Friday 28 May 2021

Spring Book Haul: Books I Bought, Books Sent to Me and My Final Book of The Month Pick!


Review: The Skylight by Louise Candlish

 They can’t see her, but she can see them…

Simone has a secret. She likes to stand at her bathroom window and spy on the couple downstairs through their kitchen skylight. She knows what they eat for breakfast and who they’ve got over for dinner. She knows what mood they’re in before they even step out the door. There’s nothing wrong with looking, is there?

Until one day Simone sees something through the skylight she is not expecting. Something that upsets her so much she begins to plot a terrible crime…

Review: I adored this story, once again Louise Candlish has created a very twisted main character and I loved being inside of her mind for even this short a period of time. By the time you reach the end of chapter one you'll be sucked into Simone's world and possibly just be worried about what actions she might take. I love the fact that this book has you gasping with shock by the end of the first act, thinking you know things are going to be OK by the end of the second act and then hav all of those theories thrown into disarray by the end of the book.

Quick Reads like this are just so wonderful because they can be a great introduction to an author you haven't read before. If this is your first tastes of Louise Candlish, you picked a great place to start and for fan of this author already this is like a beautiful bonus book when we're in between her full length novels. I love the fact that this is a brand new fully formed story and I loved reading it. 

Being a quick reads book this book also has excellent pacing. There is something happening on every single page and the end of each chapter leaves you on a cliffhanger wanting more. The characters are dark and intriguing and you could totally see the events happening in real life. There are also multiple revelations throughout the book and so you're not waiting for a 'twist' to happen, they literally happen right the way through from the very beginning to the bitter end. 

I loved this book and I highly recommend picking it up!

To order your copy now, just click the here!

Thursday 27 May 2021

Review: The Moon Over Kilmore Quay by Carmel Harrington

When your heart belongs in two places, can you ever truly find home? 

Brooklyn, New York.

Bea has grown up in the heart of the Irish community, always hearing stories of home. When she discovers a letter from her younger self, written years before, it sends her deep into her own family history.

Kilmore Quay, Ireland.

Years earlier, Lucy Mernagh leaves her much-loved home and family in search of the New York dream. The Big Apple is a world away from the quiet village she grew up in, and the longing for home aches within her.

When Bea uncovers a shocking secret, it takes her back across the water to Kilmore Quay, where - finally - long-buried truths will come to light. But fate has one last twist in store....

Review: You know a book is going to be a favourite of the year when you're chilling out listening to the audiobook and suddenly sit up and gasp at something that has just happened. This book has some of my favourite features of a novel, multiple timelines, multiple narratives and revelations you never saw coming!

One of the other things I truly and deeply loved about this book was that it deals with the immigrant experience. I know a lot of books deal with people who have been through the immigration experience and have a language barrier or a cultural barrier but it can be just as tough and experience when you move from one English speaking Western country to another. There are still cultural hurdles to tackle and still immigration worries to face and so I was so pleased to find those written about in such an in depth and sensitive way as they were as part of this story. 

I really loved reading both Bea and Lucy's stories. I loved that we got to switch between the two of them and yet we always got to keep in tough with the location and family that unites them. I was pleasantly surprised that we don't just get to hear about Bea in present day Brooklyn but also past Bea whether that was one year ago or many years ago. I felt like we got to know a lot more about Bea as a fully formed character than we did Lucy but that was for some VERY good reasons. We get to meet Lucy when she first boards the ship to Ellis Island and the experience of being a young Irish Girl in The Big Apple for the first time. I felt like I could really sympathise with Lucy and I loved getting to know her story as the novel progressed. 

Although there are a lot of adventures to be had in this book there is some sadness and tragedy too and so this book overall could definitely be described as a bitter sweet novel but as a first time reader of this author I was just so impressed by the depths that this story goes into whilst still keeping up the pace of the breadth of the novel. I really loved this book and I highly highly recommend it. 

