Wednesday 30 June 2021

Book Review - Sunrise at Strawberry Farm by Kellie Hailes

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Amazon UK

Title: Sunrise at Strawberry Farm
Author: Kellie Hailes
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Orion Dash
Publication Date: 25th May 2020
Rating: 4 Stars

First love can be as sweet as strawberries...

Hannah Beety never thought she'd be back working at her family's strawberry farm, but when her mother falls ill, she knows it's time to go home. Returning to help in time for the summer harvest, Hannah's forced to face up to the broken hearts she left behind...

After a decade, Grey Walker cannot believe that the woman he had planned to marry, start a family and live a cosy life with is back. Working side by side with Hannah as they prepare for the annual Strawberry Festival brings back all the memories of his first love he'd tried to bury. But as the summer days lengthen, could letting her in mean losing his heart, again?

Well it's the sign of a good author when you spend most of the book wanting to bash the two main characters heads together repeatedly until they see sense. As after all I cared that much about their happiness, it was driving me just slightly demented that they couldn't quite work it out for themselves! 

And I really enjoyed the descriptions of the Strawberry farm and how it worked, and the way it celebrates at the end of picking season.  I was interested in the family dynamics of Hannah's family and how they acted towards her.  Hannah and Grey though as much as I did enjoy reading about them, I didn't completely mesh with either of them. 

In fact my favourite characters were Mr "flirts with everything" Matt, who is one of the strawberry pickers being used this season, who is a breath of fresh air whenever he cropped up.  And I also loved Amethyst, Hannah's best friend, and movie star, who is rather down to earth. and just such a warm character and she added a great dimension to the stilted family dynamics once she came to start on the farm. 

It's a truly lovely story that evoked the feelings of summer, of strawberry picking while having main characters whose minds are set, you have to wonder whether they they will ever get together, not to mention whether Hannah will ever feel as though she is a valued member of the family or not. 

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

Tuesday 29 June 2021

Book Review - Things Are Looking Up by Maxine Morrey

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Amazon UK

Title: Things Are Looking Up
Author: Maxine Morrey
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Boldwood Books
Publication Date: 25th May 2021
Rating: 4 Stars

What if what you really need is right there in front of you, if you just take a moment to look up?
Milly has been waiting for this moment forever and finally it’s just an hour away – an interview with Vogue magazine and the opportunity to get her Louboutin-clad foot in the door.  There’s just one problem – totally engrossed in her mobile phone, Milly doesn’t see the bus that is fast approaching – until it’s too late…

When Milly next opens her eyes, the consequences of her accident become clear. Everything she has worked for and dreamed of suddenly feels out of reach. But there is one bright spot on her horizon – the reappearance of her ex Jed, in all of his six-foot-four, broad-shouldered glory, with the most piercing ice blue eyes Milly ever saw.

Once used to working in a whirlwind, Milly now has the chance to reconsider how to live. Will she rush back to the treadmill, get her head down and back to business, or is there a whole other life waiting for her, if she’ll just look up to see it?

‘Read yourself happy’ with Maxine Morrey’s latest uplifting, page-turning, heart-warming romance, guaranteed to brighten up your day.

Well I can't say I recall the last time I read a book where the main character is hit by a bus in the opening chapter - possibly because I think this could be the first one.  Milly is so addicted to working and her phone, she literally doesn't see a bus hit her, and parts of her phone ended up really stuck to her in the aftermath. 

I promise she lives, as this is a rom com, and she is our main character, and its a story of Milly learning to look up, take in the world around her, recovering from her hospital stay, and trying to rebuild her life.  For while she is in hospital she is evicted and also loses all her work, contacts she used to be able to rely on, no longer want anything to do with her.  

So the last thing she wants or needs really is for Jed to walk back into her life, or hospital room to be precise, much less being the bigger better man, and offering to take Milly in until she gets herself together, despite the fact that their relationship didn't exactly end well.

I loved seeing the growth in Milly's character as she re-discovers a love of books, of just enjoying the small pleasures in life, and seeing what is around her when she isn't completely hooked on her phone.  

However it was Jed that I kept reading for.  I loved him from the off as as the book progressed I fell further and further in love with him.  Apart from his potentially iffy taste in women that is.  Thankfully his taste in animals is a lot better and I loved the whole storyline involving a wonderful four legged friend. 

