Friday, 24 September 2021

Book Review - Summer in the City by Fiona Collins

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Amazon UK

Title: Summer in the City
Author: Fiona Collins
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Transworld Digital
Publication Date: 27th May 2021
Rating: 5 Stars

A beautiful and heart-wrenching story set over one hot summer in London, about a father and daughter who help one another to step out into the world again, perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes and Lucy Diamond.

Prue is not someone you would notice willingly. She likes to keep herself to herself and fade into the background. If it weren't for the birthmark on her left cheek, she might actually succeed at becoming invisible.

She spends all of her time with her blind father, Vince. Scarred by a difficult past, they sit together in silence and ignore the vibrant city just on their doorstep. That is, until something forces them both to go outside and see what they have been missing. For Vince, that means discovering how to see the world without his sight. For Prue, that means finding the courage to finally love and be loved in return.

About family, second chances and finding the courage to face your fears, this is a moving story that will stay with you long after you have finished the last page.

I was tempted to read this book purely by the gorgeous cover and knowing that I have enjoyed Fiona Collins light hearted rom-coms in the past. 

What I didn't anticipate having not really read the blurb was just how impressive this book would be, and just how much depth there is to it. 

It's the story of a re-awakening for both Prue and her father Vince. They have both been floundering for many years and not really living at all, just barely existing and barely communicating.   Prue has a birthmark on her cheek that makes her self conscious and really effects her confidence and self worth.   Vince, became blind when Prue was only 10 years old, and is allergic to dogs, so can no longer have a guide dog. 

Slowly they start to go on days out into London together with various effects. And the change in both of them is gradual but its great character development, and felt realistic. 

We learn about some horrible things that have happened in Prue's past which contributed to her trying to hide from the world.  We discover just was happened to her mother too. There is a rebuilding of emotional connections and there is the possibility of love if she is brave enough. 

Certainly an eye opening account of what life with a blind person could be like, and I can only guess that large amounts of research were involved. 

This is a touching and heartwarming book and it completely captured my imagination and got me thinking.  

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

Thursday, 23 September 2021

Book Review - Meet Me In Tahiti by Georgia Toffolo - #HolidayReading #UKCruise

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Amazon UK

Title: Meet Me In Tahiti
Author: Georgia Toffolo
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Mills & Boon
Publication Date: 26th August 2021
Rating: 5 Stars

Where there’s always a second chance at first love…

Zoe has spent her life facing battles: fighting her parents for independence, struggling with her feelings for local bad boy Finn and, after a car accident at eighteen, adjusting to the fact she would not walk again. She remained strong until the day Finn, the person she thought she could trust, broke her heart… Now a successful travel writer, Zoe is excited to review a new luxury hotel in the beautiful South Pacific – until she meets its owner…

Finn was never good enough for Zoe. He knew it. Zoe’s family knew it. The village of Hawkes Cove made sure he knew it. Proven when he let her down in the worst way possible. Now a successful businessman, he thought his past was behind him, until a journalist turns up to review his new resort…

As Finn shows Zoe the exotic wonders of the islands both face the fact their shared past might just be the beginning of a future. But only if Zoe can win the biggest battle of her life…facing up to her heart’s desire.

I am completely hooked on this series of books and couldn't wait to get my eyes stuck into Meet Me In Tahiti.

For a start can you think of a more picture perfect setting for a romance, its got stunning backdrops and all the little local bits of knowledge sounded rather authentic, so definitely well researched. 

And Zoe is just a fabulous protagonist, she is gutsy and tries her hardest to be independent, and not rely on too many people despite one rather obvious part of her that many people just don't know how to react to. 

So in some ways I feel it was fitting that I was reading this during the Paralympics, and just love Zoe's attitude to life. 

She's a travel writer, rarely does the basic press junkets but was on this one as a last min replacement and thus had no idea that the owner of this luxury resort is Finn, the one who got away so many years before. 

In fact Finn is equally shocked to see Zoe and seeing how they interact over the course of the book gave so many useful insights into both of their characters. 

And of course the rest of the lost hours girls are present over the phone for Zoe too, so great to catch up with Malie and Victoria from the previous books and I am already looking forward to Lily's story next!  

Its an all around joyful piece of escapist writing that I loved every single word of.  Would love some more books set in places like Tahiti and Hawaii as I'd be first in line to read them!

Thank you to Mills & Boon and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily, 

Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Book Review - The Ticklemore Tavern by Liz Davies

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Amazon UK

Title: The Ticklemore Tavern
Author: Liz Davies
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Author supplied copy
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: 1st September 2021
Rating: 5 Stars

Violet makes her own gin.

Logan Cassidy sells it in his pub, the Ticklemore Tavern.

It should have been a match made in heaven, especially since the pair of them fancy the socks off each other, and they are both young, free and single.


