June 2020 Books #AmReading

We have officially reached the middle of this strange year, 2020!

What book reading pleasure have I managed this month?

The Sin Eater

The Sin Eater by Megan Campisi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a fantastic book!
I always find Historical fiction to be fascinating, and this was no different.
Orphan Meg Owen is picked up by the guards for stealing a loaf of bread.
Expecting a punishment, but lenient at that, she is stunned to find that she is branded, on the tongue and made into a sin eater.
She is cast into a life of loneliness and silence, finding solace with the other sin eater in her town.
Unable to fathom why, Meg begins to learn more about her new life, taking on the sins of others on their deathbeds, then eating them, expecting to die a lonely woman. filled with the secrets of others.
But she doesn’t expect to stumble upon a secret of epic proportions, involving royalty and treason.
I don’t want to write too much about the story, which is twisted and brilliant in its entirety.
Megan Campisi has created a parallel world, so similar to certain parts of our history, with enough changes to make it fantastical.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Pan. Macmillan for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing on 23rd July 2020

In Case You Missed It

In Case You Missed It by Lindsey Kelk
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve been a fan of Lindsey Kelk since the first I Heart book, and am always enticed by the thought of another Kelk-masterpiece out.
In Case You Missed It is another great easy, summer read, with a main character, Ros, experiencing the telltale ups and downs synonymous with a Lindsey Kelk book.
Trouble with work, trouble with relationships, trouble with adulting…
Lots of laugh out loud moments, a gaggle of loyal, almost all-knowing friends, a teenage gaming celeb (I Know!) and some cheeky romance, with a couple of dashing heroes to add to the mix.
What fun!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 23rd July 2020

The Wish List by Sophia Money-Coutts
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Yet another brilliant read from Sophia Money-Coutts!
Meet Florence Fairfax, a slightly OCD character, with some interesting anxiety-related behaviours, who works in a small book shop in London. Oh, and a non-existent love life.
Until a concerned stepmother suggests a therapist…
Amidst disbelief that anything will come of it, Flo visits said therapist and comes away with a list of her perfect man.
And apparently, the universe delivers! Or does it?
I loved the characters, and I honestly laughed out loud several times, causing my husband to look at me quizzically. How could I explain that “Cowabunga!” will never sound the same to me ever again? (Confused? Well, you need to read to find out the reason – and it’s well worth the read!)
Many thanks to NetGalley and HQ for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Released 6th August, 2020

Beach Read

Beach Read by Emily Henry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The title, Beach Read, intrigued me. The blurb even more so.
Two writers, each very different, and struggling with writer’s block in their own way, end up in the same place, neighbours. And an old ‘rivalry’ becomes tentative support for one another, but love?
January is all about the Happily Ever Afters, in life and her writing.
Gus doesn’t suffer fools gladly, and his literary preferences mirror his thinking.
Their personal challenges, along with the writing one they set for each other, allows their lives to entwine in a way they never thought possible.
It took me a little while to get into the book, but once I started, I couldn’t stop.
I enjoyed the characters and the story, along with the little twists and reveals that are dropped along the way, making you guess which way this story is going to end.
It’s not a typical RomCom, but I could definitely see myself reading it on the beach! (Apart from some of the more intimate scenes… Well written, not too tacky, but erotic enough to make you feel…)
Many thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Books for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 20th August, 2020

The Lost Love Song

The Lost Love Song by Minnie Darke
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m not sure where to start.
But suffice to say this story blew me away. Read in a day.
Some say that with books that have too many characters, it is hard to feel connected or emotional about them, but this one did that and more.
The story surrounding Diana and Arie’s love story is an emotive beginning, and the twists and turns at the beginning left me in tears. Then the way Belinda, Evie, Bene, Felix, Beatrix, and others, were brought into this tale of love was so clever.
I just loved it!
I really don’t want to write too much about the story, for fear of giving something away. Suffice to say, I think you should definitely read it!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Random House for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing on 6th August, 2020

The Move

The Move by Felicity Everett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was looking forward to some sort of domestic thriller, but it wasn’t quite there.
The story of Karen and Nick, moving to the country to escape from her demons, and his cheating, had so many chances for more twists to occur, and some did, but they were left with the ends still loose.
The characters were great, the descriptions fantastic, but the story was lacking.
Many thanks to NetGalley and HQ for an ARC, in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 20th August, 2020

No Place too Far by Kay Bratt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I truly enjoyed the first book in the series, True To Me, so was eager to dive back into the Maui waters, and I was not disappointed,
No Place Too Far continues the stories of a group of characters we met before in True To Me, concentrating a little more on Maggie. Maggie came out to live in Maui after her friend Quinn settled there, once she found out that was where her birth family lived.
Maggie, herself, is trying to settle down after spending a year on the run from a stalker, with her young son.
I was so engrossed with the story, that had I not had work the next day, I’d have been reading far into the wee hours of the morning!
Quinn and Maggie’s stories run side by side, but entwining in places, and with blossoming friendships, tentative romances and shocking returns.
The descriptions of the lush scenes of Maui made me wish I was there.
And knowing there is a third book to come… well, I am super excited!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

Released 1st September, 2020

How to Be an Antiracist

How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A compelling read, with an amalgamation of personal experience and suggestions of how we, as a whole community, can really get behind becoming anti-racists. It gives a good background into the #BlackLivesMatter movement, and why current events may have escalated in the way they have.
Educate to change.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Random House UK for a copy of this book.

The Hidden Beach by Karen Swan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I thoroughly enjoyed Karen Swan’s The Hidden Beach.
Bell is a young British woman, who, through her own personal tragedy, ends up living in Sweden, and nanny to a family with three children she is immensely attached to.
Friends think the parents, Hanna and Max, may be taking advantage of her love for the children, as week after week, she cancels plans to help them out.
But then she gets sucked into a personal tragedy the family suffers, and there is no going back.
The thing is, there is a twist. How can she be an impartial help in their time of need, when she appears to have confusing feelings for the one person they are all scared of?
I loved Bell’s character. She is a damaged soul, who wants to get back to normality, but life is not prepared to let her.
Her relationship with the children she looks after, and especially Linus, the 10-year-old son, is heartwarming to read.
The story shifts in perspective, being told from Bell’s point of view, as well as Emil, and sometimes Hanna and Max. This wasn’t always clear, but with a little rereading, I would work out whose head I was in.
But a good read finished in a day.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Pan Macmillan for an arc, in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 9th July, 2020

The Phantom's Curse

The Phantom’s Curse by Shelley Wilson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I popped my YA cherry on the Guardian Series by Shelley Wilson, and enjoyed the Hood Academy too, so was quietly excited for this new book by her to come out.
I enjoyed the story of Marianne, a young, unsuspecting girl, who doesn’t realise the power she holds within.
A kingdom torn apart by the Phantom’s curse, then gently pieced together again, to be at the point of being ripped at the seams again. A strange world for this girl to be in, until she realises what her part in the role of ridding the world of the Phantom.
Marianne, along with her brother, Newt, and various friends, battle dark armies and crooked lords to save their kingdom.
There is magic, the fae, kingdoms, lords, ladies, and a little bit of love!
I enjoyed the book, and read it easily in a couple of hours. I would say it is targeted at the younger end of the YA market.

