Saturday, 14 May 2022

It's Cruising Time, and what's on my kindle for this trip?!

I'm, incredibly excited, it's almost time for me to leave for my first holiday of the year - a back to back cruise on board Anthem of Seas. 

The first week heading up to the Norwegian Fjords, and I have a few exciting excursions booked that should give me some gorgeous photo ops, with the cruise stopping in Stavanger, Geiranger, Olden and Bergen. 

The second week I've barely paid any attention to, so who knows what may or may not happen in the Spanish and French ports.  I booked the second week purely to hopefully get some sun as it certainly isn't guaranteed for Norway, and I suspect I'll potter about the ports, and have a great time anyway, plus will allow me to recover from probably going nuts on the first week! I do know it stops in La Coruna, Bilbao, La Rochelle and Le Havre. 

This is the same ship I was on last summer, so really looking forward to all the millions of activities and entertainment on offer all day. 

As a result I predict I won't really be reading a great deal, as far too much to do, but I still with have a kindle in hand wherever possible, to snatch a chapter here and there. 

As is by now customary in my I'm going on holiday posts, I'm going to show you what is on my Netgalley shelf, and thus the books I'll be picking from for my holiday. 

Like always I will post reviews of anything I read once I'm back, scheduled hopefully across this year and tagged accordingly! 

I wasn't going to share this time around, as never really sure if anyone enjoys looking, but then realised how helpful it can be when I'm in the middle of the ocean to re-look at the visuals of my kindle and see what else takes my fancy, plus making the graphics gives me a great reminder of everything I am attempting to read! Actually very glad I have gone to the effort, just found a book on my NG shelf that I definitely had read, have already posted the review on here, but apparently failed to submit to Netgalley! 

So please enjoy this look at my TBR, and then let me know which you have enjoyed, what you are looking forward to, and what on earth I should make a priority to read onboard, and even on the journey down to Southampton today. 

Thanks and back in two weeks (ish)!


Looks like there are more thrillers that I haven't started reading than normal, and shockingly some of my all time favourite authors that I haven't read their latest books of.  I'm clearly drowning in books - send help and let me know which ones I definitely need to read on this holiday. 

And to all my Facebook friends, there will be loads of statuses and pictures I'm sure, and I'll try to remember to tweet some too! 

Book Review - Six Graves by Angela Marsons

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Amazon UK

Title: Six Graves
Author: Angela Marsons
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Bookouture
Publication Date: 12th May 2022
Rating: 5 Stars

It’s a typical teenage bedroom with posters covering the walls and clothes littering the floor. But the girl lying on her bed, wearing a delicate chain around her neck, is lifeless. A circle of red stains her white vest top. How had the girl’s mother looked down at her sleeping child and pulled the trigger?

When Detective Kim Stone rushes to the scene of a house fire, she’s shocked to discover it’s claimed the lives of two teenage children and their parents. But this tragedy is not quite as it seems. Each body is marked by a gunshot wound and the mother, Helen Daynes, is holding the gun.

The case sparks painful childhood memories for Kim who suffered at the hands of her own abusive mother, but it just makes her more determined to uncover the truth. As Kim untangles Helen’s past, she finds a history of clinical depression. But did it drive Helen to murder her loved ones?

Then Kim uncovers a tiny, vital clue in Helen’s bedroom that throws the investigation wide open. Could someone else have killed the Daynes family?

Just as Kim feels she’s making progress, a deadly threat is made to her own life by a dangerous psychopath from her past. Biting back her fear, she keeps digging. And when Kim hits upon a shocking secret that changes everything she thought she knew about Helen, she realises that the remaining family members are in grave danger.

Kim is under pressure like never before, and the monster circling her is getting ever closer. Four bodies already. Four graves fresh in the ground. Who will be next? Can Kim find the killer and save herself before it’s too late?

An absolutely nail-biting mystery thriller that will have you gasping out loud. You won’t come up for air until you’ve reached the breathtaking final twist. Fans of Karin Slaughter, Mark Billingham and Robert Dugoni will love Six Graves.

OMG! OMG! OMG!

Angela Marsons what on earth have you done to me?!

You have put me through the wringer about a million times with this book! 
You have complete messed with my head right from that phenomenal prologue! 
And have proven once more that if you weren't an author that you potentially would be rather dangerous, given the dark and twisted ideas you come out with. 

