December Books #AmReading

Oh wow, it is the last month of this year, and the last month of this decade! Where did the time go, seriously? Well, I know, that alongside the fun of end of term school activities, and getting my own book out there, I have been enjoying another bumper crop of reads!

Time Management for Writers

Time Management for Writers by Katie Forrest
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sprinkled with personal anecdotes, Forrest has really broken down the whys and wherefores of how we spend our time each day, and some extremely easy ways to identify our goals, our ‘Whys’, (as she calls them), and then implement strategies to maximise our efficiency.
I, for one, am definitely excited to start a routine where I am more conscious of when I am productive, and how I can create a world that works for me, in my personal life, professional life and with my passion for writing.
Part of my new routine, to be established, will be a set amount of time, 3-4 days a week, where I read a craft book, and actually digest what I am reading and take notes.
This will enable me to hopefully create better words from the off when I get back to my creative writing.

The Fallout

The Fallout by Rebecca Thornton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sarah and Liza are friends who met and bonded through a local NCT group, being a support network for each other through those first fraught months and years of parenthood.
They look out for one another and have been there for each other through thick and thin.
Then something happens, injuring one of their children, and a web of lies, guilt and secrecy is woven.
An interesting format, and I especially liked the WhatsApp chats that were interspersed between chapters, as an extremely relevant addition to the book, seeing as a huge percentage of the population uses it as a means of communication.
Some interesting twists were revealed as the conclusion was reached.
Well, it was definitely a compelling read, seeing as I finished it in a day!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins UK for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Unexpected Lessons in Love

Unexpected Lessons in Love by Lucy Dillon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What happens when you are on your way to your wedding, and moments from arriving, you realise that you can’t do it?
Then you send a message to your intended, only to find out that he has been involved in a horrific accident?
Guilt sears through you, as well as confusion,
What do you do now? Was it your fault?
Jeannie McCarthy was in this exact position.
Until Dan gained consciousness, she wouldn’t know whether he’d heard the message.
So she’d have to pretend to be the loving fiancee, waiting for any news on his recovery.
Meanwhile, Jeannie tries to fill the waiting with attempts to settle into a new town and finds herself immersed in the caring of several litters of puppies, making new friends, and reigniting her love of songwriting.
I was swept away by this tale of crossed connections. It is a love story, with breakups. A sad, yet happy tale.
Good? I’d like to think so! I finished it in a day!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Random House UK for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Published 9th Jan 2020

She

She by HC Warner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ben is reeling from a break-up, and suddenly the most attractive woman he’s seen is showing interest in him.
Forget interest, Bella wants him.
And from want, branches commitment in the form of a sudden pregnancy and quick wedding.
But things aren’t always as they seem.
As Ben withdraws from his friends and family, Bella’s claws dig deeper into him.
What’s the story?

I was totally immersed in the story, and the twists, followed by the point of view changes, made me despise Bella all the more.

A fantastic story that keeps you gripped until the very end! I’ve already recommended it to a few friends!

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

Published 23rd January 2020

The 24-Hour Café

The 24-Hour Café by Libby Page
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As the title suggests, this is a book set in a 24-hour cafe in London. Part American diner, part traditional caff, the place is the setting for many life stories.
The book is written over a 24 hour period, detailing the lives of two of the workers there, Hannah and Mona, flatmates and friends for the last few years.
Interspersed with micro-stories of some of the customers, we also learn stories of Hannah and Mona’s past and how they met,
Interestingly written, with a great underlying story about friendship, and living in modern-day London.
Many Thanks to NetGalley and Orion Publishing for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Published 23rd January, 2020

Grown-Ups

Grown-Ups by Marian Keyes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Books about family are always a favourite of mine, and this new read from Marian Keyes was fully family fuelled!
A story about the fortunes of three men, the Casey brothers, Johnny, Ed and Liam, and their respective wives, Jessie, Cara and Nell.

A surprise knock to the head causes Cara to blurt out a whole host of truths at the dinner table one night, in front of the whole family. Truths that have huge consequences.

t starts in the present, then delves backwards, accessing the views of a whole host of characters involved in the story, leading back to the very first scene, allowing us an insight into what happened, to cause the conversation that starts the book.

