Thursday 21 February 2019

I'm off on holiday again! - This time to Thailand!

I know it seems like only yesterday that I was posting saying I was back from Mexico, but I do have another holiday coming up and I'm off tomorrow. 

Five years ago on my 30th Birthday, I treated myself to a memorable holiday featuring my first time to America, first time on a cruise and I got to swim with dolphins on my birthday.  Given it was the best thing I've ever done for a birthday, I decided that every 5 years, I would treat myself to a new birthday holiday, hopefully somewhere different to my normal trips, or at least involving a first. 

So tomorrow I am flying off to Thailand.  I have never been before, and I'm spending the first week in Khao Lak, and the second in Phuket, in the Patong area, right in the centre.    And for my birthday itself I have an excursion booked to spend a morning feeding and bathing elephants. 

It has been about 14 or 15 years since I last went anywhere in the Far East, so to say I'm excited would be an understatement.  I'm hoping to do some boat trips too and see what else may crop up that may be exciting. 

Absolutely no idea how much reading I'll get done, but knowing me I'll have a kindle in my hand at every possible opportunity.   I won't though when I'm back be able to give you a list like last time of when all the reviews will be up - purely due to estimated lack of time! 

These are the paperbacks that I will be reading hopefully while I'm eating in restaurants in Phuket in the evenings, as I don't want to risk taking my kindle out and about in notorious night life areas! Plus I can always finish them in the mornings poolside. 

Now for the bit I seem to do each time I go away - let's give you all a look at my current review TBR - which is what I'll be using as a base to choose books from. 

If there are any of these that you think I should definitely read, then please let me know, I do keep the suggestions in mind, and often fresh eyes spot books that I may have completely bypassed for no apparent reason. 

So what do you think of these? Which are the must reads for while I'm away? Which would you like to see reviews of possibly between now and whatever my next holiday is?!

I'll be back on 11th March with a review of A Greek Affair by Linn B Halton - which I read on the previous holiday.  Don't forget to come back and look, its a fab book. 

Book Review - Dead Memories by Angela Marsons

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Amazon UK
Title: Dead Memories
Author: Angela Marsons
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Bookouture
Publication Date: 22nd February 2019
Rating: 5 Stars

She ruined their lives. Now they’re going to destroy hers.

‘Someone is recreating every traumatic point in your life. They are doing this to make you suffer, to make you hurt and the only possible end game can be death. Your death.’

On the fourth floor of Chaucer House, two teenagers are found chained to a radiator. The boy is dead but the girl is alive. For Detective Kim Stone every detail of the scene mirrors her own terrifying experience with her brother Mikey, when they lived in the same tower block thirty years ago.

When the bodies of a middle-aged couple are discovered in a burnt-out car, Kim can’t ignore the chilling similarity to the deaths of Erica and Keith – the only loving parents Kim had ever known. 

Faced with a killer who is recreating traumatic events from her past, Kim must face the brutal truth that someone wants to hurt her in the worst way possible. Desperate to stay on the case, she is forced to work with profiler Alison Lowe who has been called in to observe and monitor Kim’s behaviour.

Kim has spent years catching dangerous criminals and protecting the innocent. But with a killer firmly fixed on destroying Kim, can she solve this complex case and save her own life or will she become the final victim?

The heart-stopping and totally addictive new crime thriller from multi-million copy number one bestseller Angela Marsons will have you completely hooked.

Arguably the book I've been waiting for without even knowing that I was.  This is the instalment that digs a bit deeper into Kim Stone's past, while at the same time also is a great starting point for anyone new to the series. 

I say that as there are references to most of the main cases that have been involved in the previous nine books of the series, and it was I want to say great, but I'm not sure its the right word, that we got to meed up with some of the villains from the previous books - apart from my favourite psychopath. 

We also get to meet up with Alison Lowe again, and get to know a bit more about her, and I found as I was warming to her more and more as the story progressed. I also think that after perhaps one more book I will really start liking Penn, the newest  member of the team, I'm starting to get to grips with him, and can see he has useful qualities. 

