Friday 14 June 2024

Book Review - A New Dawn at Owls' Lodge by Jessica Redland

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Amazon UK

Title: A New Dawn at Owls' Lodge
Author: Jessica Redland
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Boldwood Books
Publication Date: 16th May 2024
Rating: 5 Stars

Could one chance meeting change your life forever?

Zara is at a crossroads in life. While she adores her job as a producer's assistant working on hit TV shows, travelling around the country means she doesn't truly feel that she has a home. With a fractured relationship with her family and unrequited love weighing heavily on her heart, she is torn about what her next step in life should be...

Snowy is hiding from the world. He's devoted his life to home schooling his young son and caring for sick owls at his home, Owl's Lodge, deep in the Yorkshire Wolds countryside. While he's passionate about both, it's a lonely existence and he's starting to question his decisions. But how do you step back into a world you've pushed away for years...?

When Zara brings an injured owl to Owl's Lodge, its frosty, reclusive owner is far from welcoming. Despite hostilities, there's a connection that neither could ever have prepared themselves for. As they discover a shared passion, a new friendship blossoms, but both Zara and Snowy are used to shutting people out.

Can they both find the courage to open up and the strength to move on from their pasts? And what could this mean for their future happiness?

Escape to the world of Bumblebee Barn and Hedgehog Hollow with MILLION-COPY BESTSELLER Jessica Redland for this brand new feel-good romance of family, friendship and hope.

I love, Love, LOVED this book so so much!  I have no words to describe how totally awesome it is. 

i mean it's back within the world of Hedgehog Hollow and Bumblebee Barn, but totally reads as a standalone, as the focus is on all new characters.  But for the Jessica Redland mega fans amongst us, it has so many familiar faces that you won't be able to stop smiling. 

Well apart from when you are reading the far more serious in tone back stories especially for Snowy.  Snowy intrigued me from the start, and I loved finding out every little detail about him and his family. Not to mention the gymnastics he is involved in, and of course the Owl Rescue he runs. 

I loved reading all about the various types of Owl in the UK, and seeing the work Snowy, his son Harrison and grandpa Eddie do at the rescue.  But he is rather reclusive, until Zara steps into his life with an injured owl.

Zara is Amber's assistant and has a troubled relationship with her family.  She is clearly an animal lover, and is loving the fact that she has a room of her own at Bumblebee Barn 

I am convinced by this point that the author isn't just a hedgehog lover but a lover of all Wildlife as I fell for the owls in the same way I fell in the past for the hedgehogs.  She is doing wonders for the awareness of wildlife rescue up and down the UK, and should be commended for it, just from including the various animals into her books. 

I really hope that there will be more books set in this part of the Yorkshire Wolds as I am enjoying them so much.  And I just want to see more animals too! 

A wonderful story of rediscovering the world around you, and of a very sweet romance between two incredibly well suited people. 

Tough topics are dealt with sensitively and this is ultimately a heartwarming wonderful story.  More please! 

Thank you to Boldwood Books and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Thursday 13 June 2024

Book Review - Far From Home by T. A. Williams

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Amazon UK

Title: Far From Home
Author: T. A .Williams
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Canelo
Publication Date: 23rd May 2024
Rating: 5 Stars

The secrets of the past will unlock her future…
Working in the fast-paced foreign exchange market in Canary Wharf, Amy never expected her job to drive her to collapse. With her doctor advising she take a month off work, when Amy receives a solicitor’s letter informing her of a surprise inheritance in Italy, the timing couldn’t be more perfect.

But who on earth has left her a house in the sleepy Tuscan hills?

As she gets to know the town and its inhabitants, Amy discovers more about the mysterious man who named her in his will. Shocking family secrets come to light, leaving Amy questioning the life she knew.

The town of Sant’Antonio holds more than just secrets. Here, Amy meets Adam, a renowned TV journalist whose documentaries take him to dangerous places. But as their attraction grows, so do Amy’s worries. Her life is in England, while Adam’s is untethered and under constant threat…

An emotional, heartwarming love story full of family drama and quirky locals. Perfect for fans of Rosanna Ley, Alex Brown and Lucinda Riley.

