August’s Books #BookReview

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

Still, here’s what I did read!

American Royals

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

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

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

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

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

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

A bit of a running theme there.

Forbidden love.

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

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

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

Published 5th September

Rewrite The Stars

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tragedy strikes and she is torn away from him again.

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

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

What if, indeed.

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

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

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

Published 6th September

Unlearn: 101 Simple Truths for a Better Life

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

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

The Second Chance Supper Club

The Second Chance Supper Club by Nicole Meier

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


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

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

Well, you have to read it to find out!

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

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

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

Published 10th September

Roar

Roar by Cecelia Ahern
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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

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

Why Mummy Drinks

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

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

Why Mummy Swears

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

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

Why Mummy Doesn’t Give a ****!

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

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

The Light in the Hallway

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

Yet another best-seller, methinks!

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

The Light In The Hallway is no different.

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

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

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

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

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

Before the Coffee Gets Cold

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

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

The Confession

The Confession by Jessie Burton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Published 19th September

Wildflower Hope (The Wildflower House #2)

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

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

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

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

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

Published 24th September

What have you been reading?

July’s Books #BookReview

Another month, another selection of books to share with you! And I just got in by the skin of my teeth! I literally just finished the last book, and wanted to include it on my monthly round up!

The Million Pieces of Neena Gill

The Million Pieces of Neena Gill by Emma Smith-Barton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Million Pieces of Neena Gill is a story following the journey of a young girl who is suffering from the loss of her brother ten months previously.
The tragedy, where her brother went missing, affects the whole family in damaging ways, but the effect this incident had on Neena slowly unravels as the story is told.
A tale woven with the heartache of mental illness, as Neena suffers from psychosis, and all the trauma that comes with it.
It was interesting with the added cultural twist of Neea coming from a Pakistani Christian family too.
Initially, I found it a little hard to get into, but as the story wound on, I became more and more engrossed.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Random House for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Swallowtail Summer

Swallowtail Summer by Erica James

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Erica James is one of those authors who never disappoints. I have read a few of her books in the past and they never fail to disappoint.
Swallowtail Summer is no different.
A twisting tale of friendship, and how closeness can become too close: how the links of a friendship chain can become knotted and difficult to smooth over again.
There were a lot of characters to get to grips with, but essentially each point of view was necessary to forward the story.
Three best friends; Alastair, Danny and Simon: having lived most of their lives with each other by their side, and the beautiful Norfolk Linston End property as the backdrop to many of their memories.
Three women; Orla, Frankie and Sorrel, brought together as the spouses of three very close friends.
Three children: Jenna, Rachel and Callum, firm friends because of their parents.
What happens when one of this trio of triumvirates dies suddenly?
Everyone’s lives are changed irrevocably.
Solid relationships begin to unravel.
Secrets start to creep out of the woodwork.
And a new character arrives on the horizon, hoping to fill the gap left by death… or maybe wanting to tear the whole gang apart…

I enjoyed this book. It kept me guessing. When I am whispering to myself about a character, willing he or she to do something or disappear, I am sure that is a sign of a good book!

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

The Aunt Who Wouldn't Die

The Aunt Who Wouldn’t Die by Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A very interesting premise to the book, and a short, quick read.

However, it was very rushed, and in my opinion, could have been made a little longer, to actually develop some of these strong women characters withing the three generations explored within it.

And I was left a little confused at the end.

Thanks to NetGalley and John Murray Press for an ARC of this book, in exchange for an honest review.

Mom's Perfect Boyfriend

Mom’s Perfect Boyfriend by Crystal Hemmingway
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A cute debut novel by Crystal Hemmingway.

What we have here is a collection of texts, messages, emails ad journal entries, following the story of Crystal and her relationships with her mum, boyfriend and sister. Added to the mix is the discovery of a possible perfect boyfriend for her mother – who happens to be an android.

This was a lighthearted read which I was able to get into straight away and finish relatively quickly.

Though the story may not be plausible (though, who knows in the future?) it was well written, engaged me and I enjoyed slipping into Boople world!

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

Ask Again, Yes

Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have to be honest, Psychological thrillers aren’t usually my thing, and I did take a little time to get in to the story, but once I was in there, I was IN there!

