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!



















February’s Books #BookReview

Yet another month has flown by, and for me, amidst all the family birthdays… My brother in law’s, my Hubby Dearest’s and Mother-in-law’s on the same day, Lil Princess and my Father-in-law’s (again on the same day) as well as Valentines Day, a little snow, the in-law’s departing for the Motherland and half term… I have managed to read another epic amount of books! Thirteen, including a new Julia Donaldson picture book! Exciting! 

peacefully reading

There are a few NetGalley ARCs, but I did steam through a good few from my TBR pile too! So, here goes!

Christmas For One (No Greater Love, #5)

Christmas For One by Amanda Prowse
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Wonderful to open a book and fall straight into the swing of the story, as it is based on characters you already know!
I am a huge Amanda Prowse fan and this is yet another page turner, following Meg’s life, after becoming a single mother, albeit with some fantastic surrogate family by her side. There’s love, drama, cute hikd and New York! What more do you want!

The Go-Away Bird

The Go-Away Bird by Julia Donaldson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Many thanks to Pan Macmillan and NetGalley for providing me with an arc for my honest review.

As a mother I have loved Julia Donaldson’s books, to read to my children. As an aunt, I have ensured my nephews have received many of her books so they can enjoy them in Finland. As a teacher, I have used her stories to enhance learning and entrance my students with her beautifully crafted stories.

I always love the underlying messages in the stories, and The Go-Away Bird is no different.

Using flowing rhyming verse to tell the story of a rather pompous bird who seems to think itself too good for all the other birds who wish to befriend it. Yet in its hour of need, those same birds come back to help him.

A story of friendship, and learning to look beyond the ‘cover’ of a person, to discover the real goodness inside.

I really enjoyed the premise of the book, and the illustrations by Catherine Rayner are simply stunning.

Definitely a book I would read to my class, to encourage friendship, no matter what.

Many thanks to Pan Macmillan and NetGalley for providing me with an arc for my honest review.

Publication date: 7th March

Chicken Shift

Chicken Shift by D. Avery
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Made me giggle. A whole poetry book, crammed with verses about chickens crossing roads!
Loved this one:

A chicken crossed the road, as happens now and then
Philosophers and passersby
Did their bit and wondered why
But the farmer wondered how it escaped the pen.

Twin Desires

Twin Desires by Pamela Wight
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Rae has had a hard life already.
Losing her mother as a young girl, in tragic circumstances, then after looking after her father and herself, losing him to the demon drink, she finds herself alone in this world.
She manages to build a good life for herself, quiet and steady, doing well for herself, until she has a chance encounter with the CEO of her company, Blake.
What she didn’t count on was the drama that accompanied him, in the form of his psychotic twin brother Alex, and scorned ex-wife Phyllis.
There is a lot in the story to keep a reader gripped, and I really enjoyed the twists the tale took.

Life on Hold

Life on Hold by Karen McQuestion
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
My first novel by Karen McQuestion and I enjoyed it.
A YA book exploring relationships at a most fragile age.
I almost wanted the book to go on… It was a shorter read than I usually choose, but that just meant I enjoyed its end quicker!

The Christmas Cafe (No Greater Love, #8)

The Christmas Cafe by Amanda Prowse
My rating: 5 of 5 star
Yet another wonderful book by Amanda Prowse.
A heartwrenching story of Bea, recently widowed, and dealing with her wayward granddaughter.
Its a learning curve of a story, where both grandma and gran daughter learn a lot about themselves.
Letting love find you, finding first loves and a trip from Oz to Scotland.
A truly lovely read and a bonus when I read of some old favourite characters too!

I Won't Be Home For Christmas

I Won’t Be Home For Christmas by Amanda Prowse
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Another lovely read from one of my fave authors.
This wasn’t my favourite of her books. It one that dealt with hard hitting issues. However, an easy read that had an important lesson within. One my mother has always hammered into me. You shouldn’t ever change yourself for anyone. Love should be based upon a true knowledge of each other, not a facade.
Thank you Mandy.

