July 2020 Books #AmReading

Waving goodbye to July…

What book reading pleasure have I managed this month?

Departed: David and Sara (Cliffside Bay…

Departed: David and Sara by Tess Thompson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have managed to work my way through pretty much the whole of the Cliffside Bay series this year, and I was eager to read this last instalment, but at the same time, not so, as it meant that a cast of characters that have become friends, would be wrapping up the story in this book.
I don’t know about anyone else, but with the current COVID-19 climate, I seem to have got a bit addicted to reading books that have endings that aren’t as perfect as I’d usually like, and when I started Tess’s book, I knew there would be ups and downs, then a wonderful, perfect Happily Ever After… and I wasn’t entirely sure I was ready for so much positivity.
But, reading the story of how Sara and David finally fall for each other, I proved myself wrong.
How a will, and a desire to do something good for the world, can make an ‘arrangement’ end up in True Love, was the perfect antidote for the depression that has hit my reading mind.
And I have to admit to a few happy tears at the end, as the story wraps up.
Thank you, Tess, for these wonderful characters, and I do so hope that something may just get resurrected in the future 😉

The Secret of You and Me

The Secret of You and Me by Melissa Lenhard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Form the beginning, I was captured into the story of two women, torn apart as young girls, upon discovery of their forbidden love, and how they cope with being thrown together again eighteen years later.
Nora finds herself back in her hometown after eighteen years of exile, sent away by her father, after she was found in a compromising situation with her best friend Sophie.
Sent off to join the military, Nora comes to terms with her feelings, and her attraction to both men and women, as Sophie is left back home, building her own perfect future.
The twists come hard and fast, as her father dies, and she returns for the funeral, to come face to face with her childhood love, Sophie, who is married to Charlie, who used to be Nora’s boyfriend.
Confused?
It will make sense once you read.
This is a beautifully told story of love reclaimed, and two women finally being able to be themselves, after decades of hiding their true selves. Set in a town filled with strict religious beliefs, and a whole new generation to think about, along with the older people, who see same-sex relationships as the ultimate sin, there are so many layers this story peels through.
Many thanks to Netgalley and Mills And Boon for an ARC, in exchange for my honest opinion.

Releasing on 4th August 2020

Emily, Gone

Emily, Gone by Bette Lee Crosby
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the first of Bette Lee Crosby’s books that I have read, and I have heard so much about it I was looking forward to getting stuck in.
A rollercoaster of a read is what I would describe it.
Imagine being pregnant, nearing the end of your pregnancy, when you go into labour, only to have the tragedy of a stillbirth?
Now, imagine, you somehow find yourself in a strangers house, and a tiny infant lays there, looking just like your baby should have?
Then, imagine being the parent who wakes after a deep slumber, caused by three sleepless nights, to find your infant gone?
All these things happen in the book, as we explore the emotions that run through the minds of both women, who have motherhood robbed of them, in two deeply tragic ways.
We experience the fear of a woman on the run, and the faith of a woman ever hopeful… With twists and turns to accompany every step of the story.
A well-written story, with loss at the centre, but ringed with hope all the way through.

The Secret Letters

Read as an Arc. Full review in post in Augus

The Secret Letters by Taryn Leigh
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Rachel is a woman who has worked hard to get where she is now, in her own clinic as a psychiatrist. In a long-standing relationship with Will, her boyfriend, she thinks things are moving slowly, but in the right direction, but at the back of her mind, there are niggles.
Then she is attacked in her own home, by the same man who attempted to rape her as a teenager.
What follows is the story of how she overcomes her fears, sheds the dead weight in her life and finds some amazing new friends, rekindles relationships with family, and finds her forever love, too.
The Secret Letters is a bittersweet romance, covering some serious issues within, including attempted rape, estranged families and unfaithfulness.
Written in an uncomplex way, The Secret Letters is an easy read that can be devoured in a few hours, by young adults, as well as the more grown kind.
There are some fantastic characters in the book. I almost wish there was even more development of some of them, like Mr Lemon. I loved Mr Lemon. Everyone needs a Mr Lemon in their lives!
In fact, there were some places I almost wished that the scenes took a little longer, to explore some of the issues within, or expand upon details, so it didn’t feel rushed.
I was offered a chance to read this book by the author, for an honest review.

