Friday, 22 September 2017

Review: The Hygge Holiday by Rosie Blake

The perfect recipe for hygge this autumn: make a hot chocolate, draw the curtains, snuggle under a blanket and read your way to happiness!

It's autumn in Yulethorpe and everyone is gloomy. It's cold, drizzly and the skies are permagrey. The last shop on the high street - an adorable little toy shop - has just shut its doors. Everything is going wrong for Yulethorpe this autumn. Until Clara Kristensen arrives.
Clara is on holiday but she can see the potential in the pretty town, so she rolls up her sleeves and sets to work. Things are looking up until Joe comes to Yulethorpe to find out exactly what is going on with his mother's shop. Joe is Very Busy and Important in the City and very sure that Clara is up to no good. Surely no one would work this hard just for the fun of it?
Can a man who answers emails at 3 a. m. learn to appreciate the slower, happier, hygge things in life - naps, candles, good friends and maybe even falling in love?



Review: I love a Rosie Blake novel. This one felt quite different from her previous novel, but then I think that the subject matter made it feel just a lot cosier and it was still really really enjoyable. I actually started this book before going to sleep and then didn't put it down until I had finish it. I didn't realise that I was reading it until the wee hours of the morning because I was just so engrossed and absorbed in the story, costing up with the characters and enjoying a little bit of me time away from everything else. I know people often talk about reading a book in one sitting and it therefore being an easy read but I know I will suffer the next day because of staying up reading but I don't care because I had such a good time wrapped up in this story!

Clara was such an interesting character to have as the protagonist of this novel. Unlike a lot of other main characters, this story isn't really about her as a person and we really don't learn an awful lot about her personality in this book. But we do learn about the effect that she has on people and places and the way that she choses to live her life and to conduct herself around others. I found this a very refreshing way of reading and I think that this is one of the reasons the book kept up at such a pace.

Because this book is set in a small village, there are very few other characters, but the characters to do me are just that, real characters. From Louisa and Roz, both big brash women with a bitter rival.ry, to harassed mum Lauren and Gavin who runs the pub and is just trying to do the right thing. We also get to know Joe who is a complete contrast to Clara in his London city lifestyle. I did worry about Joe and really wanted to see him happy, another thing that keep me turning the pages. 

This book truly is warm and cosy. I knew nothing about Hygge going into this book but now that I know about it, I want to read more. I also want to go out and buy lots of cosy cushions and throws and candles and make rice pudding and fondue, but thats by the by. You really don't have to know anything about Hygge to read this book because you will feel its essence as you go along. You also don't have to have read any of Rosie's other books to read this one because it is a standalone, although I would love to have a sequel-please?! So whether you are already a Rosie Blake fan, like me, or this is the first time you are picking up one of her novels, you won't be disappointed. This is just a lovely read and will leave you warm and cosy, and wanting to buy candles and throws!

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Review: Keep You Safe by Melissa Hill

A mother always knows best. Doesn’t she?
What if your choice for your child could harm someone else’s?
Every mother faces impossible choices. Vaccination is one of the hardest. For single mum Kate O’Hara, there was no decision to make. Her daughter Rosie is one of a small percentage of Irish children who can’t be vaccinated against measles. All Kate can do is hope that her little girl is safe.
For mummy blogger Madeleine Cooper, it was a leap of faith she wasn't prepared to take when she and her husband declined controversial measles jabs for their daughter Clara. All she can do is pray that it’s the right decision.
But when classmates Clara and Rosie both become sick will Kate pay for Madeleine’s choice?

Review: Wow this was such a good plot! I loved how different the subject matter of this book was, it was one of those that I thought, 'wow I wish I had thought of writing this!'. The subject of vaccination and whether or not the vaccinate children, whether they can come to more harm with or without a vaccination is in and out of the news and so it was great to have a first hand, all be it fictional, account of parents who have struggled with that decision and who must now face the consequences either way. 

