Sunday, 18 April 2021

Book Review - A Postcard From Paris by Alex Brown - Blog Tour

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Amazon UK

Title: A Postcard From Paris
Author: Alex Brown
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: 15th April 2021
Rating: 5 Stars

Annie Lovell is keen to put the spark back into her life and when her elderly neighbour inherits an abandoned Parisian apartment she goes to Paris to discover more. Her curiosity takes an unexpected turn on discovering a bundle of secret diaries hidden within the walls, detailing the life of a young English woman, Beatrice Crawford, who volunteered in 1916 to nurse the soldiers in the fields of France.
Captivated by the romantic City of Light, Annie realises first appearances are not always as they seem. Following Beatrice’s journey from the Great War, through the Roaring Twenties and to a very different life in Nazi-occupied Paris, Annie must piece together the events from the past, if she is to fulfil the legacy that Beatrice left for her to find…

Given I'm not a fan of history, based on the blurb I was to be honest reluctantly intending to pass this book by, despite being by one of my favourite authors, as I really wasn't sure I would enjoy it. but then I was invited onto the blog tour and the publicist must have caught me in a daring mood, as skipping an Alex Brown book never fully sat right with me, and so I agreed to read and review. 

What I can say instantly is that I am so thankful Jen Harlow gave me the opportunity to be a part of this tour, as the book is totally amazing, and there was plenty to keep my interest and have me hooked. 

Although initially the first chapter I would have perhaps been set in the present day, it did give us a wonderful introduction to Beatrice Crawford, who the more we get to know her throughout the book, the more impressive this lady becomes. 

She was living in France, and then more importantly Paris itself during both World Wars, and we get glimpses of her life from 1916, through the roaring twenties, and into mid 40s,  where well I can't tell you, but just wow.  

Beatrice though has left her apartment to Joanie, who is Annie's neighbour and friend, but no one knows why, so Annie goes to Paris to find out about this inheritance for Joanie, and in doing so alters the course of her own life too. 

Annie's daughter Phoebe initially was against the trip and a few of their early exchanges had me rolling my eyes and laughing out loud at just how Phoebe was trying to portray her mother.  Annie also on her first night in Paris, makes 2 new friends and they become a fabulous trio who are all invested in trying to discover the truth about this apartment. 

A lot of Beatrice's story is told within various diary entries, drip fed to the reader as and when needed, and what was evident to me is just how much research Alex Brown must have done to make these diary entries as authentic as they seemed. Even though I'm clearly more of a fan of present day plots, I was fascinated by the life Beatrice was living in wartime France, and found myself with great admiration for the woman. 

Oh and I was also happy to see how Tindledale fitted into the story, the village from some of the authors previous books, that I've always enjoyed! 

I didn't guess the outcomes on any of the mysteries, and I feel as though I definitely learnt things too. 

What this has said to me, is don't judge a book by its blurb, always trust a favourite author will have your back and tell you a story that you want to hear, and that this is one seriously impressive book.  I should never have had doubts in the first place, but I'm so glad I had the opportunity to read this book, its so well written and really did capture my attention from early on, and found it was compelling to read as normal. 

Thank you to Jennifer Harlow at Harper Collins for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily,. 

Please do follow along with the rest of the blogs on this tour, for more about this fabulous book

Saturday, 17 April 2021

Book Review - Chasing The Italian Dream by Jo Thomas - Blog Tour

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Amazon UK

Title: Chasing The Italian Dream
Author: Jo Thomas
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Transworld Digital
Publication Date: 8th April 2021
Rating: 5 Stars

A summer escape she'll never forget . . .

Lucia has worked hard as a lawyer in Wales, aiming for a big promotion she hopes will shortly come her way. Finally taking a well-earned break at her grandparents' house in southern Italy, the sunshine, lemon trees and her nonna's mouth-watering cooking make her instantly feel at home.

But she's shocked to learn that her grandfather is retiring from the beloved family pizzeria and will need to sell. Lucia can't bear the thought of the place changing hands - especially when she discovers her not-quite-ex-husband Giacomo wants to take it over!

Then bad news from home forces Lucia to re-evaluate what she wants from life. Is this her chance to carry on the family tradition and finally follow her dreams?

Perfect escapism from the author of Escape to the French Farmhouse and The Honey Farm on the Hill.

Imagine the scents and cosiness from your favourite family run Italian restaurant, the garlic, the pizza dough, the warmth and love, the top quality ingredients, and the knowledge you are about to get a good meal. 

