in the book, yet she’s still in Year 6 at primary? Sorry if it’s picky, but I am a primary school teacher, and really, this should have been her first year in secondary school…
Other than that, really funny book. I read it in a couple of days, and look forward to checking out the third installment!

Why Mummy Doesn’t Give a ****!

Why Mummy Doesn’t Give a ****! by Gill Sims
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve been swimming in a week of Ellen and her Eleventy Billion issues with her children, from primary age woes to the beginnings of teen craziness, Dealing with marital ups and downs, handling life as a working mother.
Today I finished the third in the Why Mummy trilogy, and I wasn’t disappointed.
Okay, so I didn’t giggle out loud as much. In fact, I even had a cry, especially at ‘that’ point with Ellen and her father. I won’t say what, but when you read it, you’ll know! (I’m a sucker for emotion, and anything to do with father/daughter relationships gets me, any time!
It was a fitting end to the current phase, Ellen is going through. Not a tied up happy ending, but it finished, knowing there was light at the end of the tunnel.
I’d love to know if Gill Simms is planning on another sequel, detailing the joy of parenting adults too!
Loved each one, and definitely recommended!

The Light in the Hallway

The Light in the Hallway by Amanda Prowse
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Yet another best-seller, methinks!

Amanda Prowse has fast become one of my favourite authors, with her way of weaving a story, so relatable and believable that you could be living it yourself, or you may even imagine knowing someone in the same situation.

The Light In The Hallway is no different.

We are taken on a journey with Nick, a grieving widower and father, who is still young enough to be in his prime, yet old enough to ‘really know better’. At home, alone, having dropped his son to University, he begins to wonder how his life will pan out. How is he to greave? How long for? And with a sister-in-law hell-bent on making sure he abides by the rules society have set, regarding being a widower, and a son who is finding it hard to accept his mother’s death, it’s not easy.

Alongside Nick’s story, runs a parallel tale from nearly thirty years before, involving Nick and his two best friends, Eric and Alex. Three young boys, at the beginning of their summer holiday, given a challenge by Nick’s dad to build a bike. And they do. They complete that challenge, and experience a whole host of ups and downs along with it, proclaiming it the best summer.

The friendship provides Nick with a lot of support while he comes to terms with losing his childhood sweetheart and wife, Kerry.

This was a bittersweet tale about loss, and expectations, coupled with hope, and a definite recommended read from me! Mrs Amanda Prowse, I am guessing there will be many calls for a follow-up. We will all want to know what happens to Eric!

May thanks to NetGalley and Amazon Publishing for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Published 11th November

Before the Coffee Gets Cold

Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was my first foray into Japanese literature, and I chose to read Before The Coffee Gets Cold because the blurb sounded intriguing,
It was initially very hard for me to get into the book because I found the translated version a little stilted, but the subject matter kept me interested.
I did get a little confused with characters as there were a lot of K names!
It was interestingly written, with all four of the mini-stories within interweaving within one another, but as I mentioned before, it was hard to keep up sometimes.
Having said that the ending was very heartwarming.
Many thanks to NetGalley, Pan Macmillan and Picador for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Published 19th September

The Confession

The Confession by Jessie Burton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


The Confession is my first Jessie Burton book, and I have a feeling I may go searching for her previous two now…

The Confession is a story of self-discovery, told in two time trails.

We meet Rose in the present; a woman who is trying to find her mother or any information about her. A mother who disappeared when she was a baby, Rose is stuck in a life rut. In a relationship that is just floating along the surface of the sea of life, in a boring job, with nothing to look forward to.

Then we travel to 1982 where we are introduced to Elise, an impressionable young woman, whose dreary life gets a wash of colour after meeting an up and coming author, Constance Holden.

Connie Holden is a common thread for both the women, and the stories that progress in both time frames, able to provide excitement for Elise, and answers for Rose.

What a fantastically told story! I found myself willing Rose to be brave, to ask all the questions she needed to ask. I wanted Elise to be strong, and not crumble under the pressures life put her under. And Constance, or Connie? I wanted her to soften…

Did she? Did any of them achieve what I hoped? Well, you’ll have to read the book to find out!

Many thanks to NetGalley, Pan Macmillan and Picador for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Published 19th September

Wildflower Hope (The Wildflower House #2)

Wildflower Hope by Grace Greene
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was so pleased to be able to read the sequel to Wildflower Heart, as I had really enjoyed, it, warmed to the characters and the situations.

