June’s Books #Book Reviews

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

The Newcomer

The Newcomer by Fern Britton

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

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

A Walk in Wildflower Park (Wildflower Park Series)

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

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

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

My Last Love Story

My Last Love Story by Falguni Kothari

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An interesting read.

From a Distant Star

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

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

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

Too cute!

Our Stop

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

What an absolutely fab book!

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

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

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

But how will their paths ever cross?

Cue the Underground and Missing Connections.

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

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

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

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

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

Boy Swallows Universe

Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


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

Published 5th July

Instructions For Falling In Love Again by Lucy Mitchell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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

The First Time Lauren Pailing Died by Alyson Rudd

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

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

What have you been reading?

April’s Books #BookReview

And we’re finished with month four of the year… seriously? Where is the time going? Well, two of the weeks have been at school, and two whilst on the Easter break, so the hope was that I read loads!

I have to admit that since my involvement with NetGalley, I have got a bit obessed! The chance to read new books and give my opinions before the rest of the world reads them was far too good a chance to lose, so I requested plenty of fab reads…. only to have a March where I could hardly keep my eyes open at night to read, so I have a HUGE backlog of my own TBR books, as well as ARCs from NetGalley! April, I hope will have helped me solve that problem!

I’ve recently become more involved with the #WritingCommunity on Twitter too, so have found a good few interesting reads there and one I read this month was Blood Drops by W.B. Welch… Horror shorts – review below if that is something that tickles your fancy!

And I even managed a few from our regular bloggers out in the Blogisphere too! Robbie Cheadle , Hugh Roberts, Linda G Hill , Miriam Hurdle , Esther Chilton thank you for your wonderful books!

peacefully reading

Without further ado… here are my reads of the month!

One Summer in Paris

One Summer in Paris by Sarah Morgan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was my first Sarah Morgan book and I have to say, I was enthralled!

A sympathetic and entertaining read that covers some pretty sensitive issues, from alcoholic parents and dyslexia to unfaithfulness in long term relationships.

Grace, one of the main characters, is looking forward to celebrating her 25th wedding anniversary, but instead of a pleasant surprise, she is given the gift of a husband announcing an affair.

The news shocks her to the core, but somehow, she finds the strength to take a long-planned trip to Paris, by herself, to rediscover herself.

She meets the other main character, Audrey, a dyslexic teenager, who is trying to escape from a life of covering up for her alcoholic mother.

One speaks fluent French, due to her French grandmother; the other speaks none.

They meet in an encounter involving a handbag thief, and after a slight hiccup at the start of their relationship, the two very different women forge a unique friendship, exploring love, life and books!

I loved the way it was written from both perspectives, with the addition of Mimi, Grace’s grandmother, in snippets too.

Goes to show that you don’t have to be the same age, with the same interests, to be friends.

Unlikely friendships can be the strongest.

Absolutely loved this book, so yes, I guess I am now a Sarah Morgan convert!!!

Many thanks to NetGalley and HQ Publishing for an ARC of the book in exchange for an honest review.

The Honey Bus: A Memoir of Loss, Courage and a Girl Saved by Bees

The Honey Bus: A Memoir of Loss, Courage and a Girl Saved by Bees by Meredith May

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A most heartwrenching memoir, written by Meredith May that had me gripped, and finishing the book on just a couple of sittings.

In all honey-sty (sorry!) I had forgotten this was a memoir as I was drawn into the life of young Meredith and experiencing the horrors of a broken marriage through the eyes of a child.

The way her experiences all tied up with the bees was so cleverly woven into the storyline, it had me hooked.

I could feel the first bee on her arm, I experienced the shock of that first attack from her mother, I empathised when she finally found out why her mother was how she was, relief flooded through me when she was able to fly the hive herself, though sadness bubbled over at her return because of her grandpa’s passing.

What a wonderful book, which, I am sure, will stay with me for a long time, and honestly, I shall view bees in such a different light from now on!

Many thanks to NetGalley and HQ publishing for an ARC of the book, in exchange for an honest review.

Opposite of Always

Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I’m not your typical YA reader, but I do enjoy some books, and this was a pretty cool read.

Maybe I was just a little too old to read it and be wowed by the concept, as all I kept on thinking about was Groundhog day!

