June 2021 Books #AmReading

I’m hazarding a guess that this will be another quiet reading month, as not only do we have the move to continue with, but it is also report writing month, which is always hectic! Anyway, let’s see what I managed!

5. I managed 5. And if I am totally honest, I am still reading one of them! It has been a really hard month, time is whizzing by…

peacefully reading
Songs in Ursa Major

Songs in Ursa Major by Emma Brodie
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The premise for the book, Songs In Ursa Major, intrigued me and it made for an interesting read.
The story follows the meeting of Jane, lead singer in a local band, and Jesse, up and coming popular musician, who ends up needing medical care after an accident.
Jane and Jesse’s relationship is very complex, but you can feel.the strength of their bond, and I was taken on an emotional roller coaster as their relationships journey progressed.
Filled with music, and the relaxed atmosphere of the 60s, coupled with more serious issues, dealing with drug culture, and loss, as well as the male-dominant industry that the music business was, at that time it was a compelling read.
My only disappointment was that the ending felt very displaced and abrupt, jumping from then, to the present, with not a lot to explain what had happened in the half century between where we were, and where the story actually ends.
An interesting debut.
Many thanks to Netgalley and Harper Collins UK for an ARC, in exchange for an honest review.

Released 24th June, 2021

Pug Actually by Matt Dunn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


When I saw the cover, with that cute pug face, how could I refuse a chance to read? And, the title, Pug, Actually, made me giggle out loud, so, of course, it was a given that I would read this one!
We have Julia, stuck in a somewhat restrictive relationship with a married man called Luke, and a pug, called Doug (Yes, really!) who knows this man is not for his mistress, at all.
The book is all told through the large, sometimes bulging eyes of Doug, the pug, as he tries very hard, with the help of a few other humans, to manipulate situations, to make Julia realise exactly how bad this man is for her.
Knowing this Luke already has something called a ‘wife, at home, Doug knows that Julia could do much better, as he steers her towards Tom, a V-E-T-, (not ideal, because, well, his job, but so much better than Luke with the dodgy smell that he leaves in his wake!)
A delightful romance with a canine twist!
Many thanks to NetGalley and HQ Digital for an Arc in exchange for an honest review.

Released 29th June, 2021

Geraldine Verne's Red Suitcase

Review to follow in a Blog tour post! But, here’s the blurb to whet your appetite!

His dying wish was to set her free. So why does she feel so trapped?

Jack had two dying wishes: that his wife scatter his ashes somewhere ‘exotic’, and that she not give up on life once he was gone. He intended to spur her on to new adventures, but despite clinging to her red suitcase, Geraldine Verne hasn’t left the house for three months.

It takes an accident for Geri to accept help from her friends, but when Meals on Wheels arrive she is mortified. Yet heartbroken volunteer Lottie brings with her more than cottage pie and custard. Like Geri, she too is struggling to cut loose.

As a gloriously unlikely friendship blossoms, Geraldine begins to feel a long-lost spark of life and a newfound confidence. Perhaps what both women needed most, after all, was each other.

Released 29th June, 2021

8 steps to Side Characters: How to Craft Supporting Roles with Intention, Purpose, and Power

Another one I read, for review purposes, and I shall not share the review until the release date, which is at the end of July, but, if you know Sacha, you know this will be a goodie!

Do your characters fail to bring your story to life? Are they flat, boring or have no depth? Is your story lacking a little cohesion or sparkle?
In 8 Steps to Side Characters, you’ll discover:

+ A step-by-step guide for creating side characters that bring your story alive
+ The main types of side characters and what you should do with them
+ The key to crafting character depth that hooks readers
+ How to harness your character’s voice to deepen your reader’s experience
+ Tips and tricks for using details to enhance characterization
+ Methods for killing characters that will help deepen plot, theme and story
+ Dozens of ideas for creating conflict with your side characters
+ Tactics for differentiating characters and making them feel real to your reader
+ Character archetypes and functions
+ The most common pitfalls and mistakes to avoid

8 Steps to Side Characters is a comprehensive writing guide that will help you create the side characters your story needs. This book is packed with tips and tricks for polishing characters for writers at any level.

If you want to power up your characters, eliminate dull and lifeless archetypes, and perfect your characterization, this is the book for you. By the end of this book, you’ll know how to strengthen your characters to give your story, prose and plot the extra something special it needs to capture a readers and fans for life.

If you like dark humor, learning through examples and want to create better side characters, then you’ll love Sacha Black’s guide to crafting supporting roles with intention, purpose, and power. Read 8 Steps to Side Characters today and start creating kick-ass stories. 

Releasing 29th July, 2021

The Beach Read Book Club

The Beach Read Book Club by Kathryn Freeman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Now, just the name of this book drew me to request it, and I was not disappointed at all with the story. I have been struggling to read, recently, and this book pulled me out of the rut I had found myself in!
So we have Lottie, the blonde sparky, never an intellectual person, and definitely not known for her love of words.
She’s been attending a book club, but really isn’t feeling it, what with all the literary greats they are meant to be reading, when all she really wants is a bit of romance, happy endings, and a little steaminess thrown in.
An idea sparks (see what I did there?!) with the help of some other members of said book club to start their own, a more inclusive one, with less formal rules, and here’s how she finds herself the head of the Beach Reads Book Club, with a slowly growing number of members, who do like a book with a bit of a romp in them, but more than anything, they cherish the time they spend together, and the friendships that evolve.
Oh, and I can’t forget the romance within this book, either, can I? Matthew, the rather serious new book shop owner is eye candy for more than one of the members, but, slowly, as he sheds layers of clothing and his own mystique, he ends up being a perfect candidate for our Lottie.
Though, nothing is ever that simple. There is family drama, exes, and a gorgeous, protective dog, involved.
Oh, and who could forget the oldest member of the club, Audrey, who has a potty mouth disguising a heart of gold.
Such a lovely book, I highly recommend it!
Many thanks to NetGalley and One More Chapter for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Released 30th June 2021


So, were you any better than me with your reading?