A tale of two dysfunctional families with ties to each other that become tighter, as they try to loosen them.

Can I liken this a little to Romeo and Juliet?

Possibly.

Two children who have grown up together.
Two teenagers who feel the beginnings of affection for each others.
Two families with issues.
One gun.
One shot.
Many lives changed as a result.

What does this book cover? Alcoholism. Depression. Mental health. Attempted murder. Forbidden love. Fractures relationships between parents and their child.

It was pretty intense.

Two rookie cops end up partnered together, and though it’s not so much a friendship, their connection runs deeper, as they become neighbours. This story follows the twists and turns of their families relationships with one another, especially after a huge tragedy.

Many thanks to NetGalley, Penguin and Michael Joseph for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Out 8th August

Ruth Robinson's Year of Miracles

Ruth Robinson’s Year of Miracles by Frances Garrood
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a delightful read!
Meet Ruth.
An unemployed, newly homeless musician with an additional bit of baggage, apart from her violin and luggage… an unplanned pregnancy!
Ruth is torn between roughing it and traipsing, cap in hand to her religious parents, who cannot accept her unmarried pregnant state, on top of the fact that she followed her heart to make music her career.
She is shipped off to her eccentric twin uncles who live on a farm and proceeds to settle into a quiet life… until the Virgin Mary is discovered on the side of a hen house!
The fun that followed this discovery, alongside trying to track down the father of her baby, making friends with the pole dancing daughter of the harridan housekeeper, learning to love the animals, and discovering new family, kept me reading from cover to cover.
Do I recommend?
Well, yes. Yes, I do!
A great book for any time of the year, not just a summer page-turner!

Many thanks to Netgalley and Sapere Books for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Out August 9th

Meditation For Children: A Book of Mindfulness

Meditation For Children: A Book of Mindfulness by Shelley Wilson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed reading this book, and was quickly able to see where this kind of meditation could become a part of my routine as a teacher, and how it may have benefitted my own children had they been younger.
The meditation stories are magical, and can transport a child to another world, not only exercising their mind in a meditative way, but engaging their imaginations so they can become creative storytellers in their own rights!
I would definitely recommend this book, and the ideas behind it to teachers as well as parents, for a guide to start your children on the path to mindfulness and to give you a chance to create your own meditation stories!
Many thanks to NetGalley, BHC Press and author Shelley Wilson for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Out August 22nd

What Happens Now?

What Happens Now? by Sophia Money-Coutts
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A wonderfully funny, page-turner of a book!

Meet Lil, a teacher in a private school, just out of a long term relationship, and trying to get back into the swing of dating, especially since her ex is already firmly entrenched in a new coupling.
She braves the world of modern dating, by using an app, Kindling, which introduces her to her first new date.
What she doesn’t count on is an unreliable pill, and after a wonderful evening and night spent together, he disappears, and she finds herself pregnant.

What follows is a funny tale of deciding whether this one night stand deserves to know she is expecting and the reactions of all those who are involved in her life.

How to tell the prim headteacher at her employment that she is expecting a baby out of wedlock?
How to explain her predicament to her mother, who had been a single mother herself, and had tried her hardest to make sure her daughter never ended up in the same boat?
How to contact the person who helped her get into this mess, especially since he was up a mountain in Pakistan?

I loved the characters, from her feisty best friend, Jess to Max, the mountain climbing father-to-be, along with all the others too.

Definitely worth a read, you won’t be disappointed!

Many thanks to NetGalley and HQ for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Out August 22nd

Home Truths

Home Truths by Susan Lewis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have read a lot of Susan Lewis’s earlier books and was so pleased to be given a chance to read Home Truths as I have always loved her gritty yet realistic storytelling.
And I was definitely not disappointed.
We follow the story of Angie Watts, a woman who is thrust into the life of a widowed mother of two after the tragic murder of her beloved husband.
The loss of her husband is heightened by the subsequent disappearance of her eldest son who has been swallowed up by gang culture and drugs.
Spiralling into debt, Angie is faced with hard decisions, whether to feed her family or to pay those who are biting at her ankles for their money.
Losing her home, the home her husband had lovingly created for their family, is the last straw.
Until a saviour, or several saviours, enter her life, and help her rebuild her home and life.
It sounds like a total fairytale, but it really isn’t.
This story deals with gang culture, drug addiction, homelessness, mental health issues, grooming of young girls for sex work and loss.
I was gripped.
And I can admit to sitting on my sofa reading, and having to message a book group I am a member of, to say how that moment when you feel your lips turn up slightly, at the prospect of all the downs turning to ups, in a book your reading is my #perfectreadingmoment.
And there were tears in my eyes at moments, of both sadness, but of happiness too.
A must read! Many thanks to NetGalley and HarperCollins for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Out August 22nd