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

Wednesday 26 May 2021

Book Review & Cross-stitch Vlog: Broken (in the best possible way) by Jenny Lawson


Guest Review: The Summer Seekers by Sarah Morgan

Kathleen is eighty years old. After a run-in with an intruder, her daughter wants her to move into a residential home. She’s not having any of it. What she craves – needs – is adventure.

Liza is drowning under the daily stress of family life. The last thing she needs is her mother jetting off on a wild holiday, making Liza dream of a solo break of her own.

Martha is having a quarter-life crisis. Unemployed, unloved and uninspired, she just can’t get her life together. But she knows something has to change.

When Martha sees Kathleen’s advert for a driver and companion to take an epic road trip across America, she decides this job might be the answer to her prayers. Travelling with a stranger? No problem. She's not the world's best driver, but it couldn’t be worse than living with her parents again. And anyway, how much trouble can one eighty-year-old woman be?

As these women embark on the journey of a lifetime, they all discover it’s never too late for adventure…

Review: I am a confirmed fan of Sarah Morgan’s writing and couldn’t wait to get my teeth into her latest novel. The cover spoke of summer, sea and a ride in a fast convertible - just the tonic for reading on a dull and snowy day. As I expected, I was quickly drawn into the world of Sarah’s characters.

The story focuses on three women and their ambitions. Kathleen is an eighty-year-old who is not ready to settle down to the life in a residential home that her daughter has planned for her. Liza, Kathleen’s aforementioned daughter, is doing her best to be a good wife and mother to her husband and their teenaged twins, but realising that there must be more to life than this. Martha is a 25-year-old divorcee who is back home living with her unsupportive parents and unsure of what the future holds for her. Kathleen, a former travel show presenter, decides that she wishes to fulfil her ambition to drive along Route 66 in a red sports car before it’s too late. Much against Liza’s wishes, she advertises for a companion and driver for the trip, and Martha takes the job in spite of having little driving experience or having been to America before. As the two ladies travel across the USA, they learn lots about each other, and, at the same time, come to realise a few things about themselves. In spite of the distance they are apart, mother and daughter also begin to understand each other better than ever before.

I loved this book from the first page to the last, and would recommend it to other readers as a great summer read. The three central characters are all fascinating in their own way. I loved the relationship that developed between Kathleen and Martha, who understood each other so well in spite of the age difference, and Kathleen’s matchmaking! It was also great to witness the growing understanding between Kathleen and Liza, as well as Liza’s acknowledgement that her own situation had to change. There are also men, past and present, in this story, but they are definitely supporting characters. I was amazed by Martha’s ability to jump into that unfamiliar car and drive out of the centre of Chicago, but then spent the first half of the book worrying about how she was going to cope with the traffic in Los Angeles, having witnessed that first-hand. This was a great heartwarming story, not lacking in humour but also full of emotion. It had me in tears more than once, but smiling by the end.

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

Tuesday 25 May 2021

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Titles That Are Complete Sentences

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.

Ok so this topic was last week but next week is a freebie so I am mixing it up a bit...

There are so many of these it was a fun list to make!

Monday 24 May 2021

Review: The Promise of Summer Part One by Bella Osborne

 This is the first part in a brand new four-part serial from Bella Osborne.

Ruby’s life is about to change for ever…

After years of dating losers, cheats and one guy who did something unrepeatable to her kettle, Ruby has all but given up on romance. But then a stranger sits next to her on a train to London and explains his plan to propose to the woman of his dreams. Maybe true love does exist after all?

When the man accidentally leaves the engagement ring behind, Ruby is determined to save the day. But she hasn't counted on fellow passenger Curtis stepping in and insisting he should be the one to track the stranger down.   
As summer closes in, the unlikely pair make a promise to reunite the ring with its owner. But can they find their own happy ever after along the way?

Review: If you are looking for someone who knows how to write these multi part series, four novellas that make one big story then look no further than Bella Osborne. This new series just cements her role as the queen of this kind of fiction. She ends the short chapters on cliffhangers, she creates characters you can't wait to meet again and she writes in these bite size chunks that are just perfect for a satisfying read in a single afternoon. 

