Thursday, 15 April 2021

Mid-April Reading Wrap Up-Here's What Happens When You Don't Like The Books You Picked to Read!


Review: Broken (In the Best Possible Way) by Jenny Lawson

 As Jenny Lawson’s hundreds of thousands of fans know, she suffers from depression. In Broken, Jenny brings readers along on her mental and physical health journey, offering heartbreaking and hilarious anecdotes along the way.

With people experiencing anxiety and depression now more than ever, Jenny humanizes what we all face in an all-too-real way, reassuring us that we’re not alone and making us laugh while doing it. From the business ideas that she wants to pitch to Shark Tank to the reason why Jenny can never go back to the post office, Broken leaves nothing to the imagination in the most satisfying way. And of course, Jenny’s long-suffering husband Victor―the Ricky to Jenny’s Lucille Ball―is present throughout.

A treat for Jenny Lawson’s already existing fans, and destined to convert new ones, Broken is a beacon of hope and a wellspring of laughter when we all need it most.

Review: Oh this audiobook had me laughing so much I was crying which can be a little alarming for those around you when you're listening on headphones but it was so so worth it!

I love a Jenny Lawson book and I love her books on audio because she narrates them herself and so I get to listen in the gym or whilst doing the housework to what she is saying how she intended to say it. This book is possible the most random collection of personal essays and I loved that about it because I can now take the physical copy of the book and dip back into the bits I loved from the audiobook and read them again. 

Some of my personal favourite moments from the book were the stories of how she lost her shoes, the tweets about embarrassing moments and also her letter to her health insurance. I could relate to all of those particular sections on just so many levels and the story about the shoes in the elevators just had me crying with laughter as I was making dinner in the kitchen, it was just brilliant. 

What I love about Jenny Lawson's writing the most is how open and honest she is, she's like that no filter friends that says whatever comes into her head only her thoughts re super relevant and well thought out and you definitely learn a lot from what she has to say. This book makes it plain and clear that these thoughts are not unfiltered because she talks about her editors over the years and the process of editing this book in particular, another illustration of just how open and honest she is. 

Jenny Lawson never holds back when it comes to talking about mental health, suicide, depression, anxiety and a whole bunch of other chronic health conditions and we should all be talking about these things as openly and as frequently as she does. I loved this book, I'm already ready to go back and read it again, and I am sure you will too!

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

Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Guest Review: A Postcard from Paris by Alex Brown

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

Review: I have read and enjoyed quite a number of books written by Alex Brown. I found her last one, A Postcard from Italy, particularly riveting, and was interested to see if this one could have me equally engrossed. I was not disappointed, as this story had me spellbound from page 1 and I literally did not want to put it down. Although the books are listed as part of the Postcard Series, they are completely standalone. I must mention that this book has a beautiful cover that promises the prospect of a romantic visit to Paris within its pages. Other fans of Alex Brown’s books will be delighted to know that, although the story focuses on Paris as the title suggests, there is a connection with the familiar location of Tindledale village. 

This story finds forty-nine year old Annie Lovell, divorced and with 2 grown-up children, pondering her future. When her dear friend and neighbour, Joanie Smith, unexpectedly inherits a property in Paris and asks Annie to go there to check it out, she jumps at the chance of a bit of excitement. Much to the disapproval of her daughter, Annie sets off on her own for fortnight’s holiday in the capital. There she finds a lot more than just an abandoned building. Firstly, she makes new friends in Maggie, her French guest house host, and Kristen, an American tourist, then a love interest in the shape of handsome builder √Čtienne, but most of all she uncovers a fascinating story of the former owner of the house, Beatrice Crawford, known to her friends as Trixie. With the help of some diaries and papers Annie finds hidden in the house and garden and a few people who knew her, Trixie’s life from the time of the first world war to the end of the second is gradually revealed. At the same time as Annie is making these discoveries, she is also learning some things about herself and her family.