Flying Solo: The new laugh-out-loud romantic comedy coming this summer from Zoe May!

Flying Solo by Zoe May
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Love. India, finding oneself, romance, strong woman… what’s not to like?
I really enjoyed the story of Rachel, a woman with a plan. Or a list, at least. She’s worked hard to achieve all her goals in life so far, with the exception of one; to get married to her perfect man. But that is all about to change,
just not in the way she expected.
Rachel winds up in an ashram in India, attempting to rescue her boyfriend and perfect life, but ends up on a journey of self-discovery, and realises that the best-laid plans aren’t always the ‘best’.
Rachel is a fabulous character. Don’t we all want to be like Rachel? Someone who knows exactly what she wants, and when.
Oh, I wanted to throttle her no-god boyfriend, Paul, but then we met Seb, and I loved him! What a hottie! And a spiritual one at that.
A really good read, and I loved the ending!
Many thanks to NetGalley for an ARC, in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 6th July, 2020

The Last Charm

The Last Charm by Ella Allbright
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a charm of a book!
As a young girl, Leila’s mother left her and her father, with only a silver charm bracelet to remember her by. At the same time, Jake and his family move into the area Leila and her father are leaving, into their old home. A fleeting meeting between both young people leaves a lasting bond.
The bracelet gets lost, and the book is a retelling of how each charm that dangles from it was acquired, and a plea to whoever finds it, to return it.
I was taken on a total rollercoaster of emotions, reading the story of Leila, and her charm bracelet, and Jake, her silent support, who floated in and out of her life.
I loved both the main characters and the bittersweet twist at the end left me teary.
Yes, definitely read this book!aa
Many thanks to NetGalley and One More Chapter for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing on 21st August, 2020

The Shelf

The Shelf by Helly Acton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The blurb for The Shelf pulled me in immediately, hence the clicking on Request It as soon as I could, and I was quick to download and read it, once I was accepted.
Expecting to be jetting off on an exotic holiday with her hopefully soon-to-be fiance, ends up with our heroine, Amy, finding herself dumped, and on the set of a Big Brother-style reality show, The Shelf.
Cue four weeks of coping with humiliation, forming friendships, and coming to realisations about herself.
It took me a couple of chapters to get into the book, initially. Why was this woman putting up with that narcissistic idiot of a boyfriend, Jamie? And when she got dumped, live on telly, why did she stay?
But then, as the story unfolded, I found myself immersed in the whole situation.
I loved Amy, who, as a woman in her thirties, was feeling the pull for the traditional version of where she should be in life; marriage and 2.4 kids, but went on to find a version of herself that worked for her.
The supporting cast of women on the show with her were an eclectic mix of characters. I’d almost have enjoyed a bit more friction between them at times, but equally, I loved how they stood up for each other too.
Anyone else want to slap the show’s host, Andy? I really did!
Overall a good read, and quite addictive, once you get into it.
I’d like to see ow a bunch of men would handle the show!
Many thanks to Netgalley and Bonnier Books UK for an ARC, in exchange for an honest opinion.

Releasing on 9th July, 2020

Myths of the Mirror (Dragon Soul Quartet #1)

Myths of the Mirror by D. Wallace Peac
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is not my usual genre, but D.Wallace Peach has a certain way with descriptions that took me on a whimsical, dragons filled journey!

The Memory of Us

The Memory of Us by Camille Di Maio
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Memory Of Us is the first of Camille Di Maio’s books I’ve read, and I really enjoyed it.
I was touched by the wartime story of Julianne Westcott and her forbidden love for religious man, Kyle McCarthy.
Julianne has it all on the face of it. From a wealthy Liverpudlian family, she has all the luxuries a girl desires, including her beauty, and suitors to match, but her heart is insistent in its demand to love only one, deeply unsuitable man.
Kyle is the son of a gardener and is destined to become a Catholic priest.
Julianne’s Protestant background means even a hint of a union between them would cause great grief.
Still, you can’t help who you love…
I was wrapped up in the blossoming love story of the two and wanted to cry at the twists and tragedies that befall a near-perfect couple and their love story.
Oh, and the deep secret hidden away by her parents… Not giving anything away.
A wonderful, heartwrenching read.

Les is More

Les is More by Jess Carpenter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the first book I have read from Jess Carpenter and I had a ball reading it.
The story is based around Les, a young woman who is starting college, and has a bit of history that she is trying to work through.
A dear father who passed away, a mother who has extremely high aspirations for her, and an ex-boyfriend who turns up, as a student at her college.
Les meets Candy, a Latino fellow student, who brings colour and a different culture into her love, along with a hot brother, Carter.
The book is written as if Les is treating us, the readers, as her studio audience, so there are comments directed at us, as well as telling us about what’s going on.
I enjoyed the bubbling romances, the love triangle that is set from the beginning, and how it ends up.
The author has also touched upon the huge issue of racism, targeting the Mexican community, and how Les combats her mother’s prejudiced feelings towards her new Latino friends.
And there are the expectations of her mother that. Les has to try her hardest to reach.
I loved Candy, the new best friend, filled with spunk and her own story brewing in the background, so was thrilled to read that there would be more about her in a future book!
I think this will be a book much enjoyed by young adults and college-goers, with romance, culture and a lot of fun.
Thank you Jess, for a copy of your book, in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 13th July, 2020

A Recipe for Disaster: A deliciously feel-good romance

A Recipe for Disaster: A deliciously feel-good romance by Belinda Missen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed the story of baker Lucy, and her journey to rekindling her relationship with estranged hubby, world famous chef, Oliver.
Lucy was left high and dry a few years earlier, when Oliver’s career took an international turn, and they sacrificed their marriage for their food passions.
When Oliver makes a surprise return to their home town, Lucy is stunned, not least because she is in a relationship with someone else.
A great rom-com filled with food, cakes and other relationship bakes!

