Wednesday 14 February 2024

Guest Review: The Library on Love Heart Lane by Christie Barlow

Growing up in foster care, Elle Cooper always felt a piece of herself was missing. Now, as her thirtieth birthday approaches, she’s ready to find it. But when instigating the search for her birth mother leads to a whole host of unexpected events, this librarian’s quiet life suddenly gets very loud!

With new friends, old flames and surprising influences keeping Elle busy, she soon starts to see that there’s more to life than where you came from – and that where you are right now, and who you have in your corner, is what might just matter most of all…



Review: This is the 13th book in the Love Heart Lane series from this author. It was published previously as Evie’s Year of Taking Chances, and has been adapted to fit into the present series. The stories in this series feature inhabitants of the small highland village of Heartcross and the nearby town of Glensheil, each one introducing one or more new character as well as reuniting the reader with well-loved faces from previous books. All the books, including this one, can be read as a standalone story. As usual, this book contains a helpful map showing locations within Love Heart Lane that feature in the stories.

The central character in this book is librarian Elle Cooper. She loves her job in the Love Heart Lane library, where she works alongside friend Pippa, and new member of staff Aiden. Elle has had a troubled past, having been moved as a child from one foster family to another until she was finally placed in her teens with Irene, who has been like a mother to her ever since. Now, with her 30th birthday round the corner, Elle wants to try and find her birth mother, and perhaps even her father. However, Elle’s search results in a series of shocks for her that just keep on coming, and her quiet existence is suddenly transformed in more ways than one.

I have enjoyed all of the books in this series so far, but, for me, this is probably the most emotional read so far. Elle was a lovely person, and as her story emerged with each page, her amazing, strong personality was revealed. The story of her early years was quite heartbreaking to read. As you might expect from a librarian, Elle had a great love of books and a favourite author who she longed to meet, but she was unsure if she had it in her to write a book of her own. The story underlined the importance in all our lives of true friends. Elle was lucky in having so many people who cared for her, including a caring and supportive foster mother. I loved her best friend Pippa, different in so many ways from Elle, but always there ready to help out and add some humour to any situation. As with previous books in the series, the wonderful community spirit present in Love Heart Lane shone out and in addition the storyline contained a satisfying dose of romance for more than just Elle.

To order your copy now, just click here!

Tuesday 13 February 2024

January 2024 Wrap Up: How Many Books Did I Read At The Start of 2024?

I didn't realise until I put this list together that I actually read as much as I did because CL Taylor's book put me into a reading slump where I just couldn't get into anything else. I guess I just missed the thrill of her book whenever I picked up something else. Bout of Books accounts for about half of this list and then diving into Alice Oseman accounts for the other half. I'm still working my way through Alice Oseman's books but I'm really proud of this list!


eBooks



Physical Books








Audiobooks


















Monday 12 February 2024

February 2024 TBR: New Book Releases and Other Audiobooks I Want To Read

I had a great start to my reading year in January and then a cewrtain thriller author (CL Taylor) put me into a reading slump with her new book Every Move You Make so I didn't read anything after that!

I'm hoping this (late) February TBR will help me get back on track because there are certainly a lot of things I want to read. I've included a couple of books that are released at the end of February that I have pre-ordered on audiobook so I may not finish them before March 1st but then there's always hope right?

I've also included a nonfiction book I want to read and I'm stil on my Alice Oseman deep dive so she will feature here too!

February Releases



February 12th


February 15th


February 29th

Nonfiction



Alice Oseman









 

Tuesday 16 January 2024

Blog Tour: Review of The Happiest Ever After by Milly Johnson

 

It is my stop on the blog tour for the Amazing new book from Milly Johnson today! Here's what it's all about: 

Polly Potter is surviving, not thriving. She used to love her job as a business consultant, turning around businesses that were on their uppers – until her mentor died and her new boss decided to make her life hell. She used to love her partner Chris – until he cheated on her, and now she can’t forget. The only place where her life is working is on the pages of the novel she is writing – there she can recreate herself as a feistier, bolder, more successful version of herself – as the fictional Sabrina Anderson.

But what if it was possible to start over again? To leave everything behind, forget all that went before, and live the life you’d always dreamed of?

That’s how Polly finds herself as Sabrina, living at the heart of a noisy Italian family restaurant by the sea. Run by Teddy, the charming son of her new landlady Marielle, it has potential, if only a rival restaurant is stopped from moving in next door. Sabrina can’t remember her life as Polly, but she knows she is living a different life from the one she used to live.

But what if her new life could give her her happiest ever after…?


Review: I warmed to the main character Polly Potter straight away when I picked this book up. Like many Milly Johnson characters, she is hard done by (especially by men) but very very easy to relate to. However I did not expect the twists and turns of this story. It started out as a classic Milly novel with Polly trying her best to overcome the shit men who surround her and make her life as happy as it can possibly be. This involves a little deception and a lot of self-control, as well as a couple of awesome females in her office, then the books veers suddenly off in another direction and oh boy are you in for a treat?! This became part comeback tale and part mystery and I could not put it down. 

Polly really was delightful to spend the course of the novel with. As well as the fact that you find yourself rooting for her, she just feels like a classic Milly Johnson character that we all know and love and so there’s such a sense of familiarity with her. I really wanted her to live the life that she created for Sabrina and she genuinely does not have a bad bone in her body so you just can’t help but get behind her. Thankfully she does have a couple of other women looking out for her. Her new landlady is wonderful and we get to see a glimpse of her story as the book progresses as well and then Polly’s deskmate and head of HR also really do have her back and as a reader you are glad that they are there. 