Released 9th August, 2020

Soldier's Girl : Love Story of a Para Commando

Soldier’s Girl : Love Story of a Para Commando by Swapnil Pandey
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I really wanted to like this book but I’m sorry to say I found it so hard to finish.
Poor spelling, sentence structure, going of rails, tense mix ups… I’m not sure where to start.
Poor execution of what could have been an interesting love story.
😢

Soul Waves

Soul Waves by Sylvester L Anderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A beautiful set of poems and life lessons written by prolific poet, Sylvester Anderson.
This is a book you can pick up and open, to give yourselves a morsel of wisdom, or positivity, whenever you need it!

Dance in the Rain by [Shreya Dutta]

Dance in the Rain by Shreya Dutta
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An emotionally packed anthology of poems.

Down The Tubes

Down The Tubes by Kate Rigby
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve had this on my Kindle for a while, now, but only just got round to reading it.
Gut-wrenching is the word I’d use to describe it.
Drug addiction is an awful thing to experience – not the highs – that’s what gets you addicted – but the lows, the cold turkey, the trying to get back on the road to normality, to ‘clean’.
This story explores addiction in a raw, sometimes difficult to read, way. Realistic. Almost too realistic.
We follow the story of a mother and her son. They’re estranged, but their life routes are parallel in so many ways.
She finds the art of being a mother to a baby addictive, but can’t deal with a baby who doesn’t act like he’s supposed to.
He finds solace in his father’s adoration, which takes a sinister turn, that ends up with him running away.
Abuse, substance misuse, deaths, births favouritism… so much discussed.
It was a hard, but very good read.

One Step Behind

One Step Behind by Lauren North
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I was approached to read this arc, I didn’t hesitate, Having been a reader of Lauren North’s previous book, The Perfect Son, despite it being a book not of my usual genre, and really enjoying it, I was more than happy to read this new one, not least because it comes out on my birthday!
Gripped.
That’s what I was, with this book.
Imagine being a busy, A & E doctor, as well as a wife, and mother to two young children, with the horror of a stalker to add to the mix?
That is the life of fear and exhaustion that the main character Jenna is facing.
Every time she goes anywhere, the feeling that she is being watched.
Each time she opens her emails to find threat filled messages.
Whenever she opens the front door. or goes to the garden, the thought that another ‘gift’ may be left.
At least she can keep her family safe in the house… until she finds out he’s been inside.
Then, as she begins to piece together evidence, and works out who this person might be, she ends up having to treat him after he is brought in with life-threatening injuries.
I really enjoyed the book, and every time I thought I’d pieced together the mystery, something else was thrown into the mix to twist the story further.
Recommended read.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Random House UK for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 3rd September, 2020

All About Us

All About Us by Tom Ellen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

How many times have you sat back and wondered ‘what if’?
Ben is having a personal crisis. The world and its aunt seems to have their lives all mapped out, from his wife, Daphne, to his old uni mucker, Herv. Everyone has goals and seems intent on getting there. Ben, however, is wallowing in a pool of self-pity. His dream of being a writer, following in the footsteps of his estranged father, seems increasingly unlikely. In fact, he is just not cut out fo this life. He’s no good for is wife, his friend, himself. Better than he walks away now, right, and steps into a relationship that was the ‘could-have-been’ in his life…
All About Us charts a Christmas Carol style tale of visitations into key points in Ben’s past, Could things really have been better if he’d done something different at these times?
It was an enjoyable read, and I especially felt for Ben, with regards to his mother. All those unspoken words, conversations that you wish you’d had when they were alive…
Oh, and, sometimes that old adage, that the grass is greener? It ain’t always true!
Many thanks to NetGalley and HQ Stories for an arc, in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 15th October, 2020