And there you have it. Another month of great reads! Seventeen, this time!

Which one tickled your fancy?

May 2020 Books #AmReading

The month of May! Aaaah, the spring evenings seguing into summer. Lazy weekends filled with barbeques and drinks in the garden, or catching up with friends…

Or maybe not.

Coronagate is still with us, at the moment, so the meeting friends bit, well, that’s not gonna happen in the same way as before. But I hope the weather was good for you, and the added time allowed you to read plenty too!

Here’s what I managed.

Christmas Wedding (Cliffside Bay Series)

Christmas Wedding by Tess Thompson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am steadily working my way through Tess’s Cliffside Bay series and this was a little novella to slip into the stream of love stories.
We finally get to see the wedding of Raphael and Lisa, but not without a few dramas along the way.
I enjoy how these extra snippets of stories add another layer to the relationship that us readers are building with all the characters in the series, and the fact that it is set in Emerson Pass, after reading the first book in Tess’s newest series, well, that was another pleasant surprise!
Onwards to the next book.

Scarred: Trey and Autumn (Cliffside Bay, #8)

Scarred: Trey and Autumn by Tess Thompson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book 8 of the Cliffside Bay series, but the tenth I’ve read, counting the novellas.
I love that I kinda know what is going to be the conclusion, but knowing how Tess’s stories evolve, I am aware that it won’t be a straight path.
Scarred is the story of the pairing together of Autumn, the scarred sister of Wolf, Stone, and Trey, one of the Wolves pack. Again, plenty of loose threads from previous books are tied up, but there are a good few left dangling, so you know the next book has some work to do!

Jilted: Nico and Sophie (Cliffside Bay, #9)

Jilted: Nico and Sophie by Tess Thompson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Boy, am I enjoying steaming through this series! I almost don’t want to have to wait for June for the last book!
Jilted gives us the story of the fourth Wolf, Nico, and his blossoming love story with Dog Sane’s half-sister, Sophie.
Both souls with feelings of abandonment, but totally different life situations, they go from pushing each other away to drawing close like two opposite ends of a magnet.
I enjoyed this next instalment, and can’t wait for David and Sara’s story. Thank goodness I still have a couple of novellas to read!

Kissed: A Cliffside Bay Christmas Short

Kissed: A Cliffside Bay Christmas Short by Tess Thompson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another short novella to tie up some loose ends in Tess Thompson’s Cliffside Bay series.
This time we jumped to the seniors who now live there, and follow the blossoming romance between Rapahel’s mother, Rosa (Mama) Soto and Lisa’s Uncle Dominic.
A lovely, magical, light read to make your heart feel good.

Chateau Wedding by Tess Thompson

Chateau Wedding by Tess Thompson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Finally! I got to see (read) Pepper and Stone’s wedding!
Tess Thompson delivers a short side tale to her Cliffside Bay series, whisking the readers away to France to witness the dream marriage, that has its fair share of ups and downs, even in such a short book!
I could have carried on reading more!

They Call Me Mom: Making a Difference as an Elementary School Teacher

They Call Me Mom: Making a Difference as an Elementary School Teacher by Pete Springer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Retired elementary school teacher, Pete Springer, uses his experience and knowledge to create a wonderful book that is as much memoir as it is a handy tool to have as a teacher about to embark upon the best job in the world (I’m a teacher, maybe I’m biased), and just as useful for a parent to read, so they can understand a little more about the role the teacher plays in their children’s lives.
Peppered with anecdotes from his teaching career, as well as the story detailing how he ended up becoming a teacher, the book gives a personal account of the life of aa teacher, as well as many handy hints for setting up and running a successful classroom of your own.

My Untold Truth by Sharon Punni Khakh

My Untold Truth by Sharon Punni Khakh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Imagine being that child who can see and hear awful things being done to your mother, then, when you try and raise an alarm, you get shot down?
This is the true story of Sharon, who, from a young age, witnessed her mother suffer from mental and physical abuse from her father, and eventually had to deal with fatal consequences.
The harsh truth is that there is still stigma attached to families who are vocal about abuse or wrongdoings in families in many Indian communities, even now. So much so, that it is easier to ignore the reality, or cover it up, rather than seek help and face the repercussions.
Well done to Sharon for bravely writing about this awful situation, with the hope it will give other young people the courage to come forward and speak out for members of their family in similar situations, who feel unable to themselves.
Domestic violence, physical, mental and emotional abuse is NEVER right.

Self Love

Self Love by T.L. Clark
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A young woman; single, plump, and totally unconfident in her appearance.
That’s Molly.
But she’s a great florist, and a good friend, though she can be a bit self-absorbed sometimes.
But let’s be honest, who can honestly say, hand on heart that they never think about themselves, and only others?
And that’s why many readers will identify with Molly.
As I read her story, trying to find love, and acceptance for herself, as well as that elusive ideal weight, I found myself comparing certain parts of her life with mine.
I totally got her with the dieting, and ‘life-changing’ health plans. I’ve been up and down my whole life, and though many who know me, would say I’ve never been ‘big’, I know I have, compared to my previous, svelte self.
That hating what you see in the mirror? Yup. Been there, done that.
I read about her dating mishaps with intrigue, probably because I never went through all that online dating malarkey, myself.
She had her ups and downs, but Molly learns how to accept herself, and build changes into her life so she really does end up loving herself – and, no spoilers here, but she might just find someone else who loves her too!
There’s a lesson in the story for us all.
Self-care, and self-love is as important as getting acceptance from the outside.
I’m just glad Molly stopped apologising for herself by the end!

Life in progress

Pixy by Linda g. Hill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I always enjoy the book sof Linda’s that I have read, and this short story, a free treat from Linda, was no different.

We are introduced to the world of Pixies, and meet Merryn, who has been transported to the human world as a joke, but there he meets Ivy, a widow, and they start a romance that develops in a flash, in human years, but takes much time, in pixy years! A cute love story with a twist!

The Congress of Rough Writers: Flash Fiction Anthology Vol. 1

The Congress of Rough Writers: Flash Fiction Anthology Vol. 1 by Charli Mills
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I just love Flash Fiction and I feel blessed to have got to know the crew over at the Carrot Ranch, with Charli, the head buccaneer!
I’ve had this anthology to read for a long while, but time, and so many books… you know.
But finally, thanks to Lockdown, I got to savour the wonderful bite-sized morsels that 99-word fiction can provide.
I enjoy crafting the stories to go with Charli’s weekly prompts, and I am also eager to read how someone else interprets the same prompt.
The first half of this book is filled with these, kind of like appetisers.
Then the second half has slightly longer pieces, like your main course, but selected Ranchers, and finishes with a dessert of essays from memoirists.
A wonderful collection to savour over time, or devour in one sitting!

