April 2023 Books #AmReading

I don’t think I will even comment on what ARCs I have because whenever I think I get to the end of my pile, another arrives! Still, I am not complaining. It means I have all the more books to share with you! But I hope you will be proud of me. I have also managed to read some already released books, too!

Her Fixer Upper: A brand new friends-to-lovers romance for 2023 by Emily Kerr
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh my goodness, I LOVED this! I have read some other Emily Kerr books, so I knew I would enjoy this, but I sped through it, wanting to read every last word and to know exactly how things ended!
Freya and Charlie are childhood friends who have lost touch but meet again, by chance, in a pub.
And their fateful meeting couldn’t come at a better time, as both are trying to get on the property ladder, but neither is having any luck, what with the economy, and the state of most people’s finances, right now.
One thing leads to another, and the two friends find themselves celebrating their renewed friendship with the added golden handshake of a joint mortgage on a doozy of a fixer-upper!
I love property renovation, and I pictured Oak Tree Cottage as they gently rid it of its debris and began to make it a house worthy of living in.
And, more than the conversion of the house, I loved how the friendship between the two main characters began to morph, too.
Aided brilliantly by Arthur, Freya’s Grandfather, and her best friend, Leila, and not forgetting Ted, Aarthur’s dog, who ends up with them for a while, it was a pleasure to read the developments!
Hutch and Humph for life!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins, One More Chapter for an ARC.

Releasing 19th May, 2023

I Love You, Always, Forever by Charlie Dean
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, what a rollercoaster of emotion this book put me through!
Not least because there is sensitive subject matter but because of all the reminiscing I could do, thanks to the book’s timeframe.
The story is set in the now, as an adult Charlie, the main character, is coming to terms with life as a middle-aged woman, and dealing with all that comes with it, including dealing with loss and illnesses of loved ones, as well as a dual timeline of the 90s when she is a student in 6th form (like me), shy, exploring different elements of her personality, and experimenting with a very special relationship.
I loved it because I lived with so many of these experiences as a teenager. The nostalgia I felt was unreal. And then the additional relatability of life as a middle-aged woman. It was just wonderfully written!
There is romance, budding and established, friendships, family and the awakening of sexual feelings. A bit steamy in places too, but honestly, I got all the feels, in a good way!

The one that he wants: A gorgeous and exciting, enemies to lovers romance to escape with. by Lizzie Chantree
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was absolutely into Cherry Blossom Lane with book 1, so I couldn’t wait to be reunited with the characters and learn more about what was happening with Sasha this time!
And Lizzie Chantree did not disappoint.
It was wonderful to see Poppy again, follow the lead-up to her wedding, and watch with intrigue the development of Sasha’s self-confidence and her romantic life.
Ollie is the Taylor brother in the picture this time round, and he is certainly a complex character.
There were plenty of ‘Will they? Won’t they?’ moments as different characters introduced themselves as prospective spanners in the works!
I love how the intrigue has been built for the next book… And cannot wait for it to be out!

Hopeful Hearts at the Cornish Cove by Kim Nash
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s been a while since I stepped into the gorgeous worlds created by Kim Nash and her characters, and I truly enjoyed this foray to the Cornish coast!
Meredith made a bit of a drunken decision to purchase a lighthouse, miles away from the rest of her life, to have a fresh start, a project and to put some distance between her and her old life that, apart from her best friend, seemed to have begun to stagnate.
Well, what can I say? There are always dubious purchases made with the aid of alcohol when you aren’t feeling yourself, and when she arrives at her new, unviewed, apart from some stylised photos, home, she is in for a shock.
And the shocks don’t start there, but at the local supermarket, where she encounters rude locals that get her back up from the off.
I will not go into the story, as what would be the point of you reading it if I was just to regurgitate it here, but I will say that you won’t want to put it down once you start reading!
Meredith is a character who will resonate with many women, especially those of a certain age. She had a fire in her belly that was dampened by her previous life, but the sea and sea air might have just reignited it rather than put it out completely!
There are many characters to keep you wanting to read, not least Vi, who I think is an amazing woman. What a character! And her dog, Gladys, is just adorable!
Meredith has old friends, but the new ones she makes as she begins what feels like a thankless task of renovating and restoring her purchase are a choice bunch.
But there are always that core of locals who ‘hate’ newcomers. She has her work cut out, I’ll tell you.
And, of course, there’s Clem… A brooding, moody man who ends up rather helpful in many ways. But will he be the one who helps her realise she is not just a middle-aged woman undeserving of a fresh start romantically as well as generally?
The restoration of the lighthouse was fascinating to read about, too, and just reading the descriptions makes me want to go and stay in one right now!
A wonderful read from start to finish!

A Summer on the Riviera: a gorgeously heartwarming and escapist summer read of friendship, forbidden love and family secrets by Rachel Barnett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Definitely, an easy read for the coming summer!
Bella, the MC, has found herself the perfect summer job, as the first stewardess on a super yacht, using all the hospitality skills she has learned over the years working in hotels and restaurants, except she forgot that it is on a boat for the whole summer. And she gets travel sick! Oops!
First hurdle.
The second one is her roomie for the duration, who seems rather miffed at this newbie coming in and taking the position on the boat that she had hoped for.
Third, the first guests she has to host include a famous actress and her extremely tasty nephew.
And she CANNOT get involved… Can she?
This was an easy book to get into, with a good solid boy-meets-girl romance and several twists and turns along the way.
I can tell you that there was a moment towards the end before the climax when I literally held my breath, thinking that things might not work out…
So good!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Embla Books for an ARC.

Releasing 2nd May, 2023

Borrowed Time by Kay Bratt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Kay Bratt has wowed me again with this fantastic addition to the Hart’s Ridge series!
We meet Taylor Grey again in her role as a small-town cop, dealing with another heinous crime, this time against a very close friend of hers, Sissy, who has gone missing.
Aside from the investigation, we get to meet another of Taylor’s sisters, Anna, in more detail. Anna is the one who has remained rather aloof through the series, having married well and living in an affluent part of the town, with an Instagram-perfect kind of life.
Until it begins to crumble.
The sisters continue to build their support network together, and it is a joy to read about how their mother, Cate, is faring.
Obviously, there is Diesel, the dog, and several others that join the cast, sure to have starring roles in future stories!
So much happens in this book, and Kay touches upon many topics, such as suicidal thoughts and IDV, sensitively.
There are plenty of twists and turns throughout the book, which I have come to expect from the Hart’s Ridge Series, and the hint of what is to come in book 5, Instant Karma, makes me even more impatient as I wait for its release!
Thank you to Kay Bratt and the publishers for an ARC.

