Wednesday, 22 March 2023

Book Review - A Change of Heart for the Cornish Midwife by Jo Bartlett

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Amazon UK

Title: A Change of Heart for the Cornish Midwife
Author: Jo Bartlett
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Boldwood Books
Publication Date: 27th February 2023
Rating: 5 Stars

A forever love...or a future dashed?

Midwife Ella Mehenick can’t wait to marry the love of her life, Dan Ferguson. They have both waited so long for their perfect day, and they know their future together will be everything they’ve ever dreamed of. But when Ella suddenly and unexpectedly collapses – all plans are put on hold.

Dan just wants Ella to get better, but Ella, so used to caring for others, struggles to accept she needs care herself. She doesn’t want Dan to give up everything for her and suddenly the life they dreamed of seems to be slipping through their fingers…

Once rock solid, Ella and Dan suddenly seem further apart than ever before. Can they find a path back to their happy ever after or will Ella’s change of heart risk everything they love?

How dare you Jo Bartlett!!! You have completely and utterly put my heart through the wringer today as I have devoured this latest book, while being not being remotely sure that the overall outcome would be what I wanted it to be. 

This is without a doubt the best book in the series, but not sure I'll forgive the author for Ella's diagnosis, as it's one that was a little too close to home for my liking, and had me continually thinking about my dad, whenever it was mentioned.   What did a great character like Ella do to deserve that!?

Well that is kind of the point and there is a very strong theme throughout the book about disabilities, living with them and the effect they have on your partner.  It is incredibly eye opening, and I have to say if I was Ella, I'd probably be reacting in the same way. 

I loved catching up with all of the midwives, and Gwen as always had me laughing out loud, despite my despair at what was happening to my favourite characters.   I felt so at home with this story within the first couple of pages, perhaps because Ella has been a main character before and ever present in all the other books. 

This is an incredible addition to the series, and I devoured this in about a day, especially once I knew what Ella was dealing with I had to keep reading to see how things would pan out.  Wonderful writing, and well more please, I need the next book already!! 

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

Tuesday, 21 March 2023

Book Review - Quilling Me Softly by Nigel May

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Amazon UK

Title: Quilling Me Softly
Author: Nigel May
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Author Supplied copy
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: 24th February 2023
Rating: 4 Stars

Meet the craft group swapping decoupage for deception and glues for clues…

Violet Brewer is the owner of Rooney-at-Burrow’s charming wool shop, Brewer’s Loop, and the organiser of its weekly crafting group. Nothing much usually happens in the sleepy little English village. Until now.

But when Sir Buster Burniston, much-loved owner of nearby Burrow Hall, is found dead, a cloud of mystery lingers in the village air. Or at least it does for Violet and her fellow craft mates in Team C.R.A.B – the Crafters of Rooney-at-Burrow. They are certain that the old man’s death might not be as cut and dried as Violet’s police officer nephew, Samuel, seems to think. Violet has lived in the village for over sixty years, and something tells her and her creative pals that there is more behind Sir Buster’s sad demise. Violet and her friends are determined to turn detective, despite what her nephew says. And soon murder is on the cards at their meet and make sessions as they discover a mystery that needs to be unpicked stitch by stitch...

It is so good to see Nigel May back writing books, and although this is a very good cozy mystery that grew on me a lot as it reached its rather fabulous climax, there is a part of me that is very sad that he isn't still writing his glam blockbusters that I used to be able to devour. 

I am though really hoping this is the first book in a series, as it got off to a fairly slow start, and it took me a while to get all the characters straight in my head, and I think a second book with them would be great, as I really need more of this village and these people in my life. 

There is definitely a suspicious death, not that the police believe foul play is involved initially and in fact I really wasn't that impressed with the local village police in this story, whereas the craft group's amateur detecting was sublime. 

Violet is a wonder, she is determined and a force to be reckoned with.  And with so many friends happy to go along with her thoughts, and help her, the crafters in town, discover all sorts of interesting tidbits.  And watching them interact with the despicable grown up children of the deceased and well loved Sir Buster was eye opening. 

The writing draws you completely into village life and I loved the cosy feeling of Violet's craft shop. I also thoroughly enjoyed getting to know all of the very many characters, too many to mention. 

I was completely surprised by who the murder turned out to be and found the last quarter of the book incredibly hard to put down. 

An excellent change of direction for thus author, proving he can write enjoyable books no matter the subject.  

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

Monday, 20 March 2023

Book Review - Saying Goodbye to Tuesday by Chrissie Manby - #HolidayReading Mexico

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Amazon UK

Title: Saying Goodbye to Tuesday
Author: Chrissie Manby
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Publication Date: 9th September 2021
Rating: 5 Stars

Stupendo the dog has died. But that's just the beginning of his story.