The Sight of You (The Sight of You, #1)

The Sight of You by Holly Miller
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, what an emotional ride!
Imagine having a gift that could give so much joy, but at the same time, suck the joy of living from you?
This was what life was like for Joel, and what stopped him from fully living his own life.
And Callie? A simple, loveable woman, who isn’t quite sure where here future lies, until she meets Joel.
Add in Murphy, Callie’s dog, and you have a beautiful bittersweet love story, with an ending you didn;t expect… or did you?
I absolutely loved this story of Joel and Callie, and their forever love, that just wasn’t meant to be.
Descriptive, emotive writing that kept me reading all day, so I could finish the book, all the while not wanting it to end.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Hodder and Stoughton for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Life and Other Happy Endings

Life and Other Happy Endings by Melanie Cantor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I picked this book to read when it was still registered as Death and other Happy Endings. The title piqued my interest, and the blurb confirmed I would be up for reading.
Upon reading the book, I think the new title Life and other Happy Endings, is much better suited!
I was fully prepared for a swing of emotions, knowing I was going to be reading about a woman counting down to the end of her life, writing letters to three people who were so important in her life, and I wasn’t wrong there.
But the swing of emotions included laughter and smiles, as well as the sadness and dread that I had expected.
I loved the twist to the story in the middle, and the extra U-Turn at the end. Nope. Don’t ask for details. You need to read to find out!
Great book!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Random House for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

One Summer in Santorini (Holiday Romance Book 1)

One Summer in Santorini by Sandy Barker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A wonderfully whimsical, romantic read, perfect for a sunny holiday read, or even a read when there is no holiday sun around, as the vivid descriptions of Greek islands will whisk you away anyway!
I loved meeting Sarah, the woman who has sworn off men, taking a trip away to get away from all that romantic nonsense, then ends up with not one, but two suitors, and all with the backdrop of this beautiful greek scenery!
I really enjoyed this debut from Sandy Barker, and am already excited to dive into book two!

That Night in Paris (Holiday Romance Book 2)

That Night in Paris by Sandy Barker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What? So, I finished book one yesterday, and today, I’m here reviewing book two.
Think that is a clue in itself as to how readable Sandy Barker’s books are becoming to me.
I thoroughly enjoyed Sarah’s story in book one, One Summer in Santorini, and it was great to pick up on the story, interlinked, but on its own journey, about Catherine, Sarah’s sister.
Not only do you get a whistlestop tour of some of Europe’s most famous cities, complete with descriptions that make you feel like you are standing in the middle of said cities, but there is the huge dollop of ‘will she/won’t she’ romance added to keep you turning pages.
Cat’s been hurt before. She’s sworn off relationships and men, until a mistaken (bit more than a ) fumble with her flatmate. Disasterous enough to make her book a hasty coach tour around Europe, to get away from the atmosphere she’s created, by trying to stay away from her newly love-lorn flatmate.
On the tour, she visits amazing places, cements life long friendships with her ‘bus buddies’, and ends up bumping into her teen pen pal, Jean Luc, in Paris. And he’s no longer that cute, gawky teen whose features haven’t quite grown into adulthood at the same time.
No.
Now he is all kinds of hot, good looking – like model good looking, tall, with a to die for physique… and he seems to actually ‘like’ like Cat.
I don’t want to tell you what happens, but wills he be able to stick to her ‘no relationships’ stance, or will a holiday fling be enough? And what about that flatmate?
Book three – I am diving in, right now!!

A Sunset in Sydney (Holiday Romance Book 3)

A Sunset in Sydney by Sandy Barker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Having devoured the first two books in Sandy’ Barker’s series, I was eager to get to this concluding title to see what happened.
And I wasn’t disappointed.
Sarah went on a trip to the Greek islands, sworn off men, and ended up coming home with the possibility of two relationships at the end of the first book.
In this third episode detailing the lusts, losses and loves of Sarah, along with plenty of wine and alcohol, we hoped to come to some conclusion.
And it didn’t disappoint!
Sandy Barker has a great way of describing the places visited, so you feel as if you are there with the characters, so I feel like I can say I’ve visited Maui, Sydney and parts of New Zealand!
Aside from the travel, the ‘who will she choose?’ scenario kept me on my toes the whole book.
Would it be cute, young American dude, Josh, or older, more experienced, extremely attractive, and rather rich, James?
Of course, I’m not going to tell you… you’ll have to get the book to find out!

Many thanks to NetGalley. Harper Collings and One More Chapter for an ARC, in exchange for an honest review.
Releasing on 3rd July, 2020

The Day She Came Back

Okay, so this is a definite ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️, but I’m saving the review for the Blog Tour of which I’ll be a part.

Releasing on 7th July, 2020

Busted in Bollywood

Busted in Bollywood by Nicola Marsh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is my first Nicola Marsh book, and I had great fun delving into the very familiar world of India, Bollywood and cross-cultural East-West mixes.
I loved the doses of masala as we saw met Shari, the MC, thrown into a duplicitous situation, where she had to pretend to be her best friend Amrita, to break up an arranged marriage engagement.
What she didn’t count on, was hot Bollywood Dudes, stalkers, soothsayers, superstar opportunities and a new aunty who was eager to fatten her up and get her married off.
A fun read full of vibrancy.

