April 2021 Books #AmReading

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

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The Borrow a Bookshop Holiday

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

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

Releasing 5th May, 2021

When I Last Saw You

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

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

Releasing 4th May, 2021

The Summer Seekers

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

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

Releasing 27th May, 2021

Duvet Day

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

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

Releasing 27th May, 2021

Just a Boy Friend

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

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

Just Friends

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

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

Just Friends in Vegas

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

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

Summer at the French Olive Grove

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

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

Releasing 27th May, 2021

Both of You

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

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

Releasing 27th May, 2021

Waiting to Begin

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

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

Releasing 8th June, 2021

The Wedding War

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

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

Adulting

Adulting by Liz Talley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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

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

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

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

March 2021 Books #AmReading

It’s a month of ARC catch up, so I haven’t given myself an author or series challenge this month, but that doesn’t mean I’ll change my mind part way through! It’s the month that the kids are coming back in to school, too, so there will be a lot going on, but you know me, I’ll keep reading!

And, FYI, over the month, I may have read plenty of arcs, but I somehow ended up with more on my list, because, Damn You, NetGalley, you keep tempting me!

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Finding Home

Finding Home by Kate Field
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When you’re trying to find your comfortable spot, in your car, to get a bit of sleep, the last thing you expect is, to have an older, well-to-do couple, quite obviously from much further afield, come knocking on your car window.
This is exactly what happens to down on her luck Mim.
Alone in this world, with not a job, nor a roof over her head, Mim decides to help this rather eccentric couple in their hour of need and ends up transferring her whole life from Lancashire to Devon.
Not only that, she ends up belonging.
A wonderful feel-good story with a few predictable storylines, but many love twists, and moments that make you trust humankind again.
Many thanks to NetGalley, Harper Collins and One More Chapter for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 16th April, 2021

Last Night

Last Night by Mhairi McFarlane
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another Mhairi McFarlane smash.
A story about friendship, trust and honesty.
Eve is one of the lucky ones. friendship wise. She has her quartet of friends, who have been together for nearly twenty years. Her best friend since forever, Susie, and Justin and Ed, who made up the foursome at Sixth Form.
There’s just one little fly in the ointment. She has a HUGE thing for Ed.
An unrequited love, of sorts, especially since he is in a long term relationship with someone Eve really doesn’t like.
Things happen on that one night, after the regular quiz night, they usually attend, including an impromptu engagement, which spins Eve out of control.
But, it’s the phone call the next morning that tears Eve’s life apart, and the consequences of a tragic accident that force her to look at her feelings, and relationships in a whole new light.
I absolutely loved it!
It just goes to show that you never really know someone, or that you can’t know everything. Equally, there are reasons you shouldn’t know everything.
This story explores relationships and friendships at a deep level.
I sympathised with Eve, a lot, throughout the book. She seemed to have far more than her fair share of heartache chucked her way, in life, but still, she had so much to give, and in losing someone she held so dear, she still manages to rescue and find someone else.
Many thanks to Netgalley and Harper Collins for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 1st April, 2021

Shh… It's Our Secret

Shh… It’s Our Secret by Lizzie Chantree
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Shh… Can I tell you a secret?
I finished this in a day!
I have read several of Lizzie Chantree’s books already, she is an extremely versatile author, and this book is another little gem in her book jewels.
Violet loves to sing. She has since she was young, but the joy of singing ends when her parents pass away.
Since then, she’s hidden her talent, singing in secret, and succumbed to an awful relationship. The only silver lining in the cloud that is her life is the cafe she works at, and the family she has built from her regular customers.
Life takes a huge turn when music producer Kai walks into the cafe and hears her voice.
All in all, an enjoyable read, quick and easy, and the happy ending we all want!
Many thanks to NetGalley and BHC Press for an ARC in exchange for an honest opinion.

Releasing 6th May, 2021

Lost Property

Lost Property by Helen Paris
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m not sure what I was expecting from this book, but it wasn’t what it was.
Maybe I expected a more light-hearted story, but it ended up being more about grief, loss, and being lost.
Dot works in the lost property section of the TfL department and takes her role of taking in lost items, logging them, and reuniting them with their owners very seriously.
I initially found it quite hard to get into this book, enjoying the quirky characters who frequented the Lost Property department, and Dot’s colleagues, but the point of the story didn’t quite get me until quite far into the book.
Dot is lost, herself. A sad character. But it took me a long time to build that empathy for her.
And the tiny smidgen of romance at the end? Well, to be honest, I wish I’d been able to read a bit more of that, to be honest.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Random House for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 13th May, 2021

The Road Trip

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

Having read Beth O’Leary’s previous book, I was extremely excited to be granted a copy of The Road Trip to read, and I wasn’t disappointed.
Addie and her sister Deb are en route to their great friend Cherrys wedding. It’s all set to be a fantastic road trip. Well, them, and Rodney, a stray wedding guest they managed to pick up. Then an accident occurs leaving them in a situation where they are forced to make an eight-hour road trip with not only Rodney, but two other guests, one of which happens to be Addie’s ex-boyfriend.
What a bunch of characters, O’Leary has created!
I loved the dual timeline, explaining how they got into the situation they are in right now, parallel to the eight-hour journey that ends up being over twenty-four hours long.
Addie is a young, wronged woman, and almost all that has happened to her is not her fault.
Dylan is a man who has never had to make a choice, and, unfortunately for him, everyone around him has a stronger will than him, causing him to never really fight for what he should.
Deb is a fantastic sister, and protector, apart from when she disappears to satisfy certain thirsts.
I could strangle his best friend, Marcus. Honestly, that long, stuck in a car, a Mini, of all cars, with him would have driven me batty!
And Rodney, oh, poor, deluded Rodney!
And I can’t forget the saviour of the day, Kevin, the truck driver who seems to appear whenever there is a problem.
There are moments of hilarity, but a lot to think on, too. A thoroughly enjoyable book that I finished in a day!
Many thanks to Netgalley and Quercus Books for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 29th April, 2021

