April 2021 Books #AmReading

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

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The Borrow a Bookshop Holiday

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

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

Releasing 5th May, 2021

When I Last Saw You

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

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

Releasing 4th May, 2021

The Summer Seekers

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

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

Releasing 27th May, 2021

Duvet Day

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

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

Releasing 27th May, 2021

Just a Boy Friend

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

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

Just Friends

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

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

Just Friends in Vegas

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

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

Summer at the French Olive Grove

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

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

Releasing 27th May, 2021

Both of You

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

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

Releasing 27th May, 2021

Waiting to Begin

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

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

Releasing 8th June, 2021

The Wedding War

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

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

Adulting

Adulting by Liz Talley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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

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

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

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

June 2020 Books #AmReading

We have officially reached the middle of this strange year, 2020!

What book reading pleasure have I managed this month?

The Sin Eater

The Sin Eater by Megan Campisi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a fantastic book!
I always find Historical fiction to be fascinating, and this was no different.
Orphan Meg Owen is picked up by the guards for stealing a loaf of bread.
Expecting a punishment, but lenient at that, she is stunned to find that she is branded, on the tongue and made into a sin eater.
She is cast into a life of loneliness and silence, finding solace with the other sin eater in her town.
Unable to fathom why, Meg begins to learn more about her new life, taking on the sins of others on their deathbeds, then eating them, expecting to die a lonely woman. filled with the secrets of others.
But she doesn’t expect to stumble upon a secret of epic proportions, involving royalty and treason.
I don’t want to write too much about the story, which is twisted and brilliant in its entirety.
Megan Campisi has created a parallel world, so similar to certain parts of our history, with enough changes to make it fantastical.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Pan. Macmillan for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing on 23rd July 2020

In Case You Missed It

In Case You Missed It by Lindsey Kelk
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve been a fan of Lindsey Kelk since the first I Heart book, and am always enticed by the thought of another Kelk-masterpiece out.
In Case You Missed It is another great easy, summer read, with a main character, Ros, experiencing the telltale ups and downs synonymous with a Lindsey Kelk book.
Trouble with work, trouble with relationships, trouble with adulting…
Lots of laugh out loud moments, a gaggle of loyal, almost all-knowing friends, a teenage gaming celeb (I Know!) and some cheeky romance, with a couple of dashing heroes to add to the mix.
What fun!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 23rd July 2020

The Wish List by Sophia Money-Coutts
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Yet another brilliant read from Sophia Money-Coutts!
Meet Florence Fairfax, a slightly OCD character, with some interesting anxiety-related behaviours, who works in a small book shop in London. Oh, and a non-existent love life.
Until a concerned stepmother suggests a therapist…
Amidst disbelief that anything will come of it, Flo visits said therapist and comes away with a list of her perfect man.
And apparently, the universe delivers! Or does it?
I loved the characters, and I honestly laughed out loud several times, causing my husband to look at me quizzically. How could I explain that “Cowabunga!” will never sound the same to me ever again? (Confused? Well, you need to read to find out the reason – and it’s well worth the read!)
Many thanks to NetGalley and HQ for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Released 6th August, 2020

Beach Read

Beach Read by Emily Henry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The title, Beach Read, intrigued me. The blurb even more so.
Two writers, each very different, and struggling with writer’s block in their own way, end up in the same place, neighbours. And an old ‘rivalry’ becomes tentative support for one another, but love?
January is all about the Happily Ever Afters, in life and her writing.
Gus doesn’t suffer fools gladly, and his literary preferences mirror his thinking.
Their personal challenges, along with the writing one they set for each other, allows their lives to entwine in a way they never thought possible.
It took me a little while to get into the book, but once I started, I couldn’t stop.
I enjoyed the characters and the story, along with the little twists and reveals that are dropped along the way, making you guess which way this story is going to end.
It’s not a typical RomCom, but I could definitely see myself reading it on the beach! (Apart from some of the more intimate scenes… Well written, not too tacky, but erotic enough to make you feel…)
Many thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Books for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 20th August, 2020

The Lost Love Song

The Lost Love Song by Minnie Darke
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m not sure where to start.
But suffice to say this story blew me away. Read in a day.
Some say that with books that have too many characters, it is hard to feel connected or emotional about them, but this one did that and more.
The story surrounding Diana and Arie’s love story is an emotive beginning, and the twists and turns at the beginning left me in tears. Then the way Belinda, Evie, Bene, Felix, Beatrix, and others, were brought into this tale of love was so clever.
I just loved it!
I really don’t want to write too much about the story, for fear of giving something away. Suffice to say, I think you should definitely read it!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Random House for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing on 6th August, 2020

