Thursday 31 May 2018

May 2018 Wrap Up

Well May was a funny month. The start of the month I was in England and going to lots of book events with lots of time to read on the train into London and the subsequent tube and bus journeys to get to where I was going. Then Mid-made brought packing up to head back to Denver, flying back home and of course the jetlag that that brought. The end of the month I had m library back but I was also driving everywhere again so less time for reading books but more time for listening to books.

I didn't stick to my TBR really...but we knew that was going to happen didn't we?

You can see my bout of books wrap up here to see all the places I read just in that one week, I also made a video about it which I will post at the bottom of this wrap up.

If I've reviewed a book I will post a link to it below the cover so you can see my thoughts!


Physcial Books

My Review


Did not finish

Wednesday 30 May 2018

Review: Leah on The Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat- but real life isn't always so rhythmic.
The only child of a single mum, and her life is less privileged than her friends.
Her mum knows she's bisexual, but Leah hasn't mustered the courage to tell her friends. 

Not even her openly gay BFF, Simon.

Prom and college are on the horizon, and tensions are running high.
Can Leah still strike the right note, when the people she loves are fighting?
And how can she cope knowing that she might love one of her friends more than she ever intended?

Review: Oh my goodness I loved this book so much. Firstly, I love the fact that this book carries on from where Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda left off so we know the characters, we know the setting and we want to find out how the Creekwood High gang are getting on. And secondly I love the fact that this book focuses on my favourite character from that book, Leah! Can I just say as an aside, she was also my favourite character when I saw the film so that really didn't disappoint either!

You definitely have to have read Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda before reading this one unless you want to be spoiled for Simon story lines...

We know going into this book that Leah identifies as bisexual but hasn't come out to anyone yet. I think that this was a great move by this author, you don't read about many lead female characters who are afraid to come out as bisexual or who are sure they are bisexual. It was great to read about the crushes that Leah has and has had because they really do include a broad spectrum of people and I like the fact that a follow on from a love story involving two guys should be followed up with a sometimes wildly romantic story about a girl who likes both guys and girls!

There are other aspects to Leah's character that make her just so easy to fall in love with though. She is incredibly neurotic whilst consistently putting a laid back front out there. She worries about the kinds of things that I worried about when I was a teenager so she is definitely easy to identify with as well. The other thing I really loved about her was that she doesn't have it all figured out either, and she doesn't pretend to have it all figured out. Far too many books feature teens who are certain about their future when being a teenager isn't the time to be fully committed on these decisions and I really liked that!

This book also features some awesome Harry Potter references and discussions, an epic road trip, an unfortunate party and some amazing prom outfits-what's not to love? Seriously I hugged this book when I finished because it really did give me all the feels and I love the messages that Becky Albertalli puts out into the universe. I'd really like to see this follow up on the big screen as well, let's hope it happens!

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

Tuesday 29 May 2018

Blog Tour: Review of Amy Cole Has Lost Her Mind by Elizabeth McGivern

Today I am very excited to be part of the Blog Tour for Amy Cole Has Lost Her Mind which came out in the UK on 25th May. I'm going to share my review with you today but make sure you check out the other stops on the tour for more exclusive content! Buy links and social media links are listed below!

Amy Cole is a stay-at-home mum and a woman on the edge.

After a very public breakdown and failed suicide attempt, Amy finds herself trying to make it through her everyday life as a high-functioning zombie.

Elle De Bruyn is a force of nature ready to shake Amy back to life whether she likes it or not.
After a fortuitous meeting, the two embark on a journey together which will change them both and help them find out exactly what they’re capable of when rock bottom is just the beginning.

Review: This book was so different from what I was expecting, I was just bowled over by how invested in Amy Cole I became and how much I was involved in her life and her happiness. Amy is a great character because we know right from the start that she has flaws and we can both empathise and sympathise with her. She is a mum and like most mums, she feels like she is doing it wrong and being judged at every turn. Thankfully she has people in her life who love her. Husband Ben is a great character to read about as well because he to has flaws and he's just trying to do the right thing where his wife and family are concerned. 

This book also explore the issues of female friendship and what a tricky place it can be, even once you're in your thirties! I loved reading about Amy trying to build friendship and when Elle comes into her life, so much hilarity ensues. I mean I was laughing out loud at this book almost every page, and I'm not one who laughs out loud easily, I can't remember the last time I found a book as funny as this. Ut was quite embarrassing when I was reading this in my library I can tell you! 