What I couldn't work out or even get a theory on myself was just who and why was recreating Kim's past, one traumatic incident at a time. 

What I do know is that I couldn't put the book down and read the majority of it in one sitting, with little awareness of the world around me. It is completely addictive and easily my new favourite in this series, I have a feeling I've said that before, but what can I say Angela Marsons seems to out do herself each and every time. 

I was completely engaged with the crimes, and just wanted to know who was causing D.I. Kim Stone to go on an unwanted trip down memory lane.  

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

Book Review - Happiness For Beginners by Carole Matthews - #HolidayReading Mexico

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Title: Happiness For Beginners
Author: Carole Matthews
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Sphere
Publication Date: 21st February 2019
Rating: 5 Stars

Molly Baker is living her best life.

Thirty-eight years old, she lives on the twenty-five-acre Hope Farm in Buckinghamshire, surrounded by (mostly) four-legged friends and rolling hills. There's Anthony the anti-social sheep, Tina Turner the alpaca with attitude, and the definitely-not-miniature pig, Teacup.

Molly runs the farm as an alternative school for kids who haven't thrived in mainstream education. It's full on, but she wouldn't have it any other way. So when the well-groomed Shelby Dacre turns up at Hope Farm asking to enrol his son Lucas, Molly isn't fazed.

But Lucas is distant and soon Molly realises he might be more of a handful than she anticipated. And then there's the added problem that his dad is distractingly handsome. Molly has her beloved farm to think of - could letting Lucas and Shelby in be a terrible mistake, or the start of something wonderful?

Feel-good, funny and an absolute must-read from the queen of romance Carole Matthews, Molly's story will make your heart sing. New starts and second chances abound in Happiness for Beginners.

Always a happy day when I am able to read a new book by Carole Matthews, and Happiness for Beginners was a joy to read. 

Mollie introduces us to Hope Farm and what they do there, plus all the animals and their back stories over the first few chapters, in such a chatty style you feel like she is talking directly to you. 

And what fabulous place Hope Farm is, with its assortment of animals all with their own distinct personalities. 

And then there is the school aspect of what they do there, as its not a farm in the traditional sense, rather a place where troubled teens who have most likely been excluded from schools, can learn practical skills and become more independent and more from helping to take care of the animals. 

And this really is a delight for all animal lovers, I'm not sure I could pick a favourite, but Fifty the sheep that thinks its anything else, the Shetland pony that is allergic to its own hair and Teacup the pig that is rather larger than its name all have soft spots for me. 

The story focuses on one pupil and his recently widowed father, and Lucas couldn't help but get under my skin. Such a lovely boy, just misunderstood. 

In some respects this feels quite different from Carole Matthews' other books, possibly due to the setting, but equally it has everything you would expect to see from her too, all mixed into one amazing book. 

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

Wednesday 20 February 2019

Book Review - Did I Mention I Was Getting Married? by Julie Butterfield

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Title: Did I Mention I Was Getting Married?
Author: Julie Butterfield
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Author supplied copy
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: 15th September 2018
Rating: 5 Stars

Two years ago Rebecca Miles won the lottery and ended her marriage to her overbearing and unpleasant husband Daniel. She had every intention of putting the past behind her and starting again, but it turned out to be so much more difficult than she had imagined. Then Daniel announces he is getting married again and as Rebecca broods over how he has found it so easy to move on her daughter phones with good news - she’s getting married too! Determined not to be left behind Rebecca throws caution to the wind and finally meets someone who can give her the new start she so desperately wants. Now her ex-husband is back in her life, the future Mrs Miles wants to be her best friend, she has her daughter’s wedding to plan and a ramshackle old wedding venue to renovate to its former perfection in just a few months, if only she can find a builder who will take on the job. There are challenges, surprises, love and heartbreak ahead but at the end of a long, hot summer, will there be any weddings?

Starting two years after the previous book finished this can easily be read as a standalone. There is enough relevant backstory threaded in, but to really appreciate it, you should read Did I Mention I Won the Lottery? first, if for no other reason than its fabulous. 

