Aaaaand… It’s Publication Day! – Ritu Bhathal

Pop over to my Author blog for my Release Day post!

Source: Aaaaand… It’s Publication Day! – Ritu Bhathal

May 2023 Books #AmReading

I don’t think I am even going to comment on what ARCs I have, because whenever I think I get to the end of my pile, an other arrives! Still, I am not complaining. It means I have all the more books to share with you!

Keep Her Secret by Mark Edwards
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another captivating read by best-selling psychological thriller author Mark Edwards!
Matthew is in a good place, having rekindled his university romance with his old girlfriend, Helena.
Only, on a trip to Iceland, faced with losing her life, Helena confesses to something which has far-reaching consequences for both their lives.
I can’t say much more about the story because then I would give the twists away, but I can say that I was hooked from the moment I picked this book up! I was reading in the bath, as you do, and before I knew it, the water was cold, and I was nearly at page one hundred! Needless to say, it didn’t take me long at all to finish this book!
I won’t say it was an easy read – which psychological thriller is? But it swallowed you whole, and you just want to keep reading to find out which twist will be revealed next!
There were moments I felt so sorry for Helena, but then doubts crept in and then would get swept away again… And I did feel for Matthew, dragged into a situation that he would never have been in had he not met Helena again after all these years.
But the ending. Wow.
And I always thought rollercoasters had a firm end in sight…

Released 30th May, 2023

Yellowface by R.F. Kuang
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve not read any books by Kuang before, so this was a new-to-me author.
A trainwreck story about an author who hasn’t achieved success, whereas her counterpart has hit the big time.
Being cherry-picked as the diverse writer of the moment, Athena has experienced none of the disappointments and rejections that the average writer does, like her friend June.
June and Athena have spent an inordinate time together, despite not really being friends, and then one day, on a night out, Athena is suddenly not there any more.
A too-tempting opportunity arises, and soon, June, now known as Juniper Song, is also hailed as a literary success, but not without huge bumps and attacks on her conscience following the big time.
This book delves deep into the psyche of an anxious writer and the publishing world. It is very interestingly written but quite niche in its appeal to a mass market.
There are some extreme situations, but they have been executed well.

Released 16th May, 2023

Just Like That: The perfect feel-good romance to make you smile by Nina Kaye
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Nina Kaye has done it again with this captivating read!
Jess is an event manager. Not any old event manager but a brilliant one. She’s heading places in her industry. People are trying to headhunt her.
Then a tragedy in her personal life means she has to scale back on her work, leaving her with some less than favourable minor events to organise, rather than the big glitzy ones she has been used to.
And to top it off, she gets to her new main client and has to deal with a grumpy grouch of a man, there too, who seems hell-bent on making her life a misery… or is he?
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, especially as it had not only a build-up of romance and enemies to lovers but cute animals! And how could it not, since the majority of it is set in a wildlife reserve?
Jess is torn between wanting to be the best in her job and fulfilling family duties. I truly felt for her throughout.
Then you have Nick, the grouchy grouch head keeper at the reserve, with whom she has to work closely… Tensions simmer and are built up fantastically through Kaye’s writing.
There is a very sensitive portrayal of learning how to live with a disability and how caring for someone suddenly incapacitated can take its toll on your life.
A fantastic read that I would recommend.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Canelo for an ARC.

Releasing 1st June, 2023 (like my book, Straight As A Jalebi!)

Unladylike Lessons in Love: spicy and romantic Regency debut for 2023 perfect for fans of Bridgerton by Amita Murray
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ever since Bridgerton hit the screens, I have searched out Regency Romance novels, devouring the Julia Quinn books and several others.
The premise for this book intrigued me, with a woman, the illegitimate child of an English nobleman and his Indian second wife, or mistress, as the rest of the Ton would say, and how she navigates the world of the wealthy in upper-class London.
Lila Marleigh is a fantastic character, full of spunk. She’s carved out her own place in society as the hostess of salon nights, where gambling and drinking take place, as well as some more (in)discreet meetings of lovers and the suchlike.
You can tell she has resigned herself to a life alone regarding relationships, but she has a huge heart, which shows in how she treats her staff, and those around her.
Things go awry with the arrival of a certain ice-blue-eyed gentleman to her salon nights. Ivan looks like he might be trouble, wrapped up in a nobleman’s guise…
I have to say I devoured this in a day and enjoyed the diversity at play, as well as the storyline. And this is another example of how racy those Recency folk were, too!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins UK for an ARC.