Kara Hart has much to grieve over, from the death of her husband, after a car accident, in which she suffered multiple injuries, and the loss of her best friend who she thought was in cahoots with her husband. This is followed by the death of her father.
She seeks solace in the form of medications that threaten to push her over the edge.
On top of dealing with life, Kara has muddled relationships building with Seth, the neighbour who is working away, and Will, the Landscape gardener who is helping her realise her dreams, and assisting her in making her own father’s hopes materialise too.

Author Grace Greene has tackled some extremely tough situations with a beautiful delicacy, such as loss, grief and addictions. Her descriptions are wonderful too. I could picture the wildflower fields and all the different locations in the book, which always adds to my enjoyment of a book!

A beautifully told tale and I can’t wait to find out what is next in the Wildflower series!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Published 24th September

What have you been reading?

Home Truths by Susan Lewis #BookReview #BlogTour @susanlewisbooks #HarperCollins @fictionpubteam

I am absolutely made up to be a part of the blog tour for this book!

Susan Lewis has been a favourite author of mine for many years, and to be asked to be a part of the promotion for her newest release was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up!

Let me tell you a little bit about the book first.

Home Truths

22nd August 2019

The emotional new novel from the Sunday Times best selling author Susan Lewis

Angie Watts had the perfect ordinary family. A new home. A beloved husband. Three adored children.

But Angie’s happy life is shattered when her son Liam falls in with the wrong crowd. And when her son’s bad choices lead to the murder of her husband, it’s up to Angie to hold what’s left of her family together.

How far would you go to keep your family safe?

Her son is missing. Her daughter is looking for help in dangerous places. And Angie is fighting just to keep a roof over their heads.

But Angie is a mother. And a mother does anything to protect her children – even when the world is falling apart.

My thoughts?

I have read a lot of Susan Lewis’s earlier books and was so pleased to be given a chance to read Home Truths as I have always loved her gritty yet realistic storytelling.
And I was definitely not disappointed.
We follow the story of Angie Watts, a woman who is thrust into the life of a widowed mother of two after the tragic murder of her beloved husband.
The loss of her husband is heightened by the subsequent disappearance of her eldest son who has been swallowed up by gang culture and drugs. 
Spiralling into debt, Angie is faced with hard decisions, whether to feed her family or to pay those who are biting at her ankles for their money.
Losing her home, the home her husband had lovingly created for their family, is the last straw.
Until a saviour, or several saviours, enter her life, and help her rebuild her home and life.
It sounds like a total fairytale, but it really isn’t.
This story deals with gang culture, drug addiction, homelessness, mental health issues, grooming of young girls for sex work and loss.
I was gripped.
And I can admit to sitting on my sofa reading, and having to message a book group I am a member of, to say how that moment when you feel your lips turn up slightly, at the prospect of all the downs turning to ups, in a book your reading is my #perfectreadingmoment.
And there were tears in my eyes at moments, of both sadness, but of happiness too.
A must read!

Come and get to know Susan Lewis

Susan Lewis *

Susan Lewis is the bestselling author of over forty books across the genres of family drama, thriller, suspense and crime, including her most recent novel the Sunday Times bestseller One Minute Later. She is also the author of Just One More Day and One Day at a Time, the moving memoirs of her childhood in Bristol during the 1960s.

Susan has had quite the career. At 18 years old she got a job at HTV in Bristol and then four years later moved to London to work for Thames. She worked as a secretary in news and current affairs before training as a production assistant working on light entertainment and drama. Susan has lived in Hollywood, where she was neighbours with George Clooney, and the South of France, before moving to her current home in Gloucestershire which she shares with her husband James, stepsons Michael and Luke, and mischievous dogs Coco and Lulu.

For more information about Susan Lewis and her books, visit her website, susanlewis.com

For more posts on the Blog Tour, check below.

* International best selling author Susan Lewis – 9th of August 2018. Picture by Antony Thompson – Thousand Word Media, NO SALES, NO SYNDICATION. Contact for more information mob: 07775556610 web: http://www.thousandwordmedia.com email: antony@thousandwordmedia.com The photographic copyright (© 2017) is exclusively retained by the works creator at all times and sales, syndication or offering the work for future publication to a third party without the photographer’s knowledge or agreement is in breach of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988, (Part 1, Section 4, 2b). Please contact the photographer should you have any questions with regard to the use of the attached work and any rights involved.