If I thought the previous books were the best yet, then I'm completely out of words to describe this one. 

Just OMG! Wow! Speechless! How man I meant to review this?!

I mean every single thing I want to comment on would be a spoiler! And I just can't believe the well executed way you have made my mind turn, left right and centre, undecided on how to predict what may happen. 

And all of that before we focus on the case that is at the centre of book which was also fascinating, and good to see how the team was working to solve that. 

But wowsers, long term fans of this series like I am, are going to be completely and utterly unable to put this down right from that prologue! It just shows you always need to read a prologue or you are missing out! This is dark, it's cruel, it messes with readers minds, and I honestly wasn't quite believing what I was reading. 

How much more can you honestly put these characters through?! This is utterly nuts in a good way, and once again cements what I've know for ages that is hands down one of the best crime thriller series around.   

It has made me see Kim Stone in yet another new light, and just wow! 

There aren't enough words in the world to describe how utterly amazing this book and this series is.  It had me on tenterhooks, and I am so glad I left it to read for a day where I could spare i the time it so richly deserved. 

More please!! Well once I've recovered from this one!! 

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



Friday, 13 May 2022

Book Review - Walking On Sunshine by Giovanna Fletcher - #HolidayReading Tenerife

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Amazon UK

Title: Walking On Sunshine
Author: Giovanna Fletcher
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Publication Date: 26th May 2022
Rating: 5 Stars

In the darkness, we all need a little light . . .
________

After Mike loses Pia, his partner of seventeen years, their best friends Vicky and Zaza try to help pick up the pieces.

But though Pia's gone, she left a plan. A list of loving instructions to help Mike and her friends come to terms with their loss.

And they're each going to need it . . .

Just-engaged Zaza fears committing any further.
Exhausted mother and wife Vicky has lost sight of herself.
While Mike just feels all the colour has gone from his life.

When the list sends them trekking to Peru, where high mountains and sweltering rainforests push them to the brink, all they have to guide them is their faith in Pia and in themselves.

But will they learn that anything is possible when you're walking on sunshine?

I was so happy to see that Giovanna Fletcher had written a new novel, and I eagerly awaited the moment where I would be able to start it 

Let's just say it is even better than I thought it would be and I had high hopes having loved all her other books. 

From alternating view points of Vicky, Zaza and Mike, we see a wonderful bond of friendship despite adversity, and of re-discovering who you really are. 

The details of the trail they trekked in Peru were breath taking, I felt as though I was there alongside the characters. 

But even before the travel element (which did include local food, so don't let your pet guinea pigs read this),  We get a well rounded view of what each of the characters lives are like and why they need this trip so much 

I was getting emotional at points but generally its a really uplifting book to read, and one I couldn't get enough of. 

Thank you to Michael Joseph and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily, 

Thursday, 12 May 2022

Book Review - A Sunset Over Bali by Sandy Barker

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Amazon UK

Title: A Sunset Over Bali
Author: Sandy Barker
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: One More Chapter
Publication Date: 17th February 2022
Rating: 4 Stars

Home is where the heart is . . .
 
When Jaelee Tan leaves her high-flying PR job in Miami for a sabbatical in Bali, the last thing she expects is for it to become permanent. But when her boss demands the trip be cut short, Jae does the only thing she can think of and quits on the spot.
 
With two months in Bali, a new group of friends and the gorgeous scenery and beaches, Jae is determined to make the most of her new-found freedom. And when she locks eyes with hunky Scot, Alistair, Jae wonders if she’ll lose her heart to more than just a Balinese sunrise.
 
Escape to Bali in this uplifting novel full of friendship, laughter and romance, perfect for fans of Mandy Baggot, Julie Caplin and Holly Martin.

It's always good to be able to curl up with one of Sandy Barker's holiday romance series, and this was no exception.  

And we get to escape to Bali in this journey of self discovery for Jaelee.  Well she may not think that is why she has taken a two month sabbatical the other side of the world, but it's certainly one of the effects of the trip. 