To love and protect. The code of the good dog is clear. When single mother Tuesday took on mongrel pup Stupendo, she made a friend for life. Through the best and the worst of times, Stupendo has been there for her. Ever faithful, ever loyal, ever true. Nothing could break their bond. Until last week.

Stupendo doesn't know why Tuesday is suddenly ignoring him or why his doggy antics no longer seem to soothe Baby William. It takes his worst enemy - the cat next door - to break the news that Stupendo has become a ghost.

Somehow left behind on Earth, Stupendo knows he has unfinished business. Enlisting the help of the community of animals in the neighbourhood, Stupendo must get to the bottom of the very human sadness that hangs over his old home and keeps him from saying goodbye to Tuesday.

Wow, that had me shedding tears in a hotel lobby by the time the story reached its conclusion.

But at the same time it is the most perfect ending and is because I cared so much with Chris Manby's wonderful writing that I was in this position. 

This is told from Stupendo's point of view, as we learn about his life with Tuesday and in there are all manner of unexpected developments.

I love reading things from a dog's perspective and I think the author really nailed it. 

This is compelling, heartwarming, emotional and just completely addictive reading. I couldn't get enough of it and even an hour after finishing, the characters are still on my mind (both human and animal). 

Utterly brilliant, a completely different sort of book than I am used to from this author but no less wonderful than normal. Just fabulous. 

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

Friday, 17 March 2023

Book Review - Third Wheel by Nick Spalding - #HolidayReading Mexico

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Amazon UK

Title: Third Wheel
Author: Nick Spalding
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Publication Date: 30th August 2022
Rating: 5 Stars

In this madcap tale from the bestselling author of Dumped, Actually, two’s company for Jake and his bestie Sy. But three? A disaster!

Jake Carlisle is living his best life, thanks to the crazily successful influencer channel he created with his best friend Sy. Reviewing whacky hobbies and adrenaline-fuelled adventures, Sy has pushed Jake into doing more exciting stuff than either ever thought possible. Then disaster strikes.

When newbie Helena joins the team, Sy quickly falls head over heels for her…All of a sudden, with romance blossoming and the business dynamic shifting, Jake is horrified to find himself becoming the dreaded third wheel.

Being the odd one out was not what he signed up for. And he’ll do anything to get his best friend back—even if that involves a little light sabotage, an unhealthy amount of jealousy…and one very unfortunate pair of tartan Speedos.

Will Jake be relegated to the background from now on? Or will he finally learn to stand on his own two feet and succeed at getting his life—along with his friendship—back on track?

I'm a massive fan of Nick Spalding's books and once again he knocks it out of the park with this novel. 

It's funny, it's zany, it's real and I loved the whole concept of Jake and Sy being experience day reviewers and influencers. 

It meant they get to regularly experience things that most people would probably never dream of doing, from the exhilarating to the much more sedate, each carrying so it seems a risk of injury or embarrassment (both of which are good for viewer counts!). 

I loved reading about all the various experiences, and would be highly curious to know just how many the author took part in himself in the name of research, or if it was just good old fashioned looking things up, as the accounts especially when things don't quite go according to plan are highly detailed and amusing. 

From hot air ballooning, escape rooms, cuddle therapy, supercar driving day and a whole lot more, there are plenty of wacky events going on in this book. 

Which are technically he backdrop to a new person entering Jake and Sy's world and Helena making Jake into a third wheel in all senses. 

It's a look at male friendship and whether it can overcome a woman entering into it.  

I just loved every second of it (give or take a couple of vividly disgusting descriptions that made me feel a bit ill), and once again this author has had me greatly amused and entertained from cover to cover. 

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

Wednesday, 15 March 2023

Book Review - See No Evil by M. A. Comley

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Amazon UK

Title: See No Evil
Author: M A Comley
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Author supplied copy
Publisher: Jeamel Publishing Limited
Publication Date: 15th March 2023
Rating: 5 Stars

Evil thoughts often lead to tragic consequences…

DI Katy Foster is called to a crime scene that has the local pathologist baffled and concerned. The victim, a female student, with everything to live for, appears to have inconceivably ended her life by leaping from a campus building. Katy has to decide whether Paula Lowe committed suicide or if something far more sinister is on the cards.

Within hours, Katy returns to the university, to assess yet another puzzling tragic loss of life.

An inexplicable and frustrating case unfolds, in which Katy struggles to determine why several talented, hard-working students appear to be taking their own lives or are they?