July’s Books #BookReview

Another month, another selection of books to share with you! And I just got in by the skin of my teeth! I literally just finished the last book, and wanted to include it on my monthly round up!

The Million Pieces of Neena Gill

The Million Pieces of Neena Gill by Emma Smith-Barton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Million Pieces of Neena Gill is a story following the journey of a young girl who is suffering from the loss of her brother ten months previously.
The tragedy, where her brother went missing, affects the whole family in damaging ways, but the effect this incident had on Neena slowly unravels as the story is told.
A tale woven with the heartache of mental illness, as Neena suffers from psychosis, and all the trauma that comes with it.
It was interesting with the added cultural twist of Neea coming from a Pakistani Christian family too.
Initially, I found it a little hard to get into, but as the story wound on, I became more and more engrossed.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Random House for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Swallowtail Summer

Swallowtail Summer by Erica James

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Erica James is one of those authors who never disappoints. I have read a few of her books in the past and they never fail to disappoint.
Swallowtail Summer is no different.
A twisting tale of friendship, and how closeness can become too close: how the links of a friendship chain can become knotted and difficult to smooth over again.
There were a lot of characters to get to grips with, but essentially each point of view was necessary to forward the story.
Three best friends; Alastair, Danny and Simon: having lived most of their lives with each other by their side, and the beautiful Norfolk Linston End property as the backdrop to many of their memories.
Three women; Orla, Frankie and Sorrel, brought together as the spouses of three very close friends.
Three children: Jenna, Rachel and Callum, firm friends because of their parents.
What happens when one of this trio of triumvirates dies suddenly?
Everyone’s lives are changed irrevocably.
Solid relationships begin to unravel.
Secrets start to creep out of the woodwork.
And a new character arrives on the horizon, hoping to fill the gap left by death… or maybe wanting to tear the whole gang apart…

I enjoyed this book. It kept me guessing. When I am whispering to myself about a character, willing he or she to do something or disappear, I am sure that is a sign of a good book!

Many thanks to NetGalley and Orion Publishing Group for an ARC of this book, in exchange for an honest review.

The Aunt Who Wouldn't Die

The Aunt Who Wouldn’t Die by Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A very interesting premise to the book, and a short, quick read.

However, it was very rushed, and in my opinion, could have been made a little longer, to actually develop some of these strong women characters withing the three generations explored within it.

And I was left a little confused at the end.

Thanks to NetGalley and John Murray Press for an ARC of this book, in exchange for an honest review.

Mom's Perfect Boyfriend

Mom’s Perfect Boyfriend by Crystal Hemmingway
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A cute debut novel by Crystal Hemmingway.

What we have here is a collection of texts, messages, emails ad journal entries, following the story of Crystal and her relationships with her mum, boyfriend and sister. Added to the mix is the discovery of a possible perfect boyfriend for her mother – who happens to be an android.

This was a lighthearted read which I was able to get into straight away and finish relatively quickly.

Though the story may not be plausible (though, who knows in the future?) it was well written, engaged me and I enjoyed slipping into Boople world!

Many thanks to NetGalley and Galbadia Press for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Ask Again, Yes

Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have to be honest, Psychological thrillers aren’t usually my thing, and I did take a little time to get in to the story, but once I was in there, I was IN there!

A tale of two dysfunctional families with ties to each other that become tighter, as they try to loosen them.

Can I liken this a little to Romeo and Juliet?

Possibly.

Two children who have grown up together.
Two teenagers who feel the beginnings of affection for each others.
Two families with issues.
One gun.
One shot.
Many lives changed as a result.

What does this book cover? Alcoholism. Depression. Mental health. Attempted murder. Forbidden love. Fractures relationships between parents and their child.

It was pretty intense.

Two rookie cops end up partnered together, and though it’s not so much a friendship, their connection runs deeper, as they become neighbours. This story follows the twists and turns of their families relationships with one another, especially after a huge tragedy.

Many thanks to NetGalley, Penguin and Michael Joseph for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Out 8th August

Ruth Robinson's Year of Miracles

Ruth Robinson’s Year of Miracles by Frances Garrood
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a delightful read!
Meet Ruth.
An unemployed, newly homeless musician with an additional bit of baggage, apart from her violin and luggage… an unplanned pregnancy!
Ruth is torn between roughing it and traipsing, cap in hand to her religious parents, who cannot accept her unmarried pregnant state, on top of the fact that she followed her heart to make music her career.
She is shipped off to her eccentric twin uncles who live on a farm and proceeds to settle into a quiet life… until the Virgin Mary is discovered on the side of a hen house!
The fun that followed this discovery, alongside trying to track down the father of her baby, making friends with the pole dancing daughter of the harridan housekeeper, learning to love the animals, and discovering new family, kept me reading from cover to cover.
Do I recommend?
Well, yes. Yes, I do!
A great book for any time of the year, not just a summer page-turner!