First let me say I was very close to reaching inside the pages of this book and doing unspeakable violence to Annabel.  She is to be the new Mrs. Miles, and is engaged to be married to the dastardly Daniel, Rebecca's husband from the first book.  And omg, is she annoying.  She wants to get along with Rebecca as one big happy family. 

Who in their right mind would want to be on good terms with, to the extent of declaring a room in the old wife's house their own room for whenever they happen to be in town?  Annabel is one of the most self centred, shallow characters I have come across in a long while I  can't explain how much she irritated me. 

That being said some of it was just with her over the top plans for her wedding, which were rather amusing too, so she was greatly entertaining as well as ridiculous! 

It says a lot for Julie Butterfield's writing that for both books in this series, I felt incredibly strongly against one of the characters. They were that real and life like, that had they been within reach, I may have got violent! 

As you may have guessed from the title  - there is love and marriage in the air, and its not just the ex-husband who is engaged. Rebecca's daughter Sarah also announces her engagement on the same day, and she is a lovely character and not a bridezilla. 

It's due to Sarah's thoughts on wedding venue that lead Rebecca to purchasing Willow Court and then locating a team of builders to get it renovated and ready for her daughters wedding, in addition to setting it up as a wedding venue business. 

I loved Willow Court, the transformation is so impressive and would have required far more vision than I would have.  And the two main builders, Drew and Luke - well keep an eye out for them, as they are rather key to the plot, but not necessarily in the way you may now be thinking! 

A superb sequel it kept me on my toes, and was an incredibly enjoyable book to read.  I can't help but hope that we will see more from Rebecca Miles in the future. 

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

Tuesday 19 February 2019

Book Review - Did I Mention I Won The Lottery? by Julie Butterfield

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Title: Did I Mention I Won The Lottery?
Author: Julie Butterfield
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Author supplied copy
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: 8th June 2013
Rating: 5 Stars

Rebecca Miles has won the lottery and is now living a millionaire lifestyle. The only problem is – she hasn’t told her husband. So at weekends she’s a dutiful wife in Darlington, working at the local deli and making shepherd’s pie for dinner, but during the week she’s living in her new mansion in Leeds spending her days shopping whilst her husband thinks she’s looking after her sick mother. Will she get the courage to tell him before he finds out for himself? And can several million pounds in your bank account save a failing marriage?

This is the perfect book to cure a book hangover from a massively impressive psychological thriller, I am delighted to say.  I was unsure what to read next, but figured I would go for a complete opposite sort of read to the previous and it worked out for the best, as this was equally fabulous but in different ways! 

From the moments we first meet Rebecca and she is furtively trying to dampen down the excitement that she may possibly have won the lottery, if only she could be completely sure the ticket and the numbers are both for the same week.  Then her being amazed at being a solo winner that week, and how much she has won.   

I couldn't help but instantly love her, she is just a woman who is instantly likeable, unlike her husband Daniel.   I can't blame her for failing to mention to her husband that she had won, and I agreed that if you hadn't told hubby,then telling other family members would be poor form. 

So she is left to deal with become a millionaire overnight by herself with a whole range of consequences.  Let's just say that Rebecca is not your typical lottery winner, and the way she deals with everything is great.  

The whole way through though I wanted to beat the living daylights out of the dinosaur she is married too.  Daniel is an utter nightmare, belittling, bullying, and clearly just sees Rebecca as a cook. 

Completely unintentionally I read almost the whole book in one sitting, I don't even think I had been reading for that long but the percentage meter shot up. I was enjoying it so much.  

This is a very fun book to read,  and I couldn't help but applaud Rebecca by the end. I think I may be about to drop everything and read the sequel, as I need to see how her story progresses, plus to see if she has any money left! 