Releasing 30th May, 2023

The Little Italian Hotel by Phaedra Patrick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A fabulous summer read!
Ginny Splinter spends her days advising the public about all matters in their lives and her evenings enjoying time with her husband, Adrian.
They appear to have a perfect marriage and are on the eve of celebrating their silver wedding anniversary, as well as the impending wedding of their daughter.
Until Adrian drops a bombshell that almost destroys Ginny.
Instead, she picks up the pieces of her life and finds herself on a three-week holiday in a little rustic hotel with four total strangers, each with their own heartache.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Ginny is at that time in her life, about to hit 50, thinking that everything is just as it should be. I guess it’s rare to be in such a position, so when everything comes crashing down around her, I felt huge empathy for her.
The little hotel the motley crew end up in is quaint, lived in, and filled with some secret power that allows each of these guests to open up and accept their lot in life.
I loved Edna, the octagenarian, who brings so much wisdom to the group, what with all her experiences in life.
Did the ending totally convince me? I’m not sure. Maybe I would have liked it tied up a little more unless, of course, Phaedra Patrick is planning a sequel to let us all know what happens!
However, a beautiful book that I raced through easily in a day.
Many thanks to NetGalley and HQ for an ARC.

Releasing 20th July, 2023

Summer Reading by Jenn McKinlay
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An engaging, frustrating, but great story!
Samantha Gales has returned to Martha’s Vineyard to help her dad and step-mum with some ‘supervision ‘ of her younger teenage brother while they leave for a few weeks. Life hasn’t been easy for her, losing out on a promotion and ending up with no job.
Arriving at home, she is thrown against a hot, bookish guy on the ferry, and a not-so-typical relationship begins.
You see, Sam is not so typical, either. As a woman diagnosed with dyslexia as a teenager, she has struggled to find her niche in life, and that is where the kitchen welcomed her. So to find herself strangely drawn to a guy who appears to love books and one who appears to be way out of her league, that is a frightening situation,
Bennet, or Ben, is in Martha’s Vineyard for the summer with a mystery to solve and hadn’t foreseen meeting a woman in his plans.
I don’t want to tell you the story; this is a review, but needless to say, it was a good read. A woman who has felt rejection keenly over the years, I feel Sam’s pain purely because characters on a page won’t sit still for her. She is a brilliant chef, yet still gets overlooked for so much, not knowing whether her condition or gender are to blame for her stilted rise to success.
And Ben is just a darling! He has his issues, obviously, but to see someone so caring and considerate, despite his own issues, was a pleasure.
There are a couple of steamy scenes, which added a bit of spice, too! And there are those key ‘will-they/won’t they?’ moments, too!
Recently, there has been a slew of books with some neurodivergent MCs at the help. It makes my heart happy to see these stories out there, considering how many people operate in a non-neurotypical manner. Way to go, diversity and inclusive literature!