The Love Square

The Love Square by Laura Jane Williams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I thoroughly enjoyed Laura Jane Williams first foray into fiction, One Stop, and was excited to get the opportunity to read her second offering, The Love Square.
A story about Love, of all sorts.
Penny is a cancer survivor, burned by her last serious relationship. She is a business owner, with a thirst for success with her cafe, but a huge amount of family loyalty too. And most of all, she wants love.
And it comes, from many directions, from her friends, her uncles and sister, and from three very different men.
Caught in a love square, Penny has to make decisions that could hurt, but could equally give her the best future ever.
I loved Penny. She’s a strong woman, who doesn’t actually know her own strength. Sometimes the need for approval of others overtakes the fact that she needs to be happy in herself, and love herself first.
Her three choices:
Francesco, the Italian chef with a passion for food to rival hers, and the promise of falling in friendship.
Thomas, the happy go lucky playboy with a huge heart.
Priyush, the mature, wave and sophisticated older man who is ready to offer a life of elegance and romance.
I loved the story and the characters. An easy to read tale with a deeper meaning that the cover may let on.
Many thanks to Netgalley and Avon Books for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 29th June 2020

The Sugar Queen of Emerson Pass

The Sugar Queen of Emerson Pass by Tess Thompson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Finally finished The Sugar Queen of Emerson Pass and I LOVED it!
Tess Thompson’s signature style of concentrating on a couple, within a group of close-knit friends, worked brilliantly, along with tying into the first book of the series The Schol Mistress Of Emerson Pass, even though it is set in a totally different timeline.
And I was overjoyed to get all the connections to the Cliffside Bay residents too!
A true story of second chance romance, with two childhood sweethearts torn apart in the midst of young love, and then thrown back together years later in very different circumstances, but in the same setting.
The story tore at my heart, with loss and confusion, misplaced loyalties and rediscovered romance. Oh and the build-up to the next romance. Loved it, truly!
Can’t wait for the next one, Tess. 💜

Love's Child: Power, deceit and betrayal, all in the name of love!

Love’s Child by Lizzie Chantree
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I’m not sure what I was expecting with this first Lizzie Chantree novel, but it wasn’t the interesting twists within this delicious novel.
David is the product of a loveless marriage, and left with his degenerate father, he learns, the hard way, how to get through life.
In adulthood, he’s found a way to channel all the negativity into a project to benefit the community, and turned his bad experiences into something positive.
Finally, life is going great, with his girlfriend Tilly, pregnant, and happy, then things start to go wrong.
Love’s Child takes you on a journey of mysterious twists, exploring certain family dynamics, and ultimately, LOVE.

Mr Portobello's Morning Paper

Mr Portobello’s Morning Paper by Amanda Prowse
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s no secret.
Amanda Prowse is one of my favourite authors, and when she announced her novella, Mr Portobello’s Morning Paper, it sped its way onto my Kindle and raced to the top of my TBR pile. Her books always do. I’m not apologising!
Mr Portobello’s Morning Paper was a beautifully crafted novella and it hit many notes for me for several reasons.
Sophie is my age. Sophia is (was) a teacher. Like me. Disillusioned with the way teaching is going – been there, done that. Sophia loves books. Yup, me again.
That’s where the similarities end.
But the story. Oh, the story.
Sophia leaves her job to open a book emporium filled with the old books from her parents’ house. She develops. friendship with the eighty-year-old Mr Portobello, who was the previous tenant of her shop.
He pops in at 10 am every morning, on his way to get his morning paper, and slowly they build a relationship that leaves Sophia beginning to think long and hard about how she’s been living her life.
Mr Portobello’s Morning Paper is a bittersweet story which will tug at your heartstrings.

A Convenient Marriage by Jeevani Charika

A Convenient Marriage by Jeevani Charika
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Stigmas are something many of us have to live with, and there are different stigmas attached to different diasporas.
Chaya is a Sri Lankan girl trusted to leave her family and study in the far away, yet prestigious university of Oxford. Love is the last thing on her mind, or shouldn’t be.
Gimhana is another Sri Lankan displaced in the UK. He’s hoping to get his qualifications and become that successful lawyer, as well as be able to be the real himself – a self that loves men, not women.
In a clever way, Jeevani Charika weaves chapters laying foundations and dripping clues as to what the past knew that hindered the progression of both individuals.
Fast forward to a time where both are being hounded by their families to get married.
In a strange twist of fate, they meet, and end up in a marriage of convenience, for them both. No expectations from each other, a friendship, and no secrets… but are there?
I really enjoyed reading this story, especially as a fellow South Asian, and knowing so many of these expectations that are hung around our necks as youngsters, weights that can hinder rather than help our lives.
There is a shift now, in the way many of the issues raised are thought of now, but not big enough.
An enjoyable read, and a cultural education for many, I believe.

The Opposite of Hew by Lisa W. Tetting

The Opposite of Hew by Lisa W. Tetting
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Having read Tetting’s story about Zora, and loving it, I was happy to pick up her book, The Opposite of Huw.
A quick read with an interesting premise, but I do feel it was rushed.
The whole idea of the spreading of the main character’s aunt’s ashes in key places could have been stretched more, and though I liked the main character, Kay, and her feisty nature, the idea of her aunt just forcing marriage upon her, was unrealistic in the setting.

That was over twenty books this month!!!!

So, which book caught your eye?




The Anatomy Of Prose by @sacha_black #BookReview

There are a plethora of writing craft books out there, and it is mind-boggling to work out which one is worth your hard earned money.

Today, I am so excited to share with you a book that is out today, and TOTALLY worth it!

Many of you know Sacha Black. She’s been on the blogging circuit for a long while, and was the head honcho for the Annual Bloggers Bash Awards too. She’s the proud author of two YA fiction books and has two fantastic non-fiction books out already, about developing your Villains and Heroes.

This time, Sacha has excelled herself with a book about creating perfect prose, in her own inimitable style.

Do your sentences fail to sound the way you want? Are they lackluster, with flat characters and settings? Is your prose full of bad habits and crutches?
In The Anatomy of Prose, you’ll discover: 
  • A step-by-step guide to creating descriptions that sing
  • The key to crafting character emotions that will hook a reader
  • How to harness all five senses to make your stories come alive, deepening your reader’s experience
  • Tips and tricks for balancing details at the sentence level 
  • Methods for strengthening each sentence through strategic word choice, rhythm and flow
  • Dozens of literary devices, and how to utilize them to give your prose power
  • Tactics for differentiating characters in dialogue as well as making it punchy and unforgettable 
  • A comprehensive prose-specific self-editing check list
  • How to embody your character’s personality at the sentence level
  • The most common pitfalls and mistakes to avoid 

The Anatomy of Prose is a comprehensive writing guide that will help you create sensational sentences. Whether you’re just starting out or are a seasoned writer, this book will power up your prose, eliminate line-level distractions and help you find the perfect balance of show and tell. By the end of this book, you’ll know how to strengthen your sentences to give your story, prose and characters the extra sparkle they need to capture a reader’s heart.
If you like dark humor, learning through examples and want to create perfect prose, then you’ll love Sacha Black’s guide to crafting sensational sentences. Read The Anatomy of Prose today and start creating kick-ass stories.

I was lucky enough to read and review an arc of this book, and I have to tell you, it is a little gem, I kid you not!

