The Fault Between Us by @BetteLeeCrosby #BlogTour #BookReview

I was honoured to be given an ARC of Award Winning Author, Bette Lee Crosby’s newest release, The Fault Between Us,having read several of her previous books, and throughly enjoyed them!

The Fault Between Us by Bette Lee Crosby

Here is the blurb:

April 18, 1906 – A devastating earthquake rocks San Francisco and Templeton Morehouse fears her husband is lost forever. A powerful and compelling story from USA Today bestselling author Bette Lee Crosby

Chances were a million to one that a girl born and raised in Philadelphia would encounter a stranger from California on the trolley and fall madly in love, but that’s what happened. Templeton was not only taken with John Morehouse, but also with his tales of life in San Francisco. As an aspiring fashion designer, the dazzle of a city called the Paris of the West, with its towering department stores and European couture was too much to resist.

Despite her family’s objections, she and John are married and, on their way back to California, before the month is out. To ease the heartbreak of such a move, Templeton promises her family that they will return for a visit every summer. She fully intends to keep that promise, but as her fashions gain popularity, the business grows increasingly more demanding. The trips back to Philadelphia become less frequent and she makes foolish choices she will come to regret.

Now, when she is on the verge of having everything she’s ever wanted, a devastating earthquake has torn across San Francisco and she awakes to discover the father of her baby is missing.

With the city in flames, Templeton’s daddy leaves Philadelphia and sets out in search of his son-in-law. He’s too old for such a trip and ill-equipped for the challenges he will encounter, but he’s the only hope of saving his daughter’s happiness.
Lines of communication are down and the city in shambles, so the only thing Templeton can do is pray she doesn’t lose both her daddy and her husband.

And my review:

The Fault Between Us by Bette Lee Crosby
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve read a few of Bette Lee Crosby’s books, since discovering her by a Facebook group, and I was honoured to be asked to read her soon to be released book, The Fault Between Us, as an advanced reader.
The book centres around Templeton, a young woman in Philadelphia, with hopes and dreams. Unmarried, still, at an age where most women were settled, she wants to make a name for herself in fashion and design.
Despite her parents’ anguish at their unmarried younger daughter, she forges on with her dreams and is celebrating successes, when she meets a man, John Morehouse, by chance, on a tram journey.
Love often finds you in totally unexpected circumstances, and this is one of them.
Her parents show reluctance to let their girl go, however, Templeton and John marry, and move across the country, three thousand miles away, to San Francisco.
Here, the story builds upon her settling into life as a married woman, but also pursuing her dreams in a different location.
The time-worn worry of whether to be a career woman or a mother plays its part in the story, here.
A natural disaster threatens to rip their lives apart, and this is where the story really comes to life, and the choices made affect their lives forever.
The era in which the story is set was a time when it was frowned upon for a woman to put work before family. Then, there wasn’t the confidence that she could do both.
I loved Templeton’s drive. She’s passionate about what she loves, be it her work, or her family. The way she is torn between the two, and feeling that she might not be able to have either, pulled at my heartstrings.
But thankfully she found a partner who, after initial misgivings, was able to accept and support his wife.
I felt, keenly, for Templeton’s parents, throughout the story. It highlights the fact that no matter what their age, we parents will never truly stop worrying about our children.
A heartwarming read.

Out 11th November, 2021

About Bette Lee Crosby

Bette Lee Crosby

USA Today Bestselling and Award-winning novelist Bette Lee Crosby’s books are “Well-crafted storytelling populated by memorable characters caught up in equally memorable circumstances.” – Midwest Book Review

The Seattle Post Intelligencer says Crosby’s writing is, “A quirky mix of Southern flair, serious thoughts about important things in life and madcap adventures.”

Samantha from Reader’s Favorite raves, “Crosby writes the type of book you can’t stop thinking about long after you put it down.”

“Storytelling is in my blood,” Crosby laughingly admits, “My mom was not a writer, but she was a captivating storyteller, so I find myself using bits and pieces of her voice in most everything I write.”

It is the wit and wisdom of that Southern Mama Crosby brings to her works of fiction; the result is a delightful blend of humor, mystery and romance along with a cast of quirky charters who will steal your heart away. Her work was first recognized in 2006 when she received The National League of American Pen Women Award for a then unpublished manuscript. She has since gone on to win twenty awards for her work; these include: The Royal Palm Literary Award, the FPA President’s Book Award Gold Medal, Reader’s Favorite Award Gold Medal, and the Reviewer’s Choice Award.

The Impossibe Truths of Love by @hannahbeckerman #BlogTour #Book Review @fmcmassociates

Today, I am delighted to be a part of the Blog Tour for Hannah Beckerman’s newest release, The Impossible Truths of Love.

The Impossible Truths of Love

First things first, the Blurb!

From bestselling author Hannah Beckerman comes a moving story about memory, secrets, and what it really means to feel that you’re one of the family.

When Nell’s father makes a deathbed declaration that hints at a long-held secret, it reignites feelings of isolation that have plagued her for years. Her suspicions about the family’s past only deepen when her mother, Annie, who is losing her memories to dementia, starts making cryptic comments of her own.

Thirty-five years earlier, Annie’s life was upended by a series of traumas—one shock after another that she buried deep in her heart. The decisions she made at the time were motivated by love, but she knew even then that nobody could ever understand—let alone forgive—what she did.

As the two women’s stories unravel, a generation apart, Nell finally discovers the devastating truth about her mother’s past, and her own.

In this beautifully observed and emotionally powerful story of identity, memory and the nature of family, Hannah Beckerman asks: To what lengths would you go to protect the ones you love?