This is a really enjoyable story, full of will they, won't they feelings, and characters you could be believe in.  I especially loved Ravi and Sunni from the bookshop who seemed so down to earth and lovely people, just the story you would want running your local bookshop! 

Definitely brightened up my week while I was reading this. 

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

Monday 28 June 2021

Book Review - The Country Village Summer Fete by Cathy Lake

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Amazon UK

Title: The Country Village Summer Fete
Author: Cathy Lake
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Zaffer
Publication Date: 10th June 2021 
Rating: 5 Stars

A feel-good, uplifting summer read for fans of Heidi Swain and Cathy Bramley.

Emma Patrick's life is spiralling out of control. On the cusp of her 50th birthday, she suddenly realises that she doesn't have many meaningful relationships in her life. She's single, successful, living alone and thinks she's loving it, but being so focussed on work and always online means she's lost any real connection to people.

When Emma gets a call to say her ageing father is becoming increasingly confused, she decides that she should go back home to the countryside to spend some time with him. But returning to Little Bramble, the village she grew up in, after all these years, is filled with complications of its own and people she'd rather avoid.

As Emma starts to settle in to her childhood home, she finds herself loving village life - much to her surprise. When the opportunity to get involved in the running of the summer fete comes her way, before she knows it she's embracing jam making, cake baking and bunting. And with romance brewing, Emma begins to doubt the glamorous life in London that she worked so hard to build . . .

It was lovely to be back in Little Bramble again and to catch up with Clare and her family from the previous book. But equally this can definitely be read as a standalone, as the main characters are brand new, especially Emma. 

Emma left Little Bramble when she was young and now verging on 50, she is back at least for a short while to look after her dad who hasn't been well. And she is dreading running into her old flame who was so so angry when she left all those years ago. 

I loved meeting Greg, Emma's dad who at first seems so despondent and not quite himself and seeing how he improves and comes back to life as such over the course of the book is truly heartwarming.  As is seeing Emma who had been a workaholic in London, learning to adjust to a slower pace of life, and deciding to take up jam making like her mum used to. 

And then there is Connor, who we also get chapters, or half chapters focusing on, and he is dealing with a nightmarish ex, and also that is daughter is moving to Paris. Daughter Grace is wonderful and has so much insight for one so young it's impressive. 

From a slow start, it just took me a while to really get into the swing of this book, it turned into a story I was really enjoying. I found I really cared about the characters and was enjoying the will they - won't they ever get their acts together between Emma and Connor. 

I enjoyed the small community vibe, the greyhounds, the fete itself as well as the writing.  It's a really enjoyable way to spend your time, and I'm very curious to see if there will be any more books set in Little Bramble. 

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

Friday 25 June 2021

Book Review - The Gin O'Clock Club by Rosie Blake

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Amazon UK

Title: The Gin O'Clock Club
Author: Rosie Blake
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Sphere
Publication Date: 1st June 2020
Rating: 5 Stars

Bring the sparkle and fizz back into your life with the help of The Gin O'Clock Club

Lottie is always in a hurry, rushing through her days ticking tasks off her to-do lists. Teddy is worried about his granddaughter - and he knows that his late wife, Lily, would have known exactly what to say to make things better. Now that Lily has gone, it's up to Teddy to talk some sense into Lottie.

With the help of Arjun, Geoffrey and Howard, the elderly reprobates who make up his Gin O'Clock Club, Teddy makes a plan to help Lottie find her way back to the things that really matter - family, friendship and love. But as Lottie balances a high-powered job with her reluctant attendance at whist drives, ballroom dances and bingo, Teddy wonders if she's really ready to open up her heart to the possibility of true happiness...

Laugh, cry and fall in love with this colourful cast of characters in THE feel-good novel of the year

The perfect balance between making me feel really emotional and also making me laugh out loud.  

I mean what a rollercoaster of feelings I had while I was reading this book.  We have Lottie who seems to be in self destruct mode, a complete workaholic and seems to have let most things slide otherwise, although thankfully she has her boyfriend Luke, if he can put up with her moods at the moment. 

