Thursday, 30 April 2020

Book Review - The Stranger's Wife by Anna-Lou Weatherley

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Amazon UK
Title: The Stranger's Wife
Author: Anna-Lou Weatherley
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Bookouture
Publication Date: 16th January 2020
Rating: 4 Stars

Beth and Cath are leaving their husbands.

This is a story about two very different women.

One is wealthy and having an affair with a man who gives her the kind of love that her cold, detached husband does not.

One is living hand to mouth, suffering at the hands of a violent partner who would rather see her dead than leave him.

You may think you know these women already and how their lives will unfold.

Beth will live happily ever after with her little girl and her soulmate.

Cath will go back to her abusive husband.

And these two women will never cross paths.

But you will be wrong.

On the 3.15pm train from London to Bristol, Beth and Cath are about to meet and discover they share one shocking thing in common.

A clever, engrossing and absolutely unputdownable page-turner of a read about what really lies beneath the surface of a marriage. Fans of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train will be hooked on The Stranger’s Wife.

What a gripping story that certainly had me stumped.

There was always something about Beth Lawler that meant you weren't getting the whole truth but at no point could I have guessed the directions this story went in. 

I was hooked as everything started to come together.

I loved the police team, and also Catherine's story was gritty and real.

Another incredibly good book from this talented author. 

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

Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Book Review - Rules For Being A Girl by Candace Bushnell & Katie Cotugno

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Title: Rules For Being A Girl
Author: Candace Bushnell & Katie Cotugno
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books 
Publication Date: 16th April 2020
Rating: 5 Stars

From Katie Cotugno and author of Sex and the City Candace Bushnell comes this fierce and feisty exploration of feminism: standing up, speaking out and rewriting the rules.

Don’t be easy. Don’t give it up. Don’t be a prude. Don’t be cold. Don’t put him in the friendzone. Don’t act desperate. Don’t let things go too far. Don’t give him the wrong idea. Don’t blame him for trying. Don’t walk alone at night. But calm down! Don’t worry so much. Smile!

Marin is a smart, driven, popular girl – she's headed for Brown when she graduates and has a brilliant career as a journalist ahead of her. Especially in the eyes of English teacher Mr Beckett. He spends a lot of time around Marin, and she thinks it's harmless . . . until he kisses her.

No one believes Marin when she tells them what happened, so she does the only thing she can: she writes an article called 'Rules for Being a Girl' for the school paper to point out the misogyny and sexism that girls face every day. As things heat up at school and in her personal life, Marin must figure out how to take back the power and rewrite her own rules.

What an eye opening read, I mean in some way you sort of know the rules for girls if you are indeed female, but at the same time I've never really thought about them at all. 

What is for sure is that people's reactions to Marin's situation are shocking in this day and age but yet still all so believable I regret to say. 

It is worrying how few people were happy to believe Marin, in something that should have been taken seriously.  Yet from it, her life starts to change and I do feel possibly for the better.  She becomes are more rounded character, and has some big opinions on things and isn't scared of challenging anyone for injustices. 

This really is a book all about bringing back girl power, and Marin's editorial highlighting the insanity of the rules for girls is a real highlight of the story and I loved how things progressed from there. 

I found this to be a quick and easy book to read, possibly because I'm above the target age range, but equally found it very enjoyable and kept me entertained on a sunny afternoon in the garden. 

Always a delight to read a new book from Candace Bushnell, I just hope we don't have to wait as long for the next one. 

Thank you to Macmillan Children's Books and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Book Review - Rendez-Vous in Cannes by Jennifer Bohnet

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Title: Rendez-Vous in Cannes
Author: Jennifer Bohnet
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Boldwood Books
Publication Date: 7th April 2020
Rating: 5 Stars

A sweeping, bittersweet love story amidst the glitz and the glamour of the French Riviera.

Two very different women are starring in their own real-life dramas behind the scenes of the Cannes Film Festival.