There are many issues touched upon within the book, from fidelity to eating disorders, trust to control.

I enjoyed the way that each jump back, then forwards, strengthened my knowledge of each character. It isn’t always easy to follow books with multiple points of view, yet I was left with fully formed characters in my mind at the end of the book.

Another page-turner!

Many thanks to NetGalley and Penguin UK – Michael Joseph for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Published 6th February 2020

The Santa Trial: A Christmas Short

The Santa Trial: A Christmas Short by Tess Thompson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, what a wonderful Christmas short!
Seven-year-old Morgan sends Santa a video with her request for Christmas this year, and he delivers in a true Christmas miracle style!
Ryan is a successful businessman and single father. Rena is a lonely twenty-something woman, struggling to keep afloat.
What do they have in common, besides working in the same building?
A summons to jury service. And right before Christmas too.
What develops over the few days they are together, will make you wonder whether Santa really is around, after all!
I was touched by the story and the ending gave me that warm feeling that all festive stories should.
Definitely ready for my Christmas miracle now!

A Mother's Story (No Greater Love, #7)

A Mother’s Story by Amanda Prowse
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, my goodness, Mrs Prowse, you did it again.
Made me cry.
A Mother’s Story is another one of those beautifully written stories, in Amanda Prowse’s unique voice, which deals with sensitive issues, that are not beautiful at all.
Jessica and Matthew get married and are at the peak of their newly-married bliss when they find out they are to become parents.
Having a child was always a part of their plan, but a (pleasant) surprise, so early.
However, a traumatic birth experience triggers the start of the baby blues which spiral deep into postnatal depression.
I was moved to tears as we were transported from the present day, hearing Jessica’s voice, as she makes a slow recovery, to the happenings of the past; the triggers that caused a truly horrendous incident to occur.
I applaud Amanda Prowse for tackling such a delicate topic, not in a flowery way, but in that human, realistic way. Books like this go some way to educating others about how much of a serious illness postnatal depression is.
Read it. Just read.

Wildflower Christmas (The Wildflower House #3)

Wildflower Christmas by Grace Greene
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed the first two books in the Wildflower series and was excited to have a Christmas themed novella to help tie up the loose ends of the story.
Kara Hart had been through an awful lot, the past few months, and the loss of her beloved father was one of the biggest things.
Keeping busy, trying to realise his dreams, and getting caught up in finding long lost family, alongside renovations of her new home, finally takes its toll.
Kara is ready for a calm and quiet Christmas, with, maybe, the company of her tentative boyfriend, Will. Time to reflect on the changes in her life.
But nothing is ever as easy as that.
Long-lost family, health problems, wayward best friends, old lovers and a child in need of care over the festive period all come together to create a truly memorable Christmas, for Kara and her loved ones.
A lovely, conclusion to a great three-part series.

Perfect Daughter (No Greater Strength, #1)

Perfect Daughter by Amanda Prowse
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another heartwarming tale with elements of fire within.
It’s never easy, being a wife and mother, and caring for an elderly parent on top of that can be exhausting.
Jacks is stuck in a wheel of looking after her children, her husband, Pete, Ida, her mum, the house and family life in general.
This wasn’t the life she had dreamt of, for herself, all those years ago.
Instead, she lives her life vicariously, through her daughter, envisioning a bright future for her.
But, what Jacks sees as one bad choice by her daughter, all her dreams turn to dust.
The story moves back and forth, mirroring Jacks life as a teen with that of her as the mother of a teen, and slowly realisations become clear.
It’s not easy being a carer. The reader is really made to feel the sense of duty, and love, as well as the frustration that is involved in looking after your own parent.
It isn’t any easier being a parent. Guiding your children all their lives, until suddenly they are ready to take control of their own decisions. And the choices they make aren’t what you would want.
I loved reading this story and was sucked in from the beginning. I empathised with Jacks. Though her personal situation is not like my own, I could understand her frustrations, her yearning for something different.
A lovely read.

Even Salt Looks Like Sugar, a novella

Even Salt Looks Like Sugar, a novella by Yecheilyah Ysrayl
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Even Salt Looks Like Sugar was a quick read, about a young black girl, Wanda, trapped in a living situation that she can’t get out of.
She is being ‘cared for’ by Miss Cassaundra, finds herself caring for a young girl Abby, and wants to get away, to make a better life for herself and Abby.
A story that gives you things to think about.
I enjoyed the premise of the story, but sometimes was a little thrown with whose point of view I was reading.