I do love a T. A. Williams book and I'm in eternal amazement at just how prolific his writing is, in two different genres, and both to such a high quality. 

And Far From Home is another wonderful book from this author.  Don't worry it has the trademark black Lab, a gorgeous dog called Max who stole my heart, as well as Amy's heart. 

We have a surprise inheritance with a slight mystery as to just why Martin has left so much to Amy, when she has never heard of him.  There is also some incredibly gorgeous Italian men, and a wonderful Tuscan setting of Sant'Antonio.   

I loved Amy's story, seeing how she adjusted to her changing circumstances, and trying to work out just where she might be happiest living in the future. While at the same time becoming more and more integrated into life in Italy, and she makes some lovely new friends. 

It had me wanting to book the next flight to Italy, in order to move their, I was that at home in the setting, which was so wonderfully described. 

An incredibly enjoyable story that I devoured, and couldn't get enough of.  Another worthy addition to this author's catalogue of fabulous Italian based books. 

Thank you to Canelo and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Wednesday 12 June 2024

Book Review - Irresponsible Adult by Lucy Dillon

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Amazon UK

Title: Irresponsible Adult
Author: Lucy Dillon
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Publication Date: 23rd May 2024
Rating: 4 Stars

Sisters Cleo and Robyn may be close in age but their attitudes to life could not be further apart. While Cleo's a fully-fledged adult with a family, a business and a signature scent, Robyn is still waiting for the instruction manual to Adult Life and success is keeping her houseplant alive. Skating by at her job as an estate agent, she's adept at avoiding housework, ignoring admin, and evading her mother's anxious questions about her love life. But then Robyn's fired in the most publicly humiliating way imaginable - and her chaos catches up with her.

Although Cleo steps in to give Robyn a temporary job in her cleaning firm, it comes with very firm instructions: Robyn must BEHAVE RESPONSIBLY. And that includes meeting the high standards of Jim, her enigmatic supervisor. But when Robyn learns to navigate the catastrophic kitchens and judgemental dogs of total strangers she learns some unexpected truths about her own messy world. No one's life is spotless...

Is it time - finally - for everyone to stop sweeping their secrets under the carpet?

Well the title is incredibly accurate,  Robyn while relatable and loveable is definitely irresponsible.

After being fired at work in a viral video,  she has to work at her sister's cleaning company,  despite not being able to keep her own home clean.

We learn a lot about cleaning,  and there are helpful tips at the start of each chapter. 

What soon becomes apparent is this will change Robyns life in unexpected ways,  as she starts to learn more about herself.

There are some interesting family dynamics at work,  which were interesting to delve into.

It's a really enjoyable and entertaining story, from an author I always tend to reach for.

Thank you to Hodder & Stoughton and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Tuesday 11 June 2024

Book Review - The Allotment on Willow Tree Lane by Lilac Mills

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Amazon UK

Title: The Allotment on Willow Tree Lane
Author: Lilac Mills
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Canelo
Publication Date: 11th January 2024
Rating: 4 Stars

When a local meadow is turned into a bee-friendly allotment, will romance also blossom?
New teacher Ceri has enough on her plate trying to keep her class in line and get them excited for her Foxmore wildlife efforts. Then she meets the mysterious – and occasionally grumpy – Damon, whose orchard she’d like to explore.

Rock star Damon has moved to Foxmore to escape the hounding paparazzi following the tragic death of his bandmate. Relocating to somewhere quiet and isolated is just what he needs to recover. Ceri is a ray of sunshine, but he’s not ready to share his dark secrets with her.

As love blooms, will Damon’s hidden past get in the way of their happiness? And can he bring himself to give up his music for love?

A gorgeously tender, uplifting romance in the heart of Wales, perfect for readers of Mandy Baggot, Suzanne Snow and Sue Moorcroft.

Was lovely to be back in Foxmore, with this third book in this delightful series. 