Newly in love, Anna Carson returns to the Festival for the first time in nearly 40 years hoping to reconcile her past with her present-day happiness.

Journalist Daisy Harris is looking for a big scoop at her first Festival and is determined to embrace her new single status amongst all the glitz and glamour.

Behind the champagne and parties, secrets from the past are bubbling to the surface and difficult decisions need to be taken.

One thing's for certain - by the end of the Film Festival their lives will have changed forever…

What a simply beautiful story, set over the two weeks of the Cannes Film Festival, this is a book that has everything. 

Featuring the south of France, the hustle and bustle of the Film Festival, two very different main characters, new friendships, long lost past secrets bubbling up, fresh romance and some really sweet kids, this really is a joyous book to read. 

Well joyous but at times there were tears pricking my eyes due to events I can't specify as they would definitely be spoilers! 

We have Anna Carsons who is at her first film festival for 40 years and she is really hoping she can finally put the memories and past to rest, and be able to move on with her life and her new love.  Well until a bombshell just before the festival starts threatens to unsettle her a lot.

Then there is Daisy, the young journalist, who has never been to the festival before and it's through her eyes we can see the glitz and glamour, the various parties,  just how exhausting the whole two weeks can be for everyone attending .

Both Anna and Daisy are staying with Poppy, so although not a main character we get to know Poppy quite well too, and she is rather central too.  

As much as I loved Daisy's story and did really enjoy reading her sections, it was in the end Anna's that grasped me completely. I needed to know why she hadn't been to the festival for so long, just what she was hiding and once we knew that I need had to know, and was reading compulsively to find out how everything would resolve itself. 

The blurb is not wrong, lives really are changed forever over this rather special film festival, and I was delighted to be a fly on the wall watching it all play out.  I was loving every moment of the book and think it may just be one of my favourites from this author - and I do tend to love all her books! 

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

Monday, 27 April 2020

Book Review - Lemon Drizzle Mondays at the Little Duck Pond Café by Rosie Green

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Title: Lemon Drizzle Mondays at the Little Duck Pond Café
Author: Rosie Green
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Author supplied copy
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: 29th February 2020
Rating: 5 Stars

Molly Hooper has a secret. It haunts her dreams and casts a dark shadow over life with her gorgeous three-year-old daughter, Eva. Arriving in Sunnybrook has given her a glimpse of sunshine. The Little Duck Pond Cafe crew seem so welcoming and there's even the chance of a new job. Baking delicious cakes has always taken Molly to a happy place, so the job - at the glorious Brambleberry Manor Cafe - might just be perfect for her. It would mean she and little Eva could finally put down some roots at last. But is Sunnybrook the sanctuary Molly is searching for? Or will the past come back to haunt her, wherever she hides?

To say this is a series that keeps you on your toes is an understatement.  We go from the previous book written in three voices for the original Little Duck Pond Cafe Ladies - to this one which finally gives us Molly's story. 

And what  tough time of it Molly is having.  If I ever have to hear about her landlord again, I may have to incite some revenge on her behalf as he truly is despicable.  Her daughter Eva is utterly adorable and being three is rather accepting of the circumstances they are in. She takes glee in looking at the bargain aisles in supermarkets as much as her mum. 

Molly is determined to turn her life around, and a job in the Brambleberry Manor Cafe she hopes will be the start of a bright new future, if only things were just that simple.  

This though is a story about kindness, and about pledging acts of kindness, and about how putting out positive vibes for others can richly reward your life.   It's also a story about a mother's determination for a better life for her and her child. 

I would say that this book could definitely be read as a standalone, although all my favourite characters from the rest of the series are present to some extent, this is definitely Molly's book, and given we didn't know that much about her before, I'd say it would be safe book to kick start your love for the series. 

Rosie Green has written yet another book that I didn't want to be parted from,  I was thoroughly engrossed from start to finish and already can't wait to see at the Duck Pond Cafe gang get up to in their next book.  This is a series that is going from strength to strength, and I'm really impressed with the various ideas and way each book feels really different to each other but still having that sense of familiarity too. 