May 2021 Books #AmReading

I can’t believe May has been and gone! And, the house move is responsible for this late May reading post!

I’m still on a bit of a writing hiatus, of sorts, but reading in fits and starts, when I can fit in time, where I am not falling asleep!

The Lucky Escape

The Lucky Escape by Laura Jane Williams
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Seeing a new Laura Jane Williams book, being touted out there, I was like “Yes, please!”, when I saw it was available to request as an arc! I have thoroughly enjoyed her first two books and knew this would be no different.
And, I was right. Obviously!
The Lucky Escape charts the emotional journey of Annie, a thirty-something woman who is jilted at the altar.
Life was all planned.
They’d been together since university, and lived together for all these years. Marriage was the next logical step, they thought.
Well, so Annie thought, but not Alexander.
She’s left, with no contact from him, no idea what is going on.
Then she meets an old friend, Patrick, an acquaintance from her secondary school years.
As they rekindle their friendship, Annie is offered the chance to go away, to take the honeymoon she was meant to have, as a gift from who should have been her in-laws.
What better than a drunken dare with a still unfamiliar ‘old’ friend?
They both find themselves on the trip of a lifetime, in Australia.
Oh, my! What a situation to be in!
I did feel for Annie, though. Initially, I couldn’t work out why she was so accepting of everything that was going on, but as the story went on, and more from her own childhood was revealed, it became much more apparent, why she was the way she was.
Patrick, what a sweetheart! I knew I wanted them to get together right from the off, but then, his own little secret made me doubt my instincts.
Annie has some strong-willed friends, behind her, who feature a bit, and a family I had mixed opinions about. But, I loved her sister, Freddie! Who knew a youngster could be so wise!
All in all, a great easy read, and definitely one to enjoy on the beach, if you get to one. But, then again, you could enjoy it anywhere!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Avon Books for an ARC in exchange for an honest opinion.

Releasing on 1st June, 2021

High Heels on the Beach

High Heels on the Beach by Bettina Hunt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Looking for an easy, feel-good read, with plenty of romantic twists, as well as lots of talk of food? Oh, and the idyllic setting of a seaside town, complete with beautiful beaches?
Well, then you need to get yourself a copy of High Heels!
Becca, our MC is on the cusp of real womanhood. You know, she’s got it all figured out. Turning thirty. Decent job, fab best friend, great boyfriend, who looks like he’s about to take their commitment to the next level.. that sort of thing.
Then, as her birthday hits, it all goes wrong.
Finding herself without a man, said best friend, a flat, or even a job, for at least three months, Becca has some thinking to do and needs to do it fast.
Unfortunately, the only place she can turn to, initially, is back home with her parents and sister, in their little family-run B & B in Sunny Bay. Back to a place filled with memories, some of which she’d rather forget, as well as a handful of males who have all featured in her life at some point.
This is a story of finding the real you, after being swallowed up in trying to fit into what everyone else thinks is a success.
Becca starts up pretty messed up, but various events along the way, pull her towards her rightful place in life.
I was spoilt for choice with romantic interests, pre-empting what might happen at the end – who would be Becca’s ‘one’? And I have to admit, there were some great choices to pick from!
And I loved Madame DoTell! You need a crackpot psychic in every story, I think!
Overall, a lovely read, leaving me with the yearning to go spend some time at The Yellow Beach House, just so I can take some Gram-worthy food pics!
This was my first book by Bettina Hunt, and I have convinced myself that I’ll need to invest in the previous three, now, too!

The Things That Matter

The Things That Matter by Andrea Michael
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Things That Matter is a beautifully crafted story about a couple, together since the teen years. The glue that has held them together, is a combination of love, need, and a shared history.
Taz and Dan are two people from entirely different backgrounds, yet fate set them on a life journey together.
She comes from the local estate, living with her alcoholic father, and abandoned by her own mother.
He hails from a wealthy family, with the world at his feet.
One event changes both their lives.
This book sends you through all sorts of emotions.
I really felt for Taz. She never shook the trauma of childhood poverty from her life, even though she has everything she needs, materially. Then to experience a loss, as harsh as that of losing a child? Well, my heart went out to her.
The sense of abandonment appears in several forms, from when Taz’s mother disappears, to when Dan’s parents disown him, and even when Taz feels the need to get away from the life she is living as a thirty-something woman.
Finding herself in the Scottish Highlands, to visit that mother who had left her, Taz discovers so much about herself, from a whole new family to her own inner strength.
The fact that she could even contemplate cutting strings from the one anchor she’d relied upon, for most of her life – Dan – shows her strength.
I have to say I loved Kit, Taz’s aunt. She is a character and a half, filled with crooked wisdom, that actually makes total sense.
I truly enjoyed this read.
Many thanks to NetGalley, Harper Collins Uk and One More Chapter for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Published on 14th May, 2021

Yours Cheerfully

Yours Cheerfully by A.J. Pearce
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed Dear Mrs Bird, so was happy to discover that a book two was following, and even more delighted to be offered an advanced copy.
It was wonderful to be back in the world of Emmy, as she entered the world of journalism, in the WW2 era, as a fully-fledged reporter, with real responsibilities of her own.
Mixed in with her blossoming relationship with Charles, and her new friendship with Alice, being reunited with characters like her best friend, Bunty, the story was a true pleasure to read.
I loved how the plight of women, who wanted to be a part of the war effort, but who found themselves stuck, due to the ties of motherhood, was highlighted within this story, too.
And of course, the love story’s culmination was perfect, though not without its own fraught moments!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Pan Macmillan for an ARC, in exchange for an honest opinion.