And it really was a charming story, featuring Ceri who has just moved to Foxmore to be closer to her brother Huw, and is starting a new job that she isn't sure she is suited too, while also agreeing to resurrect the Foxmore Allotments. 

She is a keen horticulturist and we learn a lot about plants over the course of this book. 

Meanwhile Damon has returned to Foxmore and is trying his hardest to keep a low profile.  But he meets Ceri almost instantly and their paths keep crossing until the attraction between them is too hard to ignore. 

The opening chapter is particularly memorable as it is swapping between a funeral and a wedding, but its a good way to introduce us to both of our main characters. 

This was a really enjoyable story,  in a familiar setting, and even had me shocked at various points of it. I was keen to see what would happen, and was definitely entertained as I turned the pages. 

A great for now at least ending to this series. 

Thank you to Canelo and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Monday 10 June 2024

Book Review - A Wedding in the Sun by Leonie Mack - #HolidayReading Cruise

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Amazon UK

Title: A Wedding in the Sun
Author: Leonie Mack
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Boldwood Books
Publication Date: 17th May 2024
Rating: 5 Stars

Four exes and a wedding. And a road trip no one expected…

Jo Watters would rather do anything than go to her ex-husband Ben’s wedding to perfect Monica, and if it wasn't for her beloved children she would already be far, far away. But having promised to be civilised for the sake of their soon-to-be-blended family she is headed to Spain with a fixed smile and hoping for a very fixed drink!

But when Jo realises that she’s on the same plane as Monica's ex-husband, the devastatingly handsome but equally cantankerous Adrián, she thinks her trip can’t get any worse... she’s wrong. When bad weather forces the plane to land the wrong side of the Pyrenees, and the hotel they’re sent to only has one double room available Jo begins to wish she was anywhere - anywhere - but here...

Determined to get to the wedding however they can, Jo and Adrián make an unlikely team, but as their disastrous trip continues, Jo starts to wonder if fate has other ideas for her and Adrián, especially when he seems to be getting more handsome by the day…maybe this trip won't be so terrible after all?

Enjoy the perfect summer escape packed with good times and sunshine, romance and laughter. Not to be missed by fans of Jill Mansell, Mandy Baggot and Sarah Morgan.

I do love a road trip, and a Leonie Mack written road trip across Europe filled with travel mishaps is immensely enjoyable. 

Especially when it two people who are both travelling to the same wedding, and neither of them wishes to be there that much. 

For it;s the wedding of Ben to Monica.  Ben is Jo's ex husband and Monica is Adrian's ex-wife,,, and its Jo and Adrian who find themselves what is a seemingly impossible journey to Zaragoza in Spain in time for the wedding. 

Anything that can go wrong, does go wrong, in a wonderful comedy of errors, while they both grow closer, despite their bizarre connection. 

Filled with great travel descriptions, some fabulous people met along the way and a whole lot more this is another fabulous book from Leonie Mack. 

Thank you to Boldwood Books and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Friday 7 June 2024

Book Review - Coping Without You by M. A. Comley - #HolidayReading Cruise

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Amazon UK

Title: Coping Without You
Author: M. A. Comley
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Author supplied copy
Publisher: Jeamel Publishing Limited
Publication Date: 14th March 2024
Rating: 5 Stars

Missing, presumed dead until the evidence proves otherwise…

Zara Starr has been living on the edge for the last two years, since her husband, Christian, went missing.

Reaching out to DI Sally Parker proves challenging but it’s the only hope she has left.

Sally and her team look into a cold case which has a shocking revelation for all concerned.

If Christian is out there, will he do the right thing and come forward to save the life of a family member?

Wow another seemingly impossible case for the dream team of Sally and Lorne to try to solve. 

And this is a story that really got under my skin,, like it did to Sally and Lorne and their team. 

Just the initial meeting with the victim, was really tough to read, but yet equally it's a situation that others probably find themselves in quite a lot, but still shocking 

I loved following our dream policing team over the course of this case, and I devoured this book incredibly fast, while on a cruise ship in rainy Ecuador. 