Releasing 20th July, 2023

Tough Crowd by Andi Osho
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was thrilled to be asked to read Andi Osho’s latest offering, having enjoyed her debut very much,
Tough Crown is well written, funny, and emotional journey for the female MC Abi, who is battling negativity from her mother for her chosen path, becoming a comedian, as well as navigating a new relationship that brings her into new territory of not only being girlfriend but needing the approval of children…
I loved Abi. She knows what she wants in life, and despite everything, is trying her hardest, even though there are successes all around her, sometimes ready to make her vow never to cross a stage again. And to be thrown into the role of ‘Dad’s new girlfriend’, well, that’s gotta be pretty tough for someone who never thought they wanted kids!
There is a great supporting cast, including Will, her new beau, who could be The One, but with some excess baggage.
The kids, Elle and Elsie are two opposite characters, but they truly make Abi work for her own money, Elle especially.
But I loved Abi’s father. Only has a small role within the book, but he is a star, ever her cheerleader, and someone who has his own mini-character arc within the book.
This a good insight into the stand-up comedy circuit gigs and how those comedians struggle to make it big… if only it were that easy to just stand on stage and rattle off a few jokes…
A great read. Again. Well done, Andi Oshi!
Many thanks to NetGalley and HQ for an ARC.

Releasing 20th July, 2023

A Midlife Gamble by Cary J. Hansson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was honoured to be sent an ARC of this book to complete the Midlife trilogy I have devoured.
It is always great to revisit characters who feel like old friends, and this one is no different.
We meet Kat, Helen and Caro again, after that fateful holiday, where their friendship showed its frailty after thirty years.
However, friendship, true friendship, can overcome even the biggest hurdles.
There are old moments revisited, new battles to overcome, as well as a brilliant surprise trip to Vegas, where so much happens.
Ultimately a book about friendship, growing older and how friendships have to change, and the importance of trust and honesty.
Rather like the beautiful Japanese are of Kintsugi, repairing broken things with threads of gold, we see the fragments of this friendship slowly being glued back together with gold… but is gold strong enough to keep it together?

Published 17th May, 2023

What Would Jane Austen Do? by Linda Corbett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

You can read my review soon when the lovey Linda comes to visit me for a Book & A Brew with Ritu!

Releasing 16th June, 2023

Dating Dr. Dil by Nisha Sharma
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Okay, so I admit to having this on my TBR shelf a tad longer than I wanted, but finally got to read it, and I enjoyed it!
Kareena is older than the average Single Indian Female and has a deadline looming. If she doesn’t get engaged or married, she forfeits a chunk of money that would help her with her dream of buying a certain house.
Prem is a cardiologist who might mend broken hearts but not emotionally broken ones. He has no belief in love, even though that’s what his name stands for. He’s about to lose grasp of an investor through an unfortunate incident that went viral, and his dreams of a special medical centre are fading.
Of course, they meet/clash/whatever you call it.
And they find themselves in a bit of a predicament, where they could use each other, only they appear to hate one another and have totally opposite views on love and marriage.
But do they?
Honestly, I love a book with South Asian characters. I love the whole familial dynamics at play, being able to recognise so many of the characteristics of different members of the extended family and the expectations put upon youngsters by the elders.
Nisha Sharma has written a great story here with the Shakespearean classic, Taming of the Shrew, as the backbone of the story.
There is much to love, a fantastic extended cast of characters, and the promise of more stories spun around the same faces you root for.
Oh, and it is a bit steamy, too, if you catch my drift! If you can look beyond a rather funny nickname for a certain appendage, you will surely enjoy!

Instant Karma by Kay Bratt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I adore these Hart’s Ridge books by Kay Bratt and was thrilled to get a copy of Instant Karma, book 5 in the series, as an ARC.
This time, along with keeping up with Taylor Gray, the main character whose thread runs through all these books, we get to know more about her sister, Jo, and her son. Until now, readers haven’t had a chance to get to know much about her, other than that she is a single mother, so getting the background on her was another stepping stone to being immersed in the Gray family.
It was wonderful to see how Kate, Taylor’s mother, continues to build on her dream of an animal sanctuary, meaning we get to meet all wonderful animals, too!
Since there is always a crime or mystery to solve, we also have a chance to peep into the life of Faire, one of the long-term residents of Hart’s Reige, but someone who has become an almost recluse, with her bird, Baby, as her main company. Fearful of a lonely future, with not much money left in her coffers, Faire offers a room in her house to a lodge, which brings more than just rent money to the table.
Another truly wonderful read!
I can’t wait for number 6, and am even more excited knowing there are 8 in total!