Published on 24th June, 2021

The Patron (Emerson Pass Contemporaries #2)

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

Oh, I do love a Tess Thompson series, and the Emerson Pass books are so wonderful, with the historical set of stories, alongside the modern.
I love the way history entwines itself through the contemporary books!
Crystal and Garth are recovering from the aftermath of a fire that took their homes from them. Both feeling keen senses of loss, from events previous to the fire, then having this loss on top, leave them both fragile and emotional, and they begin to rely upon one another, more than they had planned to.
The ‘will they, won’t they?’ nature of the story leaves you wanting more until you reach the climax, But there is so much more to this story. A tale of families, ripped apart by tragedies, or lost loves, all which surface during The Patron.
I am happy to say that there was more than one happy ending!
I can’t wait until the next one comes out!

Published on 18th May, 2021

Saving the Day (Quick Reads 2021)

Saving the Day by Katie Fforde
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve read Katie Fforde’s books for years and loved the idea of getting a small dose of her storytelling in this Quick Read.
A cute story, which may or may not be a little too good to be true, but I have to admit, I wanted more!
Allie, our heroine, is stuck in a dead-end job, with a wastrel for a boyfriend, and, just as she thinks this is all life has in store for her, fate has other ideas.
Finding a dream job, eyeing up a much more suitable candidate for a life partner, and meeting a wonderful older woman who ends up giving her the boost she needs, to improve her future, it all falls into place for Allie, but not without a little drama.
As I said, before, it is a cute story but I really wanted to dig deeper into the characters, and the story! Katie Fforde, you might just have to develop this one a bit more and make it full length!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Random House for an ARC in exchange for an honest opinion.

The Promise of Summer: Part One – With this Ring…

The Promise of Summer: Part One – With this Ring… by Bella Osborne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve read a couple of Bella Osbourne’s books in the past and found them pleasant to read. This one, or part one of The Promise of Summer, was no different.
Ruby’s life is passing by. She’s in her mid-thirties, with no real aim in life, no partner, and a job she enjoys, with no real future.
A huge decision, made after a comment made by her mother on her deathbed, causes her to take a trip that will change her life.
On the train to London, she meets not one but two men whose inputs into her day change the course of her destiny,
Then there’s Kim, owner of the florist Ruby works at. She’s got her own secrets,
I don’t know what more to say, without giving too much away, but in all honesty, I can’t tell you much more, anyway, because this was just a short part one of this story!
We were left with many open-ended threads that make this the tale it is. What will happen with Ruby and Curtis, What about Lewis? And that letter that Kim hasn’t opened yet?
It took me a little while to get into the beginning of the story but once in, I was gutted that it stopped where it did!
Roll on the 26th, when I hope we get to read the full story!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Avon Books for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.


Published 26th May, 2021

The Man Ban

The Man Ban by Nicola Marsh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The moment I finished The Boy Toy, Nicola Marsh’s last Contemporary Romance, I was intrigued by the character Manish Gomes, the Anglo Indian Doctor who had an aversion to relationships. I was ‘stoked’ as the Aussies say, to hear that The Man Ban was going to follow, concentrating on the story of Manny, the unattainable Dr!
So, here we have Harper, a woman who is on a self-imposed man ban, following the awful breakup she had with her last long term relationship, triggered by an extremely superficial reason.
Then she goes and meets Manny, the cocksure, but hot doctor, at her friend’s wedding. And, despite everything, he’s the first man to make her doubt her ban decision.
Manny might seem like a shallow guy, but he’s got plenty of reasons for keeping people at arm’s length, yet the moment he meets Harper, things are different.
I loved the chemistry between both these strong characters, as they try their hardest to keep away from one another, but fate has other ideas.
There is sizzle and steaminess, as well as more serious issues covered, in a sympathetic manner, such as dealing with a diagnosis of Vitiligo, and cultural pressures to get married.
A real fun read!
Many thanks to Netgalley and Berkley Publishing for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Published 27th July, 2021

Any of them tickle your fancy? Let me know what you’re reading, too!

April 2021 Books #AmReading

So, last month I went ARC mad and read quite a few from my list, hoping to lessen it… then over the month, I managed to amass the same amount again in new arcs! So, I will try and mix up arc and TBR list reading, this month. the first two weeks I am on holiday so I hope to get a bit read, then!