My Review:

The Impossible Truths of Love by Hannah Beckerman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Having read one of Hannah Beckerman’s previous novels, I was excited to dive into her newest release, The Impossible Truths of Love, knowing it would be good.
However, I didn’t realise it would be that good, that I would devour it in one sitting!
Nell’s father whispers a statement to her, on his deathbed that stays with her. Unfortunately, he is unable to ever clarify the meaning.
She watches her mothers mental health deteriorate, due to dementia, and the odd little comments she makes, cause Nell to stop and think.
I am not sure exactly how to word this review, without giving away the story too much, but suffice to say, my reader detective antennae pricked up, as soon as I realised there was something hidden, and there were several ideas running through my mind, as to what the outcome would be. Some were close, some not so close, but the twists – WOW!
All I can say is that there is always right and wrong in any decision we make.
Sometimes love is the reason we make those decisions. Can any decision made with parental love in mind, ever be wrong? Of course, they could, and this novel explores that in a way that tugs at the reader’s heartstrings.
Nell’s discoveries and trauma are told in a parallel storyline to her mother Alice’s, in a Then and Now format of chapters. Each layer is unwrapped and reveals another piece to the jigsaw puzzle of Nell’s life, rather like an elaborate Pass The Parcel.
I truly loved this book, and it will be one that stays with me for a long while. Stunning read!
Thanks to FMCM Associates and Lake Union Publishing for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

About Hannah Beckerman

Hannah Beckerman

Hannah Beckerman is an author, journalist, event chair and broadcaster. In the UK she writes for a range of publications including The Observer and The FT Weekend Magazine, and appears as a book critic on BBC Radio 2 and Times Radio. She regularly chairs at literary events and panels across the UK and has judged numerous book prizes including the Costa Book Awards.

Before becoming a writer, Hannah was a TV and film producer both in the UK and the US.

She lives in London.

August 2021 Books #AmReading

August is a month where school takes a total back burner… well, usually, it does. I may have some documents to read and write, and a visit into the classroom, to get ready for September, but for the best part it will be cricket, house stuff, a little writing (I hope!) and reading! Bring it on! (I have sp many arcs publishing this month, I hope I get them all read!)

Advance Warning!: I managed to read loads! TWENTY BOOKS! And the reading also included some Christmas ARCs, so for me, it wsa Christmas in August, not July, as many like to post about!

peacefully reading


The Dating Game

The Dating Game by Sandy Barker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Having lapped up Sandy Barker’s previous novels, I was extremely excited to get a chance to read The Dating Game, her highly anticipated next release.
And I was not disappointed!
Abby is a woman with dreams of becoming a serious journalist. But right now, she’s ended up on a gig where she writes as her alter-ego, Anastasia Blabbergasted, a hilarious gossip columnist whose recaps of reality shows grasp the attention of the masses.
Somehow, she ends up being railroaded into taking part in The Stag (think The Batchelor), purely for fly on the wall, research purposes, where she is asked to pretend to be one of the Does (the women hoping to be chosen by The Stag), so she can get close to the action, and write really juicy recaps of the newest series.
So that is Abigail the journalist Abby the Doe and Anastasia the columnist. Quite a lot of personas for one person to juggle!
What she didn’t expect was to feel the flutterings of romance building up from a totally different source, as well as finding out she really likes some of her fellow contestants!
Okay, so if you are looking for a straight-up romance, it ain’t gonna necessarily come from this book, but that doesn’t mean, by any way, shape, or means that there isn’t any sizzle. Add to that, the fact that he’s a hot Aussie hunk… who isn’t The Stag… There is hidden romance and plenty of laughs, so it firmly sits in the Rom-Com sector, for me.
I do love a bit of reality TV, and having watched series like The Batchelor, it was great to get a feel for what possibly happens behind the scenes! The dynamics between a group of women vying for the attention of one man, for very, very different reasons, was a great avenue to explore.
Add in all the different locations they visit on dates, in and around Sydney, and I felt like I was on holiday, myself! (Much needed in this climate, I’ll have you know!)
A fun, light-hearted read to give you a giggle!
Many thanks to NetGalley, Harper Collins Uk and One More Chapter for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 10th September, 2021

Brown Baby: A Memoir of Race, Family and Home

Brown Baby: A Memoir of Race, Family and Home by Nikesh Shukla
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As I embarked upon making my own writing dreams a reality, I stumbled upon author Nikesh Shukla, a fellow Indian of Kenyan descent, who was of similar age, and though he was Gujerati, and Male, to my Punjabi and Female, there were enough similarities to make his career interesting to me.
Brown Baby is a memoir, as well as a guide to life for his own Brown Baby, Ganga, and her sister, but the memories he recounts, the feelings he encounters, growing up as a British-born Indian, a child of immigrant parents, displaced by society, not really getting why, but then, yeah, getting it, were all emotions I’ve felt, too.
The passages about his mother and those feelings of love, loss, and guilt were overwhelming.
Add in the fact that his own Brown Baby has a mother who isn’t brown, so there are so many other questions, and hurdles to overcome. Again, close to home, as my own brother married a Finnish girl, and their boys are ‘Finndian’, so yup, more intriguing questions as they grow up, inquisitive.
A heartfelt tribute to a strong mother, a memoir filled with lessons. All in all, a good read.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Pan Macmillan for an ARC in exchange for an honest opinion.