My Review

Why is it that whenever I read one of Sacha Black’s craft books, the urge to open up my manuscript, and purge it of stupid errors, is so strong?

Seriously, so many ‘Uh-oh’ moments and dawnings of ‘A-ha!’ realisations!

As I read some parts, they had me moving my head up and down like a nodding dog in the windscreen of an ever-stalling car! “Yes!” my writer’s brain was screaming. “I do that! But, I’d better just reread and double-check to make sure…”

Having read Black’s 13 Steps to Evil: How to Craft Superbad Villains, and 10 Steps to Hero: How to Craft Kickass Protagonists, as well as having devoured her two fiction novels, it was a no-brainer that I was going to read this one.

Don’t they all look amazing?

The name; The Anatomy of Prose: 12 steps to Sensational Sentences; just sounded like it was going to give me a huge helping of useful advice, liberally seasoned with Black’s wit (and colourful language!)

I write, yes, but I also doubt myself and my own skill. Black’s clear-cut words have really helped to hone my own writing.

From thinking about dialogue and descriptions to characterisation, and that biggie… show vs. tell (which I was especially interested in) there are a plethora of topics covered.

What I love about Black’s advice, is that she’s not saying her way is the right way, but one way to approach crafting words. After all, there is no ‘right’ way to write, is there?

But her (sometimes not-so) gentle nudges to make you reread your own work, and think whether you could, in fact, just word that section a little differently, push you onto a much stronger path of prose.

The Anatomy of Prose is like having your own little developmental editor by your side. It’s not going to tell you what to change, but its pearls of wisdom will make you start to reconsider how you string together your sentences, chapters, and novels, starting with those very gems that a book needs… words.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It will definitely be one of my more thumbed craft guides as I continue on my journey as a writer.

Thank you, Sacha!

And here is a little word from Sacha, herself.

If I were you, a writer with a passion to create perfect prose, I’d be clicking this link here, like, RIGHT AWAY!

Universal link: https://books2read.com/anatomyofprose

I can’t wait for my hard copy to arrive so I can sticky tab it up.

Jim Webster Has TWO New Books! #BookTour

Hello all!

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I am delighted to (re)introduce, my dear blog and fellow writer pal, Jim Webster, with news of not one, but two new books! And he has been kind enough to share a short story too!

Those of you who are familiar with Jim and his Talli Steelyard series, will be thrilled, and if you haven’t got in to them yet, well, now is a perfect time!

Without further ado, let me get Jim on the line, with a short story titled Remarkably Sharp. This is the picture that inspired it.

Remarkably Sharp
One or two of my patrons are ladies who are quite handy with a cutting
remark. Perhaps I should rephrase this. I suppose most of my patrons are
adept in this field, but some have, through long practice, mastered the art.
But every so often one comes across somebody who can be cutting and witty.
Although she is not a ‘professional wit’ (by which I mean one who is invited
to events purely because those inviting her hope she will deliver some
devastating put-down to a victim included in the guest list purely for the
purpose) Andei Addlespur was cutting in more ways than one. She was not
merely taught fencing, she was a master swordsman.
Let us deal with the ‘master swordsman’ first. There are few, of any gender,
who are recognised in Port Naain as having achieved this level of
excellence. Examination is entirely practical, you are expected to fight for
your ‘crown’. All bouts are against known experts and all are to first
blood, fought without armour. Injuries are neither unknown nor unexpected.
For the final bout the prospective master is matched against an Urlan,
trained from birth to be a soldier and a warrior. The candidate is not
expected to defeat the Urlan, (although some do) but must impress them with their skill.
As you can imagine, new masters are not created every decade, never mind
every year, and Andei was, for many years, the youngest. Indeed at the time, it was her youth, not her gender, which was held to be remarkable.
There were some who were prepared to quibble about the wording of the
designation. When she was awarded the title it was registered with the
Council of Sinecurists. A clerk wrote back, querying whether a lady could be ‘master’ and swords’man’ and was there was another equivalent title.
Old Toldan, the oldest of the surviving Masters, and hence in some ways
their spokesman was not impressed. I was fortunate enough to be asked to pen the letter he sent, (he wanted it written in a better hand than he could
manage) and the words I can remember still. “I care not whether our new
Master stands or sits when they visit the jakes. We have assessed their
skill with the sword and they have reached a standard where, frankly, they
can call themselves whatever they damned well like. There are probably not six people in the city with the ability to query their decision. But if you
are not happy with the situation, take up your blade and have it out with
her in person.”
Personally I felt rather sorry for the clerk who was probably just checking
that the terminology was right, lest they inadvertently offend.
Still, like the other masters, she tended to support herself through
teaching, and whilst Andei would consider anybody as a pupil, she did tend
to teach women. This led her into many complicated situations. There are any number of reasons why a lady might learn to fence, and take lessons.
The first is a genuine love of the art, allied to a desire to be able to
both defend herself, and to maintain a level of fitness. These ladies tend
to gravitate to Andei because she is a good teacher, and has a reputation
for being gentle with beginners. This latter quality is unusual, many
masters are brusque with beginners, feeling that they are casting their
treasure before the dogs. Most masters prefer to take competent pupils who
have reached a good standard but who can then be stretched and pushed until they’ve achieved the best they can.
The second reason why a lady may wish to learn to fence is that she has
conceived a desire for the fencing master rather than the art. There are any
number of ‘fencing teachers’ who have stepped forward to gratify this group.
The problem with these ‘fencing teachers’ is that they don’t have to be very
good, as their pupils are never going to aspire to achieve mastery, they
merely have to be better than the average Port Naain husband. To be honest
this doesn’t set a very high bar.
This then set a pretty problem for the husband of such a lady. What to do?
He was almost certainly unable to match his wife’s paramour blade to blade.
Indeed to do so would be to acknowledge that the fellow was actually his
wife’s paramour. Most would prefer to avoid forcing an open breach, in the
expectation that their wife might get over what was, hopefully, a short
lived infatuation.
The arrival of Andei upon the scene suddenly gave these gentlemen a way
through their dilemma. They would hire her to teach their wife, ensuring
that she arrived when the ‘fencing teacher’ was present. The husband would introduce Andei into the situation, explaining that he was so impressed with his wife’s devotion to her new interest that he decided to hire for her the very best.
This forced the lady’s own fencing teacher into a difficult position. One
particularly foolish and over-confident individual dismissed her with vulgar abuse. Andei merely stood with her hand on the hilt of her blade and
commented, “One day you may achieve the level of sophistication set by this
table, it at least has a certain polish.”
When he drew his sword and attacked her she casually disarmed him and drove him from the house, thrashing his buttocks with the flat of her blade.
Another of these gentlemen saw her as she walked along Ropewalk and decided to take advantage of the busyness of the street to insult her. He told her, at length, what he thought of her. She glanced at him briefly and replied, “I don’t care what you think about me, I don’t think about you at all.”
It has to be said that Andei was never vindictive about it. If the fencing
teacher went, Andei just left it at that. On occasion she would come across
the same individual, but in a different household. In these occasions it was
often enough for her to just stare at him for him to make his excuses and
leave.
Still, there are always those who seem too stupid to learn their lesson.
Flatan Artwight was one of these. After being ejected from one house, he
decided to get his own back by starting a whispering campaign. This alleged
that Andei won her coveted status not by her ability with the blade but by
engaging in unusual erotic practices with various unnamed (but obviously
powerful) people.
One evening I was helping Madam Kalinsa plan an entertainment she was
holding the following week. I did notice she keep looking at the clock, but
wasn’t entirely sure why. Then a maid arrived and announced, “It is time for your fencing lesson, Master Flatan Artwight has arrived.” I thought this a little strange, as it was late in the evening and I knew that Madam’s
husband was in Prae Ducis on business. Still I made my excuses and left,
passing Flatan in the hallway as I did so. I was walking down the drive
towards the road and met Andei Addlespur walking towards the house. I bowed slightly.
“Good evening Andei, I confess I am surprised to see you here.”
She gave one of those quick smiles which displays teeth rather than humour.
“Master Kalinsa asked me to keep an eye on things and drop in if necessary.”
She paused as if pondering the situation. “Would you be so kind as to
announce me please? And when you do, stress I am entering the house behind you.”
Nothing loath I turned round, walked back into the house and was met in the passage by a bemused maid. “I have a message for your mistress, and could you greet Andei Addlespur at the door and show her in please.”
With that I knocked on the salon door and after allowing a short period to
elapse I entered the room. Madam was seated on the settle and Flatan was
apparently engaged in getting a speck of dust out of her eye. Without
ceremony I announced, “Andei Addlespur has arrived, your maid is at this very moment showing her in.” 
Flatan cursed, opened the window and climbed out. Intrigued I made my way to the window. As Flatan prepared to tiptoe into the shadows and make his way through the garden to the road, Andei appeared in front of him with her sword drawn. The light from the window glinted on the blade. She said nothing, merely watching him, her sword half raised. Finally Flatan’s nerve obviously broke because he drew his sword and charged towards her. She deflected his blow with her blade, guiding it to her left. Then she half stepped sideways to avoid his attempt to body slam her and trust with her sword. Flatan fell dead.
She looked down at the body, sighed and wiped her blade on his shirt. Then
she turned to me as I stood at the open window. “Tallis, I think I’d better
spend a while in Partann. I am not sure if the authorities are going to
smile upon this particular incident.
I could see that. “Well you have rather burned your bridges. They could
claim it was murder, even with me as a witness to state he attacked you.”
I got a genuine smile for that. She sheathed her sword. “Always remember,
Tallis. If you’re being pursued by idiots, burning your bridges sometimes
seems an entirely sensible thing to do.”