And then between chapters we have letters to Cora from Teddy, which are full of Teddy's clear love for Cora, worry for his grand daughter Lottie and also his side of the plan to try to help Lottie reconnect with Luke and realise there is more to life than work. 

So Teddy and his friends Arjun, Geoffrey and Howard decide that they want Lottie and Luke to do some good old fashioned wooing and set up all sorts of olde timey dates for them, while at the same time they are trying to persuade Teddy to date in the modern sense of the world. 

So in one half of the story there is pensioners on tinder and taking part in an ice disco.... while the youngsters take part in a whist drive, a memorable art class,  a hilarious evening of board games and an incredibly romantic weekend away - well with some rather hilarious chickens!  

There are so many moments that had me laughing but at the same time its also a story of Lottie and Teddy coming to terms with Cora's death, and how they can move on from it. 

It's simply wonderful and there is so much going on, it kept me incredibly engaged at all times. It's another fabulous book from Rosie Blake, who is an author I always seem to enjoy a  large amount. 

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

Thursday 24 June 2021

Book Review - The Lucky Escape by Laura Jane Williams

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Amazon UK

Title: The Lucky Escape
Author: Laura Jane Williams
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: 10th June 2021
Rating: 5 Stars


When the day finally comes for Annie to marry Alexander, the last thing she expects is to be left standing at the altar. She was so sure he was Mr Right. Now, she has no idea how she could have got it so wrong.

After a chance meeting with Patrick, an old friend who reminds her of who she used to be, Annie takes a vow of her own: she’ll say yes to every opportunity that comes her way from now on.


Could a spontaneous trip with Patrick be the way to mend Annie’s heart? She’s about to find out as she embarks on her honeymoon – with a man who’s nother husband…

I'm starting to really love this author, and this is the sort of story that really appeals to me. 

Of course all my favourite bits involved the honeymoon,  which given even the destination hasn't been revealed in the blurb, I don't feel right in saying it here. 

Let's just say it's a long haul flight, a three week trip of a lifetime and I was open mouthed at the luxurious nature of it, especially given it was paid for by the in-laws that weren't actually in-laws due to their son jilting Annie at the altar. 

I loved the descriptions and trips that were taken on this honeymoon, not always the most expected of destinations, and sometimes not solidly on the tourist trail which was really nice to see.  As a travel lover I was I really happy with how it was depicted, and made me long to get on a plane to join Annie and Patrick out there. 

But there is more to this book than just the travel element, it's a story of how Annie learns a lot about herself in the aftermath of her jilting.  There is her brand night light hearted friendship with Patrick who she knew briefly as a teenager, and I loved her relationship with her much younger sister. 

Annie's mother was so familiar to me, the various comments she made, it felt like she could have been my mum, for the majority of the book.  

I really did enjoy everything about this book, from the first few pages where Annie is all excited getting ready for her wedding, to the aftermath where she is frustrated with her family around her, and her attempts to regain control with a boot camp.  And all that before the honeymoon which wasn't a honeymoon as such. 

Her dynamic with Patrick was so fun to read, and I would love a Patrick in my life! 

Having enjoyed the books I've now read by Laura Jane Williams I really should go back and read Our Stop, and I will definitely keep an eager eye out for future releases. 

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

Wednesday 23 June 2021

Book Review - The Secret Bridesmaid by Katy Birchall

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Amazon UK

Title: The Secret Bridesmaid
Author: Katy Birchall
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Publication Date: 4th May 2021
Rating: 5 Stars

Sophie Breeze is a brilliant bridesmaid. So brilliant, in fact, that she's made it her full-time job.

As a professional bridesmaid, Sophie is secretly hired by brides to be their right-hand woman, ensuring their big day goes off without a hitch. From wrangling rowdy hen dos to navigating last minute portaloo cancellations, there's no problem she can't solve.

So when she's employed by an actual Marchioness to help plan the society wedding of the year, it should be a chance for Sophie to prove just how talented she is.

Of course, it's not ideal that the bride, Cordelia, is rude, difficult and determined to make Sophie's life a nightmare. It's also a bit inconvenient when Sophie finds herself drawn to Cordelia's posh older brother, who is absolutely off limits. And when a rival society wedding is announced, things get even more complicated . . .