Sylvester by Georgette Heyer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Having spent the whole of January gorging on the entire Bridgerton Series, I was drawn to try this older regency novel by Georgette Hayer, after it was advertised as something for Bridgerton fans.
We still have a rakish Duke, and a young lady who may, or may not, be suitable as a bride for him, alongside a strange situation that throws them together, despite neither of them really wanting to be with one another.
I’m afraid this was where the similarity ends, for me. Perhaps the writing was not a style that I enjoyed, as it was written quite a while back, compared to the slightly more contemporary way the Bridgerton series was penned. The story was intriguing, but I did find the language didn’t captivate me in the same way.
Still, if you are a Regency Romance fan, I am sure you would be more than happy to read this, and the many others Heyer has penned.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Random House UK for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Did You Miss Me?

Did You Miss Me? by Sophia Money-Coutts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Wish List was a book I loved, when I read it, so to be offered the chance to read a new book by Sofie Money-Coutts was not to be sniffed at.
I really loved this story centring around first loves and second chances.
Nell is a successful lawyer in a prestigious law firm in London, specialising in family law, so basically she spends her days dealing with divorces. Good thing that she wasn’t all that fussed about marriage, since the stories she has to deal with, would put off many a bridezilla.
Oh and her partner, Gus, was also of the opinion that marriage was unimportant: an unnecessary evil in their perfect relationship.
A local tragedy brings her back home for a short while, but in that twenty four hours she is back, she meets people who stir up a whole lot of long hidden emotions.
She’s faced with Art, the newly appointed Lord of the manor, since his father passed away, and also, her first love.
Of course, he’s married, and lives in another country, so why would he remember much about their teenage romance? Or was it just a little fling for him?
Fantastic story! I think I always know where it would end up, however, there were a few points where I thought the end might have been something different, so I was definitely turning the pages, in anticipation.
I kinda loved Art, the handsome new Lord, who really didn’t know what he’d done wrong.
Gus, well, I could take him or leave him, but I understood why Nell was with him, comfortable, content, but was she happy?
The addition of the secondary characters back home; Nell’s newly separated parents, her brother and her two besties from school, Colin and Luce, all made for some interesting side storylines, too.
And Nell, I was quite proud of her by the end, making a stand where it counted!
Many thanks to Netgalley and HQ for an ARC in exchange for an honest opinion.


Released on 19th August, 2021

Ouija

Ouija by Zoé-Lee O’Farrell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Okay, so I’ll start off by saying that Horror is not my go-to genre, usually, but having read the opening chapters of this book, previously, my appetite was well and truly whetted, so when I was given the opportunity to read the whole book, I jumped at the chance, straight away!
Ouija is the debut novel by Zoé-Lee O’Farrell, and what a fantastic debut it is, too!
Six high school students take it upon themselves to have a go at something they really shouldn’t have touched, i.e. the Ouija board, inside an abandoned school, where tragedy struck a little while before.
What were they thinking? That’s what I was thinking, as I read, having been a little silly in my own youth, and tried this occult madness out at university. Put it this way, we had to break the session, and I was too scared to walk home in the dark, alone, for ages!
Still, Jon, Ben, Caley, Lara, and twins, Simon and Sophie all head into the school, some with doubt and trepidation, some with scepticism, some with a little indifference.
They all leave with something that binds them all together for life, and it ain’t something pleasant, I tell you!
O’Farrell has created just the right amount of tension and jumps, twists and turns to really keep you turning the pages, and the ending?
OMG! I will be needing a continuation, please!
If you like a bit of horror, that isn’t overly gory, but will play with your mind, you need to read this!

So, so, so proud of you, Zoe, for this fab book!

Released on 30th August, 2021

Eight Perfect Hours

Eight Perfect Hours by Lia Louis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a beautifully crafted story about fate, and what was always meant to be, but how, sometimes it’s just not the right time.
Nell, our heroine, is stuck in the snow, after a hurried reunion at her old college, where she was meant to be coming home with a special package. Instead, she is sat in the car, on the M4, stuck because of heavy snowfall, with a letter, memories, extreme emotions and a mobile with a flat battery.
Her hero arrives, not on a trusty steed, as such, but with a knock at the window, and the offer of a charger, as well as some company, the night ends up as the most perfect eight hours of her life.
Only, they never exchange contact details after.
The next few months sees so many coincidental events happening, that it is hard for Nell to discount the thoughts of her hippyish best friends, Theo and Charlie, who firmly believe in the whole ‘it was meant to be’ theory.
But, were they right?
A book I devoured within hours. Honestly, if I hadn’t started it so late last night, I would have finished it in a single sitting.
I truly felt for Nell, a woman with so much talent, but with responsibilities weighing her down, in the shape of her mother. A troublesome ex, and a wayward brother, make her feel like she isn’t worth much more than the lot life has thrown her.
Then there’s her knight in shining armour, Sam, who rescues her from the snow, and over the story, their own lives entwine in ways that seem unreal. A hunk with a heart, that’s Sam!
Of course, there is also Ed, the ex who pops back in, and even though she is thinking there could be something there, I found him rather smarmy. Keep well away, Nell!
Honestly, this was a wonderful read, covering so much within it, including loss, and bereavement, as well as postnatal depression, and that old chestnut, Fate.
A thoroughly good read that I would highly recommend!
Many thanks to Netgalley and Orion Publishing for an ARC in exchange for an honest opinion.