The Move

The Move by Felicity Everett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was looking forward to some sort of domestic thriller, but it wasn’t quite there.
The story of Karen and Nick, moving to the country to escape from her demons, and his cheating, had so many chances for more twists to occur, and some did, but they were left with the ends still loose.
The characters were great, the descriptions fantastic, but the story was lacking.
Many thanks to NetGalley and HQ for an ARC, in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 20th August, 2020

No Place too Far by Kay Bratt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I truly enjoyed the first book in the series, True To Me, so was eager to dive back into the Maui waters, and I was not disappointed,
No Place Too Far continues the stories of a group of characters we met before in True To Me, concentrating a little more on Maggie. Maggie came out to live in Maui after her friend Quinn settled there, once she found out that was where her birth family lived.
Maggie, herself, is trying to settle down after spending a year on the run from a stalker, with her young son.
I was so engrossed with the story, that had I not had work the next day, I’d have been reading far into the wee hours of the morning!
Quinn and Maggie’s stories run side by side, but entwining in places, and with blossoming friendships, tentative romances and shocking returns.
The descriptions of the lush scenes of Maui made me wish I was there.
And knowing there is a third book to come… well, I am super excited!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

Released 1st September, 2020

How to Be an Antiracist

How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A compelling read, with an amalgamation of personal experience and suggestions of how we, as a whole community, can really get behind becoming anti-racists. It gives a good background into the #BlackLivesMatter movement, and why current events may have escalated in the way they have.
Educate to change.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Random House UK for a copy of this book.

The Hidden Beach by Karen Swan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I thoroughly enjoyed Karen Swan’s The Hidden Beach.
Bell is a young British woman, who, through her own personal tragedy, ends up living in Sweden, and nanny to a family with three children she is immensely attached to.
Friends think the parents, Hanna and Max, may be taking advantage of her love for the children, as week after week, she cancels plans to help them out.
But then she gets sucked into a personal tragedy the family suffers, and there is no going back.
The thing is, there is a twist. How can she be an impartial help in their time of need, when she appears to have confusing feelings for the one person they are all scared of?
I loved Bell’s character. She is a damaged soul, who wants to get back to normality, but life is not prepared to let her.
Her relationship with the children she looks after, and especially Linus, the 10-year-old son, is heartwarming to read.
The story shifts in perspective, being told from Bell’s point of view, as well as Emil, and sometimes Hanna and Max. This wasn’t always clear, but with a little rereading, I would work out whose head I was in.
But a good read finished in a day.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Pan Macmillan for an arc, in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 9th July, 2020

The Phantom's Curse

The Phantom’s Curse by Shelley Wilson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I popped my YA cherry on the Guardian Series by Shelley Wilson, and enjoyed the Hood Academy too, so was quietly excited for this new book by her to come out.
I enjoyed the story of Marianne, a young, unsuspecting girl, who doesn’t realise the power she holds within.
A kingdom torn apart by the Phantom’s curse, then gently pieced together again, to be at the point of being ripped at the seams again. A strange world for this girl to be in, until she realises what her part in the role of ridding the world of the Phantom.
Marianne, along with her brother, Newt, and various friends, battle dark armies and crooked lords to save their kingdom.
There is magic, the fae, kingdoms, lords, ladies, and a little bit of love!
I enjoyed the book, and read it easily in a couple of hours. I would say it is targeted at the younger end of the YA market.

Flying Solo: The new laugh-out-loud romantic comedy coming this summer from Zoe May!

Flying Solo by Zoe May
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Love. India, finding oneself, romance, strong woman… what’s not to like?
I really enjoyed the story of Rachel, a woman with a plan. Or a list, at least. She’s worked hard to achieve all her goals in life so far, with the exception of one; to get married to her perfect man. But that is all about to change,
just not in the way she expected.
Rachel winds up in an ashram in India, attempting to rescue her boyfriend and perfect life, but ends up on a journey of self-discovery, and realises that the best-laid plans aren’t always the ‘best’.
Rachel is a fabulous character. Don’t we all want to be like Rachel? Someone who knows exactly what she wants, and when.
Oh, I wanted to throttle her no-god boyfriend, Paul, but then we met Seb, and I loved him! What a hottie! And a spiritual one at that.
A really good read, and I loved the ending!
Many thanks to NetGalley for an ARC, in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 6th July, 2020