Don't You Forget About Me

Don’t You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlane
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was my first Mhairi McFarlane book and I wasn’t disappointed,
The story of Georgina and Lucas,
I loved how the story looped around, tying the beginning to the end.
There are plenty of women out there who had dreams and aspirations, yet the world doesn’t work in their favour, and they get stuck in the loop of bad job/bad relationships/bad fortune. Women like Georgina who thought life would be so much better.
Things don’t always work out for her, and the digs from her family don’t help.
But the chance offer of a one-off job leads to more, and some interesting twists and turns in her life.
I really enjoyed the story, reading it in one day, The characters were relatable, and there was the romance, interlaced with doses of the reality of dating life nowadays.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins UK for providing an arc in exchange for an honest review.

Happiness for Beginners

Happiness for Beginners by Carole Matthews
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Carole Matthews does it again!
I have long been a fan of her novels and was thrilled to get a chance to review her newest novel.
This was another book I devoured in a day.
The story of Molly and her farm full of rejected animals, developing into a school for those children who are almost rejected from society.
Here we meet actor Shelby who brings his wayward teen some, Lucas, as a last resort.
There is fun, disaster, poetry, romance and so many fantastic animals with real characters.
What’s not to love!
Many thanks to NetGalley for providing an arc in exchange for an honest review.

One Minute Later

One Minute Later by Susan Lewis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
What an emotionally beautiful story!
I have read a few of Susan Lewis’s books before and this was a stunning new one from her.
The number of times my heart was literally on edge as the twists and turns of the stories were revealed… I cannot even count.
I was entranced by the story of Vivi and Josh, and all the history, which had me almost cringing at one point, willing what I thought would happen to not happen… I’m not going to enter into any spoilers here!
The issue with organ donation is such a huge one and handled with true sensitivity by Susan Lewis.
I have to admit to teary eyes by the end of the book.
Definitely, one to recommend. Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins for providing me with an arc in exchange for my honest review.

Good Man, Dalton

Good Man, Dalton by Karen McQuestion
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is the second of Karen McQuestion’s books I have read, and I thoroughly enjoyed it,

It was an easy read, and entwines the story of Greta Hanson and her cousin CeCe Vanderhaven, two girls with a close connection but lives worlds apart, and that of Dalton Bishop, a young man from a well to do family, but with much to prove to his family.

I love how the story gives a subtle warning about how overpowering Social Media can be, and tackles the issues of Military Vets returning home without adequate support – a problem that is worldwide, not just in the US of A.

This is definitely a book I would happily give my daughter to read, as a young adult too.

Many thanks to NetGalley, Lake Union Authors, Amazon Publishing and Karen McQuestion for an arc of this book, in exchange for an honest review.
Out 12th March 2019

Nanny Returns (Nanny, #2)

Nanny Returns by Emma McLaughlin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I read the first book a while ago, and this sequel has been lying on my shelf in my TBR list for a long time.
We meet Nan Hutchinson again, 12 years after the first book ends, and here she is faced with her old charge again, many years after having accusations from his parents thrown at her.
Nan ends up trying to save the day in a bit of a crazy situation.
It took me an age to really get into the story, unfortunately, and I really struggled to finish it. The mid to end of the book took on more momentum for me.

If Only I Could Tell You

If Only I Could Tell You by Hannah Beckerman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Imagine the way the mind of a child works.
They haven’t had the experience of the world, and life itself yet, enough to be able to make judgements that make sense. The sense of a ten-year-old is exactly that, only a decade old.
In this book, we followed the life of Jess and Lily, and their mother Audrey, following double tragedies in their family, and the far-reaching effects of not being able to talk to each other, because of preconceived ideas.
I rooted for Audrey the whole way through the book, and though I had an inkling of the secret, call it readers intuition, I was still captivated enough to want to read on and find out if a resolution was ever reached.
The bonds of siblings can be the strongest you will ever know, yet they can also be the most fragile.
A beautifully written story with lessons to learn.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Orion Publishing Group for providing me with an arc of this book in exchange for an honest review.






My interactive peeps!

Peeps are reading in…

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