Released 19th August, 2021

Every Day in December

Every Day in December by Kitty Wilson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Kitty Wilson is a ‘new to me” author, so reading the blurb was what attracted me to the story. I mean, who doesn’t love a Christmas Romance story?
This was a beautifully crafted story about a woman and man, each with their own insecurities and losses, but with so much to give to the world, and possibly each other, if they could be brave enough to chance it.
Despite coming from a family of means, Belle Wilde is determined to make it, by herself in this world. She has her love of Shakespeare, and a lifelong project she needs help to launch, but there is no way she wants to take money from her parents, especially since her famous father doesn’t really rate her chances at anything in life.
Christmas is looming and faced with a jobless festive season, she goes about thinking of the cheap and cheerful gifts she could bring home when she unexpectedly bumps into Rory, an old acquaintance from student days.
Now, Belle, she loves Christmas. Rory? Not so much,
After the loss of his wife in December a few years previously, Christmas has lost its sparkle for him.
Somehow, after finding out about Belle’s secret project, he finds himself entwined in her life every day of that festive month, as she slowly teaches him how to love Christmas, and quite possibly other things, again.
Each chapter of the book is set on a different day in December and I loved it all!
Belle’s goddaughter, Marsha is a firecracker of a five-year-old, and I absolutely loved Angela, cancer-stricken mum of Rory, with spunk to match that of Belle’s!
Filled with a real slow burn of a romance, building a casual friendship up into something rarely found in relationships, this was a lovely read that I have to admit made me shed a tear of sentimental happiness at the end, too!
I’d love to read a bonus chapter, a year on. What is happening in the world of Belle and Rory? Is Marsha still crazy but oh-so-cute? Did Angela’s Secret Santa tradition keep on going? How is that Shakespeare project progressing? And, what is happening with Belle and Rory?
Many thanks to Netgalley and Harper Collins for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Released 19th August, 2021

The Liar Next Door

The Liar Next Door by Nicola Marsh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Nicola Marsh has totally done it again, honestly! I’ve read a couple of her domestic thrillers now, and each time, she pulls me in with the storyline, all the twists and turns, and I am blown away by the ending!
The Liar Next Door was no different.
Three women living as neighbours in a lovely neighbourhood become tentative friends, knowing no one else there.
They each have their own secrets, and reasons for moving from previous locations, but some are more sinister than others.
But, which one is lying?
All three characters have issues of their own, from paternity secrets to infidelities, and the way their stories end up weaved together is nothing short of genius. You have a married mum of one, who is a famous influencer, a young, newly married, pregnant woman and a single mum, apparently fleeing from some danger.
I thoroughly enjoyed this read, and can’t wait for another!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Bookouture for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Released 23rd August, 2021

Hot Desk

Hot Desk by Zara Stoneley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If you’re looking for an easy, uplifting read, with a bit of a slow burn romance, then this is quite possibly a book for you.
Hot Desk is about precisely that. A company changes up its working procedures post-Covid, with more work from home, and less time in the office,e meaning people now have to share desks.
Music to the ears of some, but not for Alice, our heroine, for whom the lockdowns and being stuck in her room in her house share haven’t been ideal, especially for work.
And then she finds out that her haven at work is now to be shared, and by none other than Jamie, her annoying colleague, who was also the one to give her a kiss to remember, many moons ago, yet doesn’t seem to remember said life-changing moment.
Kinda second chance romance, though the first time didn’t really go anywhere.
I’ll be honest, not my favourite ever read, but it was a pleasant one, and I enjoyed the story. It would make a good beach read.
Many thanks to NetGalley, Harper Collins UK and One More Chapter for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Released 31st August, 2021

Freckles

Freckles by Cecelia Ahern
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Freckles. The cover and the blurb enticed me to read.
A woman, who is floundering in life uses a phrase uttered to her in a moment of annoyance, to shape the rest of her life.
You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.
Who are those five people, and how have they shaped her?
Are they the same five people throughout her life, or do they change?
Allegra Bird is a complex character. She shows shades of autism throughout the book.
I have to admit that, initially, I found it quite hard to get into, as there were no speech marks throughout the book, and sometimes I was mixing speech for thought, etc, but it added to the confusion in the mind of our main character.
But, once I was in, I was IN, if you know what I mean.
I was making my own list of five for Allegra, throughout the book, and am so glad I got it right, in the end!
There were hints of a possible romance, but the essence of the story wasn’t muddied by that. Instead, we were given a hopeful ending.
I felt for the young girl, discarded by her mother, who wanted to know more. A woman who wanted to help others, but didn’t often get it quite right. Someone who was frequently misunderstood.
As I mentioned before, it took a little while to get into, but I did enjoy the journey through Allegra’s quest to pinpoint her five.

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

Releasing 2nd September, 2021

The Hidden Child

The Hidden Child by Louise Fein
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is my first book by Louise Fein, and I have to say I was glad I gave it a try.
The Hidden Child is a story steeped in history, filled with beliefs that many of us would find hard to swallow nowadays, but which were held to by many a century ago.
The story centres around Husband and wife, Edward and Eleanor.
Both have a strong belief in Eugenics, and the plan to institutionalise those who suffer from certain afflictions and maybe even sterilise them, to prevent the risk of ‘inherited’ disorders, such as epilepsy, being passed down to the next generations.
Until something happens in their own personal life that tears both them apart, and their own beliefs.
I have to say I couldn’t read this in one sitting because the subject matter was so deep; eugenics, the search for the perfect Aryan race, institutionalisation, alternative treatments,
But behind those topics was a story about a real family, struggling with dealing with situations out of their hands,
Reading the Author’s note at the end was enlightening, as certain aspects of the story are based upon one of her own background truths, and it is also quite scary to read how much of what is included in The Hidden Child is based upon truths, politically, and medically.
I have to say there were moments, as a mother, I had tears in my eyes,. There were times I wanted to cheer, as Eleanor grew a backbone, and also moments of upset when I read about some of the Eugenic beliefs.
A really fascinating, and engaging book. It’s not an easy read beach book, but something to take time, and mull over.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Head of Zeus for an ARC in exchange for an honest opinion.