Logan’s mum, Marie, doesn’t think Violet is good enough for her son. No woman is, or ever will be. And when she becomes ill, Logan is torn between looking after his mum or following his heart.

However, neither Logan, nor Marie, has taken the sheer force of nature that is Violet into account. What Violet wants, Violet gets.


But maybe not this time, eh?

Perfect for fans of Daisy James and Holly Martin

It is so good to be back in Ticklemore and although she isn't the main character, fans of the series will be delighted with the role Hattie has in this latest book - she is at her absolute finest, and between the four Ticklemore books has cemented a place in my heart forever! 

But this book isn't actually about Hattie, although I'm sure she thinks it might be.  It's the story of Logan and Violet, the pub landlord and the gin distiller! 

They have a clear attraction from their first meeting but what is even clearer is Logan's mother, Marie's behaviour.  I really didn't take to Marie at all, and I'm sorry to say rolled my eyes at most of what she was saying.  

Yet Violet and Logan are wonderful, they are both loving caring people,  and I loved their interactions. And the variety of flavoured gins that Violet is able to create is rather impressive too. 

Possibly not my favourite of this excellent series, but still a great addition to it, and I loved reading every second of this book.  I just wish I'd had more time to read it in longer spurts, I wanted to but real life was getting in my way.   

Easily readable as a standalone, this does let us see even briefly all the main characters in the previous books up to this point, as well as this new focal couple. It's just a really easy read and has you rooting for Violet and Logan despite Marie. 

I really hope this isn't the last we have seen of Ticklemore, as I definitely want more - the second the author can think of another tongue twisting title! 

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

Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Book Review - A Midwinter Match by Jane Lovering

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Amazon UK

Title: A Midwinter Match
Author: Jane Lovering
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Boldwood Books
Publication Date: 19th August 2021
Rating: 5 Stars

Ruby Oldbridge needs to learn to take her own advice. 
A brilliant counsellor at work in York, she is however floundering in her own life. Her romantic track record is woeful, her finances are in a pickle, and she’s back in a house-share after splitting up with her useless ex.

But one thing Ruby is brilliant at, is helping other people find a way through their problems, and she excels at the job she loves, doing just that. 

Happy-go-lucky, Mr Positivity, Zac Drewe also loves his job – the trouble is, it’s the same as Ruby’s, and the management have decided to ‘rationalise’ their department. There’s only room for one of them.

As the snow and winter close in on York, Ruby and Zac have everything to lose, and Ruby starts to wonder if the happy face Zac shows the world, might be disguising a sadder secret. 

Set against one another, they are unlikely friends. But perhaps, if they could take the time to understand each other, they might discover that rather than rivals, they could be the best thing that ever happened to one another… 

Funny, fresh and fantastically warm-hearted, discover Jane Lovering’s unforgettable new cast of characters and irresistible, feel-good story. Perfect for fans of Julie Houston, Beth O’Leary and Kate Forster

It's been at least a few years since I last read a Jane Lovering book, and having just finished A Midwinter Match, I can't for the life of me work out why I left it so long to read another!  For this is fabulous. 

The characters are incredibly real, they really do jump off the page and into your hearts, their struggles become yours and I found myself hoping things would improve for them. 

There is a huge mental health theme in this book, which is dealt with sensitively and that is just one of a few trickier topics that are covered, adding to the grit and realism of this story. 

Ruby and Zac are basically up against each other for the same job after a merger in their companies, and have very different ways of doing their job.  They are counsellors to help people work out how go get themselves back into the workplace.  And I loved Ruby's huge compassion throughout the book. 

And their big "problem" client I really liked, and loved seeing how Ruby tried to help her. 

Set to a Yorkshire winter backdrop, this was a great snapshot at Ruby and Zac's lives, and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know them both.  This really was a book with heart and grit, and had me smiling for the conclusion. 

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

Monday, 20 September 2021

Book Review - Lil's Bus Trip by Judy Leigh

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Amazon UK

Title: Lil's Bus Trip
Author: Judy Leigh
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley 
Publisher: Boldwood Books
Publication Date: 26th August 2021
Rating: 5 Stars

It’s always a good time for a road trip… 
When 82-year-old Lil decides to book herself, her 65-year-old daughter, Cassie, and her friend Maggie on a bus trip across Europe, she hopes for a little adventure to counteract the monotony of life in sheltered accommodation. 

Along with three members of the Salterley Tennis Club and the Jolly Weaver five-a side football team, whose ideas of a good time are rather different to Lil’s and strikingly at odds with each other’s, the merry band of travelers set out on their great adventure. 

From moving moments on the beaches of Normandy, outrageous adventures in Amsterdam, to the beauty of Bruges and gastronomic delights of France, the holiday is just the tonic Lil, Maggie and Cassie needed.  