The main characters of the book are Madeline and Kate. Both of them are mothers and both are very different mothers. Kate is a nurse and she knows what her child wants and needs based on her medical background and personal experience. She is also a single mother and has had certain hardships she has had to face a such. Madeline is very different. She has a successful blog and makes her decisions based around consulting with her online community and her husband. The women re very different, ut really both come across the same struggles and barriers in this book. I liked the fact that theres women were the vehicle for this storyline. They were both easy to relate to and the fact that their children were both sick, made for an emotional read. 

There are certain medical and legal terms that are explored over the course of this book, but that didn't make for difficult reading at any point and I enjoyed the fact that this author chose to keep them in there, I didn't feel like anything was dumbed down. I also like the fact that these medical and legal issues were explored through these families made for easier reading too. It was a very personal and a very relatable story, and whilst it left me thinking, it wasn't a taxing read in any way. As I mentioned above, this was a great subject for a novel and I really enjoyed something which dealt with a new and unusual topic. I listened to the audiobook, which was excellently done, and the action kept me wanting more at every moment. I would really recommend this read, it is fresh and different and very well-written. 

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Guest Review: Out of Practice by Penny Parkes

Out of Practice is based around a large country medical practice, which proves to be a hotbed of rivalry, resentment and romance - and that's just the doctors. Think James Herriot meets House.

Meet married mum of two and successful GP Holly Graham as she relocates her family to join the team at The Practice at Beckerford, hoping to find the peaceful life she craves, despite the chaos that comes with her two year old twins and the troublesome state of her marriage. It will certainly be a challenge to keep her private and professional lives separate in such a tight-knit community.

Her colleagues have their own issues to contend with. The gorgeous Dr Dan Carter is struggling with to focus on work and the last thing he needs is any more stress; having his ambitious ex-girlfriend Dr Julia Channing working alongside him isn't really helping. Thankfully, the rather delectable Dr Taffy Jones is on hand to distract Holly from the escalating situation at home.

Feisty octogenarian and resident celebrity, Elsie Townsend, is Holly's favourite patient and saving grace. Elsie's inspirational Life Lessons come at the perfect moment, as The Practice is suddenly under threat of imminent closure and Holly rediscovers her voice and her priorities just in time …





Review: This is the first book in the Larkford Series from Penny Parkes. As a romantic comedy award winner, it sounded right up my street. I haven't read anything by Penny Parkes before, but there are more parts of this series to look forward to for those enjoying this one. I was happy to find this book was available as an audio version which I could listen to while getting on with jobs around the house. It certainly held my attention from the word go. 

The story is based primarily on events taking place in a medical practice situated in the town of Larkford, and in the lives of the staff working there and also of the local residents. Central amongst those characters is Holly Graham, the newest GP on the staff. Previously employed in the A&E department of a Reading hospital, she has arrived in Larkford with her 2-year-old twin sons and husband Milo, who is on a 'sabbatical' from his lecturer post following an indiscretion with a student. Despite having moved closer to her best friend, Lizzie, Holly really wonders what she has got herself into, finding herself in an environment that is very different from what she has just left. However, she soon warms to her colleagues and the local residents and becomes involved in the community spirit evident in the town. Other staff at the medical practice include doctors Dan Carter (Lizzie's cousin), his ex Julia Channing and Taffy Jones (would you believe that he's Welsh!), all of whom have very different personalities and interesting back stories. 

I found a great deal of humour in this story. It deals with some serious aspects of course and there are quite a few dramatic events, but some of the interactions between medical staff and their patients are most entertaining. A great source of amusement is local elderly celebrity Elsie Townsend, who comes out with some utterly outrageous stories from her past and is a source of inspiration to Holly. She was certainly one of my favourite characters in the book. I found Holly surprisingly naive, considering her responsible role. I frequently wanted to tell her to pull herself together in the beginning, especially in her relations with Milo. However, as well as dealing with her patients, Holly does have a lot on her plate, trying to save her marriage, her friend, Lizzie, and, in the end, the whole practice. 