Releasing 2nd September, 2021

I Have Something to Tell You

I Have Something to Tell You by Susan Lewis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

You’ve got to love a Susan Lewis book, haven’t you? Well, I know I’m always going to enjoy her brilliant storytelling skills, having read many of her books over the years.
I Have Something To Tell You was nothing short of a masterpiece, quite possibly one of her best, to date.
Jay is a defence lawyer, caught up in the early confusion of a new murder trial. She finds herself sucked up into this particular case more than others, as she tries her hardest to help her client, who she has a gut feeling about. He can’t be guilty. Can he?
Meanwhile, in her personal life, she’s dealing with trust issues. Fractured trust is never quite as strong after it’s been shattered once, and she is finding that, even years after finding out her husband cheated on her.
With good reason, it seems.
There were so many twists and turns within each different part of the story. from Jay’s relationship with Tom, her husband, to how she handles the murder case client, Blake, and all the investigations.
I Have Something To Tell You is a brilliant title for the book, where those words, or something similar, are uttered several times, bringing new tweaks to an already engaging story.
Thoroughly enjoyed this!
Many thanks, to NetGalley and Harper Collins UK for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 16th September, 2021

Seizing the Bygone Light by Cendrine Marrouat

Seizing the Bygone Light: A Tribute to Early Photography by Cendrine Marrouat
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Many thanks to the Authors for providing a copy for review purposes.

Seizing the Bygone Light: A Tribute to Early Photography captures the essence of emotions within the images enclosed by the authors, and the words of poetry that accompany them.
I loved some of the chosen images, which left me feeling wistful, in some ways, and ignited inspiration within me.
An interesting book for photography enthusiasts, with a love of poetry.

Rhythm Flourishing by Cendrine Marrouat


Rhythm Flourishing: A Collection of Kindku and Sixku by Cendrine Marrouat
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

We all need a bit of positivity in our life, and this beautiful collection of poetry and photography has it in spades.
I am a lover of poetry, both syllabic, and not, and being introduced to the new-to-me forms, Kindku and Sixku, was great.
I enjoyed both the photography-based lines, as well as those inspired by the words of well-known figures, such as Maya Angelou.
Many thanks to the Authors for providing me with a copy, in exchange for an honest review.

Matchmaking at Port Willow (Port Willow Bay #2)

Matchmaking at Port Willow by Kiley Dunbar
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Can I just say, I was so excited to be heading back to Port Willow, with Kiley Dunbar!
I’ve been a huge fan of Dunbar’s stories over the last couple of years and was thrilled that I was able to read the next book about The Princess and Pea Inn, and its lost soul inhabitants and guests.
It was a joy to be back with Atholl and Beatrice, Gene and Kitty, and to meet all the newer characters that made the story so great to read.
Beatrice and Atholl have settled into their life at the Inn, with plenty of exciting new projects to get their teeth into. They have a couple coming to stay, who are to celebrate their twenty-fifth Anniversary, during their month-long stay, and a young woman from New York, coming to find some new trends around the Highlands that she can tout to her company back home, as the next ‘big thing’.
Each of these characters has stories of their own that bring about the ‘Matchmaking’ part of the book’s title.
I don’t want to go into too much detail, and give things away, but, despite being a book two in a series, it is easily readable as a stand-alone.
There are trigger warnings with regards to miscarriage, but it has been health with sensitively, and as I mentioned before, I’ve read the first book, so was aware of this side of the story. Also, hats off to the author for bringing menopause into the equation.
Also, it is lovely to have a cast of characters who aren’t all young, beautiful people, looking for love and finding it, but those more advanced in their years, with a history behind them, and, yes, still finding it!
A heart-warming story with the capacity for more to happen… hint, hint!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Hera Books for an ARC in exchange for an honest opinion.

Releasing 16th September, 2021

Safe at Home: What if you left your child alone, and something terrible happened?

Safe at Home: What if you left your child alone, and something terrible happened? by Lauren North
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve read two of Lauren North’s previous books and loved them, so was excited to get my teeth into her latest one, Safe At Home.
She is a fantastic author of Psychological Suspense, and her plots keep your mind ticking over, second-guessing every thought you have, throughout the books she writes.
Safe At Home is no different.
Anna is bringing up her three girls alone, while her husband, Rob, works overseas. After some incident prior to the start of the book, they are living in a different area and living a completely different life to what they were used to.
She’s become an extremely protective mother, not trusting anyone, despite the local community trying to welcome her into their folds.
A decision, not taken lightly, to leave one of her girls at home alone for what should have been a twenty-minute period, becomes the catalyst for an event that changes the lives of not only her family but many people around her.
I was on tenterhooks throughout the whole book, I have to admit. What a fantastically told story, with so many twists, and possibilities, to make you think you know what is going on, before you get thrown off the scent, again.
Loved it!
Many thanks to NetGalley, Random House UK, Transworld Publishers, Corgi for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 30th September, 2021

The Other Man

The Other Man by Farhad J. Dadyburjor
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 Stars
Reading the blurb for this book, I felt I really wanted to read it. an LGBTQ romance, based in recent years, in Mumbai. It’s not something that is written about often, so I was excited.
Ved Mehra is the son of an affluent businessman, from a wealthy family, and wants for nothing.
Except for love and acceptance.
Finding himself forced into an engagement with the delightful Disha, Ved thinks it must be for the best.
Only… he’s gay.
Then he meets Carlos.
The story is set around the time when Section 377, a law set in British colonial times, criminalising homosexual activity, amongst other things is due to be overturned.
While I really wanted to love the story, I found the characters to be underdeveloped, and there were areas that the story almost went too fast, or felt a little unbelievable.
I mean, considering Ved hadn’t come out to his parents, would he still have brought a man back to the house, so brazenly, indulged in such loud physical pleasure, and have none of the house staff batting an eyelid, nor his father asking questions?
But, there was a HEA, so, I was happy!