The Last Charm

The Last Charm by Ella Allbright
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a charm of a book!
As a young girl, Leila’s mother left her and her father, with only a silver charm bracelet to remember her by. At the same time, Jake and his family move into the area Leila and her father are leaving, into their old home. A fleeting meeting between both young people leaves a lasting bond.
The bracelet gets lost, and the book is a retelling of how each charm that dangles from it was acquired, and a plea to whoever finds it, to return it.
I was taken on a total rollercoaster of emotions, reading the story of Leila, and her charm bracelet, and Jake, her silent support, who floated in and out of her life.
I loved both the main characters and the bittersweet twist at the end left me teary.
Yes, definitely read this book!aa
Many thanks to NetGalley and One More Chapter for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing on 21st August, 2020

The Shelf

The Shelf by Helly Acton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The blurb for The Shelf pulled me in immediately, hence the clicking on Request It as soon as I could, and I was quick to download and read it, once I was accepted.
Expecting to be jetting off on an exotic holiday with her hopefully soon-to-be fiance, ends up with our heroine, Amy, finding herself dumped, and on the set of a Big Brother-style reality show, The Shelf.
Cue four weeks of coping with humiliation, forming friendships, and coming to realisations about herself.
It took me a couple of chapters to get into the book, initially. Why was this woman putting up with that narcissistic idiot of a boyfriend, Jamie? And when she got dumped, live on telly, why did she stay?
But then, as the story unfolded, I found myself immersed in the whole situation.
I loved Amy, who, as a woman in her thirties, was feeling the pull for the traditional version of where she should be in life; marriage and 2.4 kids, but went on to find a version of herself that worked for her.
The supporting cast of women on the show with her were an eclectic mix of characters. I’d almost have enjoyed a bit more friction between them at times, but equally, I loved how they stood up for each other too.
Anyone else want to slap the show’s host, Andy? I really did!
Overall a good read, and quite addictive, once you get into it.
I’d like to see ow a bunch of men would handle the show!
Many thanks to Netgalley and Bonnier Books UK for an ARC, in exchange for an honest opinion.

Releasing on 9th July, 2020

Myths of the Mirror (Dragon Soul Quartet #1)

Myths of the Mirror by D. Wallace Peac
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is not my usual genre, but D.Wallace Peach has a certain way with descriptions that took me on a whimsical, dragons filled journey!

The Memory of Us

The Memory of Us by Camille Di Maio
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Memory Of Us is the first of Camille Di Maio’s books I’ve read, and I really enjoyed it.
I was touched by the wartime story of Julianne Westcott and her forbidden love for religious man, Kyle McCarthy.
Julianne has it all on the face of it. From a wealthy Liverpudlian family, she has all the luxuries a girl desires, including her beauty, and suitors to match, but her heart is insistent in its demand to love only one, deeply unsuitable man.
Kyle is the son of a gardener and is destined to become a Catholic priest.
Julianne’s Protestant background means even a hint of a union between them would cause great grief.
Still, you can’t help who you love…
I was wrapped up in the blossoming love story of the two and wanted to cry at the twists and tragedies that befall a near-perfect couple and their love story.
Oh, and the deep secret hidden away by her parents… Not giving anything away.
A wonderful, heartwrenching read.

Les is More

Les is More by Jess Carpenter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the first book I have read from Jess Carpenter and I had a ball reading it.
The story is based around Les, a young woman who is starting college, and has a bit of history that she is trying to work through.
A dear father who passed away, a mother who has extremely high aspirations for her, and an ex-boyfriend who turns up, as a student at her college.
Les meets Candy, a Latino fellow student, who brings colour and a different culture into her love, along with a hot brother, Carter.
The book is written as if Les is treating us, the readers, as her studio audience, so there are comments directed at us, as well as telling us about what’s going on.
I enjoyed the bubbling romances, the love triangle that is set from the beginning, and how it ends up.
The author has also touched upon the huge issue of racism, targeting the Mexican community, and how Les combats her mother’s prejudiced feelings towards her new Latino friends.
And there are the expectations of her mother that. Les has to try her hardest to reach.
I loved Candy, the new best friend, filled with spunk and her own story brewing in the background, so was thrilled to read that there would be more about her in a future book!
I think this will be a book much enjoyed by young adults and college-goers, with romance, culture and a lot of fun.
Thank you Jess, for a copy of your book, in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 13th July, 2020

A Recipe for Disaster: A deliciously feel-good romance

A Recipe for Disaster: A deliciously feel-good romance by Belinda Missen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed the story of baker Lucy, and her journey to rekindling her relationship with estranged hubby, world famous chef, Oliver.
Lucy was left high and dry a few years earlier, when Oliver’s career took an international turn, and they sacrificed their marriage for their food passions.
When Oliver makes a surprise return to their home town, Lucy is stunned, not least because she is in a relationship with someone else.
A great rom-com filled with food, cakes and other relationship bakes!

And there you have it. Another month of great reads! Seventeen, this time!

Which one tickled your fancy?