I found this a really compelling story and would recommend A Postcard from Paris to other readers. If you are unfamiliar with Alex Brown’s work, then this would be a marvellous introduction. The characters in the book, from Annie herself to her friends and family and her new acquaintances, are all well developed and have interesting back stories. The main storyline is full of intriguing twists and turns as Annie tries to work out exactly who Trixie is, her connection with Joanie and, in particular, what role she was playing in Paris during the Nazi occupation in the second world war. I was fascinated as each new discovery was made about Trixie’s past. All of this with the backdrop of the sights, sounds and smells of Paris make this a book that I shall certainly revisit. I don’t know if there are more books to come in this series, but I shall be on the lookout. 

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

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Book Blitz: Ultimatum by John Anderson @CayellePub @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours

Today I have a book to spotlight for you. Ultimatum by John Anderson. I have the cover to share with you as well as the blurb.

Here's what it's all about...

When alien delegate Charlie was sent down to Earth, he never imagined the humans would comply with his demands. He wanted to give humanity a chance to eradicate all the wrong in the world by eliminating discrimination, hate, greed, immorality, and envy. The only way he believed they would comply was to threaten their entire existence by an alien invasion takeover. He would give them 10 years to right all the wrong and to unify with one another. Even the President of the United States expressed extreme displeasure about the demand. However, stricken with fear, even though the humans didn’t want to bend to the threat, they knew there was not much of a choice. Ten years pass…

Did the humans come together to force out the aliens or did the aliens return seeing not much had changed since giving the Ultimatum? Will destruction fall upon Earth obliterating human civilization? 

And here's that cover for you. Follow the hashtag on social media for more info including the buy links!

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Sound Like They Could Be Crayola Crayon Colours

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week's topic is so fun and I obviously think like this creator because I totally get what they mean by book titles like this, I hope you like my choices...

Monday, 12 April 2021

Review: The Best Is Yet To Come by Katy Colins

 Sometimes it’s the things we don’t say that we need others to hear the loudest.... 

Izzy has always taken everything in her stride, but motherhood is proving more difficult than she thought. She keeps telling herself it’s just a phase, but the dark clouds are starting to appear.

Neighbour and widower Arthur might be in the winter of his life, but he’s not ready to be packed off to a care home. He’s determined to do things his way.

When Izzy hears about Arthur’s big move, she offers to help. But Arthur isn’t telling her the whole story. It takes courage to admit you need a friend, and when you feel invisible, all you need is a ray of hope. After all, what if the best is yet to come?

Review: You know when you start a book and you can just feel from the beginning that it's going to be something to pull you in and not let you put it down? That was this book, I knew I was going to love it, the question was just going to be where this journey took me. 

This book follows two characters, I love. dual narrative but I love it even more when those two characters are so different from one another. I think if I had to choose I would pick Izzy's story because Izzy is so easy to relate to and so like me aside from the fact that I don't have a new baby to deal with right now. I feel like we can learn so much from her because she's just trying to keep up appearances like every other new mum, they all seem like they have it together on social media and in the bay groups and so she's doesn't feel like she can ask for help because then it would look like she's failing. I wanted so much to jump into the book and just let her go and have a nap or do some shopping for her, help her out in some way. I loved getting to know Izzy and watching her grow over the course of the book. 

Then we have Arthur who is very similar to Izzy in a lot of ways in so much as he doesn't want o ask for help, he wants to do things his own way and in a way that will respect the wishes of his late wife Pearl. I love Arthur's mindset too and really wanted to also jump into the book to help him and give him someone who will listen to his and not just team roller his wishes. His story is definitely harder to relate to on some levels but also very relatable on other levels. Cross-generational stories are very much a trend right now but this one seems different from the others and I loved watching Izzy and Arthur exist alongside each other not know just how similar they were.

Don't et me wrong, this book isn't all character struggling with things in their lives, there are some funny moments and definitely some heart warming moments as well. Izzy and Andrew seem to have a sort of sitcom style of relationship where you can see Andrew doing the wrong thing thinking its the right thing and it's almost like you're waiting for the canned laughter to sound but I really enjoyed watching Andrew get to know his new wife and daughter. And then there are the neighbors in Izzy and Arthur's street, they really do provide a lot of humour that could almost be playing our in our own streets its just so very very British!

I highly recommend this novel, it really provided a whole lot of escapism. I listened to the audiobook that I requested from my library and the narrator really brought the story to life. I loved listening and I really think you will love reading this book too.