And as the time approaches for them to head home, Lil makes an unexpected discovery - even in her advancing years, men are like buses – there isn’t one for ages then two come along at once. Is Lil ready to share her golden years, and can the ladies embrace the fresh starts that the trip has given them. Or is it just too late to change…  

Judy Leigh is back with her trademark promise of laughter, happiness, friendship, and timeless lessons in how to live.

It's been ages since I last read the a book in pretty much one sitting, and over the course of the evening I've done exactly that with this book.  I just didn't want to miss one moment of this bus trip. 

A coach trip isn't my first choice of holiday, ok it's pretty low down the options for me, but that didn't stop me thoroughly enjoying every second of Lil's trip. 

And adoring every one of this motley crew of people that have come together on this trip. Even when you wouldn't think they would all get on, it's quite lovely to see how they can all come together when needed. 

And the antics Lil, her best friend Maggie, daughter Cass can get up to on a trip to France, Belgium and The Netherlands are just fabulous.  Keep your eyes out for a "coffee shop", a wander around the red light district, all manner of romances throughout the bus and potential locals, and even just trying to get out of the first car park had me laughing my head off!! And that is just part of it. 

I loved the descriptions of the various places on the trip, and felt as though I was there alongside Lil and friends.  

And I also love how once more Judy Leigh is writing about characters who still have a full lust for life, and showing how you can grow old disgracefully and have a lot of fun doing so! 

It's simply another fabulous book from this author that had me smiling, laughing and generally feeling really good while reading it. 

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

Friday, 17 September 2021

Book Review - She's Gone by M. A. Comley

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Amazon UK

Title: She's Gone
Author: M. A. Comley
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Author supplied copy
Publisher: Jeamel Publishing Limited
Publication Date: 16th September 2021
Rating: 5 Stars

One second she was there, the next... she was gone!

After months of fighting the court system to see five-year-old Adele, Martin Jenkins finally has his daughter back. It’s only for a week’s holiday, but he’ll take that to have her near him once more.

Keeping three children under the age of eight amused is no mean feat. Whilst Martin’s girlfriend, Louise, is looking after her daughter and Adele, Martin is playing football with her son close by. Excitement fills the air at the local beauty spot in the beautiful Lake District until a chilling scream rocks Martin’s world.

The police, Mountain Rescue and other volunteers are brought in to help with the search but Martin’s life is ripped to shreds that day. The day his daughter is declared missing.

Every parent's worse nightmare must be their child disappearing when you take your eyes off them just for a second. Which is what makes this such a gripping story. 

Seeing how Martin deals with 5 year old Adele's disappearance was rather interesting, especially as he only just had her back in his life after a messy split with her mother.  The level of his anger initially although understandable was rather terrifying. 

There is so much I could say about this tightly plotted book, but I fear giving spoilers, rest assured it is easily up to M. A. Comley's typical high standards and had me guessing up until the last pages. 

I was able to read this in a few short hours and had to keep turning the pages to discover just what would happen next.  I would have never predicted the majority of the outcome. 

This is just another book that proves that there is no end to the talents of this author, in a variety of darker sub genres! 

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

Thursday, 16 September 2021

Book Review - The Beach Reads Book Club by Kathryn Freeman

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Amazon UK

Title: The Beach Reads Book Club
Author: Kathryn Freeman
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: One More Chapter
Publication Date: 30th June 2021
Rating: 5 Stars

When Lottie Watt is unceremoniously booted out of her uptight book club for not following the rules, she decides to throw the rulebook out the window and start her own club – one where conversation, gin and cake take precedent over actually having read the book!

The Beach Reads Book Club soon finds a home for its meetings at Books by the Bay, a charming bookshop and café owned by gorgeous, brooding Matthew Steele, and as the book club picks heat up, so too does the attraction between Matt and Lottie.

If there’s anything Lottie has learned from the romances she’s been reading, it’s that the greatest loves are the ones hardest earned.

How refreshing to read a book featuring a book club, which is a book club of books I have actually read, well at least some of them, or others by the authors at least.  Was so nice to see a bunch of book references I could actually relate to! 

And Lottie's Beach Reads Book Club is just the sort of book club I would love to join, some book chat about nice easy to read and enjoyable books, without too much of hunting for hidden meanings, plus plenty of cake and booze.  Whereas the first club Lottie was part of, was the complete opposite and I really didn't enjoy the literary snobbish nature of it. 

Which leads me to think that this book itself has an important message about not judging a book by its cover, not judging those who read beach reads, or lighter fiction, and that there is a book for every reader, and they are all worthy of being loved and discussed. Or something along those lines but phrases far more eloquently than I seem able to. 

I loved Lottie generally and all the people that came to her club,  and over the course of the book she seems to enrich many people's lives.  And Matthew the sexy bookshop owner is  great.  He surprises himself at time with his actions but you can tell there is more to him than you may first think. 