Well with Chasing The Italian Dream I had the feeling throughout the book, but with the anticipation of a good story instead of a meal.  

For this story is homemade, traditional style pizza on a plate, combined with a story that is fighting against the traditions of a small town in Southern Italy, the contrasts between that traditional pizza making processes and also the future - I mean there is a mention of a deconstructed pizza! 

It's about the network of Nonna's that are clearly the hearts and brains of their families finally trying to gain some recognition, whereas its normally the men that get the credit. 

This is Jo Thomas at her very best, I felt transported to Nonno's restaurant, I could picture it so clearly, and the pull in directions between Giacomo and Lucia, both fighting to be allowed to take over the restaurant once Nonno retires.  I could smell the food coming off the pages of my kindle, I felt transported to places I've not been for ages due to this pandemic. 

I feel as though I have spent the past day or so in Southern Italy as I was that absorbed in the story and transported between the pages of the book.   It's another masterclass of food and travel  armchair escapism from one of the best, Jo Thomas!   A wonderful book and perfect to escape the misery of lockdown and vaccine side effects. 

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

Please do follow along with the rest of the blog tour:

Friday, 16 April 2021

Book Review - Flying Duo by Zoe May

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Amazon UK

Title: Flying Duo
Author: Zoe May
Format reviewed: Ebook 
Source: Author supplied copy
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: 1st March 2021
Rating: 5 Stars

London lawyer Rachel Watson has wound up in an Indian ashram with hippy heartthrob lover, Seb.

A high-achiever, Rachel has always lived life according to her Life List, ticking off goals along the way. But now that she's in India, Rachel is going with the flow, or at least trying to...

Rachel's visa is running out and it's time to decide whether her relationship with Seb is a holiday romance or built to last.

The pair embark on a trip to Nepal for an Everest base camp trek, but will their relationship survive this gruelling expedition or is it time to part ways?

★ Flying Duo is the second romantic comedy in the 'Flying' series, following on from bestseller, Flying Solo. If you are looking for escapist women's fiction, Flying Duo is offers a heartwarming romance in classic feel-good, funny chicklit style. It guarantees armchair adventure during lockdown. ★

Pure escapism! I loved it. 

Do I really need to say more?

Given we are still in lockdown as I read this, and my desire to travel is sky high at the moment, I can honestly say that as much I really enjoyed Rachel and Seb's trip to Nepal,  you still wouldn't catch me doing what they were up to and trekking Mount Everest's base camp!! 

Oh I completely admire our heroes for doing so, I loved the people they met on their travels, but there is something about hiking the wilds, blood sucking leeches and rickety bridges a large heights that frankly terrify me in real life terms! 

But fictionally I was all for it and completely caught up with our intrepid duo as they not only dealt with those tricky circumstances, but also subjects like is this just a holiday romance, or is there a longer term future,  and dealing with a rather flirtatious travel companion too. 

I couldn't believe how fast the pages were going past, I was enjoying it so much, and given my only other experience of a book set in Nepal, frankly I just wanted to make sure that Rachel and Seb stayed alive til the end of the book!! I know its a rom com but stranger things have happened and it is a rather unusual setting. 

And what a setting it is, besides the dangerous elements, I did get a real feel for the trek, and also Nepal too, and there is a laugh out loud conversation where Rachel attempts to get the group onto a bus heading to base camp! 

Set shortly after Flying Solo finishes, I do think this could work as a standalone as the key background is mentioned, on the other hand its a great series being formed, and it would be a shame to miss out of on Flying Solo! 

If you need some armchair travel that is slightly more off the beaten track, or adventurous than the norm, then this is the book you need in your life! 

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

Thursday, 15 April 2021

Book Review - Mr Right Across The Street by Kathryn Freeman

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Amazon UK

Title: Mr Right Across The Street
Author: Kathryn Freeman
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: One More Chapter
Publication Date: 22nd January 2021
Rating: 4 Stars

Mia Abbott’s move to Manchester was supposed to give her time and space from all the disastrous romantic choices she’s made in her past. But then the hot guy who lives opposite – the one who works out every day at exactly 10 a.m., not that Mia has noticed thank-you-very-much – starts leaving notes in his window…for her.