Can Sophie pull off the biggest challenge of her career, follow her heart and maintain her reputation - all while keeping her true identity hidden?

I've lost count of the numbers of times I've been laughing out loud while reading this book.  There is so much that just hit my funny bone and had me giggling at times close to hysterically.  

This is especially true of some of Sophie's email exchanges with other bridesmaids or companies she is working with. They are so ridiculous that you can actually believe they are real! 

And this is such a fabulous concept, a professional bridesmaid, I loved how Sophie describes her role in weddings, and the way she has all her bride's backs is really clever - and the lengths she will go to are varied and impressive and on occasion funny too! 

Well until she is hired to work on the society wedding of the year, only the bride, Cordelia doesn't want Sophie's help and is determined to be so outrageous in her demands that it will force Sophie to quit. 

I was completely enjoying part of Sophie's world, seeing just how she worked, and also some character development too.  But for me it was all about the various weddings and the immensely entertaining scenarios that were presented. 

It was a quick and easy read which I always love and when I wasn't reading I was trying to find excuses to ignore work and move back to the book.  Perfect holiday / garden reading, when you just want to lose yourself in something that's hilarious. 

This is the first book I've read by Katy Birchall, and it definitely won't be the last. If she always puts this level of humour in her books then I'll be first in line to read them all!   A wonderful tonic to the past year and a bit, and we can all do with more laughter in our lives. 

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

Tuesday 22 June 2021

Book Review - Hostage by Clare Mackintosh

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Amazon UK

Title: Hostage
Author: Clare Mackintosh
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Sphere
Publication Date: 22nd June 2021
Rating: 5 Stars

You can save hundreds of lives.
Or the one that matters most . . .

The atmosphere on board the first non-stop flight from London to Sydney is electric. Celebrities are rumoured to be among the passengers in business class, and the world is watching the landmark journey.

Flight attendant Mina is trying to focus on the passengers, instead of her troubled five-year-old daughter back at home - or the cataclysmic problems in her marriage.

But soon after the plane takes off, Mina receives a chilling anonymous note. Someone wants to make sure the plane never reaches its destination. They're demanding her cooperation . . . and they know exactly how to get it.

It's twenty hours to landing.
A lot can happen in twenty hours . . 

Wow, wowzers, wowee! Let me just pause for a sec to try to get my breath back after an exhilarating read, which frankly I can't tell you about without revealing spoilers! 

This is a book crying out to be read in one sitting, and if real life hadn't got in my way I would have done just that.  Normally in those circumstances I'd suggest reading on a plane as well when else you get hours to just sit and read without the rest of the world trying to get your attention.  

However given the nature of this book, if you are of nervous disposition or slightly wary of flying I would go as far to read this when you know you aren't flying anywhere for a good long while, just to recover from the book first.  Of course if you think reading about the unthinkable happening at 35 000 feet in the air, while you are at a similar altitude to enhance the terrifying nature of the plot, then please do be my guest. 

What I do know is that if I am going to Australia at any point in the next few years at the very least I will definitely favour the old fashioned multiple flight approach, as opposed to being in the air for 20 hours straight, which is rather daunting regardless of whether you have just read Hostage or not! 

At the heart of this book there is a very important message, themes that run through it. However again I don't want to give away the motivations of what happens, so can't really give you any sort of clue. 

Mina is faced with a horrible dilemma that is touched on in the blurb, and from the moment she gets to the airport to board the flight to Sydney, there is a sense of foreboding.  

We get chapters from her point of view, from Adam and what he is going through back in England with their daughter Sophia.   And Sophia is a rather special character, only 5 years old but has been through a lot and has a whole array of diagnosis that explain her various behaviours.   There are also inbetween chapters, introductions to various of the passengers on board the plane and their reasons for taking this flight. 

I have a horrible feeling I might not sleep well for a few nights after reading this, and dread to think what my dreams will be having now read this.  But its the mark of a fabulous book that I had to keep reading even though I'd say this is definitely up there in worst nightmare scenarios for me, so horrifying that I've never even considered it could happen.

And I can't believe how the story unfolds over 20 hours and I really wasn't sure which way it would go.  It is clear that the author has done masses of research, and at least in the case of Mina, Adam and Sophia made some characters that I really cared about. 