Yet another totally amazing book in one of my favourite M. A, Comley series. 

Thank you to the author for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Thursday 6 June 2024

Book Review - I Died On A Tuesday by Jane Corry

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Amazon UK

Title: I Died On A Tuesday
Author: Jane Corry
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: 6th June 2024
Rating: 5 Stars

THERE’S THE STORY EVERYONE BELIEVES . . .

The victim: Eighteen-year-old Janie leaving home for a new life.
The criminal: World-famous rockstar, Robbie, who harbours a shocking secret.
The protector: Witness support officer, Vanessa, desperate to right the wrongs of her past.

They tried to bury that fateful day. Now it’s back to haunt them.

. . . AND THEN THERE’S THE TRUTH.

Once again Jane Corry has written a book that has blown my mind.  

When I wasn't reading this, I was thinking about it, and just when you think you might know how thinks may resolve themselves, another twist is thrown in to keep you totally on your toes. 

And even more impressive is the way what initially seems like some separate stories between the characters, actually proves they are linked in ways I would have never dreamed of (although made perfect sense once you knew). 

I actually felt sympathy for all the main characters in this, including for the man who was accused of murder. 

There are so many threads to this that I really wouldn't want to risk spoiling anything but suffice to say there is one rather addictive story within the pages of this book.  This truly is a masterclass in fabulous storytelling., from an author that gets better and better with each book. 

There are scenes set within a prison that were so vividly described that I could picture it clearly and at points it made me feel quite ill. The chapters from Janie's point of view were sensitively written, while Vanessa discovers all sorts of things as the story progresses. 

It's just a fabulous book, and one that I'm sure will play on my mind for a while now that I've finished it. 

Heartily recommend this book. 

Thank you to Penguin and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Wednesday 5 June 2024

Book Review - The Vintage Flower Van on Love Heart Lane by Christie Barlow

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Amazon UK

Title: The Vintage Flower Van on Love Heart Lane
Author: Christie Barlow
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: One More Chapter
Publication Date: 23rd May 2024
Rating: 5 Stars

The race to save the vintage flower van is on!

Flowers are Florrie Appleton’s life, so when her beloved Aunt Ada passes, and she’s swiftly issued with an eviction notice and told to vacate Rose Cottage, shutter her Vintage Flower Van business, and leave behind Ada’s gorgeous gardens, she’s devastated.

But Florrie is not one to go down without a fight, even if the developer she’s taking on is run by Tom Houston, the man who broke her heart at uni all those years ago.

Tom may have had the upper hand then, but Florrie has the whole of Heartcross behind her now, and as history has shown, there’s nothing this tiny Scottish hamlet can’t accomplish when they band together…

Love Heart Lane – where friends are there for you no matter what

It's the end of an era, at least that is what it feels like, when a long running favourite series finishes. 

But wow Christie Barlow is going out in style  Let me just mention that if like me you have been reading every single one of these books, then you have to read the epilogue.  It almost had me in tears on public transport and it was the perfect way to end the series. 

But before that we get Florrie's story, which is also her aunt Ada's story, and is a timeless classic of fighting for what is right, in this instance to save her cottage and the Vintage Flower Van from developers. 

Heartcross is all about of Community and once again they rally round, and Florrie's ideas are great. And it is true that once you have visited Heartcross you won't want to leave, which is why it feels so painful that this series is over, as the location is an absolute favourite. 

This is such a heart warming hug in a book, that let's us get to know more about a few of the town's long standing residents. 

And since Isla is Florrie's best friend I welcomed a proper catch up with her too.  After all the residents all feel like friends or family to me by now.

I think this could almost certainly be read as a standalone but why deny yourself the pleasure of reading the whole series?

It's a joyous story that I couldn't read fast enough, while also really not wanting it to end. 

I'm already looking forward to whatever this favourite author of mine writes next.  