There were many things I really loved about this book - 

 - the links to That Night in Paris, I didn't realise or quite twig before I started reading but Jaelee was on the coach trip in that book, there were assorted references to it, especially her close friendship with Cat, so i was delighted to see how Cat was getting on now too. 
 - the setting - well I do love an exotic setting and Bali is so well described that I felt as though I was there in the heat alongside Jaelee
 - the idea of digital nomads, and places like UROP existing, thus being able to stay there for two months making good use of the way tourist visas can work in Indonesia. 
 - the group of friends that Jaelee makes, including the hot scot with the man bun, Lulu, Kermit, Peta and Helena (and not all of those are human!) 

It's just a really enjoyable story that then had some surprises in store for me, that made the last quarter rather addictive to read as I needed to know what would happen next! 

Another great book from the always talented Sandy Barker. 

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

Wednesday, 11 May 2022

Book Review - Rainbows End in Ferry Lane Market by Nicola May

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Amazon UK

Title: Rainbows End in Ferry Lane Market
Author: Nicola May
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Publication Date: 14th April 2022
Rating: 5 Stars

39-year-old Glanna Pascoe - also known as 'the Rainbow Painter' - runs the Hartmouth Gallery in Ferry Lane Market in Cornwall. She is just getting her head and broken heart around being single, childless, and sober when Cupid flies in, shooting arrows all over the place.

Meeting the mysterious and fascinating Isaac Benson, famous local artist, and recluse, allows Glanna's disillusioned heart and attitude to soften, and she begins to learn more about herself than she ever thought possible. Confused by her growing feelings for Isaac, Glanna throws herself into organising a life-drawing class at her gallery, using both male and female nudes - and setting local tongues wagging.

A theft from her gallery and the return of ex-love Oliver Trueman cause Glanna to wonder if a pot of gold will be appearing at the end of her rainbow. And will it bring her the happiness, she has sought for so long?

Such a simply fabulous book, it started off quite slow, setting up who the new characters to the series were - 

 - but as we established that, it became a simply fantastic read, with all manner of great storylines to follow. 

We get to catch up with old friends, and see new sides of familiar characters, and perhaps in the case of a couple, a bit more than we wanted to know or see of them (and what they get up to in their spare time!), and I loved every second of it. 

From Glanna's love of art, her continued recovery from addiction, trying to work out what she really wants from life, it was all so relatable and that she and the other characters felt so real. 

In fact once again Nicola May's ability to write a wonderful character are at the forefront, and with this familiar setting to those that have been reading the series, this is just clearly another winner from this exceptionally talented author. 

Gutted that this third books appears to be the end of the trilogy, I really hope it's turned into a longer series, as I feel there are so many more characters stories to be explored down at Ferry Lane Market. 

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

Tuesday, 10 May 2022

Book Review - The Night of the Party by Anna-Lou Weatherley

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Amazon UK

Title: The Night of the Party
Author: Anna-Lou Weatherley
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Bookouture
Publication Date: 12th January 2022
Rating: 4 Stars


Two Couples. Three Secrets. One Murder.

In a beautiful house surrounded by woodland, the Drayton family and their dearest friends are enjoying dinner together. The wine is flowing, the meal has been lovingly prepared, and it’s going to be an evening none of them will ever forget…

A doting mother
with a manipulative daughter.

A loving husband
lying to his family.

A close friend
keeping a shocking secret.

A beautiful girl
who will be dead by the end of the night.

A totally unputdownable and nail-bitingly tense psychological thriller with an explosive double twist that will leave you reeling. Fans of Lisa Jewell, Gillian Flynn and The Hunting Party will be hooked on The Night of the Party.

At first you think you are reading a book about a missing 17 year old girl who is sweet, innocent, can do no wrong, from a dinner party of two couples that appear to be incredibly normal, down to earth regular people.

... until the investigation gets under way and the scenes leading up to it from Libby's point of view are revealed to us slowly, and we get to know her true nature. 

And soon discover that just about every character we meet, is hiding something, most of which doesn't display them in a good light. 

And nothing can really prepare you for everything that comes out about Libby, which really did shock me. 

It was also good to be back with Detective Dan Riley and his team, as they attempt to solve this case.  I always enjoy catching up with Dan, and get a few further insights into his life. 

But was a story, revelations everywhere, nothing is as it seems, and some rather despicable people too. 

