Sunday 30 September 2018

Book Review - The Bakery at Seashell Cove by Karen Clarke - #HolidayReading Book 20

Book 20 of 28 read on my holiday to Cyprus in June 2018.

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Amazon UK
Title: The Bakery at Seashell Cove
Author: Karen Clarke
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Bookouture
Publication Date: 8th June 2018
Rating: 5 Stars

Meg Larson thought she had everything she wanted: she works in the local bakery, she’s months away from marrying her high-school sweetheart, and home is beautiful, sunny Seashell Cove, where the sky is blue, the sea is turquoise and the sand is golden.

Except that the bakery is up for sale and her fiancĂ© Sam’s more interested in bikes than their relationship. When Meg receives shocking news about her family, he’s on a cycling tour and ignoring her calls – and posting selfies on Facebook with a female cyclist he looks far too cosy with...

Luckily the bakery’s estate agent, Nathan, is understanding and funny, and as the summer goes on an unexpected friendship blossoms. When the bakery is given a second lease of life under a mysterious new owner, Meg realises a change might be exactly what she needs too.

Will Meg find the happy-ever-after she dreams of in Seashell Cove?

Just wow! Another truly spectacular book from Karen Clarke. I am loving this series. 

Seashell Cove is a place full of colourful characters including Gwen from the cafe, and I thoroughly enjoying getting to know Meg and her family better. 

I wasn't as keen on Meg's fiance and his family though.

And the bakery, what a great story involving it, and whether Meg would or wouldn't get her dream come true of running the old bakery. This is a woman that can seriously bake and her cakes were sounding delicious. 

I am loving how both of these Seashell Cove books so far are slightly different from what you may expect from the titles! Fantastic writing, great storylines and pretty setting, combining to create another fantastic story. I can't wait for the next book!

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

Saturday 29 September 2018

Book Review - Into The Darkness by Sibel Hodge - #HolidayReading Book 19

Book 19 of 28 read on my holiday to Cyprus in June 2018.

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Title: Into The Darkness
Author: Sibel Hodget
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Thomas and Mercer
Publication Date: 3rd July 2018
Rating: 5 Stars

The Missing…

In a hidden basement, eighteen-year-old Toni is held captive and no one can hear her screams. She’s been abducted after investigating unspeakable things in the darkest corners of the Internet.

The Vigilante…

Fearing the worst, Toni’s mother turns to ex-SAS operative Mitchell to help find her missing daughter. And when Mitchell discovers Toni’s fate rests in the hands of pure evil, he races against the clock to find Toni and bring her out alive. But even that might not be enough to save her.

The Detective…

DS Warren Carter is looking forward to a new job and a simpler life. But when he’s called in to investigate the brutal murder of a seemingly normal couple, he becomes entangled in lives that are anything but simple. And as he digs deeper, he uncovers a crime more twisted than he could ever have imagined.

Into the Darkness is the chilling new thriller from the bestselling author of Duplicity and Beneath the Surface.

Dark and treacherous is the best way to describe this story, as it take in some of the dark side, thankfully not in too much gory detail!

The story is told in the sections from the points of view of The Missing, The Detective and The Vigilante.  At times I did wonder if or how or when there would be an crossover of stories, so although I was looking out for it when everything came together it was rather satisfying. 

In terms of the detective and the vigilante, their two ways of approaching their investigations are really different and what did make me laugh is the level of political correctness being used in the police force!

This is a fast paced, edge of you seat thriller, where you are never completely sure what the outcome will be, or just what the motives are either.

Into the Darkness is another cracking book from Sibel Hodge, and one that I'm sure will disturb my dreams tonight!

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

Friday 28 September 2018

Book Review - Coming Home to Maple Cottage by Holly Martin

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Amazon UK
Title: Coming Home to Maple Cottage
Author: Holly Martin
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Bookouture
Publication Date: 28th September 2018
Rating: 5 Stars

This utterly addictive new novel from bestselling author Holly Martin will make you smile until your cheeks hurt, sob tears of pure joy and fall head over heels in love with a totally unforgettable romance…

Isla Rosewood is creating a new life for herself and her sweet nephew Elliot in their cosy, yellow-brick family cottage, brimming with special memories. Living in Sandcastle Bay was never part of Isla’s plan but, after her brother Matthew’s tragic accident, her whole world changed as she unexpectedly became a mother to the little boy she adores so much.