And those final chapters have completely not only blown me away but frazzled my brain too - I somehow didn't expect that at all, and just shows the shocks keep on coming until the very end. 

I've been addicted to Clare Mackintosh's books since I Let You Go came out, and without a shadow of a doubt an already amazing author has gone up another gear with this book and I really need to read the thesaurus next and then come back when I have learnt a new superlative to describe her writing! 

But since the thesaurus sounds rather boring I'll end as I started - just Wowzers!! Woweeee!! Wow!! 

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

Monday 21 June 2021

Book Review - Life's A Beach by Portia MacIntosh

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Amazon UK

Title: Life's A Beach
Author: Portia MacIntosh
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Boldwood Books
Publication Date: 6th May 2021
Rating: 5 Stars

Sun, sea and inescapable exes...

Peach is excited to hear that her sister, Di, is getting married. Of course, she would have preferred her little sister to be engaged to someone she's known longer than a week - and the fact that his name is Charles doesn't bode well - but who is she to judge?! After all, her own love life is non-existent, and who doesn't love a destination wedding...?

Whisked away to the gorgeous Italian coast, Peach assumes her role as chief bridesmaid and, despite her reservations about the groom, she tries to ensure everything goes to plan.

But weddings are never straightforward affairs... throw in some unexpected guests in the form of ex-boyfriends and one night stands, and soon enough there is more drama than a reality tv show.

Can Peach keep the show on the road, or might she end up in a whirlwind romance of her own...?

Portia MacIntosh's best book so far, just go and read it for yourself now, especially if you are already a fan of hers.  And if you aren't well all the books are fab so this one seems like another level of fun and brilliance. 

So we have a mystery shopper, Peach with a fake boyfriend, who was a wonderful one night with a real man with rather similar characteristics to the fake boyfriend.

We have her sister Di, who fell in love at first sight at a friends wedding a week ago, arrived back in the UK to say she is getting married in a week or so's time, in a luxurious Italian resort.

But, well by the time the bridal party all make it to Italy, in the group that are spending the week getting ready for the wedding there is - Peaches most recent one night stand, the man she lost her virginity too, Di's long term ex, the groom and let's just say there is some overlap between the labels I've given the various men! 

And I'm not telling you what the overlap is, add in Peach and Di's cousin Van over from LA who is the life and soul of the party, a cousin of the groom that takes an instant fancy to Peach, and Di's best friend who never seems to like Peach, and seems jealous of any male attention that Peach gets - and you have the cast for a wonderful rom com! 

And it truly is wonderful, and I could easily see this on the big screen, and 100% is should be made into a film. But until then well the movie playing out in my mind while I was reading the words was rather fantastic!  And I have to say I haven't even touched to the surface of men and the various connections between them and the various women of the group! 

It's nuts and it really does show what a small world it is.  And the Italian setting is gorgeous, just what is needed especially when fate seems to be pushing two people together a lot! 

But does Peach really believe her sister can be happy after only knowing the groom for a week, or will she try to throw a spanner in the works. And is she the only one thinking like that, or are there perhaps more at the wedding that may not be completely on board with the happy pairing!?

Well you will need to read to find out, and I was hooked from the first few pages, and that was before the situation evolved the way it did at which point I couldn't get enough of the book. 

It's completely brilliant, very entertaining and amusing and just a top notch rom com!  I'm gutted I reached the end would have happily kept on reading for a long while as I was enjoying these characters so much. 

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

Saturday 19 June 2021

Book Review - Sunlight Over Crystal Sands by Holly Martin - Blog Tour

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Amazon UK

Title: Sunlight Over Crystal Sands
Author: Holly Martin
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Author supplied copy
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: 16th June 2021
Rating: 5 Stars

Love is in the air on the sun kissed sands of the Cornish coast, where the sea sparkles and romance sizzles on golden beaches. This stunning new novel by Holly Martin, bestselling author of Ice Creams at Emerald Cove, is guaranteed to steal your heart this summer.

Lyra Thomas has dreamed of living on Jewel Island ever since she first visited its breathtaking shores. And now her dream has come true – she has her own little cottage and a brand new job. But when Lyra sets out for a bike ride to explore her new home, a mishap has her crash-landing at the feet of the very handsome Nix Sanchez.