Many thanks to Netgalley and Sapere Books for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Out August 9th

Meditation For Children: A Book of Mindfulness

Meditation For Children: A Book of Mindfulness by Shelley Wilson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed reading this book, and was quickly able to see where this kind of meditation could become a part of my routine as a teacher, and how it may have benefitted my own children had they been younger.
The meditation stories are magical, and can transport a child to another world, not only exercising their mind in a meditative way, but engaging their imaginations so they can become creative storytellers in their own rights!
I would definitely recommend this book, and the ideas behind it to teachers as well as parents, for a guide to start your children on the path to mindfulness and to give you a chance to create your own meditation stories!
Many thanks to NetGalley, BHC Press and author Shelley Wilson for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Out August 22nd

What Happens Now?

What Happens Now? by Sophia Money-Coutts
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A wonderfully funny, page-turner of a book!

Meet Lil, a teacher in a private school, just out of a long term relationship, and trying to get back into the swing of dating, especially since her ex is already firmly entrenched in a new coupling.
She braves the world of modern dating, by using an app, Kindling, which introduces her to her first new date.
What she doesn’t count on is an unreliable pill, and after a wonderful evening and night spent together, he disappears, and she finds herself pregnant.

What follows is a funny tale of deciding whether this one night stand deserves to know she is expecting and the reactions of all those who are involved in her life.

How to tell the prim headteacher at her employment that she is expecting a baby out of wedlock?
How to explain her predicament to her mother, who had been a single mother herself, and had tried her hardest to make sure her daughter never ended up in the same boat?
How to contact the person who helped her get into this mess, especially since he was up a mountain in Pakistan?

I loved the characters, from her feisty best friend, Jess to Max, the mountain climbing father-to-be, along with all the others too.

Definitely worth a read, you won’t be disappointed!

Many thanks to NetGalley and HQ for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Out August 22nd

Home Truths

Home Truths by Susan Lewis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have read a lot of Susan Lewis’s earlier books and was so pleased to be given a chance to read Home Truths as I have always loved her gritty yet realistic storytelling.
And I was definitely not disappointed.
We follow the story of Angie Watts, a woman who is thrust into the life of a widowed mother of two after the tragic murder of her beloved husband.
The loss of her husband is heightened by the subsequent disappearance of her eldest son who has been swallowed up by gang culture and drugs.
Spiralling into debt, Angie is faced with hard decisions, whether to feed her family or to pay those who are biting at her ankles for their money.
Losing her home, the home her husband had lovingly created for their family, is the last straw.
Until a saviour, or several saviours, enter her life, and help her rebuild her home and life.
It sounds like a total fairytale, but it really isn’t.
This story deals with gang culture, drug addiction, homelessness, mental health issues, grooming of young girls for sex work and loss.
I was gripped.
And I can admit to sitting on my sofa reading, and having to message a book group I am a member of, to say how that moment when you feel your lips turn up slightly, at the prospect of all the downs turning to ups, in a book your reading is my #perfectreadingmoment.
And there were tears in my eyes at moments, of both sadness, but of happiness too.
A must read! Many thanks to NetGalley and HarperCollins for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Out August 22nd

Blue Midnight (Blue Mountain #1)

Blue Midnight Book #1 (Blue Mountain Series) by Tess Thompson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was lucky enough to win the full set of Tess Thompson’s Blue Mountain series from the My Book Tribe group and it has taken me a while to get started on reading them.

That said, I started this book in the afternoon, and it is not even the kid’s bedtime yet and I just finished Blue Midnight, the first book.

Tess Thompson has created characters that grab ahold of your thoughts and heart, leaving you wanting only the best for them.

Blythe met Finn at a festival 13 years previously and spent a blissful 3 days with him. Yet she was promised to another, and due to get married the next month.
Fast forward to now, when her husband, Martin. is now her ex and due to get remarried, and Blythe has to leave the family home for a smaller, more affordable place for her and her two daughters.
While packing, she finds a small piece of paper with Finn’s number, given to her with the reassurance that she could call him at any time.