Saving Missy

Saving Missy by Beth Morrey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Millicent Carmichael, or Missy, is an elderly lady of 78. She’s existing in her large house in London, with her husband no longer keeping her company, and her children having flown the nest.
A chance encounter with two very different women brings changes to her life that she never thought would happen.
For a start, she ends up with a dog.
Set in 2017 and bouncing back to various times in Missy’s life, we learn a lot about Missy’s life, and how she came to be all alone, despite being a mother to two, a grandmother and a wife.
A heartwarming read, with a few surprises, revealed along the way.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collines UK for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Published 6th February 2020

The Magician's Sire ( A Paranormal Romance)

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

Oooh, I love a prequel, and was extremely excited to receive this novella by Linda G. Hill, to accompany her series!
The Dagmars have a curse upon them, and, having read the series already, I knew all about it.
But to read a little backstory, now that is always good!
Finding out a bit about Steven’s father Tarmien, and how he began to understand how the family curse, and his own powers, would affect his future, and that of his own children.
If you’ve read the two books in the series, you really should read this… and if you haven’t, this would make you want to read!

Double Cup Love

Double Cup Love by Eddie Huang
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I tried.
I tried really hard to enjoy this book, but I just didn’t find myself getting into it.
It was the same with his first book, Fresh Off The Boat.
Still, I liked the ideas behind why this book was written.
Just, didn’t really enjoy how it was written.
Eddie Huang’s journey back home to China, to find himself and his roots, littered with rap slang and profanities…
Some may enjoy it. Wasn’t my cup of tea.

Final Track

Final Track by Julie Hiner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow!
I gotta say, this isn’t my usual genre of book, usually favouring easy to read rom coms and cosy fiction, but boy did I get into this one, once I started!
Mahoney is a Chief Detective in a small force in Calgary and is soon embroiled in the investigations of a series of murders.
Each killing has a link to the rock scene of the time, in the ’80s and each case is more and more bizarre, twisted, and definitely connected.
Once it is established that a serial killer is out there, investigations ramp up.
And Detective Mahoney is not about to let this murderer get away.
I have to say, I loved it all, and I ended up staying up way past my bedtime to finish, wanting to know what the score was!
Written from the view of the Detective, but with insights into the mind of another key person from the story, it was unputdownable… well, I couldn’t put it down, anyway!
And I am rather excited about reading more from this talented author, who has an ’80s fixation and some truly disturbing story ideas!

Missing Her More

Missing Her More by Karen McQuestion
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, what a genuinely heartwarming read! I loved it!
Having read Good Man Dalton, I was eager to read this companion book to it, revisiting characters we already knew, but from a different perspective.
The story is centred around Brenna, the youngest daughter of the Vanderhaven family.
A young girl, born into a family that wants for nothing; her whims catered for, as much as her overprotective parents will allow.
Still, she can’t have a dog or her own cell phone or time with her parents.
Then something awful happens.
Along with her sister, Cece moving out, she finds out that her parents are going to fire her Nanny.
Distraught, she decides upon a plan that ends up causing changes no one would have ever envisaged.
People often think that being from a wealthy family means that a person has everything — no reason to be unhappy or disgruntled in any way.
This story shows that real wealth is family and love, not money.
A wonderful read. So wonderful, I ended up reading it in one sitting!

Adèle

Adèle by Leïla Slimani
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Sorry to say this wasn’t the most amazing read, for me.
I read Lullaby, by Slimani, previously, and found it a really hard book to get into, and very cold.
Adele was easier to start, but aside from describing the behaviours of a sex-addicted woman, I felt it was very two dimensional. I didn’t warm to her, or empathise with her at any point.
She’s a mother, but there was no real feeling for her son, and the ending was all too strange for me…
Lost in translation? Maybe.
Sorry. No.