Thank you to One More Chapter and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Tuesday 4 June 2024

Book Review - A Single Act of Kindness by Samantha Tonge

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Amazon UK

Title: A Single Act of Kindness
Author: Samantha Tonge
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Boldwood Books
Publication Date: 23rd April 2024
Rating: 5 Stars

Meet Tilda Wright…
Tilda has done everything she can to make her life neat, protected, tidy. No longer the girl who was scared of everything, whose family pushed her away, who hit rock bottom. Now she runs her life – as she does her successful business – with the utmost organization. As long as she keeps everyone at arm’s length, she will be fine. She will be safe.

But then a chance encounter with a man who’s fallen on hard times changes everything. Milo needs a break, and self-contained Tilda surprises herself by deciding she should help him. Just for a while. A few days at the most.

Maybe all he needs is someone to organize him, to help him clean up his act? She is sure she knows how to kick-start Milo into turning his life around.

What Tilda doesn’t know is that – with this single act of kindness – it might actually be her own life that’s about to change forever…

A totally gorgeous, heartbreaking and uplifting story, about friendship, trust, and finding love in unexpected places, perfect for fans of Beth Moran, Sarah Morgan and Faith Hogan.

I couldn't get enough of this book, whenever i wasn't reading it,  I was thinking about Tilda and Milo.

I found it hard to initially like Tilda but as you get to know her properly, she really grew into a wonderful main character. 

Once again Samantha Tonge has managed to balance big tough topics with tact and sensitivity, and a great deal of knowledge, along with a heartwarming and uplifting story that Will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy.

It's a masterclass of writing and storytelling, in a story that will get under your skin.

Watching as Tilda develops over the course of this book, slackening some of her routines while battling her inner demons was inspiring. And the Tilda we get to know fully is a truly lovely human being.

I do wonder if this book should be sponsored by Dettol, as Dettol is a huge part of this novel, and not in the way you may expect.  

Just a simply superb book, that I whole heartedly recommend. 

Thank you to Boldwood Books and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Monday 3 June 2024

Book Review - The Vintage Village Bake Off by Judy Leigh - #HolidayReading Cruise

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Amazon UK

Title: The Vintage Village Bake Off
Author: Judy Leigh
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Boldwood Books
Publication Date: 4th December 2023
Rating: 4 Stars

Now in his seventies, Robert Parkin is stunned to find himself the unlikely sex symbol of the village gardening club.

Living in happy solitude with his cat Isaac Mewton in the Devon village of Millbrook, entertained by his mischievous chickens and goats, Robert has never figured out the rules of romance. But as the local ladies vie for his company, it soon becomes clear that Robert’s Victoria Sponge cake is the lure, and as his baking prowess grows, so does his confidence.

Cheesecakes, meringues, puddings, Robert can do it all, but his real masterpieces are his scones – ginger, rosemary, coconut, fruit, his recipes are inspired and soon come to the attention of the local media. Which county does the best cream tea – Devon or Cornwall? It’s time for an age-old debate to be settled with a competition.

Robert’s sisters Bunty and Hattie are both at crossroads in their lives, so news of their brother’s baking competition is the perfect excuse to bring them to Millbrook. And as the siblings relish each other’s company, and Robert relishes being at the heart of his community, a summer of scones may just light the way to long-lasting happiness for them all.

Enjoy Judy Leigh’s wonderful world of family, friendship and feasting in this perfect feel-good story for all fans of Maddie Please, Dawn French and Caroline James.

Will definitely have you craving scones and whether you put the jam or butter on first, you will be salivating at some of Robert's scone descriptions. 

I loved how different Robert, Bunty and Harriet are as siblings, and yet as they spend some extended time together in Devon, they soon realise just how great each other are. 

I loved the three different stories, Robert of first proper love ever, Bunty with her mistake and true love, and Harriet finally finding her feet and possibly a new man, after being free of her old controlling husband. 

It's another lovely story featuring the more mature in life characters that Judy Leigh specialises in.  The actual bake off aspect is rather small, but it is part of a much bigger and far more heartwarming overarching story. 

Thank you to Boldwood Books and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 
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