The Secret Bridesmaid

The Secret Bridesmaid by Katy Birchall
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a fabulous book!
Honestly, I was hooked from the start and had I not been in the midst of a week from hell at school resulting in me falling asleep way too fast, I would have finished this in one sitting!
Sophie has found herself the perfect job – a professional bridesmaid. Each wedding she cultivates a secret identity and pretends to be a close friend of the bride, who will have hired her to make their special day perfect, under the guise of a best friend bridesmaid.
It’s all going swimmingly, until she ends up with a job she never thought she would, ever, be considered for: Bridesmaid to Lady Cordelia Swann, a socialite Sophie followed and tried to emulate, as a teen.
But this is one tough cookie of a client, determined to relieve herself of this new ‘friend’.
Oh, and it doesn’t help that she has a HOT brother who doesn’t know her real identity, but is keen to get closer to his sister’s ‘friend’.
I can’t explain how much I enjoyed the whole book. Sophie is an interesting character, who puts the needs of others way ahead of her own. A great quality in a bridesmaid, but not so great for herself.
Cordelia is a character you probably want to slap initially, but she grows on you, then you find yourself with. soft spot for her.
And Tom, the HOT brother? Well, I think I’ll be surreptitiously checking out men’s forearms more often, now, thanks to Sophie’s obsession with his.
Highly recommended, and such fun!
Many thanks to Netgalley and Hodder & Stoughton for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 13th May, 2021

Another Life

Another Life by Jodie Chapman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another Life is a heartwrenching story about love. Not just romantic love, but the love we have for others too.
The book is written from the view of Nick Mendoza, eldest of two sons.
It chronicles his life and several poignant losses within.
We meet Anna, a girl he worked with at the cinema, as a teenager, and learn about their struggles as two people from very different backgrounds, who have strong feelings for one another but are unable to act upon them, due to Anna’s religions beliefs, and Nick’s life ones.
We jump from one timeline to several others, and back, throughout the book, which, initially, I found quite confusing, but by the end, I understood.
A really touching read, and a book that will stay with you a long while.
Many thanks to NetGalley, and Penguin Michale Joseph for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 1st April 2021

The Car Share

The Car Share by Zoe Brisby
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well, that was a delightful read!
I am only sorry I couldn’t finish it sooner, but that was purely because my working life has been so hectic that I spent some nights eagerly awaiting the next chapter of Maxine and Alex, only to find myself asleep with my face buried in the kindle, not from boredom but from extreme exhaustion.
Anyway, enough about me, on to the book!
The Car Share is a funny, poignant tale about a young man who suffers from depression, and his journey to find a travel buddy, for a long road trip to Brussels. He accepts a request from a Max and only finds out, upon picking her up, that Max is a nonagenarian, actually called Maxine, hoping to go on her own last journey, before signing into a Euthanasia clinic, ending her life with dignity, before Alzheimer’s takes her life away.
Through the story that mainly unfolds over a couple of days, the unlikely couple ends up in several pickles, as well as getting themselves caught up in a kidnapping case, so find themselves as fugitives.
So much madcap fun, as well as some wonderfully touching moments within the story.
The only reason I can’t give it 5 stars is that there was a lot of POV hopping within chapters which confused me a little.
Many Thanks to NetGalley and Hoder & Stoughton for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 25th March, 2021

A Bucket List To Die for

A Bucket List To Die for by Lorraine Fouchet

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


A beautifully touching read about a man trying to get his family back together, following the devastating death of his wife.
Joe and Lou were a couple truly meant for each other. They lived on the island of Groix, happy together. Both their children had moved on, and as is the way, fractures in the family dynamics threatened to break them apart indelibly, after Lou’s untimely death.
Her forward-thinking, however, end up bringing her precious family back together in a way none of them ever thought possible.
Told through the viewpoint of several characters, the story moves along over a period of a couple of months, with some flashbacks here and there.
I loved the character of Apple, the feisty granddaughter, who, in many ways, ends up being the catalyst for many of the changes.
A lovely read.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 29th March, 2021

Only nine books for me this month. That is really quiet, but it just shows how tired I have been after school, every day! Usually, I can devour 2-4 books a week, at least, but this time, I have just about finished one during the week days, and one over the weekends.

I look forward to hearing what you think of the books above, and what you’ve been reading, too!

December 2020 Books #AmReading

Well, ’tis the month to be jolly. Usually there would be less time for reading, what with all the preparations, and socialising. This year, it will be a much quieter one, so I am sure there will be plenty of books read!

Oh, and with the fact that at least 10 days of this month involved me in self -isolation, along with a very quiet tier 4 Christmas for us, means that a few more books than I expected, got devoured… (19, I think!) and did I reach my Goodreads target? You’ll have to see the end to find out!