Blue Midnight (Blue Mountain #1)

Blue Midnight Book #1 (Blue Mountain Series) by Tess Thompson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was lucky enough to win the full set of Tess Thompson’s Blue Mountain series from the My Book Tribe group and it has taken me a while to get started on reading them.

That said, I started this book in the afternoon, and it is not even the kid’s bedtime yet and I just finished Blue Midnight, the first book.

Tess Thompson has created characters that grab ahold of your thoughts and heart, leaving you wanting only the best for them.

Blythe met Finn at a festival 13 years previously and spent a blissful 3 days with him. Yet she was promised to another, and due to get married the next month.
Fast forward to now, when her husband, Martin. is now her ex and due to get remarried, and Blythe has to leave the family home for a smaller, more affordable place for her and her two daughters.
While packing, she finds a small piece of paper with Finn’s number, given to her with the reassurance that she could call him at any time.

Will she call it?
Does fate have a strange way of bringing things about full circle?

You’ll have to read it to find out!

As for me, I am looking forward to diving straight into book #2, Blue Moon!

Blue Moon (Blue Mountain #2)

Blue Moon by Tess Thompson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Giving huge thanks to Tess Thompson, the author, for gifting me the Blue Mountain series in a competition!
I was eager to read Book 2 after finishing the first, and I wasn’t disappointed.
After learning about Blythe in the first of the series, we follow Bliss Hayward, her sister.
A hard-working career woman with no time in her life for anything other than her work, and her sister and nieces.
That’s what happens when your mother is a drug-taking hippie who has no real interest in you, and your father leaves, marries another unsuitable woman, and then goes and dies in a car accident, leaving your older sister to try and make up for all the gaps in your life.
Bliss loses her job, and ends up at her sister’s place for Thanksgiving, and ends up with a lot to be thankful for, but not before her own fair share of heartache, mystery and romance.
There is definitely something about the Hayward sisters and the Lanigan brothers!
I can’t wait to dive into book #3!

Blue Ink (Blue Mountain #3)

Blue Ink by Tess Thompson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Yet another chance to thank the author Tess Thompson for choosing me to win a complete set of the Blue Mountain series of books. I have devoured them all in the last few days!
Blue Ink continues the story of the Lanigan boys, and this time, it centres on Ardan, the quieter of the brothers, and now the carer of his nearly blind mother.
Enter Charlotte, former PA to Bliss, who also happens to be Arden’s brother Ciaran’s wife. An aspiring writer, struggling to get her feet off the ground after the release of her first book, she is the first person Bliss thinks of when a companion is required for Mrs Lanigan.
Love, at first sight, is what happens, but the road to true love is never easy, and this third part in the series shows exactly that.
Throw an old connection into the mix, with a baby to boot, and things get a little more interesting.
But that’s not the only spice to stir things up. There’s a family mystery that needs solving too.
I really enjoyed the whole book and was totally enamoured of the relationship between Charlotte and her elderly charge, Mrs Lanigan.
Another great read.
Yes, I do recommend!

Let me know what you’ve been reading!

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June’s Books #Book Reviews

And it is nearing the end of June… that means half the year has already flown by. I have spent it within a whirlwind of books, and this month, I can add the following to my read collection!

The Newcomer

The Newcomer by Fern Britton

My rating: 5 of 5 star
Welcome to the small village of Pendruggan, where the newcomer is Angela, the new vicar, with her husband, Richard, and daughter, Faith.
It’s never easy to fit into an already established community, especially when you have some rather comfortable boots to fill. But That is exactly what Angela does: with her caring ways and modern ideas, she creates her own imprint among the villagers.
A story that was very easy to settle into, with romance, laughter, tragedy and celebration.
This was the first Fern Britton boon I have read and I will certainly be reading more.