The Siege and Other Award Winning Stories

The Siege and Other Award Winning Stories by Esther Newton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a wonderful collection of short stories.
Little snippets of brilliance and you can tell why they were award-winning, or certainly worthy.
Using just a few words, Esther is able to reduce you a gibbering wreck, tugging at heartstrings, that even the coldest of hearts has.
I loved each and every story, but those that dealt with parenting and losing a child were really emotive.
If you are a short story fan, you MUST read this book. You won’t regret it. Whether it is devoured in one sitting or read leisurely, savouring each story individually, it will stay with you.

And with that last book, I finish my reading year…

Yup. I read a LOT of books this year!

I’m not going to be silly and try and smash that number, next year, but I will keep reading, and reviewing!

What about you? How many books did you read? Do you take part in the Goodreads challenge?

If you are on Goodreads, why not connect there too?

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15391974.Ritu_Bhathal

Have a fantastic time seeing the new year in, and here’s to plenty more books!

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November Books #BookReviews

The penultimate month of the year, it will no doubt be filled with the odd festive read, along side the arcs I have to complete!

Wish Me Home

Wish Me Home by Kay Bratt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What an emotional read!
I really enjoyed the story of Cara and her tumultuous journey, both physically, and emotionally, to find herself.
And when a four legged companion in on the scene, that can only make things better!

Timothy Mean and the Time Machine

Timothy Mean and the Time Machine by William A.E. Ford
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a lovely, imaginative book, filled with rhyme and adventure!
Ford has crafted a beautiful rhythmic tale about Timothy and his time machine, and all the adventures he is able to go on, fuelled by the imagination of a child.
As a teacher, I find that we seem to shut down our children’s imagination, somewhat, catering to curriculum needs, but this book is a reminder to adults as well as kids, that we need to be able to play, pretend, and whisk ourselves off to other worlds sometimes.
A wonderful premise within the book, and lessons to be learned!

Christmas Party

Christmas Party by Karen Swan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s not often you get to read about a modern-day knight, and in The Christmas Party, this is exactly what we get. Well, actually it’s more the legacy of a knight.
Declan Lorne is the last surviving knight in Ireland, his family having carried the title over 700 years. And it looks like he’s going to be the last ever knight too, having a family consisting of his wife and three feisty daughters.
His sudden demise leaves a huge gap in the lives of all his family, and his will sets many cogs turning.
Will his wife, Serena, ever accept being relegated to the Dowager House?
Will Ottie, his oldest daughter, ever get over being the disappointment of a girl, rather than a boy, and not the heir she felt her father always wanted?
Will Pip, the middle child, manage to control her own inner angst, and follow her dreams?
And will Willow, the youngest daughter, ever find her true place in her family?
I really enjoyed all the twists and turns within this book, filled with tragedies, and misplaced trust, love and loss.
Oh, and I’d love to see a pink castle!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Pan Macmillan for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The Forgotten Hours

The Forgotten Hours by Katrin Schumann
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Katie’s life, on the surface, is pretty simple, and straightforward.
She rents a nice flat, has a good job, is in a relationship with a great guy…
Has divorced parents, and a father in prison charged with statutory rape – the rape of Katie’s best friend, when she was fifteen.
Memories of idyllic summers spent at the cabin by the lake are blemished by this one accusation that changes the lives of many people.
Katie has spent most of the last six years erasing the connection between her and her father’s name, to escape the awkward questions from others, but she still loves her dad. After all, it was a mistake, a wrong conviction… wasn’t it?
The impending release of her father brings ripples to the smooth waters of her life and the ripples reveal many secrets, things Katie was never aware of before.
I read this in one day, as I got so into the story.
A really tough topic to write about. The rape of a minor, and the way people cover things up.
Seeing it from the perspective of a different victim, the daughter of the accused, shows another dimension.
Very well written.

How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life

How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life by Lilly Singh

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I enjoy watching Lilly Singh and have felt a certain Punjabi pride at seeing one of ‘our’ girls do so well in her chosen career as a YouTuber, with her hashtag and now as one of the first late-night female TV show presenters in the USA.
I must admit I have had this book on my kindle for a while and it has taken a while to get to it, but I finally did this week, and I enjoyed the read. There were several chapters that were really poignant for me.
I shall try to introduce more Bawse-ness into my life!

More Than Just Mum

More Than Just Mum by Rebecca Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What’s not to like?