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The Last Goodbye: A Novel

The Last Goodbye: A Novel by Fiona Lucas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a beautifully heart-rending story!
Anna is struggling. It’s been a couple of years since she lost the love of her life, Spencer. She’s cocooned herself away from the most of reality, preferring to wallow in her memories.
A New Years Eve midnight phonecall to Spencer’s old number, just so she can hear his voice on the answering machine, turns into something different, when, instead of a message, someone answers.
On the other end of the line is Brody, who has also suffered a huge loss.
Together, two strangers come to terms with their grief and heal more than each other’s hurt.
I really loved this story, and finished it in one day, unable to put it down.
Both Anna and Brody are deep, wonderfully pained characters, and the portrayal of how grief can affect you is insightful.
Many thanks to NetGalley and HQ for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Published 20th December, 2020

Fragile Monsters

Fragile Monsters by Catherine Menon
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I chose this book, after reading the blurb, and had high expectations for it.
A story set in Malaysia/Malaya ranging from 1920s to more modern times, tracing the entwined story of a grandmother, Mary, and her granddaughter, Durga.
Secrets unfolding amidst a sea of make-believe stories.
I found it hard to stay with the story, as sections jumped this way and that, back and forth from early years to now, from one viewpoint to the other, and I was still a little confused at the end.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Penguin General UK – Fig Tree, Hamish Hamilton, Viking, Penguin Life, Penguin Business for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.


Releasing on 7th January, 2021

An Ordinary Life

Saving this review for nearer publication day on 9th February, 2021, but YES! It’s my favourite, Amanda Prowse, and for me, a definite 5 star!

The Promise by Lucy Diamond
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Love a Lucy Diamond book, and The Promise was another fantastic read.
Patrick Shepherd is dead, and the fallout from his early demise, takes a while, but when it surfaces, there is an almighty blast.
Dan, his brother, suffering guilt at being the last person who saw him, and having argued, just before they separated company, goes out of his way to try and bring comfort to his brother’s wife and family.
Zoe, his wife, is existing, not living. Unable to function without the love of her life, she struggles to accept any help from her brother-in-law, initially, until they fall into an easy pattern.
It doesn’t take long for huge secrets to begin raising their heads, and with them arriving, will they rock the relatively steady boat, Dan and Zoe are trying to sail?
So many twists and turns, as the relatively simple life of family man, and builder, Patrick, sheds its shroud, and many home truths are revealed.
I truly loved reading this and finished it in a day.
I loved Dan’s relationship with his niece and nephews, and even how he developed an easy working relationship with the tenants of his brother’s rental properties.
He’s a real good guy, for whom everything seems to just go wrong, or be taken the wrong way.
Zoe’s grief is raw and it has been portrayed so well. It is so true how when someone leaves us, it is far easier to remember the good, allowing the bad to fade from memory…
I’m not one for spoilers, but initially, I feared romance would occur with the two main characters. There is romance but in a more unlikely place.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Pan Macmillan for an ARC, in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing on 18th February 2021

The Restaurant

The Restaurant by Pamela M. Kelley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was lucky enough to win a copy of Pamela Kelley’s book The Restaurant and was excited to read it because I have heard lovely things about the book.
Three sisters are thrown back together, after their Gram passes away, leaving certain conditions in her will, regarding her restaurant, Mimi’s Place.
Each sister has her own story, situations they are either running from, or figuring out, and through the year they are instructed to be together, things happen, stale relationships are finally put to bed, old flames rekindled, new partnerships forged.
An easy read. I almost wish there was more there, developing some of the relationships, giving us more about the sisters, and their personal situations.

A Wedding in the Country

A Wedding in the Country by Katie Fforde
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have read and enjoyed many Katie Fforde books over the years, and was thrilled to be given an opportunity to read an ARC of A Wedding in the Country.
Fforde’s books tend to be set in more contemporary times, so it was a pleasant change to read a novel written entirely in the 60s.
Lizzie, or Elizabeth, as her mother insists she be called, has come to London to take a course in cooking and certain skills that become a young lady, and gives her that extra ‘something’ when she is looking for an eligible groom.
Lizzie is not that interested in getting married, just yet, but the thought of coming to London, and widening her very narrow horizons, gives an air of extra excitement to the whole adventure.
Along the way, she makes new friends and ends up living in a house with her new friends, in the rather affluent Belgravia area.
It’s not only new friends that she makes, but she gathers a couple of admirers, too.
And she manages to find herself in quite a predicament…
I enjoyed reading the story, immensely and loved certain characters, like David, the not-quite closet homosexual housemate Lizzie has.
A lovely, easy read.
Many thanks to NetGalley, Random House and Cornerstone UK for an ARC in exchange for an honest review,

Releasing on 18th February, 2021

Can I Give My Stepkids Back?

Can I Give My Stepkids Back? by Aurélie Tramier
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve read some reviews of this book that describe it as hilarious.
I have to disagree.
In fact, when I started it, it took me a little while to get into it, but once I did, I was fully in.
Morgan has led a disturbing life and is haunted by ghosts of the past. It has affected her as a person, and how she handles herself and interacts with others immensely.
She’s happy in her little job as a nursery manager, living with her old dog, Snoopy. Then one day, a terrible tragedy means that she is left as the guardian of her nephew and niece.
Ths story is told through the point of view of both Morgan, and her nephew Elliott.
There is much to smile about at the end, but there is also so much pain and suffering, both from the children, and their aunt, and it is told in a very readable manner.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing on 25th February, 2021