Will she call it?
Does fate have a strange way of bringing things about full circle?

You’ll have to read it to find out!

As for me, I am looking forward to diving straight into book #2, Blue Moon!

Blue Moon (Blue Mountain #2)

Blue Moon by Tess Thompson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Giving huge thanks to Tess Thompson, the author, for gifting me the Blue Mountain series in a competition!
I was eager to read Book 2 after finishing the first, and I wasn’t disappointed.
After learning about Blythe in the first of the series, we follow Bliss Hayward, her sister.
A hard-working career woman with no time in her life for anything other than her work, and her sister and nieces.
That’s what happens when your mother is a drug-taking hippie who has no real interest in you, and your father leaves, marries another unsuitable woman, and then goes and dies in a car accident, leaving your older sister to try and make up for all the gaps in your life.
Bliss loses her job, and ends up at her sister’s place for Thanksgiving, and ends up with a lot to be thankful for, but not before her own fair share of heartache, mystery and romance.
There is definitely something about the Hayward sisters and the Lanigan brothers!
I can’t wait to dive into book #3!

Blue Ink (Blue Mountain #3)

Blue Ink by Tess Thompson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Yet another chance to thank the author Tess Thompson for choosing me to win a complete set of the Blue Mountain series of books. I have devoured them all in the last few days!
Blue Ink continues the story of the Lanigan boys, and this time, it centres on Ardan, the quieter of the brothers, and now the carer of his nearly blind mother.
Enter Charlotte, former PA to Bliss, who also happens to be Arden’s brother Ciaran’s wife. An aspiring writer, struggling to get her feet off the ground after the release of her first book, she is the first person Bliss thinks of when a companion is required for Mrs Lanigan.
Love, at first sight, is what happens, but the road to true love is never easy, and this third part in the series shows exactly that.
Throw an old connection into the mix, with a baby to boot, and things get a little more interesting.
But that’s not the only spice to stir things up. There’s a family mystery that needs solving too.
I really enjoyed the whole book and was totally enamoured of the relationship between Charlotte and her elderly charge, Mrs Lanigan.
Another great read.
Yes, I do recommend!

Let me know what you’ve been reading!

Bitmoji Image


Jim Webster’s Done It Again! Two New Books! #BlogTour

Guess who is joining me on a blog tour again?

Good ole’ Jim Webster! And here is a little story for your perusal.