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The Borrow a Bookshop Holiday

The Borrow a Bookshop Holiday by Kiley Dunbar
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A holiday that involves books, a bookshop, baking, a dog and a hunk? What’s not to love?
Jude’s life revolves around her family, caring for her grandmother, and pottering around, helping her parents in the family bakery business, alongside completing her English degree part-time. Books are her faithful friends throughout her life.
When her forbidden romance, ends badly, along with finding out her parents are shutting up shop, and her gran wants to move to a retirement village, she’s at a loss as to what to do, until an email arrives, confirming a booking Jude and her then-boyfriend had made for a two week holiday, running a bookshop and a cafe in a small village in Devon.
She arrives, after being forced by her parents and best friend to take the break, hoping for a fortnight of solitude, books and baking, and is rudely awakened on her first night by an intruder.
I won’t go into more detail, other than to say that the intruder ends up being hot, and the bookstore comes with a mangy mutt, who both end up stealing the reader’s heart.
Jude is a character who has such low self-esteem and feels like she doesn’t have a real place in the world, and this story gives her a chance to grow into herself, and find the life she always wanted.
Elliott – that’s the intruder – well, he’s just a fab character, all big and brooding, but gentle and kind, too, and he’s an animal lover. Oh, and he has a bit of a past that he’s trying to get away from.
Aldous, the dog, oh, what a star! I loved his connection with the bookshop, and wished I could be the one to coax him out of his grief and stupor!
And all the characters in the fictitious village of Clove Lore, from Mrs C and her ‘book’ filled with bets on who will get together and stay in the village, to Minty, owner of the Estate, who has her suspicions about Elliot and why he’s here.
A wonderful, sweet, feel-good read. And if you, like me, are someone who doesn’t get along with maths, you’ll relish this story all the more!
When I heard about Kiley Dunbar’s latest book, I eagerly awaited the release date and was honoured to be approved to read an arc, as I have loved all of Kiley’s previous releases.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Hera Books for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 5th May, 2021

When I Last Saw You

When I Last Saw You by Bette Lee Crosby
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a touching tale, based upon truths that are a part of author Bette Lee Crosby’s own history.
Margaret is grieving. Her husband of fifty years passes on, leaving her alone, aside from her housekeeper, cleaner and friend, Jean.
No family to speak of, no children, Margaret is at a loss.
She happens upon a stack of paperwork when clearing out her deceased husband’s desk that leads her on a voyage of discovery, where she ends up with a lot more family than she ever thought possible.
Based partially in the early 1900s and the 1960s, the story is told of Margaret’s journey to reunite herself with the family she thought she had lost, and the story of her mother, Eliza, a woman whose children meant more to her than the world, and how they go from being a family to being spread around the country, estranged from one another.
A heartwrenching read, I’d recommend to all.

Releasing 4th May, 2021

The Summer Seekers

The Summer Seekers by Sarah Morgan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I see Sarah Morgan, my first thought is Christmas stories, because she writes such amazingly memorable ones. I know there are others, but that is the genre that sticks in my mind.
Having said that, seeing The Summer Seekers blurb whet my appetite for another cracker of a story.
It seems to be a common theme in recent books I have read, for the story to be set around a road trip, this was the third in as many weeks that I read.
Kathleen is an eighty-year-old woman, living alone, fiercely independent, but afraid of what impending age will do to her life.
Liza, Kathleen’s daughter wants only the best for her mother. She spent her childhood watching her whirlwind of a mother, taking off to all sorts of glamorous locations as the host of a famous travel show, with little time for her, She has spent her adulthood determined to be more like the mother she wished she had, there, always, for her twin girls and husband, Sean, but that life begins to take its toll.
A chance encounter featuring an intruder, a skillet, the police and a head injury, fires up the urge for Kathleen to take one last trip of a lifetime. She’s always wanted to travel Route 66, but, rather like the crock of gold at the end of the rainbow, there is something important she knows she might find at the end of the trip, only she’s not so sure if she wants to find it.
However, driving over two thousand miles alone at eighty is probably not a good idea, and there is no way she wants to take this trip with her daughter.
Cue Martha, a mid-twenties woman with nothing to lose. An incomplete education, failed marriage and family disapproval behind her, the intrigue of an advert, requiring someone to drive, on an all-expenses-paid trip, spurs her on to take a step in a direction she has never considered before.
A wonderful premise for a story filled with so much, from realisation, to love, new beginnings to happy endings; it’s all there and written in a way that has you falling in love with all the characters, and the places they visit, too.
Many thanks to NetGalley and HQ for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 27th May, 2021

Duvet Day

Duvet Day by Emily Kerr
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a fantastic feel-good read!
Alexa Humphries is a young lawyer who is feeling the grind. Daily, she is pouring her heart and soul into her job, which leaves little time for her life. (And I know this is a reality, as my own solicitor emailed me last night past 11 pm, and I wanted to tell her off for still working!)
That morning arrives when it all becomes too much, and after much deliberation, she takes her brother’s advice and calls in sick… Duvet Day!
It would, ordinarily, be a simple thing, call in, make excuses, then settle down for a day filled with series binges, comfort eating, and relaxing.
Simple, if you didn’t live in a houseshare with one of your lawyer colleagues, who needs to learn a little about sympathy, and another mystery housemate who has never introduced herself.
Hilarity ensues, as, cosied up in her Unicorn onesie and teddy bear fluffy slippers, Alexa finds herself locked out of the house, after making the (bad) decision to answer the door for a delivery, addressed to her unknown housemate.
Oh, what a giggle, from start to finish!
I really felt for Alexa, being in a job that can drain everything from you, myself. The thought of a duvet day would buoy me up, too, but equally, fill me with dread about what I’d backlog of work I’d encounter when I got back to work.
Poor Alexa has her heart in the right place, and all she wants is the best for the world, to make a difference.
I’m sure she wasn’t ever expecting to make that difference, dressed up as a unicorn, though!
I won’t spoil the story for you, but it’s a wonderful read, and yes, there is definitely a slow simmering romance, which takes the whole book to begin to boil, but, when you think about it, it’s all rather fast, since the book takes place over the course of one day!
Fantastic!
Many thanks to NetGalley, Harper Collins and One More Chapter, for an ARC in exchange for an honest opinion