The Bay of Lost Souls: A Beautiful, Uplifting, Perfect Summer Read. by Kiltie Jackson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, Kiltie Jackson. Well, you’ve done it again, haven’t you?
This is the third of your books I have read so far, and I thoroughly enjoyed it!
Each one I have read has a slightly different genre, and each has its own beauty.The Bay of Lost Souls centres around Perrie, a woman who is running from something to the isolated Broatiescombe Bay to be alone and come to terms with her life.
Morgan is a single father to one gorgeous little girl, Daisy, who has his own tragedy to overcome.
Fate rolls them into one another (literally), and the beauty of the bay, and a little girl obsessed with Disney princess Merida, try their hardest to seal the deal.
Thing is, nothing is ever what it seems.
I loved the bay and the little cottage Perrie moves into for her stay and her cats, Timothy and George. What a pair of characters!
All the book’s characters are believable, real souls to whom you can relate.
Daisy was a firm favourite, too, as a feisty little pre-schooler who knows what she wants.
The secret Perrie carries is a big twist and causes all manner of drama, as it should, but everything is revealed and handled in an extremely sensitive manner.
A love story with secrets, twists and turns, and adventure, too.
Definitely worth a read.

The Half Moon by Mary Beth Keane
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

After reading and thoroughly enjoying Ask Again, Yes, by Mary Beth Keane, I was excited to delve into another of her books.
The Half Moon centres around a bar named The Half Moon and a short period of time during which the owners, Malcolm and Jess, are going through their own marital struggles.
It’s that time-old tragedy of the threat of infertility taking its toll on a relationship.
Coupled with a little disappearing person case.
I found it a little tough to get into if I am honest. The same emotions that I felt reading Ask weren’t awakened.
Many thanks to NetGalley, Michael Joseph and Penguin Randon House for an ARC.

Releasing 13th July, 2023

Wish Upon a Cornish Moon by Amanda James
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, What a beautiful story!
I will probably end up gushing about this story to more than one person because I loved it that much!
This story spans several eras through two families, but they are all connected by a thread: the power of the moon and a belief in magic.
During and after WW2, Lamorna, and later on, her sister Morwenna, follow an old folk tale known in their community, harnessing the magic of the moon and a particular cove near where they live, in Cornwall, to launch their wishes for a love of their own, using a short incantation, and a message in a bottle.
In the present day, Merrin is not very easily adjusting to her life as a newly divorced mother to a teenager who is due to spread her wings and leave the family nest, too.
Fate brings her in touch with Morwenna, a lonely elderly lady who lives locally and shares the moon’s secret with her.
And the way everything falls into place is just beautifully planned.
I don’t want to go too far into it, but I can say that it is a gorgeous story filled with – fate, or maybe it really is magic.
I loved all the characters, and honestly, if I weren’t happily settled down, I’d be ready to rush to that cove and take a punt on a message in a bottle, helping me with my own future!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins, One More Chapter for an ARC.

Releasing 5th May, 2023

The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, what a gorgeous read!
Mukesh is grieving the loss of his wife.
Aleisha is stuck in a dead-end summer job before returning to Sixth Form in September.
Neither of them enjoys reading.
Then, a twist of fate, and a certain list, throw them together to forge an unlikely friendship as they learn to love books and the messages they can give.
I was invested from the off with the elderly Mukesh. His unexpected transformation regarding reading is sparked by his trying to keep a closeness to Naina, his wife, who loved her books, and the library.
And Aleisha, as a young adult, just needs a simple job since she is helping her brother care for her mother. Books take on a different meaning, allowing her to accept life and see situations through different eyes.
Of course, the selection of books on that reading list was brilliant, too.
A must-read for book lovers and one for non-readers, too. Who knows, it might spur you on to read something different.

Poetry Treasures 3: Passions by Kaye Lynne Booth
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another beautiful poetry anthology featuring some familiar names and some new-to-me poets.
Kaye Lynne Booth has collated a fantastic selection of poems centring around Passions, and some of these verses really tug at your heartstrings.
Robbie Cheadle, with her verses relating to family and illnesses and Willow Willers, exploring her passions and the feelings passion can encourage, had me speeding through the book.
Colleen Chesebro and D. Wallace Peach also feature in this fantastic collection, with examples of their evocative poetry.

The Twilight Garden: Escape with the life-affirming, uplifting new novel for 2023 from acclaimed author of The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved The Reading List, so when I heard that there was a second book from Sara Nisha Adams, I was thrilled, and, having read it, I was not disappointed at all.
Winston lives in a rented house with his partner Lewis. They have a huge garden that is shared with their neighbouring house, which has been empty since they lived there. The garden is overgrown but a solace to him as he ponders his life, not quite what his parents envisaged when they sent him to London from India.
Then one day, they have new neighbours: Beatrice and her young son, Seb. Beatrice is a recently divorced woman, who wants the best for her child and is excited to have this home with a large garden for her child, only she isn’t quite sure of the shared part.
Animosity brews, and then a set of anonymous letters start to arrive, first for Winston, then for Beatrice, which causes a chain reaction that changes their lives in a huge way.
There is a dual timeline, showing the house’s history, with the POV of the previous residents, Maya and Alma, which gives the story a solid background.
I loved learning about Maya and her start in England and Alma, the grumpy neighbour who becomes family to Maya, her husband, Prem and their daughter.
The anonymous list/letter seems to be a device in both Adams’ books, and it has also been used well this time.
A crew of flawed characters who you come to care about.
A good read.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins UK for an ARC.

Releasing 8th June, 2023

Review to follow in a Book & A Brew post, soon! But, it’s ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️!

Releasing 1st May, 2023 Blog Tour post to follow!

The Coach Trip by Izzy Bromley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this read about a couple of younger women who end up on a coach trip, typically for the more mature holidaymaker.
Emma wants to give her best friend, Mel, a birthday to remember, but double books herself when she promises to go with her grandmother on a coach trip, originally booked as an anniversary present for her husband. Sadly, Grandad passed away before the trip, but Emma wants to make her grandma happy.
Emma and Mel end up on this coach trip with many preconceived ideas about older people, and it is a pleasure to see how these misconceptions are sh=mashed as the week-long trip progresses.
Getting old isn’t fun in many ways. It is often hard for the younger generation to sympathise with that old lady who takes so long to walk or the man who is holding up the supermarket checkout line…
This is a book that makes you rethink your ideas, and it definitely reinforced my already strong respect for the elderly.
And… Mel did have a great birthday too!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for an ARC.

Releasing 10th May, 2023

Releasing 23rd May, 2023 – Look out for my review and a Book & A Brew with Ritu Post around publication date! But, again, another ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ read!

So, tell me what you have been reading and what caught your eye from the above!

March 2023 Books #AmReading

The first quarter of the year has flown by, hasn’t it?

A couple of ARCS on my list… When are there ever not? (As of 11th March, er, there are more than a couple. now…!)