Bar owner Luke Doyle has his own issues to deal with but as he shows Mia the sites of her new city he also shows her what real romance looks like for the first time. And when he cooks up a signature cocktail in her honour, she realises that the man behind the bar is even more enticing than any of his creations. And once she’s had a taste she knows it will never be enough!

Absolutely loved the initial meeting between Mia and Luke, it is clear they have chemistry from the off, and just as clear that Kathryn Freeman is up to her normal fabulous levels of banter between our leads. 

Every conversation had me smiling and they had a unique way of communicating too which made a difference and added a different dimension to the book. 

And we slowly discover that despite first appearances that Luke may not be the sex obsessed ladies man that he comes across as, and that there is a real vulnerability to him and that he has hidden depths. 

And then there is Mia, who is a bit of a nerd, and who I could relate to in many ways, especially the take me as you see me approach and not continually bothering with what she is wearing or make up etc..  I also like her would have struggled to believe it if a "cool guy" was interested in me! 

I also loved the different colours Mia was dying her streaks and the various nicknames that Luke was coming up with for her. 

And the non dates that Luke and Mia go on as friends are really imaginative and give the reader as well as Mia a look at some of the hidden gems of places to go to in Manchester, as he is a part tour guide, since Mia has only just moved to Manchester from Somerset. 

It's just a really enjoyable romance where when we finally get a sex scene, well it was enough to make me hot under the collar,  It had me smiling throughout and it was just a pleasure to read. 

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

Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Book Review - The Therapist by B A Paris

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Amazon UK

Title: The Therapist
Author: B A Paris
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: HQ
Publication Date: 15th April 2021
Rating: 5 Stars

When Alice and Leo move into a newly renovated house in The Circle, a gated community of exclusive houses, it is everything they’ve dreamed of. But appearances can be deceptive…

As Alice is getting to know her neighbours, she discovers a devastating, grisly secret about her new home, and begins to feel a strong connection with Nina, the therapist who lived there before.

Alice becomes obsessed with trying to piece together what happened two years before. But no one wants to talk about it. Her neighbours are keeping secrets and things are not as perfect as they seem…

The million-copy Sunday Times bestselling author B A Paris returns to her heartland of gripping psychological suspense in this powerful tale of a house that holds a shocking secret.

Well I was completely flummoxed by this book.  I had no clue what to think and was utterly shock when the truth was revealed. 

I suspect though that starting a book where Alice and Leo think someone has come into their new house at night, but not causing anything more than an unsettling feeling, when I was in bed late at night may not have been my smartest idea, as I didn't get the best nights sleep on the back of reading the first few chapters. 

The Circle is a gated community of 12 houses, and Alice and Leo have moved into, and Alice is keen to make friends with her new neighbours whereas Leo doesn't seem as bothered. I'm not sure why but every time The Circle was mentioned I had pictures of the addictive Channel 4 programme of the same name in my head, and in fairness that is a similarly claustrophobic circle! 

I found I was second guessing everything, I wasn't sure who to trust apart from Alice, who is our main character and I was happy to believe everything she was saying. Like Alice I would have also freaked out had I discovered that the previous owner of the house had been murdered in the house, although whether I would have tried to get to the bottom of whether it really was the husband that did it, or not is another matter! 

At times I was completely convinced I had figured it out, only to discover I was of course wrong. Certainly a story that drew me in, and kept me on my toes, which is what I have come to expect from an author as talented as B A Paris. 

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

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Book Review - Destination Anywhere by Sara Barnard

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Amazon UK

Title: Destination Anywhere
Author: Sara Barnard
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Publication Date: 15th April 2021
Rating: 4 Stars

Sometimes you have to leave your life behind to find your place in the world.

After five years at secondary school spent without any friends, Peyton King starts sixth form college determined that things will be different. Whatever happens, she will make friends at any cost.

When she finds the friends she’s always dreamed of, including an actual boyfriend, she’s happier than she’s ever been.
But when they let her down in the worst way, Peyton is left no better off than when she started.
Now Peyton knows the only chance she has of finding happiness is to look for it somewhere else. Her life may feel small, but it doesn't have to be. With nothing but her sketchpad and a backpack, she buys a one-way ticket and gets on a plane. . .

In Destination Anywhere, Sara Barnard explores love, life and friendship in this exquisite tale of the lengths one girl will go to to change her story.

I really had no idea what to expect from this book, it was almost certainly an impulse request from Netgalley, due to the cover grabbing my attention, as anything with a plane on it, while in lockdowns is extra appealing as I need to be able to constantly dream of escape. 