I have enjoyed reading this book and am looking forward to the next one in the series. I'm sure it will appeal to anyone who enjoys a romantic comedy and a bit of medical drama. At almost 500 pages, it's not something to read at one sitting, but well worth curling up with for a few sessions. 

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books on My Fall TBR 19/9/17



Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists over there at The Broke and the Bookish. I'd love to share my lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!


This is a great one this week. I know that this fall I will definitely be reading a little less than I have this year so far because I am back in the UK and busy busy busy. I am also not with my bookshelves so I am limited to my Kindle, my audiobooks and library book borrows. This isn't all that limited but STILL!


Out 13th October


Out 21st September


Out 24th October


Out 5th October


Out 16th November


Out 30th November


Out 15th October


Out 5th October

The last 3 books were released earlier this year but were waiting for me back in the UK!





What are you going to be snuggling up with this autumn?





Monday, 18 September 2017

Review: I heart Forever by Lindsey Kelk

Please remember this is book 7 in a series before reading my review and being spoiled for the other 6! (But if you haven't read the others, go away and read them now because they're amazing!)
Winter in Manhattan…and someone’s keeping a secret.
The day her husband Alex picks up a backpack and goes travelling, Angela Clark promises to stay out of trouble and keep both Louboutins on the ground.
So when her best friend’s boyfriend confides in her, it can’t hurt to help him pick out a ring at Tiffany’s surely?
And when her fashion magazine announces major changes, being terminally late and arguing with your boss isn’t that bad, is it?
Then suddenly there’s another big secret Angela’s got to keep – and the man she loves is still thousands of miles away. As the wedding of the year looms, and Manhattan switches on its Christmas lights, Angela is going to need her friends by her side as her old life looks set to change forever.


Review: Well its safe to say that I loved this read! I did what I really don't do very often with a book and that is to read chunks at a time but not read the whole thing all at once to make it last longer. It's been a while since I took that approach and I am glad that I did. I just love Lindsey Kelk's writing. She is so funny and her way with words just makes me laugh all through anything she writes. She puts into words how I look at the world and she isn't afraid to say what we are all thinking, out loud, very loud! I also love the fact that this series of books is set in America and yet Angela is English and so there is this amazing mix of English terms mixed in with American life ( just like my life!) and that makes me laugh too but also makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside!

So back to Angela, Angela has a secret in this novel and Angela with a secret is never a good thing. As if she didn't have enough on her plate already, she has more and more things loaded on there over the course of this novel and I was really quite worried for her stress levels and her blood pressure at one point. Some of the things she went with induced anxiety in me, never mind her. But she deals with them in an Angela way, the way we all love her for. Alex is a little absent in this book because of his travelling but he is also very true to form and it was great to see her again. I think Angela's parents went down a storm in previous novels and so they have a part to play in the ending of this novel and they just made me laugh so much. In particular look out for a moment with Angela's Dad and some Yorkshire tea, that's all I'm saying!

Jenny Lopez, it was great to see Jenny again and Jenny is just Jenny and wonderful. I just love her friendship with Angela because it is such a turn friendship. A lot of people think that Jenny is holding Angela up, others think it is quite the opposite, but I just love the fact that they support each other and they need each other there in major life events because that is exactly how I am with my best friend. Cici is also a major player in this novel, which i kind of suspected but I love that she got a slightly bigger role this time around, she really comes into her own and we get to learn a lot more about her than in previous novels. I think that I would hate to work with her on a personal level but on a professional level, she gets the job done!

Of course the other major character in these books in New York and reading this novel, you can tell just how in love with New York this author is. The way things are described and the comfort that comes across throughout the book is just amazing. If you don't come away from reading this book wanting to go to NYC and have a great time, then I really don't know if we can be friends! I love the places they go, they places they resist and they are described with such detail and with such wistfulness it just makes for great reading!