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

Sunday, 26 April 2020

Book Review - Sunrise Over Sapphire Bay by Holly Martin - Blog Tour

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Title: Sunrise Over Sapphire Bay
Author: Holly Martin
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Author supplied copy
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: 24th April 2020
Rating: 5 Stars

Fall in love with the beautiful Jewel Island this summer, where the sapphire sea sparkles, the golden sun warms your skin and the islanders melt your heart. From the bestselling author of The Little Village of Happiness comes Holly Martin’s most romantic novel yet.

Aria Philips has lived on Jewel Island all of her life. Even when her sisters Clover and Skye left its stunning shores for bigger and better things, Aria stayed to help her father run their family hotel.

A year after her father’s death Aria’s done everything she can to keep things afloat but the hotel has long been struggling to make a profit. With so few guests Aria risks losing the only home she’s ever had.

Noah Campbell earned his fortune from making hotels a success, and he also just happens to be staying on Jewel Island this summer. Could he be the answer to Aria’s problems? If only he hadn’t kissed her under the willow tree the year before and never called her again. It had been the most incredible kiss of her life, but clearly business and pleasure should never be mixed.

As gorgeous and charming as Noah may be, Aria vows to keep things professional while she seeks his help. But for the past year Noah has been keeping a secret and his return to Jewel Island is about to change Aria’s life forever…

Soak up the sun in Sapphire Bay with this feel-good novel you won’t be able to put down. An unforgettable summer romance perfect for fans of Debbie Johnson, Sarah Morgan and Jill Mansell.

Everything about this book is just what I needed to read at the moment.  It has a gorgeous setting in Sapphire Bay, some truly wonderful characters, a will they finally get it together sort of a romance, and some delicious sounding ice-cream and dessert concoctions. 

Ok the ice-cream and desserts are more thanks to Aria's sister Skye and may not be key to main story but wow they sounded very yummy and inventive. 

Aria though has a novel approach to running her hotel, which makes her such a lovable character. She tries to do the best she can by everyone, not necessarily with the best of business brains, but never mind.  Watching her try to explain to Noah her new business part her rationale for some of her decisions was amusing. 

As were so many of the scenes - look out for a rather unusual haka being danced, oh and the donkey!! The donkey scene is hilarious.   Oh and there is a guest at the hotel who just cracked me up completely, and she was a real breath of fresh air. 

I loved getting to know all the characters in the book, with the exception of new receptionist Zoe who really is just a nasty piece of work.   But everyone else is fabulous. 

There are even cameos from other characters from previous Holly Martin books, and I suspect there were possibly more than I am positive about! I always love it when an author does that. 

This was such an entertaining story from one of my favourite authors, it really took my mind off real life and I'm gutted that I now have to say goodbye to Noah and I really did love him.  

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


Friday, 24 April 2020

Book Review - The Afternoon Tea Club by Jane Gilley

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Title: The Afternoon Tea Club
Author: Jane Gilley
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: 2nd April 2020
Rating: 5 Stars

Everyone’s welcome at The Afternoon Tea Club…
Marjorie, Stacy, Raymond and Dora each hold a different story to their chest – lost loves, abandoned dreams, crippling self-confidence issues, and simply feeling invisible. For each of them, the thought of letting those stories out is almost as terrifying as letting strangers in, and that makes for a very lonely life indeed.

But when these four strangers who have struggled to “fit in” end up on the same table for an event at their local community centre, little do they know that their lives are about to be entwined and changed forever because of an Afternoon Tea club.

Cue an unexpected journey of self-discovery, some unlikely new companions, and plenty of tea and biscuits along the way…

Heart-warming and poignant in equal measure, this is a story about loneliness, kindness, and the power of friendships that span generation, proving that the most simple of human connections unite us all. Perfect for fans of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, The Single Ladies of Jacaranda Retirement Village and The Keeper of Lost Things.