And well that is what Peyton is trying to do, she is only 17, yet more or less overnight decides to drop out of college and get on a plane to Canada without much of plan.  It is clear she is unhappy with her life back in England, but until you start getting the alternating chapters set in the past, and seeing how her first year of college panned out,  plus other key background, you don't realise just to what extent the desire to get away is. 

In fact even as she was describing the toxic friendship and relationship she was in, after having done five years of secondary school being bullied and having no friends at all, I still wouldn't have guessed what would act as the ultimate trigger for her to try to flee her life. 

While we are getting all this background, we also get to see Peyton's travels across Canada, her lack of plan, the other backpackers she meets and forms some sort of friendships with.  

As a travel fiend I absolutely loved all the descriptions of Canada, especially of its breath-taking beauty, stunning scenery and some of its wildlife too.  I loved the idea of backpacking across such a Canada although personally October is probably too cold for me, but it does add to the atmosphere. 

But this is more than just a book featuring a fabulous bit of travelling across a country that I rarely see featured in the books I read,  This is a coming of age, journey of self discovery for Peyton, of learning all manner of lessons about herself, as well as with hindsight realising just where the previous year went wrong for her. 

She's also a talented artist and I couldn't help but be annoyed that her family didn't seem to support her that much, or listen to how she is really feeling at any point which would have attributed to the possibly rash decision to book a flight elsewhere. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the writing style and also found myself thinking about Peyton even when I wasn't reading it, which is a sure fire sign of a book getting under my skin.   And it even made me feel quite emotional too! 

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

Monday, 12 April 2021

Book Review - The Village of Lost and Found by Alison Sherlock

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Amazon UK

Title: The Village of Lost and Found
Author: Alison Sherlock
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Boldwood Books
Publication Date: 9th March 2021
Rating: 5 Stars

Scandal hit party girl Lucy Conway needs to leave London fast, so she packs her bags and escapes to the sleepy village of Cranbridge to take care of her beloved Uncle Frank.

But the country village isn’t quite as idyllic as she remembers. To make matters worse, her Uncle’s pride and joy, The Cranbridge Times, is close to going out of business.

Editor-at-Large Tom Addison is having a crisis of confidence and needs help if the newspaper is going to survive.

With time on her hands, can Lucy work some magic and together save the family newspaper?
Over a long, hot summer, friendships are made and hearts begin to heal.

 And, with the help of a stray dog, perhaps Lucy and Tom can find their very own new beginning...

How lovely to be back in Cranbridge, with a whole new story.  It's such a lovely village setting, and I knew even before I started reading this one it would be a lovely gentle book, that would leave me smiling 

And that is exactly what happened, I had a calming day or two reading this story, was completely caught up with life in the village, and seeing just whether they would turn around the fortunes of The Cranbridge Times. 

I really enjoyed seeing the character development from both Lucy and Tom, but also Molly.  Molly was a fascinating side character and I really hope she is in line to get a book to herself in this series, as I would love to see her as a focal point.  Especially seeing her confidence growing as it is currently.

Actually I just loved all the characters, great to see what Dodgy Del is up to ,and there is a rather explosive scene involving him that is brilliant,  and Keith is wonderful too!  And I loved seeing Lucy making proper friends with Molly, Amber and Belle, as she hasn't really had friends in the past. 

It's just an all around lovely and charming book, and hit all the right spots for me.  A pleasure to read. 

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

Friday, 9 April 2021

Book Review - The Flight by Julie Clark

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Amazon UK

Title: The Flight
Author: Julie Clark
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Publication Date: 25th June 2020
Rating: 5 Stars

Claire and Eva lead very different lives, but they have one thing in common - they are both in huge danger and need to disappear.

A chance encounter at the airport presents the two women with a simple but crazy solution: switch places then drop off the grid when they land.

But one woman will never reach her destination.

The Flight has been highly acclaimed across the world and delivers a smart, tense and twisting narrative that will have you hooked from the first page to the last. It's the perfect escapism, wherever you are!

Between the rather creepy prologue and then that first chapter, I was hooked and knew this would be book that I would be able to devour. 

And that is exactly what I have done over the course of about 3 sittings during the day, with breaks for work in between, I have been absorbed in both Claire and Eva's story. 

About just why it is they felt they had no choice but to disappear from their lives and just what happens next.  On the whole we get Claire's story in the present tense, seeing just how the aftermath of the decision unfolds. But perhaps more grippingly we get Eva's story, in the 6 months leading up to her meeting Claire, and what a story that is too. 