13 books for this month, and a short story arc read, too! And, apart from one, they were all ARCs! But pretty good ones!

Where Do I Go From Here? by India Rigg
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a read!
TW – loss, early miscarriage, infertility
Seffy is a woman about to hit thirty. She’s divorced, childless, with a job that sucks the life out of her.
Thanks to her best friend, she ends up on a sabbatical to reflect upon her life and add to her Thirty Before Thirty bucket list.
Parallel to the present-day story is a journal of her year trying to conceive with her then-husband.
It took me longer than usual to read this book since it is focused so much on Seffy’s infertility journey, and some parts made me quite emotional.
Social media and the habit of sharing your good news and perfect life over the realities mean that often you are presented with image upon image and post upon post of people achieving exactly what you are struggling with. Even though you want to be happy, it is tough, sometimes, to be able to smile through the pain.
I felt this pain with Seffy but also saw her growth as she travels and meets different people who make her realise that her life doesn’t have to be incomplete just because her journey to motherhood will never be a simple one.

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ll admit to having this on my TBR trolley for a little while now, and the TV series release gave me a push to read it because I always like to read the book before a screen version, if possible.
DJ&TS is written as if reading the transcript of a series of interviews for a docuseries.
The series revolves around a hugely-successful fictional rock band from the 70s, or rather a band, The Sixes, which then took on Daisy Jones as the female vocalist who, alongside Billy, the lead singer, helped to catapult them to great heights.
It’s mixed with the rock and roll lifestyle, rife with sex and drugs, excesses that strip away soul and talent, and friendships, as well as highlighting the complexity of relationships and the importance of your childhood and upbringing, and how it reflects upon decisions made in adulthood.
I enjoyed it, and how it was written made me feel it could have happened.
I did research it a little after, and there are points of inspiration taken from the story of Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks, but it is essentially a fiction story.

Blog tour with a review coming soon on April 2nd!

Letters to a Writer of Color by Deepa Anappara
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As a writer of Colour, I was intrigued to read these essays by writers of various shades, with nuggets of advice and situations so similar, we have to sit up and take note.
An interesting read from a wide range of writers of colour. And it awakened an eye-opening sadness that we all face the same barriers in publishing, unfortunately… Unless we conform.
It’s not enough to write what we want in the prose that we feel sits naturally and best with us if we want to get past the gatekeepers of the big publishers out there and into the hands of the readers. Or the readers those same publishers seem to think we should be writing for.
There are many more readers out there that don’t fit the standard blueprint of all readers as they see it.
As POC writers, we can deliver our stories with different nuances.
We can make that bland story come alive with the extra spice or flavour we can add, depending on our background.
Unfortunately, it is sometimes dictated to us how ‘hot’ a curry (book) our readers can handle. Often we are stuck writing a mild chicken tikka masala when we want to add so much more.
Our writing should not always be considered a literary piece of art that can be studied and picked apart to learn about certain people. It should be read as fiction. To entertain, make people think, laugh, cry, as just that. Fiction. Not fiction from/for a certain diaspora.
I know I write how I want to write. My own experiences are woven within the stories to make them more real. And I will forever continue my Chickpea Curry Lit!
Many thanks to NetGalley, Random House UK and Vintaage for an ARC.

In My Life by Kay Bratt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, I love Kay Bratt and her books!
She is one author who can turn her hand to so many genres! In this series alone, you’re looking at small-town fiction, romance, family drama, and mystery. And dogs!
As always, Taylor Gray is one of the main points of view, back in her police position, investigating a triple homicide in their town of Hart’s Ridge, as well as mothering her siblings, all whilst having her real mother back on the scene. Oh, and a tingle of romance occurring in more than one place, too!
I love learning more about Taylor, and each of her siblings, hoping that a future book will delve more into their stories.
The murders are the main opening point of the story. However, they do not overshadow what I feel is more important, and that is how Kay explores different relationships within the story.
It was great to learn more about her mother and her backstory, as well as get more of an idea about Anna and her life.
And how can I forget the dogs? Diesel is a key character, as always, but we might have a new regular in the form of Brandy!
Can’t wait to read more!

Blog tour review coming next month!

The Book-Lovers’ Retreat by Heidi Swain
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, what a beauty of a book!
A tale of three friends off on a much dreamed-of holiday to the cottage where their favourite book and movie was set and filmed.
Only things are never that simple.
With one dropping out, one in a controlling relationship, and one not knowing where her life is leading, this trip takes on a different meaning.
As I read it, I kept thinking of Mama Mia and how three old friends take a holiday to reminisce about their youth and a similar vacation.
I know these ladies are younger, but Em, Rachel and Tori go on a real personal journey as they navigate this trip of a lifetime. And meeting Alex and Connor along the way makes for an even more interesting ride.
I loved the characters, the setting, and the concept. Heck, I want to go on a holiday like this, too!
I flew through this book and almost wish I hadn’t read it so fast!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for an ARC.

Releasing 30th August, 2023

Somewhere in the Crowd: The joyous Eurovision romcom you need to read in 2023 by Katrina Logan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Four strangers (well, two strangers and two friends!) meet in 2011 at the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest, and a bond is built, with a pact made to meet every year to celebrate all that is wonderful about the contest.
Millie and James are best friends from England. They’ve grown up loving Eurovision due to a wonderful love story that started when Millie’s grandparents met in the 60s at one of the finals.
Aggie is a German musician who holds a deep love for the contest, too, and is desperate to be a part of the whole process.
Noah is travelling, and there by chance, with no real interest in Eurovision.
The story spans over ten years as the quartet meets yearly in the city where the Grand final is due.
Over the years, dynamics change, relationships strengthen, crumble and sometimes get rebuilt.
There is great character development for each of the four individuals, who are so different in their ways but held together by this pact to meet every year.
Romance? Yes, there is a low, simmering love story for more than one of them, too!
I enjoyed this read, especially because Eurovision is one of those constants in my life since childhood!

Releasing 20th April, 2023

Releasing 1st May, 2023. Blog Tour post coming in May!

Mrs. Porter Calling by A.J. Pearce
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed the first two books in AJ Pearce’s Mrs Bird series and was thrilled to see a third in the offing, meaning we get to visit all those fabulous characters again!
War-torn Britain is both a devastatingly sad place, as well as one filled with hope. This comes across in Mrs Porter Calling, where Emmy continues her journey with Woman’s Friend magazine.
The arrival of Mrs Porter, the new ‘boss’, causes a stir. Their beloved magazine goes from one loved and read by women who can relate to every article to something akin to a third-rate Vogue or another society magazine.
Of course, the story doesn’t revolve solely around the magazine but also Emmy’s personal life as she navigates early marriage with her husband stationed abroad, living with her best friend Bunty, and a new set of housemates.
There is tragedy, but how it is dealt with still brings hope to the reader.
A lovely addition to the series.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Pan Macmillan for an ARC.