A story of friendship, loyalty and never-ending love.

Jack Jillian and Franny are a tight threesome bunch of friends until Jack meets Kate.

Who he falls for, but doesn’t know is possibly terminally ill.

The story follows Jack embarking upon a loop of time travel, to try and make things right for his girl, his friends and family.

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

All We Ever Wanted

All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A truly hard-hitting story about issues that are most definitely prevalent in society today, especially the Social Media ones.

A Snapchatted photo causes total hell for a young girl, Lyla, and her father, Tom, but they aren’t the only ones affected. Nina, the mother of the accused photograper, Finch, is in turmoil too, from a moral perspective, as well as a personal one.

I stayed up late once I had started this book and didn’t get out of bed the morning until I had finished it.

The author has really captured a side to this issue that many don’t think of, the case of not wanting to make a big deal of being taken advantage of, because of the repercussions that the victim has to suffer.

Add in a pompous husband, Kirk, who will go to any lengths to cover up any bad deeds, his son’s as well as his own, a bunch of snobbish friends, and a whole host of other secondary characters who you will either love or want to shoot down, and you have a fantastically written book.

I enjoyed it very much, not because I liked the topic, but that it really covered the issues well.

I’d love to know more about what happened with Lyla and Finch after though!

Many thanks to NetGalley and Random House UK for an ARC of this book, in exchange for an unbiased review.

Dear Mrs Bird

Dear Mrs. Bird by A.J. Pearce

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I’ve had this on my list to read for a while, and finally got to it, and wasn’t disappointed at all!

Dear Mrs Bird follows a young girl, Emmy Lake, as she lives in London with her best friend Bunty in the midst of World War 2.

She has dreams of becoming a journalist, whilst holding down a secretarial job and helping at the Fire Station on night shifts.

Her dream looks set to come true as she finds an advert for a job as a Junior at a proper paper, and she gets it but isn’t prepared for what she was actually employed for.

Emmy finds herself as a typist for the Editress, Mrs Henrietta Bird, who is a formidable character with extremely high morals and the opinion that everyone should be able to solve their own problems by growing a spine. Not always helpful for advice if you are the actual columnist that women around the country write to.

Reading through correspondence from many women, and realising Mrs Bird wouldn’t even give most of the letters the time of day, Emmy takes it upon herself to write back to some, with more sympathetic advice and even speaks some replies into the actual magazine.

Having lived through a wartime engagement with her own beau which ends rather abruptly, and having to deal with a personal tragedy involving her own best friend, Emmy is more than capable of answering the worries of the young women around her, in a way that Mrs Bird never would.

Does she get found out? Does she get her own column? Does she find love?

Well, you’ll have to read it to find out!

I love books set in wartime London and this was an easy read, with plenty of laughs as well as tearjerking moments. The only thing that was a little grating was when certain parts of the text were in capitals…

But I’d definitely recommend it as a good read!

Many thanks to NetGalley, PanMacmillan and Picador for an ARC in exchange for an honest review

The Trouble with Rose: The most hilarious and heartwarming new read for 2019 that will make you laugh and cry

The Trouble with Rose: The most hilarious and heartwarming new read for 2019 that will make you laugh and cry by Amita Murray

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I love a good book with a great dollop of culture, my own culture, in it.
And this debut, filled with the fun of being a British Indian, complete with the obligatory GIF (Great Indian Family) was fantastic!
I love that there were elements of the story I could relate to, nodding my head, smiling manically or giggling to myself, with my son sat beside me wondering whether his mother was finally losing it…
That being said, there was a lot that wasn’t ordinary about the story too.
We follow Rilla, a young woman on the eve of her wedding, who ends up bailing, in the most unorthodox of ways, by getting arrested (on purpose).
She’s stuck in a loop in life, trying to get her MA, but unable to really focus, always feeling like she is second best in everyone’s eyes.
Because of Rose.
A person who hasn’t been in her life for over half of it, but who has overshadowed her every move,
Rose – her sister, who suddenly went missing from her life.
Rose – who no one will talk about.
Rose – did she run away? Did she get taken away? Did she die?
All these questions, but no answers.
I really enjoyed everything about the book, and look forward to more from this great talent!