Having enjoyed Jane Gilley's previous book, I was looking forward to seeing what her new story was all about, and anything with afternoon tea in the title is always good at catching my attention. 

During the first meeting of the Afternoon Tea Club I did wonder if the concept was coming across as a little patronising, but once I got to know the main protagonists I was fully involved in this story. 

Marjorie, Dora, Raymond and Stacy are unlikely friends at first glance, but thanks to their attendance at the Afternoon Tea Club soon has them forging new bonds. 

I really enjoyed getting to know all four of these characters as well as Eileen from the community centre.  They all have a great deal of depth to them, and getting to know their backstories and then seeing how they develop is a joy to see. 

It really is a journey of self-discovery and finding out that no matter your situation, things can get better, if you just try to move out of your comfort zone. 

I really enjoyed reading this book while I was in hospital, and it was a great way for my mind to focus on other people's lives for a bit. 

Already interested to see what this author will write next. 

  Thanks to Avon and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Thursday, 23 April 2020

Book Review - My Best Friend's Royal Wedding by Romy Sommer

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Title: My Best Friend's Royal Wedding
Author: Romy Sommer
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: One More Chapter
Publication Date: 29th January 2020
Rating: 5 Stars

Cocktail waitress Khara Thomas never expected to trade the dazzling lights of Vegas for European aristocracy but as maid of honour in the royal wedding of the decade she’s forced into an unexpected spotlight when her best friend marries a prince.

Luckily for Khara, gorgeous but infuriating best man Adam Hatton is happy to show her the ropes. Khara knows Adam’s entitled rich guy type but as their connection grows she realises there’s more to this playboy than meets the eye. And when she learns his royal secret? She might just find that fairytales do come true…

The second I twigged that this book was the latest in the Westerwald series, I was incredibly happy, I do love Romy Sommer's adult fairy tales and this one is no exception. 

I would say its the direct sequel to Waking Up In Vegas,  as this story features front and centre Max and Phoenix's official royal wedding. And Khara has been asked to be the bridesmaid.  Khara who lives in a trailer park and never left Vegas before, is suddenly getting a few weeks in Europe seeing just how the other half lives. 

And it's best man Adam who tries his hardest to guide her when she is out of depth. Yet Adam isn't just some ordinary guy either and I really enjoyed seeing him try to become a better person, and see if he is going  to step up into the new role he is considering. 

I loved every moment of this book, the chemistry between Khara and Adam is very clear even if they are trying to deny it, and being able to catch up with the various members of the Westerwald royal family that I recall from the previous books was a joy in itself.   Although this is the 5th book in the series, it can easily be read as a standalone, but I did love it all the more for having read the previous books. 

Incredibly enjoyable and perfect escapism for these troubled times. 

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

Wednesday, 22 April 2020

Book Review - Unexpected Lessons in Love by Lucy Dillon

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Amazon UK
Title: Unexpected Lessons in Love
Author: Lucy Dillon
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Transworld Digital
Publication Date: 5th December 2019
Rating: 4 Stars

Jeannie always wanted to fall in love, and now she’s finally got the whirlwind romance she dreamed of. Dan’s gorgeous, he’s a successful young vet, and he flew her to New York and proposed on Brooklyn Bridge. Jeannie has to remind herself this is actually her life. It seems too perfect, too magical, to be real. Yet it is.

But now she’s on her way to the wedding she can’t shake off the tight sensation crushing her chest. Is it just nerves . . . or is this all happening a bit too fast?

Jeannie has one last chance to shout, ‘Stop!’ But just as she grabs it, a twist of fate throws everything she knows into the air like confetti. What Jeannie learns about Dan, about her own heart, and about the power of love itself, will change her world for ever . . .