Releasing 29th July, 2023, Kiltie will be joining me for another Book & A Brew, though it might be with Bubbles!

Another ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ read for me! I will share the review with you in that post!

The List by Yomi Adegoke
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ola and Michael are the #BlackLove poster couple. A hot, young pairing who seems to have it all, with just weeks to their wedding, when Ola finds something extremely disturbing about her fiance.
Someone on Twitter has been collating a Google Spreadsheet named The List, with men on there deemed toxic.
And her man is on there.
A topical book, given all the slurs and allegations that get slung around due to the internet’s openness, damaging innocent people’s reputations.
Equally as important is the fact that though some men may be innocent, there are plenty who aren’t, yet still get the chance to either sweep accusations under the carpet or, within a few months, have managed to shine their tarnished images once again and appear unblemished.
I enjoyed this book, and though the middle may have been a little slower, the build-up was fantastic, and the ending… well. Wow. Honestly wasn’t expecting that!
Many thanks to NetGalley and 4th Estate for an ARC.

Releasing 20th July, 2023

A Game of Romance and Ruin by Ruby Roe
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My, oh my, Ruby Roe, you naughty girl!
I thought the first book was risque, but I was mistaken.
Graphic Sapphic taken to another level!
A Game of R&R is book two in the Girl Games series, and though it could be read as a stand-alone, it is better if you read the first to get the backstory, which is referred to on multiple occasions throughout book 2.
The story is an extremely steamy but emotional second chance romance for Stirling and Morrigan, who have a chequered history with one another.
One is a scorned lover, the other a hacked-off princess. But they both feel a magnetic pull between them, regardless of all situations. And as a reader, we feel that pull, too!
Roe’s world-building is fantastically intricate, and the level of detail involved in the story is mindblowing.
I loved getting back into this series,
It had me gripped from the off.
But choose carefully where you are sitting to read it! 🥵🌶️🌶️🌶️🌶️

Releasing 22nd June, 2023

Releasing 11h July, 2023

No review yet as Gillian and her fab newest release will be featured on a Book & A Brew with Ritu in the near future!

Releasing 2nd October, 2023.

Another one where I will hold my review until Jodie visits for a Book & a Brew with Ritu in September! Another lovely. quick read!

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

A Little Help From My Friends #SAsAJ

Please pop over to John’s big for a wonderful post about my soon to be released Straight As A Jalebi!


April 2023 Books #AmReading

I don’t think I will even comment on what ARCs I have because whenever I think I get to the end of my pile, another arrives! Still, I am not complaining. It means I have all the more books to share with you! But I hope you will be proud of me. I have also managed to read some already released books, too!

Her Fixer Upper: A brand new friends-to-lovers romance for 2023 by Emily Kerr
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh my goodness, I LOVED this! I have read some other Emily Kerr books, so I knew I would enjoy this, but I sped through it, wanting to read every last word and to know exactly how things ended!
Freya and Charlie are childhood friends who have lost touch but meet again, by chance, in a pub.
And their fateful meeting couldn’t come at a better time, as both are trying to get on the property ladder, but neither is having any luck, what with the economy, and the state of most people’s finances, right now.
One thing leads to another, and the two friends find themselves celebrating their renewed friendship with the added golden handshake of a joint mortgage on a doozy of a fixer-upper!
I love property renovation, and I pictured Oak Tree Cottage as they gently rid it of its debris and began to make it a house worthy of living in.
And, more than the conversion of the house, I loved how the friendship between the two main characters began to morph, too.
Aided brilliantly by Arthur, Freya’s Grandfather, and her best friend, Leila, and not forgetting Ted, Aarthur’s dog, who ends up with them for a while, it was a pleasure to read the developments!
Hutch and Humph for life!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins, One More Chapter for an ARC.