The Rose Code

The Rose Code by Kate Quinn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thanks to this book, I am suffering from lack of sleep. Seriously, I tried to put it down and go to sleep but had to go back to reading and finishing this book, meaning a past 3 am bedtime for me.
The Rose Code is a story set in 1947, just before the Royal wedding of Princess Elizabeth to Prince Phillip, and jumps back to 1940, where the story starts.
Three women, tied together by a huge wartime secret, are brought back together to solve a huge mystery.
Osla, Mabs and Beth couldn’t; be from more different backgrounds.
Osla is one of those ‘scatty debs’ who people just assume has no brains.
Mabs has pulled herself up from a tough life, and is in search of a life that she feels she deserves,
Beth is a timid, mousy girl, who is in fear of her overbearing mother.
The summons to work at Bletchley Park as a part of the WW2 codebreakers brings much-needed purpose into their lives until things start to happen…
I love books with a hint of truth in them, and ones that take history, and twist it slightly (artistic license) to add flavour to the plot, and this was perfectly done in The Rose Code.
I don’t want to give the story away, but if you like a bit of wartime in your books, spiced up with twists, this is definitely for you!
Codebreaking excitement throughout the whole book!
There is suspense, romance, history, and a gripping plot that keeps you reading until the very end!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins for an ARC, in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 18th March 2021

Silver Bells (River's Sigh B & B Book 5)

Silver Bells by Ev Bishop
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was lucky enough to win a copy of Ev Bishop’s Silver Bells, in a competition, and to be honest, it couldn’t have come at a better time.
It’s nearly Christmas, here, and we’re facing a bleak one, what with me being in isolation, as well as knowing we can’t see loved ones, so to have something positive to read, that is Christmas oriented? Bring it on!
Bryn is stuck in awful snow, on her way to her family. She’s dreading it, as much as looking forward to it, being surrounded by loved ones, and all the children… a reminder of something she can never have.
Sean is making his way through that same snow, thoughts all over the place, when he loses control of his car, and ends up crashing, not far from Bryn.
Together, after unusual introductions, they make their way to River’s Sigh B & B, and what follows is a beautiful love story, packed with emotion, that keeps you turning the pages.
Ev, I think you may have found a River’s Sigh B & B returner, here 😉

Asking for a Friend

Asking for a Friend by Andi Osho
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s a crazy time right now, and any excuse to fall into a world that takes you away from the horrors we are living through, right now, right?
I got approval for this book yesterday, and read and finished it today.
That is how invested I ended up, in the story!
Three friends, all with backstories of their won, that mould the women they’ve become.
One an aspiring actor, one an agent and one an author.
Love and relationships are both things that all three find hard to come by.
Then the chance to help each other out by playing a dating game, brings some relief, some giggles, but brings other issues to the surface.
I really enjoyed this, and one takeaway lesson… remember, if you’re talking to a writer, you never know how much of what you’re saying may just end up in a future book…!
Many thanks to NetGalley and HQ for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 21st January 2021

A Court of Contempt (Oakland, #1)

A Court of Contempt by Rebekah Lee Jenkins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was gifted A Court Of Contempt, a mere few days ago, as I was to be stuck indoors, dealing with a ten day long insolation period (that feels like it’s lasted ten weeks already), and today I opened it on my Kindle to read, and today, I finished it, too!
Set in Canada in the early 1900s, this historical fiction story highlights the true plight of women and their lack of rights, at that time, following the story of Cora, a woman who ends up the first female lawyer and barrister on Canada and Great Britain.
She’s been through a lot to even get to the place she stands at, at the beginning of the novel, almost ready to give in on her dream, when her services are demanded, by another woman, wanting a divorce from her mobster husband.
I won’t go into the story, too much, after all, that is your job, to read the book, yourself, but what I will say is that I was swallowed into the world of Cora, and her eventual determination to get where she wants to be, and, with a host of amazing characters to support her, along the way, as well as after, I’d say this was a brilliant read!
Off to read another…!

The Night They Came For Til (Oakland, #2)

The Night They Came For Til by Rebekah Lee Jenkins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh My Goodness!
If it hadn’t been the run up to Christmas, I would have finished this in a day, as I did the first book.
Rebekah Lee Jenkins has totally sucked me into her historical world, writing about women and, in particular, women who fought for the rights we all have now.
This book The Night They Came For Til, follows the story of a young woman trainee doctor, who has spent many of here few years, already, working as a midwife, alongside her aunt, Til, in London.
Circumstances beyond her control find her on a ship to Canada, to work as a private midwife for a family in Oakland, and, distressingly, she finds herself pregnant, too…
I was totally swallowed up by the whole story, how she ingratiates herself within a community, making such difference, with a huge secret behind her, and the chance of love, with Cole, the local policeman…
I’m not spoiling the story, but, if you are aa historical romance fan, this is one for you. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I’ve already downloaded book three!
I was gifted this book, and I am so glad I was given the opportunity to read it!

Taking Til (Oakland, #3)

Taking Til by Rebekah Lee Jenkins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve just finished Taking Til, the third in the Oakland series by Rebekah Lee Jenkins, and boy am I glad I did.
Taking Til concentrates more on Til Stone, a woman doctor and gynaecologist who stands for trying to ease women’s suffering in childbirth, miscarriage, and other women health issues, as well as promoting contraception at a time when it was really not acceptable.
She has her reasons.
And, as her life unravels around her, losing the only man she trusts and loves, as well as finding out her der niece has been kidnapped, Til is sent on a journey across the Atlantic, to try and help solve a huge white slavery ring, assisting Canadian police officer, Asher Grayson.
Another hugely strong woman, whose story ties in with the two main heroines from the last two books, female lawyer, Cora, and doctor, Shannon.
I really enjoyed this book, as much as the first two. Fantastic historical fiction!