Both women had incredibly strong reasons to want to leave their current lives behind, and I couldn't help but continue to read on to see just what would be revealed next.  There was at least one moment where I gasped out loud and then said that I couldn't believe I hadn't made a certain connection. 

This is utterly gripping and I can't believe this is the first book I have read from the author and the fact that had if I wasn't seemingly obsessed with reading books with a travel connection, or holidays, or even just flights, and if that cover hadn't caught my attention that I would have missed out on such an accomplished and impressive book. 

I was rooting for Claire and Eva as everything unfurled and really would not have been able to predict the final outcomes at all. 

Addictive, and fabulous! 

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

Thursday, 8 April 2021

Six?!!! Six?!!! How on earth is Rachel's Random Reads Six already?!

I know I say this every year but I can't believe another year has gone by already, and that my little blog is still going six years on. 

Well Happy Blogiversary to me! 

This is normally where I look back at the past 12 months since I last celebrated, but as I think we all know the world has been struggling big time over the last year, and it has now been over a year since I saw any of my wonderful book friends in person. 

I miss all the various in person book launches, publisher showcases, blogger / author meet ups and all those sorts of things that I really hope will be back at some point toward the end of 2021, as it has been far too long. 

Of course I have watched some great Facebook lives, especially Kim The Bookworm on Tuesday evenings, Miranda Dickinson on Wednesday evenings, the One More Chapter weekly with their authors and also Boldwood Books to name a few of the more regular ones that have helped me at least see familiar faces through a screen and given me a reason to stop working like a maniac for an hour here and there. 

I am though even more grateful than usual to books and book blogging, for in a world which is so far from normal at the moment its painful, this is something I've been able to do consistently throughout lockdown. With the magic of books I'm at least able to travel virtually from my armchair all over the world and my reliance on pure escapism is at an all time high.

And of course its thanks to my blog that I have been happily working for 3 and a half years now at Rachel's Random Resources, my very own blog tour organising business that is going from strength to strength.  I'm very aware I'm one of the lucky ones that already was happy working from home, and in a business that has kept going throughout the pandemic.  To those of you on furlough, or have lost your jobs over the last year especially, my heart goes out to you, but remember a good book will be able to give your mind a rest from your worries for a few hours at least. 

Many thanks as ever to Laura Bambrey for persuading me to become a blogger all those years ago, and congratulations on the release of your own debut novel - The Beginners Guide to Lonliness in the past year too.   A massive thank you to the RNA for the nomination last year for Media Star of the year, for the third year running.  I really appreciate it, but Julie Morris from A Little Book Problem is a very worthy winner. 

And of course a massive thank you to my friends, especially Anne Cater, who have kept me going over the past year, let's raise a glass to being able to meet up again in person as soon as its safe to do so.  I need hugs, and human contact, and possibly some Baileys too, but white wine will work as well that tends to be what's at bookish gatherings! 

Last but by no means least thank you to anyone who has ever read my blog, supplied me a book to review, shared my posts, put up with my ramblings, and or just generally been any support to me. Without you all, there is no way I'd be celebrating my 6th Book Birthday and I'm very grateful. 

And to borrow a last paragraph from last year, but it is still relevant today.... although if things haven't changed by this time next year, then I won't post it again and I'll stop jinxing us all. 

I have everything crossed that by the time I write this post next year, that the world has gone back to something resembling normal, that we are allowed some free movement again, that independent bookshops have survived the crisis, that all the publishers are still publishing, authors are still writing and above all readers are still reading to escape the real world we live in.

Thank you for being you - and above all please please stay safe (and have the vaccine if you are able to, despite my side effects it really is still better than having full blown Covid, and this is coming from someone who knows). 

Book Review - The Islanders by S. V. Leonard

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Amazon UK

Title: The Islanders
Author: S. V. Leonard
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Canelo
Publication Date: 11th March 2021
Rating: 5 Stars

Her dream escape is about to become a nightmare…
Kimberley King has spent the last five years trying to outrun the reason she left the police force. Her life is a mess and she’s desperate for change. So when she is randomly selected for the new series of the hit show LoveWrecked, she can’t pass up the chance to win the £100,000 prize. All Kimberley needs to do is couple up with one of her fellow contestants, win the infamous LoveWrecked challenges, and she will have enough cash for a fresh start.