Leo Jackson was always known as Matthew’s fun-loving and wild best friend. But now Matthew is gone, it’s time to put his colourful past behind him. His role as Elliot’s godfather is the most important thing to him. And even though Leo and Isla are two very different people, they both want to give Elliot the childhood he deserves.

As the three of them enjoy time together watching fireworks, baking cakes and collecting conkers, Isla begins to see a softer side to charming Leo, with his twinkling eyes and mischievous sense of humour. And, despite herself, she begins to fall for him.

But does Leo feel the same way? Isla knows their situation is complicated but is it too complicated for true love… or will the year end with a happy new beginning for them all?

This is the book that I have been waiting for, we finally get to see if Isla and Leo will get together, and if she will ever say yes to one of his repeated proposals.  We also get to discover whether Isla will finally be able to adopt Elliot officially, who is a wonderful 5 year old boy.  

Having read the previous too books in this series I had been eagerly awaiting the answers to all of that and to see what the outcomes would be, and felt right at home, with everything coming back to me really fast as I started to read.  If you haven't read the other books set in Sandcastle Bay, then you are missing out, but equally this book will work as a standalone. 

Possibly because I knew the characters so well going into this, I found myself welling up with tears towards the end, as I was so happy with the outcome, which only ever happens when I read well written books where I care about the characters. 

I was enchanted by this book from the moment I started reading it, and read it in two sittings.  I'm  massive fan of this author, and she didn't let me down, weaving all of her humour and great romance into one fabulous story that makes for a fitting end to this series. 

It was refreshing to see a book set around Autumnal activities,  including acorn jewellery, pumpkin carving and fireworks. 

Isla, Leo and Elliot may not be a traditional family unit but the amount of love that flows between the three of them, makes them far more solid than most, and the second anything happened that would threaten their threesome, it was interesting to see just how Leo reacted.  It is clear that despite his bad boy past, that he really has changed and cares for Isla and Elliot a great deal. 

A beautifully told story that I really wish didn't end, I'm already hoping that Holly Martin is hard at work on the next book, as I don't want to wait too long.  If you are looking for a wonderfully romantic story,  with fabulous chemistry, clear bonds of friendship and love and a fabulous cast of recurring characters, then this is the book / series for you! 

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

Thursday 27 September 2018

Book Review - The French Escape by Suzie Tullett

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Amazon UK

Title: The French Escape
Author: Suzie Tullett
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher:  Bombshell Books
Publication Date: 20th September 2018
Rating: 5 Stars

It’s fair to say that Flick has had a terrible year. Her beloved father died, she had the wedding of her dreams and only hours after the ceremony her husband ran out on her. 
Brenda, fed up of her daughter living like a hermit, decides to drag Flick off to France to stay in a chateau. What could be better than an idyllic escape?
But when they arrive Flick discovers the chateau is all but abandoned. 
The only upside of her French escape is the handsome and mysterious neighbour, Nate. 
Nate loves his life living in the cottage on the grounds of the abandoned chateau but that is about to be put in jeopardy...
Can Nate and Flick ever learn to come to terms with the past and find love again? 
The French Escape is a heart-warming, happy ever after, love story. Follow Flick and Nate’s laugh out loud and emotional journey as they negotiate matters of the heart and learn to trust again.  

Every now and then a book will attract me purely on cover, and possibly title and without really paying it any closer attention I end up with it on my kindle.  This is one such book, the author has bene on my radar for a while as one I should try reading, so when this gorgeous looking book popped up I just couldn't resist. 

And I'm delighted that my impulsiveness paid off, as this was a truly enjoyable story, and I will be adding the rest of this authors books to my wish list! 

I tried my hardest to feel sorry for Flick, after all in recent months her father has died, and her groom ran off shortly after saying I do, but then her mum persuades her to take a trip to France and the next thing we know she is heavily involved with a Chateau, and a show bunch of friendly people in a small Breton village. 