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

While the Bombs Fell

While the Bombs Fell by Robbie Cheadle

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I’ve always liked wartime stories, and usually, they are fictional accounts and family sagas, but rarely from the view of a child.
Robbie has taken the accounts of wartime life from her mother, and alongside her, used the anecdotes to write a book about what life during the war was like, from Elsie’s 3-6-year-old perspective.
Not really a story, more a memoir, mother and daughter have weaved the tales together to create a wonderful, simply written account from Elsie’s memories.
It was great to read how, despite all the shortages and limitations, Elsie and her family still managed to have a good life. Simple pleasures were enough to sate the appetites of children, both foodwise and when keeping busy – something this generation of youngsters could learn from too!
And a bonus of some lovely family photos and even recipes from the war era!

More Glimpses

More Glimpses by Hugh W. Roberts

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
More Glimpses… even better than Glimpses!
I absolutely loved reading Hugh’s first collection of short stories and was eagerly awaiting this new collection, and it really did NOT disappoint!
What was wonderful was that all the stories were new, and I hadn’t read them before on his blog, which meant plenty of new gems that were unearthed!
Baby Talk was a favourite of my daughters.
There are plenty with sinister twists, and in order to create such suspense in a few pages, you have to be a pretty good wordsmith, which Hugh has firmly shown he is!
Easter Bunny Carrot Cake is a short and sweet one, but the romantic in me really loved Floral Hall, even though it is listed as a paranormal story!
Murder in Evershot is another great read…
In fact, they all are.
What are you still reading this for? Go, get the book!

Cape May

Cape May by Chip Cheek

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I’ve always been intrigued by the 1950’s and a chance to look into the newly married lives of Effie and Henry was welcomed.

But, phew, there were some steamy bits!

Was everyone so debauched, and gin-soaked? Or was it just a select few who ended up hopping beds and hearts?

It took me a while to get into it, but once I did, I enjoyed the richly developed characters, and my, even the rather steamy bits!

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

Playgroups and Prosecco: The (mis)adventures of a single mum

Playgroups and Prosecco: The (mis)adventures of a single mum by Jo Middleton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
It’s not easy being a working, single mum, and to top it off, deal with the issues of a teen, as well as a preschool daughter. Oh and manage daycare cliques as well as find love… Or is it?

In this fantastic read, we meet Frankie who is all of the above and follow her over a year filled with Jaffa Cakes, Prosecco, Tinder, toilet happenings and Mooncups…

A hilarious diary style book that had been rooting for Frankie throughout. For the record, I’d have thrown a stapler at Steve, her boss, scrolled longingly through the Insta account of @simple_dorset_life, and embraced my new friends, Lou and Sierra too.

I’d recommend this book to anyone who wants a light-hearted read, with maximum enjoyment!

Think of it as Adrian Mole for the Middle Aged, or Dork Diaries for grown ups!

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

Published 2nd May

Little Darlings

Little Darlings by Melanie Golding

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I’m not one to read many thrillers/chillers but I was intrigued by the blurb of this book, and I am glad I took the decision to give Little Darlings a try.

What a spinetingling book – I am still not sure what to think!

Lauren is mum to newborn twins, and from the first night, gets embroiled in a twist and turn filled journey as she believes her babies may be changelings.

With a husband who’s motives are questionable at best, who I thoroughly disliked, and a cop who has a heart, wanting to believe this woman who all others have relegated to the Mental Health Department, alongside a journalist who wants a scoop, this book kept me riveted!

Old spooky stories about a village underwater, a missing person, possible copycat crimes 40 years apart – seriously, there was a lot to take in.

If you are a thriller fan – read it. If you are a new mum, read with caution!

Many thanks to NetGalley and HQ Publishing for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Published 2nd May

The Forgotten Sister by Caroline Bond

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
It’s hard enough being adopted… but a loving family makes it all worthwhile, right?

What if you find out that they have been lying to you about your birth mother, and other connections too?

Cassie is a young girl at the cusp of womanhood, wanting to explore her own independence, and all is well. Her adoptive parents and sister, Erin, are wonderful, but they can’t answer the questions thrown at her by the Family Planning Clinic nurse about her birth mother…

Cue a search for her real mum, or at least information, and boy does she find some… but not what she was expecting.