I loved getting to know florists Ruby and Kim. Ruby intrigued me from the word go and although we found a lot out about her as this story progressed, I feel like there is so much more to her than meets the eye. She has some missions in life and I cant' wait to find out whether she achieves those missions or if something or someone along the way will cause a diversion. 

Kim is also incredibly intriguing because we don't get to find an awful lot about her in this signalment despite having several moments in each chapter devoted to her story. She clearly has an awful lot of her plate right now and I am really looking forward to finding out what those things are. 

This book has an awesome journey through London via train, tube and bus and the description of each stop along the way just had mea yearning to be walking in these characters footsteps. I loved the adventure aspect of this first in the series and I really hope it continues into parts 2, 3 and 4. Of course we get left on a cliffhanger at the end of this part and so I will have to wait with bated breath to find out what happens with Ruby and her friends next!

To order your copy now, just click here!

Saturday 22 May 2021

Guest Review: Still Life By Val McDermid

On a freezing winter morning, fishermen pull a body from the sea. It is quickly discovered that the dead man was the prime suspect in a decade-old investigation, when a prominent civil servant disappeared without trace. DCI Karen Pirie was the last detective to review the file and is drawn into a sinister world of betrayal and dark secrets.

But Karen is already grappling with another case, one with even more questions and fewer answers. A skeleton has been discovered in an abandoned campervan and all clues point to a killer who never faced justice - a killer who is still out there.

In her search for the truth, Karen uncovers a network of lies that has gone unchallenged for years. But lies and secrets can turn deadly when someone is determined to keep them hidden for good . . .

Review: This is the sixth book in the DCI Karen Pirie crime thriller series by the author, but this was the first one that I had come across, and it can be read as a standalone. The story begins in early 2020 when lobster fishermen recover a body from the Firth of Forth. It turns out that the dead person had been linked to an historic case involving the disappearance of a high ranking civil servant who had been working in the Scotland Office in London. Since DCI Pirie of Police Scotland’s Historic Cases Unit had been the last person to review the case-file relating to the disappearance, she becomes involved in this latest case. She is already working on a case involving the discovery of human remains in the garage of a woman in Perth who had been killed in a road accident. The story follows Karen and her team as they juggle the two cases.

The book is set mainly on the Fife coast of Scotland and in Edinburgh, although there are some overseas aspects. There is a connection to the world of art, hence the title, but to say any more would be to reveal too much. I listened to the audiobook version and found the plot to be very exciting, with many twists and turns to keep the listener, or reader, guessing. I liked the way that little clues were drip fed as the story developed. Having read a non-fiction book on forensics by the same author, it came as no surprise that the forensic science aspects of the book were well researched. Throughout, there are many references to contemporary issues, such as Brexit, the possibility of a second Scottish independence referendum and the start of the coronavirus epidemic in the UK. I particularly liked the descriptions of the various locations, some of which are familiar to me, so it was possible to feel that I was actually present at the scene.

Overall, I found this to be a fast-paced and thrilling book, and I thought that the narrator added to the enjoyment of the audio book, using different voices and accents for the various characters.

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

Friday 21 May 2021

Reading Vlog: Bout of Books 31! How DID I read over 3000 Pages in a Week?


Review: No Hiding in Boise by Kim Hooper

When Angie is awakened by a midnight call from an officer with the Boise Police Department, she thinks there must be a misunderstanding. The officer tells her that her husband was involved in a shooting at a local bar, but how can that be possible when her husband is sleeping right next to her? Except when she turns to wake him, he isn’t there.

Tessa is the twenty-three-year-old bartender who escapes to a backroom storage closet during the shooting. When it comes to light that five people were killed, she is burdened with the question of why she survived.