And now a brief note from Jim Webster.

It’s really just to inform you that
I’ve just published two more collections of stories.

Jim Webster, 2020

The first, available on Kindle, is ‘Tallis Steelyard, Preparing The Ground,
and other stories.’
https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0872GGLF9

More of the wit, wisdom and jumbled musings of Tallis Steelyard. Meet a
vengeful Lady Bountiful, an artist who smokes only the finest hallucinogenic
lichens, and wonder at the audacity of the rogue who attempts to drown a
poet! Indeed after reading this book you may never look at young boys and
their dogs, onions, lumberjacks or usurers in quite the same way again.
A book that plumbs the depths of degradation, from murder to folk dancing,
from the theft of pastry cooks to the playing of a bladder pipe in public.

The second, available on Kindle or as a paperback, is ‘Maljie. Just one
thing after another.’
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Maljie-Just-thing-after-another/dp/B0875JSJVM/

Once more Tallis Steelyard chronicles the life of Maljie, a lady of his
acquaintance. Discover the wonders of the Hermeneutic Catherine Wheel,
marvel at the use of eye-watering quantities of hot spices. We have bell
ringers, pop-up book shops, exploding sedan chairs, jobbing builders,
literary criticism, horse theft and a revolutionary mob. We also discover
what happens when a maiden, riding a white palfrey led by a dwarf, appears
on the scene.

Be sure to go and check them out!

April 2020 Books #AmReading

Month four of the year, and it’s a different life we are living at the moment. Have you managed to read more, or less? I have found that I am easily distracted from books at the moment, but that’s not so say I’m not going to try! I’ve been reading in bed, in the bath, on the sofa, in the garden, and even while walking! (yes honestly!) Last April, I think I managed around 15 books in a month. Did I hit anywhere near that number this month?

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Only You

Only You by Kate Eberlen ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Two young souls meet in Rome and end up striking up a friendship which turns to an intense romance. With a dance background behind both of them, music and dance bring them together more.
Until their pasts catch up with them.
I must confess that it took me a while to get into this book. Written from two perspectives, we learned about Alf and Letty, how they were feeling in Rome, but it took a little while to get in the swing of things. The second section, which jumps back, explaining the whys of the story, gave me a good few Aha! moments. And the conclusion... well, it was what we all would want from a love story.
But, I have to say, I did enjoy it,  once I got into the story.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Pan Macmillan for an arc in exchange for an honest review.
Booms And Busts by [Le Pard, Geoff]

Booms And Busts by Geoff Le Pard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, I was glad to get back to the adventures of Harry Spittle in his lawyer days!
What a fantastically farcical tale of the mishaps and misadventures that Harry finds himself in, narrowly escaping prison, mixing with the wrong sorts, and with reappearing ghouls from the past. I really enjoyed it, and Le Pard’s way with words, his dry sense of humour, makes the book for me!
Hooray for Harry, the hapless hero!