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

Monday 18 February 2019

Book Review - The Sisters by Kate Forster - #HolidayReading Mexico

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Title: The Sisters
Author: Kate Forster
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Aria
Publication Date: 20th November 2018
Rating: 5 Stars

Wealth and privilege can't buy you love... or keep your secrets safe.
The de Santoval sisters are heiresses to a glamorous fashion house, and the darlings of LA society.

Violetta is the hottest reality TV star of the moment, with a fierce press interest to rival Hollywood's A-list.

Carlotta is an exclusive horse trainer, as wild as the stallions she breaks in.

Fine-arts consultant Grace is hiding a dark secret she must keep hidden at all costs.

Their mother, wealthy fashion maven Birdie De Santoval, lies unconscious following a mysterious accident. Blame soon falls on their powerful but ruthless tycoon father, the missing Leon De Santoval.

Beneath the ritzy façade of the de Santoval family lies a web of deceit and betrayal that hides a secret that threatens to destroy them all...

Perfect poolside reading, a glorious blockbuster of a novel that hits everything that I love from a book I am reading on holiday. 

There are rich people, scandals, mysteries, surprises and sex!

It is pure escapism that completely transported me to the sisters stories.  All three of them are so different but the question is will they be able to band together to save their mother's company, even though none of them have ever worked there. 

At first Violetta and Carlotta are fairly unlikable but once you get to know them I found I was rooting for all 3 girls. 

I love reading books from this author, and this was no exception, just the sort of book I adore, very well written and highly compelling. 

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

Friday 15 February 2019

Book Review - The Little Book Cafe by Georgia Hill - #HolidayReading Mexico

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Title: The Little Book Cafe
Author: Georgia Hill
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Harper Impulse
Publication Date: 13th December 2018
Rating: 5 Stars

Tash, Emma and Amy couldn’t be more different
A successful estate agent who has her life pretty much on track, Tash has ticked all the boxes. Hasn’t she?

Emma is a budding writer who yearns to flex her writing skills and shake up her life that has become, well, a little stale…

And then there’s Amy, the manager of The Little Book Café, a hopeless romantic who had her heart broken, but quietly refuses to give up on love.

Brought together by their love of books and delicious cake from the café next door, they are in for a year of romance, crime and classic novels that will help them get through all that life will throw at them…

How lovely it was to be back in Berecombe, home of Millie Vanilla's Cafe - and to discover that the Little Book Cafe is an extension of it.

Split into three parts there were all released separately too, this really is a lovely story. 

Well 3 lovely stories as all 3 parts do work completely by themselves.  My favourites were Tash and Amy, but I did enjoy Emma's section too. 

All three ladies are friends and have a love of books. Tash and Emma work together, so I felt I already knew Emma quite well as the focus moved to her. 

Tash is having a horrible time of things at the moment, and I was willing her to find the strength to do what to the reader seemed obvious.  Emma is trying to better herself and gets her mind turned by all sorts of things. Amy needs to get on better with her mum and will she ever get together with the man of her dreams. 

Incredibly enjoyable, quick to read, with fab descriptions, plenty of both books and food, not to mention recurring characters in the small town,  this really was a joy to read. 

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

Thursday 14 February 2019

Book Review - The Undercover Mother by Emma Robinson

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Title:  The Undercover Mother
Author: Emma Robinson
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Bookouture
Publication Date: 20th March 2018
Rating: 5 Stars

Jenny has too much on her plate: literally – she’s only expecting one child but she’s eating for at least three. Not to mention trying to juggle her nightmare boss, a know-it-all sister, and an infuriatingly laid-back husband. 

She used to be known for her ‘Single Girl About Town’ column. But when her boss gives her job to a younger colleague, Jenny panics and proposes she blogs instead about being a clueless new mum. Surely people will find her new friendship group fascinating? (Even if the only thing they seem to have in common is that they all had sex around the same time 9 months ago...)

And if her readers aren’t quite hooked yet, maybe Jenny will just have to be more liberal with the truth. After all, none of the other mums will read it… will they? 

The Undercover Mother is a hilarious parenting page-turner that will make you laugh, cry and want to crack open the gin. Perfect for fans of Why Mummy Drinks and The Bad Mother’s Diary. 