Hannah Thompson is a woman – so am I
She is a wife – yup, same here
A mother – nods I’ve got 2 kids, a fur baby and two feathered ones, she has 3 children and a dog
A teacher – yes, yet another similarity!
An aspiring author – yet another similarity
Has a hubby who is quietly supportive of her dreams but doesn’t always get the support quite right – check!
Works part-time – no… alas I am a full-time teacher, wife, mother and wannabe writer!

Oh my God, if this woman had only 2 children, and worked a couple more days a week, this book might just have been my life!

Hannah is feeling the pressure.
She has one child about the fly the nest, off to university, one teen who is keeping her on her toes with the company she keeps and the questions she asks and a young not quite tween, who is inquisitive and has a pet hamster which causes his own grief.

Working three days a week (not by choice), Hannah knows that the money isn’t exactly flowing into their bank accounts, and they have a child to send off to uni imminently, and the thought of having to finance two more is, quite frankly terrifying… and her headteacher is not keen to give her a full-time contract.

Until she has the bright idea to write a book on her days off.

Will her head have a change of heart and increase her hours?
Will she finish this book or not?
Will she find a way to publish?

Well, you know I’m not going to tell you. What I will say is that it was a fantastically funny book. I was able to relate to so much of it, and Hannah’s life echoes that of many working mothers out there.

Definitely, one I recommend!

Many thanks to NetGalley and One More Chapter for an Arc in exchange for an honest review.

Published 7th December, 2019

Convenience Store Woman

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The second Japanese book I have read this year and I have to say, I found this one much easier to read.
We follow the life of a 36-year-old woman, Keiko, who has her own social difficulties and finds her comfort in her part-time job as a worker in a convenience store.
It’s been eighteen years since she started at a job where most would have thought of it as a stopgap between studying and proper career.
However for Keiko, yer job in the store allows her to function in the world and be viewed as normal, rather than the oddity she has been regarded with all her life, but both her family and friends.
There is even the contemplation of marriage, which is an alien concept to this middle-aged virgin.
A short read about someone who, I think, is very much on the Spectrum, as they say, and her way of dealing with it, so she fits in with the rest of the world.

You, Me and the Movies

You, Me and the Movies by Fiona Collins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve always been a fan of the movies, and the old classics are special to me, so to read a book that referenced so many fantastic films was great!
Arden is a woman who is in a dark place, after the end of an awful marriage. She has shut herself away from everyone who cared about her, partly because her ex-husband made her, and partly because she feels shame at being so weak.
A twist of fate finds her visiting a friend in the hospital, and finding someone else there she knew before.
Mac – a film lecturer from her university, and her big love.
He’s older and injured.
Unable to speak from injuries sustained in a car accident, they begin to share evenings together as she visits him, and revisits the past, recalling a list of movies they watched together, cataloguing their affair with each other.
Of course, she doesn’t have him to herself. She shares her Mac with James, his neighbour.
Together, they ensure his visitor chair is never empty, and build a special friendship, sharing secrets about each other, that they’ve never told another soul.
Mac used to talk about Arden finding her Bigger Love, but she never believed him…

I really enjoyed this book. It was a little predictable with the ending, but sometimes you just want simple stories that don’t have huge twists in them.
Saying that, it isn’t a simple romantic story in the least, dealing with issues such as loss and separation, and the relationships between parent and child.

A recommended read.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Random House UK for an arc, in exchange for an honest review.

Published 26th December

Gravity Is the Thing

Gravity Is the Thing by Jaclyn Moriarty
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A strange read. It took me a long while to get into this story: a tale of Abigail and her quest for the truth.
A grown-up woman, divorced and mother to a 4-year-old, Abi is constantly on the lookout for answers in life to one big question. Where is her brother?
Robert, her brother, disappeared when she was 15, and there has never been any information about where he went, or what happened to him.
Ironically, that same year, Abi was sent a chapter of a self-help manual, the Guidebook. The chapters kept coming throughout her life, and she felt a link between her brother’s disappearance and the words in the guide.
A request to come to a retreat, where the Guidebook would be the centre of attention draws her into another chapter of her life, filled with different discoveries.
It was a strange story, based in the past as well as the present. I did find myself slightly confused. Are we meant to fly? Or was it all a euphemism for life?
But I did like Abi, and her little son Oscar.
Many thanks to Netgalley, Atlantic Books and Allan & Unwin for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Published 2nd January, 2020

Such a Fun Age

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A book I managed to finish within a day, which, recently has been a struggle for me!