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

A Walk in Wildflower Park (Wildflower Park Series)

A Walk in Wildflower Park by Bella Osborne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another lovely read by author Bella Osborne.
We follow the stories of Anna, a newly single woman who feels like she can never find the right man, and is hiding a few of her own secrets, and Sophie, her married friend, who is pregnant and suffering her own worries.
After moving into a place of her own, Anna begins to settle into her life for one, peppered with adventures with Sophie and her family in the wildflower park that they live near.
The story is seasoned with not one, not two, but three prospective love interests for Anna, and a few twists and turns that were definitely unexpected!
And Sophie? I could relate to her, as a working, married mother, not sure whether this was the life she had agreed upon, instead, questioning her decisions to settle with the situation she has found herself in.
An easy read, with romance, a bit of mystery and some great laughs too.

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

My Last Love Story

My Last Love Story by Falguni Kothari

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
My first Falguni Kothari book, and I finished it in a day – what do you think, I think?

Quite an intense book that explores friendship, love, longing and loss.

Imagine facing the worst thing you can – the possible death of the one you love the most – your spouse.

Then throw in his request for you to have his baby, before he dies.

Add in the best friend, who actually makes up a trio of souls who have shared a journey for the best part of their life, together.

A sprinkle of hope from the husband, that his wife and best friend be each other’s comfort when he finally dies, spices up the agenda.

Especially as there is history… A lot of history between this unlikely three, in various ways – some funny, some tragic, some, rather naughty.

The story is set in the US but the three main characters are all from the Indian subcontinent, and all from different backgrounds too, one being Muslim, one Hindu and one Parsi.

The author gives a good picture of the difference in the three cultures, that many western minds may not be aware of.

An interesting read.

From a Distant Star

From a Distant Star by Karen McQuestion
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Do you believe in aliens?
What if something inexplicable happens in life, and quite possibly, the only explanation is extraterrestrial?
Emma is seventeen and in love with a cancer patient who is in a coma.
Something strange happens one night, and she gets her love back, but with a difference.
Follow the story of Emma, her boyfriend Lucas, and his inner spirit, Scout, as they endeavour to get Scout back where he came from.
Such an engaging story, in a genre I wouldn’t usually read.

And that little line at the end – ” Tell Emma I am sending her less than three.”

Too cute!

Our Stop

Our Stop by Laura Jane Williams
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What an absolutely fab book!

If you believe in destiny, then this book is filled with it.

And… who knew the London Underground could be so romantic!

Nadia is a feisty, successful 20-something Londoner, going about her life, ricochetting between bad relationships, wondering when her time will come. She loves sensitive men, who aren’t scared to show their emotions.
Daniel is a sensitive, successful 20-something Londoner, recovering from the shock of his father’s death, looking for someone to share life, and reality TV with. He loves feisty women, who are clumsy with their coffee.

But how will their paths ever cross?

Cue the Underground and Missing Connections.

Daniel sees Nadia and just knows there is something about her. But, how to approach?

Using a series of messages in the local commuters newspaper, these two slowly get sucked into a will they/won’t they situation.

We can see they are perfect for each other. Their friends can sense they are perfect for each other. Why can’t they just meet and see if they hit it off?

With a series of twists and turns, we see the story of Nadia and Daniel develop, and I can say, hand on heart, that I finished this book with a gooey smile on my face!

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

Boy Swallows Universe

Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I have heard many good things about this book so was very excited to read it.
I did find it a little disjointed and hard to get into at the end and found myself wondering what was going on, but the speed of the story and my wanting to read it as fast as I could, kicked in at around the halfway point, as I was eager to know what happened.
A story that was sad, funny, happy, full of fear and hope, all at once!
We follow two brothers through some very troubling times in their lives, and who have an ex-con as their mentor, even after he passed away, guiding them through some tough situations.
I cannot adequately describe this book, in a way that gives it the credit it deserves.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins UK for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Published 5th July

Instructions For Falling In Love Again by Lucy Mitchell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