Releasing 27th May, 2021

Just a Boy Friend

Just a Boy Friend by Lucy Keeling
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Do you ever have those moments when you read a book that has been sitting on your TBR for a while, and then you kick yourself for not having read it earlier?
Well, I had that revelation as I became more and more engrossed in this wonderful debut by Lucy Keeling.
I have been following her progress for a while, but, ashamedly I hadn’t managed to read one of her books.
Knowing that book 3 (yes, three, that means I still have another to catch up on!) comes out in less than a week, I felt I simply had to get caught up on the Friends series (not the TV one, obvs!) and so I did.
I must add, as an aside, that Lucy’s book came at a time I really needed something to keep my spirits high, put a smile on my face, and generally help me feel good.
And Just A Boyfriend did exactly that!
Sophie is a wannabe social media influencer. She’s got her five-year plan, and, as long as she sticks to what she has mapped out, she’ll be a wannabe no longer, but, the thing is, her plans don’t really involve life in it, as well.
Because, other than work, there is a whole host of other entities that can affect your future plans, including your friends, family, kittens, and men. Specifically, romance with said men.
Romance is a no-no, right now. She has no time for it. But why do feelings keep creeping up on her?
Especially for a certain male who happens to be the brother of one of her best friends?
Such a fun story, with plenty of laugh out loud moments, and cringe factors, where I buried my head in my hands, peeking out that the words that followed, in case that awful thing I thought might happen actually did…
Sophie is surrounded by a fantastic supporting cast, including Paige, her friend and employer, as well as a new foster mum for four gorgeous kittens, Mya, another friend, from uni, as well as her landlady, a woman with a few mysteries of her own, and Polly, Sophie’s childhood best friend, who also happens to be the one with the hot bro!
Marcus, (said hot bro), is a gardener and oh, he is such a cute character! With strong feelings already attached to his sister’s best mate, he takes on a job, landscaping her garden, not knowing whether he will be able to face Sophie every day.
Oh, I really did love it! Sweet, sexy and sassy, all rolled into one story, and I am so excited to dive into the next one, to find out what is in store for Polly!

Just Friends

Just Friends by Lucy Keeling
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Just Friends centres on a different one of the group of friends we met in Just A Boyfriend, Lucy Keeling’s debut novel.
This time we become more intimate with Polly, sister of Marcus, who was the hero du jour in book one.
Polly’s got some unprocessed feelings for a certain gardener, who also happens to be her brother’s best friend, but the player that he is, she can’t trust herself to get too close, so she settles for an office romance that seems to be safe. Oh, and she’s got another secret passion that no one knows about.
Bailey’s got issues. He’s harbouring a huge crush, bordering on unrequited love, for his best mate’s sister. But she hasn’t a clue, and she’s also in a new relationship. And, to add icing to his issue cake, his mum is ill. Really ill. And all she wants is to see him happy and settled.
What ensues is a brilliant story, filled with will they, won’t they moments, amidst the planning of a huge wedding, (not theirs!) and a ton of sexual chemistry!
I love Bailey, he’s giving out Jason Momoa vibes… Polly, I just wanted to scream at her to TELL HIM HOW SHE FEELS!
Eager to get into book two, I pretty much devoured this in a day!
Oh, Lucy, you have created such a great cast of characters, here. I loved each moment. And with that ending, now I HAVE to read the next one as soon as it is out!
Good thing I only have two days to wait!

Just Friends in Vegas

Just Friends in Vegas by Lucy Keeling
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, such fun!
I read the previous two books, last week, in anticipation of this third coming out, and I was not disappointed in the least!
Mya has always been the mysterious one, out of these four friends, even though Paige appears to have some sort of psychic talent. We’ve been led through the first two books, with no inkling as to what her secret job is, but now, we finally find out.
I won’t spell it out, since you need to read the book to get your own confirmation, but I had an idea…
Finding herself at her next ‘job’, Mya is faced with a rival she’d rather not be dealing with,
Smithy.
A friend of her best friend, Sophie’s husband, hot as hell, and a past conquest Mya would rather forget, especially as she didn’t do ‘that’ twice, with anyone.
But it’s hard to get your heart and mind on one track, sometimes.
Smithy is the same, battling feelings he’d rather not experience towards this sexy woman, who holds some sort of power over him.
I’ve never been to Vegas, but I tell you what, I really want to go, now, to experience some of what these two got up to, even though I know artistic license has been applied!
It is great to see a POC main character, with her ethnicity not thrown in your face all the time. Mya may be of Indian heritage but she just proves that women are all the same, really, and can experience the same as any other woman out there. (Heck, her heritage may have just made her even hotter, but then as an Indian woman, myself, I might be biased!)
Another cracker of a book, read with ease and speed. So fast that I need the next one, so I know what Paige is up to, too! Come on Ms Keeling, we’re waiting!