Joyce wakes up to a knock at her front door, a knock she assumes is her wayward son, Jed, who must have lost his keys. It’s not Jed, though. Two police officers tell her that Jed is dead, shot at the bar. Then they deliver even worse news: “We have reason to believe your son was the shooter.”

So begins the story of three women tied together by tragic fate—a wife trying to understand why her now-comatose husband was frequenting a bar in the middle of the night, the young woman who her husband was apparently pursuing, and a mother who is forced to confront the reality of who her son was and who she is.

Review: Wow what a book this was. Before you read any further this book has care warnings for gun crime and mass shootings but if you can get past that I highly highly recommend picking up this amazing character driven novel. I could not put this down. 

I love a character driven novel and I love it even more when we have multiple narrative and this book has that by the bucket load. Not only do we follow Tessa, Angie and Joyce but we also get to hear some of the other stories from people at the bar the night of the shooting. They only get one chapter each but some of those really pack a punch. 

I loved getting to know Angie. I think she was the character I connected with most. She is a typical modern woman trying to have family and career and struggling to get support from her husband Cale. Through Angie we get to know Cale and he is really the key that links so much of the happenings in this book. Kim Hooper does such a good job of drip feeding the information though, giving us tiny facts and incidents here and there so we never really know Angie and Cale right until the very end. 

I found Tessa really intriguing as a character. Like Angie, her life kind of has to keep going after everything happened and I think she had the biggest fall out after the incident. She is such an old head on young shoulders type of person and I really loved how this author threw obstacles at Tessa and we get to see how she deals with them. I would love to know what is next for her and really hope perhaps we could meet her again in future books. 

Joyce was probably the hardest of the three women to get to know, like deep down know what makes her tick get to know. She is very guarded and she has her reasons for being so. I feel like we almost can only get to know Joyce through Angie and through Tessa and here is where the beloved mixed media text comes in because we also get to know Joyce through some online message boards about the incident and I think those were really telling and really helped to move the plot of the book along. 

Overall I found these women and their stories so compelling. I tried to guess what was going to happen to all three of them but I had no idea things would play out the way that they did. I loved the writing and I loved the characters in this book and whilst it deals with a shocking and hotly contested topic, I think that it did so in a sensitive and considered way. I really recommend this novel. 

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

Thursday 20 May 2021

Guest Review: The Olive Branch by Jo Thomas

Escape to Italy with The Olive Branch - the irresistible summer novel from Jo Thomas, author of ebook bestseller The Oyster Catcher.

You can buy almost anything online these days. For Ruthie Collins, it was an Italian farmhouse.

Yet as she battles with a territorial goat and torrential rain just to get through the door of her new Italian home, the words of Ed, her ex, are ringing in her ears. She is daft, impetuous and irresponsible.

But Ruthie is determined to turn things around and live the dream.

First, though, she must win over her fiery neighbour, Marco Bellanouvo, and his family... Then there's the small matter of running an olive farm. As the seasons change and new roots are put down, olives and romance might just flourish in the warmth of the Mediterranean sun.

Review: Having recently finished reading and thoroughly enjoying Jo Thomas’s latest book, Chasing the Italian Dream, I thought I would go back to one of her earlier novels, also set in Italy. As I begin one of her books, I am always confident of a trip to somewhere new and interesting, where I will meet up with a collection of diverse characters. This was certainly the case with this book; once begun, it was hard to put down.

When Ruthie Collins, slightly inebriated, buys an Italian farmhouse on eBay, her friends, family and especially her ex, Ed, think she must be mad to leave her current life behind to start afresh in Puglia. When she arrives at her new home she begins to wonder if they are right as she has to battle with an unfriendly guard-goat, shocking weather and the unpleasant Bellanuovo family who are contesting the sale. She also discovers that the house requires a considerable amount of work to make it habitable and that it comes with land that needs attention. As she sets to, she begins to make some friends in the area who can give her advice, including how to manage the olive farm attached to the house. However, she is still crossing swords with the Bellanuovos, in particular eldest son Marco who seems determined to send Ruthie back home to the UK. Despite his initially unpleasant manner, Marco begins to grow on Ruthie and she wonders if she could actually be attracted to this ruggedly handsome man.