Woah, what a book! Once again another thrilling story from the ultra talented M. A. Comley. 

I couldn't put this down, and read it over the course of one day, completely hooked on trying to solve these crimes.  Initially Katy and her team can't even be sure if its suicide or a murder, but as there is more loss of life it soon becomes apparent that there is killer on the lose. 

I had half an inkling as to who the murderer was but I was definitely wrong but equally it somehow didn't shock me as to who it was, but the motive eluded me completely. 

I was gripped by this story, I just couldn't get enough of it and I always loving catching up with Katy and Charlie and seeing how their partnership is developing.  And the few references to the original Justice series were well received by this fan at least! 

Another fantastic book from my favourite criminal mastermind! 

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

Monday, 13 March 2023

Book Review - The Summer Fair by Heidi Swain - #HolidayReading Mexico

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Amazon UK

Title: The Summer Fair
Author: Heidi Swain
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: 12th May 2022
Rating: 5 Stars

Beth loves her job working in a care home, looking after its elderly residents, but she doesn’t love the cramped and dirty house-share she currently lives in. So, when she gets the opportunity to move to Nightingale Square, sharing a house with the lovely Eli, she jumps at the chance.
The community at Nightingale Square welcomes Beth with open arms, and when she needs help to organise a fundraiser for the care home they rally round. Then she discovers The Arches, a local creative arts centre, has closed and the venture to replace it needs their help too – but this opens old wounds and past secrets for Beth.
Music was always an important part of her life, but now she has closed the door on all that. Will her friends at the care home and the people of Nightingale Square help her find a way to learn to love it once more…?

How lovely to be back in Nightingale Square amongst some familiar faces and some brand new characters.

I adored getting to know Beth and all the wonderful characters of the residents of the care home she works at. 

I also really enjoyed seeing what activities she was coming up with in her new role, and gotta say I think I would have enjoyed them myself. 

And her new housemate Eli, ooh I loved him too! 

Beth had banished music from her life despite at one point it being the most important thing to her, and now with Eli being someone who plays music the whole time and a new care home resident who used to be a performer, well music is back in her life regardless, but will she cope? 

There are so many varied threads to enjoy in this book, and it was Beth's backstory that really got to me,, actually Eli's did too and the way certain elements interlinked was fabulous. 

And the Summer Fair, well you'll just have to read Heidi Swains heartwarming words to find out more about the fair itself. 

It's another truly wonderful book from this exceptionally talented storyteller. 

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

Friday, 10 March 2023

Book Review - The Cruise by Catherine Cooper - #HolidayReading Mexico

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Amazon UK

Title: The Cruise
Author: Catherine Cooper
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: 30th October 2022
Rating: 4 Stars

A glamorous ship

During a New Year’s Eve party on a large, luxurious cruise ship in the Caribbean, the ship’s dancer, Lola, goes missing.

Everyone on board has something to hide

Two weeks later, the ship is out of service, laid up far from land with no more than a skeleton crew on board. And then more people start disappearing…

No one is safe
Why are the crew being harmed? Who is responsible? And who will be next?

Addictive, and in places completely in put down able.

I was thoroughly hooked on the story of Laura's past, which is rather disturbing but rather compelling.

I also loved the chapters set on the cruise ship, and trying to work out how the many threads would combine was completely beyond me!

There are a lot of characters, but luckily each chapter has a character name date and time so you can try to keep track of everything.

It's another accomplished book from this author I always look out for. 

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

Thursday, 9 March 2023

Book Review - The Ugly Truth by L. C. North

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Amazon UK

Title: The Ugly Truth
Author: L. C. North
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Transworld Digital
Publication Date: 2nd March 2023
Rating: 5 Stars

Melanie Lange has disappeared.

Her father, Sir Peter Lange, says she is a danger to herself and has been admitted to a private mental health clinic.

Her ex-husband, Finn, and best friend, Nell, say she has been kidnapped.

The media will say whichever gets them the most views.

But whose side are you on?

Told via interviews, transcripts and diary entries, The Ugly Truth is a shocking and addictive thriller about fame, power and the truth behind the headlines.

I couldn't put this down, I was totally and completely hooked. 

I had absolutely no idea who I needed to believe, and I certainly didn't see the ending coming. 

Just wow, what a well written completely gripping book that I can't really say much about for fear of spoiling things. 

It it largely told in the form of interviews, social media opinions, recorded conversations with friends, emails between Zara and Peter, and some youtube videos. So not the typical narrative of a novel but this made it a much more compelling read. 