Summer at the French Olive Grove

Summer at the French Olive Grove by Sophie Claire
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is my first Sophie Claire book, and I was not disappointed, at all.
Lily has been transported back to her grandmother’s home to recuperate, after a nasty accident during work.
Back to where she spent idyllic childhood times before her world crumbled around her.
But not a place she calls home, herself.
Though they say home is where the heart is, and her heart seems to be pining for someone, equally attached to that same place.
Olivier grew up with Lily. Craving a family of his own, and that anchor that makes you feel at home, he is constantly pulled back to where his parents live, despite being a successful baker in Paris, with a chain of bakeries.
This was a love story, but not as traditional as some. It involved a whole lot of accepting yourself, and self-love, as well as the romantic kind.
Lily is a character damaged, physically and emotionally by the events of her past.
Olivier’s own experiences growing up and coping with knowing no one was really ‘his’, shape him to be the man he is today, and the dreams he holds for the future.
And then we have Mamie. Lily’s grandmother. She is an anchor for both these lost souls and wants to use her power over them to protect them in a way only she knows how.
A beautiful story, a compelling read and definitely recommended.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 27th May, 2021

Both of You

Both of You by Adele Parks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I do enjoy a good Adele Parks book, so was thrilled to get my hands on a copy of Both Of Them, a psychological thriller that sounded intriguing.
Two women, two disappearances, two husbands confused.
Leigh Fletcher is a happy woman, step-mum to two lovely boys and wife to a gorgeous husband. Do they have ups and downs? Sure they do. But nothing major.
Kai Janssen is another blissfully happy woman. Married to a rich man who desires her completely, and surrounded by luxury, she wants for nothing.
Then one day, they both disappear.
The story follows the mysterious disappearance of both women, told from the viewpoints of various characters from the book, including both husbands, Leigh’s eldest stepson, the investigating DC, and her best friend Fiona. Information is drip-fed in a way that makes you want to keep turning the pages until you find out what has happened to them both.
I can’t really say much more, because I don’t want to give anything away, but once you get into it, this book is extremely hard to put down again.
Did I guess what the ending would be? Well, I’d be lying if I said yes, straight out. I had my suspicions, then they got sent awry as I was led down other paths…
Very good.
Many thanks to NetGalley and HQ for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 27th May, 2021

Waiting to Begin

Waiting to Begin by Amanda Prowse
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Waiting To Begin is the story of a woman, Bessie, but told on two simultaneous days, her birthday, but thirty-seven years apart.
At sixteen, Bess thinks she has it all. Her results are out today, her future is all but planned out, she just needs those results to get where she wants. Bess’s family is your usual type, a caring, but an annoying set of parents and an older brother who is just – urgh! She’s got a tentative boyfriend and dreams of their life together
Thirty-seven years later, Bess is content. Well, on the surface, anyway. Nothing quite panned out how she hoped, but she’s not unhappy with her life. A doting husband, two great kids, one of them married, their own home. But, there are still gaping holes in her life. There are still secrets that are eating away at her, affecting everything she does, though no one else knows.
Not wanting to give the story away, I will comment on the essence.
Decisions we make, flippantly, can have huge effects on our life. The need to be keeping up with the rest of the world can eat away at you, making you do things you might not have, otherwise.
My heart filled with pity for teenage Bess. I wanted to scoop her up into a hug, and tell her everything will be okay. I will admit to wanting to physically harm a certain young man, too,
The same sorrow was felt for older Bess, who is sifting through her life decisions, not sure whether to rock the boat, but finding herself in a situation where she has no choice.
An emotional story that will definitely tug, hard, at your heartstrings.
When Waiting To Begin flashed up as another new book to come, by Amanda Prowse, I jumped at the chance to read, because she is my all-time favourite author.
Her stories never fail to touch the heart, and the way she tells them leaves you emotional for a long time to come,
Many thanks to NetGalley, Amazon Publishing and Lake Union Publishing for an ARC in exchange for an honest opinion.

Releasing 8th June, 2021

The Wedding War

The Wedding War by Liz Talley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What happens when two best friends lose each other, because of a man, and then, many years later, get thrown together to plan a wedding… for their children?
This is exactly what happens to Tennyson and Melanie.
Both from two very different backgrounds, but at the same school, they form a firm friendship, promising to be there for each other, forever.
Then life happens, and love happens, and men, or rather, man, happens.
This story was written cleverly, interweaving the story from the past in with the present day, when two almost sworn enemies have to face each other with smiles, when their children fall in love.
Enjoyable read.

Adulting

Adulting by Liz Talley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another really great read from Liz Talley.
Chase London is a child star, thrown into fame’s spotlights from a young age, but, as is the story for many, the fame doesn’t translate as well as an adult.
Battling addiction, rehab, and a failing career, she ends up in the hands of therapist, Olivia Han, who’s been hired to straighten her out and get her ready for her next role.
They end up in a small wooden cabin, inherited by Olivia and her sister, Neve, as an opportunity for Chase to learn how to Adult – something she has never been taught to do. Simple tasks, such as grocery shopping, clearing leaves from a garden as well as the simple pleasures of eating a candy apple or going fishing.
On the surface, it seems like a straightforward story of spoilt rich kid needs bringing down a peg or two, but quite quickly, the story shows the depth of trauma that Chase has suffered over the years; something quite tangled for Olivia to unpick.
Beyond that, the treatment ends up being a time of reflection for Olivia, as well, facing some disturbing truths from her own life, building bridges and burning some, too.
Of course, there is the element of relationships, too.
Olivia is avoiding her supposed ‘soulmate’, and Chase has never really thought about the future, and who might be her ‘one’.
A touching book, with some moments to make you smile, but equally, some distressing moments, with talks of child abuse, but handled sensitively.