Atomic Love

Atomic Love by Jennie Fields
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Atomic Love is a literary thriller, based in the ’50s, about a young woman, Rosalind, a scientist, whose livelihood is left in tatters after the bomb in Hiroshima. Having been involved in the Manhatten project, and the development of the Atomic Bomb, she is scarred with the guilt of all those lost lives, and to top it off, she lost her love , who sold her under the river, and disappeared,
A few years later, she is working a simple job in a department store, when he comes back, to rekindle love, or to wreak havoc again?
Enter an FBI agent scarred from his own battles in the war, who needs her help.
What follows is a story filled with emotion and twists, as Rosalind’s life is turned upside down.
Will she turn to her ex-lover, and help him with his troubles, or will she succumb to the feelings that are developing for a certain FBI agent?
This isn’t my usual genre to read, but I thoroughly enjoyed the story, and found myself willing my eyes to stay awake to finish the book.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Michael Joseph UK for an Arc, in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 3rd September, 2020

Eudora Honeysett is Quite Well, Thank You

Eudora Honeysett is Quite Well, Thank You by Annie Lyons
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Having thoroughly enjoyed books like Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, and seeing that parallels had been drawn, I was intrigued by the blurb, about an octogenarian, Eudora Honeysett, who is contemplating an end of life clinic in Switzerland, to be her final stop on this planet, having no one around to care.
What a fantastic book!
I loved Eudora, the staid eighty-five-year-old, who has her simple days planned out and fancies sorting her end out too, so she doesn’t become a burden upon anyone else, or have to suffer, like her own mother.
But, then along comes Rose, a ten-year-old whirlwind, who enters her life as a new neighbour, and who injects the affection into Eudora’s life. Something she’s been missing.
And I can’t forget Stanley, the fellow octogenarian widower, who craves company but has never quite got the response from Eudora, that he hoped for.
The story flits back to Eudora’s childhood formative years and key points in her past that have shaped her.
It was a heartwarming read, showing that it’s never too late to form meaningful relationships.
I really loved it.
Many thanks to NetGalley. Harper Collins and One More Chapter for an ARC, in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 17th September, 2020

Second Chance Lane by Nicola Marsh

Second Chance Lane by Nicola Marsh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Second Chance Lane is my second read by author Nicola Marsh and a very different read to the one I read before.
Tash is living her simple life as a single mother to young Teen Isla, in her small backwater village of a hometown. No one knows the details of the father of her child, Isla included, and she plans on keeping it that way.
Until he rocks up at the house next door. Kody Lansdowne is Australia’s Rock Golden Boy. From humble beginnings, he, and his rich band have conquered the world, these past thirteen years, but nothing can prepare him for the news that he is a father. To a teenager.
Jane is fed up of her reputation as the village homewrecker. After years of putting on aa facade, her resolve crumbles, as. she finds it harder to cope with the way she is viewed by the locals, and her mother doesn’t help matters either. Then up rocks Morgan. Nerd from school who she had no time, for, but he’s not so much of a nerd now.
Second Chance Lane is a wonderfully written story, a Rural Second Chance Romance (or two of them in one book!) I enjoyed reading the story and loved the twists and turns. taken to get two couples so obviously right for each other, to realise, and get it on!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin Australia, HQ & MIRA for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.


Releasing 7th October, 2020

The Chalet by Catherine Cooper
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A captivating read!
Set in the French Alps, at a ski resort, The Chalet focuses on a tragedy that occurred in the past and moves fluidly back and forth between then, and the present, to bring the story to its conclusion.
An impromptu break for two brothers and their girlfriends in the late 90s begins well but ends in chaos as an awful tragedy occurs and the story that follows takes us through the minds of several people supposedly not connected, but in reality, they are, entwined with the death of a man, in the most complex ways.
The Chalet is an excellent psychological thriller and a fantastic debut for Catherine Cooper.