While Flick is trying to get her head around everything, I was far more intrigued by Nate, who lives in a cottage in the grounds of the chateau and is clearly hiding something. It was his story that had me wondering what was going on, and reading on to find out more. 

I loved Flick though, and her mother Brenda and really enjoyed seeing how they were trying to get used to the French way of life.  I really loved all the villagers too, they were so friendly and welcoming, each with their own quirks. 

This is pure escapist reading and when reading it on a tube, I had no idea where I was most of the time, I must have gone past 5 or 6 stops without even noticing - very thankful I didn't miss mine - but I was so engrossed in how everything was going to resolve itself, that I was lost to the real world. 

Charming and thoroughly enjoyable, I am so pleased I took the chance on this book and definitely will be reading more from the author. 

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

Wednesday 26 September 2018

Let's see if as a book community we can do some good in the fight against a horrific disease...

As you will know, if you have been following me over the past three years, it is incredibly rare for me to write a personal post of any sort, unless I'm talking about holidays, but after I received an email earlier this afternoon I have been compelled to reach out to the book community. 

For earlier this evening I discovered that my inspirational headmistress while I was at school, Bernice McCabe, OBE, has been diagnosed with the same incurable brain cancer that took Tessa Jowell earlier this year. 

The school I went to was superb, and has many successful alumnae, including in the world of books, Jane Corry (whose books I love),  and Gillian Cross, plus those across all fields. From the headmistress down it was a school that supported its girls in all of their academic and extra-curricular pursuits.  

I will always recall the last day I was in school, for the Valedictory Assembly, I was sitting on the desks in a year 7 classroom, waiting for the bell to ring, so I could say good bye to the class that I had been a form assistant to in that last year, when Mrs McCabe walked in.  I feared I was going to be told off for sitting on a desk, but instead was astounded when not only did I discover she knew my name, but was letting me know that I was getting a prize for services to the school, which of course delighted me.  And meant I felt even worse when a couple of months later the A-Level results were in and I didn't achieve what was expected. 

I think this feeling of failure towards Mrs McCabe and the school has stuck with me through the years, so when I had an email from another old girl of the school, with this heart breaking news about such a wonderful woman, I knew I had to act,..

So what exactly is it that I am looking to do, well Grace Link is putting together a massive fund raiser and online auction, and can explain it all far better than me but essentially if you are an author, or publisher and can donate anything big or small to the auction then please do get in contact with Grace, as it is all for an incredibly good cause.,, 


I am currently studying at Princeton University in the US, however I have taken some time away in London to fundraise as sadly the headmistress of my school, Bernice McCabe OBE, has been diagnosed with brain cancer.  (…/leading-headteacher-bernice-mc…)We are extremely close as I was her Head Girl in the year she left the school (2016) and she has been my greatest role model and mentor.   Bernice has inspired the philosophies and ethics which continue to shape not just my life, but the lives of thousands of girls who flourished under her guidance.  

Bernice was able to receive a significant life-extending drug, Ipilimumab, privately at University College London Hospital. However, many who do not have private care, cannot access this important treatment. Bernice's oncologist, Dr Paul Mullholland, has been given the go-ahead to begin some immunotherapy trials which could mean the biggest brain cancer breakthrough in decades and the availability of this drug on the NHS. The National Brain Appeal has committed to raise £250,000 and Bernice has made it her mission to help achieve this amount.  

I am helping her by silent auction in London in late October. It would mean the world to me and so many schoolgirls who are desperate to help the cause in honour of Bernice, if you were to provide a lot to be auctioned for the event.  Ideally we are looking for “money-can’t-buy” goods or experiences, but anything you might be able to offer would be very gratefully received!  The money raised will not only be a tribute to Bernice’s struggle, but also to Tessa Jowell and the countless other sufferers of brain cancer in the UK. 

