November 2021 Books #AmReading

How did it get to November, already? Now, I warn you, November is pretty much written off for me, in anything other than school, with Parents evenings, training, and the run-up to Christmas things happening in school… Will I ever finish that ARC list, and get some of my other books read?

peacefully reading

Sunny by Sukh Ojla
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I requested this arc with much anticipation, as I have seen the author in her stand up comedy shows a few times, and she has always hit the nail on the head about being a young, British Asian, single woman.
The premise of Sunny, is a thirty-year-old British born Indian woman, struggling to fit in with the stereotypes of the East/West background she has grown up in.
Add to that, the pressures to feel like she should look a certain way, act a certain way, live her life a certain way.
But it’s the double life she struggles with and those pressures above? Doubled.
Sunny wants to be like those friends of hers, settling down with their partners of choice, finding that intimacy that you only have with your soulmate.
She also wants to keep her parents happy, and not overstep any mark that might bring disrespect to her family, or her parents in particular.
Cue trying out all the dating apps, kissing many frogs, but not finding her Prince Charming, then clambering back into her ‘home clothes’ and wiping her make-up off before getting home, to where she is living, again, with her parents. And going out with her friends, with that ’emergency kit’ forever with her, to mask any activity her parents would disapprove of.
At home, life is so much simpler, until Mama comes in, with her wanting Sunny to find a suitable boy, and settle down,
What follows is a story filled with so much laughter, as you relate to some of the situations that Sunny gets herself into, including hesitantly allowing her mum to get involved in her online dating, even letting her look at ‘Tindles’!
But there is more at the heart of this.
Sukh Ojla deals with much more than the funny side of bagging a man so you can have that Big, Fat Indian wedding. There are unspoken expectations about how a girl should look, what she should say, how she should behave, and how these weigh heavily on someone mentally and emotionally. She touches on mental health, and the hidden depths of depression that can hit someone who is loaded with the pressure of expectation from all sides.
Being a resident of Gravesend for the last twenty years, I can vouch for the authenticity of how my marital hometown has been described, from the local Indian sweet shop to the town centre, the gurdwara to the promenade!
Sunny is a fantastic character, in herself, but the cast around her are equally amazing. I love her Mama, who is that quintessential Indian Mummy (Gravo style) complete with the samosa making skills, and Yoga class friends who are forever gossiping. Her Dad is equally wonderful. Quiet, unassuming, but a pillar of strength, regardless.
Sunny manages to find some real pieces of work, on her hunt for Mr Right, but she also learns a lot about other friends she has, and the new ones she makes.
(There were times I wanted to slap certain ‘friends’ of hers!)
Most of all, she finds herself, and I absolutely loved the ending!
I can’t wait for another from this author!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Publishing on 3rd March, 2022

Impossible

Impossible by Sarah Lotz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well, that was a bit of a roller coaster of a read, wasn’t it?
Bee receives an email, unintended for her, and what is revealed through the course of her and the sender, Nick, is pretty impossible to believe.
I don’t want to add any spoilers, but this really is an ‘Impossible’ love story, and it sure takes you through the ringers!
I enjoyed reading it.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 17th March, 2022

To Love and Be Loved

To Love and Be Loved by Amanda Prowse
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, Amanda Prowse, you’ve done it again!
I was hooked on the story of Merrin from the moment I started reading. She was born and has lived in the same Cornish Fishing village of Port Charles, her whole life, and intends to spend the rest of it, there, too.
On the cusp of beginning the next chapter of her life, Merrin is convinced her life is headed in exactly the right direction.
Until the one thing she never expected to happen, happens. Filled with humiliation, Merrin flees her beloved hometown to forget her sorrows, but with a huge sense of regret at leaving her family behind.
Nothing can convince her to come back, not even the death of her grandma… Nothing, until her sister gets married.
Where do I start? Merrin is a beautiful character, full of hope, romance and life. It broke my heart to read how she crumbled, along with all her dreams, on that fateful day.
And feeling that she was never going to find anything close to the love she had felt at the time, the story grows, showing how she hardens her heart to feelings too intense, pushing away so many people who love her, romantically, and otherwise.
However, life does move in mysterious ways, and despite losses, she finds her perfect ending.
I loved Merrin’s best friend, Bella, a lot. What I wouldn’t give to have a Bella by my side!
A consuming read which I finished in a day.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Amazon Publishing for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 11th January, 2022