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

Releasing 31st October, 2020

The Boy Toy by Nicola Marsh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Thirty-seven-year-old Samira has moved back to Melbourne after years of living her own life in LA, following a painful divorce that left her reeling from the lack of support from her local Indian community.
It didn’t help that she herself was a product of a mixed marriage, with an Indian mother and an American father.
Fast forward over a decade, and she’s back, on the pretext of helping her cousin, Pia, out with her new business.
What she didn’t count on was meeting a young Aussie hunk on pretty much the first night she’s back in town.
It’s not often I come across a novel that leaves me nodding my head in agreement to much of it, but as a British born Indian, I related to a lot of scenarios covered in The Boy Toy.
I wasn’t only nodding my head, but laughing aloud, in parts, as I recalled going through similar events.
The Boy Toy covers some big issues, in an extremely light-hearted way, an easy read, with the chance of being educational to those Westerners who aren’t familiar with the Indian culture, bar eating curry at the local Indian restaurant!
Mixed race relationships and marriage, infertility, pregnancy out of wedlock, and dealing with a verbal disability, a stutter, all feature in this book. Oh, and rather a lot of naughty scenes!
And reading the taster of a Man Ban, and finding out that a certain, rather tasty Doctor from this book is featuring, I am sure I’ll be reading that too!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing for an Arc, in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 17th November, 2020

Fifteen books… not bad for the last few weeks of term, and a productive reading month, at that!

Which one tickles your fancy?

Suntag: The Currently-Reading Book Tag

I saw this on Meggy’s blog, Chocolate’n’Waffles, and decided to have a go!

The Currently Reading Book Tag was created by Charly Reynhorse.

How many books do you usually read at once?

I am definitely a one-book-at-a-time faithful reader! I have tried to read more than one in the past but it isn’t for me! Regardless, my Kindle is with me all the time, and if for any reason it isn’t, I have the app on my phone too. If I’m reading a physical copy, then that has to go with me instead! I am also not an audio book listener. If I am reading, I actually have to read. I am only just catching on with Podcasts, for goodness sake!

If you’re reading more than one book at a time, how do you decide when to switch to reading the other book (do you read a certain amount of pages in each?)

Nope. Can’t do it! Actually, there have been a few occasions, if I am reading a non fiction book, I can read a fiction along side it, but the non fiction has its set time. Fiction is for me to disappear into as and when!

Do you ever switch bookmarks while you’re part way through a book?

I try not to. I have a couple of special ones that, when reading a physical book, stay with me through the whole book. It so frustrates me if I lose a bookmark!

Where do you keep the book(s) you’re currently reading?

My Kindle, as I said before, is with me, pretty much all the time. It is by my bedside, goes upstairs and downstairs with me in the house, it takes trips with me in my handbag for those moments I have spare, to read.

What time of day do you spend the most time reading?

Right now, there is no rhyme nor reason to when I read. It can be at any time in the day, but when I lived my old normal, I would read, without fail, every night.

How long do you typically read for in one go?

Very much dependant on what time I have available, how tired I am, and what I am doing. I can read for minutes at a time, when snatching spare time, or a whole day, if given the chance!

Do you read hard covers with the dust jacket on or off?

To be honest, I don’t tend to buy hardbacks, but if I have, the dustjacket stays on.

Which position do you mainly use to read?

However I am at the time! I love to curl up on my sofa with a blanket and hot drink, and curl up with a bookk. Equally, I can be stretched out in my bed, or, I do, on occasion, read as I am walking!

Do you take the book you’re currently reading with you everywhere you go?

Absolutely! If there is a moment spare, where I don’t have to interact with anyone, the book comes out!

How often do you update your progress in the book you’re currently reading on Goodreads?

I don’t update progress on it at all. I log when I start it, and then when I finish it, and am writing a review.

I’m tagging everyone who feels like doing it!

March 2020 Books #AmReading

March ending means a quarter of 2020 is gone.

I honestly thought I would get about five books read, but what with all that is happening in the world, I have managed to plough through a few more books than that… check out what I have been reading!