Current lots include joyrides in a Caterham super 7, a Skype call with the ‘Riverdale’ cast, and others from the Globe Theatre and Harry Potter and The Cursed Child. But you can offer anything from tea with an author to your nan’s Steak and Kidney pie! The aim is to help The National Brain Appeal reach their target of £250,000 by the start of the trials- but this is a gargantuan task in such a short space of time.  I know your support in any way would be invaluable to achieving this target.

The auction is scheduled to go live on the 14th October - but this is a flexible date and we may still add lots past it. 

Thank you so very much again for your help!

Best wishes,

Grace x

If you are able to help, please do contact Grace on and together lets see if we can make a difference to people's lives. 

And since hearing the news I have found this rather wonderful article too, written by Bernice McCabe herself, so I will leave you with that. 

Thanks for reading this far and I really hope that even if you can't help you can share this with someone that you feel may be able to. 

Book Review - Dinner Party by Tracy Bloom - Blog Tour

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Amazon UK
Title: Dinner Party
Author: Tracy Bloom
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Bookouture
Publication Date: 26th September 2018
Rating: 5 Stars

Never has an unexpected guest caused such chaos!

Three couples take it in turns to host a monthly dinner party.

Beth, Sarah and Marie have been friends forever. Now they are grown up, with busy lives, busy husbands, busy kids… but they still find time to meet up over dinner once a month. A cosy, comfortable gathering of happy couples - or so they thought.

Until one night, someone brings along a last-minute guest whose wife has just left him.

Simon is standing on the doorstep in floods of tears. While the women do their best to console him, their husbands feel the need to mark their territory.

And as Simon becomes more involved with the group, his presence changes everything these three couples thought they knew about each other, leading to a final dinner party that no-one will ever forget.

From Amazon chart bestseller Tracy Bloom, Dinner Party is a funny and moving read that will make you see your marriage and friendships in a whole new light… and make you think twice about inviting your best mates round for dinner. Perfect for fans of Marian Keyes, Nick Spalding and Gill Sims.

This is Tracy Bloom at her best - funny, real people, fabulous situations and a hook that kept me intrigued until the end. 

Who would have predicted that introducing one stranger as an act of kindness into an established group of friends, would have such far reaching consequences. 

The three couples  are friends due to the women Beth, Sarah and Marie who have known each other since school. The husbands, Chris, Tony and Duncan tolerate each other for the sake of the women.  When Chris announces last minute that he has invited Simon to one of their regular dinner parties, its sets off a chain reaction of events that had me gripped. 

Each chapter focuses on a different character, but at the end of each chapter there are what appears to be an ongoing interview between a journalist and members of the group - and it was those that had me intrigued first. I had to know why there was a journalist and from the hints in the answers to the questions, just what happened, as its clear something large occurred at one party but that is all I am saying on the matter. 

All six of the main characters are so completely different, and with the exception of Tony, I tended to like or at least sympathise with all the others.   I loved their various quirks from Tony's insistence on perfection and snobbery, to Chriss love of dips - I've never read a book featuring dips so heavily before - nor a group of people who appear to be addicted to them as the perfect opening to a dinner party  

Then there is Marie's health and fitness obsession, Beth who really needs to believe in herself more, Dunan who has a great way of training new staff where he works, and Sarah who seems stuck in a rut.  Each so different but their dinner parties in the past apparently have worked. 

There are many laugh out loud moments and all the characters are just to realistic. The odds are you have met one or two of them yourself.  For this is what Tracy Bloom does best, adds hilarity into situations involving just regular, believable people. 

I loved every second of this fabulous book, its just a shame I had to reach the end.  If you are looking for something fun, light hearted and purely entertaining then read Dinner Party! 

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

Tuesday 25 September 2018

Book Review - The Coordinates of Loss by Amanda Prowse

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Amazon UK
.Title: The Coordinates of Loss
Author: Amanda Prowse
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Publication Date: 25th September 2018
Rating: 4 Stars

When Rachel Croft wakes up on her family’s boat in Bermuda, it’s to sunshine and yet another perfect day…until she goes to wake her seven-year-old son, Oscar. Because the worst thing imaginable has happened. He isn’t there.