Releasing 25th May, 2023

The Motherload by Katy Cox
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I enjoyed The M-Word, so getting to read The Motherload was great!
It hit so many personal notes on so many levels.
Lucy is back with her family of fellow musician husband, Ed, and two boys. She’s struggling to build her cellist career again after motherhood, and Ed is trying his hardest to keep things afloat as they navigate the next chapter of parenthood, i.e., starting school.
Alongside her friends Charlie and Jen, with the support of her family, albeit far away in Wales, and the sometimes unwanted help of her mother-in-law, Lucy gets through some pretty sticky situations.
I am a teacher, and a Reception one at that, so reading about Stanley, Lucy’s 4-year-old son, and his struggles as he fails to settle in school while his obsessions and quirks get more and more pronounced, made me want to hug Lucy.
Autism is a broad spectrum, and it is being diagnosed much more, but still so misunderstood. I applaud how the staff were portrayed, as that is a daily scene in most classrooms, as we help parents and children come to terms with the possibility of diagnosis.
Brilliantly done, and I want to know what happens next in Lucy and her family’s life!
Many thanks to NetGalley, Atlantic and Corvus Books for an ARC.

Releasing June 1st, 2023

A Taste of Italian Sunshine by Leonie Mack
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Jenn is a woman on a mission. Having landed in Italy, she must prove to her boss (and crush) that she has a wealth of knowledge and ‘the nose’ to root out the perfect prosecco for the hotel chain she is working for.
There are several issues, though, including where she has to stay and that her ‘nose’ isn’t all that friendly with bubbles.
Oh, and there is a moody farmer, Tiziano, who keeps. popping up wherever she is. A farmer with his own deep-rooted secrets and nightmares.
I loved our Korean heroine, fighting to balance her mother’s expectations for her life and career, as well as navigating certain cultural expectations that kept on popping into her mind at inopportune moments, with her true desires for her life and future, that became clearer as she spent the summer in Veneto, among the farming community and in the bosom of Tiziano’s family.
Lovely arcs for both main characters and fun to read!
I enjoyed this and read it pretty much in one sitting!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Boldwood Books for an ARC.

Releasing 12th May, 2023

It’s Complicated by Emma Hughes
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Imagine being in your mid-thirties and told that you’d better get a wiggle on if you want kids because your body is not being very cooperative.
This is the situation our main character, Dee, finds herself in. She’s always wanted a family, and now, with a relationship that hinges on a childhood crush crumbling, she is at a loss as to what she can do to boost her chances of making her dream come true.
Dee rides the storm with her two best friends, Roo, inseparable since school, and Minnie, a more recent addition to their friendship circle. Both have strong opinions and battles to fight in the fertility/pregnancy stakes.
The idea of co-parenting with someone else desperate for a child but not in a relationship is planted. Soon, a chance meeting with chef Andy and some drunken disclosures later, Dee finds herself possibly embarking on a co-parenting journey.
This book has many offshoot stories regarding Dee’s friends, her mother, Alice and her partner Ines, and snippets of her relationship with her estranged father, who is living in Denmark.
It is a pleasant read with some deeper issues that haven’t been explored fully.
Many thanks to NetGalley, Random House, and Cornerstone (Penguin Books) for an ARC.

Releasing 6th July, 2023

So, tell me what you have been reading, and what caught your eye from the above!

February 2023 Books #AmReading

Well, the romantic month has come to an end…

A couple of ARCS on my list… When are there ever not? There are more than a few left at the end of this month. And the are ones I didn’t have at the start… STOP SAYING YES, RITU!

It’s been a busy month in my personal life, too, so I haven’t read as many as I would usually do, but I have read some good ones!

Maybe Next Time by Cesca Major
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I feel that over the last 12 months or so, I have read a few books centring around the GroundhogDay phenomenon, where the MC is reliving the same day of their life over and over.
Maybe Next Time is of the same ilk, but I didn’t feel like was reading the same kind of story over and over.
Emma, the MC, is a busy woman. A literary agent rushed off her feet with two children at difficult times in their own lives, a sister-in-law who is struggling, so many other demands on her attention, and a wonderful husband, Dan, who she barely gets to spend time with.
A little tradition of theirs is to celebrate each year they have been together with a letter to each other, highlighting the highs of the year. She forgets her letter in all the chaos of her life and experiences the day from hell, from work to her family life, and a heartbreaking end to it.
Every time she wakes up for the next goodness knows how many days, weeks, or months, it is the same painful day over and over, and no matter what she does, the eventual outcome won’t change.
I loved how each repeated day is separated by one of Dan’s letters over the years, so we get a real feel for who he is, as well.
It lifts your soul in some ways to see how Emma goes from hating her life to embracing the chance she has to make things in her life and the lives of her loved ones better, but I warn you, the ending will make you cry!
A wonderfully emotional read that I would recommend you might need a box of tissues to accompany you as you read.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins, UK, for an ARC.

Releasing 30th March, 2023

Love, Theoretically by Ali Hazelwood
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ali Hazelwood was a TikTok, Booktok success story with her STEM-based novel, The Love Hypothesis. You see her books all over the show. I have read one of her previous, so was intrigued to read another..
There is a niche Hazelwood likes/ Strong female characters in STEM. A bit messed up, with a love interest that starts as a bit of an enemy.
Well, in that respect, she did not disappoint.
Elsie is a Physicist with great ideas, but she isn’t getting her foot in the door to research her ideas.
She works two jobs, teaching by day and fake dating by night, to keep her head above water.
An opportunity of a lifetime arises, and when she goes for it, she is faced with a two-fold nemesis. Jack Smith, the brother of one of her fake dates and also someone who singlehandedly destroyed the career of her mentor, Dr L.
But, though there is negativity, there is something else.
Once that part gets going, the steam factor hits another high!
I read it, and enjoyed it, but it felt a little like a rehash of the previous books.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Little, Brown Book Co for an ARC

Releasing 13th June, 2023

Talking at Night by Claire Daverley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Rosie and Will are two people with a fate entwined in a beautiful and tragic way.
Feelings they share should be celebrated. However, the shared tragedy in their life keeps them apart.
I don’t want to give much away about the reason these two find themselves unable to be together, even though everything points towards this being their fate. However, how they navigate early adulthood and those middle-aged years, connected, then not, and reconnected, shows how fate’s destination is not always by following a straight path.
What a stunning read!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Michael Joseph, Penguin Random House, for an ARC.