A highly sensitive read, emotional in many ways.

Many thanks to NetGalley, Atlantic Books and Corvus for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Published 2nd May

The Farm

The Farm by Joanne Ramos

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
A fascinating concept of baby farming, not in a dystopian setting, like The Handmaid’s Tale, but in modern-day USA.

Surrogacy and having babies for others for financial gain is not uncommon, but a setting like the Golden Oaks is above and beyond…

Apart from choosing the actual genes that form their babies, the uber-wealthy have a chance to choose the ‘hosts’ for their eggs, happy in the knowledge that the woman will be cared for over the nine months of their child’s development, with access to everything they might need, in order to produce a healthy offspring – without the need to actually experience pregnancy. Or there are those too old to have a good chance of carrying a baby to term.

But what about these ‘hosts’ emotional needs, or their own physical ones?

A glamorous maternity home or simply a baby farm?

We start the story meeting Ate, a Philippino woman who has spent a long time in the USA, leaving her own family, to become a much-revered baby nurse, and are introduced to her cousin Jane, who is a new mother herself, then encouraged to become a Host to secure her own child’s financial security by her cousin

The story hops from the point of view of both these characters, and Mae, the woman who heads the operations at The Farm, with her own financial gain in her mind, and Reagan, considered a Premium Host, as she is white, young, and a college graduate from a wealthy family.

There were twists in the tale, things happened that I hadn’t imagined would, keeping me reading though.

It was an interesting concept, but a little slow at the beginning, and sometimes the hopping from one point of view to another, with not enough clarity, was a little confusing.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Bloomsbury Publishing for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Published May 7th

Blood Drops: A Collection of Horror Short Stories

Blood Drops: A Collection of Horror Short Stories by W.B. Welch

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I’ve been hearing a lot about this particular collection of horror shorts, especially on Social Media, so was drawn to read it.
Horror is not my go-to genre – I always assume it will end up as a blood and guts filled massacre or haunting stories…
However, I was pleasantly surprised by this collection of stories that had their fill of gore, but a lot more psychological horror elements to them.
Author W.B. Welch has created a lot of striking characters and situations that stick with you, despite some of the stories being only a page or so long.
I was haunted by Her, loved Laveau and Girl in the Pink Coat was really rather stirring…
Looking forward to more from this intriguing writer!

The Magician's Blood: A Paranormal Romance (The Great Dagmaru Book 2)

The Magician’s Blood: A Paranormal Romance by Linda G. Hill

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I have waited patiently to finally read this sequel to Linda Hill’s The Magician’s Curse and I was really not disappointed!

It took a couple of chapters to get back up to speed with the original story; the magic, the curse, Stephen and Herman’s love, Nina and her demented adoration for the ‘Master’ who impregnated her by compulsion rather than desire…

Then the magic of this sequel started with so many dark and twisted turns, as we were led deeper into the curse of the Dagmar family, and all connected.

I don’t want to give anything away, and to be honest, the way it ended, I don’t think I could because what a way to finish it!

Linda, we need another book, asap as I have to know what is going to happen next!!!

Songs of Heartstrings

Songs of Heartstrings by Miriam Hurdle

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A beautiful collection of poems, words, photos and paintings that glide you through life.
Miriam Hurdle has used the best inspiration possible: her life, to create a stunning set of work that can be consumed in one sitting or even dipped into as and when you feel you need a lift.
My personal favourite… Let Go…

Becoming Mrs. Lewis

Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Stories with an element of truth in them always intrigue me… how much is the truth and how much the imagination of the author?

This was a fictional retelling of the relationship between CS Lewis and Joy Davidman, snippets taken from letters written to each other as they forged a friendship that turned into a love that saved them both, with God as their guide.

I have to say it took me until halfway through the book to really feel involved enough, but I was hooked enough to want to finish and find out the ending.

A slow burner, but a lovely story in end.