I was intrigued by the blurb. Would this story about a young African American woman, who worked for a successful white family, be something like a lot of social themed novels recently, chanting #BlackLivesMatter?

Well, it did, a little, but that wasn’t the entirety of the novel.

Emira, the babysitter is a twenty-something woman, similar to many out there, unsure of the direction of her life, plodding along, trying to find where she really wants to be.

She just happens to be black.

And the regular babysitter for Alix and her family, looking after two-year-old Briar, and on occasion, her baby sister, Catherine.

Alix is a thirty-something woman, married with her two beautiful daughters and a successful husband, riding on her own social media successes, and in the process of writing a book.

What happens one night in the local grocery store, when her babysitter is falsely accused of taking a child, who is obviously not hers, sparks a chain of events that explore so much more than racial stereotypes. Sure, that is a big part of it, but it is approached from two very different angles, that of a black woman, and that of a white woman.
Neither is racist, but both have stereotypes foisted upon them by others.

Add to the mix, crossed wires, and past secrets, and you have one heck of a delicious novel!

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

Published on 7th January 2020

Lady of the Ravens

Lady of the Ravens by Joanna Hickson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve always been a fan of historical fiction and jumped at the chance to read an advanced copy of The Lady of The Ravens by Joanna Hickson.

Set in the times where the Tudors took control of the monarchy, the author has cleverly interwoven fact with fiction to create a compelling story that weaves the legend of the Ravens at the Tower of London, with a fictional tale of Joan, a young lady who starts her life of royal duty by being a companion to Princess Elizabeth, and, as time goes by, works her way up to the rank of Lady in Waiting for the then Queen Elizabeth. Along the way, she is chosen to marry Sir Richard, and becomes mother to six stepchildren, despite never wanting to bear children herself.

Joan develops something of an obsession with the majestic black birds that frequent the green around the Tower, and despite the belief among the commoners that the monarchy and country is safe, as long as the ravens roost at the Tower, she is horrified at how the archers use them as target practise, and the treatment of them.

I loved how the story of the ravens and how they appeared to become more accepted, and the life of Joan blended in with the real facts of the monarchy and events that happened at this time.

The characters came to life, and I became a champion of Joan and her cause through the book!

Definitely a recommended read if you are a historical fiction lover!

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

Published 9th January 2020

Well, there you have it, my reading journey this month!

Which one has caught your eye?


September’s Books #BookReview

So, September is upon us. A busy month for me, what with school starting back, and my birthday! Being back at school means that I tend to fall asleep a heck of a lot quicker than usual, as the physical and emotional exhaustion kicks in againk, after a relatively relaxing August, so I am conscious that there won’t be as many books completed this month, but you know me, I give it my best! I have done a preliminary read for two friends who asked for feedback, which was daunting, as I really don’t class myself as an expert, and I know how it feels to give your book baby to someone else, especially for that first time. Still, I attempted to be as constructive as I could, and that took me the most of the third of the month… so you see where I’m getting at with the whole I am tired think!

Still, here’s what I did read!

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing (An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, #1)

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There have been a few times where I have requested a book on Netgalley, after scanning the intro, not really knowing much about it, and this was definitely one of those books.

I’m not a sci-fi fan in general, with books or TV, but I am always open to trying new genres. I did the same with YA fiction, and realised that I quite enjoyed it! Still, back to the book.

April May is an Art graduate, looking for her niche in life. She happens upon a strange art installation in the middle of New York one night and is amazed that no one is paying much attention to this giant metallic Transformer-like statue that has just appeared. Wanting to make the world more appreciative of the effort that artists go to, to create, she, along with her friend Alex, film and upload a video of the statue to YouTube, christening the Huge ‘robot’ Carl.

They awake to a media frenzy surrounding their video and it emerges that there is not one Carl, but 63 others who appeared in major cities around the world at precisely the same time.

How did they get there? Who installed them? What are they?