Releasing 19th May, 2023

I Love You, Always, Forever by Charlie Dean
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, what a rollercoaster of emotion this book put me through!
Not least because there is sensitive subject matter but because of all the reminiscing I could do, thanks to the book’s timeframe.
The story is set in the now, as an adult Charlie, the main character, is coming to terms with life as a middle-aged woman, and dealing with all that comes with it, including dealing with loss and illnesses of loved ones, as well as a dual timeline of the 90s when she is a student in 6th form (like me), shy, exploring different elements of her personality, and experimenting with a very special relationship.
I loved it because I lived with so many of these experiences as a teenager. The nostalgia I felt was unreal. And then the additional relatability of life as a middle-aged woman. It was just wonderfully written!
There is romance, budding and established, friendships, family and the awakening of sexual feelings. A bit steamy in places too, but honestly, I got all the feels, in a good way!

The one that he wants: A gorgeous and exciting, enemies to lovers romance to escape with. by Lizzie Chantree
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was absolutely into Cherry Blossom Lane with book 1, so I couldn’t wait to be reunited with the characters and learn more about what was happening with Sasha this time!
And Lizzie Chantree did not disappoint.
It was wonderful to see Poppy again, follow the lead-up to her wedding, and watch with intrigue the development of Sasha’s self-confidence and her romantic life.
Ollie is the Taylor brother in the picture this time round, and he is certainly a complex character.
There were plenty of ‘Will they? Won’t they?’ moments as different characters introduced themselves as prospective spanners in the works!
I love how the intrigue has been built for the next book… And cannot wait for it to be out!

Hopeful Hearts at the Cornish Cove by Kim Nash
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s been a while since I stepped into the gorgeous worlds created by Kim Nash and her characters, and I truly enjoyed this foray to the Cornish coast!
Meredith made a bit of a drunken decision to purchase a lighthouse, miles away from the rest of her life, to have a fresh start, a project and to put some distance between her and her old life that, apart from her best friend, seemed to have begun to stagnate.
Well, what can I say? There are always dubious purchases made with the aid of alcohol when you aren’t feeling yourself, and when she arrives at her new, unviewed, apart from some stylised photos, home, she is in for a shock.
And the shocks don’t start there, but at the local supermarket, where she encounters rude locals that get her back up from the off.
I will not go into the story, as what would be the point of you reading it if I was just to regurgitate it here, but I will say that you won’t want to put it down once you start reading!
Meredith is a character who will resonate with many women, especially those of a certain age. She had a fire in her belly that was dampened by her previous life, but the sea and sea air might have just reignited it rather than put it out completely!
There are many characters to keep you wanting to read, not least Vi, who I think is an amazing woman. What a character! And her dog, Gladys, is just adorable!
Meredith has old friends, but the new ones she makes as she begins what feels like a thankless task of renovating and restoring her purchase are a choice bunch.
But there are always that core of locals who ‘hate’ newcomers. She has her work cut out, I’ll tell you.
And, of course, there’s Clem… A brooding, moody man who ends up rather helpful in many ways. But will he be the one who helps her realise she is not just a middle-aged woman undeserving of a fresh start romantically as well as generally?
The restoration of the lighthouse was fascinating to read about, too, and just reading the descriptions makes me want to go and stay in one right now!
A wonderful read from start to finish!

A Summer on the Riviera: a gorgeously heartwarming and escapist summer read of friendship, forbidden love and family secrets by Rachel Barnett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Definitely, an easy read for the coming summer!
Bella, the MC, has found herself the perfect summer job, as the first stewardess on a super yacht, using all the hospitality skills she has learned over the years working in hotels and restaurants, except she forgot that it is on a boat for the whole summer. And she gets travel sick! Oops!
First hurdle.
The second one is her roomie for the duration, who seems rather miffed at this newbie coming in and taking the position on the boat that she had hoped for.
Third, the first guests she has to host include a famous actress and her extremely tasty nephew.
And she CANNOT get involved… Can she?
This was an easy book to get into, with a good solid boy-meets-girl romance and several twists and turns along the way.
I can tell you that there was a moment towards the end before the climax when I literally held my breath, thinking that things might not work out…
So good!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Embla Books for an ARC.

