Thursday, 27 June 2019

Book Review - The Guilty Party by Mel McGrath - #HolidayReading Thailand

The Amazon Purchase link below is an Amazon Affiliate link.
Amazon UK
Title: The Guilty Party
Author: Mel McGrath
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: HQ
Publication Date: 27th June 2019
Rating: 4 Stars


You did nothing. That doesn’t mean you’re innocent.
On a night out, four friends witness a stranger in trouble. They decide to do nothing to help.

Later, a body washes up on the banks of the Thames – and the group realises that ignoring the woman has left blood on their hands.

But why did each of them refuse to step in? Why did none of them want to be noticed that night? Who is really responsible?

And is it possible that the victim was not really a stranger at all?

The question you will be asking yourself throughout this book from the moment the key occurrence happened is - what would I do in the same situation?

Cassandra and her 3 three friends all witnessed something horrible, but none of them stepped in and tried to help, or even rung the police. They all stood back and were party to it. 

The book is told from the four viewpoints, with Cassie's voice being the main one.  We see the happenings of that fateful night, play back in reverse, from all the friends, each time revealing just a little bit more, and keeping you even more hooked. 

And we also have the present story which is the friends on a weekend away where the happenings of that night are the elephant in the room. 

I'm not really sure that I liked any of the characters but I was very interested to see how their moral compass was effected. And whether anyone would admit to anything. 

I'm being deliberately vague, so you have no preconceptions going into this, as it really does work best with no prior knowledge. 

I'm not even 100% sure I had read the blurb, rather come across the book in a showcase event, figured it looked like I may be interested in it, and promptly read it once I had a copy!

This was certainly an interesting look at the human psyche, and how people cope when they feel the need to hide other more minor wrongdoings, thus causing a much bigger problem.

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

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Book Review - I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella

The Amazon Purchase link below is an Amazon Affiliate link.
Amazon UK
Title: I Owe You One
Author: Sophie Kinsella
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Black Swan
Publication Date: 27th June 2019
Rating: 3.5 Stars


The irresistible new standalone from Sophie Kinsella is a story of love, empowerment and an IOU that changes everything . . .

Fixie Farr can’t help herself. Straightening a crooked object, removing a barely-there stain, helping out a friend . . . she just has to put things right. It’s how she got her nickname, after all.

So when a handsome stranger in a coffee shop asks her to watch his laptop for a moment, Fixie not only agrees, she ends up saving it from certain disaster. To thank her, the computer’s owner, Sebastian, scribbles her an IOU – but of course Fixie never intends to call in the favour.

That is, until her teenage crush, Ryan, comes back into her life and needs her help – and Fixie turns to Seb. But things don’t go according to plan, and now Fixie owes Seb: big time.

Soon the pair are caught up in a series of IOUs – from small favours to life-changing debts – and Fixie is torn between the past she’s used to and the future she deserves.

Does she have the courage to fix things for herself and fight for the life, and love, she really wants?

One random act of kindness, leads to a stranger giving Fixie an IOU, and starts a chain of events that you may not have predicted from the outset. 

Fixie so named as she likes fixing everything is lovely, passionate about the family business, loyal to her family but honestly comes across as a doormat.  She drove me mad half the time, as she wouldn't stand up to her siblings. 

And the least said about her long term love and crush, the better. He was utterly despicable. 

I'm really not sure if I liked most of the characters. In fact my favourite character is one that doesn't talk back -its the family shop Farrs.   We get enough description, plus of the vibe of the place and what it sells, that it feels like a character in its own right. 

I suspect had I read this any other week I would have loved it more, but given how exhausted I am, I have to say that reading this felt a bit like hard work.  It didn't really draw me back into it, which is odd as I normally love a Sophie Kinsella book. 

It's not a bad book in the slightest, and I did enjoy most of it, but its also not the best or funniest of Sophie Kinsella's standalone books. There are moments of humour and the further I got into the book, the more I was enjoying it, especially once I started to see the evidence of character development as they became more rounded people. 

Filled with characters you love to hate, a lovely small business, a complete mix of personalities in one story and a series of favours and good deeds done, thanks to one IOU note, this is a good story, which frustratingly felt a bit short for me. 