October’s Books #BookReview

Well well well well! October is done and that means it’s nearly the end of the year! I’m still suffering tiredness, but reading is always my go-to for relaxation, so I’ll always make sure I have something on the go! Possibly not as many books as usual on the list, but there are some good uns!

The Hate U Give

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ever since I saw a trailer for the movie, I wanted to read this book. What with all the #BlackLivesMatter stuff going on and apparent race-fuelled hate crimes, I was interested to read this story, written by a young Black American woman, about a girl caught up in the tragedy of a senseless killing by a police officer.
Starr Carter is sixteen, and is already very aware of gang culture, and the dangers that living in the ghetto put you in.
Her family make the decision to send her to a school away from the horror of shootings and gangs, but it doesn’t mean she is protected.
In The Hate U Give, we see a girl who witnesses not one but two horrific shootings, in her life, where she loses her best friends. Both are truly senseless losses of life, with one being a drive-by shooting, where the victim was only ten, and in the wrong place at the wrong time. The second is marred by the fact that a cop opens fire on a young black youth because he ‘thinks’ he was a danger.
The story shows Starr’s journey to fight for justice for her friend, who may have made bad decisions in his life, but who was a true innocent, and a victim of Police brutality.
I’ve read many reviews of this book, and most applaud how this sensitive topic has been approached. There are a few that mention disappointment, because yes, racism is a thing, and something that causes hell, but racism isn’t exclusively white on black.
Racism is unfortunately global.
White on black. Black on white. White on brown. Brown on white. Black on black. Brown on brown… you know where I’m going.
This book is an account of the feelings of a young black woman who loses her best friend because of a senseless shooting by a white cop. Of course, it’s going to be filled with hate for the police, and the white officers. But isn’t that a form of racism in itself?
It took me a little while to get totally into the book, but I was engrossed after the first 50 pages or so. You get a view of the thoughts of someone who is right in the middle of the situation, and their thoughts on many issues, from #BlackLivesMatter, to gang culture and drugs too.
What you take from the book is up to you.
What I took was that it’s all about education, or lack of.
A white officer only knew the stereotypes and was fearful of a couple of black teens. Instead of reading the situation, he reacted with a gunshot because isn’t that what this black kid would do to him?
But then again, all white people aren’t the same. Starr has a white boyfriend in this story, and the reverse stereotypes that the black community have of white people are also shown, in how Starr’s family and friends react to Chris initially too.
A thought-provoking read, that’s for sure!

Dishonoured

Dishonoured by Sofia Hayat
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I picked up this book, thinking it would be a harrowing recount of a terrible life…
Sad to say, I, unfortunately, didn’t feel that at all.
Sofia Hayat is apparently a household name.
Not in my household.
And I live in Gravesend, the place she was born and brought up in. I started this book, and a sense of connection formed when I read that she was born in Gravesend.
I felt a little sorry for her as she recounted the events of her childhood, but I’m afraid she lost me as soon as she left her family.
A bit of a self-indulgent book, where it was all about hearing of her encounters with famous people, and others telling her how wonderful she was.
This could have been such a powerful book, if it had been written with more sympathy and details of the emotions she went through during her childhood. A couple of chapters at the end of the book to show her success would have sufficed.
Definitely not a recommended read by me, I’m afraid to say… And she made Gravesend out to be much worse than it actually is.. and no, it’s not named because people who died from the plague were buried here…

Another Love (No Greater Strength, #3)

Another Love by Amanda Prowse
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh my goodness, Amanda Prowse!
Every time I think you can’t find another situation to write about, you go and surprise me and do it again!
I’ve slowly been working my way through Amanda’s back catalogue and Another Love was a seriously touching story.
Alcoholism is indeed an awful illness that affects each and every member of the family of that person suffering.
I wanted to cry with Romilly the repentant mother and wife. I wanted to slap Romilly the drunken idiot who couldn’t say no. But most of all, I wanted her to conquer her addiction.
Some people don’t realise just how much alcohol can play havoc with a family, and this book hit the nail on the head.
Thank you Amanda, for a really powerful story.

So Lucky

So Lucky by Dawn O’Porter
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well, what can I say?

Absolutely fantastic book!
I urge all women to read this and know that none of us is perfect. No one has a perfect life. No matter what is portrayed on the outside, there is always some inner struggle beneath.
We follow three women, each with their own secret, struggling to make life work, and trying to make sure no one on the outside is aware of their issues.
From body image to mental health to marital issues, so much is covered in this brilliantly written story.
Honestly, I have already recommended it to a couple of friends with whom the whole concept will resonate.

