Tuesday, 27 September 2022

Book Review - The New Doctor at Peony Practice by Christie Barlow - #HolidayReading Cruise

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Amazon UK

Title: The New Doctor at Peony Practice
Author: Christie Barlow
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: One More Chapter
Publication Date: 30th May 2022
Rating: 5 Stars

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

All’s fair in love and…medicine?

Dr Katie O’Neil has only been in Heartcross a few hours when she finds herself already ruffling feathers – not least with medical school nemesis and new colleague Ben Sanders.

Katie’s the woman Ben loves to hate and until now he’d hoped he’d never set eyes on her again but now she’s back – and living next door!

When a charity boat race down the River Heart puts the two in direct competition, sparks fly. The winner takes it all, but who will it be? And will their prize be far more than they were expecting…

I felt welcomed back into Heartcross with a great big hug and it was wonderful to see so many familiar faces crop up. 

At the heart of this book though is Katie and Ben's story, and at times it really put me through the emotional wringer. 

It also had me captivated from start to finish and I devoured in a few short hours while on holiday.  I loved every second of it, from the initial rivalry between Ben and Katie, to the learning about their backgrounds and specifically their families. 

I also loved the fundraising idea of a boat race, and the illness it highlighted as a result. 

Once again I thin Christie Barlow will have a hit on her hands with this book, it is everything you want it be and more. Already looking forward to my next hit of the Love Heart Lane cast!

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

Monday, 26 September 2022

Book Review - Ten Years by Pernille Hughes

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Amazon UK

Title: Ten Years
Author: Pernille Hughes
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: One More Chapter
Publication Date: 31st August 2022
Rating: 5 Stars

Becca and Charlie have known each other since university.
Becca and Charlies have also hated each other since university.

Until now. Until Ally’s bucket list. The death of their loved one should mean they can go their separate ways and not look back. But completing the list is something neither of them can walk away from.

And sometimes, those who bring out the worst in you, also bring out the very best…

Over the course of ten years, Becca and Charlie’s paths collide as they deal with grief, love and life after Ally.

Not since Emma and Dex in One Day and Will and Lou in Me Before You will you root for a couple as much.

They both loved Ally, that is without a doubt. 
They both hate each other. 
But yet they have to join forces to to do Ally's bucket list, as she is no longer able to. 

That is Becca and Charlie in a nutshell, bother incapable of not bickering with each other but also wanting to honor Ally's memory each year. 

They seem like chalk and cheese, but as we catch up with their lives in yearly instalments, their dynamic gradually shifts. And I for one was keen to see just what would happen to them both. 

And we really get to know Ally too, the third side of the triangle through their memories, and it's clear she was definitely taken too young.  

This is powerful writing from Pernille Hughes, it is the right mix between emotional dealing with tough subjects such as grief, while also being hopeful that you can move on with your life, and that your sworn enemy may not be as bad as you think! 

It's a story that will play on your mind when you aren't reading, and certainly caught my attention throughout.   It's a really special story and one I'm glad I had a chance to read. 

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

Friday, 23 September 2022

Book Review - Hope and Happiness in Bluebell Wood by Ali McNamara - #HolidayReading Cruise

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Amazon UK

Title: Hope and Happiness in Bluebell Wood
Author: Ali McNamara
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Sphere
Publication Date: 22nd July 2021
Rating: 5 Stars

An Ali McNamara novel is the perfect escape.

Welcome to Bluebell Wood where the sun shines, the locals are kind and there's something more than a little bit magical about the place.

Ava loves city life but when something happens to make her feel unsafe, she retreats to the calm and quiet of Bluebell Wood. The once high-flying Ava now locks herself away in her fairy-tale cottage, only leaving to explore the trails of the nearby woods or to potter in the garden with her dog, Merlin.

When Ava begins to feed the wild birds that flock to her bird table, they start leaving her trinkets of appreciation in return. The gifts seem innocent at first, but they soon seem to take on a deeper meaning.

It isn't until Ava meets Callum, the handsome parish priest, that she can't help but wonder if the birds might have been trying to get her out of the house all along. But will their curious behaviour help to heal Ava, and transform her and Callum into the lovebirds they clearly long to be?

It's always a magical time when I get to sit down and read a new book from Ali McNamara and this was no exception. 

This is an author who has a habit of putting something a bit out of the ordinary in her books, and the specialness in this one comes from the birds that visit Ava's new garden. 

We know that Ava is clearly affected by something and her various anxieties are dealt with sympathetically, but I wouldn't have ever guessed at exactly what caused her to like she is  at the start of the story. 