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

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Book Review - A Cornish Summer by Catherine Alliott

The Amazon Purchase link below is an Amazon Affiliate link
Amazon UK
Title: A Cornish Summer
Author: Catherine Alliott
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Publication Date: 13th June 2019
Rating: 4 Stars


Flora's been in love with her husband for twenty years. The trouble is, he's been married to someone else for the past fifteen . . .

Now she's been invited to spend the summer in the shady lanes and sandy coves of Cornwall. It should be blissful.

There's just one small snag: she'll be staying with her former mother-in-law, Belinda.

And Flora discovers she's not the only one invited when her ex-husband shows up out of the blue, complete with his new wife. So now there are two small snags.

Can Flora spend the summer playing happy families with the woman who stole her husband's heart, and the mother-in-law who might have had a hand in it?

Or will stumbling on the family secret change her mind about them all?

If you like Fern Britton, Katie Fforde and Sophie Kinsella, you'll love this heartwarming read. . .

What an epic cast of characters, and some of the ending that I definitely didn't see coming. 

It felt like there really were a lot of words and characters to get to grips with, although once you had an idea of the family dynamics, most of the book slotted into place nicely in my mind, it just felt at times a tad too long. 

That being said there were sections where I couldn't tear my eyes away from the page, the main action scenes, one involving a hunt, and one a far more serious happening a lot later on in the book.    There are old friendships, new interests, all within this huge novel, set over a summer in Cornwall. 

This is the summer where Flora finally learns to be not quite as hooked on her ex-husband and starts thinking of herself again.  I wasn't really that keen on Flora, or indeed many of the characters which may explain why I took a while reading this.  I think I just didn't really connect to her at all, and given the whole book was from her point of view, it wasn't the quickest of books for me. 

I did enjoy the story, and I loved hating Belinda, while Roger was really lovely and Babs rather cheeky.  And Edward although we didn't see much of him, there is one stand out scene he is involved in that had me giggling a lot. 

I can't really talk much about what happens in the book, purely as it felt like most of the first half was providing much needed background and leg work to make the much stronger second half fly.  I loved the last quarter or so of the book, and really felt  pleased for various of the characters with their resolutions. 

Although not my favourite book by Catherine Alliott, it is still a good story and there is some lovely writing and great characterisation to enjoy. 

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

Monday, 24 June 2019

Book Review - Sail Away by Celia Imrie - #HolidayReading Thailand

The Amazon Purchase link below is an Amazon Affiliate link.
Amazon UK
Title: Sail Away
Author: Celia Imrie
Format reviewed: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Publication Date: 24th January 2019
Rating: 4 Stars


Suzy Marshall and Amanda Herbert have both found themselves on a transatlantic cruiser by accident: struggling actress Suzy has had her play abruptly cancelled under rather suspicious circumstances; and Amanda's found herself homeless in rainy Clapham after her flat purchase falls through. But the ship has barely left the harbor before Suzy and Amanda realize that there's something very strange afoot indeed. Neither can predict the strange characters and dodgy dealings they will encounter - nor the unexpected rewards to reaped at high sea.

It seemed rather apt to read a book featuring a cruise ship, while on board a boat trip myself.

I loved getting to know both  Suzy and Amanda, even before their path crossed and everything became that bit more complicated. 

They are both women of an older generation, and through circumstances have decided that this trans-Atlantic cruise is the best thing they can do for the time being, one of them as its offering her work, and the other as she is sort of between homes, as her house buying chain wavers. 

Although some of the connections between them seemed quite obvious, there are plenty of twists and turns in this funny book. 

I was enthralled by what I was reading, and really did enjoy the story, even if at times the plot became slightly convoluted. 

An enjoyable holiday read, which brightened up my boat trip!

Sunday, 23 June 2019

Book Review - Summer Dreams at Villa Limoncello by Daisy James

The Amazon Purchase link below is an Amazon Affiliate link.
Amazon UK
Title: Summer Dreams at Villa Limoncello
Author: Daisy James
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Canelo
Publication Date:  13th June 2019
Rating: 5 Stars


Escape to Villa Limoncello… where dreams come true in the most unexpected ways.
Izzie Jenkins never expected to find herself living in a gorgeous oasis in Tuscany but when life gives you Villa Limoncello you say thank you and bake treats to celebrate!