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

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

Guest Review: Chasing the Italian Dream by Jo Thomas

A summer escape she'll never forget . . .

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

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

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

Review: As a firm fan of Jo Thomas’s books, I was very much looking forward to this new offering. I knew from the book’s title and evocative cover that I would be off for a glorious trip to Italy and, from past experience, that there would be some mouthwatering descriptions of food along the way. I was proved right; the story had me transfixed from the word go up to the very last page. 

When Lucia arrives for her annual holiday at her grandparents’ home in southern Italy, she is dismayed to find that her grandfather is about to retire and is planning to hand over his beloved and well respected restaurant to her estranged husband, Giacomo. As she realises that the career path she has been following as a lawyer is actually not what she wants in life, and that she would like to take over the pizzeria herself, she has to find a way to convince her grandfather that she is capable of doing just that. She has learned to cook at her grandmother’s side and helped in the restaurant over the years, but a major worry is that a female pizzaiola (master pizza-maker) will not be accepted by the traditionalist customers. As Lucia sets out to follow her heart and prove the doubters wrong, she must also learn to work alongside Giacomo and examine what went wrong with their marriage.

This is a fantastic story of family, friendship, love and tradition that I have enjoyed reading and was sorry to finish. Along with Lucia, I was instantly transported to sun-soaked Italy and could smell pizza all the way through the book. I would defy anyone to read this book and not be craving pizza at some point, although I was not too sure about some of the innovations in toppings being suggested by Giacomo! Throughout the story, there is a strong message about the importance of women in the family and in business, and that they are well able to fill roles traditionally left to men. As with any of Jo Thomas’s books that I have read, I can throughly recommend this one to other readers. It is an excellent read, not just for summer, but will lift the spirit at any time of year.

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

Tuesday, 6 April 2021

April 2021 TBR-New Book Releases and Reading Plans


Guest Review: Date With Deceit by Julia Chapman

Julia Chapmans sixth Dales Detective Agency novel, Date with Deceit, sees Delilah going undercover at a shoot involving dangerous criminals. Perfect for fans of Richard OsmanThe Thursday Murder Club and M.C. Beaton.

A woman in tears in the Dales Detective Agency is never the best way to start the week. But when that woman is the wife of Bernard Taylor, town mayor and eminent businessman, there is even more cause for alarm. So when Nancy Taylor asks the detectives to investigate whether her husband is having an affair, Samson O’Brien and Delilah Metcalfe know they will have to tread carefully.

The case, however, proves to be more complex than even they had imagined. While Delilah is undercover at a local shoot to better keep tabs on the errant husband, she is on the scene for a fatal incident that sends the town into turmoil. Soon the detective duo are embroiled in a far more serious investigation than mere infidelity as they discover that deceit is rife in Bruncliffe. And it may well prove deadly . . .

Review: This is the sixth book in the Dales Detective Series by Julia Chapman. All these books are set in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales in and around the town of Bruncliffe, and feature Samson O’Brien, owner of the Dales Detective Agency, and Delilah Metcalfe, owner of the Dales Dating Agency, who frequently work together to solve cases. I have been a fan of these books since the very first one and always look forward to the next as soon as I finish the current story. The attractive covers of these books always give a flavour of the story that lies within, this one being no exception. As usual with a series, there are many recurring characters and references to previous events in these books, but each could be read as a standalone.

This particular story begins with the wife of the Bruncliffe mayor asking Samson to look into the comings and goings of her husband, who she suspects may be having an affair. However, such a seemingly simple request leads both Samson and Delilah into a very dangerous case. The mayor is involved in something far more sinister than his wife suspects, in partnership with local property developer Rick Procter and some very dangerous people from further afield. When a fatality occurs at a local shoot, the detectives become involved in the investigation. Was it accident, suicide or murder? Some very clever sleuthing is required if innocent people suspected of involvement in the death are to be cleared.

This was a very enjoyable book that kept me guessing all the way through. I can certainly recommend it, and indeed the whole series, to readers who enjoy a mystery in a picturesque setting. Here, the main storyline is accompanied by many incidents involving other residents of Bruncliffe who will be familiar to fans of the series and of course Tolpuddle, Delilah’s faithful Weimaraner, adding extra interest and often a touch of comedy. It is good to see that Delilah’s dating agency is doing well, but not at all encouraging that Samson’s past seems to be catching up with him. Just when I thought that everything was nicely tied up, and there may even be romance in the air, the book ended on a cliffhanger - skilful writing, but now I’m itching to find out what happens in book 7!