Releasing 6th July, 2023

Something New at the Borrow a Bookshop: A warm-hearted, romantic and uplifting read by Kiley Dunbar
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m already a firm fan of the Borrow a Bookshop series and couldn’t wait to dive into the third instalment, wanting to find out what happened next.
Having said that, it is quite easy to read each book as a standalone. What happens in previous books is helpful to know but not essential. It just adds an extra layer of understanding and emotional connection to the returning characters that you meet in this book.
Joy and her five-year-old daughter, Radia, are the newest borrowers for the length of this book. Joy is known as a digital nomad, travelling around the globe from contract to contract with her daughter in tow. She is tasked with helping to set up a new technical system for the bookshop, as well as new digital locks, and designing a new website for the Borrow A Bookshop in the revamp that takes place after a devastating flood in the village of Clove Lore.
She’s also running away from something else, which prevents her from settling anywhere with her daughter. However, regrets are running through her mind constantly as she sees how much Radia needs stability and normality, too.
The residents of this friendly town are eager to help her settle in, and slowly her wall of emotional security is broken down, with Radia helping to ensure her mother opens up more to others,
And what would a romance book be without that spark of attraction?
Enter Monty, one of the fishing twins, who has had to give up his passion for being on the family boat with his brother to work in the local pub as a chef, dreaming up wonderful seafood recipes while having to serve up pies and sausage and mash to the pub food expectant holiday guests.
You can sense the chemistry between these two from the moment they meet, and I loved the slow-burn build-up of their connection.
I also loved the little side story romance involving the local ice cream seller, who loves keeping a book on the new borrowers and taking bets on who might pair up with someone local. This time, she has her own little love story, which was just precious!
A wonderful read which made me feel warm and gooey inside. Perfect for a pick-me-up, and I warn you, if you haven’t already, you’ll want to read the first two, too, to see what happened previously!
Now, I wait impatiently to find out if another book in the series will be coming our way!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Hera Books for an ARC.

Releasing 23rd March, 2023

Summer Wedding by Sarah Morgan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love Sarah Morgan’s books, and new ones come with certain expectations.
Summer Wedding was no different. However, it was.
I am used to diving into the new Sarah Morgan offering and being swept away by a romantic storyline. In fact, when I mentioned to a friend I was reading it, she said it would be a good lighthearted read for a couple of days before the half-term ends.
But, the thing is, it wasn’t as light-hearted a read as usual. But that, by no means, is a negative thing.
It felt like there was a different, more serious thread running through it.
Summer Wedding is a story that explores the relationship between a mother and her two daughters.
An unexpected invitation drops to Adeline and Cassie, two half-sisters, for their mother’s fourth wedding.
Reactions are mixed.
Adeline, as the older daughter, is more sceptical, having been burned as a child n the fallout of her romance author mother, Catherine Swift’s first divorce from her father.
Cassie is much more excited, looking forward to seeing her mother settle down to live a life mirroring her hugely successful romance novels, hopefully.
However, both women are in for shocks and discoveries of their own as they arrive in Corfu.
The siblings have a fragile relationship, and this wedding could catalyse some huge emotions between them both.
And. boy, do those reactions cause fireworks!
Honestly, it felt different but just as good a read as previous books.
Many thanks to NetGalley and HQ for an ARC.

Releasing 25th May, 2023

Ready for It by Nicola Masters
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Two friends who have lived through everything together (but for one, it always seems that is the case unless something better comes along) are parting.
Fiona and Natalie have been best friends forever, but now, one of them is growing up, leaving the other behind,
Natalie struggles with the idea of her best friend finally moving out into a place with her long-time partner but tries her hardest to accept that life changes and moves on.
Fiona is excited about the next step in her life. but isn’t 100% sure of what she has done.
The story revolves around the two friends navigating the time after Fiona leaves their shared flat.
Things don’t go as planned, and we find one faring rather better than the other.
I enjoyed reading the book but would have loved to get to know the characters a bit deeper. A quick, easy read.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Amazon Publishing, Lake Union, for an ARC.

Blog Tour post coming in March on the 24th!!

So, tell me what you have been reading, and what caught your eye from the above!

January 2023 Books #AmReading

The first month of the new year – done!

I started with one ARC left from last year… heaven knows how many others will follow… but, that TBR… it’s still waiting!

Okay, so I read a few more ARCS, but I did read some current books, too! And I brought myself to a grand total of 12 books for the first month. Not bad!

The Situationship by Taylor-Dior Rumble
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Okay, so this is my first read of 2023, and I finished it in a day.
Tia is a young woman in her twenties in London, going through all sorts of angst about relationships, one specific one, and her place in a workspace that doesn’t seem to respect her ethnicity or many of those from minority backgrounds.
I have to say I am glad that, as a reader in my late forties, I have a teenage daughter, so some of the language and slang used were more familiar to me, and even some of the pop culture references didn’t fall on deaf ears…
Definitely, a book that Gen Z women would enjoy and appreciate, and if you are a little older, maybe a good one to read to understand a bit more about those younger than us since, even though we have been that age, life ‘then’ and life ‘now’ is very different.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Random House UK, Cornerstone, Merky Books for an ARC.

Releasing 17th August, 2023


Scent of a Garden by Namrata Patel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Asha Patel is a young Indian American woman living in Paris, making her name as one of a handful of perfumiers. She’s on her way to the top, but Covid did on one her and robbed her of one of the most important senses in the world to her.
After a slight crash and burn, she is sent off for a break and returns home with her parents in Napa.
This story has many facets, including the strength of expectations on many children of Indian families. Asha and one of her childhood friends, Neel, are children of hotelier families. Businesses that have been built by grandfathers and passed down. The thing is, neither is interested in the hotel business.
Sometimes it does take a person a while to pinpoint their true passion, and this is what happens for both characters. They have to swim against the tide of disappointment as they attempt to venture out into the world for themselves instead of following a much easier, well-trodden path with more of a guarantee of financial success and stability. Which is what their forefathers always wanted to leave as a legacy,
Asha and Neel’s grandmothers live together after being widowed, and I loved their characters. a mix of pushy and supportive, they gave a much-needed sense of fun to the story.
I enjoyed it.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for an ARC.

Releasing 27th June, 2023

Best Men by Sidney Karger
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I wanted to read more broadly, and MM romances ranked on the list of genres I wanted to delve into a bit further, so this coming up as a suggestion for me to read was a no-brainer.
It starts with Max the ‘gay’ best friend of Paige. They’ve been GBBFs forever, literally. Since they were around six-year-olds. Okay, so the G may not have been in the acronym at that age, but you know what I mean.
Paige is getting married and wants Max to help with all sorts of arrangements and to be her best man/man of honour, as you will.
She also wants to involve the best man from the other side, Chasten, who is her fiance, Austin’s brother, and who also happens to be gay… hmmm, possible attempts at matchmaking??
The story pootles along, with a will they-won’t they angle to the romance, as well as Max’s angst at not really doing anything of substance with his life, and not being the stereotypical gay man, so he feels his input into Paige’s wedding is minimal, because he’s not into fashion/going out/the usual gay musical tastes/all the on-trend things that are happening out there. He’s stuck in a job in HR where all he appears to be doing is being the messenger and letting people go as his company cuts jobs.
It’s a quick read, a little slow-moving at times, but easy.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins UK for an ARC.