As we are getting a timeline of Melanie Lange from the first time she was ever featured in the press, to her life up to and including her "disappearance".   It's a commentary on the perils of social media and the press on the life of a celebrity and how it can affect their mental health and everything they do. 

It was completely and utterly fascinating and I was very concerned for Melanie at all times. She seemed like such a lovely person, and you get to know her from a whole variety of perspectives, far more than directly. Yet you get a very good idea of what she was like. 

This is brilliant, I was already a fan of the author under her other pen names, and this is another slight shift of direction showing once again she can turn her pen to a lot of different styles with equal amounts of success. 

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

Wednesday, 8 March 2023

Book Review - A Secret Escape to Sunshine Island by Georgina Troy

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Amazon UK

Title: A Secret Escape to Sunshine Island
Author: Georgina Troy
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Boldwood Books
Publication Date: 17th November 2022
Rating: 4 Stars

Welcome to the sunshine island - where the beaches are golden, the lifestyle is perfect and anything is possible.

Popstar Matteo Stanford is eager to escape to the sunshine island to catch up with his old friend Alex and secretly film his latest music video. But within moments of landing, the location for the shoot is leaked to the press, and his island escape and video might be over before they start.

Not to be defeated, Alex’s girlfriend Piper recruits her two best friends Casey and Tara, who run the Smoke and Mirrors stall at the The Cabbage Patch market. It doesn’t take Casey more than a moment to realise the perfect setting for Matteo’s video is Gorey castle, but securing the venue means Casey is soon planning a secret wedding, finding an actress and becoming a set designer!

It’s chaos and crazed fans, peppered with the sweetest moments she's ever experienced. But could a popstar really fall for island girl Casey Norman?

It was great to be back on the Sunshine island amongst old friends and new. 

I felt right at home with this book, and loved getting to know Matteo, and his initial reaction to Casey is great. 

They are worlds apart so Casey is rather cautious in her rather obvious feelings towards Matteo but is willing to go to a huge effort to make sure his music video is able to be shot, and even ends up planning a surprise wedding for a friend to as a result. 

It's a manic few days for everyone on the island while all you can do is sit back as a reader and really hope they manage to pull everything off in time.  Add in a couple of people who don't seem to have the same goodwill and feeling of community and you get some drama too. 

It's a really gentle story that is a relaxing book to ease into and read, and one that I thoroughly enjoyed. 

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

Tuesday, 7 March 2023

Book Review - Rainbows Over Puddleduck Farm by Della Galton

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Amazon UK

Title: Rainbows Over Puddleduck Farm
Author: Della Galton
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Boldwood Books
Publication Date: 16th February 2023
Rating: 5 Stars

Don’t dream your life, live your dreams….
Phoebe Dashwood is a passionately committed vet who’s living the dream. She’s about to open her own small animal practice at her grandmother’s animal shelter, Puddleduck Farm in the New Forest.

Phoebe is helped by her two oldest friends. Her best friend Tori is a mix of hard-headed journalist and hopeless romantic, who thinks love will conquer all when she finds the right man!

Then there is Sam, Phoebe’s staunchest ally, whose integrity and selflessness mean he would do anything to make Phoebe happy, no matter what the cost to himself.

Very soon Phoebe discovers that fantasy and reality don’t quite match.

An unscrupulous bunny breeder, a poisoned stream, and a complicated attraction all conspire to throw her dreams in a spin.

Events come to a shocking climax at the New Forest Show where Phoebe’s world is turned upside down and she has to make some life changing decisions.

From the first couple of pages I felt right at home within the pages of this book, and by the end of it all i wanted to do was cuddle a whole of of bunnies, while hoping that this story will do a lot of good for what I have to assume is a real life problem with breeding bunnies for cosmetic preferences.

It's a practice I had no idea about and couldn't help but feel sorry for any bunny born to those sorts of breeders, 

I promise there are a lot of well treated animals in the book, in fact the vast majority and some of which have visits to Phoebe's new vet practice. And there are some incredibly amusing appointments, including both involving pets called Boris. 

I absolutely loved everything to do with this book, enjoyed getting to know Rufus a bit more, as well as Toni and Sam.  Phoebe's one attempt at a dating evening was amusing, and this book really is more about animals and love of them, than about their humans.  

Actually that's not strictly speaking true we get plenty of storylines for the humans too, and I thoroughly enjoyed them all, and was totally hooked by this book.I am just loving this author's writing and already can't wait to read more from her. 

An incredibly good second book in this series, and I am so keen to see what will happen to Phoebe, her friends, family and furry friends in the future.  Just don't make me wait too long. 

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