Em & Me

Em & Me by Beth Morrey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Okay, so, although it took me a little time to read, (life, not the book’s fault!) I truly loved this new release by Beth Morrey.
Delphine Jones is a relatively young woman, in her late twenties, already with the weight of the world on her shoulders. Having been a teen-mum, reeling from the loss of her beloved mother and caring for her grief-stricken father, as well as looking after her twelve-year-old daughter, life hasn’t dealt her the best cards, but she’s trying to make the most of it.
She keeps things afloat with a waitressing job, and a long term cleaning gig for an old friend of her mother.
Thing is, there was always meant to be more to the life of Delphine Jones, or Fifi as her dad calls her.
This isn’t a romance, though there is so much love within the pages of this book.
I was immersed in the story of Delphine, as she slowly begins to bring back the unravelled threads of her former self, and starts to reach for the dreams she had all but given up on, in order to keep existing.
Fifi was a bright student with so much to look forward to until she fell pregnant at sixteen. Then all the confidence seemed to have been knocked out of her.
I loved how the different people around her built her up, in their own ways, so each part of her life starts to make sense.
Her ‘teacher’, Ros, who encourages her to study again.
Letty, her elderly French companion, who teaches her to take every opportunity while she can.
Dylan, who shows her she is not dead inside.
Sanjay (and Dylan, again) who brings music back into her life.
Her father, who finds his strength again, through her, then becomes her support.
Selassie and Abrihet, who taker her into their little restaurant, and treat her like their own daughter, giving her encouragement, and nourishment she didn’t know she needed.
And Em. Beautiful Em Jo, her daughter, who is her whole reason for living and being.
A story filled with soul and hope.

3rd February, 2022

The Keeper of Stories

The Keeper of Stories by Sally Page
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a beautiful book!
I was hooked by the cover and the blurb definitely reeled me in – that’s what it’s supposed to do, and it did its job!
Janice is a cleaner, who, over the course of her ‘career’ has collected the stories of many of her clients. She is a firm believer that everyone has a story. Except her.
But, fate works in mysterious ways and meeting a couple of very different people, and a dog, through her job, and her daily travel, prove to her that everyone does indeed have a story, including her.
I was rooting form Janice from the off, especially after learning about her waste-of-space husband. Here’s a woman with a heart of gold, and so much to give to the people around her, yet he sees her as ‘just a cleaner’.
The added characters of Euan, and Mrs B (I LOVED her!) really gave the story a kick, and Decius the dog was an added bonus!

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

Releasing 3rd February, 2022

Rereleasing Soon! Special post coming on 6th December!

So, not a total washout. I can say that I did get my arcs down to 1, but the list is back up to 5! I just can’t help myself! So, any that caught your eye? What have you been reading?

October 2021 Books #AmReading

I can’t quite believe it’s the end of October, right now. We are in the midst of Autumn. The wintery nights are closing in on us. And it’s definitely colder. All the more reason to cuddle up with a book! Let’s see what I managed this month. I did aim to get through my NetGalley Arcs this month, so I was free to read the rest of the books I have sitting on my Kindle and bookshelves. There are four to read… As long as I don’t end up requesting any others that take my fancy! (Heads up… I did request a couple more!)

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Walking On Sunshine by Giovanna Fletcher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a beautiful story of friendship and coping, from a new to me, author, Giovanna Fletcher.
Reading about how three close friends, Mike, Zaza and Vicky respond to the loss of the fourth that made their quartet complete, Pia, was very emotional. A wife to one, and best friend to the other two, losing Pia shows just how differently grief shows itself in each person and their own relationships.
They embark upon a trek, as a memory to her, and alongside collecting new memories and blisters, they slowly trek through their own feelings and become a stronger unit between themselves.
I really enjoyed reading this.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Michael Joseph UK for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Publishing on 28th December, 2021