So many questions.

April and her friends begin a whirlwind journey to trying to find out their origin, and purpose with some pretty devastating effects.

Is Carl an Alien? What is this Dream that everyone is suddenly having? Why does the President want to meet April?

More questions… see! But I’m not going to answer them. You need to read the book to find out!

This story really showed the power that Social Media has upon the world. A few tweets and videos and someone can become a household name with some real sway upon the followers they collect. Then there are the haters. There are always haters where there are fans, and working out how to deal with them can be a tough learning curve.

I took a little while to get into the swing of the story, but once I started, I have to say, I was hooked!

And the ending! OMG, the ending! Now I HAVE to know what happens next! Imagine that, Me, NEEDING to read a sci-fi book!

Yes. Definitely a recommendation!

Many thanks to Netgalley and Orion Publishing for an arc in exchange for an honest review.

Christmas at Frozen Falls: A cosy, heart-warming romcom to curl up with

Christmas at Frozen Falls: A cosy, heart-warming romcom to curl up with by Kiley Dunbar
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The weather’s getting colder out there, and I sat with this book on my Kindle, snuggled up on the sofa all day today, and it wasn’t only my heart that was warmed, but the whole of me, as I read.

What a wonderfully upbeat, and truly smile-inducing tale, weaved by Kiley Dunbar!

Sylvie is suffering from the after-effects of a broken engagement, mere days before her wedding.
It’s been six months, now and her best friend, Nari, an intrepid traveller and travel blogger convinces her to take a trip with her over Christmas – a time when she was meant to be going on her honeymoon.

Memories from the past push her to accept a trip to Finnish Lapland, staying at the Frozen Falls resort.

Is it mere coincidence that the owner happens to be Sylvie’s old university love interest? And that his business partner may just have a ‘thing’ for singleton Nari?

I can’t explain how much I loved the story. Little personal connections, like the fact that the main character is a teacher, like me, to the location, in Finland, as I have family connections with that country, added to my enjoyment of a truly wonderful tale.

Well, I challenge you all to not read this and feel that you want to put your Christmas tree up, or better still, visit Lapland and find your own hunky Sumi hero trekking in the snow, whilst viewing the aurora, or Northern Lights!

Right, Kiley… I’m ready for another one of yours now!

The Christmas Holiday

The Christmas Holiday by Sophie Claire
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the second Christmas themed book I have read in September, perfect for curling up on the sofa with on the cooling evenings.
Two people still grieving for lost loved ones, find themselves in the little village of Willowbrook.
One grieving for a lost sister and a broken engagement and the other unable to forget the pain of losing his wife.
Evie and Jake were likeable characters, and even though you knew what would be the inevitable end, it was a comforting, easy read, which left you feeling warm inside.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Image result for tuesday mooney wore black

Tuesday Mooney Wore Black by Kate Racculia

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Well, that was an interesting read!
I’m not usually one for picking up mystery/suspense filled reads, but the blurb for Tuesday Mooney Wore Black intrigued me.
I have to admit it took a little while to get into the story, but by the second half, I was in there, intrigued by the whole premise, and wanting to know what happened.
The book follows Tuesday Mooney, a researcher in Boston who gets caught up in a rather macabre game, set up by the late, and very rich Vincent Pryce. She and her friends begin to play and find themselves sucked deeper and deeper into a vortex of the unknown.
There are puzzles, murder, mysteries, and ghosts!
A fun read if you have the time to get into it.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Published 1st October

Postscript (P.S. I Love You, #2)

Postscript by Cecelia Ahern
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I always read a long-awaited sequel with a sense of trepidation… what if it’s not what I expected? What if things take a totally different turn to what happened to the story in my head? What if I don’t like it?
Well, I didn’t have to worry about that at all.
Postscript is a beautifully carved sequel to Cecelia Ahern’s debut novel, P.S. I Love You.
The original story touched the hearts of many and I have a feeling this one will too.
We meet the main character, Holly, seven years after her husband Gerry’s death and his series of letters, that helped her to deal with the loss of her husband in a way she had never expected.
Holly has moved on. She is working with her sister, seeing someone and considering selling her home.
After much pestering from her sister, Holly agrees to take part in a podcast, opening up about the letters Gerry sent her, and that one small podcast sets in motion, something much bigger than Holly.
Suddenly, she is in a position to help many others in similar situations to Gerry and her.
But does she want to relive the painful past? Will she be able to help any of the terminally ill folk who are looking to her for an answer?
What an(other) emotional rollercoaster of a ride, this book was! I laughed, I cried. I felt the emotions of a woman still grieving, but trying to get on with her life, as it is now.
This book is about loss, yes, but it is more about celebrating what we have now, and how our memories can be preserved to give our loved ones solace during that grieving period.
A fantastic read. Recommend? 100% yes!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The Giver of Stars