Family For Beginners by Sarah Morgan

Family For Beginners by Sarah Morgan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Flora works in a florist. She is there morning, noon, and would happily be there night, too, if the place didn’t close. She filled gaps in her own life, by working nonstop, choosing beautiful blooms at the markets, creating floral masterpieces and generally brightening the days of the customers.
But nothing fills the void she feels upon entering her substandard apartment. No family to call her own. No partner to share a meal with. Just a space filled with damp and discord.
Losing her mother at a young age, and having to live with an aunt who makes it pretty clear she wasn’t wanted, does nothing for her self esteem.
Then she meets Jack.
Or rather Jack enters the florist and her house.
Jack, who has voids of his own.
Despite her best efforts, Flora gets swept up into a romance that she is convinced won’t work. After all, no one else important in her life ever hangs around.
Besides, Jack already has a family. Two motherless girls. How is that going to work?
And then, he wants to take her on a long-standing family holiday to visit the dead wife’s best friend, Claire?
Sarah Morgan, you did it again!
I knew I’d enjoy this book. I’ve liked other Sarah Morgan books, so I was under no doubt of that. But, it wasn’t just good, it was fantastic!
I felt so much emotion, learning about Flora and her background, I rooted for Izzy, Jack’s eldest daughter, who didn’t want anyone taking the place of her mother. I sympathised with Claire, a woman who lost who she thought was her best friend,,,
Told from the point of view of the three women, this story really captured the feelings of different people involved in familial loss.

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

Published 2nd April

The Extraordinary Hope of Dawn Brightside by Jessica Ryn

The Extraordinary Hope of Dawn Brightside by Jessica Ryn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Okay, so I have to officially say, I am in love with this book.
I was lucky enough to win an advance copy from HQ Stories, and I am so grateful to them for choosing me as a winner because this book was just AMAZING
Through quite a light-hearted way, author Jessica Ryn tackles some pretty HUGE issues, such as mental health, postnatal and homelessness, and more.
It is told from the perspective of two women.
Dawn Brightside, our main character, who is homeless, and running from someone, has been for a long time, yet has the positivity of Little Miss Sunshine. All she wants to do is help others. And find her daughter, Rosie.
Then there is Grace Jennings, manager of St Judes, a hostel for the homeless that is on the brink of having funding pulled.
Both have led hard lives in their own ways.
Both want to help others.
Both would be devastated if St Judes closed.
I don’t quite know how much to say, without giving away spoilers, but I was totally immersed in the story, pretty much immediately.
I giggled at points, and honestly, felt tears pricking at others. Life, love, relationships – all covered.
A simply magnificent debut from this author, who I will definitely want to read more from!

Published in May 2020

The Book of Us by Andrea Michael

The Book of Us by Andrea Michael
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A bittersweet tale about a friendship that soured because of an awful mistake made, and the illness and small child who brought them back together.
Lauren, or Loll, is reeling from the break up of her marriage, then she receives a letter from someone who was more important to her than anyone else, in her life, until that mistake.
Cass has never really forgiven herself for the huge mistake she made, that lost her the best friend a girl could ask for. Would she be able to rekindle that bond now, six years later, knowing she had such little time, and so much to say and explain?
Vee’s life is turning upside down. Her mum is getting sicker and suddenly her new ‘aunty’ shows up.
This book tells of a journey, both physical, and metaphorical, of two women who try to patch up a relationship that tore apart.
Can they repair it?
A sad tale, but beautifully written.
Many thanks to NetGalley and One More Chapter for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

My Sardinian Summer by Michaël Uras
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The description of this book made me intrigued enough to request it.
Unfortunately, the story failed to capture my attention enough.
A Sardinian translator travels back home to see his grandmother who is on her deathbed while in the middle of translating a version of Moby Dick.
There were no chapters in the book, which I found a bit strange,
I finished, but at a push.
But it did make me intrigued about Sardinia… maybe one day I’ll visit the Domas de Janas…
NetGalley and Hodder and Staughton, for an ARC . in exchange for an honest review.

The New Guy by Kathryn  Freeman

The New Guy by Kathryn Freeman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A classic rom-com, if ever there was one!
Imagine, being in a grief-stricken stupor, adding alcohol to it, and ending up at home with a hot stranger who leaves you wanting more, but disappears the next morning,
Then, finding out the next morning that said hot stranger is actually the new employee at your own company!
That is exactly what happens here and the ups and downs that ensure make for a great, addictive story!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins, One More Chapter fort an ARC, in exchange for an honest review.