I kept having to reach for the story and read more and more of it.  It's not my favourite from the author, but it's still an incredibly good new addition to the series. 

Thank you to Bookouture and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily, 

Monday, 9 May 2022

Book Review - Spring Tides at the Starfish Cafe by Jessica Redland

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Amazon UK

Title: Spring Tides at the Starfish Cafe
Author: Jessica Redland
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Boldwood Books
Publication Date: 5th April 2022
Rating: 5 Stars

Welcome back to the Starfish Café - where you will find stunning views, delicious food and lifelong friendships.

A new season...

As winter turns to spring, Hollie - owner of The Starfish Café - is feeling content as she settles into her new life with her loving boyfriend, Jake, and their adorable dog Pickle.

But when an unwelcome visitor threatens the future of her café, Hollie must stay strong to protect her family's legacy...

A leap of faith...

Emerging from an unhappy relationship, Tori finds herself with nowhere to stay and nobody to talk to. The long-hidden secrets of her past weigh heavily on her until a chance encounter with Finley, struggling to come to terms with his own secrets, provides an opportunity to open up.

Can she find the strength to stop hiding from her past and face up to her family? Especially when that would mean letting her guard down and learning to trust again...

A fresh start...?

Little do Hollie and Tori know that their lives are about to collide at The Starfish Café and they may be able to help each other with a fresh start. After all, with good friends in your life, nothing is impossible...

How wonderful be back with Hollie, Jack and Pickle and the whole gang at the Starfish Cafe. 

This is an excellent second book in what is now appearing to be a trilogy, as it develops the characters from the first book a lot more, introduces new characters, and then sets up what could be a completely fabulous finale for the last book in the series! 

And we also get to meet Tori and learn her story. Her childhood was rather unconventional and it really has shaped how she views life today, and it's that side of her story that really intrigued me, as well as hooked me in to loving her! 

We have horrible exes to deal with, and let's not mention a slimy villain, that could almost give the Grimes family (from Jessica Redland's Hedgehog Hollow series), a run for their money, in terms of devious and criminal activities. 

And there are seals, gotta love a book with a gorgeous animal in it, as well as so many great bits of plot, and action as we get to see more from the RNLI training too. Gotta love a bit of drama as well! 

This is just a superb story from Jessica Redland, that I once more loved every second of it. This is an author on the rise to the top, who just keeps writing superb books that I can't get enough of.  Bring on the next one - please don't make me wait! 

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

Friday, 6 May 2022

Book Review - The Hiding Place by Simon Lelic

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Amazon UK

Title: The Hiding Place
Author: Simon Lelic
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: 5th May 2022
Rating: 5 Stars

FOUR FRIENDS. ONE MURDER. A GAME THEY CAN'T ESCAPE

'It was only a game.'

Until a boy went missing.

'No one was meant to get hurt.'

But a body has been found.

'Just some innocent fun.'

Except one of them is a killer.

Ready or not, here I come.

It's time to play hide and seek again.

THE WHISPER MAN meets THE GUEST LIST in this gripping story; DI Fleet is up against some of the most powerful people in the country as he attempts to discover the truth about what happened on the day of the game...

This had me intrigued and gripped from the start, and my interest didn't wane throughout. 

We get the story told in two timelines, from the POV of the victim 22 years ago in the time leading up to his death, and also of DI Fleet who after a tip off is needing to solve a 22 year old cold case, after a anonymous tip off gives the location of the body. 

Cold cases I've learnt through fiction are notoriously difficult to solve, so even more so when DI Fleet has his partner, no additional team or resources and there are links of some sort to a power man hoping to get into politics rather soon - so all sorts of interference from higher up. 

So a rather tricky case, where there doesn't seem to be much evidence, so its good old fashioned policework, and intuition required to try to solve this.  

The boarding school and its children that this centres around really caught my imagination, or perhaps given what occurs, should be my nightmares. 

This is well written, and really did hook me in and I was unsure for the majority of the book just who was responsible, and when the realisation comes, it was a case of OMG but also how did I not see that coming as there certainly were the seeds of it sprinkled throughout. 

It was the sections from the victim's POV that had me most involved, I really felt for him and his situation, and kept wanting to find out what would happen next. 

Kudos to Simon Lelic for yet another fabulous book. 