I've always said that Lucy Dillons' best books are ones that featured our four legged canine friends, and this is no exception.  Amongst the themes in this book there is a strong anti puppy farming message, and watching Rachel, Natalie and Jeannie help three rescued families of dogs from a puppy farm, learn to trust humans and how to just be dogs is incredibly heartwarming. 

Although it's not the key story line it was the one that I definitely enjoyed the most.  The main thrust of this book is about Jeannie and Dan, who in the opening pages are meant to be getting married, after a whirlwind relationship and engagement. 

However things aren't quite as they seem, and from the moment of the unfortunate accident just before Jeannie get's to the church, everyone's lives start to change. 

And Jeannie has a chance to through the people she meets in her new town, get to make brand new friends and re-evaluate just what love and what a marriage really is. 

It's a story about re-evaluating life, love, learning more about loved ones,  and with a wonderful array of dogs.  It's a really just lovely book that I thoroughly enjoyed reading. 

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


Tuesday, 21 April 2020

Book Review - Summer at the Highland Coral Beach by Kiley Dunbar

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Title: Summer at the Highland Coral Beach
Author: Kiley Dunbar
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Publisher supplied copy
Publisher: Hera Books
Publication Date: 27th March 2020
Rating: 5 Stars

Escape to the Highland Coral Beach – where broken hearts can be healed

Beatrice Halliday needs a break from life. Booking a trip to the Highlands on a whim, Beatrice hopes learning Gaelic in a beautiful Scottish village might help her heal her grief after losing her baby, her husband and her much loved job in a space of months.

But Port Willow Bay isn’t exactly as the website promised. Instead of learning a new language, she’s booked in to learn the ancient skill of willow weaving, her hotel room is Princess and the Pea themed (with a stack of mattresses for her bed!) and worse still, her tutor is Atholl Fergusson, grumpy landlord of the hotel where Beatrice is staying – and she’s the only one doing the course.

But as Beatrice finds herself falling in love with Port Willow Bay and its people, and as she discovers the kind heart beneath Atholl’s stony exterior, can she really leave?

Escape to the beautiful Scottish Highlands with this utterly romantic, feelgood book; one visit to Port Willow Bay and you’ll want to come back! Fans of Sarah Morgan, Carole Matthews and Holly Martin will be captivated.

I really enjoyed my trip to Port Willow in this really lovely story.  It is such a lovely sounding place up in the Scottish Highlands, even has its own Coral Beach, a Princess and the Pea inn,  a pair of gruff Scottish brothers who have incredibly thick accents,  and then there is Beatrice. 

Beatrice is our heroine of this novel, and her opening is memorable, if heartbreaking.  And then her first days in Scotland which were booked on a whim don't exactly go according to plan. It is clear she is still hurting from recent events, and she appears to be taking it out on the already grumpy Atholl.   

Atholl is actually wonderful as you get to know him, he is rather straight talking but I couldn't help but warm to him. He wants to help his brother but at the same time he is hoping to make a success of his Willow Weaving workshops. 

Haven't heard of Willow Weaving? Neither had I until this book, its an old traditional craft, and I learned a fair bit about Willow too from Atholl.  Always good to learn something new while reading fiction, and this was interesting - but if you aren't sure about it, honestly the specifics are are very short section of a much bigger story. 

Due to the way Atholl and Eugene (his brother) speak, I really could hear the Scottish accent in the back of my mind with every sentence uttered, even if I wasn't sure exactly what some of the local terms meant, there is enough context to get to grips with what feels like a distance cousin to English - can you tell I've not ventured further into Scotland than Glasgow and Edinburgh!! 

Easily one of my favourite characters was Echo, he's adorable, and such a loyal companion, always sensing when someone needs his help the most.  And I really do think he helped Beatrice quite a lot while she was in Port Willow. 

There is a lot jam packed into this book, and I loved every second of this story.  I loved seeing how Beatrice, Atholl and Eugene were all able to change over a very short period of time.   Another incredibly enjoyable story from an author that I'm loving more and more each book. 