One Night on the Island

One Night on the Island by Josie Silver
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After thoroughly enjoying One Day in December, I was eager to get into this soon to be released book by Josie Silver, and I have to say, I devoured it within a few sittings.
Cleo is an online journalist, with a column all about dating in the modern world, and aspiring novelist, whose editor has the bright idea to send her to a remote island, to marry herself, in a symbolic ceremony, as she turns thirty – still single.
Not 100% convinced, she arrives there, literally in the middle of nowhere, to find her less than idyllic lodge to be double-booked.
Mack is that disgruntled American, who has come to the back of beyond to find out more about his heritage; to document stories his grandmother told him, and for some thinking time. And he is also of the opinion that he is the rightful new resident of Otter Lodge for the next few months.
What follows is a sometimes funny, but wholly poignant tale of how they end up forced to live with each other in a studio style flat, and the quirky routines that they develop, including the “three things’ they disclose to each other regularly, and the chalk line. I won’t explain more. You need to read!
A colourful cast of characters support Cleo and Mack, as they navigate life in this unknown place – a place that might not be a tourist haunt, but which is filled with locals who really care.
What is more to say? Well, I read it and wanted to go and find myself, too, like Cleo! Where’s that remote island?
(Oh, and if you are an emotional reader, you might want to arm yourself with a tissue box!)
Many thanks to NetGalley and Penguin UK for an ARC in exchange for an honest opinion.

Publishing on 17th February, 2022

Not even a cover, yet, for this next one, but it’s called The Fake-up by Justin Myers.

The Fake Up by Justin Myers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve not read a Justin Myers book, yet, and the intrigue of an offer to read a book without even a cover, whet my appetite!
Flo and Dylan are in love. A simple, loving relationship, where they are scraping a living together, him as a wannabe actor, bartending at other times, and her, a singer in small pubs and clubs, recording songs for her YouTube channel or working in a shop to make ends meet.
Even though they are both at a similar stage in their respective dream careers, their backgrounds couldn’t be more different, with Dylan from the more working-class side, and Flo, or Floria, being from a more affluent background.
They’ve struggled to get their respective families and friends to accept their relationship for years, and the inevitable happens.
They split up.
Then the doors of fame seem to open up to them both simultaneously.
He lands a part in a popular soap. She finds that a song written during the aftermath of her break-up, uploaded in haste, ends up becoming a hit, made all the more popular by a famous YouTuber sharing it.
Amidst all the craziness, they both find themselves drawn together, under a veil of secrecy, having to keep a relationship that merely floundered, hidden.
What follows is the story of a year of fame, fake romances, fake hate, and a fake break-up… But how long can you fake it for?
A cast of colourful characters helped to keep the story flowing, from Max, Dylan’s gay best friend, to Jesse and Sonny, the famous brothers who helped catapult Flo, and her talent, into the stratosphere. You can’t forget Flo’s best friend, Estelle, and her insufferable partner Barnaby, looking down their noses at Dylan, constantly.
This is a quick, cute read.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Little, Brown Book Group UK, Sphere for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Publishing on 7th April, 2022

Stepping Up

Stepping Up by Sarah Turner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I felt like I needed this book, right now, to shine a light of positivity over some tough times.
Beth, our heroine, really ins one, though she doesn’t really know it; after all, she is known for being the quitter of the family and has been, pretty much her whole life.
Until a tragedy forces her to stop quitting. Emmy, Beth’s older sister, and her husband Doug are involved in a car accident that is fatal for one and leaves the other in a coma.
So we have Beth. A single woman who can’t commit to a job, or a relationship, suddenly thrust into the role of mother/aunt, looking after her teenage niece and toddler nephew. With a cranky old neighbour to contend with, a mother with extremely high expectations, yet with no hope that Beth will deliver, and a best friend who seems to be drifting away, at a time when she needs him more than ever.
I truly felt for Beth, who appears resigned to thinking she’ll never amount to anything. The change in her, over the course of the book, is heartwarming. I truly enjoyed her blossoming relationship with Ted, her little nephew. He’s a charming little character, coming to terms with a huge loss from his life, but not fully understanding it.
She has to contend with a teenage niece, Polly, who is hormonal, emotional and has so much she is holding in, away from everyone else. The way their connection develops and goes from breaking point to a true sense of connection is wonderful.
I loved Albert, the octogenarian neighbour, who appears to be some sort of gorgon, in Beth’s mind, yet is quite possibly the sweetest, lonely old man she has ever encountered. Again, her friendship with him is a joy to read about.
Then there is Jory. Beth’s best friend of over twenty years. A connection so strong, that ends up fraying, through a difficult time, as they both find it hard to talk about the crux of the matter.
The way the conclusion is reached is just perfect, and all I can say is that I loved it!
Many thanks to NetGalley, and Random House UK for an arc, in exchange for an honest review.