Be careful what you pretend to be. 
I would like to say that when I heard what Garamie was planning, I knew it
wasn’t going to end well. Unfortunately I must confess that at the time I
thought he had come up with an excellent strategy given his obvious
limitations. Garamie wanted to be a savant. He wanted to be looked up to and
respected for his knowledge. Unfortunately he didn’t want to dedicate a
lifetime to study, so he could reap the benefits of his status as a
well-respected scholar in his old age. He wanted the benefits now. I could
see the source of his confusion. Garamie was quite well off. He’d been
through the University here in Port Naain, but like many students he
appeared to have left more muddled and less accomplished than when he
arrived. What university had taught him was that the road to proper
scholarship is hard.
Have you heard the comment, “The easiest way to be recognised as a savant is
to ensure your field of expertise is so tedious that nobody will ever
question you about it?” Garamie took this one stage further. He decided that
he would make his field of expertise so terrible that nobody would ever
raise the subject. Thus, after brief thought, he proclaimed himself a
necromancer.
Traditionally necromancers shun people, daylight, and soap. Garamie was the
exception to the rule, in that he merely wanted the fame, or perhaps more
properly, the notoriety. He had no interest in truly studying necromancy. So
where most necromancers have no social life, Garamie became the socially
acceptable face of necromancy and was invited to all sorts of parties and
social events.
When out and about, he could dissemble adequately when it came to discussing
his dark art. If somebody asked him anything, Garamie would bluff. He could
mix into his conversation mumbled phrases from long dead languages, most of
which he made up on the spot. He found it harder to convince people he was a
genuine necromancer when they visited him at home and discovered that he had
none of the impedimenta of the trade. It seems that to be accepted as a
necromancer, or as any sort of mage, you need a workroom. You need the
paraphernalia. Young ladies, fascinated by him, expected to see the tools of
his trade when they visited his abode. Obviously they weren’t looking for
cadavers in the bedroom, (although one or two of his rather more
‘specialist’ lady-friends gave the impression that this was the sort of
thing they rather anticipated.) 
As I said, he had money. This was a positive disadvantage. If he’d had no
money he could have done wonders for very little. After all, if I want the
skull of a hanged man, I merely ask Mutt and he’ll return later demanding
twenty-five dregs for a perfectly reasonable skull. Indeed it may even come
from a man who was hanged. (In Port Naain the chances are at least
reasonable.) I certainly would not seek out one of the Exulted Purveyors of
the Imperishable Wisdom. Admittedly they would guarantee that the skull came
from a hanged man, even if they had to bring forward the hanging for your
convenience. But on the other hand they’d expect me to pay an alar for it.
It’s the same with cadavers really. I remember the time Lancet and I found a
chap who’d passed out with drink. Lancet painted the fellow’s face so he
looked like a corpse, and we sold his clothes to pay for a cheap shroud. To
be fair, that is common enough, the dead man doesn’t need his clothes any
more, and the money left over after buying the shroud traditionally goes to
paying for a round of drinks for his friends. We then carried the corpse
along Ropewalk on an improvised stretcher. I might have mentioned that it
costs one silver vintenar to book your place on the corpse boat. When the
boat is full they sail out to the west and drop the weighted bodies
overboard for their last rest. It’s considered a charitable gesture to give
a vintenar so that a poor man can make that last journey, and as Lancet and
I tearfully solicited money for the poor deceased we were carrying, we did
quite well. 
Then somebody offered to buy the body off us. I’m not sure why, it wasn’t as
if it was a particularly good body. The owner hadn’t been taking any real
care of it. But Lancet had got our potential buyer up to twenty vintenars.
They’d shaken on the deal and the happy purchaser was about to give Lancet
the money when the ‘corpse’ groaned. I said, probably too quickly, “It’s
just the air escaping.”
Unfortunately at this point the ‘corpse’ tried to sit up. At least one of
the bystanders screamed, Lancet and I dropped the stretcher and ran in one
direction, whilst the putative purchaser ran in the other. The ‘corpse’
staggered forlornly down Ropewalk, struggling to walk in a shroud.
Alas, Garamie was spared this education by his wealth. He merely ordered his
bits and pieces from the Exulted Purveyors of the Imperishable Wisdom. Of
course you have to ask why they sold him the material. It’s obvious to
anybody who talked to him that he wasn’t a serious student of the dark arts.
Perhaps it was merely a case of him being a free-spending incompetent who
differed little from their usual run of customers?  
I once saw Garamie’s ‘workroom’. I found myself roped in because I’d been
passing as a courier’s wagon arrived. At the same point the heavens opened
and Garamie, spotting me, asked if I’d give a hand helping them to unload.
Apparently there was a risk that three bags of ‘grave dust’ might turn into
several buckets full of ‘grave mud.’ 
Garamie had chosen a modest downstairs room as his workroom. It was
naturally poorly illuminated, a small north window providing entirely
inadequate light. He proceeded to fill it with clutter. Several crudely
built tables were piled high with skulls, candles, battered tomes one
assumed were of eldritch lore, and any number of strange crystals. I confess
I looked at the books. Let us be honest with ourselves here, how could I, a
poet and a man of letters, not look at the books? Let us be equally honest,
those I examined were likewise split between recipes collected by cooks and
housekeepers of a previous century, the account books of large estate, the
latest entry at least two centuries previous, and a selection of those
history books one only ever finds in school libraries. I am willing to admit
they were fascinating, I have a weakness for history books that are so old
that the history they cover was virtually current affairs for the writer.
But still, unless necromancy has changed direction in recent years I
wouldn’t have regarded them as particularly macabre. 
Still Garamie must have picked up some more specialist literature. He
acquired habit of dropping esoteric phrases into conversation. I was in the
Misanthropes on one occasion when he said something and the hairs on the
back of my neck stood on end. On other occasions people claim that when he
spoke the candle flames flickered out or the room grew strangely colder. 
I still hold that he hadn’t any idea what he was doing. I do know that he
was in the habit of jotting ‘interesting’ phrases in a pocket book. He
showed me it once. It looked like a collection of nonsense phrases but
should he wish to impress the sort of girl who likes ‘bad’ boys, he’d drop
one or two into his conversation.
We’re not sure exactly what happened to him. The woman who ‘did’ for him
went in one morning to discover he wasn’t about and that the workroom door
was locked. She tidied up a bit and decided that there was a strange smell.
At that point she thought to send for the watch. They broke into the
workroom to find the walls liberally decorated with Garamie. His pocket book
was open on one of the tables but was so liberally daubed with blood that it
was illegible. His death was registered as ‘suicide by means of unthinking
stupidity.’