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

Monday, 20 April 2020

Book Review - Summer in Provence by Lucy Coleman

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Title: Summer in Provence
Author: Lucy Coleman
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Boldwood Books
Publication Date: 7th April 2020
Rating:  5 Stars

Is a change as good as a rest?
When married couple Fern and Aiden have a windfall, their reactions could not be more different. While Fern is content to pay off their mortgage and build a nest egg before starting a family, her husband is set on traveling the world.

Fern’s not much of a back-packer so, before she knows it, the idea of a ‘marriage gap year’ takes shape. And, as Aiden heads off to the wilds of Australia, Fern chooses the more restful Provence for her year out.

Set amidst the glorious French scenery, Château de Vernon offers a retreat from the hustle and bustle of normal life, and Fern agrees to help out in return for painting lessons from the owner – renowned, but rather troubled, painter Nico.

As their year unfolds in very different ways, will the time apart transform their marriage, or will it drive Fern and Aiden even further apart…

Let Lucy Coleman whisk you off on a heart-warming, sun-drenched and magical French adventure.

Please can I move to Provence and live at The Haven? I'm utterly enchanted with the setting of this book, a Chateau in Provence which offers various retreats and a chance to learn new creative skills, or start a new hobby. It offers volunteer positions too, and everyone that lives and works there has a real community and family dynamic.   It sounded like a marvellous way of life. 

It was a brave decision that after having a decent lottery win that Aiden and Fern decide to take a year out of their regular lives.  Aiden has always wanted to travel and explore the world, where Fern is more of a homebody, happy worrying about her family and being there for them continually. 

But once she reluctantly agrees to let Aiden spread his wings, she decides to indulge in a forgotten love of drawing and thus goes to volunteer at this retreat.  What neither of them could have predicted is in what ways a year apart would change them both. 

From the moment Fern sets foot in the Chateau and we meet who she will be spending time with, I felt incredibly relaxed, very comfortable and was just happy to sit back and absorb myself within the pages. 

It is a fabulous cast of characters and the story lines were so engaging. I loved Nico and his backstory, I enjoyed seeing Kellie come out of her shell, I enjoyed seeing how Fern's relationship with her family changed the more time she spent in Provence. 

And the grounds, and sights even just around the Chateau were vividly described, as were some of Nico and Fern's paintings. I could picture the studio and some of the various canvases.   It felt as though there is something for everyone within this feel good story. 

I felt incredibly peaceful as I was reading,  was gutted when it ended as I was so enraptured, but the way Lucy Coleman finished it all off, was rather special and felt like we had almost bonus material from the DVD.. which will make more sense once you read it yourself! 

Another truly wonderful book from this author that always manages to make me smile. 

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

Saturday, 18 April 2020

Book Review - Lost and Found in Paris by Sasha Wagstaff - #HolidayReading

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Title: Lost and Found in Paris
Author: Sasha Wagstaff
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Canelo Escape
Publication Date: 4th April 2019
Rating: 5 Stars

Sophie Marchant needs a lucky break. First her boyfriend announces that, far from wanting to get engaged, he’s off to Dubai for work. Then, in Paris, her mother goes missing.

Feeling totally lost and with nothing to lose, Sophie travels back to her childhood home for the first time in five years to help find her mother and look after the family macaron shop in Paris. It should be a dream gig, but when it comes to family - and love - nothing is ever that simple, especially when there’s a sexy, complicated ex involved...

Can Sophie find her mother? Can she find herself again? Who is she truly in love with? Maybe Paris, the gorgeous city of romance can help her figure all of this out…  

Lost and Found in Paris is a triumph, a brilliant and moving tale of love, family and heartbreak, perfect for fans of Holly Martin, Jenny Oliver and Tilly Tennant

Well I wasn't completely expecting that ending, what a great way to finish the book, and potentially set up a sequel!! 

But before that we have a really enjoyable story, of Sophie Marchant who has returned to Paris after 5 years, when she left in a rush determined not to return, in order to help her twin sister Eloise look for their mother who has gone AWOL. 