Publishing on 17th March, 2021

The Winter of Second Chances

The Winter of Second Chances by Jenny Bayliss
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed Jenny Bayliss’s first book, s jumped at the chance to read The Winter Of Second Chances.
A middle-aged heroine – what’s not to like?
Annie Sharpe has it all. A successful restaurant, two lovely children in the forms of her grown-up twin sons and an adoring husband.
Scratch that.
A husband who is too busy adoring others, not her. And she catches him, in the act with his latest flavour of the month.
What’s a woman to do?
We follow Annie as she ups sticks, and removes herself from a toxic situation that has been simmering for a long while, and finds herself as the tenant and guardian for a small, glorified beach hut/kiosk/tea room called Saltwater Nook.
Here, Annie finds her feet, making what she expects to be temporary friends, and a little hobby to keep her busy as. she figures out her life.
But nothing is ever that simple.
I loved Annie. She was a straight-talking woman, who found her tongue, regarding her marriage a little later than in other aspects of her life. It tales quite a backbone to leave everything you have worked for, and start afresh.
The locals she encounters are just a joy, including her new book club friends, who become a little raucous, but with hilarious consequences. The owners of the two local pubs welcome her, and she even makes a tentative friend with the local homeless man, Albert.
And who can forget John? John, the nephew of her landlady, who seems hellbent on selling this little nook she is looking after. John, who has different layers. John, who becomes rather fanciable to a newly single woman,
Thoroughly enjoyed reading!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Pan Macmillan for an ARC in exchange for an honest review,

Publishing on 11th November, 2021

Meet Me Under The Northern Lights by Emily Kerr
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It seems to me that books with Finnish connections are calling out to me, and all the more poignant, as that is where my sister in law is from, so I find myself imagining the places I am reading about…
Now, enough of my nostalgia!
Meet Me Under The Northern Lights is a fantastic book, that follows the downfall of Radio DJ Lucy Fairweather’s career when a clip of her questionable drunk dancing goes viral, but, more awful than the dancing, is the connotations that the awfully edited clip insinuates, as her character is put into question. Was she really flirting with that other presenter, who just happened to be the boyfriend of a celebrity?
Faced with the trolls that support #TeamSerenity, and back the hashtag #LooseLucy, and an endless stream of hate messages, culminating in a death threat delivered to her home, she ends up running off to the furthest ends of Finland, where her colleague’s brother-in-law lives.
Can I just say, I felt the cold as I read about her arrival at Wild Zone, the Arctic Circle Experience that her host Tommi, has just set up.
I’ve not been to Finland in the cold, but I have seen photos of my brother with his eyelashes frozen, just from a walk, so I know there was no exaggeration!
Lucy really does find herself, out in the cold sticks, not only figuring out a way to get out of the viral video hole, but digging deeper, and recognising why some of the issues that have plagued her, have come about.
And of course, there is romance. That gruff, blunt Finn, Tommi, does have a heart, but it takes him a while to demonstrate his feelings.
With a lovely supportive cast of characters, as well as the slime balls, Mike, and Jonny from the radio stations, the reader is taken on a fantastic Arctic journey. Oh, and how could I forget Gurta? Quite key to the story, and several misunderstandings, Gurta is a little star, in herself!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins UK, One More Chapter, for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Publishing on 3rd December, 2021

Yinka, Where is Your Huzband?

Yinka, Where is Your Huzband? by Lizzie Damilola Blackburn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Started it. Steamed through it. Loved it!
Lizzie Damilola Blackburn has written a true book of the times for those women, still single, and needing to learn how to embrace themselves before trying to please others by conforming to the stereotypes set for them.
Well, at least the stereotypes set by the aunties in the London Nigerian community, anyway.
I warmed to Yinka, the 31-year-old woman who had pretty much everything a girl could want: her own home, a great job, good friends. Well, everything except a boyfriend or ‘huzband’, much to the chagrin of her mother and aunties.
It’s not dissimilar to the thinking of many of the older generations in our Indian communities; that if you aren’t married, or spoken for, at least, by a certain age, that you will be left on the shelf.
My heart broke for her, as he tried to conform in a way that was not natural to her, leaving herself open to being hurt.
With a younger sister already married and expecting a baby, a cousin who was already settled with her huzband and three kids, and another getting ready for her big day, Yinka has big expectation shoes to fill, and she needs to do it fast.
She meets a range of characters along the way, and it just goes to show that sometimes, you aren’t looking hard enough in the right places.
Yinka’s Ghanian best friend Nana is awesome! A strong woman who has her own thoughts firmly in place. Her other two good friends from work bring about the perspective of people from outside the Nigerian or African community.
All in all, I loved it. Love story? Nah, more of a ‘self’ love story!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Penguin General UK – Fig Tree, Hamish Hamilton, Viking, Penguin Life, Penguin Business, for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Publishing on 31st March, 2022