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

Olive Kitteridge (Olive Kitteridge, #1)

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Okay, so I read this book as I had the sequel, Olive, Again, to read as an ARC.
I’m not sure I quite understood everything that went on.
A lot of head-hopping within the stories, all a bit more depressing than the last.
Sorry… I just didn’t get it…
Having said that, I don’t have much luck with Pulitzer prize winners. I struggled with American Pastoral too!

Olive, Again (Olive Kitteridge, #2)

Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I made sure I read the first book about Olive, before reading this, and I found it interesting, but disjointed.
This brought me to Olive, Again with a little trepidation.
It was another mish-mash of different character stories, with Olive as a connection, and also a real eye-opener into Olive’s journey through her twilight years.
I’d say this was a lighter book, than the first, which I found quite dark in places. I felt that Olive had softened with age, and it was interesting to read her thoughts as she grew older,
It definitely gave me an insight into how someone who is at the tail end of life might be feeling.

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

True to Me

True to Me by Kay Bratt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have followed Kay Bratt for a while now, and have read one or two of her books, which I enjoyed immensely. AI jumped at a chance to read True to Me, as it sounded like another fantastic story.
And I wasn’t disappointed.
Quinn Macguire is a woman suffering loss. The loss of her mother, and the loss of the idea of a father who she never knew. The loss of herself.
On her deathbed, Quinn’s mother tells her a secret that has been eating away at her.
This leads to Quinn going on a journey of self-discovery with the aid of DNA testing, and boy, what a journey!
The majority of this book is set in Maui, and I want to go now, so vivid were the descriptions of the settings.
Quinn definitely finds the answers she was after, but not before undertaking a tumultuous, emotional journey towards them.
I loved the characters she met on the way, some who will stay with me for a long while, and I do hope to read more about Quinn and her new life after finding herself!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Published 10th December

A Wedding in December

A Wedding in December by Sarah Morgan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sarah Morgan always has the ability to move me in a way not many other authors do.

In a Wedding In December, we meet Rosie White, who has been swept away in a whirlwind romance with Dan, culminating in an extremely fast proposal of marriage, followed by a date set mere weeks in advance. but who wouldn’t love it? A magical December wedding in Aspen, with the snow falling and all your family around?

Well, for a start, quite possibly her parents. Struggling with a secret of separation which they have hidden from their daughters for the last few months, Maggie and Nick wonder how are they going to get through a whole wedding, playing the charade of the happily married mother and father of the bride?

And what about the sister? Katie is a doctor in the A & E department of a busy London hospital. Being ten years older than her romantic sister, Rosie, she has worries and doubts of her own about whether this wedding should even take place, based upon her sister’s past and her own present.

So, will this wedding happen? Well, I shan’t spoil it for you, suffice to say the journey towards the end of this story is far from smooth, but I felt a true sense of satisfaction by the time I reached the end page!

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

The Lost Ones

The Lost Ones by Anita Frank
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

OMG! WOW!

I don’t think I can do this book justice, honestly!
Mysteries, thrillers, not usually my thing. I do love stories set in the past though.
And from the first few pages, I was totally hooked!

It is 1917 and England is in the midst of the war, Stella Marcham is grieving for the loss of her fiance, Gerald. Her family is concerned about her mental stability and rather than send her to some asylum that many grieving women were incarcerated in, she is shipped off to visit her sister, Madeleine, who is expecting her first baby, and living at her husband’s large mansion in the countryside,
From the moment Stella arrives, with her maid, Annie, at Greyswick, there is a strange feeling about the house.
Inexplainable happenings spark a chain of investigations and events that uncover some deep, dark secrets that were once buried within the house, and the memories of its inhabitants.

A truly gripping read. I cannot recommend it enough!

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

Christmas at Rachel’s Pudding Pantry

Christmas at Rachel’s Pudding Pantry by Caroline Roberts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

You’ve got to love a good Christmas based festive story, and I enjoyed the light read that Christmas at Rachel’s Pudding Pantry provided.
I haven’t read the first book, but this wasn’t an issue, as the story works as a stand-alone as well.
Rachel and her mother Jill are rallying around, keeping the family farm going, as well as setting up a new business, the Pudding Pantry, in an old barn, trying to plug the hole of the loss of Rachel’s father a couple of years before.
The lead up to Christmas is quite quiet, and Rachel isn’t sure they will even survive as a business.
But with the gentle encouragement of beau, Tom, a neighbouring farmer, the creative charm of Eve, Rachel’s best friend, and the effervescence of her five-year-old daughter Maisie, Rachel comes up with an idea that may just swing the farm’s fortunes.
But it’s not all smooth sailing. Wayward sheep, unwanted exes, inclement weather and illness all find their way to hamper Rachel’s plans.
Will she be able to keep her farm, and romance afloat?
You’ll have to read the book to find out!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Impulse for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

A Fire Sparkling

A Fire Sparkling by Julianne MacLean
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, what a beautiful book!
I have always loved stories that have connections with the war, and family sagas that reveal secrets, long-buried, so as not to hurt or harm anyone.
In this beautifully crafted story, Gillian comes away from her fiance’s house, after learning of his deceit, to her father and grandmother.
Eager to forget her troubles, she is quickly sucked into learning a whole new past that her grandmother experienced, but had hidden from the world, and all but a handful of people.
I can’t tell you more, because I would hate to spoil the story, but a definite recommended read!
There is romance, tragedy, and it will ignite a yearning for the ‘right; ending to be the one you read!