In the dark and desperate days that follow, Rachel struggles to navigate her grief. And while her husband, James, wants them to face the tragedy together, Rachel feels that the life they once shared is over. Convinced that their happy marriage is now a sham, and unable to remain in the place where she lost her son, she goes home to Bristol alone.

Only when she starts receiving letters from Cee-Cee, her housekeeper in Bermuda, does light begin to return to Rachel’s soul. She and James both want to learn to live again—but is it too late for them to find a way through together?

All consuming, utterly gripping story about a couple coming to terms with the sudden loss of their child, while at sea on day, in Bermuda. 

I could barely put the book down as the writing is so good, and it just drew me in and wouldn't let me know. 

However unlike other books by this author, I just didn't quite connect properly with the subject and the characters and I can only think that is because we didn't really get to see Oscar alive and connect to him before the tragedy, so its harder to feel his loss for yourself.  

We do get to know Oscar a bit through reminisces but given the book is all about his death and those coping with it, I was surprised that I didn't feel anything towards him, especially given I normally love child characters in books. 

What I loved were the letters that Cee-Cee, their housekeeper was writing to Rachel, to help her with her grief and through them we learn about Cee-Cee's own life and her heartbreak.  

I started to warm to Rachel once the complete despair stage was a bit lesser and watching her slowly come to terms with her new life and situation is rather inspiring. I am sure that if you are going through a similar situation and were in a position to read this, then it would give you some comfort, and hope.  Equally those that have unfortunately lived through what Rachel and James do, may connect to this book a lot more than I did. 

That being said I was unable to tear myself away, I had to read it in a few hours, in long stints, and wasn't really aware of what was going on around me.  I didn't find it emotional, but it was interesting and the topic is dealt with, with Amanda Prowse's typical levels of details warmth and sensitivity. 

This ia a great book and if you are new to the author it will certainly give you a fabulous idea of what she is capable of. 

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

Monday 24 September 2018

Book Review - Snowflakes Over Holly Cove by Lucy Coleman - Blog Tour

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Amazon UK
Title: Snowflakes Over Holly Cove
Author: Lucy Coleman
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Publisher supplied copy
Publisher: Aria
Publication Date: 18th September 2018
Rating: 4 Stars

As the snowflakes start to fall, Holly Cove welcomes a new tenant to the beautiful old cottage on the beach...

For lifestyle magazine journalist Tia Armstrong, relationships, as well as Christmas, have lost all their magic. Yet Tia is up against a Christmas deadline for her latest article 'Love is, actually, all around'...

So Tia heads to Holly Cove where the restorative sea air, and rugged stranger Nic, slowly but surely start mending her broken heart.

Tia didn't expect a white Christmas, and she certainly never dared dream that all her Christmas wishes might just come true...

Set in Caswell Bay on the stunningly rugged Gower Coast, the cottage nestles amid the limestone cliffs and the woodlands; the emotions run as turbulently as the wind-swept sea.

What a charming story,  which kept me entertained from start to finish. 

I loved getting to discover the Gower Coast an in particular Holly Cove which sounded lovely.  I enjoyed getting to know the locals to the area, especially Max and Nic. 

I especially was interested in both Tia's friendships between Max and also Nic, and she was gaining different things from both men. 

Tia is still coming to terms with the loss of her mother, but through it there is a silver lining, she is back in touch with her brother, and may start getting to know her estranged niece.  

This whole book had a lovely heartwarming feel to it, and although its predominately set throughout the year, it does a bit of a festive slant to it, with Tia writing articles for the November, December and January issues of the magazine she writes for in the early summer.   The various couples she interviews are all interesting and I liked how Tia was able to draw people into her, and get them chatting. 

This does mean the book doesn't need to be saved for when you are doing your Christmas reading and can easily be enjoyed year round. 

There were plenty of unexpected moments in the book which kept me wondering whether I had missed any vital clues.  Plenty of secrets to uncover and there is a scene of high drama that me on the edge of my seat. 

It is a very enjoyable read and I look forward to more from Lucy Coleman in the future. 

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

Sunday 23 September 2018

Book Review - The Little Cornish Kitchen by Jane Linfoot - #HolidayReading Book 18

Book 18 of 28 read on my holiday to Cyprus in June 2018.