So, I ended up finishing twelve books, in April. Not too shabby, considering all I have going on with life!

Was there anything above that caught your eye? Tickled your fancy? Let me know in the comments!

I’d love to hear what you’ve been reading and enjoying, too!

March 2021 Books #AmReading

It’s a month of ARC catch up, so I haven’t given myself an author or series challenge this month, but that doesn’t mean I’ll change my mind part way through! It’s the month that the kids are coming back in to school, too, so there will be a lot going on, but you know me, I’ll keep reading!

And, FYI, over the month, I may have read plenty of arcs, but I somehow ended up with more on my list, because, Damn You, NetGalley, you keep tempting me!

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Finding Home

Finding Home by Kate Field
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When you’re trying to find your comfortable spot, in your car, to get a bit of sleep, the last thing you expect is, to have an older, well-to-do couple, quite obviously from much further afield, come knocking on your car window.
This is exactly what happens to down on her luck Mim.
Alone in this world, with not a job, nor a roof over her head, Mim decides to help this rather eccentric couple in their hour of need and ends up transferring her whole life from Lancashire to Devon.
Not only that, she ends up belonging.
A wonderful feel-good story with a few predictable storylines, but many love twists, and moments that make you trust humankind again.
Many thanks to NetGalley, Harper Collins and One More Chapter for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 16th April, 2021

Last Night

Last Night by Mhairi McFarlane
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another Mhairi McFarlane smash.
A story about friendship, trust and honesty.
Eve is one of the lucky ones. friendship wise. She has her quartet of friends, who have been together for nearly twenty years. Her best friend since forever, Susie, and Justin and Ed, who made up the foursome at Sixth Form.
There’s just one little fly in the ointment. She has a HUGE thing for Ed.
An unrequited love, of sorts, especially since he is in a long term relationship with someone Eve really doesn’t like.
Things happen on that one night, after the regular quiz night, they usually attend, including an impromptu engagement, which spins Eve out of control.
But, it’s the phone call the next morning that tears Eve’s life apart, and the consequences of a tragic accident that force her to look at her feelings, and relationships in a whole new light.
I absolutely loved it!
It just goes to show that you never really know someone, or that you can’t know everything. Equally, there are reasons you shouldn’t know everything.
This story explores relationships and friendships at a deep level.
I sympathised with Eve, a lot, throughout the book. She seemed to have far more than her fair share of heartache chucked her way, in life, but still, she had so much to give, and in losing someone she held so dear, she still manages to rescue and find someone else.
Many thanks to Netgalley and Harper Collins for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 1st April, 2021

Shh… It's Our Secret

Shh… It’s Our Secret by Lizzie Chantree
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Shh… Can I tell you a secret?
I finished this in a day!
I have read several of Lizzie Chantree’s books already, she is an extremely versatile author, and this book is another little gem in her book jewels.
Violet loves to sing. She has since she was young, but the joy of singing ends when her parents pass away.
Since then, she’s hidden her talent, singing in secret, and succumbed to an awful relationship. The only silver lining in the cloud that is her life is the cafe she works at, and the family she has built from her regular customers.
Life takes a huge turn when music producer Kai walks into the cafe and hears her voice.
All in all, an enjoyable read, quick and easy, and the happy ending we all want!
Many thanks to NetGalley and BHC Press for an ARC in exchange for an honest opinion.

Releasing 6th May, 2021

Lost Property

Lost Property by Helen Paris
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m not sure what I was expecting from this book, but it wasn’t what it was.
Maybe I expected a more light-hearted story, but it ended up being more about grief, loss, and being lost.
Dot works in the lost property section of the TfL department and takes her role of taking in lost items, logging them, and reuniting them with their owners very seriously.
I initially found it quite hard to get into this book, enjoying the quirky characters who frequented the Lost Property department, and Dot’s colleagues, but the point of the story didn’t quite get me until quite far into the book.
Dot is lost, herself. A sad character. But it took me a long time to build that empathy for her.
And the tiny smidgen of romance at the end? Well, to be honest, I wish I’d been able to read a bit more of that, to be honest.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Random House for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 13th May, 2021

The Road Trip

The Road Trip by Beth O’Leary
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Having read Beth O’Leary’s previous book, I was extremely excited to be granted a copy of The Road Trip to read, and I wasn’t disappointed.
Addie and her sister Deb are en route to their great friend Cherrys wedding. It’s all set to be a fantastic road trip. Well, them, and Rodney, a stray wedding guest they managed to pick up. Then an accident occurs leaving them in a situation where they are forced to make an eight-hour road trip with not only Rodney, but two other guests, one of which happens to be Addie’s ex-boyfriend.
What a bunch of characters, O’Leary has created!
I loved the dual timeline, explaining how they got into the situation they are in right now, parallel to the eight-hour journey that ends up being over twenty-four hours long.
Addie is a young, wronged woman, and almost all that has happened to her is not her fault.
Dylan is a man who has never had to make a choice, and, unfortunately for him, everyone around him has a stronger will than him, causing him to never really fight for what he should.
Deb is a fantastic sister, and protector, apart from when she disappears to satisfy certain thirsts.
I could strangle his best friend, Marcus. Honestly, that long, stuck in a car, a Mini, of all cars, with him would have driven me batty!
And Rodney, oh, poor, deluded Rodney!
And I can’t forget the saviour of the day, Kevin, the truck driver who seems to appear whenever there is a problem.
There are moments of hilarity, but a lot to think on, too. A thoroughly enjoyable book that I finished in a day!
Many thanks to Netgalley and Quercus Books for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 29th April, 2021

The Secret Bridesmaid

The Secret Bridesmaid by Katy Birchall
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a fabulous book!
Honestly, I was hooked from the start and had I not been in the midst of a week from hell at school resulting in me falling asleep way too fast, I would have finished this in one sitting!
Sophie has found herself the perfect job – a professional bridesmaid. Each wedding she cultivates a secret identity and pretends to be a close friend of the bride, who will have hired her to make their special day perfect, under the guise of a best friend bridesmaid.
It’s all going swimmingly, until she ends up with a job she never thought she would, ever, be considered for: Bridesmaid to Lady Cordelia Swann, a socialite Sophie followed and tried to emulate, as a teen.
But this is one tough cookie of a client, determined to relieve herself of this new ‘friend’.
Oh, and it doesn’t help that she has a HOT brother who doesn’t know her real identity, but is keen to get closer to his sister’s ‘friend’.
I can’t explain how much I enjoyed the whole book. Sophie is an interesting character, who puts the needs of others way ahead of her own. A great quality in a bridesmaid, but not so great for herself.
Cordelia is a character you probably want to slap initially, but she grows on you, then you find yourself with. soft spot for her.
And Tom, the HOT brother? Well, I think I’ll be surreptitiously checking out men’s forearms more often, now, thanks to Sophie’s obsession with his.
Highly recommended, and such fun!
Many thanks to Netgalley and Hodder & Stoughton for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 13th May, 2021

Another Life

Another Life by Jodie Chapman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another Life is a heartwrenching story about love. Not just romantic love, but the love we have for others too.
The book is written from the view of Nick Mendoza, eldest of two sons.
It chronicles his life and several poignant losses within.
We meet Anna, a girl he worked with at the cinema, as a teenager, and learn about their struggles as two people from very different backgrounds, who have strong feelings for one another but are unable to act upon them, due to Anna’s religions beliefs, and Nick’s life ones.
We jump from one timeline to several others, and back, throughout the book, which, initially, I found quite confusing, but by the end, I understood.
A really touching read, and a book that will stay with you a long while.
Many thanks to NetGalley, and Penguin Michale Joseph for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 1st April 2021

The Car Share

The Car Share by Zoe Brisby
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well, that was a delightful read!
I am only sorry I couldn’t finish it sooner, but that was purely because my working life has been so hectic that I spent some nights eagerly awaiting the next chapter of Maxine and Alex, only to find myself asleep with my face buried in the kindle, not from boredom but from extreme exhaustion.
Anyway, enough about me, on to the book!
The Car Share is a funny, poignant tale about a young man who suffers from depression, and his journey to find a travel buddy, for a long road trip to Brussels. He accepts a request from a Max and only finds out, upon picking her up, that Max is a nonagenarian, actually called Maxine, hoping to go on her own last journey, before signing into a Euthanasia clinic, ending her life with dignity, before Alzheimer’s takes her life away.
Through the story that mainly unfolds over a couple of days, the unlikely couple ends up in several pickles, as well as getting themselves caught up in a kidnapping case, so find themselves as fugitives.
So much madcap fun, as well as some wonderfully touching moments within the story.
The only reason I can’t give it 5 stars is that there was a lot of POV hopping within chapters which confused me a little.
Many Thanks to NetGalley and Hoder & Stoughton for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 25th March, 2021

A Bucket List To Die for

A Bucket List To Die for by Lorraine Fouchet

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


A beautifully touching read about a man trying to get his family back together, following the devastating death of his wife.
Joe and Lou were a couple truly meant for each other. They lived on the island of Groix, happy together. Both their children had moved on, and as is the way, fractures in the family dynamics threatened to break them apart indelibly, after Lou’s untimely death.
Her forward-thinking, however, end up bringing her precious family back together in a way none of them ever thought possible.
Told through the viewpoint of several characters, the story moves along over a period of a couple of months, with some flashbacks here and there.
I loved the character of Apple, the feisty granddaughter, who, in many ways, ends up being the catalyst for many of the changes.
A lovely read.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 29th March, 2021

Only nine books for me this month. That is really quiet, but it just shows how tired I have been after school, every day! Usually, I can devour 2-4 books a week, at least, but this time, I have just about finished one during the week days, and one over the weekends.

I look forward to hearing what you think of the books above, and what you’ve been reading, too!

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

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

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

A Little Hotel in Cornwall

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Littlest Library

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

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

Releasing 18th March, 2021

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

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

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

Releasing April 1st, 2021

The Single Dad's Handbook

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

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

Releasing 2nd April, 2021

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

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

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

The Summer Job

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

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

Releasing 2nd April, 2021

Into the Blue (By the Sea, #3)

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

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

Releasing 19th March, 2021

The Wife Who Got a Life

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

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

Releasing 15th April, 2021

Flying Duo by Zoe May

Flying Duo by Zoe May ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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

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

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

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

The little ice cream shop by the sea

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

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

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

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