Twelve Days of Kisses: A contemporary R…

Twelve Days of Kisses: A contemporary Romance Collection from The New Romance Cafe by Sofia Aves
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A collection of short stories, all with a little Christmas sparkle, giving readers a taste of some new to them authors.
There’s something for everyone here, with various different contemporary romance tropes involved.
And another great thing? the proceeds go to Charity!

The Rise of Gadreel (Fantasy Angels Series Book 3)

The Rise of Gadreel by Vashti Quiroz-Vega
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve read the first two of Vasti Quiroz-Vega’s series, the Fantasy Angels, and I was truly immersed within the stories, awaiting the next one.
As soon as this came out, I got it, and had to read, to find out the fate of the next fallen angel.
Gadreel has finally made her decision to see her twin daughters, who are merpeople, and with Dracul by her side, son of. Lilith and Satan, she makes her way to her family.
Things aren’t as simple as that, though.
While Lilith and Satan were banished to the depths of the underworld, trouble is brewing.
Gadreel, Dracul and three new members of their team end up on a mission to stop the darkness from spreading through the whole world, thanks to the escape of Satan.
I absolutely loved the whole story, and eagerly devoured each page.
Thank you, Vashti, for another fantastic read!

The Samurai’s Honor (The Heart of the S…

The Samurai’s Honor by Walt Mussell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was gifted a copy of The Samurai’s Honor, while on an enforced break (Covid Self Isolation).
History in different cultures always fascinates me, and this novella, which is a prequel to The Samurai’s Heart, really piqued my interest.
Sen is the younger daughter of a prominent swordsmith, and an inquisitive one at that.
She craves information about whatever happens in her father’s workshop, and ends up finding herself in a bit of a murderous pickle.
Herself and her elder sister.
A delightful step inside the world of the Samurai, and a great read to whet the appetite for the full-length novel that follows.
Sen intrigues me, and I think that I am highly likely to put The Samurai’s Heart on my TBR pile!

Starstruck: A Second Chance Novella

Starstruck: A Second Chance Novella by Falguni Kothari
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Tania is an agent to the stars in Bollywood. Right now, she’s orchestrating a fake engagement between one of her biggest clients, and one of the bad boys of Bollywood… a boy she’s been a bit bad with, in the past.
Things could get awkward!
A quick, cute read with all the drama and glamour of Bollywood, and a little backstory to melt your heart!

Sunshine and Second Chances: A heart-warming, feel-good summer read about friendship, love and second chances.

Sunshine and Second Chances: A heart-warming, feel-good summer read about friendship, love and second chances. by Kim Nash
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, what a wonderful book filled with hope, and positivity, and looking beyond your struggles, finding solutions, and living your best life, even if it may start at around fifty!

Olivia, Debs, Samantha and Fiona are firm friends and have been, for decades. Life may have moved them away from each other physically, but theirs is a friendship where you can pick up where you left off, be it a day ago, or even if you left it months.

The last time they went away was for their collective 21st birthdays. This time, they are celebrating their fiftieth birthdays together on a break in beautiful Portugal.

Each woman has her own internal struggle, which they haven’t been entirely honest about with their friends.

Olivia, happily married to a successful man, with two boys, a dog, a dream house, and everything she could wish for. Or does she?
Debs has found comfort in food since her marriage broke up. The constant nagging doubt of not being good enough drives her to fill her voids with food, resulting in a body she is unhappy with, especially considering her ex found his new future in the shape of a gym bunny.
Samantha is still grieving. She lost her husband, and while trying to bring her son up, with only happy memories, she covers many of her own feelings had issues. Her son is now grown, and has his own life, but she can’t seem to find her own.
Fiona has given up all her hopes and dreams to care for her mother who is sinking, slowly into the depths of Alzheimer’s. She can’t leave mum for a second but desperately needs a break.

Just the introduction of these four women brought feelings of resonance in me. I could relate to certain situations they were in.

They travel, tentatively, to Portugal, to a villa that is well beyond their average means but funded mainly, by Olivia’s husband.

Each woman falls back into their friendship, and over the week they are there, they discover new things about each other, small shadows that each has been trying to conceal.

It was heartwarming to see how all four women grew, during that week, with the support of their old friends, and a few new ones too.

Mikey was a sweetheart, too, the holiday host with a secret of his own, which the ladies help him to overcome.

And there is romance, too, but I’m not spoiling any of the fun! Set in the beautiful Algarve, it’ll help to warm the cockles of your heart, and give you a taste of sunshine, especially at a time where we are unable to get out ourselves!

I loved immersing myself in their world, and it made me think of those special friends I have, the ones who I’d drop anything for… and thinking ahead five years, about a possible trip together…

Thank you, Kim Nash, for a wonderful story. I, for one, would love to know what happens next for them all. I’m definitely up for joining their 70th cruise!