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

Published 16th May

A Walk In The Woods: and other short stories

A Walk In The Woods: and other short stories by Esther Chilton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I’ve always enjoyed short stories, and I have said that before.
They are a way to drift off into an unknown world for a snippet of time, however, there are few that can evoke real emotions within their limited words.
I can happily say that this collection ticked all the above boxes.
From the weird and wonderful The Strangest Parents On Earth to the bittersweet The Letter, the vengeful humour of The Secret Diary of Marvin Martin aged 14 1/2 to the sadness of a child’s view in William, there was so much to take in.
I would highly recommend this collection. A short read, but one that really sticks with you.

I Heart Hawaii (I Heart Series, Book 8)

I Heart Hawaii by Lindsey Kelk

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I remember reading the first of this series, I Heart New York way back in 2009, as a new mum to two, desperate for a little escapism, and it was the perfect companion to sleepless nights as the baby woke.

Over the years, I have read each of the sequels, and the Jenny novellas, enjoying each and every one.

I was delighted to have been granted a wish by the publishers for a chance to receive a copy of I Heart Hawaii in advance.

Sadness at the fact it was the last in the series though.

Angela, Jenny, Alex, James et al have been my companions for a long time, and what a way to say farewell!

Leaving her 10-month-old, Alice, at home with rock god hubby Alex, Angela steps into a new role, with Cici, her initial nemesis, as her boss.

Things are never as simple as just ‘starting a new job’ for Angela Clark, though.

Familiarising herself with a new workplace, ethic and possible extra new boss, is not easy when she is tempted away by Jenny, on a trip of a lifetime with all her favourite people to Hawaii.

Of course, she has to go, with the grudging consent of Alex, and spends five days partly intoxicated, partly paranoid, and wholly hilarious!

Add in the MOB, fertility, in-law/out-law wars and some skirmishes with the NYPD and you have the average few days of Angela’s life!

I can’t give things away, but suffice to say I was a little jittery after reading the prologue… what was going on in the life of AC? Was there no more I Heart…?

But I needn’t have worried. Lindsey Kelk takes us on a fantastically twisted, hilarious journey towards an epically wonderful conclusion.

Will I miss AC and the I Heart collective? Absolutely! But what a way to finish!

Many thanks to NetGalley, Harper Collins and Lindsey Kelk for providing me with an arc in exchange for an honest review.

Published 30th May

The Book of Wonders

The Book of Wonders by Julien Sandrel

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Honestly, I was a little nervous when I realised that this was a translation from the original French novel. the last time I read such a book, the contents were rather dark and disturbing, and the translation didn’t help the unease I felt whilst reading!

I really shouldn’t have worried though.

What a ‘Wonder’ful book! (Sorry!)

Imagine being a successful career woman, and a single parent to a teen who was being a typical teen. The tussles and joys of bringing one of those up are never really thought about until something major happens…

… a tragic accident, followed by the news that your precious child is on a coma. You might never get to live those moments of grief and happiness with him again…

Thelma is in that exact situation, yet instead of wallowing at the bedside of her inert son, she accidentally finds a book he had written in, like the beginnings of a bucket list: all he wants to do in life – well, all he had thought of, up to his accident. His Book Of Wonders

The doctors are reluctant to give much hope as to whether he will ever wake, setting a time upon when the machines will be shut down.

But this mother has some hope.

Along with her own mum, and a bevvy of newly acquired friends, she embarks upon a month-long journey to try and fulfil all his wonders, filming them as she does, in the hope that hearing the videos might just jolt him back to life…

I shan’t tell you the ending, but what I will say is that within a tragedy, Julien Sandrel still manages to weave humour, romance and smiles.

It was an easy read, a pleasant read, and sometimes, that is exactly what you need. Not too many complications, but a lovely story that offers hope in a world of craziness.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Quercus Publishing for an ARC in return for an honest review.

Published 30th May

The Woman Who Wanted More

The Woman Who Wanted More by Vicky Zimmerman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A delightful read which was heightened by the fact that one of the key characters, Cecily Finn was actually based on a real person!

The story follows Kate Parker, a woman in her late 30’s who is in a so so relationship, and a so so job, leading a so so life… until her partner realises he’s not quite ready for commitment.

This pushes Kate to try a few different things, including moving back in with her mother and volunteering at an old people’s home, where she meets Cecily, a bit of a battleaxe, but one with some amazing stories and advice wrapped up in a cookery book.