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

Releasing 12th October, 2021

Baby It's Cold Outside

Baby It’s Cold Outside by Emily Bell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

You hear people talking, jokingly, about getting together in x amount of years, if you’re both still single, but in Baby, It’s Cold Outside, the pact to meet in ten years in Dublin is something our main character Norah Jones is seriously considering.
Having met Andrew in Italy, as a fresh-faced young woman, and been swept off her feet, fate brought them together but tore them apart too.
As the date of reckoning approaches, life throws Norah a curveball, leaving her at a loose end at Christmas, and she finds herself going to Dublin to see if this meeting will really happen, with her long time friend Joe with her.
I really loved Norah Jones, singer, turned music teacher. She’s been dealt a tough hand by life, in so many ways, losing people she loved, and I really wanted her to get her happily ever after,
She gets her Happily Ever After, but, maybe, not in the way she expected.
The cast of characters within the book was great, with Norah’s circle of friends, her mum, and several special other people she meets in Dublin.
And, talking of Dublin, reading this book makes me want to go and visit!
A lovely Christmas story to warm the cockles of your heart.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Michael Joseph UK for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 14th October, 2021

All For You

All For You by Louise Jensen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was thrilled to receive a copy of Louise Jensen’s new psychological thriller, having enjoyed some of her previous books, and All For You didn’t disappoint.
On the surface, the Walsh family seem like your average family, husband and wife with their two sons, but when you scratch the surface, all isn’t as simple as it should be.
For a start, there is a young boy suffering an illness that nothing but a transplant can help with, and another teenager suffering anxiety and stress from a tragic event that happened in his own life a few months before.
To top it off you have a husband and wife with their own secrets.
Then, the unthinkable happens. One of their boys goes missing.
The story is told from the viewpoints of both husband and wife, Aiden and Lucy, and the eldest son, Conner. We find out snippets of their pasts, as layers are slowly peeled off, as the story unfolds.
A wonderfully wicked web of interweaving storylines makes for a fantastic thriller, and it kept me on my toes the whole way through. At many points, I was convinced I knew what was happening, only for the next chapter to throw another curveball.
It really does make you think, ‘What would I do?’, had you been in a situation similar to any of the characters, for they all made bad decisions in the past, though for compelling reasons…
Fantastic read.
Many thanks to NetGalley and HQ for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 28th October, 2021

The Christmas Escape by Sarah Morgan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

You can’t go wrong with a Sarah Morgan Christmas book, can you?
Well, I’m pretty certain of that fact, and I loved this one as much as the others that I have read.
This story centres around three main characters, Robyn, her niece, Christy and Christy’s best friend Alix.
Robyn lives in Lapland with her husband Erik and has been estranged from her family for many years, yet, out of the blue, she receives an email from her niece, wanting to come over.
Christy is nervously excited at the thought of meeting her aunty, the Rebel Robyn, about whom she knows nothing, other than her mother refused to discuss her, at all.
She’s due to take her family; husband Seb and small, feisty daughter Holly to visit her rebel aunt, with her best friend and ally, Alix in tow, too, all the way to Lapland.
But, things happen. (Of course, they do!)
And she finds herself having to ask her best friend a huge favour, i.e. stepping in as ‘mum’ for a while, as she sorts out something personal, meaning Alix has to go to Lapland with Holly. With backup, of course. Zak. Who happens to be Seb’s best friend, and apparently a sworn enemy of Alix’s.
Yes, it is a romance, in many ways, and how can you not get romantic, thinking of the Northern Lights, and midnight sleigh rides, the snow, and saunas…
Though, more than that, I felt this book was about relationships and friendships, and misunderstandings. How something that seems so small can end up becoming bigger than you realise, and that thing you thought was huge, actually isn’t important at all.
A fabulous read that I devoured pretty much in one sitting on a Bank Holiday Monday!
Many thanks to NetGalley and HQ for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 28th October, 2021

So, I’ve given you quite a selection to think on from Romantic, to Christmas, Psychological thrillers to poetry, not forgetting a little LGBTQ fiction. What tickles your fancy? And share what you read this month, or recently, that you would recommend!

July 2021 Books #AmReading

Last month was a wash out, with reports and assessments. This month is the last one of term, so I’m not holding out much reading hope to be honest! Still, I can try! And I have SO MAY ARCS to read, via Netgalley, that my brain is swimming with deadline dates! (Someone, tell me to stop agreeing to read, or requesting them!)

bean bag chair chill
The Mother Fault

The Mother Fault by Kate Mildenhall
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m not sure what I was expecting when I requested this book, but when I began reading I realised it was very different to my usual reading genre.
Dystopian fiction is not really my thing, However, when you couple an unknown genre with a topic I love, which is motherhood, and family, and the lengths said mother would go to for hers, then you get a pretty good read.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Released 7th July, 2021

You and Me on Vacation

You and Me on Vacation by Emily Henry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved this book on so many levels.
Poppy and Alex are made for each other, but they really don’t get it. Well, not straight away.
Despite being best friends for so many years, and taking their special yearly vacations together, things simmer, but never bubble over.
Until one trip.
A trip that changes so much.
I have to say I felt for Poppy, so much through the whole book, holding onto her unrequited love, as well as trauma from the past.
I honestly wanted to shake Alex. I mean, come on, why didn’t you give any indications any earlier, as to how you felt?!
Still, I really enjoyed the read, and would recommend it for a great summer sizzler!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Penguin for an ARC, in exchange for an honest review.