A true gentleman, Nix comes to Lyra’s rescue. His face is so familiar and yet they are strangers. But the more they talk, Lyra feels as though she has known Nix forever. What follows is the most magical night of Lyra’s life… until the spell is broken when the next morning she finds Nix has gone.

Feeling foolish Lyra vows to be more careful with her heart from now on. She’ll pretend Nix never existed. But destiny has other ideas and in a perfect twist of fate Lyra will discover that Nix Sanchez is impossible to forget…

Escape to sundrenched Jewel Island this summer where love, laughter and the thrill of adventure await. This gorgeous, romantic, feel-good read is perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella, Jill Mansell and Sue Moorcroft.

Ah, this was just the book I needed to regenerate some mojo! It had me firmly within its grip from the first few pages and I enjoyed every last word of it. 

How I love this Jewel Island series, each book has been simply wonderful escapism so far and this one is no exception. 

There is even some wildlife feature quite early on that I've never really seen or thought about before in books, and I do kind of wish we had seen more from this particular animal as I felt so calm and intrigued while Lyra and Nix was watching it. 

Lyra and Nix - I loved them both almost instantly, and could feel there was some sort of rather special connection between them.  Well until the following day at least when it went a tad wrong, only for a coincidence to bring them back into each others orbits rather quickly. 

Just everything about this book made me smile, had me wanting to read the next pages as fast as I could.  The Lyra / Nix storyline is fantastic, and although you sort of know how it may end up, the journey to get there is so much fun, and knowing the Holly Martin has a habit of writing great romantic gestures I had to see what she came up with this time.  And it didn't disappoint, plus had me completely falling for Nix myself. 

And Jewel Island is just a stunning setting, and as Lyra and Nix are working at the Sapphire Bay hotel, we get to catch up with Clover, Skye and Aria, their other halves, and of course the hotels resident romance expert who always makes me laugh. 

It's a another gem in Holly Martin's crown of jewel (island), as the queen of fantastic romantic stories! 

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

Please do follow along with the rest of this blog tour. 

Friday 18 June 2021

Book Review - The Guest List by Lucy Foley

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Amazon UK

Title: The Guest List
Author: Lucy Foley
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: 20th February 2020
Rating: 5 Stars

On an island off the windswept Irish coast, guests gather for the wedding of the year – the marriage of Jules Keegan and Will Slater.
Old friends.
Past grudges.
Happy families.
Hidden jealousies.
Thirteen guests.
One body.
The wedding cake has barely been cut when one of the guests is found dead. And as a storm unleashes its fury on the island, everyone is trapped.

All have a secret. All have a motive.
One guest won’t leave this wedding alive . . .

From what I thought was a rather steady start, this has built and built into a completely gripping story. 

There are so many things I didn't see coming, many reveals that surprised me, and I do love it when a story surprises me. 

We have many view points which just takes a bit of getting used to, as you get to know each voice and how they fit into this wedding party.  But I never felt lost with it for each chapter stays as one person and the name of the character is at the start of the chapter, so from that point of view its easy to follow. 

There is some truly shocking behaviour over a 48 hour period on a remote atmospheric island in Ireland. The island that is hosting the wedding, was a rather sinister feel to it, a murky past and full of bogs, a graveyard, and a sort of grimness to its beauty. 

The perfect sort of a location on a stormy night for a dead body to be found! We know someone dies right from the start of the book, but who it is, is cleverly concealed for the vast majority of the story, keeping you reading. 

Even when you find out the victim, by that stage you are fairly convinced death is actually too good for the lowlife of a character, but by the same token still have no idea who actually killed them, thus keeping you reading! 

And as we learn about the pasts of various members of the party, everything does start to make a lot of sense and it certainly kept me reading. 

Definitely a bit of a slow burner this one, but the payoff is well worth it, and it wasn't that slow, it just wasn't action packed initially.  

All I know is this is one wedding that I am very happy that I wasn't a guest at, and having heard good things about Lucy Foley for a while, I can now see tell what a fabulous writer she is for myself.  What a great book. 