The Betrayals: The stunning new fiction book from the author of the Sunday Times bestseller THE BINDING by Bridget Collins
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Now, I have Bridget Collins’ debut The Binding, on my TBR shelf but have not read it yet. However, on the strong positive feedback of that, I downloaded this new release, The Betrayals, and opened it, high with anticipation.
Can I be totally frank, here?
I was confused. (Quite apt, because throughout the story, you find elements of confusion that cause chaos in the characters lives, too.)
Who was the Rat? Why was she important?
The Grand Jeu? What on earth was it? A game? A piece of music? a performance?
I had a mind to end the confusion, and just stop reading, after it took me a long while to reach around 12% of the book.
However, big HOWEVER, I am glad I carried on reading, as I finally became immersed in the story.
There is time-hopping, though it is never totally clear when this book is set.
But we go from the days of one of the main characters, Leo, was a student at Montverre, to the present (in the book) when he is an adult. The other character, Claire, or Magister Ludi, is another complex piece in the puzzle that is The Betrayals
There is romance, of a different kind, within the pages, too.
Would I read it again? I’m not sure, but it was an interesting premise, even though I still don’t know what the Grand Jeu is!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins UK for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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So, not a total washout. I can say that I did get my arcs down to 1, but the list is back up to 3! I just can’t help myself! So, any that caught your eye? What have you been reading?

September 2021 Books #AmReading

Right, so it’s the month we head back to school. Highly unlikely that I’ll hit the giddy heights of twenty books, like last month, but, then again, I am hoping that when I have spare time that I might just write, too, this month!

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On a Night Like This

On a Night Like This by Lindsey Kelk
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A new Lindsey Kelk book?
Er, yes please! I’ve been a fan since the early Shopaholic days, and Kelk truly doesn’t disappoint with her latest, On A Night Like This.
Fran Cooper is kinda stuck in a rut. On the outside, things look fine with her life. She’s engaged, they have a house, family and friends around her.
But, inside, she’s feeling a little unfulfilled.
Having put all her career aspirations to one side, to concentrate on her life with her fiancee, she loses sight of her own dreams.
Until an opportunity falls into her lap. Something she’d be a fool to turn down.
And, despite what her c0mmon sense tells her, she takes it.
Thrust into the whirlwind life of celebrity, Fran finds herself as the PA for an extremely famous person, for a short while, and the few days she is with this individual, changes her thinking. But it’s that one night that truly changes everything.
I loved it. Like, literally every little bit of the book! I have to admit, there were times I wanted to shake Fran, as she refused to admit her relationship was floundering.
But, oh, the chemistry Kelk builds, between Fran and Evan was amazing. It just goes to show that you don’t need all over the top explicit scenes to create steam… and I loved the end!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins for an ARC in exchange for an honest opinion.

Releasing 11th November, 2021

The Fault Between Us by Bette Lee Crosby

Review to follow on 20th Oct during Blog Tour, but here’s the blurb!

April 18, 1906 – A devastating earthquake rocks San Francisco and Templeton Morehouse fears her husband is lost forever. A powerful and compelling story from USA Today bestselling author Bette Lee Crosby

Chances were a million to one that a girl born and raised in Philadelphia would encounter a stranger from California on the trolley and fall madly in love, but that’s what happened. Templeton was not only taken with John Morehouse, but also with his tales of life in San Francisco. As an aspiring fashion designer, the dazzle of a city called the Paris of the West, with its towering department stores and European couture was too much to resist.

Despite her family’s objections, she and John are married and, on their way back to California, before the month is out. To ease the heartbreak of such a move, Templeton promises her family that they will return for a visit every summer. She fully intends to keep that promise, but as her fashions gain popularity, the business grows increasingly more demanding. The trips back to Philadelphia become less frequent and she makes foolish choices she will come to regret.

Now, when she is on the verge of having everything she’s ever wanted, a devastating earthquake has torn across San Francisco and she awakes to discover the father of her baby is missing.