The shocks keep coming for Sophie, as she discovers her ex is now working for her mother in the macaron shop, and that she needs to spend large amounts of time with the sexy Raff to try to work out where her mum is. But in the meantime, well the old spark is still there. 

Seeing Sophie re-discover her love of Paris, gives us a great tour of the city of love, and there is plenty of delicious sounding French food mentioned too, not to mention all the many flavours of macarons. 

This is a treat of a book, that has you rooting for Sophie and Raff, and there are some memorable characters, and it really is a lovely story line too. 

Thoroughly enjoyed what was the last book of my holiday, and can't wait for the authors next book. It's full of romance, food, Paris, sexy men, and just made me smile. 

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

Friday, 17 April 2020

Book Review - My Greek Island Summer by Mandy Baggot

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Title: My Greek Island Summer
Author: Mandy Baggot
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Aria
Publication Date: 2nd April 2020
Rating: 5 Stars

Two weeks. One unforgettable trip to Corfu. A chance to change her life.
Becky Rose has just landed her dream job house-sitting at a top-end villa on the island of Corfu. What could be better than two weeks laying by an infinity pool overlooking the gorgeous Ionian waters while mending her broken heart.

Elias Mardas is travelling back to Corfu on business whilst dealing with his own personal demons. Late arriving in Athens, Becky and Elias have to spend a night in the Greek capital. When they have to emergency land in Kefalonia, Becky's got to decide whether to suck up the adventure and this gorgeous companion she seems to have been thrown together with or panic about when she's going to arrive at Corfu...

Finally reaching the beautiful island, Becky is happy to put Elias behind her and get on with her adventure. Until he turns up at the villa...

Greek sexy man.... check!
Delicious sounding Greek food.... check!
A longing to jump on a plane while reading.... check!
Wonderful heroine, prickly sister and new friend who is hilarious.... check!

I mean what more do you want from a Mandy Baggot book?  Especially as this was her 20th story, and shes is an absolute master of her craft. 

It is amazing how much was packed into the book even before they land in Corfu. We have unexpected extra sightseeing and some of the Athens descriptions matched my memories of the place and I could see everything so clearly. 

Then there is what is awaiting them in the villa which made me laugh. Easily the most unexpected contents of a bath tub ever!!

Petra, Becky's new friend, let's call her is a breath of fresh air. I loved all of her travelling anecdotes and her lack of pretension when it comes to men.   

Then there is Becky and Megan's sandwich business,  and fractured sibling relationship to discover. 

Oh and Elias and Eleni are fabulous, I loved their interactions, and also just everything about Elias. 

I just loved every single second of this book. 

What I love about stories like this is the way you can travel just from the safety of your armchair.  If you are looking to loose yourself in a story that will let you escape the world at this troubling time, then this,  and well any of this authors Greek set books are just what the doctor ordered.

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

Thursday, 16 April 2020

Book Review - What Happens Now? by Sophia Money-Coutts - #HolidayReading Mexico

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Title: What Happens Now?
Author: Sophia Money-Coutts
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: HQ
Publication Date: 16th April 2020
Rating: 5 Stars

‘No question about it, there are two little purple lines. I’m pregnant.’

After eight years together, Lil Bailey thought she’d already found ‘the one’ – that is, until he dumped her for a blonde twenty-something colleague. So she does what any self-respecting singleton would do: swipes right, puts on her best bra and finds herself on a first date with a handsome mountaineer called Max. What’s the worst that can happen?

Well it’s pretty bad actually. First Max ghosts her and then, after weeing on a stick (but mostly her hands), a few weeks later Lil discovers she’s pregnant. She’s single, thirty-one and living in a thimble-sized flat in London, it’s hardly the happily-ever-after she was looking for.