Summer at the Highland Coral Beach by Kiley Dunbar
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Kiley Dunbar is an author who I have come to love, having read her first two releases swiftly in 2019.
Summer at the Highland Coral Beach most definitely didn’t disappoint my expectations.
A feel-good story, with a touch of sadness, but filled with positivity and hope.
Beatrice finds herself in a rickety old pub hotel in Port Willow, a tiny village in Scotland after the devastation of a miscarriage and separation.
A drunken decision to get away, at first, seems like a great idea, but after arriving, Beatrice has second thoughts.
A place in the back of beyond, with gruff, rude landlords, a tiny room, and to top it, the activity she’d booked, hadn’t been.
The story unfolds as Beatrice begins to get to know characters in the village, despite promising herself to leave and go back t the Midlands, and her woeful life back home.
The landlords, brothers Eugene and Atholl reveal softer sides, and yearnings of their own,
Ever the problem solver, Beatrice gets sucked into their lives, and soon finds herself having feelings for someone she hadn’t been expecting.
There’s matchmaking, romance, a broody Scotsman, laughter, celebration and acceptance.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and look forward to more from this author.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Hera Books for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Rules for Being a Girl by Candace Bushnell

Rules for Being a Girl by Candace Bushnell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is definitely a book I think all young women of a certain age should have access to reading.
It follows the story of Marin, a high school student at her prime, gearing up for college applications. She ends up developing a kind of friendship with an English teacher, Bex, that turns sour soon enough.
He takes advantage of opportunities presented to him, and when Merin finally finds the confidence to tell someone of authority, she is the one blackened, not him.
She loses friends, and more importantly, her best friend, and her self respect, for a while.
But there are people out there for her too…
A tale about trust, mistrust, abuse of power and belief in one’s self.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Pan Macmillan for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Published, 16th April 2020

My Lies, Your Lies by Susan    Lewis

My Lies, Your Lies by Susan Lewis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have long been a fan of Susan Lewis, and this book was another delve into fantastic storytelling,
Joely is reeling from a marriage that is collapsing, due to her husband embarking upon an affair with her best friend. The betrayal doesn’t end there. He. decides to move out and their daughter decides she wants to leave too.
An opportunity arises for Joely to work away for a while, as a ghostwriter for an established enigma of an author who ends up with much more than just her own story to tell.
Forbidden love, loss, revenge, lies and secrecy: it’s all there and more.
Such a compelling story, I finished it in a day!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Published April 30th 2020

The Switch by Beth O'Leary

The Switch by Beth O’Leary
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, I really enjoyed this book, soooo much!
Initially, I wondered if it was going to be a fictional version of from 13 to 30, you know, that film where the girl wishes she was older and somehow ends up in her 30th decade.
But now, this was a book with a much more literal switch!.
Leena Cotton is suffering. She might be on the cusp of having a breakdown. In fact, she kinda does in the middle of an extremely important presentation at her high-flying job.
Being forced into a two month paid break by her boss means she decides to go back home. Leave the bustle of London for her family village in the north, to the home of her grandmother, Eileen Cotton.
Eileen has been struggling in her own way. in her golden years, with no husband any more, she wants options, and there are not many local to her.
What ends up happening is the switching of lifestyles of these two women, in a surprisingly entertaining way.
I loved both Leena and Eileen. I want a grandma like her!
There was excitement, love, conflict, and many cups of tea.
a perfect book!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Quercus for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Published April 16th 2020

Some really great reads up there! Which one caught your eye? What have you been reading this month?

Spidey’s Serene Sunday – Part 244

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“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

Dr. Seuss

I just love this quote, Spidey! Thank you for popping it up on here today!

If I can’t do a lot of creating, which I am finding to be the case at the moment, with health issues etc., then reading is my next go-to!

And I honestly find that the more books I read, the more my world expands.

I am able to visit places I may never get to in reality, experience lives that I may not cross my path otherwise, escape in to fantasies that would otherwise always remain just that.

And the big one – I can dream that one day, my own book will end up taking readers on a similar magical ride one day too!

So, tell me, which book really helps you escape from reality?

Have a peaceful Sunday Peeps  And enjoy your week! ❤ 

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

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