First Comes Like (Modern Love, #3)

First Comes Like by Alisha Rai
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a delight First Comes Like was, to read!
Having enjoyed the first two of the Modern Love series, by Alisha Rai, The Right Swipe and Girl Gone Viral, I was chomping at the bit for this next instalment in the series.
This time we focussed on Jia, a Social Media influencer and successful vlogger, and her love life choices.
It was a breath of fresh air to have a heroine with a headscarf, but that not to be the main point. Heaven knows women of all backgrounds have love lives and similar feelings, but they are not often all portrayed in mainstream writing.
Jia is a girl on a mission; She’s already gone against her family’s wishes by moving out, after quitting her medical degree, to be an influencer.
But deep down, Jia still has her family ideals and morals ingrained within; mindless flirting and sex before marriage are a no-no.
This is why she is heartbroken when an online connection that felt real ends up being far from it.
Even worse, it was with Dev Dixit, from a hugely popular Bollywood family.
Enter the brooding hero, who, it turns out, didn’t even know he was meant to be that particular romantic hero.
Recently moved to the USA, to try and cross over to the Western screens, with a newly acquired young niece under his care, Dev is struggling to keep afloat, and the appearance of this beautiful headscarf-wearing woman throws him.
Tackling a few issues within the story, including cultural clashes, classism, as well catfishing, First Comes Like is a fantastic read, and a feel-good one, to match!
Many thanks to Netgalley, Avon and Harper Voyager for an ARC in exchange for an honest opinion.

Releasing 16th February 2021

And so to my Goodreads Challenge.

I planned on, hoped for 50 books to be read, not knowing what this year was going to be like… And I tell you, I had no clue it would end up with this figure!

Thata is 344% of my target!

So, now I revealed my statistics, I’m curious… what about you? How many did you read in this unforgetable year of 2020?

November 2020 Books #AmReading

November is usually a tough month, filled with Parents Evenings, assessments, observations… Who knows what this November holds, what with us in lockdown mark 2, with schools still open? I’m planning on working my way through my TBR pile… it’s teetering, and as many as I manage to read, I seem to top up, as well!

bookworm
The Lucky Dress

The Lucky Dress by Aimee Brown
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A cute story of mixed messages, then righting wrongs, all with a lovely dress thrown in (though I almost wish there was more about the dress, in the story!)
Emi is our hapless heroine, who lost the love of her life, and fiancé, Jack, on the eve of their wedding, to not one, but two women.
With her best friend Lisa, and Lisa’s husband, Josh, she ups sticks and leaves life as she knows it, recreating her life in a new town.
Only to find that being a cafe owner means that you might not just pile cakes on a plate, but also pile pounds onto your body.
Then her twin brother is getting married, a wedding she has to attend. Only, it’s to her ex-fiancé’s sister.
AWKWARD!
What follows is a tale which swings from a story based in the past, to the present timeline.
I really sympathised with Emi, but, I was rooting for Jack, too, to be honest!
Lots of fun characters and a quick, easy read, with a feel-good factor, though a tad overly dramatic, at times.

The Choice

The Choice by Claire Wade
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Now, I’m not a dystopian fiction fan, by any means, but when I read the blurb for The Choice, my interest was piqued.

I’ve tried my hand at The Handmaid’s Tale, and it wasn’t for me, but this: It involved cake, chocolate, and all things sugary, being taken away from a whole nation of people, by their elected Prime Minister, Mother Mason.
Mother.
The one you should always be able to trust.
Should you?
Olivia is a wife and mother of two. Previous to the new regime, she was a lauded baker. then all she held precious to her was under threat unless she gave up her passion.
Enter a life of calorie counting, mandatory weigh-ins, rationing and secular scheduled exercise.
With no sugar, fat, or anything luxurious, even for a treat.
Until she finds out about an undercover group and initiative, that has been running, to try and take down Mother Mason.
What Olivia wouldn’t give to just be able to bake, once in a while…
That’s a life I would hate, but let’s be honest, the way our health and
wellbeing is being affected, in the modern world, it isn’t even an idea too far fetched…

I found this to be a delightful mix of dystopian and chick lit. It was a great way to break into the world of dystopian fiction: there wasn’t that same dark, heavy feeling as I read, even though there were moments, that showed the serious negative impact that this lifestyle had upon the masses.
And the Shame Boxes. Think modern-day stocks for those who made the mistake of eating wrong, or for failing to hit their weekly exercise targets.
And there was cake.
Thank God for cake!

The Healer

The Healer by Christoph Fischer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve read a couple of other books, by Christoph Fischer, which were in a different genre to The Healer, but I know I enjoyed them, so was sure the same would be the case for this.
And I wasn’t wrong.
The book takes along the journey of healing, concentrating on Erika, a hard-nosed businesswoman diagnosed with the late stages of pancreatic cancer.
She finds an infamous healer, by the name of Arpan, who was renowned twenty years before, for healing suffers, then it was like he disappeared from the face of the earth.
Arpan is recommended to Erika by her personal assistant, who helps her to find where he is hidden, and she goes on to convince him to treat her.
There are so many twists and turns within this, from the scepticism of those who don’t believe in any kind of healing that isn’t scientifically proven, to the actual storyline, and the connections that arise.
Oh, and the ending!
A good read.

Simran

Simran by J.K. Memmi
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I picked this book, as the title is the name of someone dear to me, and the blurb sounded extremely interesting.
The story is set with a dual timeline, where we see the main character, Simran as a young woman, going through the motions of arranged marriage, against her inner wishes, but to please her parents, and then a few years later, we have Simran, living in Holland, obviously tormented by happenings over the last few years.
The story was very interesting, and though some may seem extreme, the story echoes other real-life stories out there, with family honour, deceit, the power of money, and heartache.
As I said, a very interesting story, but the reason I couldn’t rate higher was that I feel that the writing could have been a bit better. I struggled with some areas, but the story, itself, kept me going.

