Spidey’s Serene Sunday – Part 394 – Book Heaven

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“She reads books as one would breathe air, to fill up and live.”

Annie Dillard

Thank you, Spidey, for finding another quote that suits me just fine!.

Firstly, sorry for posting late!

But, this, as you will see from the gist of my post, is where the above quote is relevant.

As soon as I start school in September, things begin to happen.

Life goes from a comfortable speed to powering ahead with me a the wheel of a large truck, trying to keep all my cargo safe.

  • my team and their wellbeing
  • my new class, and settling them into their new life in school
  • new initiatives and expectations to be implemented in school
  • my family and their various needs, be it being taxi mum to their emotional health and wellbeing
  • keeping house, even after long days (that ironing pile seems to double when we are working!)
  • having time for Hubby Dearest, who is juggling his own cargo load
  • giving Sonu Singh plenty of love
  • new pressures of keeping to a better budget with all these rising costs…
  • my own health and sanity, not helped by the onset of Perimenopause

As you can imagine, all this leaves me pretty shattered at the end of a typical working day.

It means that I have no energy left for my other passion which is my writing. I have editing to do. I have a new book to start plotting… But I don’t have the headspace or the time to do either.

What I won’t forgo, though, is my time with a good book.

Reading is like food for my soul. A moment to dip into the lives of others and to forget what is going on around me at any given moment.

It’s true that I read much less in the week, as I find I am asleep by 9.30pm, but I will always read a few pages at least before my eyes close.

My Kindle is brimming with at least 150 unread books that I have downloaded over the years, and my little trolley of unread books holds around 50 more physical books I have either been sent to read or have picked up on my visits to bookshops. My Amazon Wishlist has plenty more that I want to read… one day…

I don’t think I will ever reach the end of my TBR pile, virtual or otherwise, and I am not sad about that at all. It means that I will always have a tap of beautiful stories to turn on and sink into when I have nothing left to give to the world…

So, tell me, how many books are on your TBR?

namaste

Wishing you a wonderfully peaceful Sunday, Peeps!

August 2021 Books #AmReading

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

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

peacefully reading


The Dating Game

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

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

Releasing 10th September, 2021

Brown Baby: A Memoir of Race, Family and Home

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

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

Sylvester by Georgette Heyer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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

Did You Miss Me?

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

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


Released on 19th August, 2021

Ouija

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

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

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

Released on 30th August, 2021

Eight Perfect Hours

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

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

Released 19th August, 2021

Every Day in December

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

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

Released 19th August, 2021

The Liar Next Door

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

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

Released 23rd August, 2021

Hot Desk

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

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

Released 31st August, 2021

Freckles

Freckles by Cecelia Ahern
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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

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

Releasing 2nd September, 2021

The Hidden Child

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

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

Releasing 2nd September, 2021

I Have Something to Tell You

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

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

Releasing 16th September, 2021

Seizing the Bygone Light by Cendrine Marrouat

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

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

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

Rhythm Flourishing by Cendrine Marrouat


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

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

Matchmaking at Port Willow (Port Willow Bay #2)

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

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

Releasing 16th September, 2021

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

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

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

Releasing 30th September, 2021

The Other Man

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

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

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

Releasing 12th October, 2021

Baby It's Cold Outside

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

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

Releasing 14th October, 2021

All For You

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

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

Releasing 28th October, 2021

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

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

Releasing 28th October, 2021

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

July 2021 Books #AmReading

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

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The Mother Fault

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

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

Released 7th July, 2021

You and Me on Vacation

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

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

Released 8th July, 2021

The Lock In

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

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

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

Released on 22nd July, 2021

Welcome to Ferry Lane Market

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

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

Released on 22nd July, 2021

The Image of Her

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

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

Released on 22nd July, 2021

The Promise of Summer

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

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

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

Released on 22nd July, 2021

What's Left Unsaid

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

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

Released on 27th July, 2021

Love Life

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

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

Released on 16th September, 2021

Patience

Patience by Victoria Scott
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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

Released on 5th August, 2021

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

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

April 2021 Books #AmReading

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

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The Borrow a Bookshop Holiday

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

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

Releasing 5th May, 2021

When I Last Saw You

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

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

Releasing 4th May, 2021

The Summer Seekers

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

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

Releasing 27th May, 2021

Duvet Day

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

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

Releasing 27th May, 2021

Just a Boy Friend

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

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

Just Friends

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

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

Just Friends in Vegas

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

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

Summer at the French Olive Grove

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

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

Releasing 27th May, 2021

Both of You

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

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

Releasing 27th May, 2021

Waiting to Begin

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

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

Releasing 8th June, 2021

The Wedding War

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

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

Adulting

Adulting by Liz Talley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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

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

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

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

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?

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