I have really enjoyed this entertaining story and can confidently recommend it. It has a wonderful mix of drama, humour and romance along with some very strong characters, not all of whom are instantly likeable. I admired Ruthie’s spirit in leaving her life behind after splitting with Ed to build a new future, and then having the strength to take on the Bellanuovo family, in particular the formidable mother. She also showed great character in standing up to Marco in the face of his initial criticism of her efforts at every turn. The text is peppered with descriptions of the lovely Italian countryside and some wonderful fresh produce and Italian dishes. There is even some interesting information about harvesting olives and producing fine olive oil - hard work that becomes more fun as the community joins in. All in all, I thought this was a well-written and heartwarming story that I could sit down and read all over again.

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

Wednesday 19 May 2021

Publication Day Blitz: What Dreams We Had by Phil Featherstone @PhillFeathers @lovebooksgroup @lovebookstours


Today we are celebrating the publication of What Dreams We Had by Phil Featherstone. The book comes out today and you can click here to head to the buy page now. 

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

Five young people are in the dead period between finishing their exams and getting the results that will determine what they do next. It’s a time of anxiety but also a time of hope. And it's the end of an era because whatever happens they will go separate ways. Meanwhile, there is a long summer vacation to fill.

Out of the blue, they receive an astonishing invitation. Four of them are in a band and a wealthy celebrity wants them to play at an event to be held at his home in Tuscany. All their expenses will be paid and they will live in a luxury villa. It sounds too good to be true, and it is.

They go to Italy, but when they reach the villa they find it's empty. The location is remote, and with no transport, no internet connection and no mobile signal they are cut off from the world. A succession of mysterious events begins which forces them to review who they are, and to rethink what’s important to them. It’s not until the final chapters that we discover the real reason why they’ve been brought to the villa and exactly what the experience will mean for them. 

Author Bio

Phill lives in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, UK. He came to writing late, after a career in education and educational publishing. His first novel was Paradise Girl (2017). It’s the first book in the REBOOT trilogy and is the story of a teenage girl, Keryl Shaw, who finds herself alone when a deadly virus wipes out her family and friends. It was followed by Aftershocks (2018), recounting the adventures of Kerryl’s twin brother as he journeys to investigate and understand the pandemic. The finale to the series is Jericho Rose (2020). The pandemic is over and it’s time to rebuild, but there are some who see the chaos as an opportunity to pursue their own selfish aims. Phill’s fourth novel, The God Jar (2020), is a time-shift tale of a mysterious object and its strange powers. What Dreams We Had (2021) is his fifth novel.

Phill’s writing has received a number of awards. Paradise Girl, Aftershocks and The God Jar have Chill With a Book awards. Paradise Girl and The God Jar are Wishing Shelf finalists. Paradise Girl and Aftershocks have received Indie BRAG Medallions. Jericho Rose is a Wishing Shelf Red Ribbon Winner.

When he’s not reading or writing Phill likes walking, going to the theatre and concerts, travel, and visiting museums and galleries. He enjoys music and plays the tenor saxophone.

Tuesday 18 May 2021

Book Vs Movie: The Woman in The Window by AJ Finn-What's With All The Hype?


Review: Where The Grass Is Green and The Girls Are Pretty by Lauren Weisberger.

I received an audiobook copy of this novel from PRH audio in exchange for a review.  

The brand new novel from the global bestselling author of The Devil Wears Prada

Peyton Marcus is the woman New York wakes up to, anchor of the most-watched morning show in the city. With a husband who adores her and a daughter who’s headed to one of the best Ivy League schools, Peyton Marcus is that woman, and she’s damn good at it…

Skye, her sister, is a stay-at-home mom in Paradise, the idyllic NY suburb that’s home to designer boutiques and people who fly private. She has a knack for helicopter-parenting with the best of them. But she’s not like them. She’s looking for something real and it’s within touching distance…

Max, Peyton’s bright and quirky seventeen-year-old daughter, is poised to kiss the fancy private school she hates goodbye – and all of its spoiled rich kids – and head off to pursue her dreams in film. She’s waited her entire life for this opportunity…

But suddenly the grass isn’t looking so green. One little lie. That was all it took. Will any of them survive the truth?