But the island isn’t the paradise she was promised and within hours, one of the contestants is dead. Then the announcement comes: one of the islanders is a murderer and Kimberley must find out who, live on television. For every hour it takes her, one more person will die.

The game is rigged, everyone is hiding secrets, and time is running out…

An addictive and unputdownable crime thriller, perfect for fans of Lucy Foley and T.M. Logan.

My head is reeling, I don't know exactly what to say other than OMG! Remind me never to go onto a reality TV show ever, it could be the last thing you ever do. 

I think even programmes like "When Reality TV Goes Wrong" wouldn't have been able to know what to make of the events that happened in the LoveWrecked villa over the course of the book. And a word of note if you are a TV producer, I know ratings are key for you, but please don't allowing live streamed murder, and then the rest of the happenings in this book on your programmes, its horrific. 

That being said I can't help but think The Islanders would make a wonderful film, full of intrigue, its fast paced, you literally don't know what will be thrown at them next, other than Kimberley is being put into an impossible situation. 

This is about a reality TV programme but not as you know it and its very hard to know who you can trust, and at no point did I guess just who set it all up or who was responsible. Then again the action was so frenetically paced that my head didn't have time to try to work anything out, just trying to keep up with what was happening. 

This is one seriously impressive debut, I read the book in two sittings and that was only because I wanted to go to bed, not because I wanted to be parted from the story that was ramping up at all times.  Utterly brilliant! 

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

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

Book Review - We Just Clicked by Anna Bell

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Amazon UK

Title: We Just Clicked
Author: Anna Bell
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: HQ 
Publication Date: 16th April 2020
Rating: 4 Stars

Izzy’s always played by the rules. But now, it’s time to break them…

Izzy Brown has always dreamed of making it big on Instagram, but her followers just aren’t growing. So when her colleague and fellow ‘influencer’ Luke suggests they fake date to boost their profiles, Izzy says yes – against her better judgement. Now Izzy’s profile shows a confident, glamorous thirty-something with the perfect boyfriend, and her followers are shooting up by the thousands.

So what if behind the scenes, things are a little different? Izzy can’t stop bickering with Luke, his habit of checking his quiff in EVERY SINGLE mirror is driving her insane, and she’s hiding a secret heartache. But everyone tells a few fibs on social media, right?

Then Izzy runs into Aidan, the mysterious stranger who saved her the day her world fell apart two years ago – and major sparks start to fly. Izzy’s sure she can have the online success she’s always dreamed of, whilst falling in love in real life. After all, Aidan doesn’t use social media… what could possibly go wrong?

Well I do love a book that features some sort of fake relationship, although not really sure I can explain why that is the case.  I also love a book that features social media influences and find it amusing the lengths they go to, to show off their "perfect lives".  Oh and I love Anna Bell's books too! 

So unsurprisingly with all three of these elements present in We Just Clicked, i had a fantastic time reading it, and found the whole story rather enjoyable. 

Especially when you take into account the initially handsome stranger who helps Izzy on the worst day of her life, but only knows the first name for,  and the fact that she decided to enter into a fake "showmance" as such with Luke, to increase their followers, and hopefully become higher profile and be able to start making money from Instagram. 

Now I've read a fair few books featuring the fake date trope and thus sort of knew what to expect, while at the same time I've also read a fair few featuring social media influencers and kind of knew what to expect but yet what you actually have with this book feels rather different, and not everything you may anticipate as outcomes from the tropes actually happens. 

Yet there is also more to it then the tropes, there  are memorable characters at Izzy's place of work, her best friend is fabulous and the story with Becca, her flatmate is so important and key and I loved seeing how that developed too. 

Between the real and fake dates there are all manner of memorable and entertaining moments, plus one scene that turned my stomach and had me skipping a few pages as it was disgusting. Yet it's that scene that I bet men would laugh their heads off watching, if the book was made into a film! 

There is so much to love about this book and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. 