A Summer to Remember

A Summer to Remember by Sue Moorcroft
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a lovely, feel-good (in the end) read!
Clancy needs to escape. Right now.
After finding her fiancé in a rather compromising situation, beamed across a conference call, then being made to look the bad guy by her partners at work, and forced to leave, Clancy takes refuge in Nelson’s Bar, a small village where her wayward cousin Alice has shares in a property and business, that just happens to need a caretaker.
Except there are a few little issues: the back story as to why Alice has this half ownership to the Roundhouse and its cottages, and the other partner, Aaron.
There are ups and downs, conflicts, broken hearts, mended hearts, family clashes, and a huge heap of romance too.
I really enjoyed reading this, and will be sure to look out for some more Sue Moorcroft books in the future!

Love Offline: Looking For Romance In Real Life

Love Offline: Looking For Romance In Real Life by Olivia Spring
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Emily is living her life through social media.
After a humiliating break-up, her confidence has been shattered, and there is no way she wants to step out of her protective bubble, preferring to stay in, scrolling through all the filtered and edited photos and posts out there.
In steps Chloe, her best friend, firmly living in the pre-social media area, determined to drag her friend out of her dating and social life rut.
What follows is a story of rediscovery of real life, love, disappointment, and not always believing what you see.
I had fun reading this story, showing that life really doesn’t revolve around a screen, and it also highlights how damaging Social Media can be.
As I read, I was pretty sure of what the twist and the ending would be, but it was still a pleasant enough read.

Ants Among Elephants: An Untouchable Family and the Making of Modern India

Ants Among Elephants: An Untouchable Family and the Making of Modern India by Sujatha Gidla

Unable to rate this book fully, as I wasn’t able to finish it.
I was encouraged to get this book, as the idea of a story about the Untouchable caste in India appealed to me, but, unfortunately, it was the writing that made me find it hard to continue.
I wanted this to be a personal story. Instead, it felt like a historical blow by blow account of a particular family’s life, and unfortunately, it wasn’t written in an engaging enough manner to hold my interest. I was expecting to be plunged into the life of the girl, and how she dealt with the stigma of being born into the untouchable caste. It may happen further in the book, but even after skim reading all I found was political stuff, not the heart-rending story I was going for.
I feel disappointed as I really wanted to enjoy this book.

An American Marriage

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Such a buzz was there, about this book, that when it came out, I got it on my Kindle, then it sat there, as I had so many others to read.
I finally got to it, this week, and well, wow.
An American Marriage is not an easy read, by any stretch of the imagination.
Roy is a Black American man, who has risen above humble roots by sheer hard work, with the support of his family.
Celestial is a Black American woman from a family who are considered well settled, never having had to want for anything.
They get together, after a couple of meetings, years apart, and marry.
By some horrible twist of fate, and being in the wrong place at the wrong time, Roy finds himself in prison, for a crime he didn’t commit.
The story is told in snippets, from both Roy, and Celestial’s point of view, and a little later in the book, from the view of Andre, Roy’s college homey, and Celestial’s childhood friend, and the person who originally introduced them.
This is a book about relationships, injustices and the difficulties of rehabilitating into society after incarceration.
I can’t say I liked or disliked any of the characters. They were normal people, sucked into an abnormal situation.
The prose is beautiful, and I felt a pull of emotions, throughout, especially when reading the exchange of letters between Roy and Celestial, while he is locked up.
As I said before, not an easy read, but a very poignant one.

Well Met (Well Met, #1)

Well Met by Jen DeLuca
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a fun read!
If you like a little Shakespeare, you’ll love the underlying Bard-connections to this romance that wouldn’t go amiss as one of old Will’s original plays!
Emily has come to stay with her sister to help her with recuperation after an accident. Perfect timing as she wrestles with her own grief at her five-year relationship breakdown.
She gets roped into joining a summer faire, to please her niece who wants to take part, but can’t without adult supervision.
There are plusses and minuses.
The plusses? A bunch of new friends, bring able to enjoy one of her loves; Shakespeare, and a kilted hunk
The minuses? Having to dress up as a wench, change her name to Emma, and that moody form filler Nazi.
A lot of fun, a little naughty, but plenty of romance!

Well Played (Well Met, #2)

Well Played by Jen DeLuca
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read Well Met and was excited to see that a sequel, Well Played, was out too, so I downloaded asap and devoured it.
Now I’m gutted that I have to wait until the fall of 2021 to read Well Matched!
This time we are still within the Renaissance Faire setting, but the focus of Well Played is on the other wench, Stacy, or Bernadette.
A single woman in her late twenties, Stacey is still living with her parents, kind of. In a small apartment above their garage. Her own foray into independence, and getting out of her small home town was cut short when her mother fell ill, and she was needed.
Since then, she’s been in her old surroundings, unable to move, stuck in a dreary job as a dental receptionist. The only lights in her life, her cat Benedick, and the annual Renaissance Faire that she has been a part of since it started.
Her love life is nothing to write home about, apart from a couple of fumbles and snatched nights with a hunk from one of the travelling acts that come to the fair.
In fact, a drunken night, and reminiscing those fumbles causes her to send an ill-fated message, leading to months of texts and emails, building up to a fantastic reunion at the next faire…
Or will it be?
I loved diving straight back into Willow Creek, all the characters and the excitement of the local Faire, as well as wedding preparations for two of the residents.
Stacey struck me as a great character in the first book, so to read a continuation from her view, was a dream.
I won’t go too far with descriptions, but her messaging amore is built up to be a dream come true partner, and though there are twists, he is everything a woman could ask for!
Fantastic read, and a good build-up for the next one.
Fall 2021, hurry up!