Milly Johnson always does such a great job of writing a villain you love to hate so that when they get their comeuppance you can rejoice and cheer on those moments along the reading journey. The villains in this book are truly, truly horrible. They are so well-written you almost want to jump into the pages and warn Polly about them before she even comes face to face with them. There are quite a few baddies to boo along the way but they don’t take away from the happiness you feel as you unravel Polly’s tale. I know I’ve mentioned quite a few times that this feels like a classic Milly Johnson novel and that’s one of the things I liked best about it but that’s just the genius of it. If you love a Milly book then you know you’re in for a treat right from the word go, but if you’re reading this review trying to decide whether to read it or not then you can be reassured that this is indicative of this author’s work and you know you’re going to have a good time and you’ve made the right choice!

To order your copy now just click here!



Saturday 13 January 2024

Guest Review: The Ascent of Man By Jacob Bronowski

Dr Jacob Bronowksi's The Ascent of Man traces the development of human society through our understanding of science.

First published in 1973 to accompany the groundbreaking BBC television series, it is considered one of the first works of 'popular science', illuminating the historical and social context of scientific development for a generation of readers. In his highly accessible style, Dr Bronowski discusses human invention from the flint tool to geometry, agriculture to genetics, and from alchemy to the theory of relativity, showing how they all are expressions of our ability to understand and control nature.

In this new paperback edition, The Ascent of Man inspires, influences and informs as profoundly as ever.


Review: This book was published in 1973 to accompany the BBC television series of the same name. The series, detailing the history of scientific achievements, was commissioned as an accompaniment to a similar series on the arts entitled “Civilisation”. Dr Jacob Bronowski, a mathematician, physicist and biologist, was chosen to present the television series “The Ascent of Man”.

The book consists of thirteen chapters, corresponding to each of the episodes of the television series. The author’s main thesis is that science and the arts are not separable and that their advancement during humankind’s evolution and intellectual development are intertwined. Hence the chapters cover such topics as: the evolution of hominids; architecture; perspective in art; planetary theory; nuclear physics; and genetics. The topics are described in a way such that they are understandable to a layman. The author’s main argument is that humankind is unique among other life forms on earth in that it has the ability to record, learn and improve, allowing it to mould nature to its wishes.

I found this to be a a wide-ranging and interesting book, written by a polymath who had an excellent command of his subject matter. Although a scientist myself, it is written in a style that will appeal to non-scientists as well, and is a fascinating account of the history of science from the evolution of humankind up to the 1970s.

To order your copy now, just click here!

Wednesday 10 January 2024

Guest Review: Secrets of Starshine Cove by Debbie Johnson

Cally, a devoted single mum, is stretched thin between caring for her clingy mother and her day job as a hairdresser with an always sympathetic ear. When her life in Liverpool is suddenly upended, she grabs her son Sam and jumps in the car to drive south for Christmas. Searching for a tiny speck of a village she once visited as a child, they nearly give up when a snowstorm hits, only to unexpectedly stumble across it: Welcome to Starshine Cove.

Amidst the welcoming – if slightly mad – locals, Cally finds some unexpected new friendships and even the beginnings of something more. But as the year draws to a close, she faces a tough decision: she and Sam can’t stay here forever, and the future looks a lot less jolly back home…


Review: This is the second book from Debbie Johnson set in the magical and mysterious Dorset village of Starshine Cove, so difficult to find but also hard to leave behind. It follows on from Escape to Starshine Cove, but can be read as a standalone story. I was looking forward to reading this book, having enjoyed the first tale about the village and its inhabitants. It proved one of those stories that pulled me in quickly and kept me coming back until the very end.


The narrative in this case focuses on single mother Cally and teenage son Sam. With Christmas fast approaching, Cally’s world caring for Sam and her needy mother while working hard as a hairdresser suddenly changes, leaving her with time on her hands, a strange situation for her. Without really knowing where they are going, she loads Sam into the car and sets off for a village where she has happy memories of spending Christmas as a child. When they have almost given up trying to find this elusive place, a sign magically appears directing them to Starshine Cove. Both Cally and Sam are astonished by the welcoming atmosphere in the village and the way they are absorbed into the community. One family in particular appeals to Cally, and, as she gets close to them, she wonders how she will ever be able to leave Starshine Cove and return to the life she knew before.

I absolutely loved this book and can highly recommend it, whether or not you have read the first story about this village. The storyline here has so much to offer, filled as it is with romance, humour and amazing characters, all wrapped up in a Christmas book. It is pure escapism, leaving the reader wishing that Starshine Cove really existed and that they could live among these kind people in this wonderful seaside setting - great writing from Debbie Johnson as always.

To order your copy now, just click here!

Tuesday 9 January 2024

Bout of Books 39 Wrap Up

 


I always love this first Bout of Books of the year I think it's just a bit of a shame that it landed on the first of January this year. We're always so busy and then I had to go back to schoool so I didn't read as much as I would've liked but still managed a decent chunk of reading to see in the new year with. Let me know in the comments what your first reads/reads of 2024 are!

Here's what I read:


321 pages


320 pages


302 pages


400 pages


338 pages

Part Books Finished


33% of 342 pages 114 pages.

Books Finished: 5
Pages Read: 1795