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

Thursday 17 June 2021

Book Review - The Lies We Tell by Jane Corry

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Amazon UK

Title: The Lies We Tell
Author: Jane Corry
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Viking Books
Publication Date: 17th June 2021
Rating: 5 Stars

Sarah always thought of herself and her husband, Tom, as good people. But that was before their son Freddy came home saying he'd done something terrible. Begging them not to tell the police.

Soon Sarah and Tom must find out just how far they are willing to push themselves, and their marriage, to protect their only child . . .

As the lies build up and Sarah is presented with the perfect opportunity to get Freddy off the hook, she is faced with a terrifying decision . . .

Save her son . . . or save herself?

My head is absolutely reeling from this.  I did not see well the majority of the end section coming, while at the same time it all made complete sense. 

I perhaps should have guessed from the title that the book may be filled with lies, secrets, revelations, but I also went into it blindly not having looked at the blurb at all, just knowing I love Jane Corry's books and would be in safe hands. 

And well it only took a few chapters to be hooked, and I have spent most of the day basically ignoring the fact that it was a week day when I was reading this, with a mountain of work that should almost certainly have had my intention, and instead I just couldn't tear myself away from the story. 

It raises all sorts of questions, and if I was a mother myself maybe I'd have an answer to the main question that is raises, which is just what would you do to protect your child, even if they have said that they had done the worst thing possible. 

In the first half of the book we get a great feel for Tom and Sarah's life from both their perspectives from their first meeting, to the present day.  We see Freddy growing up, and we learn about things that both of them hidden from each other from their own pasts.   

There is just so much to get your head around in this, that all I can really say is this is Jane Corry at her twisty, compulsive best.  I just loved this book so much, it was wonderful, and I always appreciate a book that makes me forget about real life for a few hours, and transports me into it's pages.    

I can't help but think this will be playing on my mind a lot for at least the next few days, and if this is anything like some of the psychological suspense sorts of books I've read recently, may give me some rather weird and vivid dreams too! 

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

Wednesday 16 June 2021

Book Review - And Now You're Back by Jill Mansell - Blog Tour

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Title: And Now You're Back
Author: Jill Mansell
Format reviewed: Paperback
Source: Publisher supplied copy
Publisher: Headline
Publication Date: 10th June 2021
Rating: 5 Stars

One magical night in Venice, Didi fell in love. But it ended - and he left without even saying goodbye.

Now, thirteen years on, Shay Mason is back.

The old spark is still there, but Didi's determined to ignore it. As manager of a stunning Cotswolds hotel, she's happy at last, and soon to be married. Anyway, Shay isn't staying. He's made a promise to his father. He's going to keep it. And then he'll be gone.

But Shay's return stirs up long-forgotten emotions, and the scandal that led him to leave raises its head once again. It's time for buried secrets to come to light. And it seems that this was someone's intention all along . . .

From the beloved author of IT STARTED WITH A SECRET comes a fabulous new novel about love, friendship and finding the way to your best life.

It is always a fabulous feeling to be settling down with a new Jill Mansell book, and this one is certainly up there with her very best. 

I absolutely loved this story from beginning to end.  We are treated a few viewpoints which gave us some rather interesting threads. 

In fact is was Red Masons' story that possibly intrigued me the most early on, he is a real character, and it felt as though he was rather charismatic even while being rather frail. His son Shay is the reason for the book's title, and I really enjoyed the various dimensions to his personality too. 

Then there is Rosa, Layla's mum who has the most amazing job, even if she can be a bit too kind hearted at times.  The business she set up for herself sounds rather unique, definitely bespoke and I wonder if anyone has ever come up with this in the real world. 

Finally best friends since childhood Didi and Layla the two main characters of the book. I really enjoyed getting to know both of them, and spent a fair bit of the book hoping they would come to their senses about the various men in their lives! 

From quite early on I felt drawn into the book and at the same time a warmth glowing from the words, such is my love of this author. It felt comforting but new simultaneously. 

I think my only issue with the this book is that every time I saw the title I started singing that line from "I will Survive" which is just a rather catchy song, and since I was reading a paperback I saw the title a lot more than I would have done had I been reading digitally!   But it is a rather apt title, and I do love the song too! 

This was everything I wanted it to be, and is just an all around fantastic book. 

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

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