This book also explores issues surrounding mental health and does so in an open and honest way. We can see that the author really knows her topic when she speaks about the subject of depression and having 'episodes' as Amy calls it in the book. It also deals with the subject of suicide so there are a couple of trigger warnings there right from the first page. As I said though, despite this book being about someone who is living with depression, it is funny and relatable and so much more than what I was expecting. I can't wait to read the next one!

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

About Elizabeth McGivern

Elizabeth McGivern is a former journalist turned hostage-in-her-own-home surrounded by three men and a horrible dog named Dougal. 

In an effort to keep her sanity she decided to write a parenting blog after the birth of her first son so she can pinpoint the exact moment she failed as a mother. 

In an unexpected turn of events, the blog helped her to find a voice and connect with parents in similar situations; namely those who were struggling with mental health issues and parenting. It was because of this encouragement – and wanting to avoid her children as much as possible – her debut novel, Amy Cole has lost her mind, was born. 

Elizabeth lives in Northern Ireland although wishes she could relocate to Iceland on a daily basis. To witness her regular failings as a parent you can find her on: 

Picture credited to Jess Lowe 

Cover Reveal: Summer at The Little Duck Pond Cafe by Rosie Green

I am very excited to bring you another cover reveal today. You might remember me revealing the last cover for this series, now is the time to see the cover for Summer at The Little Duck Pond Cafe which is out on 18th June in the UK and you can click here to pre-order your copy now!

To celebrate the cover reveal today the first part in the series Spring at The Little Duck Pond Cafe is free today, you can click here to download your copy now!

Here's what it's all about: 

Summer at The Little Duck Pond Café
Jaz Winters stuck a pin in a map and fled to the village of Sunnybrook, looking for a brand new life – and after a rocky start, it’s beginning to look as if she made the right decision. Her blossoming friendship with Ellie and Fen has seen her through some dark times, and she’s managed to land two jobs – waitress at The Little Duck Pond Café and working as a weekend tour guide at Brambleberry Manor, the country house that’s been in Fen’s family for generations.
            Sure, life isn’t totally perfect. There’s the irritating know-it-all guy who keeps popping up on her manor tours, for a start. He seems determined to get under Jaz’s skin whether she likes it or not. But she supposes it’s a small price to pay for the relative peace she’s found, living in Sunnybrook.
            But just as Jaz is beginning to think rosier times are on the horizon, a shock encounter looks set to shatter her fragile happiness.
            Will she be forced to flee from Sunnybrook and everyone she’s grown so fond of? Or will she find the strength to stand her ground and finally face up to the nightmares of the past?

This novella is part of a trilogy:
Spring at The Little Duck Pond Café
Summer at The Little Duck Pond Café

Winter at The Little Duck Pond Café

And here's the cover, so summer and makes me want to go and take part in a summer fete or something, am I right?

Rosie Green has been scribbling stories ever since she was little. Back then they were rip-roaring adventure tales with a young heroine in perilous danger of falling off a cliff or being tied up by ‘the baddies’. Thankfully, Rosie has moved on somewhat, and now much prefers to write romantic comedies that melt your heart and make you smile, with really not much perilous danger involved at all, unless you count the heroine losing her heart in love.

            Rosie’s brand new series of novellas is centred on life in a village café. Summer at The Little Duck Pond Café, published on 18th June 2018, follows the first in the series, Spring at The Little Duck Pond Café.

Sunday 27 May 2018

Blog Tour: Review of Sunshine and Sweet Peas in Nightingale Square by Heidi Swain

I'm so happy to be part of the blog tour for the new novel by Heidi Swain; Sunshine and Sweet Peas in Nightingale Square which release on 31st May. 

I'm sharing my review with you today but be sure to check out the other stops on the tour for exclusive content and other fabulous things. Also make sure you're following the hashtag and social media links on the tour banner so you don't miss any Sunshine and Sweet Peas news!

Kate is on the run from her almost-divorced husband who is determined to have her back, and she has found the perfect place to hide... a little cottage on Nightingale Square in Norwich, far away from her old life in London. But the residents of Nightingale Square don't take no for an answer, and Kate soon finds herself pulled into a friendship with Lisa, her bossy but lovely new neighbour.