Releasing 2nd May, 2023

Borrowed Time by Kay Bratt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Kay Bratt has wowed me again with this fantastic addition to the Hart’s Ridge series!
We meet Taylor Grey again in her role as a small-town cop, dealing with another heinous crime, this time against a very close friend of hers, Sissy, who has gone missing.
Aside from the investigation, we get to meet another of Taylor’s sisters, Anna, in more detail. Anna is the one who has remained rather aloof through the series, having married well and living in an affluent part of the town, with an Instagram-perfect kind of life.
Until it begins to crumble.
The sisters continue to build their support network together, and it is a joy to read about how their mother, Cate, is faring.
Obviously, there is Diesel, the dog, and several others that join the cast, sure to have starring roles in future stories!
So much happens in this book, and Kay touches upon many topics, such as suicidal thoughts and IDV, sensitively.
There are plenty of twists and turns throughout the book, which I have come to expect from the Hart’s Ridge Series, and the hint of what is to come in book 5, Instant Karma, makes me even more impatient as I wait for its release!
Thank you to Kay Bratt and the publishers for an ARC.

The Bay of Lost Souls: A Beautiful, Uplifting, Perfect Summer Read. by Kiltie Jackson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, Kiltie Jackson. Well, you’ve done it again, haven’t you?
This is the third of your books I have read so far, and I thoroughly enjoyed it!
Each one I have read has a slightly different genre, and each has its own beauty.The Bay of Lost Souls centres around Perrie, a woman who is running from something to the isolated Broatiescombe Bay to be alone and come to terms with her life.
Morgan is a single father to one gorgeous little girl, Daisy, who has his own tragedy to overcome.
Fate rolls them into one another (literally), and the beauty of the bay, and a little girl obsessed with Disney princess Merida, try their hardest to seal the deal.
Thing is, nothing is ever what it seems.
I loved the bay and the little cottage Perrie moves into for her stay and her cats, Timothy and George. What a pair of characters!
All the book’s characters are believable, real souls to whom you can relate.
Daisy was a firm favourite, too, as a feisty little pre-schooler who knows what she wants.
The secret Perrie carries is a big twist and causes all manner of drama, as it should, but everything is revealed and handled in an extremely sensitive manner.
A love story with secrets, twists and turns, and adventure, too.
Definitely worth a read.

The Half Moon by Mary Beth Keane
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

After reading and thoroughly enjoying Ask Again, Yes, by Mary Beth Keane, I was excited to delve into another of her books.
The Half Moon centres around a bar named The Half Moon and a short period of time during which the owners, Malcolm and Jess, are going through their own marital struggles.
It’s that time-old tragedy of the threat of infertility taking its toll on a relationship.
Coupled with a little disappearing person case.
I found it a little tough to get into if I am honest. The same emotions that I felt reading Ask weren’t awakened.
Many thanks to NetGalley, Michael Joseph and Penguin Randon House for an ARC.

Releasing 13th July, 2023

Wish Upon a Cornish Moon by Amanda James
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, What a beautiful story!
I will probably end up gushing about this story to more than one person because I loved it that much!
This story spans several eras through two families, but they are all connected by a thread: the power of the moon and a belief in magic.
During and after WW2, Lamorna, and later on, her sister Morwenna, follow an old folk tale known in their community, harnessing the magic of the moon and a particular cove near where they live, in Cornwall, to launch their wishes for a love of their own, using a short incantation, and a message in a bottle.
In the present day, Merrin is not very easily adjusting to her life as a newly divorced mother to a teenager who is due to spread her wings and leave the family nest, too.
Fate brings her in touch with Morwenna, a lonely elderly lady who lives locally and shares the moon’s secret with her.
And the way everything falls into place is just beautifully planned.
I don’t want to go too far into it, but I can say that it is a gorgeous story filled with – fate, or maybe it really is magic.
I loved all the characters, and honestly, if I weren’t happily settled down, I’d be ready to rush to that cove and take a punt on a message in a bottle, helping me with my own future!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins, One More Chapter for an ARC.