 There are days when you really need a good Rom Com to fall into. A book that will make you forget the world around you as you immerse yourself in its fictitious one.
Well, that was me as I fell into Author Lucy Mitchell’s debut novel, Instructions For Falling In Love Again.
I found myself living alongside Pippa Browning, a recently widowed mother of three, who is just starting to get her life into some semblance of normality, after losing her beloved husband to cancer three years previously.
Being a single mother is never easy, and dealing with a teen bunny boiler in practice, and two children who know how to wreak havoc at just the right (or wrong) time, who are all dealing with the grief of losing their father, has her at her nerves end.
Pippa is lucky to have her two best friends, Mel and Emma, by her side, and the support of her sister Helen.
And she also has a book.
A notebook filled with wisdom that was left for her, written by her late husband, giving her clear instructions for how to get on with her life without him, by falling in love again.
With the wrong guy. Mikey Stenton – International playboy and all-round tart!
I was hooked.
I loved the characters of Pippa and her family, including her interfering mother, who wants the best for her daughter, but by her own standards, not her daughter.
I loved feisty Daisy, the teenage crazy girl who knows how to back her crushes into corners.
I loved Libby, the middle child with a talent for football, and a penchant for small furry animals.
I loved Billy, the youngest member of the Browning family, who was a typical little boy, always getting into arguments with his sister, and never brushing his hair.
Pippa’s friends are wonderfully supportive, quirky characters, who only want the best for their dear friend.
And I adored Mikey Stenton, the true tart with a heart – who goes from bed-hopping to school dropping… I shan’t say too much more, because I don’t want to give too much away.
Oh, and Pippa wasn’t the only one left with a notebook…
But seriously, there were some fantastic twists and turns, and I found myself in fits of giggles, in tears and in that “Aaaaawwwww!” moment too.
Do I recommend this book? Absolutely! What a great debut novel.
Lucy, I am waiting for more from you now!
Many thanks to Lucy for an advanced copy, in exchange for an honest review.
The First Time Lauren Pailing Died

The First Time Lauren Pailing Died by Alyson Rudd

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The blurb of this book sounded intriguing.
A girl who keeps on dying, yet finds herself alive in different versions of her life.
It took me a while to get into the story, but I was intrigued to find out what was happening, and why.
Not my favourite read, but not the worst.
Many thanks to NetGalley, and HQ Publishing for an ARC of this book.

So, that’s it. my list of books this month!

What have you been reading?

May’s Books #Book Reviews

I can already tell you that this month will not be an epic month like last month! But I can assure you what I read was quality! Are you ready to find out? Nine books, is still pretty respectable, isn’t it?

The Road She Left Behind

The Road She Left Behind by Christine Nolfi

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Christine Nolfi has penned a beautiful story here, dealing with family, secrets, loss, discovery and forgiveness.
I was swept into the life of Darcy Goodridge straight away, intrigued by why this woman was on the run from her past, her old life, for the last eight years.
Over the first few chapters, the story unfolded and we were introduced to characters who you fell in love with. Samson, the ray of sunshine who attaches himself to Darcy, despite her not wanting reminders of any pasts she has forgone, Rosalind, Darcy’s mother, a scary character, who is full of misconceptions. Emerson, the nephew she left behind – but who is crying out for a mother’s love, and Michael. Darcy’s childhood best friend who she had to leave behind – twice.
A wonderful tale filled with twists and turns, and secrets that prove you shouldn’t really hide things you think you know… because they may just not be the truth…
Many thanks to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishers for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Published – 11th June

The Things I Know

The Things I Know by Amanda Prowse

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I do love Amanda Prowse and her books. Ever since I read the first one, I have been hooked, and I was really looking forward to this new one.

Delving into the mind and world of Thomasina, or Hitch, as she is known, and reading about her meeting Grayson, and falling in love, felt like a privilege.

I have to commend Amanda for executing the nuances of this novel with such sympathy and grace. The thoughts and feelings of someone with a disability, but a person who is like everyone else, someone who wants her own life, and to be able to do everything others do, without the limitations that have been imposed upon her by her own loved ones.

That, and her capture of a person on the spectrum, someone whose thought process is so very different to the majority of the world.

And their love story.

I was hooked. I loved Pops and Mum, and I adored Thom and Gray!

