Thursday 31 March 2022

March 2022 Reading Wrap Up: Audiobooks & March Releases

 Ok let's face it, I knew that this month wouldn't be great for reading. I have no idea where the month went but it was the busiest time at work ever and so I basically just worked and then came home and slept so the only opportunity to read was on my commute once again. I listened to a couple of longer books which meant I didn't read as much during the commute. I do hope once I get into the swing of things and get back into reading actual books and not just audiobooks in April things will start to get into a better groove in terms of reading. 

I won't break my reading down into the kinds of books that I read becasue you know I only read audiobooks so here ya go...

Wednesday 30 March 2022

Guest Review: The Village of Happy Ever Afters by Alison Sherlock

Molly Hopkins has happily watched all of her friends’ dreams come true on Riverside Lane.

Deciding to follow her passion for baking, Molly with the help of her friends takes the plunge and opens a Tea Garden in the village hoping to make it a summer to remember!

Meanwhile, after a rather public end of his marriage, Logan Armstrong trusts no one but his beloved Grandad. He just wants his brief stay in Cranbridge to be as quiet as possible. But his Grandad has other ideas; he dreams of seeing the old watermill working again which might just mean Logan has to ask the village for help.

Can Molly finally overcome her lack of confidence and believe in her abilities to make the tea garden a success?

Will Logan discover that Molly might just be the one to mend his broken heart? And will both of them realise that life is for living and loving?

Over a long hot summer in Cranbridge, perhaps everyone’s dreams of a happy-ever-after can finally come true.

Review: This is the fourth book in the Riverside Lane Series, all the stories being set in the pretty little village of Cranbridge, where the river runs through the middle. Each book in the series has focused on a different property in the village and its transformation by newcomers. There is a growing number of recurring characters with each successive addition to the series, but every book can still be read as a stand-alone. I have enjoyed all these stories and am looking forward to discovering what is next for Cranbridge.

The newcomer to the village in this story is furniture maker Logan Armstrong, whose grandfather has lived in the village all his life. Logan is escaping from the attention of the paparazzi following the very public break up of his marriage, and has rented one of the remaining empty and rundown riverside units in the village. While continuing with his successful business, Logan finds himself helping his grandfather fulfil his dream of restoring the village’s watermill. Another villager with a dream is Molly Hopkins, who would love to make more use of her baking skills. With the help of friends, now including Logan, she plans to open a tea garden on a plot of waste ground by the river. As Molly and Logan become closer, both begin to wonder what will happen at the end of summer when the tea garden will close and Logan plans to move on.

I have really enjoyed this book, as I did with all three previous books in this series. I can thoroughly recommend them all. The wonderful descriptions of the setting and the characters in these books have drawn me in every time so that I would love to visit this village and have a chat with some of the people there. There are four young women who are central to the series and I have enjoyed watching them follow their dreams one by one, helping the once rundown village to come back to life at the same time. I think that it is the mark of a good story if the reader finds themselves missing the characters once the book is finished and that is certainly the case here.

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

April TBR


Tuesday 29 March 2022

Top Ten Tuesday: Books With Adjectives in the Title



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 topic was last week but I missed it so going in this week instead because I like the title!

Saturday 26 March 2022

Guest Review: Great British Railway Journeys By Charlie Bunce

A glorious insight into the history, landscape and people of Britain, from The Sunday Times bestseller.

The Scottish west coast was one of the most challenging stretches of line to confront railway engineers. Extreme gradients, curves, bogs and scree left them scrambling around for ideas, but the result is one of the most scenic railway journeys in the world. En route Michael Portillo discovers local authors such as Robert Burns and Sir Walter Scott, local industries including haggis, tartan and whisky-making and impressive landscapes including Ben Nevis and the magnificent Glenfinnan Viaduct.

Places visited: Ayr, Glasgow, Paisley, Helensburgh, Loch Lomond, Tyndrum, Oban, Fort William, Inverailort and Mallaig.

This individual journey is one of a series taken from the bestselling books Great British Railway Journeys and Great Victorian Railway Journeys that accompany the highly successful BBC Two series. Michael Portillo follows the famous George Bradshaw railway guides in railway journeys across the length and breadth of the country, discovering spectacular scenery and stunning architecture and exploring local history and industry.