Cheek to Cheek (Got That Swing, #1.5)

Cheek to Cheek by Renee Conoulty
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My first foray into Renee Conoulty’s writing, and this short story, Cheek to Cheek, has definitely whetted my appetite.
A lot happens in a very short space of time. I almost wish it was a longer story, but then again, I know another book precedes it, so I should really go and get that…!

Saddled - Once a Week at Woody's, Book 1

Saddled – Once a Week at Woody’s, Book 1 by Linda G. Hill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s been a while since I’ve read something with a high steamy factor, and Linda G. Hill didn’t disappoint!
Sandra works for the local condom company and has a bit of a problem with the support staff, who aren’t impressed with her decision to implement a ‘no romance in the office’ rule.
Michael is a temp, working at the same office, trying hard to make a mark, by weekday, and stripping by weekend at Woody’s.
It’s inevitable.
He’s hot. She’s hot.
But they can’t do anything.
Because of that stupid rule!
Saddled is a fun, light-hearted read, with, as I mentioned at the beginning, plenty to get you hot under the collar!

And there you have it! My November list of books read. My TBR list has reduced(ish) but I’ll be back to reading arcs next!

Which one tickled your fancy?

September 2020 Books #AmReading

It’s a busy month, my birthday, and starting back at school. I am always shattered every evening, so it’ll be interesting to see how many books I manage to read this month… not many…

Christmas Sisters

Christmas Sisters by Tammy L. Grace
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Christmas Sisters is a wonderful introduction to the characters due to star in a series to be released soon.
A woman filled with grief at losing her husband and child, opens her heart and home to a young girl who has been left with no carer, and as she comes to terms with having a new child in her life, she ends up with not one, but four new foster girls.
No links to one another, but connection that becomes so strong, they become soul sisters. Looking forward to reading the series, now!

Breathing Two Worlds

Breathing Two Worlds by Ruchira Khanna
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Neena is an immigrant who has moved from her life and family in India to the hustle and bustle of modern USA.
This story charts a period in her life where the two cultures clash in many ways, when her father is taken ill, back home, and she has to rush back to support her parents.
How do you mesh two cultures together, keeping hold of your roots, as well as embracing the new one you now live in?
An interesting story.
My only sticking point was that some writing was a little clunky in places, possibly due to language differences, meaning there were moments when certain situations cot lost in translation.
However, if you look beyond this, the story has good potential, and makes good points.

One More for Christmas: A Novel

One More for Christmas: A Novel by Sarah Morgan
5 star

I’ve always enjoyed Sarah Morgan’s Christmas inspired stories and this one was no different.
One More For Christmas explores the fractured nature of a mother’s relationship with her daughters, where her trying to do the best for them, ends up forcing them apart.
Then an accident brings them together, where secrets are unveiled, and in the midst of it all, a romance begins to blossom.
A great read for Christmas, with some touching moments,

Releasig 22nd October, 2020

To be published 15th October. I can’t actually put my review up yet, until the publication date… but it’ss GOOD!!

Life In Pieces

Life In Pieces by Dawn O’Porter

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I loved Dawn O’Porter’s So Lucky, so jumped at the chance to read her take on the Lockdown of 2020, and was not disappointed, whatsoever.
There were many moments I was nodding my head, agreeing with her thoughts, times I was giggling at her antics, and then, especially as she discussed the loss of her good friend, Caroline Flack, there were moments of deep sadness.
Dawn’s experience, regardless of whether she is a celebrity or not, mirrors the emotions of many families, stuck at home, home schooling, dealing with being in a home with the same people for months on end.
A great read!

Releasing on October 1st, 2020

The Christmas Swap

The Christmas Swap by Sandy Barker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve got to be honest with you. The last few weeks have seen me read less and less, not for want of trying, but because I am exhausted due to the trials and tribulations of this whole Covid-19 craziness.
Books that I would usually whizz through, are unable to keep me awake and reading,
However, for the first time in around four weeks, I found a book that kept me reading, and I finished it in two sittings.
And that book was The Christmas Swap by Sandy Barker.
OMG, I LOVED it!
It was just the level of lighthearted reading that I needed, with characters that I felt invested in from the beginning.
The May Ladies, or rather Jules, Lucy and Chloe, are a trio who met as youngsters and formed a true bond, despite living in totally different continents, America, Australia and England. Their friendship stays strong over the years, with them meeting up regularly.
This Christmas, however, they end up swapping their lives, with Jules, the Aussie, ending up in a small village in Oxfordshire, Lucy the English rose, in the snowy depths of America, and Chloe, the American, enjoying a warm Aussie Christmas in Melbourne.
A total departure for each of them, and who knew they might just meet some one special in their new Christmas abodes?
I loved how Sandy switched slang for the different characters, so you could tell the origins of each character. The chemistry that simmered between certain individuals as they tested their feelings out, and that hint of something physical, without too much graphic detail.
A really wonderful read, that promises to take you on a journey of discovery, and a whirlwind tour of the world!
Many thanks to NetGalley and One More Chapter for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Released 16th October, 202

See, it was a much quieter reading month for me, due to starting back to school. the first few weeks always drain me totally, and having the builders around doesn’t help! Still, I was always reading, whether it was a page a day, or a chapter.

Which book caught your fancy?

What are you reading?

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