She has a dog, Merlin who is fundamental to the story, and is involved in many of the storylines. 

I also liked meeting Linnet and Robin, plus actually everyone in Bluebell Wood. 

It sounds like a really charming place to live, and I was enthralled by the story. 

It was a wonder and had me hooked. 

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

Thursday, 22 September 2022

Book Review - Keeping A Christmas Promise by Jo Thomas - Blog Tour

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Amazon UK

Title: Keeping A Christmas Promise
Author: Jo Thomas
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Transworld Digital
Publication Date: 22nd September 2022
Rating: 5 Stars 

A Christmas to remember for a friend they'll never forget

Four friends
Twenty-five years ago, Freya and her three best friends created a bucket list. The future seemed bright, full of hope and most importantly guaranteed . . .

One promise
Now they are travelling to Iceland in memory of the friend they've lost, determined to fulfil her dream of seeing the Northern Lights at Christmas.

A life-changing adventure
They didn't count on an avalanche leaving them stranded! Handsome local, Pétur, comes to the rescue, showing them how the community survives the hard winter. With Christmas approaching, Freya and her friends throw themselves into the festivities, decorating and cooking for the villagers using delicious local ingredients.

But will the Northern Lights appear so they can honour their friend's wish? And can Freya's own dreams come true, this Christmas?

I believe Jo Thomas may have surpassed herself with this new book. It's phenomenal, and completely and utterly transported my head and heart into a remote part of Iceland, far away from the normal tourist locations, and getting to know a real community. 

It's a community that pulls together in times of need, like when an avalanche blocks the only safe way in and out of the village. I really loved how they went out of their way to help each. And after some initial reluctance, how our stranded heroines, also were able to help too. 

For best friends, Freya, Meg and Joanne all promised their fourth, Laura, that they would fulfil her bucket list, even once she was no longer here.  And they were determined to view the Northern Lights, on what would have been Laura's 40th birthday. 

They are only meant to be in Iceland for 3 days, for some relaxation, Northern Lights gazing all before going back to their incredibly busy lives. 

But the elves and trolls of Iceland clear had other ideas, after they went off the beaten track in search of lights, didn't heed the weather warnings and were incredibly lucky that they were near to Petur's farm. 

The descriptions of the landscape, the wildness of this remote Icelandic location were all so vivid, you felt as though you were alongside the characters. And since Freya is a chef, there is, as you may expect from a Jo Thomas novel, a strong foodie focus in this story, and of food being able to evoke memories. 

I was completely enchanted by this book, and completely and utterly devoured it. I couldn't get enough of the writing, and the story, the characters, and even as I'm writing this, I'm wondering just what is happening in their lives, a few hours after finishing the book.   

There is also an important message about sustainable farming practices, and how important it is not to pollute the water, as well as how it can be good to every now and then take a pause on your life and reflect and re-discover just what it is that will make you truly happy. 

A triumphant book that I am already missing being able to read more of. Simply wonderful. 

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

Wednesday, 21 September 2022

Book Review - To Sir, With Love by Lauren Layne - #HolidayReading Cruise

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Amazon UK

Title: To Sir, With Love
Author: Lauren Layne
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Headline Eternal
Publication Date: 29th June 2021
Rating: 5 Stars

Love Is Blind meets You've Got Mail in this laugh-out-loud romantic comedy following two thirty-somethings who meet on a blind dating app - only to realize that their online chemistry is nothing compared to their offline rivalry.

Perpetually cheerful and eager to please, Gracie Cooper strives to make the best out of every situation. When her father dies, she sets aside her dreams of pursuing her passion for art to take over his Midtown Manhattan champagne shop. She soon finds out that the store's profit margins are being squeezed and a giant corporation headed by the impossibly handsome, but irritatingly arrogant Sebastian Andrews is proposing a buyout.

Gracie can't bear the thought of throwing away her father's dream and, overwhelmed, she seeks advice and solace from the faceless 'Sir', with whom she connected on a blind dating app where matches get to know each other before exchanging real names or photos.

But although Gracie finds herself slowly falling for Sir online, she has no idea she's already met him in real life...and they can't stand each other.

This may be only the second book I've read by the author but she is quickly becoming a new favourite. 

I loved this so much, it is a fresh take on "You've Got Mail" and thus has a very familiar rom com vibe to it, but at the same time you are never completely sure if your hunches will be right, or just how various aspects may turn out. 

There was even a moment where I felt oddly emotional with the story which was unexpected but shows how deeply I was connecting with the characters. 