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

Tuesday, 6 April 2021

Book Review - The Waffle House on the Pier by Tilly Tennant

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Amazon UK

Title: The Waffle House on the Pier
Author: Tilly Tennant
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Bookouture
Publication Date: 25th June 2020
Rating: 5 Stars

Run away to Sea Salt Bay, where the sand is warm and soft, the sea is a perfect blue, and a candy-coloured waffle house is about to change Sadie’s life…

For as long as she can remember, Sadie’sgrandparents have run the waffle house on the pier at Sea Salt Bay. With its pretty painted chairs, sweet smells, and the warm advice of her beloved grandparents, the waffle house is like a second home

But when Sadie’s grandfather dies, leaving her grandmother without an anchor, Sadie must make a difficult decision. She quits her job and moves back home, determined to keep things going. The trouble is, she knows nothing about running a business, and learning at a million miles an hour with a shop full of hungry people isn’t easy. When she nearly burns the waffle house down, she has to admit she needs to get some help.

Her ex-boyfriend Declan promises to be there for her but Sadie worries that getting too close is a mistake – especially as he has a new girlfriend now. And anyway she’s just met newcomer Luke, with his gorgeous suntan and mellow voice…

Sadie’s family have always loved Declan and they’re not too sure about Luke, leaving Sadie unsure which way to turn. A terrible accident at sea forces her to look into her heart, but what if it’s already too late to tell the right man that she loves him?

If you love stolen kisses under the pier, walking along spray-capped shores eating ice cream, and books by Lucy Diamond, Jill Mansell and Jenny Colgan, you will fall in love with this romantic, heart-breaking read.

How I loved this story, however it didn't make me crave waffles which confused me slightly. In fact there really isn't too much talk about waffles itself, more about family and just what to do with the waffle house now that Sadie's grandpa has unfortunately died. 

As it is clear her Gammy, April is struggling, but no one initially is quite sure whether its grief or something more, that is leading to April's current behaviour. 

All of the family that live in Sea Salt Bay, which oddly is a location name that had me thinking of salted caramel every time I read it, have their own jobs and none are really sure what to do with the waffle house. 

But Sadie who is rather impulsive decides she wants to quit her teacher training, which based on having seen her try to control a classroom, I'm inclined to agree she may not be in the right line of work, and to help April re-open and run the waffle house without thinking it through. 

And it soon becomes apparent, just how impulsive Sadie is, and while she is dealing with various family dilemmas, I'm also enjoying trying to work out who the main romantic interest for the book is, and just who she may end up with. 

For there are two front runners, and I felt like Sadie wasn't really sure of her own heart for most of the book, and because I quite liked both men, I was unsure which way to will her on too! 

I really did love the seaside setting of Sea Salt Bay, and all of Sadie's family members.  It was just a really enjoyable calming read that was just what I needed at the point I sat down and read it. 

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

Monday, 5 April 2021

Book Review - Just Friends by Holly McCulloch

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Amazon UK

Title: Just Friends
Author: Holly McCulloch
Format reviewed: Paperback
Source: Competition Win
Publisher: Corgi
Publication Date: 4th February 2021 
Rating: 4 Stars

It's easy to put someone in the friend zone. But what happens if you change your mind?

Bea isn't happy. Desperate for a change, she looks to her friends for inspiration. Every single one of them is paired off, perhaps that's what she needs too.

So, she starts dating again. But everywhere she goes - amid the hilarious and scarring dates - there's Peter. Good old, oddball Peter, her closest friend from university. He's always been firmly in the friend zone but something's happened lately - he seems taller, more handsome and suddenly making him smile is Bea's favourite thing.

But how can Bea possibly risk their friendship? And how do you even go about taking someone out of the friend zone? What if Bea and Peter were only ever meant to be just friends...

A story that will have you giggling off and on throughout the book. 

Bea is just hopeless, she can't see the blatantly obvious in her own life, but then who ever does realise the obvious when its staring you in the face.  She has a few close friends but isn't always in the mood for socialising, which I could definitely identify with, but also seems to be a bit of a people pleaser when it comes her friends and work. 

She isn't particularly happy with her job, she has a sideline too which she does enjoy but hasn't really done much with at least initially and suddenly decides she needs to stop acting happy and try to be happy. 

So she starts dating with some very amusing results.  Watch out for a second date, some chilli and a large amount of discomfort, it's hilarious! 

I really enjoyed seeing her various exploits, and the book is written in short chapters which makes one more chapter syndrome a lot easier to keep reading! This a a very enjoyable debut,  and well although you can possibly guess the ending from the blurb  / title or just very early in the book, the journey to get there isn't that smooth, and even I started to doubt it would conclude the way I wanted.  

Plus it's just an entertaining read in between, so why miss out on something that can easily take your mind off lockdowns and pandemics! I'm already interested to see what Holly McCulloch writes next and look forward to reading it.

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