And now we’d better hear from Jim Webster.

So here I am again with another blog tour. I’ve released two collections of
short stories from Tallis and if you’ve enjoyed the one you just read,
you’ll almost certainly enjoy these.
So what have Tallis and I got for you?

Well first there’s ‘Tallis Steelyard. A guide for writers, and other
stories.’ The book that all writers who want to know how to promote and sell
their books will have to read. Sit at the feet of the master as Tallis
passes on the techniques which he has tried and perfected over the years. As
well as this you’ll have music and decorum, lessons in the importance of
getting home under your own steam, and brass knuckles for a lady. How can
you resist, all this for a mere 99p. 
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tallis-Steelyard-guide-writers-stories-ebook/dp/B07
TRXJH8C/


Then we have, ‘Tallis Steelyard. Gentlemen behaving badly, and other
stories.’ Now is your chance to see Port Naain by starlight and meet ladies
of wit and discernment. There are Philosophical societies, amateur
dramatics, the modern woman, revenge, and the advantages of a good
education. 
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tallis-Steelyard-Gentlemen-behaving-stories-ebook/d
p/B07TRYZV6C/


So come on, treat yourself, because you’re worth it.

June’s Books #Book Reviews

And it is nearing the end of June… that means half the year has already flown by. I have spent it within a whirlwind of books, and this month, I can add the following to my read collection!

The Newcomer

The Newcomer by Fern Britton

My rating: 5 of 5 star
Welcome to the small village of Pendruggan, where the newcomer is Angela, the new vicar, with her husband, Richard, and daughter, Faith.
It’s never easy to fit into an already established community, especially when you have some rather comfortable boots to fill. But That is exactly what Angela does: with her caring ways and modern ideas, she creates her own imprint among the villagers.
A story that was very easy to settle into, with romance, laughter, tragedy and celebration.
This was the first Fern Britton boon I have read and I will certainly be reading more.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins UK for an ARC, in exchange for an honest review.

A Walk in Wildflower Park (Wildflower Park Series)

A Walk in Wildflower Park by Bella Osborne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another lovely read by author Bella Osborne.
We follow the stories of Anna, a newly single woman who feels like she can never find the right man, and is hiding a few of her own secrets, and Sophie, her married friend, who is pregnant and suffering her own worries.
After moving into a place of her own, Anna begins to settle into her life for one, peppered with adventures with Sophie and her family in the wildflower park that they live near.
The story is seasoned with not one, not two, but three prospective love interests for Anna, and a few twists and turns that were definitely unexpected!
And Sophie? I could relate to her, as a working, married mother, not sure whether this was the life she had agreed upon, instead, questioning her decisions to settle with the situation she has found herself in.
An easy read, with romance, a bit of mystery and some great laughs too.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Avon Books UK for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

My Last Love Story

My Last Love Story by Falguni Kothari

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
My first Falguni Kothari book, and I finished it in a day – what do you think, I think?

Quite an intense book that explores friendship, love, longing and loss.

Imagine facing the worst thing you can – the possible death of the one you love the most – your spouse.

Then throw in his request for you to have his baby, before he dies.

Add in the best friend, who actually makes up a trio of souls who have shared a journey for the best part of their life, together.

A sprinkle of hope from the husband, that his wife and best friend be each other’s comfort when he finally dies, spices up the agenda.

Especially as there is history… A lot of history between this unlikely three, in various ways – some funny, some tragic, some, rather naughty.

The story is set in the US but the three main characters are all from the Indian subcontinent, and all from different backgrounds too, one being Muslim, one Hindu and one Parsi.

The author gives a good picture of the difference in the three cultures, that many western minds may not be aware of.

An interesting read.

From a Distant Star

From a Distant Star by Karen McQuestion
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Do you believe in aliens?
What if something inexplicable happens in life, and quite possibly, the only explanation is extraterrestrial?
Emma is seventeen and in love with a cancer patient who is in a coma.
Something strange happens one night, and she gets her love back, but with a difference.
Follow the story of Emma, her boyfriend Lucas, and his inner spirit, Scout, as they endeavour to get Scout back where he came from.
Such an engaging story, in a genre I wouldn’t usually read.