There were a few surprises along the way in this novel, thankfully I wasn't spoiled for any of the details beforehand and I won't spoil you either. Some events were predictable, but in a really great way but there are a few things that made me go 'WHAT?' just in a really great way. I loved every moment of this book and I cannot WAIT for the next one. Read this series now, you won't regret it!

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Guest Review: There's Only Two David Beckhams by John O'Farrell

Here's another in my series of reviews on sports/history books. A novel about football today...

Re-live the glory and the heartache of England's greatest ever game - and THAT World Cup Final back in 2022.

Well now it’s 2022 and the discussion is finally over, England have eleven players as good as any of them. The unbeatable national team have reached the final of the Qatar World Cup. But one journalist is convinced there is a scandalous secret behind England’s incredible form. His lifetime’s dream is to see the Three Lions win the World Cup. But if he pursues and exposes the shocking truth, his beloved England could be sent home in disgrace. 

Suddenly this is much more than England vs Germany; it’s Love vs Duty, it’s Truth vs Happiness. 
The pressure of the penalty shoot-out is nothing compared to this.

There’s Only Two David Beckhams is John O’Farrell’s love-letter to football; part-detective story, part-sports memoir, part-satire on the whole corrupt FIFA circus; it just made the final for the funniest football fiction ever written...




Review: This is a fictional and humorous account of the England football team's progress in qualifying for and reaching the final of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar (I said it was a work of fiction). It is told from the standpoint of a sports journalist named Alfie covering the events, and describes his journey of discovery as well as the impact of the team's performance on his professional and personal lives.

As well as publishing a number of books and writing newspaper columns, the author John O'Farrell has written previously for the TV comedy programmes "Spitting Image" and "Have I Got News For You". This book displays the same incisive, satirical humour of those programmes, and I was in stitches constantly whilst reading it. The worlds of professional football, journalism and politics are all targeted, as the book leads to the thrilling climax of the World Cup Final, and the moral dilemma faced by Alfie. I don't believe a single footballing cliché has been omitted from the book. All in all, I was over the moon after reading this book and I give it my full vote of confidence.

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

Friday, 15 September 2017

Review: Happily Ever After by Kiera Cass

A companion volume to the bestselling The Selection series – extra stories and never-before-seen material. Fans should prepare to swoon!
The achingly romantic and stylish four The Selection enovellas – The Prince, The Guard, The Queen and The Favorite – together in one irresistible volume. Plus exclusive extra content – Art for each of the novellas, a new intro for each of the novellas and 3 brand new scenes from each of the first 3 novels.


Review: I really enjoyed being back in this world. Having read the five novels in the series back to back, I decided to take a break and came back to this one a month later, but immediately I started reading it, I was transported back to a royal kingdom with characters I knew and loved. I read a story a day and binged the bonus materials almost as soon as I opened the book and would really recommend reading it this way!

My favourite story of the four was The Queen, it gave great insight into the character of The Queen but it also gave me a great insight into the whole selection competition! The only one I wasn't as keen on was The Guard (I left it until last) but this wasn't because of the plot or the writing, it was just because I wasn't as big of a fan of Aspen throughout the books and although the author puts a forward about how this story will get you to see Aspen in a new light, I still wasn't sold on him-sorry!

One of my favourite things about this book was the illustrations. I loved the fact that there were drawings spread throughout the book, some before a short story and some throughout the novellas too. They really brought the stories to life and made me think back to when I was reading illustrated books when I was younger, bring back pictures in all books I say! I also really loved the 'Where are they now' section, although I had forgotten about a few of the characters mentioned!

Overall I really enjoyed this read and would love some more selection stories to tie in with the final two books, if that could be arranged please? I think I would recommend reading these in the order they were intended, so if you haven't started the selection series yet, grab yourself a copy of this to read alongside!

To order your copy now, click the link: UK or US