Izzie and debonair chef Luca Castelotti are officially setting up shop together but when their inaugural ‘Pasta and Painting’ venture is sabotaged and one of their guests poisoned they’re forced to turn detective. Because if they can’t find the culprit, they’ll be out of business before they’ve even begun...

How wonderful it was to be back at the Villa Limoncello, only a few weeks after the previous book ends.  Izzie and Luca are embarking on their first week long course to help make the Villa profitable, and the course featured in this book is Painting and Pasta. 

So expect even more delicious sounding Italian food descriptions, which Daisy James is so good at.  There are even recipes at the back for if you are inspired to try out the various pasta's yourself. 

Believe it or not though at the heart of this book is a mystery, that had me stumped, after all there are 4 all equally likely culprits,  as to who caused Carmen's "food poisoning".   I loved seeing how Izzie and Luca tried to turn into amateur detectives - what can I say about that to them, other than don't give up your day jobs! 

As we get to know Carmen and her friends, it is clear Carmen isn't portrayed as the most likeable of people, although she grew on me towards the end,  but to think that one of her close friends or colleagues had deliberately made her ill, well I can see why all of them would want to. 

As we get to know Tom. Beth, Zara and Hannah we discover just what each of them is hiding, and how as a group none of them seem to know about the other's problems. 

There is just so much to love about this book and series, that I would urge you to read them yourself and discover their goodness for yourself.  This is a wonderful summer holiday read, it will transport you to the heat of Tuscany, tantalise your taste-buds, inspire your creativity with the painting suspects, and there is even a bit of local sight seeing too.

I can't wait to see what will happen in the next book in the series, as Villa Limoncello and its characters has found a firm place in my heart. 

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

Saturday, 22 June 2019

Book Review - Wedding Bells at Villa Limoncello by Daisy James

The Amazon Purchase link below is an Amazon Affiliate link.
Amazon UK
Title: Wedding Bells at Villa Limoncello 
Author: Daisy James
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Canelo
Publication Date: 11th March 2019
Rating: 5 Stars


When Isabella Jenkins is unceremoniously fired from her fancy London job, she escapes to Tuscany. A few weeks hiding amongst rolling hills and grape vines at Villa Limoncello sounds exactly like the distraction she needs.

But Italy holds emotional memories for Izzie and with a hapless handyman, a matchmaking village matriarch and a gorgeous – if infuriating – local chef named Luca Castelotti, her quiet Italian get away turns into an unending cacophony of chaos.

Suddenly Izzie finds herself on a mission to pull off the wedding of the century and maybe get her life in order in the process. If only Luca’s gorgeous smile wasn’t such a powerful distraction…

Daisy James has done it again with another book that really transports you to the location, in this case Villa Limoncello in Tuscany, fills you with wonderful descriptions, and delicious sounding food.  

And better still its the first book in a trilogy, so I have a feeling I will be reading book 2 very shortly, as I need more of the Villa Limoncello and all the lovely new friends that Isabelle makes in my life. 

Isabella for the past few years has been living a grey and drab life, but she has good reason for it, and it takes for her getting sacked, and being co-erced into staging a wedding in a Tuscan Villa for her to start to come back to life. 

Every chapter is headed with a location and also a colour which really does help give a feeling for just how vivid and bright life is in Italy, and Izzie starts to realise life isn't all about lists, even though they are needed if she has a hope of pulling off this wedding. 

There are a few small mysteries in the book to add intrigue,  I loved all the people that we meet, some gorgeous Italian men, and some mouth watering food descriptions. 

This book has everything you could possibly want from a Daisy James rom-com, and its yet another incredibly enjoyable book by this wonderful author.   Bring on the next book! 

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

Friday, 21 June 2019

Book Review - Aphrodite's Closet by Suzy Tuner - #HolidayReading Thailand

The Amazon Purchase link below is an Amazon Affiliate link.
Amazon UK
Title: Aphrodite's Closet
Author: Suzy Turner
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Author supplied copy
Publisher: Self published
Publication Date: 6th May 2017
Rating: 5 Stars


Agatha Trout didn’t even know she had a Great Aunt Petunia, so imagine her surprise when she finds Petunia left her a corner shop in her will. But it’s not just any old corner shop—it’s a corner shop that needs something unique, something the town of Frambleberry has never seen before. Influenced by her confident best friend, Coco, Agatha is soon convinced that there’s only one way to go: an adults-only sex shop.