And that little line at the end – ” Tell Emma I am sending her less than three.”

Too cute!

Our Stop

Our Stop by Laura Jane Williams
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What an absolutely fab book!

If you believe in destiny, then this book is filled with it.

And… who knew the London Underground could be so romantic!

Nadia is a feisty, successful 20-something Londoner, going about her life, ricochetting between bad relationships, wondering when her time will come. She loves sensitive men, who aren’t scared to show their emotions.
Daniel is a sensitive, successful 20-something Londoner, recovering from the shock of his father’s death, looking for someone to share life, and reality TV with. He loves feisty women, who are clumsy with their coffee.

But how will their paths ever cross?

Cue the Underground and Missing Connections.

Daniel sees Nadia and just knows there is something about her. But, how to approach?

Using a series of messages in the local commuters newspaper, these two slowly get sucked into a will they/won’t they situation.

We can see they are perfect for each other. Their friends can sense they are perfect for each other. Why can’t they just meet and see if they hit it off?

With a series of twists and turns, we see the story of Nadia and Daniel develop, and I can say, hand on heart, that I finished this book with a gooey smile on my face!

Many thanks to NetGalley and Avon Books UK for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Boy Swallows Universe

Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I have heard many good things about this book so was very excited to read it.
I did find it a little disjointed and hard to get into at the end and found myself wondering what was going on, but the speed of the story and my wanting to read it as fast as I could, kicked in at around the halfway point, as I was eager to know what happened.
A story that was sad, funny, happy, full of fear and hope, all at once!
We follow two brothers through some very troubling times in their lives, and who have an ex-con as their mentor, even after he passed away, guiding them through some tough situations.
I cannot adequately describe this book, in a way that gives it the credit it deserves.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins UK for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Published 5th July

Instructions For Falling In Love Again by Lucy Mitchell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

 There are days when you really need a good Rom Com to fall into. A book that will make you forget the world around you as you immerse yourself in its fictitious one.
Well, that was me as I fell into Author Lucy Mitchell’s debut novel, Instructions For Falling In Love Again.
I found myself living alongside Pippa Browning, a recently widowed mother of three, who is just starting to get her life into some semblance of normality, after losing her beloved husband to cancer three years previously.
Being a single mother is never easy, and dealing with a teen bunny boiler in practice, and two children who know how to wreak havoc at just the right (or wrong) time, who are all dealing with the grief of losing their father, has her at her nerves end.
Pippa is lucky to have her two best friends, Mel and Emma, by her side, and the support of her sister Helen.
And she also has a book.
A notebook filled with wisdom that was left for her, written by her late husband, giving her clear instructions for how to get on with her life without him, by falling in love again.
With the wrong guy. Mikey Stenton – International playboy and all-round tart!
I was hooked.
I loved the characters of Pippa and her family, including her interfering mother, who wants the best for her daughter, but by her own standards, not her daughter.
I loved feisty Daisy, the teenage crazy girl who knows how to back her crushes into corners.
I loved Libby, the middle child with a talent for football, and a penchant for small furry animals.
I loved Billy, the youngest member of the Browning family, who was a typical little boy, always getting into arguments with his sister, and never brushing his hair.
Pippa’s friends are wonderfully supportive, quirky characters, who only want the best for their dear friend.
And I adored Mikey Stenton, the true tart with a heart – who goes from bed-hopping to school dropping… I shan’t say too much more, because I don’t want to give too much away.
Oh, and Pippa wasn’t the only one left with a notebook…
But seriously, there were some fantastic twists and turns, and I found myself in fits of giggles, in tears and in that “Aaaaawwwww!” moment too.
Do I recommend this book? Absolutely! What a great debut novel.
Lucy, I am waiting for more from you now!
Many thanks to Lucy for an advanced copy, in exchange for an honest review.
The First Time Lauren Pailing Died

The First Time Lauren Pailing Died by Alyson Rudd

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The blurb of this book sounded intriguing.
A girl who keeps on dying, yet finds herself alive in different versions of her life.
It took me a while to get into the story, but I was intrigued to find out what was happening, and why.
Not my favourite read, but not the worst.
Many thanks to NetGalley, and HQ Publishing for an ARC of this book.

So, that’s it. my list of books this month!

What have you been reading?

Previous Older Entries

My interactive peeps!

Peeps are reading in…

Flag Counter
%d bloggers like this: