July’s Books #BookReview

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

The Million Pieces of Neena Gill

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

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

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

Swallowtail Summer

Swallowtail Summer by Erica James

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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

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

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

The Aunt Who Wouldn't Die

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

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

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

And I was left a little confused at the end.

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

Mom's Perfect Boyfriend

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

A cute debut novel by Crystal Hemmingway.

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

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

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

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

Ask Again, Yes

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

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

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

Can I liken this a little to Romeo and Juliet?

Possibly.

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

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

It was pretty intense.

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

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

Out 8th August

Ruth Robinson's Year of Miracles

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

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

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

Meditation For Children: A Book of Mindfulness

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

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

What Happens Now?

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

A wonderfully funny, page-turner of a book!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Home Truths

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

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

Blue Midnight (Blue Mountain #1)

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

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

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

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

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

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

You’ll have to read it to find out!

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

Blue Moon (Blue Mountain #2)

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

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

Blue Ink (Blue Mountain #3)

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

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

Let me know what you’ve been reading!

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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?

Instructions For Falling In Love Again by Lucy Mitchell @Blondewritemore #BookReview #IFFILA

Finally, after many years of writing, and imagining, burying ideas in her garden, writing more, digging them up and querying, submitting, battling with writers block and angst, our girl, Lucy Mitchell, has finally gone and done it!

Lucy Mitchell – Author Extrordinaire

She has her debut novel out on Sunday 30th June, and I was honoured to be asked to read an advanced copy of her book, Instructions for Falling In Love Again, ahead of official release day.

Isn’t the cover beautiful?

Now, let me start by handing you the official blurb…

What would you do if your late husband left you a list of instructions on how to fall in love with someone else?
Pippa Browning is faced with this exact dilemma, three years after the death of her husband, Dan.
Buried at the bottom of a drawer are a collection of notebooks full of Dan’s advice on how to live without him.
Pippa’s notebook is red and contains his instructions on how to fall in love again.
But Dan doesn’t just want Pippa to fall in love with anyone – Dan’s
crazy suggestion is that Pippa should date his handsome friend, Mikey Stenton, a known thrill-seeking ladies’ man.
Reluctant to follow Dan’s advice, Pippa enters the world of dating. She embarks on a humorous journey of self-discovery, with the help of her children and two best friends. 
It isn’t long before Pippa is finding it hard to ignore Dan’s instructions and Mikey Stenton.
Is Mikey really the man that everyone thinks him to be? Or was Dan right, and Mikey’s simply been misunderstood?  
An uplifting and heart-warming story about bereavement, friendship and finding love, the second time around.

And here is my review… totally ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐!

Instructions for Falling In Love Again
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!

Here is a little more about Lucy:

I live in South Wales with my husband, my two teenage daughters, a giant labrador and a gang of unruly cats.
I am the author of the award winning blog, BlondeWriteMore and I was a Featured Romance Author on Wattpad.
When I am not working or writing, I can be found listening to audiobooks in a muddy field with my dog or sat outside my local pub in the sunshine enjoying a glass of wine.

Now, you know you want to be reading this beauty, so go and pre-order your copy here!

May’s Books #Book Reviews

I can already tell you that this month will not be an epic month like last month! But I can assure you what I read was quality! Are you ready to find out? Nine books, is still pretty respectable, isn’t it?

The Road She Left Behind

The Road She Left Behind by Christine Nolfi

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Christine Nolfi has penned a beautiful story here, dealing with family, secrets, loss, discovery and forgiveness.
I was swept into the life of Darcy Goodridge straight away, intrigued by why this woman was on the run from her past, her old life, for the last eight years.
Over the first few chapters, the story unfolded and we were introduced to characters who you fell in love with. Samson, the ray of sunshine who attaches himself to Darcy, despite her not wanting reminders of any pasts she has forgone, Rosalind, Darcy’s mother, a scary character, who is full of misconceptions. Emerson, the nephew she left behind – but who is crying out for a mother’s love, and Michael. Darcy’s childhood best friend who she had to leave behind – twice.
A wonderful tale filled with twists and turns, and secrets that prove you shouldn’t really hide things you think you know… because they may just not be the truth…
Many thanks to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishers for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Published – 11th June

The Things I Know

The Things I Know by Amanda Prowse

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I do love Amanda Prowse and her books. Ever since I read the first one, I have been hooked, and I was really looking forward to this new one.

Delving into the mind and world of Thomasina, or Hitch, as she is known, and reading about her meeting Grayson, and falling in love, felt like a privilege.

I have to commend Amanda for executing the nuances of this novel with such sympathy and grace. The thoughts and feelings of someone with a disability, but a person who is like everyone else, someone who wants her own life, and to be able to do everything others do, without the limitations that have been imposed upon her by her own loved ones.

That, and her capture of a person on the spectrum, someone whose thought process is so very different to the majority of the world.

And their love story.

I was hooked. I loved Pops and Mum, and I adored Thom and Gray!

One of my favourite quotes from the book – ” I like the way you care for my daughter and, for the record, I happen to agree with you. I think she’s pretty perfect too.” Thomasina’s Pops.

There’s a lesson in this – in the end, anything is possible – you just have to make that first step towards change.

Many thanks to NetGalley, Amazon Publishing and Amanda Prowse for an ARC, in exchange for an honest review.

Published 11th June

An Unsuitable Woman

An Unsuitable Woman by Kat Gordon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Just seeing Kenya in the description was enough for me to want to read the book!

You see, my family, both my parents were born in Kenya to Indian Immigrant parents, and I have spent many a summer going there to visit.

It was great to read names of places and to be able to picture them and to know the names of the tribes mentioned, and the descriptions of some of the places, and animals…

But I’ll tell you a secret… I was never told of the Happy Valley set, and the indulgence, and the debauchery!

This story is set between the years of 1925 and 1937, following the life of 14-year-old Theo Miller who moves to Kenya with his family for his father’s job heading the railways. He gets caught up in the antics of Freddie and Sylvia, and their little Happy Valley band, wanting to be accepted by them, and dreaming of being just like them. ( I must ask my parents if they were aware of the goings on of the Happy Valley Set… My mum went to a British boarding school out there, so you never know…)

Though his thinking is not always aligned with theirs: their views of British supremacy, and how they are making the lives better for the natives, by keeping them in their place clash with Theo’s sister Maud, who is appalled by the double standards, choosing to try and fight for natives rights and those of the natural farmers in the area.

An interesting read.

Many thanks to NetGalley, Harper Collins UK and Borough Press for providing me with an ARC. in exchange for an honest review.

Published 31st May

Stories for South Asian Supergirls

Stories for South Asian Supergirls by Raj Kaur Khaira

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
An absolutely wonderful, inspirational collection of biographies celebrating the South Asian superwomen out there, some already known and some lesser-known, but no less inspirational.
What a brilliant book to show our girls what they can aspire to be!

What Have I Done? (No Greater Love #2)

What Have I Done? by Amanda Prowse
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another gripping story from one of my favourite authors, Amanda Prowse.
Not my favourite, but a good read nonetheless.
Kathryn Booker does something pretty despicable at the beginning of the book, but, as you get into the story and continue with her on her journey, you realise that she had a very good reason for acting as she did.
A woman caught in the web of domestic violence; both physical and mental abuse piled upon her, and the pressure of acting like the perfect, happy wife and mother to the rest of the world takes its toll.
Then finally, Kathryn becomes Kate again – the woman she was always meant to be.
I loved the build-up and the to-ing and fro-ing of the timeline so you gradually found pieces to the jigsaw of Kate’s life and saw how it led her to where she ends up.
That said, I was a little disappointed in her children, though they start to come through at the end, and then I wanted the story to carry on more, so I knew more about how the whole situation affected them and their relationship with their mother. A sometimes disturbing account of a woman’s journey through abuse and fighting her way out of it.

Three-and-a-Half Heartbeats (No Greater Strength, #6)

Three-and-a-Half Heartbeats by Amanda Prowse
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another Amanda Prowse book means I know I need to gear up for a shed load of emotion, and this was no different.
It is always the case when I read a story about the loss of a child…
And I don’t mind admitting that I actually sat in the car, waiting for my son to finish his cricket training, reading this book, and had to wipe away tears…
Grace and Tom Penderfold have all they could want, a wonderful marriage, a beautiful home and a precious child, with Grace bringing in the income, and Tom being the amazing house husband and daddy… until tragic circumstances rip their child, Chloe, from them.
A heart-rending story exploring the changes that loss can wreak upon couples after the loss of a child, and also a story of hope.
The added benefit of educating the readers about the dangers of a potentially fatal condition, Sepsis, makes this a truly gripping read.
Having had to have emergency surgery 13 years ago because of the possibility of septicemia, this hit home even harder.
Definitely a recommended read.

The Other Half of Augusta Hope

The Other Half of Augusta Hope by Joanna Glen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started to read this debut novel from Joanna Glen, but one thing I can tell you. I was not left disappointed at all.

We follow the story of Augusta Hope, one half of a set of twins: Julia and Augusta – two girls born on either side of midnight July 31st, meaning on was born in July and the other in August.

As can be the case, the girls were polar opposites in many ways, from appearances and personalities to likes and interest, but they still had that twin pull.

We are taken to Burundi as well, a little known African country, which has captured Augusta’s interest from a young age, and meet Parfait and his family, caught in a country suffering from bloodshed.

How the lives and stories of these two characters intertwine, is a testament to the brilliance of the author, and I did wonder… ‘Who actually was the other half of Augusta Hope?’ at the end.

Definitely a recommended read.

Many thanks to NetGalley, Harper Collins UK and Borough Press for granting me a wish with this ARC, in exchange for an honest review.

Published 13th June

Half a World Away

Half a World Away by Mike Gayle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Maybe I should be ashamed to admit this, but Half a World Away is actually my first Mike Gayle book.

And I’m pretty sure it won’t be my last.

What a journey I went through, reading this story of Kerry and Noah, two extremely different individuals who are linked in the most basic of ways – by blood.

Life caused these two siblings to be separated,

We have Kerry bumping through life on the low roads, through foster care and children’s homes, before finally living an independent life, becoming a mother to Kian, but never forgetting her baby brother, who was separated from her.

Then there is Noah, cruising along the highroads, married, a barrister, a father, and living a life far removed from his real beginnings

The reason that Kerry finally reaches out to her brother is revealed slowly, and in such a manner that it makes the readers heart break.

I don’t want to go into the details, but I was hooked. it didn’t take me long to become fully immersed in Kerry and Noah’s story, and accompanied by tissues, snacks and copious cups of tea, I finished the book in a haze of emotions.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for providing me with an ARC, in exchange for an honest review.

Published 13th June

Becoming Dad

Becoming Dad by J. C. W. Helmkamp
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A highly descriptive account of a journey through both the seas and fatherhood.
Reading this, I could picture the scenes, smell the salt (and diapers, on occasion) and taste the whiskey that William encounters on his sailing journey of a lifetime, connecting him with his father, and allowing him to reminisce about becoming a dad.
It’s good to read of a man who isn’t afraid to show emotion too!
Definitely worth reading to find out whether William reaches his destination, and how he handled early fatherhood, and beyond!

And there you have it!

I shall be reading more, between writing reports and finally getting to that edit of mine, so chat soon!

Have you read any of the above? Let me know!






March’s Books #BookReview

And we are ending the third month of the year… how many did I manage to read this time? I know it was much less than the last two, but what with parents evenings, moderations and observations, I was falling asleep holding my books or kindles this month! Still, I made another small dent in my Goodreads challenge! And some that I read were from authors I know from the Blogisphere, like Geoff Le Pard and Vashti Quiroz-Vega. One book in particular, I found really hard to read, it took me nearly two weeks, so the numbers are much less…

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The Perfect Betrayal

The Perfect Betrayal by Lauren North

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Wow!
What a twist!
Grief can affect a person in many ways, and losing your partner, your soulmate and loved one can tip you over the edge, and boy was Tess tipped when her husband Mark was killed in a horrific plane accident.
The effect his loss has on the life of Tess and all those around her is horrific. The paranoia, the needing to keep her son Jamie safe, the suspicions of those who were trying to help….
And I won’t mention the ending but what I can say is that as soon as I read it, I sat bolt upright and was in shock… I hadn’t expected that twist AT ALL!
Brilliantly written and hugely captivating.
Many thanks to Random House UK and NetGalley for offering me an arc in exchange for an honest review.

Life In A Flash

Life In A Flash by Geoff Le Pard

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Geoff Le Pard has done it again!
I loved his Life in a Grain of Sand and Life in a Flash was no different, with a whole heap of flash fiction tales that make you laugh, cry, cringe and sigh.
Often short 500 word pieces, this is a book you can devour in one sitting, or pick up at will, and read a whole story in a snippet!