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

Thursday, 5 May 2022

Book Review - M Is for Mummy by Katy Cox

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Amazon UK

Title: M is for Mummy
Author: Katy Cox
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Corvus
Publication Date: 5th May 2022
Rating: 5 Stars

Your family doesn't fit the mould. So what?

Lucy had it all: an exciting career, a rock-star husband, great friends, a size ten waist and pelvic floor muscles that could crack a walnut. And then, she had kids.

Since giving birth to her second child, Lucy's life is totally unrecognisable. A 'flab-alanche' hangs over the top of her jeans, the romance in her marriage is officially dead and so is the career it took her years to build. Instead of playing the cello behind superstars at packed-out arenas, Lucy now spends most days mopping up broccoli vomit whilst listening to her four-year-old recite tedious facts about the gall bladder.

M is for Mummy is a frank and funny story about a unique family who don't quite fit in to any mould in society, and about a mother doing everything she can to help her extraordinary son find his place in an ordinary world.

From the second I discovered this book existed, I had a feeling I was going to love it, and I wasn't wrong, although love isn't a strong enough word - it's a wonderful book. 

I always enjoy reading books featuring young families and seeing how they cope and within the first few pages I was laughing with that opening, and then as we meet Stan, I found him incredibly endearing to start and very loveable.

In fact I'm really really hoping this may be the start of a series, because I already need another fix of Stan, and I love baby Jack too, and seeing just what may happen next with Lucy and Ed.  I enjoyed seeing their ups and downs, and also the various situations Lucy gets herself into.

There is a lot of humour to be had with this book, as well as a heart meltingly perfect finale that was unexpected in its nature but just worked for the characters. 

It is also though a look at parenthood when one of your children  is clearly a bit different from the average child. It was fairly obvious to me what the diagnosis would be for Stan, but he is just a loveable boy, and Lucy is doing her best to understand him, that he really is just Stanley. 

From having worked with some children a bit like Stanley I get the feeling that this is rather authentic, and all the concerns Lucy expresses are realistic and valid.  I find all of this made them very relatable too, and something that parents will especially enjoy reading, as I suspect they will see elements of their own experiences reflected in this. 

This is one rather special family that has wormed its way into my heart, and I really want more from them, A very entertaining debut novel, from an author I will certainly be keen to read more from. 

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



Wednesday, 4 May 2022

Book Review - You Had Me At Halloumi by Ginger Jones

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Amazom UK

Title: You Had Me At Halloumi
Author: Ginger Jones
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Zaffre
Publication Date: 14th April 2022 
Rating: 5 Stars

Freya Butterly has always dreamt of being a Head Chef but despite running every service at the Mediterranean restaurant, she still doesn't get the recognition she deserves. Craving adventure and a real taste of the Mediterranean, Freya takes matters into her own hands, ditching both her job and unsympathetic boyfriend and packing her bags for sunny Cyprus in pursuit of the prestigious Golden Spoon culinary award.

As one of the seven competitors, Freya is determined to rediscover her passion for food and clinch the prize, but what she doesn't expect to discover is Xanthos. As gorgeous as he is charming - he's quite the dish - and Freya is instantly attracted to him, but this trip was about Cypriot cuisine, not romance and she knows she must not let Xanthos distract her from the competition.

But if she walks away, will Freya spend the rest of her life wondering What If? Surely, it's feta late than never . . .

Do not read this when you are hungry. I was predominately reading while eating and it was still making me long for more food! 

The food descriptions and all the descriptions of the cookery competition were sublime. 

Then there is the comparison of a chess board with a cheese board, from a Greek god of a man that was seducing me, and I don't even like cheese! I am a fan of hot Greek and Cypriot men though! 

This Golden Spoon cookery competition has been Freya's dream since she was a child, and I loved being there alongside her every step of the way.  I was angry at the blatant sabotage, shocked at who was doing it, I was willing her to believe in her own skills more. 

I was hooked on every last word of this book and really can't believe it appears to be a debut novel. I'm already looking forward to the author's next book, I enjoyed this one that much. 

It' is pure fabulous escapism, perfect for poolside reading, or even in your garden, or just where you have snacks in easy reach. 

The best recipe of food, love, intrigue, competition, and armchair travel, baked in the hot summer sun, and producing a mouth watering story. 

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