Releasing 25th May, 2023

The Bennet Women by Eden Appiah-Kubi
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Bennet Women is an easy-to-read, interesting take on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, brought into the modern age, complete with true diversity.
We have a Black female MC, a transgender character, and all manner of other folks, all battling through life in their own way.
EJ, our MC, is pulled in two directions, with her goal-driven academic dreams vs A relationship that could lead to l.o.v.e…

Menopausing: The Positive Roadmap to Your Second Spring by Davina McCall
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh my goodness! Not quite sure what more to say than absolutely brilliant!
So many parts that I could relate to, and plenty more I now know I have to refer to in future moments of perimenopausal hell!
I have already said I would get this for another of my family members, and I would urge others who are nearing this time to find a copy to read. It is enlightening!

Love on the Menu by Mimi Deb
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Not strictly a Rom-com, Mimi Deb’s book is more contemporary fiction, looking at relationships between family, friends, and romantically.
Gia, the female MC, is on a work visa from India and is perilously close to losing the one job she has, which would keep her in the country due to some mishaps. One at the work Christmas party that she is convinced will be the final nail in her coffin. She has a close relationship with Ma, her mother, or MiMasa as she is entered in her phone, Probably more open than the average relationship between an Indian mother and daughter, but then, Ma isn’t your average mother figure, either.
Gia writes a list of things she needs to do in the new year to make things better.
Somehow the list ends up travelling to her local Indian takeaway, of which she is a regular customer, and the list sparks the start of a note correspondence with someone who works at Namaste London – Ben.
Ben is the male MC, and he is struggling to find a place in the world that will fulfil his family’s hopes, as well as his own.
They disapprove of his job at the takeaway, but given the struggles he has already faced in life, they don’t say too much…
I enjoyed how the book was written, with the correspondences between the characters, as an end note to a chapter, or the beginning and the details of their lives, how they meet, and their lives intertwine as time progresses.
It is good to read of a heroine not cut from the same stereotypical cloth as many, with Gia being a woman of colour and not a lythe, tall, ‘dusky’ beauty, but someone with the beauty that shines from within.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Avon Books for an ARC

Releasing 13th April, 2023

Spare by Prince Harry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

How do you rate someone’s memories?
Spare isn’t a biography written by someone else, insinuating their own opinion upon the reader. It’s a memoir. Harry’s recollections (yes, written by a ghostwriter, but still, his own) of many critical moments in his life, from when he learned of his mother’s death to the present day when his Granny passed away.
Yes, we all think we know what has been happening in the Royal family. After all, anything they do is all over the news, and social media, before a second has passed.
But this candid book details Harry’s thoughts and the memories of his life.
So many out there have already slated the book as a load of untruths.
But it is stated several times in the book that he doesn’t have the best memory to remember conversations verbatim, and sometimes his recollections will be hazy.
Still, the most crucial part of these memories, I felt, was that we could read his emotions. No one else but him can ever convey those. (Not even the ridiculous personnel who write and release everything to the press!)
I read with a lot of emotion as he detailed his mental health. And this only highlights that mental health has no issue with who you are. If it wants to affect you, it will.
The first section and the last were the ones I felt most engaged with. The army part? Not so much, but it was by no means less necessary. There were light moments and several mentions of situations involving his private parts and various injuries, which made me giggle a little.
Who thought a Prince would write about his willy? And I don’t mean his brother, Willy!
His younger years, when he was innocent and vulnerable, just made me want to cry for that little boy who could barely hug his family. His romance and relationship with Meg was another section that made me feel deep sadness for them.
I felt for him throughout.
But can I say that just because I have read it, I can’t make judgements on others featured in the book.
I know these opinions are of one person, and as we all know, there are more than two sides to any story.
Person 1, Person 2, the media and the truth!
I have watched Prince Harry grow up. I watched his parents get married on TV. I stood with a line of schoolmates at the age of around 6, so we could wave to the newlywed couple as they did a drive-by through Solihull, where my school was. And the subsequent births of the princes, as well as the ups and downs of the relationship between Charles and Di. If I were to form an opinion, it would have been formed many moons ago.
What was also highlighted was the fact that the press is ruthless.
I am glad I read this. It is highly unlikely that we will ever read something so candid or intimate from any other Royals, but still… this opened our eyes to many facets of Royal life that none of us is aware of.

Lucy In the Sky by Kay Bratt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved Hart’s Ridge, Kay Bratt’s first book in her new series. Quite a departure from her usual genre of writing.
Lucy in the Sky is the second instalment of the series, and, as the title suggests, the story focuses more on Lucy, the youngest of the sisters.
Taylor is still the second POV throughout the book, and a common thread to hold onto from book one, as the oldest sister in the family.
Lucy’s selfish character left a bitter taste in my mouth at the end of the first book, so it was good to read more about her and discover that she wasn’t as awful as I first thought.
All she wants, in the beginning, is to get to New York and see the Dakota building where John Lennon used to live. She gets that and a heap more, as she is initially mistaken as a new dog walker for one of the wealthy residents.
Suddenly she has a job, a roof over her head, and everything seems peachy… even the chance of a bit of romance, even though there is a ‘bump’ or two in the road where that is all concerned.
As for Taylor, she is getting back into her work as a Deputy in the Hart’s Ridge police force after an enforced period of absence, but something she finds out from her father’s post sends her on a journey of discovery that will change her life and that of her sisters.
Oh, and we can’t forget the dogs. First, we meet the two cute pups who Lucy starts walking, then there is Taylor’s dog, Diesel from the adoption centre, whom we met in book one, and he might be why she is on the road to romance herself…
I love that each story has an element that is based on a real-life crime or situation that has happened. It makes each story a whole lot more interesting!
I can’t wait for the third book to come out now!

Releasing February 13th 2023

Oh, Sister by Jodie Chapman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Goodness me! I know organised religion is a thing, but this was something else.
Chapman depicts a fictional cult where Christianity is at the root of the beliefs, but the followers/disciples are brainwashed into thinking that all that is preached by their ministers is the gospel truth.
Oh, Sister follows the story of three women. All three have been disfellowed from the cult because they are judged as having gone against the religion’s beliefs.
All it did was highlight the inequality between men and women in this particular one.
One woman is punished for being the one who suffers SA, yet, because she cannot provide two witnesses to the accusation, she is the one not believed.
One grieving a deep loss is punished for choosing to have a blood transfusion.
One is cast aside because her husband left her for a younger model, and she realises her life does not have to revolve around that man.
Not one of these women deserved to be treated the way they were. And yet, where is the sisterhood when the rest of the women in the cult sneer and ignore them?
It hit a nerve.
Many thanks to NetGalley, Penguin Random House and Michael Joseph for an ARC.