Lil’s ready to do the baby-thing on her own – it can’t be that hard, right? But she should probably tell Max, if she can track him down. Surely he’s not that Max, the highly eligible, headline-grabbing son of Lord and Lady Rushbrooke, currently trekking up a mountain in South Asia? Oh, maybe he wasn’t ignoring Lil after all…  

Hilarious, from the opening few pages until the last, this is fabulous writing. Although I should say I was on the verge of tears of happiness towards the end too, but other than that I was laughing. 

This is an author that is not afraid to show what being a woman is really like, from the rather too graphic description of childbirth, to self pleasuring, which doesn't seem to appear that often in books.. and a whole lot in between..

... its a no holds barred look at the 9 months from accidentally conceiving a child with a one night stand, and everything that may happen in between. 

It feels very honest, and quite eye opening as someone who hasn't been pregnant. 

I also loved the school that Lil was working at, I can really picture it so well, and the class she has is fabulous!

All of Lil's friends and family are fabulous too, and it is really hard not to like Max despite of the initial ghosting. 

Even better than her first book, I absolutely adored this book and had a good few hours of pure enjoyment from it. 

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

Wednesday, 15 April 2020

Book Review - I Am Dust by Louise Beech - Blog Tour

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Amazon UK
Title: I Am Dust
Author: Louise Beech
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Random Things Blog Tours
Publisher: Orenda Books
Publication Date: 16th February 2020
Rating: 5 Stars

A haunted theatre
A murdered actress
Three cursed teenagers
A secret that devastates them all…

The Dean Wilson Theatre is believed to be haunted by a long-dead actress, singing her last song, waiting for her final cue, looking for her killer…

Now Dust, the iconic musical, is returning after twenty years. But who will be brave enough to take on the role of ghostly goddess Esme Black, last played by Morgan Miller, who was murdered in her dressing room?

Theatre usher Chloe Dee is caught up in the spectacle. As the new actors arrive, including an unexpected face from her past, everything changes. Are the eerie sounds and sightings backstage real or just her imagination? Is someone playing games?

Is the role of Esme Black cursed? Could witchcraft be at the heart of the tragedy? And are dark deeds from Chloe’s past about to catch up with her?
Not all the drama takes place onstage. Sometimes murder, magic, obsession and the biggest of betrayals are real life. When you’re in the theatre shadows, you see everything.

And Chloe has been watching…

Incredibly creepy, bewitching, and oddly compulsive to read. 

Typically I'm very sceptical when it comes to supernatural beings, and the occult, and also being a scaredy cat, I will do my best to avoid it. But yet the way Louise Beech described everything I could have almost turned into a believer. 

At least it all made sense, and I was determined to know just who killed Morgan Miller all those years ago.  Everything to do with young Chloe, Jess and Ryan and the dangerous "game" they were playing when they were 16.   And then there is the present day story line with Chloe at the heart of it, and she is key to just about everything that happens. 

I was drawn to this book due to the mention of musical theatre which is a passion of mine, but perhaps reading this on the day when the West End went dark due to the dreaded real world virus, may not have been my smartest mood, as I was continually aware while reading that this may be the last time I see any sort of musical for a long while. Which is rather scary in itself but I am grateful for the various song lyrics that were included, and the mentions to other shows. 

In fact some of the other shows that were in the theatre that Chloe is an usher in, sounded downright bizarre, but in the current climate if they were real I'd be first in line to get my theatre fix. 

This is only the second book I've read from the author, and it is another incredibly accomplished story. and while I was reading, I was completely transported to the settings being described. It is very easy to follow the various time lines, and I did in time start to feel the creepier elements were rather normal.

This is a story that kept me guessing throughout,  I had absolutely no idea how it would all resolve itself and I feel the ending was rather fitting.  

I have no idea why I have left it so long since I last read a book from this author, and it is something I need to fix eventually.   I Am Dust has bewitched me, affected my ability to sleep, and really got under my skin.  Always to my mind signs of a very impressive book. 

Thank you to Anne Cater from Random Things Blog Tours for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 
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