Through this novel, we learn about Cecily’s life before the home, and how her various experiences help to guide Kate, in a rather roundabout way, to a happier, fulfilled life.

I must admit that my mouth watered several times whilst reading this food-fuelled story of friendship!

Many thanks to NetGalley and Bonnier Zaffre for an ARC, in exchange for an honest review.

Published 30th May

One Summer's Night

One Summer’s Night by Kiley Dunbar

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I really enjoyed this uplifting story about Kelsey, a young woman whose future is all planned, or so she thought.
A chance to work in her dream job, albeit rather far away, kick starts changes in her life that have been long overdue.
Not to mention two hunks hankering after her!
Set in the poetic town of Stratford-Upon-Avon, a place I spent many a summers day, taking visiting family to visit, I could feel myself back there, walking alongside Kelsey on one of her tours.
A wonderful debut from someone who I think has a long writerly career ahead of her! Thank goodness there’s a sequel!

This Stolen Life: A completely captivating tale of love that will break your heart

This Stolen Life: A completely captivating tale of love that will break your heart by Jeevani Charika

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Mistaken identity is one thing.
Stealing an identity is a whole other issue
But is there ever a time when it is right?

I was captured by this story of a young Sri Lankan girl, Jaya, who was running away from a terrible life, and within another awful tragedy, is plummetted into a self-inflicted whirlwind as she chooses to take the path less trodden, and steps into the life of another soul, Soma.

Name changed, she arrives in a new country and is set to work for a Sri Lankan family who want her to be able to look after their baby Louis, teaching him Sinhalese as she works.

The mother, Yamuna, is another interesting character who is struggling with first-time motherhood, and in the throes of undiagnosed Post Natal Depression.

With so many secrets bound within her, Soma tries her best to lead a simple, straightforward life, until she meets Sahan, cousin of her employer, and someone who she forms an irreversible bond with.

I could go on and on, and end up telling you what happens, but I won’t do that.

What I will say is that I really enjoyed the book. It was a simple story with plenty of twists to keep a reader hooked, and the added dash of culture that may be unfamiliar to some, but gives it the spice to make you savour it.

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

Published May 8th

Wow! 23 books read! I think I averaged at least one a day during my 2 week break, and the rest just before and after! Hope you enjoy my selection!



















January’s Books #BookReview

January has flown by, don’t you think?

And in that time I have managed to devour eleven (yes, that’s ELEVEN!) books.

Bitmoji Image

I can thank my mile-long TBR list, as well as some fantastic new manuscripts that NetGalley approved for me to be an ARC reader!

Now I’m just going to pop a little photo here to show you what I have been reading…

See.

Told you I’d been busy! There was, of course, a reason for my ability to read so much, during term time. I credit that to a horrible sickness bug that rendered me prone to my bed, when not hugging the lavatory… but you don’t want to know about that!

So, the books.

I am giving you my reviews and a link to my GoodReads review, and if not available yet, a publication date.

Queenie Malone's Paradise Hotel

Queenie Malone’s Paradise Hotel by Ruth Hogan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My first book by Ruth Hogan, and I really enjoyed it.
A tale of a mother and a daughter, told by one person, but two perspectives.
Tilly the young girl, and Tilda the adult.
Queenie Malone’s Paradise Hotel is a story about ghosts. Past and present, and the ability to see them. Their ability to help a confused young woman to see her past more clearly, and her present and future with no regrets.
A touching read that made me think a little of Sixth Sense!

Many thanks to NetGalley and Two Roads books for allowing me to have an arc in exchange for my honest opinion.

Published 07/02/19

Stories from the Heart: Seven Short Stories

Stories from the Heart: Seven Short Stories by Amanda Prowse

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A beautiful set of short stories from a favourite author of mine!
Great to dip into when you can’t commit to a longer book, but want something that will give you that tingle.


Wildflower Heart (The Wildflower House #1)

Wildflower Heart by Grace Greene

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wildflower Heart is the first of Grace Greene’s books that I have read, and I was far from disappointed.