Released 8th July, 2021

The Lock In

The Lock In by Phoebe Luckhurst
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The title, The Lock In, really pulled me to request this book, and though it wasn’t about a lock in , in its truest sense, the story was a cringy gigglefest from start to finish!
Imagine it, being hungover, in a house that has a huge leak, and locked in the attic with three other people.
Ellen, one of the fated housemates, is suffering from a rather wild night before, and after discovering a leak, tries her hardest to find the off switch (!!) in the attic. So something I would do, pre being a homeowner.
After no success, she has to wake her fellow housemates, to alert them to said leak, and request their assistance in turning off the water.
Jack, the most recent addition to the house, is clueless, but Alexa, Ellen’s friend from university, and final housemate is savvier, however, doesn’t have the brute strength to actually turn the stopcock (that was under the sink, in case you needed to know!) off. They all find themselves up in the attic, questioning Ellen’s presence there, when the fourth in the adventure arrives, Ben, who was actually Alexa’s date.
Now, his brute strength is another matter, and he ends up locking them in the attic, and breaking the door handle!
The hilarity that ensues from being stuck with almost no phone (I won’t go into that, too much!), no toilet, food or water, along with old stories being recalled, oh, and the memories of an old romance that turned sour popping its head up, it’s an entertaining book.
The visit back to 2009 with MSN Messenger, drunken nights and the first digital cameras took me back to my own youth!
I found all the characters likeable in their own way and ended up with a soft spot for Jack, who is socially clueless but ends up in the limelight in a way he never thought possible.

Many thanks to NetGalley, and Penguin Mochale Joseph UK for an ARC in exchange for an honest opinion.

Released on 22nd July, 2021

Welcome to Ferry Lane Market

Welcome to Ferry Lane Market by Nicola May
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Can I start by saying I want to go to Ferry Lane Market?
I want to meet this cast of characters; colourful, caring and complicated!
So, we have Kara, a woman stuck in an eight-year-old relationship, that is going nowhere, with barely the finance needed to stretch to living a little, outside of paying her mortgage.
She’s in a job she loves, but without the appreciation from her boss, even that shine has dulled.
Surrounded by people who care about her, she ends up on an adventure of a lifetime, after kicking Jago, her useless, cheating boyfriend, to the curb, to find her true path,
I really enjoyed immersing myself in the world of the Ferry Lane market, and it was fantastic to read about a woman, just past what people would say was the prime of her life, finally finding her feet, her passion, and some love, along the way!
And I’m looking forward to reading more about all the fantastic characters in the books to follow!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Released on 22nd July, 2021

The Image of Her

The Image of Her by Sonia Velton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Two woman, one man, livng far apart, yet irreversibly connected. Brilliant read! Seriously, I had one idea in my mind about what this book was going to be about, and though I clicked, part way through, the twists and turns to get to the conclusion were gripping! The stories of the two women, how we move from the present to the past, the takes interweaving, to create this blanket of connections… was fantastic! I can’t write much, as I would give the story away, but it’s good, trust me! Loved it! Many thanks to NetGalley and Quercus for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Released on 22nd July, 2021

The Promise of Summer

The Promise of Summer by Bella Osborne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed part one of this book, so was thrilled to be able to read the whole of the novel.
You know you’re in for a good read when within a few pages, you know exactly what you want to happen, and you speed through the chapters waiting for it, going on a fantastic journey to get to that expected destination.
It was like that for me, with The Promise Of Summer.
An easy, light-hearted read with three interesting characters; Ruby, with her obsession with having a baby, Kim and her secret, and Curtis…
I was fascinated by Curtis, the whole way through! The pointers from the very beginning of the story indicated a person on the autistic spectrum, and it was just a joy to see him with his own happily ever after, to be honest.
And don’t let me forget to mention Boomer, or Boomerang, the rescue dog, who ends up stealing plenty of hearts!

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

Released on 22nd July, 2021

What's Left Unsaid

What’s Left Unsaid by Emily Bleeker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What’s Left Unsaid is a book that took me a little while to get into, but once I was in, I was hooked.
Hannah Williamson is a woman with her own past and troubles. Having been sent to live with her grandmother, Mamaw, in a little town in Minnesota, on the pretext of looking after her, she embarks upon a job at the local paper, keen to get back to her real career in journalism.
While there, she finds out about a story, something kept deeply hidden, which triggers her thirst for wanting to know more.
The more she knows, the more invested she becomes in the story, not knowing just how involved she is to become.
There are many issues raised in this book, not least the extreme prejudices that were held on to so tightly, in the South, but child abuse, depression, adoption, miscarriage…
And to think it is a story based upon the real story of the author’s great aunt.
A fascinating read.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for an ARC in exchange for an honest opinion.