Releasing 13th April, 2023

Caroline, Adrift: by Kay Bratt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Caroline is dreading the impending cruise. It was booked by her late husband, who fully expected to still be with her.
Instead, her daughters convince her to go, with them accompanying her. They have their reasons, which Caroline has some idea about, but despite not wanting to, she goes.
A beautiful story about a woman in her twilight years, navigating a road she always envisaged travelling with her partner by her side.
The cruise (I want to go on a cat cruise!) highlights many things to her, but the biggest one is that life does have to go on, and she realises this after meeting a new friend, Betty, who has been through the same situation herself.
I loved Caroline, and am so glad she was able to draw strength from an extremely tough time in her life, and that she was able to bond with her daughters in a way that would be more productive in the future.
And I think everyone needs a Betty in times of stress!

Releasing 22nd February, 2023

Releasing 10th February, 2023

So, tell me what you have been reading, and what caught your eye from the above!

December 2022 Books #AmReading

A December post means the end of the year! How did that happen? 😱

It’s a month filled with excitement and all things festive, as well as lots of chances to be gifted new books… and the holidays give a chance to read. How will I do this month??

Well, for a start, the plan to read my TBR went to pot, as I was inundated with amazing ARCS that I just had to read first!

So that makes 14 books read this month and just one ARC left on my NetGalley pile. Will 2023 be the year I crack that TBR Pile in half??

You’ll have to scroll to the end to see my Goodreads Book Challenge result for this year!

Big Chicas Don’t Cry by Annette Chavez Macias
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love a story revolving around family, and it was great to read about this Latino American group of cousins, their life and relationship with each other, as well as what is going on in their own lives.
I thought it would get a little confusing with the different POVs, but it was easy to keep a track of what was happening, and generally an enjoyable read.

Fairies, Myths, & Magic II: Book 2: A Winter Celebration by Colleen M. Chesebro
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Fairies, Myths & Magic book 2, as it brought a sprinkling of mysticism to the darkening nights.
Colleen Chesebro has woven her poetic verse and stories within recounts of various myths and legends, all things fae, and it won my heart!
The first story, about the changeling, was my favourite read. These things fascinate me, and if you are looking for something to add a little magic to your life, then you should really pick up a copy of this!

The Secret Keeper by Amanda James
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I enjoyed Amanda James’ book the Forgotten Beach, and The Secret Keeper is written in the same beautiful way.
Rosa heads off to Tintagel to fulfil the last wish of her Grandmother as she lies waiting to take her last breaths. She arrives, emotional and sceptical,
But, something in the air gets to her, as she begins to sense and see things she wouldn’t usually believe. The addition of the mysterious, but handsome Talen, adds to the mystery.
What a beautiful love story, or rather two; one tragic and one a blossoming one, with plenty of ups and downs.
I really don’t want to give much away, but the story involves some folklore, spirits, and a whole lot of belief.
I loved it.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins UK for an ARC

Releasing 13th January, 2023

Hart’s Ridge by Kay Bratt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I sped through this book, the first in a new series (Yay!) by Kay Bratt.
Kay is such a talented author with fiction that spans different genres, and this one gives a cosy mystery crime thriller kind of vibe.
Taylor is a Deputy in a small town called Hart’s Ridge. Her past weighs heavy on her day-to-day duties as a member of the local police force, especially when small children are involved.
A small girl wandering into a local convenience store, alone, hungry and distressed, brings out the mama bear in Taylor as she tries to find answers as to where this little girl has come from.
Taylor’s innate sense of what appears right or wrong helps her to solve a huge mystery, all while dealing with her own pretty dysfunctional family; her alcoholic father and three younger siblings, one of whom keep going missing.
And her canine companion, Barnard, is an interesting soul with a back story of his own that Taylor fights hard to find out.
I was fully invested in the story and cannot wait to read the next one!

Releasing January 10th, 2023

A Ghost in Shining Armor by Therese Beharrie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What’s the plan when you find out you can see ghosts, but you don’t realise you might just be falling in love with one?
That’s Gemma’s conundrum. She’s known about her ability for a while and spent a few years helping hapless spirits find their way. Then she meets Levi. Except, things are a bit different with him because he’s been sent to help her, too…
Gemma is a happy soul, with her worries that she carries hidden away. Levi is a grump. He didn’t want to die when he did, and he had a chance to change his fate…
But things happen. You can never anticipate what your feelings will do.
An enjoyable paranormal romance read that is not filled with spooky stuff but rather more about emotions.
Many thanks to Netgalley and Harper Collins UK, One More Chapter for an ARC.

Releasing 27th January, 2023

The Davenports by Krystal Marquis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Now I love a bit of Bridgerton, and I am all about diversity in all walks of life, so to read this dream of a book set in the early 20th century, based on one of a handful of wealthy Black families in a changing America, was pretty mesmerising!
The Davenports are rich. Richer than many of their White counterparts and certainly the richest Black family in the area. Their three children are of marriageable age, and the story shows that it doesn’t matter the colour of your skin, your children can be just as much of a handful as the next person!
Olivia, the oldest, is ready to conform. She knows her future is finding the right man to take as a husband, and she is well on the way.
John is the sole male heir to the Davenport Carriage Company, a business built up from scratch by his father, a formerly enslaved man, who has worked hard to bring himself and his family to the heights they now rest. But he has dreams too, that go against the grain of his father’s thinking.
Helen is the youngest and the polar opposite of her sister, wanting to push boundaries further by working, helping her brother to set up a new business, and getting her hands dirty, literally, instead of wearing silken gloves, awaiting being presented as ready for marriage.
The problem is, having your future prescribed is often the reason you want something different, which is exactly what these young people face. Forbidden love, unheard-of dreams, and previously unreachable ambitions all pull together to make for an amazing story. I am so glad this is the first of a series because I have definitely been left wanting more!
Many thanks to Netgalley and Penguin Random House for an ARC.

Releasing 2nd February, 2023

A Secret Garden Affair by Erica James
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have read a few of Erica James’ books in the past, and the evocative stories have always enthralled me.
A Secret Garden Affair was no different.
Partially set in the early 1980s and with a timeline starting sixty years previous, the story follows several characters. Libby, a woman whose wedding plans are cancelled when she finds out her fiance is cheating on her, and her great aunt, Bess, who has worked for the third main character, Elfrida, for the best part of her life.
Running to Larkspur House, where Bess works, and a place filled with happy memories for Libby, she tries to make life easier for the two older women who mean so much to her but unearths truths and secrets she had no idea about.
A story of friendship, classism, forbidden love, disappointments and celebrations, losing and finding precious memories and forgiveness.
I really enjoyed it.
Many thanks to NetGalley and HQ for an ARC.