So, Peeps, tell me which one appeals to you!


August’s Books #BookReview

August falls in my summer break from school, and I hoped to be reading plenty, though my other priority, #RiNoEdMo, had to take a little presedence. Still, I didn’t do too badly, and read a couple of books in Beta reading capacity too, which I can’t review on here yet!

Still, here’s what I did read!

American Royals

American Royals by Katharine McGee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m not sure what I was expecting when I requested this book, but I am definitely glad I did.

Imagine America with a royal family.
Imagine knowing you would be Queen one day.
Imagine knowing you would never be as important as your sister.
Imagine a life where you can’t wear what you want, eat what you want, love who you want…

And all the ups and downs of being a Royal, with all the expectations on you.

We are introduced to the Washington family. This is America’s first family, in a Royal way.

The King and Queen, and their three children; Beatrice, heir to the throne and on course to be the first-ever female monarch of the country, and in love with the wrong person, Samantha, one-half of the Royal twins, a Princess with a mischevious streak, and is in love with the wrong person, and Jefferson, the other twin, a fun-loving eighteen-year-old, who just happens to be a handsome Prince, fighting off the advances of many, yet in love with the wrong person.

A bit of a running theme there.

Forbidden love.

Connor, a member of the Royal Revere Guard.
Teddy, or rather Lord Theodore Eaton, a prospective groom for the Heir to the throne.
Nina, best friend to Princess Samantha and daughter of a Latino lesbian couple, one of whom happens to be a Cabinet minister.
Daphne, titled socialite, and daughter of a Baronet who has spent every moment of her life preparing to be a princess.
Ethan, best friend of Prince Jefferson, and holding a torch for someone.

It took me a little while to get into the story, but within a few chapters, I was hooked. My Kindle went everywhere with me, and I would whip it out whenever there was a spare moment to read a little more of the story.
I had my own thoughts on what the ending would be, and when it didn’t pan out that way, I was teetering on edge.
How could the author leave the book like this?
Then the final page told me that American Royals was due out next year, and I heaved a sigh of relief because I really want to know what happens next!

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

Published 5th September

Rewrite The Stars

Rewrite The Stars by Emma Heatherington
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As I opened the book, the song from The Greatest Showman of the same name kept running through my mind. Quite apt, considering the musical theme that runs through the book.

There are moments in all our lives where we wonder “What if?”

This story was exactly that. The story of Charlie Taylor, a young teacher with a passion for songwriting.
She meets Tom, a drummer who plays in her brother’s band.

He turns her life upside down within one meeting.
He feels like The One.
He understands her music.
He makes her feel unbelievable.

Yet her brother goes to many lengths to keep them apart.

A chance meeting a few years later makes her wonder whether she should have heeded her brother’s warnings, or listened to her heart.

Tragedy strikes and she is torn away from him again.

More time passes and she is happy, settled and married, with a wonderful husband, great friends and a life she is more than happy with.

But that “What if?” keeps popping up in her head, on the radio, in magazines…

What if, indeed.

I’ll tell you something, One sign of a good read for me is when I don’t constantly look at the percentage counter on my Kindle, to see how much is left, or how much I have read. With this book, I glanced down at 38%. The next time I looked, it was at 73% and then, it was finished!

It only took me over two days to read, because kids needed their mother, but a wonderful read. I’d recommend, definitely.

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

Published 6th September

Unlearn: 101 Simple Truths for a Better Life

Unlearn: 101 Simple Truths for a Better Life by Humble the Poet
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve dipped in and out of this book by @humblethepoet over the last couple of months and found different meanings to what I read each time. Definitely a book not to be devoured in one sitting, but to ponder upon in a leisurely fashion.
There might be a little repetition in it. It’s not necessarily the most literarily correct book, but the thoughts behind the chapters resonate.

The Second Chance Supper Club

The Second Chance Supper Club by Nicole Meier

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This was just my kind of feel-good story, about sisterhood and family.