Released on 27th July, 2021

Love Life

Love Life by Nancy Peach
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So, what happens when you are a woman living the aftermath of a broken relationship, where you found your then partner, in bed, with another man? Coupled with doing your residency in a hospital, training to be a doctor? Alongside generally feeling like absolute rubbish, because, well, you are. Anyway, that’s how life has made you come to view yourself?
This kinda sums up our heroine, Tess.
Oh, but I forgot, she has these two voices in her head, or rather like the devil and angel one might have on your shoulders, she has the chat show host, akin to Jerry Springer, rubbing her face in all the downs she encounters, with the lovely Jane Austen on her other side, cheering her along, with her ladylike grace.
While on her training stint in the hospice of the local hospital, she encounters a patient with who she develops a strong bond. What she wasn’t counting on, was the son of said patient, who brings back certain memories… yet, he doesn’t appear to remember her, at all.
It took me a short while to really get into the swing of the book, but once I was there, I was THERE, if you know what I mean!
Honestly, there were times I wanted to punch the Chat Show Host in the face – What an obnoxious man! But the light-hearted banter that spilt from the mouths of the two voices, along with the story, as it unfolds, had me wanting to read more!
Many thanks to Netgalley and One More Chapter for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Released on 16th September, 2021

Patience

Patience by Victoria Scott
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What an amazing read!
No, seriously, I haven’t felt gushy about a book for a while, now, and this one, well, it gave me the feels.
Now, it’s not a rom-com, as I usually enjoy, but the story of Patience, a woman diagnosed with Rett Syndrome in childhood, captivate me.
I enjoyed how the book was written, with Patience’s point of view given through her thoughts, since, she is unable to talk, and the differing viewpoints of her family: both parents and her sister, Eliza.
Life can’t be easy as a carer, and member of family of an individual who is diagnosed with such a disorder. You often find the world sympathising with them, but this also turned the tables on that, by providing Patience with a voice.
Regardless of whether she was able to talk, move, feed. herself, etc., she still has opinions, and thoughts, reminding me that we never know what is going on in the mind of someone we may consider ‘disabled’.
Thoroughly enjoyed this.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Head of Zeus for an ARC in exchange for an honest opinion.

Released on 5th August, 2021

Well, I am quite impressed with myself to be honest! After a thankless last couple of months, with the house move and the last term of the school year, reading has always been there, but not at the forefront of my life, so nine books, this month, I think, is a winner!

So, were there any there that sparked your interest? Let me know what you’ve been reading this month, too!

8 Steps to Side Characters by @sacha_black #BookReview #PubDay

Today, I have the pleasure of being a part of a very special release day!

Our very own, Sacha Black, has done it again with another cracker of a non fiction release, following on from her gems, 13 Steps To Evil, 10 Steps to Hero, and an absolute favourite of mine, The Anatomy of Prose.

This time we welcome 8 Steps to Side Characters!

Now, Sacha has guided us, in her inimitable way, through how to create the most evil kind of villains and those flawed, yet strong heroes, so it stands to reason that we need some guidance about how to handle all those other characters that make up the bones of our books… so here we have it!

Wanna know more about what it’s all about? Here’s the blurb:

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. 

After I read my ebook arc, I was quick to get in there with my request for a signed hard copy of this beaut, too and it will be well thumbed, I can promise you!

My Review

8 steps to Side Characters: How to Craft Supporting Roles with Intention, Purpose, and Power by Sacha Black
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Some authors, you just know you are going to read and enjoy.
And one of those, for me, Sacha Black, has done it again with her next writing craft special, 8 Steps To Side Characters. I’ve loved her previous guides to writing Villains, and Heroes, and the Anatomy of Prose was just ENLIGHTENING!
You know you’re reading a real (Sacha) Black beauty when the first chapter in the book is called F*ck The Rules! Her colourful language embodies all that is Sacha, ensuring a read full of laughs, snorts, and ‘A-ha!’ moments!
There is so much in the book to help you craft your side characters into solid people that readers will understand, and how to use them to push the story forward.
Side characters are fantastic literary devices, but you really do need to know the nuances of how to use them, and also, it’s important to know what kind of side character you are writing… yup, there are several types. Sacha has it all covered!
What a fantastic resource that had me questioning all my side characters, past and present – in a good way. You can always count on Sacha for a dose of ‘Real-talk’ writing advice.
And one of my favourite lines, which I can just hear her saying… (I listen to Sacha’s podcast, so her wonderful British lilt is ingrained in my mind!) “Don’t be an @sshole – they’re full of sh!t rather than words”.
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

And… she doesn’t just have the Textbook available, as always there is an acompanying Workbook, too. She’s a whip-wielding task master, that Sacha…! But, honestly, if you want to hone your craft, what better way than to work through the exercises designed to strengthen your craft?

Universal purchase link textbook: books2read.com/sidecharacters 

Universal purchase link workbook: books2read.com/sideworkbook

What are you waiting for? Get yourselves out there!

Oh, and if you want more, check out Sacha’s Social Media. There are a whole host of mini tip videos that have been posted over the last few days, and for the next few days, Sacha has some fantastic interviews lined up.

As part of the launch week, I’ll be interviewing nine authors all about their side characters, their favorite side characters from books and films as well as their tips for creating better characters. And I’ll be doing that all LIVE on instagram every night at 8pm from the 30th July to the 8th August.

Sacha Black
  • Friday 30th July – Mark Lefebvre from Stark Reflections on Writing and Publishing Podcast
  • Saturday 31st July Jeff Adams from Big Gay Fiction podcast
  • Sunday 1st August Katlyn Duncan YouTuber and author
  • Monday 2nd August Daniel Willcocks, my Next Level Authors cohost, book coach and horror authors
  • Tuesday 3rd August Crys Cain, host of Write Away, cohost of TASM and author
  • Wednesday 4th August Kristina Stanley, CEO of Fictionary.co
  • Thursday 5th Helen Scheuerer author of fantasy
  • Friday 6th Miranda Bridges romance author
  • Saturday 7th Elaine Bateman urban fantasy author and staff writer at Indie Author Magazine
  • Sunday 8th August – if I haven’t collapsed, will be a solo show from me.

Find Sacha on the following channels:

Facebook: @sachablackauthor

Instagram: @sachablackauthor

Website: http://www.sachablack.co.uk

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