Releasing 30th March, 2023

One Enchanted Evening: From the #1 bestselling author of uplifting feel-good fiction by Katie Fforde
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I think I have read pretty much all of Katie Fforde’s books, and though this wasn’t my favourite, it was still an easy read.
Set in the 60s, Meg is called to her mother’s workplace to help out. It is a quaint hotel that is barely breathing, with the opening of a newer, more modern hotel nearby, complete with ensuite bathrooms and a highly-rated chef as the owner.
Meg hasn’t got much professional training, but what she does have is passion, ideas and empathy, which endear her to the staff and guests alike.
Shame it doesn’t seem to be the case for the owner’s son, who firmly believes that women shouldn’t be in charge of a professional kitchen at all.
Family politics, whimsical stories of the past, and a lot of passion for this project make the tale a lovely read.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Random House UK for an ARC.

Releasing 2nd March 2023

One French Summer by Gillian Harvey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was my second Gillian Harvey read, and I wasn’t disappointed.
Katy is at that time of her life when her child has flown the nest (rather far, actually, to Australia, and decided to stay there a while longer), and her husband wants a break which appears to be more permanent than she originally thought.
She’s devastated. After trying her hardest to change things up, enrolling in a BootCamp with her friends, and generally making herself more like she thinks her husband wants, her whole future is up in the air.
Then her friends take her away on a trip to France. Katy begins to rediscover herself and finds she rather likes what she remembers.
Could romance be on the cards?
There is something in this story that could speak to every woman of a certain age. We are battling with perimenopause and that feeling of being there for the use of the rest of the family, not ourselves.
I just loved how even though there were down moments, Katy was able to find herself in a way that she could enjoy a future that would embrace her as a person, not just a plus one.
Lovely read!
Many Thanks to NetGalley and Boldwood Books for an ARC.

Releasing 14th February 2023

An Unwanted Inheritance by Imogen Clark
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Three siblings mourning the loss of their much-loved father.
One finds a stash of cash hidden by the man they thought they knew, and it raises all sorts of dilemmas.
Should they be honest and pass it over to the police for investigation? Declare it as part of his estate, risking losing a huge chunk to inheritance tax, or divvy it up between the three?
Each of the three siblings is very different in their thoughts.
Caroline is married to Max, the eldest son. She found the money. Her instincts, and that of her husband, are to keep everything above board.
Ellie, the middle sibling starts off thinking the same, but her husband Jamie discloses information that makes them want the money more.
Nathan, the youngest, wants his share because he needs it, and now.
The story is filled with moral dilemmas and explores relationships between eh siblings, as well as the couples.
I enjoyed this read.
Thank you to Amazon Publishing for sending me a copy of An Unwanted Inheritance to read and review.
All opinions are my own.

You Get That From Me by Charlotte Butterfield
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a beautiful book.
Stella is the youngest of three women living together. Three women, all from one family, each a generation apart.
Stella’s mother, Bonnie, and her grandmother, Florence, along with Stella, reside in the house that has been their home for decades. It’s the only home Bonnie and Stella have ever really known and the start of a lifetime of secrets that Florence started through no fault of her own.
As Stella reaches a certain age, she chooses to use a sperm donor to give her the child she longs for. A lot of research goes into the final decision of the donor, but as the story unravels, it becomes obvious that what she thought would be the best choice and the reasons for thinking that may not always be the right one.
Nature vs nurture is a strong theme, as well as family relationships.
Florence is extremely strong and resilient, and her concern for the women in her family is palpable. We all need a gran like her! Really enjoyed this.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for an ARC.

Releasing 9th March 2023

In a Thousand Different Ways by Cecelia Ahern
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Alice has a life-changing moment when she is merely eight years old.
Her world becomes filled with colours that can be pleasant and some that are the exact opposite.
To be more precise, she sees colours associated with all the people, and even plants, around her. Like auras, but that’s not something she knows – yet.
This confusing discovery is a lot for a child to take in, and it impacts her behaviours, as well as her relationships.
She is already living with her two brothers and mother, who is deep in her own mental health issues, and as time goes by, she finds herself caring for her wheelchair-bound mother, living a life she is coping with but suffocating herself as well.
She does manage to live a life of her own, with the urging of her older brother, and moves away from the toxic environment that is her childhood home.
Over the years, and with the help of certain people, she begins to learn how to live with this ‘gift’, as it is described to her, but not without many battles.
An interesting fictional recount of how someone with synesthesia may see life and the world around them.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins UK for an ARC.

Releasing 13th April, 2023

Call Time by Stephen Jones
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This debut from Steve Jones was one I felt compelled to read after checking out the blurb.
I’ll be honest, it didn’t grab me from the off.
Not the kind of hook that ‘they’ all say is needed for a brilliant book. In fact, it took me a little while to get into the swing of the story, but when the phone appeared, I became more invested in it all.
Our main character, Bob (Rob/Robert), is an older, driven, successful and somewhat selfish man with a huge block of guilt on his shoulder from a tragedy in his past. It’s driven him to be a person that is not likeable.
When something rather mystical happens, and he is handed a phone that could change the past, he grabs the chance but doesn’t consider the butterfly effects of that one change in the past and what happens, because of it, in the future.
There is a lot to grip you once the story begins to flow. An interesting read.
Many thanks to NetGalley, Penguin Random House and Michael Joseph for an ARC.

Releasing 11th May, 2023

Lovestruck by Laura Jane Williams
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Laura Jane, I do believe you have done it again!
I have enjoyed Williams’ books so far, and this was so good.
Becca is a hairstylist and salon owner in her mid-thirties, worried that her time will pass. A timely event at the salon includes a session with a woman who encourages manifestations.
Becca chooses to manifest the love of her life into her life as soon as possible.
Within hours she gets a text from her ex.
Is it a sign?
The story is told intriguingly, running along parallel timelines in two different scenarios.
One where she doesn’t bother to answer the text and the other where she does…
I can’t write too much about the story, but it is really well done!
I loved Becca’s best friend, Jia Li, and her salon partner, Carlos.
The tension, as it builds in both storylines, is palpable, and oh, I couldn’t wait to see how the end panned out in both versions. Great read!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Random House UK for an ARC.

Releasing 8th June 2023

And, with that last book read until the end of the year, my total of books read stands at 186 this year! That is a total record for me!

So, tell me do you know how many books you read, and was there anything that caught your eye in the ones above?

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