I also loved the interactions between Gracie and Samuel, and the whole idea of the Champagne shop. 

I just completely enjoyed my time spent reading this lovely book. 

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

Tuesday, 20 September 2022

Book Review - The Holiday Bookshop by Lucy Dickens - #Holidayreading Cruise

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Amazon UK

Title: The Holiday Bookshop
Author: Lucy Dickens
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: 2nd May 2022
Rating: 5 Stars

Are you looking to start a new chapter?

Role: Bookseller wanted! (3-month fixed-term contract)
Location: A luxury resort on the tropical island of Bounty Cove Cay.
Skills required: The ideal candidate will have experience in a retail environment, preferably within the book industry.
Desired qualities: This role will appeal to a book lover with an adventurous streak who is looking for an escape from their everyday life.
What to expect: Sun, sea, and a bookshop that is far from thriving. No one said it would be smooth sailing!
Please note: You may fall in love with more than just our island along the way...

Looking for your next beach read? Look no further! Escape with The Holiday Bookshop, perfect for fans of Jo Thomas, Phillipa Ashley and Jenny Colgan...

This spoke to my inner armchair travel enthusiast, my inner booklover, my love of all things wonderfully escapist as it is a fantastic story that had perhaps a lot more going for it then you may first imagine. 

For I loved Marianne's storyline and adventure just as much as Jenny's.  They are best friends and business partners, but recently not being getting along as well as normal. 

When they go off in separate directions for a while, it is a real journey of self discovery for each of them as they realise more about themselves than they expected. 

I loved the setting of the Maldives for Jenna's new role, and I discovering the atolls through her eyes. 

I just couldn't get enough of this story, the various plot lines and as always top quality writing. 

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

Monday, 19 September 2022

Book Review - Reckless Girls by Rachel Hawkins - #HolidayReading Cruise

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Amazon UK

Title: Reckless Girls
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: 28th January 2022
Rating: 5 Stars

The holiday of your dreams…
When Lux and Nico get the chance to sail to a remote island off the coast of Hawaii, they’re thrilled. It’s the trip they’ve been dreaming of their whole lives.

A tropical paradise…
Despite a dark history of shipwrecks and murder, the island is beautiful. But they’re not alone – another group is already there.

No one will hear your screams…
It’s not long before cracks emerge, and someone goes missing. Then a body surfaces, and Lux starts to wonder if any of them are going to make it back to shore alive…

This is the first book I've read by Rachel Hawkins and based on this experience it certainly won't be the last either. 

From the first few pages I was hooked, and just couldn't get enough of this story. 

From the far flung exotic starting location complete with some humour to the deserted island where most of the story in the present takes place, this was just my sort of a book all over. 

I loved the various chapters focusing on other characters, especially in what led them to be on the island, and there is plenty of action and adventure throughout, 

I devoured this book in a few short hours while on holiday, which is perfect time to read it, as its escapist, but also quite dark in places, and just generally had holiday read vibes about it. 

I loved every second I spent between the pages, but I won't be adding Melrose Island to my list of must visit places anytime soon, after the events that occur there during this novel!

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

Friday, 16 September 2022

Book Review - The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley - #HolidayReading Cruise

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Amazon UK

Title: The Paris Apartment
Author: Lucy Foley
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: 3rd March 2022
Rating: 5 Stars

Welcome to No.12 rue des Amants
A beautiful old apartment block, far from the glittering lights of the Eiffel Tower and the bustling banks of the Seine. Where nothing goes unseen, and everyone has a story to unlock.

The watchful concierge
The scorned lover
The prying journalist
The naïve student
The unwanted guest

There was a murder here last night.
A mystery lies behind the door of apartment three.

Who holds the key?

What a varied group of people that live at this one apartment building in Paris. They at first glance have nothing in common with each other than an address, and from their opening chapter a general feeling that Benjamin Daniels was the catalyst for everything. 

It seems Ben wasn't overly well thought of by the rest of his neighbours, and when his half sister Jess turns up unexpectedly and finds him missing, she can't help but start asking questions. 

Which instantly starts to make us as readers feel she is going to uncover something - and wow what a lot of secrets, and connections and deceit there is to be unravelled. 

It kept me guessing throughout, I was never completely sure what to believe, and it had just the right level of creepiness to hook me. 

I thoroughly enjoyed my time spent with these characters, even if there were very few characters in this that I would ever want in my own life! 