While some of the townspeople are clutching their pearls in horror, others are open to the new experiences this shop offers. But not everyone in Frambleberry is convinced. Will the women soldier on in the face of violent threats or will their fears get the best of them—and their new venture—before it even gets off the ground?

Easy and quick to read with laughs on most pages, this book is pure pleasure. 

Really it is as Aggie who starts off rather prudish, her friend Coco who is the complete opposite, decide to open a shop dedicated purely to pleasure after Aggie was left a rather magnificent shop from her estranged great aunt Petunia. 

That's right they are opening a adult shop, full of lingerie and assorted 18+ toys, in a small town that has never had a shop of this sort before.  But as the saying goes, sex sells. 

I whizzed through this book in one sitting, in a couple of short hours, and I couldn't' help but laugh at Aggie's reactions to most things as she tries to overcome her embarrassment!

The erotic industry fair where they meet loads of contacts is eye opening, even for someone with an open mind!

There are some deeper story lines running through the book, and they are dealt with appropriately and just added complexity to these wonderful characters. 

This may be the first book I've read by Suzy Turner, but it certainly won't be the last. 

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

Thursday, 20 June 2019

Introducing Frankie Collins...

Earlier this week, Boldwood Books a brand new publisher launched, with an amazing list of 20 authors. Having taken a look at it I'm incredibly excited by both the publisher and the authors that have joined, so many of which I have read and enjoyed in the past.

So when I was asked if I could introduce you all to one of their authors, it was an easy decision to make.


Introducing Frankie Collins, the new pseudonym of bestselling romantic comedy author Portia MacIntosh.

After publishing eleven novels (including ‘The Accidental Honeymoon’ and ‘It’s Not You, It’s Them’) with HQ (HarperCollins) as Portia, Frankie has signed a three-book deal with Boldwood Books.

Boldwood Books recently announced their 20 strong, all-female launch list and Frankie’s debut novel will be one of their first books published. 

When disaster strikes, paradise calls…

As a published novelist, Lila Rose has been writing about fictional weddings all her life. But disaster strikes on her own big day when she hears her philandering fiancé, Daniel whispering sweet nothings to someone else.

With her dream day shattered, all Lila wants to do is run and hide, so she decides to fly solo on her own honeymoon.

When Daniel arrives in the resort with his new squeeze, Lila strikes up a ‘showmance’ with hot new movie star, Freddie Bianchi. Freddie is perfect for the part and Lila soon relaxes into her leading lady role.

But as truth starts to merge with fiction, could real love be in the air?

A sizzling holiday romance, perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella, Lindsey Kelk and Sophie Ranald’s Sorry Not Sorry.

Publication Date: 6th August 2019

Pre-order now from: Amazon UK | Amazon.com 

I don't know about you, but that cover has hooked me in even before we get to the rest of this fabulous information.   I'm a huge fan of Portia MacIntosh, so am incredibly eager to see what her new pen name will bring.  And doesn't the book just sound wonderful?  I can't wait! 

Let me know your thoughts, are you excited for this new publisher? For this gorgeous looking new book? 

I'll definitely be excited on 6th August for this book, which looks like it could be a great poolside read, which is handy as I'll be on holiday myself when it publishes! 





Book Review - The Path to the Sea by Liz Fenwick

The Amazon Purchase link below is an Amazon Affiliate link.
Amazon UK
Title: The Path to the Sea
Author: Liz Fenwick
Format reviewed: Paperback
Source: Publisher supplied copy
Publisher: HQ
Publication Date: 6th June 2019
Rating: 4 Stars


Sometimes going home is just the beginning…
Boskenna, the beautiful, imposing house standing on the Cornish cliffs, means something different to each of the Trewin women.

For Joan, as a glamorous young wife in the 1960s, it was a paradise where she and her husband could entertain and escape a world where no one was quite what they seemed – a world that would ultimately cost their marriage and end in tragedy.

Diana, her daughter, still dreams of her childhood there – the endless blue skies and wide lawns, book-filled rooms and parties, the sound of the sea at the end of the coastal path – even though the family she adored was shattered there.

And for the youngest, broken-hearted Lottie, heading home in the August traffic, returning to Boskenna is a welcome escape from a life gone wrong in London, but will mean facing a past she’d hoped to forget.