With the city in flames, Templeton’s daddy leaves Philadelphia and sets out in search of his son-in-law. He’s too old for such a trip and ill-equipped for the challenges he will encounter, but he’s the only hope of saving his daughter’s happiness.
Lines of communication are down and the city in shambles, so the only thing Templeton can do is pray she doesn’t lose both her daddy and her husband.

Releasing 11th November, 2021

The Impossible Truths of Love

Review to follow on 14th October for part of the Blog Tour

Here’s the blurb!

From bestselling author Hannah Beckerman comes a moving story about memory, secrets, and what it really means to feel that you’re one of the family.

When Nell’s father makes a deathbed declaration that hints at a long-held secret, it reignites feelings of isolation that have plagued her for years. Her suspicions about the family’s past only deepen when her mother, Annie, who is losing her memories to dementia, starts making cryptic comments of her own.

Thirty-five years earlier, Annie’s life was upended by a series of traumas—one shock after another that she buried deep in her heart. The decisions she made at the time were motivated by love, but she knew even then that nobody could ever understand—let alone forgive—what she did.

As the two women’s stories unravel, a generation apart, Nell finally discovers the devastating truth about her mother’s past, and her own.

In this beautifully observed and emotionally powerful story of identity, memory and the nature of family, Hannah Beckerman asks: To what lengths would you go to protect the ones you love?

Releasing 5th October 2021

Midnight in the Snow

Midnight in the Snow by Karen Swan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve read a couple of Karen Swan books, and have thoroughly enjoyed them, so when I saw this, I was compelled to read, purely on previous experience.
Midnight In The Snow is filled with the adrenalin highs and lows that come with the sports it features, heavily, Surfing and snowboarding.
I’m not a sports junkie, but the story that carries the book was compelling.
Clover Phippils makes films.
She’s just finished one where accolades have been showered upon her, covering the story of a talented surfer, Cory, whose career was ruined by the actions of a competitor in one of the championships.
Having got herself extremely close to the family, she feels a need to try and find out why things happened as they did, ultimately leading to the loss of life.
Managing to get an all-access pass to the life of surfing champion, Kit Foley, the surfer responsible, she heads off to Austria, where he has now come, having changed his life path from surfing to snowboarding, hoping to find out why he did what he did to Cory.
It was a fantastic build-up of tension between Kit and Clover, seeing as he holds her responsible for ruining his professional life, whereas she lays the blame for the ultimate loss of Cory’s life at Kit’s feet.
Things are never that simple, though, and the way we learn snippets of the truth, throughout the book, alongside the chemistry that steps up a notch, between the interviewer and the interviewee, was fantastic,
Thoroughly enjoyed this book, and would highly recommend it!
Many thanks to Netgalley and Pan Macmillan for an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

Releasing on 14th October, 2021

Medusa

Medusa by Jessie Burton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have seen the hype about this book in Social Media for a while now and knowing the critical acclaim author Jessie Burton has already amassed with her previous books such as The Miniaturist, I was extremely excited to read Medusa.
I’ve always had a thing about Medusa. I’ll let you in on a secret – at college, due to my long curly locks, there was a lad who used to call me Medusa the Seducer! (I am not, in any way, shape or form, a seducer, but still… it was his thing!)
So, to find this book, written from the perspective of this character who has been much maligned within Greek mythology, was absolutely fantastic.
We are put in the shoes of Medusa, a young woman who has been transformed into this creature, feared by many, but how, and why was she made to look this way?
I finished this book with a newfound sympathy for her.
And the illustrations were just the icing on the cake, for me. I think I will need a physical copy of this one!
Many thanks to Netgalley and Bloomsbury Publishing for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing on 28th October, 2021

The Replacement by Melanie Golding
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved Melanie Golding’s previous book, Little Darlings, so was equally excited to be given chance to read The Replacement, upon reading the blurb.
Oh, what a twisted, tangled web she has woven within this story!
A little child found alone.
A man found, left for dead, in a bathtub, miles away.
And two women, missing, who the police are desperate to speak to.
Seemingly distinct separate situations, however, inexplicably linked, as the police find out more and more. And what a joy to find a familiar character, within these pages, DI Joanne Harper, who ends up with stakes, far more personal, than in her last appearance, in Little Darlings.
Folklore and mythology, interspersed within a complicated criminal case… it sure kept my brain ticking over, the whole way through, and I more or less finished it within a day!
I was hooked!
Many thanks to NetGalley and HQ for an ARC, in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 11th November, 2021