Life in a Conversation

Life in a Conversation by Geoff Le Pard

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
When life gives you lemons, go find Geoff Le Pard’s short stories and you’ll forget to suck on the lemons, but instead, cut them up and pop a slice into a G & T, sit back and enjoy the ride through Le Pard’s fantastical mind!
Small snippets of stories that range from emotional to hysterical to pure silliness.
Go read.
Enjoy!

Son of the Serpent (Fantasy Angels Series Book 2)

Son of the Serpent by Vashti Quiroz-Vega

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Loved it!
I read the first in the series, The Fall Of Lilith and really enjoyed the story, and was excited to read this sequel.
I was NOT disappointed!
We follow Dracule, son of Lilith and Satan, abandoned as a babe by his mother – his father disappeared.
Reading about his struggle to control the evil that appears to be within him, and trying his hardest to always do good was a page-turner.
I loved the familiar biblical characters that were woven into the story, giving a different sense of realism to the mythical story.
You really should read, not just this, but the first book too!

M for Mammy

M for Mammy by Eleanor O’Reilly

My rating: 3 of 5 star
M for Mammy sounded like a truly intriguing read.
It covers some pretty important issues, such as Autism and having a stroke.
I was really quite excited to read it, but sadly I found it very hard to follow because of the disjointed nature of the set-out.
I understand the three viewpoints were important, and the thoughts of an autistic child, Jacob, would be all over the place, and again the way we were put in the mother Annette’s shoes, who has suffered a stroke, and all the confusion your mind goes through. Then we had Jenny, a young girl who is battling through trying to understand life, her brother and an absent mother.
Three very different ways of thinking, and the premise was really clever. But I just got confused!
I loved Granny and would have liked to know her more.
I wish I could rate more, but it took me so long to read, because I couldn’t engage, therefore my rating is as such.

Many thanks to NetGalley, Two Roads and John Murray Press for an arc, in exchange for an honest review.

The Rosie Result (Don Tillman, #3)

The Rosie Result by Graeme Simsion

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Having read the previous two books, I was looking forward to this, the conclusion of the series, and I was definitely not disappointed!

Geneticist, Don Tillman is back with his family – wife, Rosie and son Hudson.

And they are back in Melbourne after 10 years in New York.

I always find any book that deals with people on the spectrum extremely interesting, and this was a humdinger of one!

Reading about how Don, who has Aspergers, ends up nearly sacked from his new job, due to his social ‘inadequacies’, reading situations wrong, and thinking rather laterally, rather than with the emotion that a neurotypical person would, was done in an extremely funny, yet sensitive way.

I love how Rosie interacts with him, knowing his quirks and traits, gently reminding him of how he should be reacting to situations.

It was great to follow his journey through his next project, which was to guide his son, Hudson, through a particularly tough transition from his US school to his new one in Australia. Don recognises many similarities between his own school life, and that of his son’s, and his sole aim is then to coach his son through school, teaching him acceptable behaviours and emotions, especially after the Head and Hudson’s class teacher are convinced he should go through testing to see if he has Autism.

I don’t want to go into a lot of detail, I hate to leave spoilers, so I will leave you with this.

It’s a great read, handling a sensitive topic with delicacy and humour, and an extremely satisfying end to an all-round fantastic series!

Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin UK – Michael Joseph for an arc of this book.

Releases April 4th 2019

Reasons to be Cheerful

Reasons to be Cheerful by Nina Stibbe

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
What a delightful read!

This was the first of Nina Stibbe’s books that I have read and I really enjoyed it. A light-hearted read that left you feeling good.

I have to say, as the daughter of a dentist whose family lived in a large flat about the surgery, there were some scenes that really had me giggling, like JP rushing upstairs for a quick toilet visit, or nap… like my dad!

The characters were well formed, and I loved Lizzie and her quirks.

And I have also been made aware of the fact that there are two previous books about Lizzie… may just have to get them as well…

Many thanks to NetGalley, Penguin Books (UK) and Viking for providing me with an arc, in exchange for an honest review.

So, seven books this month!

I have the Easter holidays soon, so I hope to read plenty in that time!!

What are you reading?



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