One of my favourite quotes from the book – ” I like the way you care for my daughter and, for the record, I happen to agree with you. I think she’s pretty perfect too.” Thomasina’s Pops.

There’s a lesson in this – in the end, anything is possible – you just have to make that first step towards change.

Many thanks to NetGalley, Amazon Publishing and Amanda Prowse for an ARC, in exchange for an honest review.

Published 11th June

An Unsuitable Woman

An Unsuitable Woman by Kat Gordon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Just seeing Kenya in the description was enough for me to want to read the book!

You see, my family, both my parents were born in Kenya to Indian Immigrant parents, and I have spent many a summer going there to visit.

It was great to read names of places and to be able to picture them and to know the names of the tribes mentioned, and the descriptions of some of the places, and animals…

But I’ll tell you a secret… I was never told of the Happy Valley set, and the indulgence, and the debauchery!

This story is set between the years of 1925 and 1937, following the life of 14-year-old Theo Miller who moves to Kenya with his family for his father’s job heading the railways. He gets caught up in the antics of Freddie and Sylvia, and their little Happy Valley band, wanting to be accepted by them, and dreaming of being just like them. ( I must ask my parents if they were aware of the goings on of the Happy Valley Set… My mum went to a British boarding school out there, so you never know…)

Though his thinking is not always aligned with theirs: their views of British supremacy, and how they are making the lives better for the natives, by keeping them in their place clash with Theo’s sister Maud, who is appalled by the double standards, choosing to try and fight for natives rights and those of the natural farmers in the area.

An interesting read.

Many thanks to NetGalley, Harper Collins UK and Borough Press for providing me with an ARC. in exchange for an honest review.

Published 31st May

Stories for South Asian Supergirls

Stories for South Asian Supergirls by Raj Kaur Khaira

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
An absolutely wonderful, inspirational collection of biographies celebrating the South Asian superwomen out there, some already known and some lesser-known, but no less inspirational.
What a brilliant book to show our girls what they can aspire to be!

What Have I Done? (No Greater Love #2)

What Have I Done? by Amanda Prowse
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another gripping story from one of my favourite authors, Amanda Prowse.
Not my favourite, but a good read nonetheless.
Kathryn Booker does something pretty despicable at the beginning of the book, but, as you get into the story and continue with her on her journey, you realise that she had a very good reason for acting as she did.
A woman caught in the web of domestic violence; both physical and mental abuse piled upon her, and the pressure of acting like the perfect, happy wife and mother to the rest of the world takes its toll.
Then finally, Kathryn becomes Kate again – the woman she was always meant to be.
I loved the build-up and the to-ing and fro-ing of the timeline so you gradually found pieces to the jigsaw of Kate’s life and saw how it led her to where she ends up.
That said, I was a little disappointed in her children, though they start to come through at the end, and then I wanted the story to carry on more, so I knew more about how the whole situation affected them and their relationship with their mother. A sometimes disturbing account of a woman’s journey through abuse and fighting her way out of it.

Three-and-a-Half Heartbeats (No Greater Strength, #6)

Three-and-a-Half Heartbeats by Amanda Prowse
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another Amanda Prowse book means I know I need to gear up for a shed load of emotion, and this was no different.
It is always the case when I read a story about the loss of a child…
And I don’t mind admitting that I actually sat in the car, waiting for my son to finish his cricket training, reading this book, and had to wipe away tears…
Grace and Tom Penderfold have all they could want, a wonderful marriage, a beautiful home and a precious child, with Grace bringing in the income, and Tom being the amazing house husband and daddy… until tragic circumstances rip their child, Chloe, from them.
A heart-rending story exploring the changes that loss can wreak upon couples after the loss of a child, and also a story of hope.
The added benefit of educating the readers about the dangers of a potentially fatal condition, Sepsis, makes this a truly gripping read.
Having had to have emergency surgery 13 years ago because of the possibility of septicemia, this hit home even harder.
Definitely a recommended read.

The Other Half of Augusta Hope

The Other Half of Augusta Hope by Joanna Glen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started to read this debut novel from Joanna Glen, but one thing I can tell you. I was not left disappointed at all.

We follow the story of Augusta Hope, one half of a set of twins: Julia and Augusta – two girls born on either side of midnight July 31st, meaning on was born in July and the other in August.