Starry Skies in Ferry Lane Market: Book 2 in a brand new series by the author of bestselling phenomenon THE CORNER SHOP IN COCKLEBERRY BAY

Starry Skies in Ferry Lane Market: Book 2 in a brand new series by the author of bestselling phenomenon THE CORNER SHOP IN COCKLEBERRY BAY by Nicola May
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Having read the first in the Ferry Lane Market series, I was pretty excited to be able to visit again, especially since the author, Nicola May has created a fantastic cast of memorable characters, and I wanted to find out more about what was going on,
This book is centred around Steren, or Star to her friends and family, a single mother, with several layers to her own story, as well as her background. Being the product of a single-parent family, herself, and one which wasn’t the best, she has been determined to be the opposite to her own daughter, Skye, though, she, like her own mother, has been hesitant to let Skye know the identity of her father.
Skye is now older, with a life of her own, and it’s time for Star to think about herself more. Two prospective partners on the horizon; one unavailable, one she’s not sure of, though he’s a loveable Irish hunk…
Across the market, other stories unravel, bringing the community together in ways they never imagined.
I loved how this story ended, and can’t wait for book three, now!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Hodder and Stoughton for an ARC in exchange for an honest opinion.

Releasing 11th November, 2021

The Imperfect Art of Caring

The Imperfect Art of Caring by Jessica Ryn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a wonderful gift author Jessica Ryn has, for creating those wonderful, hapless characters, who you can’t help but fall in love with. Dawn Brightside was a highlight of my year last year, and I was extremely excited to be able to read her newest offering, The Imperfect Art of Caring.
Within these pages, we are, again, introduced to a main character who has a lot going on, in her mind.
Violet Strong is a woman who has learned to keep everyone at a distance from her – for good reason, She is Bad News. Ever since she can remember, bad things happen, and they always come back to her.
Estranging herself from her family and friends, she ends up near Manchester, with a cleaning job, and a wonderful blog where she reviews books.
Things are fine until her sister drops a bombshell on her: She’s leaving the country, and Violet has to come back home, to help look after her mother, and facilitate a house sale, so her mother can be put into care.
My heart went out to Violet, especially as I got to know her, and realised exactly how wrong her own opinion of herself was. She only wants to help, and sheer coincidence meant that so many awful things happened in her life, that really had nothing to do with her, yet, she had carried the burden of guilt on her own shoulders.
The cast of characters introduced through the story are wonderful, including Tammy, one of the residents in the flats her mother’s house have been turned into, who has a learning disability, but no one to help her learn how to live independently, to Mrs R, the grumpy resident, who is, in fact, a rather lonely woman. To top it off, there is Adam, Violet’s childhood best friend, and first love, who makes up half of the occupants in the third flat, alongside his father, Bill.
The book looks at the often lonely job of carers. What is expected of them, what they have to deal with on a regular basis, as well as the lives of those being cared for.
I was truly touched when reading this beautiful book.
Many thanks to NetGalley and HQ for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 25th November, 2021

The Arctic Curry Club

The Arctic Curry Club by Dani Redd
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A lovely debut novel, bringing together the heat of spice with the chill of the Arctic!
Maya has accompanied her boyfriend, Ryan out to the Arctic, to help him follow his dream.
Though it’s not hers, by any stretch of the imagination.
Shrouded in anxiety at every step, the story uncovers different layers of Maya’s own story and the reasons for her deep-rooted anxieties, as the inky black nights of the Arctic begin to shed their darkness, revealing new layers of colour along the way.
Maya’s Anglo Indian background gives her a reason to stay in a place she would never have chosen to be, once her relationship crumbles, as she picks up the reins of her own love, cooking, and slowly begins to experiment with the flavours connected to her childhood.
Her mother’s handwritten recipes, in an old book, help Maya to create something the Arctic wasn’t expecting, and the memories that surface, with every new mouthful of food she creates, helps Maya to discover more and more about a past she had learned to block out.
I truly enjoyed this story, with a little hint of romance, but, ultimately, a book filled with self-discovery. It was a tad slow at the start, but as revelations kept popping up, the faster my pages turned.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Avon Books for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 9th December, 2021

So, 9 books – not bad for the first term of the year, and with illness thrown into the mix! And an eclectic selection, at that!

Any caught your eye? What have you been reading?

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!)

bean bag chair chill
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!

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