Releasing 5th May, 2023

The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, what a gorgeous read!
Mukesh is grieving the loss of his wife.
Aleisha is stuck in a dead-end summer job before returning to Sixth Form in September.
Neither of them enjoys reading.
Then, a twist of fate, and a certain list, throw them together to forge an unlikely friendship as they learn to love books and the messages they can give.
I was invested from the off with the elderly Mukesh. His unexpected transformation regarding reading is sparked by his trying to keep a closeness to Naina, his wife, who loved her books, and the library.
And Aleisha, as a young adult, just needs a simple job since she is helping her brother care for her mother. Books take on a different meaning, allowing her to accept life and see situations through different eyes.
Of course, the selection of books on that reading list was brilliant, too.
A must-read for book lovers and one for non-readers, too. Who knows, it might spur you on to read something different.

Poetry Treasures 3: Passions by Kaye Lynne Booth
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another beautiful poetry anthology featuring some familiar names and some new-to-me poets.
Kaye Lynne Booth has collated a fantastic selection of poems centring around Passions, and some of these verses really tug at your heartstrings.
Robbie Cheadle, with her verses relating to family and illnesses and Willow Willers, exploring her passions and the feelings passion can encourage, had me speeding through the book.
Colleen Chesebro and D. Wallace Peach also feature in this fantastic collection, with examples of their evocative poetry.

The Twilight Garden: Escape with the life-affirming, uplifting new novel for 2023 from acclaimed author of The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved The Reading List, so when I heard that there was a second book from Sara Nisha Adams, I was thrilled, and, having read it, I was not disappointed at all.
Winston lives in a rented house with his partner Lewis. They have a huge garden that is shared with their neighbouring house, which has been empty since they lived there. The garden is overgrown but a solace to him as he ponders his life, not quite what his parents envisaged when they sent him to London from India.
Then one day, they have new neighbours: Beatrice and her young son, Seb. Beatrice is a recently divorced woman, who wants the best for her child and is excited to have this home with a large garden for her child, only she isn’t quite sure of the shared part.
Animosity brews, and then a set of anonymous letters start to arrive, first for Winston, then for Beatrice, which causes a chain reaction that changes their lives in a huge way.
There is a dual timeline, showing the house’s history, with the POV of the previous residents, Maya and Alma, which gives the story a solid background.
I loved learning about Maya and her start in England and Alma, the grumpy neighbour who becomes family to Maya, her husband, Prem and their daughter.
The anonymous list/letter seems to be a device in both Adams’ books, and it has also been used well this time.
A crew of flawed characters who you come to care about.
A good read.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins UK for an ARC.

Releasing 8th June, 2023

Review to follow in a Book & A Brew post, soon! But, it’s ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️!

Releasing 1st May, 2023 Blog Tour post to follow!

The Coach Trip by Izzy Bromley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this read about a couple of younger women who end up on a coach trip, typically for the more mature holidaymaker.
Emma wants to give her best friend, Mel, a birthday to remember, but double books herself when she promises to go with her grandmother on a coach trip, originally booked as an anniversary present for her husband. Sadly, Grandad passed away before the trip, but Emma wants to make her grandma happy.
Emma and Mel end up on this coach trip with many preconceived ideas about older people, and it is a pleasure to see how these misconceptions are sh=mashed as the week-long trip progresses.
Getting old isn’t fun in many ways. It is often hard for the younger generation to sympathise with that old lady who takes so long to walk or the man who is holding up the supermarket checkout line…
This is a book that makes you rethink your ideas, and it definitely reinforced my already strong respect for the elderly.
And… Mel did have a great birthday too!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for an ARC.

Releasing 10th May, 2023

Releasing 23rd May, 2023 – Look out for my review and a Book & A Brew with Ritu Post around publication date! But, again, another ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ read!

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

Calling In At Allan’s – South Branch Scribbler

I am visiting Allan Hudson’s Blog, South Branch Scribbler, if you fancy a visit!

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