What an amusing look at motherhood. From early on I was really enjoying this story, and seeing just how the group that met at ante natal classes would get on together. 

Well I ended up very surprised as some of the outcomes, and semi predicted some of the others,. 

Jenny is a fabulous main character, completely unprepared for what will happen to her life once she has her baby, She is convinced she can continue working  on her column that she perhaps had already outgrown, and that it would be easy being in charge of a helpless little thing that doesn't do much! 

I must say the chapters with Jenny giving birth, have completely reassured me that my decision to not ever give birth to anything is completely correct. That is not for me at all.  Apart from those horrifying scenes the book is on the whole a light hearted look at the nitty gritty of parent hood, 

Jenny gives it an amusing slant in her Undercover Mother blog, and each chapter starts with a snippet from a blog post which was a nice touch. 

I was entertained getting to know Jenny's new friends, as well as seeing the vastly different attitudes of each of them towards parenting, as well as her old colleagues.  

Its a really fun book, that I'm really glad I finally loaded up on my kindle after a year to read, and I find myself frustrated that I haven't read Emma Robinson's other books yet either, which is something I should correct. For if this is a debut and I loved it, I have to see what else she has written since. 

Many thanks to Netgalley and Bookouture for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily, 

Wednesday 13 February 2019

Book Review - Bollywood Wives by Alex Khan

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Title: Bollywood Wives
Author: Alex Khan
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Hera Books
Publication Date: 6th February 2019
Rating: 5 Stars

The biggest scandals happen off-camera...

Zara Das is Bollywood’s hottest property, her every move watched by the eyes of the press. Riding high from the success of a string of blockbusters, she has the world at her feet, but the scandal from her latest film threatens to dethrone her as Bollywood’s reigning queen. 

So when superstar director Raj Dillon stages a lavish retelling of Pride and Prejudice, moving the shoot from Mumbai’s soundstages to London, Zara knows this is the role that could put her back on top. Coming with them are the Bollywood Wives - Jackie, Sasha, and Rani - bringing their own off-screen drama.

But behind the diamonds, designer clothes and seven-star hotels lies the truth of how Zara reached the top. And when a dead body is found in her hotel room, it seems that someone is determined to take Zara down - and will stop at nothing to expose her darkest secrets. 

Zara has spent years running from her past. But now it’s caught up with her… 

A sexy, gripping, scandalous novel set in the world of Bollywood - fans of Jackie Collins, Crazy Rich Asians and Lauren Weisberger won’t be able to put this one down. 

I had a feeling from the moment I first saw this book that I would love it, and having just finished reading it, wow that is one fabulous book. 

I will admit to start with it was a bit of slow burner, but the payoff is worth it. Takes a while to get to grips will all the secondary characters, the main one Zara is key, but there are plenty of sub plots too, and other threads that once you have them straight in your mind are equally rewarding too.  

Bollywood Wives is a book that contains everything, we have very early on clear death threats to Zara, there is action, drama, sex, mystery, intrigue, scandal, a Bollywood movie being made in London, a diverse cast of characters, insights into modern India, some unimaginable levels of luxury and that is just for starters. 

That isn't even counting the more serious side of the book where we see how Zara, and few of the others have worked their way up from nothing to the stars they are, and their pasts are a real rags to riches story, with real struggles on the way. 

It's the sort of book that will appeal to so many different people, those interested in films, Bollywood, India, plus those who tend to read books with suspense and sex, and relationships etc...  It is definitely a blockbuster sort of book, which is why my only slight issue was that I didn't save it until I read it on holiday. 

I love reading these sorts of books poolside, and its definitely one who wants to escape for a while should read.  I was transported to a world far different to my own which was fascinating, and I was very keen to always find out what happened next. 

I loved Alex Khan's writing, and its clear this is a world he knows a lot about, and I hope he will write future books  that feature Bollywood, or India, as I love reading about characters so vastly different to myself. 