The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A fantastic book which I would have devoured much faster had I not been in the throes of the beginning of the school year tiredness!
Jojo Moyes has created a story about a group of women who are all very different, yet grow to have an extremely close bond, brought together by the WPA Packhouse libraries. Set in depression-era America, we learn the strength of five women who are not afraid to fight for their rights and go against the menfolk holding them back.
It was an emotional read, especially the last half, as I became more invested in the characters, their own personal stories, and what would happen to them.

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

Published 3rd October

The Trunk of Stars (Stolen Treasures Book 1)

The Trunk of Stars by Susie Dinneen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cairo Mulch is a young girl who has been brought up in a life of pickpocketing and crime. All she has of her own is a trunk which she was found in as a baby, and that trunk accompanies her everywhere as she travels with her ‘family’, The Mulches.
Unbeknown to her, that trunk, and her own background are of immense interest to a few people out there, who are searching for lost Egyptian treasure, seven Scarabs that were stolen at the time her own real parents went missing, presumed dead after their ship sunk.
The Trunk of Stars follows the story of Cairo, finding out about herself, and her long lost parents, and helping to solve a mystery.
We really enjoyed reading this book, and all the colourful characters we were introduced to Cairo, Lungo, Astrid, Felix, Higgs, and the horrific Gran!
A great read for children, and those child-like adults amongst us too!
Here’s to reading book 2!

My Husband's Wife (No Greater Strength, #4)

My Husband’s Wife by Amanda Prowse
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thank you, Amanda Prowse… you have done it again!
I have been working my way through Amanda’s back catalogue, as I am a huge fan of her more recent books, and hadn’t read some of her earlier books, and as always, I was captivated by the story. In fact, I devoured it in a few hours.
Amanda has a way of portraying situations that any one of us could be living through at any given time and placing the reader right at the heart.
This time we meet Rosie, who is a content wife and mother of two beautiful, boisterous girls. Sure, after twelve years of marriage, and two pregnancies, she might not look as svelte as she once did, but she was happy, her and Phil.
They had everything they needed: a family, a roof over their heads and each other.
Or so she thought.
Crushed when Phil decides this life isn’t for him, Rosie is left with her two girls and an empty space where her husband used to reside.
She copes until even the girls are no longer by her side.
Oh, how I want to go on and on about the nuances of the story, and all that poor Rosie has to endure, and oh, that other woman… (I wanted to go and slap her on Rosie’s behalf!) but I shan’t as it would be an injustice to anyone who is yet to read this book. Only know it is not just about loss, but the strength of a woman, too.
And if you haven’t, you most definitely should!
Definitely a five-star book!

Hello Love

Hello Love by Karen McQuestion

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Aw!!!
Who doesn’t love a romantic story complete with a gorgeous dog in it?
Dan is a widower who is getting over losing his wife, with his daughter Lindsay grieving for her mother.
Anni, their dog is one element of their life that keeps things on an even keel.
Andrea’s a recently divorced woman, who isn’t sure of the path of her future, since her separation.
The sudden disappearance of Anni causes shock and upset within Dan and Lindsay’s life.
Meanwhile, a complaint about a barking dog in one of her boss’s flats leads Andrea to the dramatic rescue of a traumatised pup.
A missing dog. A rescued dog.
A coincidence?
You’ll need to read the book to find out exactly what happens, but I really enjoyed the story and stayed up way past my bedtime to finish this lovely tale (tail).

Well, that’s it for September, and looking back, I don’t think I did too badly for the first month of term! Let me know what you read last month!


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?

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My interactive peeps!

Peeps are reading in…

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