As can be the case, the girls were polar opposites in many ways, from appearances and personalities to likes and interest, but they still had that twin pull.

We are taken to Burundi as well, a little known African country, which has captured Augusta’s interest from a young age, and meet Parfait and his family, caught in a country suffering from bloodshed.

How the lives and stories of these two characters intertwine, is a testament to the brilliance of the author, and I did wonder… ‘Who actually was the other half of Augusta Hope?’ at the end.

Definitely a recommended read.

Many thanks to NetGalley, Harper Collins UK and Borough Press for granting me a wish with this ARC, in exchange for an honest review.

Published 13th June

Half a World Away

Half a World Away by Mike Gayle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Maybe I should be ashamed to admit this, but Half a World Away is actually my first Mike Gayle book.

And I’m pretty sure it won’t be my last.

What a journey I went through, reading this story of Kerry and Noah, two extremely different individuals who are linked in the most basic of ways – by blood.

Life caused these two siblings to be separated,

We have Kerry bumping through life on the low roads, through foster care and children’s homes, before finally living an independent life, becoming a mother to Kian, but never forgetting her baby brother, who was separated from her.

Then there is Noah, cruising along the highroads, married, a barrister, a father, and living a life far removed from his real beginnings

The reason that Kerry finally reaches out to her brother is revealed slowly, and in such a manner that it makes the readers heart break.

I don’t want to go into the details, but I was hooked. it didn’t take me long to become fully immersed in Kerry and Noah’s story, and accompanied by tissues, snacks and copious cups of tea, I finished the book in a haze of emotions.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for providing me with an ARC, in exchange for an honest review.

Published 13th June

Becoming Dad

Becoming Dad by J. C. W. Helmkamp
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A highly descriptive account of a journey through both the seas and fatherhood.
Reading this, I could picture the scenes, smell the salt (and diapers, on occasion) and taste the whiskey that William encounters on his sailing journey of a lifetime, connecting him with his father, and allowing him to reminisce about becoming a dad.
It’s good to read of a man who isn’t afraid to show emotion too!
Definitely worth reading to find out whether William reaches his destination, and how he handled early fatherhood, and beyond!

And there you have it!

I shall be reading more, between writing reports and finally getting to that edit of mine, so chat soon!

Have you read any of the above? Let me know!






April’s Books #BookReview

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

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

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

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

peacefully reading

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

One Summer in Paris

One Summer in Paris by Sarah Morgan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Unlikely friendships can be the strongest.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Opposite of Always

Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All We Ever Wanted

All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dear Mrs Bird

Dear Mrs. Bird by A.J. Pearce

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

While the Bombs Fell

While the Bombs Fell by Robbie Cheadle

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

More Glimpses

More Glimpses by Hugh W. Roberts

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

Cape May

Cape May by Chip Cheek

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

But, phew, there were some steamy bits!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Published 2nd May

Little Darlings

Little Darlings by Melanie Golding

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Published 2nd May

The Forgotten Sister by Caroline Bond

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

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

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

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

A highly sensitive read, emotional in many ways.

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

Published 2nd May

The Farm

The Farm by Joanne Ramos

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

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

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

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

A glamorous maternity home or simply a baby farm?

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

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

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

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

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

Published May 7th

Blood Drops: A Collection of Horror Short Stories

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Songs of Heartstrings

Songs of Heartstrings by Miriam Hurdle

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

Becoming Mrs. Lewis

Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan

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

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

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

A slow burner, but a lovely story in end.

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

Published 16th May

A Walk In The Woods: and other short stories

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

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

I Heart Hawaii (I Heart Series, Book 8)

I Heart Hawaii by Lindsey Kelk

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Published 30th May

The Book of Wonders

The Book of Wonders by Julien Sandrel

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

I really shouldn’t have worried though.

What a ‘Wonder’ful book! (Sorry!)

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

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

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

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

But this mother has some hope.

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

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

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

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

Published 30th May

The Woman Who Wanted More

The Woman Who Wanted More by Vicky Zimmerman

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

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

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

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

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

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

Published 30th May

One Summer's Night

One Summer’s Night by Kiley Dunbar

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

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

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

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Published May 8th

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



















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