Honestly I just loved every second of this book and just wish I had been on holiday to have had some uninterrupted time to read it as fast as I would have liked to.  It's fabulous and another winner from the talented Kathryn Freeman.

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

Wednesday, 15 September 2021

Book Review - Invite Me In by Emma Curtis - #HolidayReading #UKCruise

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Amazon UK

Title: Invite Me In
Author: Emma Curtis
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Black Swan
Publication Date: 2nd September 2021
Rating: 4 Stars

To those who think they know her, Eliza Curran has it all: two healthy children, a stunning home and a wealthy, adoring husband. No one would guess the reality of her life: trapped in an unhappy marriage to a controlling man, she longs for a way out.

When she takes on a new tenant, her life changes unexpectedly. Dan Jones is charming and perceptive, and quickly becomes a close friend to the whole family.

But Dan's arrival threatens to tip Eliza's fragile world out of balance. And when someone has as many secrets as Eliza does, the smallest slip could destroy everything . . .

Starting off rather sedately this builds into a book that from a certain point becomes impossible to put down.

Although you may know from early on who a key character is going to be at no point did I guess anything further about how they are involved, and what links or motivations there could possibly be.

We get the story told from Eliza's viewpoint and she is a rather complex character and doesn't have the simplest of lives at all as is evidenced as we learn more of her back story.

This is a book that had me gasping in places, and hooked in others and I just knew I had to keep turning the pages to see how it might unfold.  And Emma Curtis certainly didn't let me down.

It's another cleverly thought out and well plotted book that had me captivated,

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

Tuesday, 14 September 2021

Book Review - A Bookshop Christmas by Rachel Burton - #HolidayReading #UKCruise

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Amazon UK

Title: A Bookshop Christmas
Author: Rachel Burton
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Aria
Publication Date: 2nd September 2021
Rating: 5 Stars

A snowstorm. A stranger. A spark. It should be the perfect start to the perfect love story.

But real life is far messier and more complicated than in the pages of the books in Megan Taylor's family bookshop – the last few years have left this young widow in no doubt of that. Moving back home to York should have been a fresh start, but all it did was allow her to retreat from the world.

When prize-winning author Xander Stone rams his supermarket trolley into her ankles and then trashes her taste in books, Megan is abruptly awoken from her self-imposed hibernation. It's time to start living again, and she's going to start by putting this arrogant, superior – admittedly sexy – stranger in his place.

Just as she is beginning to enjoy life again, the worst happens and Megan begins to wonder if she should have stayed hidden away. Because it turns out that falling in love again is about more than just meeting under the mistletoe...

There is nothing better than a Bookshop apart from one at Christmas, so I was right at home with the setting for this story. 

And i loved Megan and Xander's stories right from the off. 

Well Megan was a lot easer to get to know but Xander grew on me rather quickly too, as their pasts are revealed.

And I love the idea of a Regency Christmas party, even if Trixie does seem rather determined to have it as authentic as possible

I especially loved the Die Hard Romance book club, and their determination to take down Book snobs and revel in their enjoyment of all things romance.

It was just an all around highly enjoyable novel, that really does show you can eventually move on with your life, even when scared.

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

Monday, 13 September 2021

Book Review - Locked Away by M A Comley

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Amazon UK

Title: Locked Away
Author: M A Comley
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Author supplied copy
Publisher: Jeamel Publishing Limited
Publication Date: 16th August 2021
Rating: 5 Stars

When the past catches up with the present...
... the result can be deadly.
DI Sara Ramsey and her team are tasked with finding an elusive kidnapper. Someone driven by dark secrets. Several women have been abducted, some in broad daylight, but why?
With few clues and even less evidence, can Sara find the women before their abductor moves onto the next stage in their warped plan?
In the midst of one of the most depraved investigations of her career, Sara is dealt a shocking blow by her partner, Carla. Sara is pushed to her limits personally and professionally.
Can she remain true to herself and prevent a massacre from happening?

I loved this latest DI Sara Ramsey thriller. 

We get to see things clearly from both the villain and the police's point of view, and even I was wondering how on earth Sara and her team were going to solve this one. 

And I continually was wondering about the motivation for one person to adduct multiple women after clearly stalking them to learn their routines, and in some cases in broad daylight too. 

I was also rather invested in the latest progression of Carla's storyline, and at times I was completely despairing with her in this book, while feeling for her too. 

It's another wonderful addition to this rather addictive series. I couldn't get enough of trying to see how it may unfold, and really enjoyed all the continuing storylines with the team too. 

Was also really interesting to see so closely into the mind of the abductor, who I didn't' sympathise with at all even when we learn the motivation,. 

Just another fabulous book from one of my favourite authors. 

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