That ending completely took me by surprise too, as did quite a few of the various reveals. Bollywood Wives kept me on my toes and I loved every moment of it, especially the second half of the book. 

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

Tuesday 12 February 2019

Book Review - The Day We Met by Roxie Cooper - Blog Tour

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Title: The Day We Met
Author: Roxie Cooper
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Ebury Press
Publication Date: 1st February 2019
Rating: 5 Stars

Stephanie and Jamie are meant to be. The problem is they're both with other people...

Stephanie doesn’t believe in fate, true love or living happily ever after. She’s content enough being engaged to Matt. But then she meets Jamie, who understands her more than anyone else ever has.

Jamie is happily married to his childhood sweetheart Helen and believes in everything Stephanie doesn’t. So why does he have such a strong connection with Stephanie?

When Stephanie and Jamie meet one fateful weekend in 2006 it will change everything...

Ten years. Two people. One epic love story.

Wow this was amazing. 

I have literally no idea how to describe this, the blurb has one thing right - it is certainly an epic love story. 

Taking place over 10 years, with chapters from both Stephanie and Jamie's points of views, we see a relationship form between them that is evidently fated, and probably as close to soul mates as you are going to get. 

The connection between the two leads is believable and right from the off you can feel it, and wonder just how everything is going to develop. 

For Stephanie and Jamie are both in their own relationships and one thing they are both adamant about is that they love their partners.  But yet they are drawn to each other deeply and seem to be their true selves around each other. 

They only meet once a year, but we also see what their lives are like outside of their connection.  So we get to know Stephanie and Jamie's partners, their families and friends. 

It may sound like its a book about adultery and somehow it didn't feel like it. It's not sordid, its rather beautiful and after all you can't help you you have a true connection with.  If I ever felt like they did then I would count myself as a lucky person. 

How it this even possible that this is the authors second book, this is so accomplished, superbly written and I was completely enchanted by connection between Stephanie and Jamie.  

I was loving the book and couldn't really put it down much, and then I reach the last section and suddenly just OMG, I can't talk about it, I can't hint at it, I can't give spoilers but if you are looking for a book that will surprise you up until the end,  that has beautiful writing and wonderful sentiment and truly feels like quite a special book then this is the book for you.  I just didn't want it to end. 

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

Monday 11 February 2019

Book Review - Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella - #HolidayReading Mexico

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Title: Surprise Me
Author: Sophie Kinsella
Format reviewed: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Publisher: Transworld
Publication Date: 28th June 2018
Rating: 5 Stars

Surprise Me is Sophie Kinsella's emotionally charged, witty new standalone novel about love and long-term relationship survival - and how those we think we know best can sometimes surprise us the most . . .

After being together for ten years, Sylvie and Dan have a comfortable home, fulfilling jobs, beautiful twin girls, and communicate so seamlessly, they finish each other's sentences. They have a happy marriage and believe they know everything there is to know about each other. Until it's casually mentioned to them that they could be together for another sixty-eight years... and panic sets in.

They quickly decide to create little surprises for each other, to keep their relationship fresh and fun. But in their pursuit of Project Surprise Me - anything from unexpected gifts to restaurant dates to photo shoots - mishaps arise with disastrous and comical results. 

Gradually, the surprises turn to shocking discoveries. And when a scandal from the past is uncovered, they begin to wonder if they ever really knew each other after all...

Well Surprise Me certainly did that, what a surprising way to end the book. 

In fact all the surprises were a lot of fun. as a couple when discovering they have a very long life expectancy, realise that their marriage vows may mean even long together than anticipated. 

As you would expect from a Sophie Kinsella book this is filled with laughs, good times and a general fun factor.  

I especially loved Sylvie's work place and her boss and trying to bring the place into the 21st Century!

Another really enjoyable and quick to read book from one of my favourite authors. 

Sunday 10 February 2019

Book Review - Dirty Little Secrets by Jo Spain

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Title: Dirty Little Secrets
Author: Jo Spain
Format reviewed: Ebook 
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Quercus
Publication Date: 7th February 2019
Rating: 5 Stars

Six neighbours, six secrets, six reasons to want Olive Collins dead.