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Amazon UK
Title: The Little Cornish Kitchen
Author: Jane Linfoot
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Harper Impulse
Publication Date: 17th May 2018
Rating: 5 Stars

It's time to come home to Cornwall

With an exiting new life in Paris, Clemmie Hamilton isn't looking forward to heading home to the picturesque but sleepy village of St Aidan, Cornwall. However, when she discovers that the cosy apartment by the sea, which her grandmother left to her, is under threat from neighbour and property developer, Charlie Hobson, Clemmie realises she can't abandon her home in its time of need.

With her childhood friends encouraging her, Clemmie decides to turn the apartment into 'The Little Cornish Kitchen' – a boutique pop up pudding club raising money for the repairs to the building in an effort to stop Charlie once and for all. But when Charlie and his easy charm won't seem to go away, everything soon becomes even messier than the state of Clemmie's Cornish kitchen…

Why readers love The Little Cornish Kitchen:

‘Have you ever liked a book so much that you wanted to give it a hug…chicklit GOLD’ Pretty Little Book Reviews

Well I was craving macarons in the first few pages, and then moved onto sorbets, meringues, chocolate and more. To say this book is a treat for the tastebuds would be an understatement. 

If this book doesn't make you incredibly hungry as you read it I would be surprised. 

Even with a new cast of characters I loved being back in St. Aidan which the author has used for some of her previous books, and is a gorgeous Cornish setting. 

I loved everything to do with Clemmie's story, from the not knowing her father, to learning to cook to all of her fellow mermaids (friends).

In fact I loved every second of this marvellous story.  What a joy to read.

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

Saturday 22 September 2018

Book Review - Springtime at Wildacre by Lucy Daniels - #HolidayReading Book 17

Book 17 of 28 read on my holiday to Cyprus in June 2018.

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Amazon UK
Title: Springtime at Wildacre
Author: Lucy Daniels
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Publication Date: 28th April 2018
Rating: 5 Stars

Love is in the air in the little village of Welford . . .

Mandy Hope is on cloud nine. Hope Meadows, the animal rescue and rehabilitation centre she founded, is going really well. And she's growing ever closer to handsome villager Jimmy Marsh. What's more, James Hunter, her best friend, is slowly learning to re-embrace life after facing tragedy.

But when an unexpected crisis causes Mandy to lose confidence in her veterinary skills, it's a huge blow. If she can't learn to forgive herself, then her relationship with Jimmy, and the future of Hope Meadows, may be in danger. It'll take friendship, love, community spirit - and one elephant with very bad teeth - to remind Mandy and her fellow villagers that springtime in Yorkshire really is the most glorious time of the year.

Such a joy to be back amongst friends in this new book in the Hope Meadows series. 

I absolutely lover the direction this book has taken the story in, and meeting a new array of animals, from squirrels to well lets just say something just a tad larger than a squirrel towards the end!

Since this is the third book in a series there are plenty of story line continuing from the previous books, which is always good to see.  

One of the main new plots was seeing how Mandy would get on meeting Jimmy's twins as they do need to get along if there is any hope of their relationship continuing. 

In fact between Jimmy and best friend of Mandy's James, most of the major story threads seemed to involve them. Good thing I enjoy both of their characters. 

There were definitely some emotional moments in this, but also some cute and funny ones too.  I love this author and her writing, and I love Hope Meadows and Animal Ark and am already eagerly awaiting the next installment. 

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

Friday 21 September 2018

Book Review - The Perfect Fit by Mary Jayne Baker

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Amazon UK
Title: The Perfect Fit
Author: Mary Jayne Baker
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Mirror Books
Publication Date: 21st September 2018
Rating: 5 Stars

After years living in London, costume shop owner Becky Finn is trying to build a new life for herself and fiancé Cole in her old home of Egglethwaite, a sleepy village in the Yorkshire Dales.

Keen to raise funds for the struggling village hall she loved as a child, Becky soon finds herself at the head of a colourful group intent on resurrecting Egglethwaite s Christmas pantomime. But, as she quickly discovers, there s more to panto than innuendo and slapped thighs.