Julia makes a major mistake while on air, as co-anchor for a daytime TV show. The consequences aren’t pretty, and she just needs to get far away.
Of all the places in the world, it ends up being her home town in Arizona that pulls her close.
Better weather than New York, yes, but she has to overcome the cold from her older sister Ginny who she hasn’t spoken to for three years, since their’ parent’s death.
Ginny, a Michelin starred chef, who gave up all her accolades in New York, to manage her parent’s affairs after their untimely demise.
After accepting that she wasn’t going anywhere fast, Ginny sets up a secret supper club, with the begrudging help of her daughter, Olive.
Julia walks into a tension that is high, and drama that is higher.
Will her sister even want her there?
Will her employers want her back?

Well, you have to read it to find out!

I enjoyed the whole concept of the story, and though there were romantic elements, I liked how it concentrated on the relationship between the two women.

I would recommend this as an easy read, with a heartwarming ending.

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

Published 10th September

Roar

Roar by Cecelia Ahern
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A collection of short stories by award-winning author Cecelia Ahern.
What’s not to like?
This was a collection of 30 well-written stories, all woman-centric, with a moral behind most.
I could have read it in one sitting, but I didn’t want, to as it felt better to read a couple at a time and digest them.

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

Why Mummy Drinks

Why Mummy Drinks by Gill Sims
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An absolutely hilarious recount of being a mum on the 21st century!
I have to say, I laughed eleventy billion times and guffawed out loud a good few too!
Yup, so many bits I could relate to, though, as a near tee-totaller (apart from the odd gin) my eleven-year-old daughter did question my choice of book, given that I don’t drink, and why family is a “sentence”, looking at the cover!
Funny.
And I am looking forward to seeing why we swear next!

Why Mummy Swears

Why Mummy Swears by Gill Sims
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Welcome to the world of Ellen, or a more realistic Bridget Jones as a mother, with plenty of sweariness!
As I said after the first book Why Mummy Drinks, I caught myself giggling eleventy billion times.
I could picture scenes in this book identifying with some parts, and nodding at the absurd situations Ellen managed to get herself into.
Her moppets, Peter and Jane are brilliant. In fact Jane is the fictional version of my 11 year old, and I actually sent her a photo of the passage where Jane was insisting on an Instagram account at 11… yes. We’ve been there, done that, she’s not got the app!
My only niggle? Jane turns twelve in the book, yet she’s still in Year 6 at primary? Sorry if it’s picky, but I am a primary school teacher, and really, this should have been her first year in secondary school…
Other than that, really funny book. I read it in a couple of days, and look forward to checking out the third installment!

Why Mummy Doesn’t Give a ****!

Why Mummy Doesn’t Give a ****! by Gill Sims
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve been swimming in a week of Ellen and her Eleventy Billion issues with her children, from primary age woes to the beginnings of teen craziness, Dealing with marital ups and downs, handling life as a working mother.
Today I finished the third in the Why Mummy trilogy, and I wasn’t disappointed.
Okay, so I didn’t giggle out loud as much. In fact, I even had a cry, especially at ‘that’ point with Ellen and her father. I won’t say what, but when you read it, you’ll know! (I’m a sucker for emotion, and anything to do with father/daughter relationships gets me, any time!
It was a fitting end to the current phase, Ellen is going through. Not a tied up happy ending, but it finished, knowing there was light at the end of the tunnel.
I’d love to know if Gill Simms is planning on another sequel, detailing the joy of parenting adults too!
Loved each one, and definitely recommended!

The Light in the Hallway

The Light in the Hallway by Amanda Prowse
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Yet another best-seller, methinks!

Amanda Prowse has fast become one of my favourite authors, with her way of weaving a story, so relatable and believable that you could be living it yourself, or you may even imagine knowing someone in the same situation.

The Light In The Hallway is no different.

We are taken on a journey with Nick, a grieving widower and father, who is still young enough to be in his prime, yet old enough to ‘really know better’. At home, alone, having dropped his son to University, he begins to wonder how his life will pan out. How is he to greave? How long for? And with a sister-in-law hell-bent on making sure he abides by the rules society have set, regarding being a widower, and a son who is finding it hard to accept his mother’s death, it’s not easy.

Alongside Nick’s story, runs a parallel tale from nearly thirty years before, involving Nick and his two best friends, Eric and Alex. Three young boys, at the beginning of their summer holiday, given a challenge by Nick’s dad to build a bike. And they do. They complete that challenge, and experience a whole host of ups and downs along with it, proclaiming it the best summer.

The friendship provides Nick with a lot of support while he comes to terms with losing his childhood sweetheart and wife, Kerry.