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

Thursday, 15 September 2022

Book Review - Confetti at the Hummingbird Hotel by Daisy James

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Amazon UK

Title: Confetti at the Hummingbird Hotel
Author: Daisy James
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Author supplied copy
Publisher: Self published
Publication Date: 29th July 2022
Rating: 5 Stars

Welcome back to the Hummingbird Hotel on the gorgeous island of Corfu.

When Abbie Coleman is asked to organise a Dance & Desserts retreat for a group of exhausted schoolteachers, she decides to pull out all the stops. With line dancing, flamenco and the Charleston on the agenda, along with a whole host of delicious, themed desserts, it’s her chance to prove to everyone that she has – at last – gained the skills needed to be an accomplished hotelier. This time she’s determined there will be no “unfortunate incidents” that make the Hummingbird Hotel look like Corfu’s Comedy Central.

With her wedding to the gorgeous Nikos Angelopoulos only three weeks away, will she finally be able to deliver a retreat without the habitual chaos and calamity the hotel has become famous for? Can she turn a clunky chicken dance into a classy Charleston and a boogie-woogie into a beautiful ballet? Or will she be boot scootin’ it back to London and life as a floundering florist?

Let Daisy James whisk you away to sunny Corfu with a feel-good holiday read filled with sun, sea and a sprinkle of romance. Perfect for fans of Mandy Baggot, Sue Roberts & Sandy Barker.

What a glorious finale to such a fantabulous series. 

And what a rollercoaster of emotion it is for Nikos and Abbie, in the run up to their wedding. They have tough decisions to make, and nothing seems to go according to plan. 

The featured retreat at the hotel this time is Dance and Desserts and Felix is in his element teaching a wide variety of dances and providing a fabulous array of props for them too. And the desserts and themed cocktails really tickled my taste buds too. 

Perhaps less of mystery during this retreat than others that have been held at the Hummingbird Hotel, but still plenty of shenanigans taking place. 

Daisy James has done a wonderful job of tying up loose ends for many characters that I was on the verge of tears a few times during the last quarter of the book.  And I reckon anyone who was ready any of the series so far, will also feel that way. 

It's a stunning location once again plays a part and I felt as though I was in Corfu and I just loved all my time spent at the Hummingbird Hotel.  I'm said to see the series end, even if it has been done in a perfect way, and look forward to seeing where Daisy transports us next, with her wonderful blend of food, light mystery and superb settings. 

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

Wednesday, 14 September 2022

Book Review - Elodie's Library of Second Chances by Rebecca Raisin

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Amazon UK

Title: Elodie's Library of Second Chances
Author: Rebecca Raisin
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: HQ Digital
Publication Date: 4th August 2022
Rating: 5 Stars

Everyone has a story. You just have to read between the lines…

When Elodie applies for the job of librarian in peaceful Willow Grove, she’s looking forward to a new start. As the daughter of a media empire, her every move has been watched for years, and she longs to work with the thing she loves most: books.

It’s a chance to make a real difference too, because she soon realises that there are other people in Willow Grove who might need a fresh start – like the homeless man everyone walks past without seeing, or the divorcée who can’t seem to escape her former husband’s misdeeds.

Together with local journalist Finn, Elodie decides these people have stories that need sharing. What if instead of borrowing books readers could ‘borrow’ a person, and hear the life stories of those they’ve overlooked?

But Elodie isn’t quite sharing her whole story either. As the story of the library’s new success grows, will her own secret be revealed?

An uplifting story about fresh starts, new beginnings and the power of stories, from the bestselling author of Rosie’s Travelling Tea Shop!

"Never judge book by it's cover" is certainly the message that I have taken from this absolutely gorgeously covered book. 

It's all about not judging on appearances, listening to small town gossip and seeing if you can make the town a better place. 

And it's a battle to save a library, by attempting to increase memberships to be eligible for funding, all without any budget at all. 

Which is what makes Elodie's experiment and brainwave all the more impressive. And it's clear she is lover of books and doesn't mean any harm by deceiving the residents of Willow Grove as to her true identity. 

From the second I started this book I was hooked, from Elodie's family and job which sounded exhausting to the reasoning behind her applying to be the Willow Grove librarian.  It all just made sense and was believable and I she really is just trying to live her life on her own grounds. 

And the four people that Elodie is trying to help in the community, well they stole my hearts in the end,  especially Alfie - from the second he first spoke, I wanted to be his friend, and to protect him and help others see just how great he is. 

I loved finding out about so many of the character's pasts, and it helped make them such rounded and loveable and real people. 

This is Rebecca Raisin at her finest, and with a book filled with stories, a library, romance, secrets and a great message - well what more could a girl ask for?

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

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