As the three women gather in Boskenna for a final time, the secrets hidden within the beautiful old house will be revealed in a summer that will leave them changed for ever.

The Path to the Sea beautifully evokes the mystery and secrets of the Cornish coast, and will be loved by fans of Kate Morton and Rachel Hore

The Path to the Sea is certainly a book that drew me in and kept my on my toes throughout. 

The narrative is from three main characters points of view, Joan, who we see in her role of hostess of Boskenna one fateful weekend in 1962.   There is Diana, her daughter, and we see life through her eyes as an 8 year old in 1962, as well as a woman in her 60s in the present day. Finally there is Lottie, Joan's granddaughter, and mostly we see her in the present day. 

All three generations of women are brought under Boskenna's roof, for a very sad reason, and through it we see how fractured this family really is.  There are many secrets to uncover, and just what happened in 1962 to Diana's father.  

Joan clearly was living an extraordinary life, and some of it went a bit over my head, but I got the gist of the key plot points, not that I can see what they  were as that would spoilt it for you. It really was quite fascinating to read sections set in the 60s. 

I really enjoyed getting to know all three ladies and seeing just how everything would resolve itself.  The writing as I would expect from Liz Fenwick is accomplished, and really does describe everything incredibly well.  I loved how the plot moved forward, and how the book took place over such a short space of time. 

Thankfully each chapter is titled not only with which character, but also the date and time, so you can properly follow the timelines, and watch everything unfurl properly.   And with the chapters being relatively short, it was a rather more-ish book where I kept saying just one more chapter!! 

This is the first book I've read from the author for ages, and I am convinced that I need to not leave it so long before I read another, as I really did enjoy this story. 

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

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Book Review - Le Tour de Love by Lilac Mills

The Amazon Purchase link below is an Amazon Affiliate link.
Amazon UK
Title: Le Tour de Love
Author: Lilac Mills
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Author supplied copy
Publisher: Self published
Publication Date: 31st March 2019
Rating: 5 Stars


“…the opportunity of a lifetime.”

When physiotherapist Molly Matthews is offered a dream job by a guy who shaves his legs and has an obsession with his bicycle, she has serious doubts about accepting. But, as she keeps telling herself, it’s the opportunity of a lifetime and she’ll never get another chance like this. So, she does what anyone in her position would do – she agrees to join a professional cycling team for the most prestigious race in the cycling world – The Tour de France.
The reality, though, isn’t exactly what she had anticipated; instead of eating out at restaurants in pretty French villages and spending her free time lounging around the hotel pool, Molly finds herself living out of a suitcase for three weeks, massaging eight pairs of sweaty legs, administering ice baths and treating saddle sores.
And neither did she anticipate falling for a gorgeous, passionate, professional rider by the name of Alexander Duvall…

I absolutely adored this book and the pages literally couldn't turn fast enough, took me under 3 hours to read it - 2 tube journeys and while eating in a restaurant!  

I've read all of Lilac Mills books so far, and this is definitely my favourite, after all it combines cycling with romance, all set to a French backdrop, and specifically  The Tour de France. 

As much as I love sport, I'm more of a track cycling fan, although I always promise myself that I really should watch the Tour de France, especially while there are great British riders in it and competing well each year at the moment.  But I didn't really know much about the nitty gritty of the race, other than what I've read in perhaps one or two other fiction books over the years. 

If you were wanting a beginners guide to the Tour, along with a plucky hero, a heroine who knows nothing about the sport, and everything explained in a really accessible way, then look no further.   I was finding that I was cheering on Team BeSpoke the whole way, especially their top two drivers. 

One of which Alex is the reason that Molly was offered the physio's job with the team for this Tour and beyond,  And suddenly we are thrust alongside her into a whole new world, one which I absolutely loved.  Although I do like her think the cyclists are slightly insane for what they put their bodies through over the course of the race. 

I really understand the team aspect of road cycling a lot more, as well as some of the team member positions.  Any book with a sport involved in it, tends to attract and keep my attention quickly. 

And the interactions between Mollie and Alex were really believable and I loved seeing the way their story developed. 

This really is a feel good book that has had me smiling, as well as slightly nerve wrecking, with some of the race antics... but for the same reason completely enthralling too.  I loved every second of this story and I would absolutely love to see a sequel or series as I think there is a lot the authors could do featuring assorted characters from this book.  

Thank you to the author for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...