The School Mistress of Emerson Pass by Tess Thompson

The School Mistress of Emerson Pass by Tess Thompson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a lovely story filled with love, hope and true goodness.
Just the kind of book to read, to surround yourself with positivity.
Quinn Cooper travels to a tiny backwater, Emerson Pass, in the snowy winter, to take up a position as a school teacher, where she can earn money, and send some back to her poverty-stricken mother and sister, back home.
Lord Alexander Barnes has managed to fulfil his dreams. He moved from England to the USA, and has, slowly, built up a small town, Emerson Pass – a place he’s proud to call home. A place his children can grow up happily, despite their lack of a mother. All they need is a school, with a good teacher at it’s helm.
It’s safe to say that neither Quinn, nor Alexander were what the other imagined, but as they get to know one another, it’s clear they need one another.
Their story is entwined with tales of the residents of Emerson Pass, bigotry, racism, honour, respect, love.
A happily ever after that I know is going to spawn some great sequels!

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book, but the blurb held an interesting premise.
Unfortunately, I found it very hard to get into.
The way the book was written with no regard to traditional structure or punctuation was different, but also confusing.
Nevertheless, each short section detailing a different strong woman’s life was intriguing. I had to read to the end to find out how it all tied together.
But… I just wish there were fewer characters, so I could get to know some in more detail, rather than so many, women, who seemed to blend into each other after a while.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Books for an ARC of this book, in exchange for my honest opinion.

Published 2nd May 2020

People Like Us by Louise Fein

People Like Us by Louise Fein
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Having read The Book Thief before, and loving it, this book, People Like Us really appealed to me and I was not disappointed,
A love story, set in Germany, detailing the relationship between Hetty, daughter of a high ranking SS officer, and Walter, a young Jewish neighbour.
The story starts at a time when they were children, and Hetty owes her life to Walter when he rescued her from drowning. It is a time of innocence, when there is no real distinction between Aryan and other races, for the children at least.
As time goes by, and the Nazi regime begins to take hold of the lives and thoughts of the younger generations, friendship turns to forbidden love.
I was engrossed from very early on in the book, and my heart went out to the innocents in the war. All those whose lives were ripped apart because of the thinking of that one man, Hitler, and his henchmen.
Highly recommended,
Many thanks to NetGalley ad Head Of Zeus for an ARC, in exchange for an honest review,

Published 7th May 2020

Marred: Kyle and Violet (Cliffside Bay, #4)

Marred: Kyle and Violet by Tess Thompson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s been a couple of months since I started the Cliffside Bay series, and what with ARCS and a certain pandemic, it has taken me a while to get back to the books, but I was determined!
This wonderful series of books takes a look at the lives of a group of friends whose lives become entwined in different ways. Each book takes a look at a specific couple, winding threads from previous stories, and planting the seeds for the next ones.
In Marred, we learn more about Kyle and Violet.
Kyle, or Kale, as Violet’s son calls him, is a successful property developer with a ton of money, a portfolio bulging with properties and a reputation as a ladies man.
Violet is a single mother with a conscience. She takes an instant dislike to this man who wants to commercialise her beloved home town, Cliffside Bay, with a holiday resort, but finds herself in a situation where, not only is she working for him, but living with him too.
A wonderful read, where you know the happily ever after will come, but not without its fair share of ups and downs.
Thank you, Tess! On to Tainted!

Tainted: Lance and Mary (Cliffside Bay,…

Tainted: Lance and Mary by Tess Thompson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book 5 of the Cliffside Bay series and I am not tired of it at all.
In fact, since I came into it so late, I am lucky that there still a good few for me to read!
This story focuses on the last of the Dogs, Lance, and his relationship with Mary, who tumbled into the lives of the Cliffside Bay gang when her father, Dax, married Lance’s housekeeper, Flora.
We get to learn, as we do in each story, more about these key characters, as well as taking deeper looks into the lives of the established pairs. And then there is always the introductions of fresh blood, that give you good indications of the stories that may be to come.
I loved that Tess Thompson dealt with the issues around losing a baby, mid-pregnancy. Miscarriage, in all its different forms, is an awful thing to go through. I know. Been there done that. But it is handled with kid gloves, and you end the story with a huge helping of hope.
Tess’s books are always filled with positivity, no matter what bumpy ride the characters may take you on, to get to the end of their journey.
I can’t wait to get to the next one, now!

A Springtime Affair

A Springtime Affair by Katie Fforde
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Katie Fford’s books have kept me company through much of my adult life, from the end of university, marriage, kids, and now, as we live in this surreal world of COVID-19.
I was smitten with the story of Helena and her ‘not romantic at all’ relationship with her evil, about to evict her, landlord, Jago, as well as the tale of Gilly, Helena’s mother, who has side away from love after her divorce.
Needless to say, there’s definitely a happy ending, with a few wrong ‘uns thrown in, along the way.
I love how Fford writes in a way that makes the reader lose themselves in the story, forgetting reality while being immersed in her lovely stories.
Definitely a great feel-good romance!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Random House for an arc in exchange for an honest review.

Missed: Rafael and Lisa (Cliffside Bay, #6)

Missed: Rafael and Lisa by Tess Thompson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This time we are venturing into the world of the Wolves, and their romantic pursuits.
The Wolves are a secondary pack of men who have, for various reasons, ended up in Cliffside Bay and have been mentioned in the previous 5 books, so it is easy to see how their stories slot into the adventures of the Dogs.
This time we are given more of an understanding about Rafael and his dark past, and Lisa, with her disturbed background, and hopes and dreams.
I knew they were going to get together. I knew all was going to be fine at the end, but Thompson took her scenic route, as always, to get us to the end.
Another wonderful addition to the Cliffside Bay series!

Cliffside Bay Christmas by Tess Thompson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I do love these little novellas that Tess Thompson has written, to add a little splash of extra spice into her Cliffside Bay Series!
Here we get to become involved in the expansion of the Dogs and their families, with not one, but two births, and all during the season of Christmas!
A lovely, easy read that you can devour in one sitting.

Healed: Stone and Pepper (Cliffside Bay, #7)

Healed: Stone and Pepper by Tess Thompson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book seven of the Cliffside Bay series, and Tess Thompson takes us on another romantic journey, uniting a pair who are destined to be together, even though they don’t quite know it yet!
We follow one of the Wolves, Stone, and his developing feelings for Pepper.
Another tale of heartbreaks, and emotional upheavals that result in that Happy Ever After!

11. So I managed eleven. That’s not so bad, is it, and I managed to read lot’s of Tess Thompson’s series which was on my Kindle FOREVER!

I have omitted an arc I read as well, and I have been dipping into craft books and online courses, as well as writing, and popping in to school to do the Covid-19 version of my day job, so I don’t think eleven books is to be sniffed at!

So, how has your reading month been? Seen anything you like the look of?

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