In the exclusive gated community of Withered Vale, people's lives appear as perfect as their beautifully manicured lawns. Money, success, privilege - the residents have it all. Life is good.

There's just one problem.

Olive Collins' dead body has been rotting inside number four for the last three months. Her neighbours say they're shocked at the discovery but nobody thought to check on her when she vanished from sight.

The police start to ask questions and the seemingly flawless facade begins to crack. Because, when it comes to Olive's neighbours, it seems each of them has something to hide, something to lose and everything to gain from her death.

What an impressive book.  At no point did I guess the outcome.  At not point did I particularly like any of the characters either, as they were all slightly on the despicable side. 

Despite that I couldn't stop reading this, and I did have some sympathy for a few of the neighbours as various aspects of their lives emerged. 

There are 7 households in Withered Vale - Olive's and her 6 neighbours.  Of those at some point or another she has upset every last person in the Vale, and no one even notices she hasn't been about for three months, until a large number of bluebottles are spotted above her chimney. 

This sets in motion a compelling story, where I was hooked on seeing the case from all the neighbour's points of view, the police and also Olive herself.  

There are so many different secrets at play here, that the second one was revealed you started thinking that person had the perfect motive, and then within another chapter or two, you are left reeling and thinking in another direction. 

The unpredictability of this book is its sheer brilliance. i just knew I had to keep reading it, until I finished it at close to 3am, when I am now writing this review.  

This is the second book I have read by Jo Spain,  and the second I wasn't able to put down. While I was reading I was completely under this talented author's spell as I whizzed through the chapters and tried to piece together just what happened to Olive. 

A dark book, that will keep you on your toes and is from an author that is definitely one to keep an eye on.  Highly recommended. 

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

Saturday 9 February 2019

Book Review - Finding Hope at Hillside Farm by Rachael Lucas

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Title: Finding Hope at Hillside Farm
Author: Rachael Lucas
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Publication Date: 7th February 2019
Rating: 5 Stars

Finding Hope at Hillside Farm is a heartwarming tale of loss, love and new beginnings by Rachael Lucas.

Hillside Farm, nestled in the rolling hills of the Welsh countryside, is a safe haven for Ella. Working with her aunt Bron, she runs her own business, sharing her love of horses to help those in emotional need. Living on the remote farm, and with just the horses and her aunt for company, Ella thinks she has finally found a place where she can forget her own past and find peace.

But the arrival of a small girl called Hope and her father Harry changes everything. As Ella helps the pair come to terms with their loss, she realizes she too deserves happiness. But is it too late to find it?

It has been ages since there has been a new Rachael Lucas book (well I haven't read the YA ones, I'm afraid), and its such a joy to be able to read another wonderful story from this author. 

Previously before this book I had heard of animal therapy and apart from dogs, I hadn't really thought about any other animals with therapeutic qualities.  But seeing how Ella works with the horses and the people that come to her for equine therapy, I'm sold on the thought that horses can do a lot more for a person, than just be ridden. 

I loved Hillside Farm and what Ella is achieving with these horses. I loved seeing how she was moving out of her comfort zone to build the business while her aunt Bron is in Australia.  

In the small Welsh village that Ella lives in, Jenny and Leo are renting a cottage with their 8 year old granddaughter Hope. 

Hope is horse mad, has been through a tough time, and although Ella previously hadn't been working with children, she can't disappoint Hope and starts to work with her.  However nothing is as simple as it seems and Hope's father Harry, is a rather interesting character. 

I was also curious to discover just what had driven Ella to live in such a remote location, and the pasts of all the key players are fascinating.   

This has a lovely feel to the story, its uplifting, its heartwarming, there are horses, character development and they are all really likeable and relatable to.  Set in a picturesque location, this is a really great book that I could barely put down,  I was whizzing through the pages and couldn't believe how fast I was getting through the book.  Utterly absorbing and I wish I could meet all of Elle's horses. 

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