As opening night grows closer, Becky starts to wonder if her embattled panto will ever make it to the stage and, with handsome co-star Marcus on the scene, if she s picked the right man for her after all.

It's panto season!!

Oh not it isn't - I hear you cry! 

Oh yes it is! - or at least it feel like it having just read The Perfect Fit. 

If you are a fan of the good old British tradition of a pantomime, then you will love this book as putting on a  panto to save a village hally is exactly what this book is all about. 

The real life situations of Becky and the cast are mirroring the fairytale ones where reality and fiction can become blurred. 

All of my favourite sections revolve around the panto, the writing sessions between Becky and Marcus, full of innuendo and groan worthy jokes.  The sections of the script we see read and sound just like any panto I've seen, with the right mix between child friendly and hilarious for an adult too.   They also I was glad to see were inserting all the key elements of a panto - song and dance numbers, a messy scene with custard pies and the like, audience participation and generally a feeling of a fabulous night out. 

The book opens with Becky taking her niece Pip to a panto, and seeing it through the eyes of a 5 year old really set the tone for the book.  If you have read the previous book in the Love in the Dales series, then like me you will be delighted to see a whole host of very familiar faces, even if as the story progresses you are seeing them in a completely new light!  

It does work as a standalone though, so if you haven't read the first book don't worry you won't be at a disadvantage. 

There are some plot lines that address all manner of topics some far more frivolous than others and this really is a feel good read that will make you keen for the festive season to start without it being a Christmassy book.  In fact the story takes place over a year and we don't get a proper sense of Christmas, so although its very panto-centric, its a really pleasurable book to read year round! 

So slap your thigh, unleash your inner child and sit back and relax with this joyous book that wil make you groan and also smile, laugh, believe in magic and fairy tales and generally feel like you have had a good night out at the local panto. 

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

Thursday 20 September 2018

Book Review - The Temp by Michelle Frances

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Amazon UK
Title: The Temp
Author: Michelle Frances
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Pan
Publication Date: 20th September 2018
Rating: 4 Stars

No one was going to replace her. Were they?

Carrie is a successful TV producer in a high pressure job. She’s talented, liked, and well-respected. She and her husband, Adrian, an award-winning screenwriter, decided years before that they didn’t want children. But now, just as they’re both at the pinnacle of their careers, she has discovered she is pregnant, and is shocked to find that she wants to keep the baby. But in a competitive industry where time off is seen as a sign of weakness, Carrie looks on the prospect of maternity leave with trepidation.

Enter Emma, the temp, who is everything she could wish for as her cover: smart, willing and charming. Carrie fears that Emma is manoeuvring her way into Carrie’s life, causing turmoil in both her marriage and her work as she does so. The problem is everyone else adores her . . .

Increasingly isolated from Adrian and her colleagues, Carrie begins to believe Emma has an agenda. Does Emma want her job? Or is she after even more?

Thoroughly gripping story that by the last quarter had me on the edge of my seat while I saw how everything unfurled.  

To start with this feels like a nice reasonably gentle women's fiction novel,  about a couple who are having a baby, but the father is rather reluctant, and the mother is fearing for her job while she is on maternity leave.  All issues that people face on a regular basis. 

However it soon becomes apparent that there is something just isn't quite right with Emma, the temp, yes she is amazing at her job but I found it hard to warm to her. I wasn't too keen on her parents either who just didn't understand their daughter. 

As events unfold, the tension ramps up, and its becomes a more compelling read,  and slightly unsettling, as everything was a bit too realistic and easy to believe!   

With each chapter, the focus was on a different character,  so we did get to know all the main protagonists, especially Carrie and Emma very well.   I'm not sure how much I particularly liked anyone apart from Carrie who I did enjoy but the others weren't horrible, they were just harder to like, and the reasons do become apparent as you read. 

This was the first book I have read by the author and I would be tempted to read more.  The writing really drew me in and I'm sure accounted to my disturbed sleep, last night!  

This was a very good book, which for most of the first half I wasn't too surprised by but then the second half ramped it up a notch and I was completely wrong footed with the outcomes. 

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