Within a matter of days Kate is landed with the job of campaigning the council to turn the green into a community garden, meanwhile all the residents of Nightingale Square are horrified to discover that the Victorian mansion house on the other side of the square has been bought by developers. But when all hope is lost, the arrival of a handsome stranger is sure to turn things around! 

Review: With a Heidi Swain novel, you always know you are going to get a great cast of characters, a fabulously English setting and the very dramatic ups and downs, comings and goings that can occur in a small town community. And this novel is no exception. Fan of Wynnbridge will be pleased to know that, whilst this novel is not set in our favourite market town, Kate, our main character is originally from there and is the sister in law of Jemma from the Cherry Tree cafe-hurrah!

I loved this new setting for Heidi's novels because it meant that we got to meet a whole new set of characters, and because this is a small community, despite being part of a larger city, they all come and go from each others houses and obviously spend a great deal of time socialising in Nightingale Square. So if you are a fan of gossip and salacious stories, this is definitely going to keep you entertained from start to finish!

Kate is a great character to get to know and I really hope we get to hear more from her in the future. She is someone who is being forced to start again and she knows exactly how her life is going to look. We have all fallen into this trap of thinking our lives have to start and end a certain way and we all know that Kate is in for a bit of a shock if she thinks everything is going to go the way she planned. Kate is also someone who has quite a few struggles in her life, from her personal and professional life, to her family life and her own self-esteem. I loved her flaws and I loved watching the journey she went on over the course of this novel. 

As I mentioned there are a whole host of other characters in the square. I sometimes had a little trouble keeping track of who was who, but that is really my only issue I had with this novel. One of the things that these characters brings to light is the importance of not just community, but of female friendship as well. There are some strong women in this community but they are even stronger when they support each other and back each other up. I loved that particular strand of the storyline. 

Of course there is some romance in this novel, it wouldn't be a Heidi Swain novel if there wasn't and Heidi really does keep us all on our toes right the way to the end, so if you're looking for insta-love, you're in the wrong place. But if you're a fan of the slow burn, aren't we all, then you're going to love some of the romantic aspects of this book. 

This really is a great book to have lined up for a sunny day in the garden, or more realistically a rainy day inside looking out at the plants growing. Its a great read and whether this is your first Heidi Swain novel or not, you're in for a treat!

To order your copy now, just click here!

Friday 25 May 2018

Review: From Twinkle With Love by Sandhya Menon

Aspiring filmmaker and wallflower Twinkle Mehra has stories to tell and universes to explore - if only the world would listen. So when nerdy classmate and fellow film-obsessive Sahil Roy approaches her to direct a film for the upcoming Summer Festival, Twinkle can't wait.
The chance to showcase her artistic voice?
Dream come true.
The opportunity to get closer to longtime crush, Neil Roy-aka Sahil's twin brother?
Dream come even truer.
When Twinkle receives an email from a secret admirer - the mysterious 'N' - she is sure it's Neil, finally ready for their happy ending.
The only problem is that, in the course of their movie-making, she has found herself falling for Sahil - the wrong brother.
Twinkle soon realises that resistance is futile:

The romance she's got isn't the one she scripted...

But will it be enough

Review: Well this was just a delight of a book. I know it doesn't do to compare but I think I loved this one even more than I love When Dimple Met Rishi and I really loved that one so... This book has the same kick-ass female lead, a girl who is strong and sassy and just brilliant to read about. It also has a whole diverse group of characters who do things real teenagers do and have the same concerns real teenagers have. In terms of the characters in this book, Sandhya Menon just nailed it!

I loved Twinkle because she isn't perfect and she knows that. She has doubts and worries, just like the rest of us and just like the average teenage girl. But Twinkle has dreams and ambitions and she knows that she is going to have to work hard to make those happen. She really and truly cares about her friends and would do anything to help them out and she really cares about her family. I mean I loved the fact that she is from Colorado as well because I could totally picture the places that she was talking about. As a budding director, though, Twinkle is just spot on because she knows what she wants, and with time, she isn't afraid to ask for it!

I loved the premise behind this film as well, it has all the tropes I love. I really liked the fact that, once again, this author has not shied away from the use of technology in her novel. The world of film making and the power of YouTube is a great topic and I love the fact that all of the characters involved in Twinkle's potential film making are so passionate about films and the classic films in particular!