This was a bittersweet tale about loss, and expectations, coupled with hope, and a definite recommended read from me! Mrs Amanda Prowse, I am guessing there will be many calls for a follow-up. We will all want to know what happens to Eric!

May thanks to NetGalley and Amazon Publishing for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Published 11th November

Before the Coffee Gets Cold

Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was my first foray into Japanese literature, and I chose to read Before The Coffee Gets Cold because the blurb sounded intriguing,
It was initially very hard for me to get into the book because I found the translated version a little stilted, but the subject matter kept me interested.
I did get a little confused with characters as there were a lot of K names!
It was interestingly written, with all four of the mini-stories within interweaving within one another, but as I mentioned before, it was hard to keep up sometimes.
Having said that the ending was very heartwarming.
Many thanks to NetGalley, Pan Macmillan and Picador for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Published 19th September

The Confession

The Confession by Jessie Burton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


The Confession is my first Jessie Burton book, and I have a feeling I may go searching for her previous two now…

The Confession is a story of self-discovery, told in two time trails.

We meet Rose in the present; a woman who is trying to find her mother or any information about her. A mother who disappeared when she was a baby, Rose is stuck in a life rut. In a relationship that is just floating along the surface of the sea of life, in a boring job, with nothing to look forward to.

Then we travel to 1982 where we are introduced to Elise, an impressionable young woman, whose dreary life gets a wash of colour after meeting an up and coming author, Constance Holden.

Connie Holden is a common thread for both the women, and the stories that progress in both time frames, able to provide excitement for Elise, and answers for Rose.

What a fantastically told story! I found myself willing Rose to be brave, to ask all the questions she needed to ask. I wanted Elise to be strong, and not crumble under the pressures life put her under. And Constance, or Connie? I wanted her to soften…

Did she? Did any of them achieve what I hoped? Well, you’ll have to read the book to find out!

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

Published 19th September

Wildflower Hope (The Wildflower House #2)

Wildflower Hope by Grace Greene
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was so pleased to be able to read the sequel to Wildflower Heart, as I had really enjoyed, it, warmed to the characters and the situations.

Kara Hart has much to grieve over, from the death of her husband, after a car accident, in which she suffered multiple injuries, and the loss of her best friend who she thought was in cahoots with her husband. This is followed by the death of her father.
She seeks solace in the form of medications that threaten to push her over the edge.
On top of dealing with life, Kara has muddled relationships building with Seth, the neighbour who is working away, and Will, the Landscape gardener who is helping her realise her dreams, and assisting her in making her own father’s hopes materialise too.

Author Grace Greene has tackled some extremely tough situations with a beautiful delicacy, such as loss, grief and addictions. Her descriptions are wonderful too. I could picture the wildflower fields and all the different locations in the book, which always adds to my enjoyment of a book!

A beautifully told tale and I can’t wait to find out what is next in the Wildflower series!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Published 24th September

What have you been reading?

April’s Books #BookReview

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

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

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

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

peacefully reading

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

One Summer in Paris

One Summer in Paris by Sarah Morgan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Unlikely friendships can be the strongest.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Opposite of Always

Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All We Ever Wanted

All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dear Mrs Bird

Dear Mrs. Bird by A.J. Pearce

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

While the Bombs Fell

While the Bombs Fell by Robbie Cheadle

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

More Glimpses

More Glimpses by Hugh W. Roberts

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

Cape May

Cape May by Chip Cheek

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

But, phew, there were some steamy bits!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Published 2nd May

Little Darlings

Little Darlings by Melanie Golding

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Published 2nd May

The Forgotten Sister by Caroline Bond

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

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

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

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

A highly sensitive read, emotional in many ways.

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

Published 2nd May

The Farm

The Farm by Joanne Ramos

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

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

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

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

A glamorous maternity home or simply a baby farm?

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

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

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

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

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

Published May 7th

Blood Drops: A Collection of Horror Short Stories

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Songs of Heartstrings

Songs of Heartstrings by Miriam Hurdle

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

Becoming Mrs. Lewis

Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan

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

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

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

A slow burner, but a lovely story in end.

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

Published 16th May

A Walk In The Woods: and other short stories

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

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

I Heart Hawaii (I Heart Series, Book 8)

I Heart Hawaii by Lindsey Kelk

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Published 30th May

The Book of Wonders

The Book of Wonders by Julien Sandrel

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

I really shouldn’t have worried though.

What a ‘Wonder’ful book! (Sorry!)

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

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

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

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

But this mother has some hope.

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

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

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

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

Published 30th May

The Woman Who Wanted More

The Woman Who Wanted More by Vicky Zimmerman

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

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

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

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

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

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

Published 30th May

One Summer's Night

One Summer’s Night by Kiley Dunbar

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

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

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

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Published May 8th

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



















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