A story of a damaged woman, scarred, physically and emotionally, from situations in her life, including the disappearance and subsequent death of her mother, and then the loss of her husband, in a gruesome accident which injured her as well.
After a long time she finds herself healing in some way, due to Wildflower House, the project her father buys as his forever home, in his retirement.
I don’t want to go into too much detail, but suffice to say, I felt sadness, joy, anger, frustration and hope whilst reading.
I am now keenly awaiting the sequel, wanting to know what happens next in Kara’s Wildflower journey!

Many thanks to NetGalley, and Grace Greene for the Arc, in exchange for an honest review.

In at the Deep End

In at the Deep End by Kate Davies

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m not quite sure what I was expecting when I requested this book, but I have to say I was intrigued… I did have to read it in small spurts rather than in one or two sittings, as some areas were rather graphic!
I certainly have more of an idea about particular erotic activities now!
And I definitely had to be careful that my child wasn’t trying to read over my shoulder!
A sometimes funny, sometimes uncomfortable read, but a page-turner, nonetheless!

Published 21/02/19

Once Upon a River

Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An interesting concept but a bit slow for me. Thanks to Netgalley for an arc in return for an honest review.

The Ballad of Sean and Wilko

The Ballad of Sean and Wilko by Paul Charles

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
A detective, murder mystery kind of vibe. Not really my sort of usual read. Engaging enough, but not the best, for me.

Beautiful Broken Things

Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Engaging. A story of friendship, abuse and support.

Fierce Fragile Hearts

Fierce Fragile Hearts by Sara Barnard

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Okay, so yesterday I spent the day reading Pretty Broken Things in anticipation of reading Fierce Fragile Hearts, and I am glad I did.

What a touching, often heart-wrenching story, told, this time, from the viewpoint of Suzanne, a victim of childhood abuse.

We experience the maturing of a friendship between three girls growing into women, and share with Suzanne the slow acceptance of what happened, and how she learns to deal with the cards life dealt her, all the time, an inner strength growing within her.

I really enjoyed reading this book and devoured it in a few hours.

Thanks to Pan Macmillan and NetGalley for providing me with an Advance Review Copy in exchange for an honest review.

What Happens in France: A laugh out loud romantic comedy that will touch your heart

What Happens in France: A laugh out loud romantic comedy that will touch your heart by Carol Wyer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I literally read this in the space of two sittings in one day!

An easy to read story about Bryony Masters, who is trying desperately to find her older sister who ran away when she was a little girl.

I loved how it was kept lighthearted, with the manner in which she decides to find her sister, and the antics of her and the great characters who support her.

Of course, there is a love interest to keep the romantics among us happy too.

And Biggie Small, the pug – what an adorable character! I wanted to be able to pet him myself and take selfies too!

With thanks to Netgalley and Canelo for this ARC in exchange for an open and honest review

Not Our Daughter!: The true story of a daughter-in-law

Not Our Daughter!: The true story of a daughter-in-law by Kalbir Bains

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I wish I could give this more but I’m sorry. I can’t.
A sad story, but I felt annoyed so much. This happening in the 2000s… It feeds on all the stereotypes of an arranged marriage.
I wanted Harleen to get a backbone.
And the editing… Not good.

Enchantée

Enchantée by Gita Trelease

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
What a beautiful book!
I was most definitely Enchantée!
I do love a bit of historical fiction. Add a dash of magic, a sprinkling of romance and a splash of conflict, and you have a most wonderful, and (sorry to use the word again) enchanting story.
I have heard an awful lot about this book and seen it in the ‘to be read’ piles of a few others I follow and was so grateful to have been given the opportunity to read something so magical in advance.
The story of Camille and her sister, left bereft by the death of their parents, with a brother sinking deep into debt, and the claws, of a mysterious debtor, kept me gripped.
Weaving in the revolution, the beauty of Paris, the mystique of Versailles and the pure magic of those who had the knowledge, the story captivated me.
I was, of course, bowled over by the dashing Lazare – a hero who had morals as well as looks.
There are a host of secondary characters who intrigue a reader too,
Recommend it? Yes, definitely!

Many thanks to NetGalley and Pan Macmillan for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Published 21/02/19

And there you have it.

Lots of Ritu Reads, sometimes recommends, sometimes not!


My interactive peeps!

Peeps are reading in…

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