There is some gloriously cute romance in this book as well. Its not just Twinkle who is involved in a a 'will they/won't they?' situation, there are so many in this book, and wonderfully, this author really does make you wait until the very end for any kind of big reveal or satisfying conclusion. I was racing through the pages towards the end, desperately trying to find out how it was all going to turn out. 

This book is just perfect to add to your summer reading pile because it is just so sweet and so romantic but it has a real message of family and friendship in there, as well as a strong heroine who will encourage you to really chase your dreams!

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

Thursday 24 May 2018

Bout of Books Day 7 Update and Wrap Up!

Sorry this one is a little on the late side but better late than never right?

So today was a pretty good reading day. I finished my audiobook-yey! That's another complete book for the readathon. I read the final 188 pages of The Chaos of Standing Still by Jessica Brody and let me tell you, I loved it! Seriously this was just a fabulous contemporary and I will be seeking out more to read from her because she is a new to me author!

I also read another 120 pages of Sunshine and Sweet Peas in Nightingale Square. I would have loved to have read more but jetlag is still poking me in the face so I fell asleep way before the midnight mark I was aiming for. By the time this post goes up I will probably have managed to reach the end!

So aside from the 406 pages of The Chaos of Standing Still, 320 pages of Sunshine and Sweet Peas in Nightingale Square by Heidi Swain, heres the wrap up of everything else I read this week...

I read the final 220 pages of The Surface Breaks by Louise O'Neill

I read the final 289 pages of Where The Light Gets in by Lucy Dillon

I read the first 70 pages of Tubing by KA McKeagney

I read all 96 pages of the final part of Random Acts of Kindness by Victoria Walters

Pages Read Today:  308
Pages Read This Week: 1400
Complete Books Finished: 2
Part Books Finished: 3
Books I decided not to finish: 1

I took part in most of the challenges this week and one of the chats. Normally I would take part in the first chat of the week and have to set my alarm for the second chat but this time the first chat was too late because I was on UK time and I woke up early enough to be like 2 hours early for the second chat because I was still on UK time but being back in Denver!

My secret challenge for the week was to read in lots of different places. I read on several different trains and several underground trains. I read on 2 planes and in 3 airports. I read in 4 different beds and 2 different baths. I read on 2 different continents, in 3 different time zones and read a combination of hardbacks, papaerbacks, ebooks and audiobooks. 

I took lots of pictures and videos so look out for a video wrap up on my channel soon and I will pop it below as well as soon as it is up!

I can't wait for the next Bout of Books!

Wednesday 23 May 2018

Guest Review: A Country Escape by Katie Fforde

Fran has always wanted to be a farmer. And now it looks as if her childhood dream is about to come true.
She has just moved in to a beautiful but very run-down farm in the Cotswolds, currently owned by an old aunt who has told Fran that if she manages to turn the place around in a year, the farm will be hers.
But Fran knows nothing about farming. She might even be afraid of cows.
She's going to need a lot of help from her best friend Issi, and also from her wealthy and very eligible neighbour - who might just have his own reasons for being so supportive.
Is it the farm he is interested in? Or Fran herself?

Review: I was delighted to spot this new book from one of my favourites. Such a lovely cover too - fresh with pastel colours and communicating all things country. The milk churn with wildflowers spilling out of it on the back of the book was a clever touch. It proved to be a wonderful depiction of the story within. It was definitely one of those stories that, once started, kept me coming back for more. 

A letter from a distant relative has the main character in the story, Fran, leaving her comfortable existence in London where she is a chef to live on a rather dilapidated dairy farm in Gloucestershire. There is the possibility that she might inherit the farm from this elderly relative, Amy, if she can stay there and make a go of it for a year. This involves Fran in trying to come up with ideas to turn around the fortunes of the farm. She has help from best friend Issi when she can get away from her studies and from the herdsman, Tig. That's just as well, as Fran is afraid of cows! Amy has warned Fran to stay away from the man in the neighbouring house, but she is finding this difficult when he is also offering her assistance and happens to be rather gorgeous. Added into the mix is a somewhat unwelcome relative from Australia who suddenly turns up also hoping to inherit. 

This is a really captivating story oozing with the sights, sounds and smells of the country and farms. I was practically salivating with the descriptions of the cheeses Fran was making with apparent ease from the surplus milk produced by her herd of rather special cows. As so often happens when you finish a really good book, I was left with the feeling of missing the characters. I would recommend this delightful and entertaining story as a summer read or, indeed, for any time of the year. 

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