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

Monday, 5 April 2021

March 2021 Reading Wrap Up

 So March was a challenging month, there's no point in sugar coating the fact that this had an effect on my reading this month and so whilst I did read most of the books on my TBR I didn't meet some of the books that I held myself to in my own mind... 

I took part in the kindle clear out readathon and you can watch that vlog linked below. It was mostly a success but I did extend into the second weekend that wasn't technically part of the readathon. 

As always I will break my reading down into ebooks, audiobooks and physical books and leave links to any reviews I have already posted or book vs movie videos I have made. 


Physical Books


This Month's Videos...

Thursday, 1 April 2021

Unboxing March Enchanted Fandom Subscription Box-All Is Fair In Love And War (Romance & Classics!)


April 2021 TBR (New Book Releases and Reading Plans)

Ok this TBR is going to be a really loose one with some general reading plans. I have really enjoyed picking back catalogue titles from my shelves and also really loved the Kindle clear out readathon last month so I'm going to have some April releases that I will definitely read and then some choices from my real and my virtual shelves to choose from as well.  

April Releases

April 6th

April 29th

Buzzwordathon-Space/Galaxy Terms

Other Books I Will Choose From

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Top 10 Books Of 2021 So Far...Which Reads Made Our Favourites List From Q1 of 2021?


Guest Review: A Fatal Affair by Faith Martin

She was dressed in a long white gown, embroidered with tiny flowers. Her body was wrapped in colourful ribbons that floated in the breeze. But underneath the swathe of golden hair, a string of darkly smudged bruises ringed her neck.

As May Day dawns in the peaceful village of Middle Fenton, a young woman is found brutally strangled, her body tied up with ribbons in the middle of the green. A week later, her boyfriend is found hanged in a local barn, and the police assume guilt over murdering his beloved has driven him to suicide – but not everyone is convinced.

WPC Trudy Loveday and coroner Clement Ryder are sent to investigate, and quickly realise that there’s a double murderer on the loose.
But the killer has already shown willingness to remove anyone who threatens to discover their identity… As Trudy and Clement circle in on the culprit, can they crack the case before they too come to a nasty end?

Review: This is the sixth book in the Ryder and Loveday series from Faith Martin. These stories tell of the investigations carried out by Oxford city coroner Dr Clement Ryder with the assistance of WPC Trudy Loveday, a young police officer in the early days of her career. All the books are set in the early 1960s in Oxford and surrounding villages. They can all be read as standalone stories.

In this case, Dr Ryder and Trudy are called in after a young village girl is found murdered early on May Day and her boyfriend is found hanged at a local farm a few days afterwards. The boy in question is the son of a high-ranking police officer who is keen to clear his son of suspicion of murdering the girl and then committing suicide. The coroner, ably assisted by the WPC, digs into activities in the village, turning up quite a few surprises and many possibilities for what may have happened to the girl and the young man. After many twists and turns, the story reaches a thrilling climax as the chain of events finally becomes clear.

Having read and enjoyed all of the books in this series so far, I sat down looking forward to another story filled with mystery and intrigue. I was not disappointed. As so often before, I found myself quite unable to guess at the outcome of the investigation; there were suspects aplenty and Faith Martin led me down many a blind alley before the truth was revealed in truly dramatic fashion. The characters that the sleuthing duo met along the way were so skilfully described that I felt I knew each one, but then, which were passionate about family or others in their lives and which really evil? I can thoroughly recommend this book to lovers of thrilling mystery stories. I am enjoying the pairing of the coroner and the young police officer and hope that there may be more books to come in this series.

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

Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Books From Q1 of 2021

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Today is not an official Top Ten Tuesday but I am going to be looking at my favourite release of Q1 of 2021 with some honorable mentions for backlist titles I read in that time period too. Since I'll be doing this is video form with my mum as well half of this list is going to be her contributions and half is going to be mine.

A couple of special mentions from authors' back catalogues...