Review: Firstly I adore the title of this book and the way it links in so many different ways to what and where this novel takes place. Such a clever title and again I much prefer the US title to the UK one but I think I prefer the UK cover. This book tackles the subject of college admissions scandal, cancel culture and literally the grass being greener for everyone else. I love that publishers are getting bolder with allowing current events into authors books because I am all about that. I love reading books that I could pick up in 10 years time and instantly be back where I am now in terms of what social media is talking about. 

The great thing about a Lauren Weisberger novel is that you can see how the other side lives. She always features characters with money and rich people problems and I love that she generally has a New York setting and characters often live/vacation in the tri-state area in general. Her descriptions of the locations are just spot on and so you can dive into her world and see what it is like to have a personal trainer and live that high life. 

As mentioned previously this book deals with not everything being as it seems. People may appear to have it all when really they have a whole lot of struggles going on behind closed doors. This is as timely as the tackling of the college admissions scandal topic and I loved being able to link this book back to what I have seen and heard in the media. This book also covers 3 different woman all related and so we get to see their intricately woven stories from each of their points of view-what more could I ask for?

Although Lauren Weisberger is an auto buy author for me and so I knew I would almost certainly like this book I didn't know it would deal with cancel culture and the fall out from college admission scandal stuff in the way that it did and so I was not prepared for how much this book would suck me in and how much I would love it. I highly recommend. I listened to the audiobook and the narration was also great. 

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

Monday 17 May 2021

Bout of Books 31 Day 7 Update and Wrap Up

Well this was a great week of reading. I didn't quite get to everything I especially wanted to and of course i strayed from my TBR right from the word go however one of the books that I added was on my May TBR so its not all rebellious! I always aim to read 7 books in 7 days and I managed 8 this week and over 3000 pages so...

I only took part in one of the Instagram challenges, I just kept forgetting. I did comment on other people's photos though so I was showing my support and reading so again that's a win in my book. 

I hosted a couple of sprints on Twitter late night/early morning and took part in several of the reading in place sprints hosted by the Bout of Books account. I also did a reading sprint session on BookTube which was a lot of fun and was actually really great for my own reading. See below for what I read and page totals!

What I Read Day 7

I listened to the last 15% of this book-it was just soooo good! 60 Pages

I read around about 75% of this book. I will definitely finish this tomorrow, I really thought I would manage to finish it today but ended up being on more family calls than anticipated! 75% is 324 pages. 

What I Read All Week

368 pages

429 pages

400 pages

336 pages

128 pages

336 pages

329 pages

400 pages

324 pages of 432

Pages Read Today: 384

Pages Read This Week: 3050

Complete Books Finished: 8

Part Books Finished: 1

Sunday 16 May 2021

Imax Movie Review: Spiral From The Book Of Saw (Does it Live Up To The Previous 8 Saw Films?)


Bout of Books 31 Day 6 Update


I know this post is late but I was up ,way way too late last night reading and sewing and so I had a slow start to my Sunday! I joined the Twitter chat this morning and then listened to a whole lot more audiobook. I also took part in the Twitter sprint this morning which helped me almost finish the paperback I started yesterday. 

What I Read

I read the last 117 pages of this one. It really was excellent so make sure to look out for my review soon!

I really got into this one tonight and stayed up waaaaaay too late listening and gasping and crying. I couldn't quite manage to finish it because it was like 3am and I had to sleep but I read 80% of this equating to 320 pages. 

Pages Read Today: 437

Pages Read This Week: 2666

Complete Books Finished: 7