Review: Great British Railway Journeys is a BBC television series, presented by the former politician Michael Portillo, that has been airing on television for several seasons. Michael Portillo is filmed undertaking various rail journeys, stopping at locations along the route to view places of interest and to interview people about the role of railways in their industry. The inspiration for the series was the railway timetables and guides written during the 19th century by George Bradshaw and known as Bradshaw’s guides. This was a time when the railway network in Britain was expanding rapidly, and the programme makers wanted to follow Bradshaw’s guide to show how the advent of the railways changed the face of Britain, and to contrast the Victorian era with the present day.

Charlie Bunce was the executive producer of the first two series of the programme, and wrote this book, with a foreword by Michael Portillo, to accompany the series. It describes the nine separate journeys that were featured in these two television series. Each of the journeys, which cover England, Wales and Scotland, has a separate theme covering such topics as the movement of manufactured goods, or the opening up of coastal holiday resorts to city factory workers. Although, compared to the television series, the book seems rather dry, it is accompanied by many historical photographs, which I found to be the most interesting aspect of the book.

This book will appeal to all railway lovers and also, because it is a travelogue with an historical angle, will also appeal to those with an interest in social history.

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

Wednesday 16 March 2022

Guest Review: Love Blooms at Mermaids Point by Sarah Bennett

Bestselling author Alex Nelson is slowly coming apart at the seams after a failed marriage and an abrupt change in career leave him at a crossroads in life. When an unexpected opportunity arises to escape to the idyllic village of Mermaids Point, he’s hot on the heels of his brother, Tom, who has recently moved there. Buying a rundown bookshop might be just his latest harebrained scheme, but Alex has never been one to do things by halves.

After spending her early years caring for her mother, Ivy Fisher is finally ready to start living her own life. But when the impossibly charming, impossibly good-looking Alex Nelson swoops in and snatches her dream out from under her nose, it really is the last straw. Forced by circumstances to spend more time with him, Ivy finally gets a peek of the real man beneath the confident exterior, and she likes what she sees.

But just when things are starting to come together for them, Ivy is reminded why men can never be trusted. Is Alex who he says he is, or is he using Mermaids Point as nothing more than research fodder for his next bestseller?

Review: This is the fourth book in a series about events in the lives of people living in the lovely seaside town of Mermaids Point. In the first three books, readers have got to know several recurring characters, as well as newcomers, who are always welcomed in by the caring community. All of the books can be read as stand-clones, but I would advise reading them all in order, as they make up an enjoyable and satisfying saga. The author has thoughtfully provided at the beginning of the book a list of characters and their place in the stories as an aide memoire for returning readers and a guide for those new to the series. In common with earlier books in the series, this one has an attractive and inviting cover depicting the story’s setting. As anticipated, I was drawn into this latest story from the very beginning and eagerly followed events therein.

This is the story of writer Alex Nelson, a relatively new visitor to Mermaids Point, and local girl Ivy Fisher, who has just lost her mother after a long illness. Alex has met seamstress and craft enthusiast Ivy on previous visits to the town and has found himself intrigued and attracted to her. He is also drawn to the warm and peaceful atmosphere of Mermaids Point itself. Looking for a new start near to his brother who has taken over as Mermaids Point’s GP, Alex sets his sights on the town’s rundown bookshop, which is currently for sale. However, he has no idea that Ivy had plans for the building. She is disappointed not to be in a position to buy the shop, but she and Alex reach an agreement to run their businesses together there. It looks as though there may be more than a business relationship developing between the pair, but a revelation about Alex’s past makes Ivy suspect that she may not know the real man at all. 

As with the previous three books in this series, I thoroughly enjoyed this one and found it a quick and easy read, not wishing to put it down until its conclusion. Once again, I was pulled into the lives of the characters and attracted to the town itself, with its welcoming feel. The story this time had Alex and Ivy centre stage, with some but not a great deal of involvement from other recurring characters. I felt for Ivy with difficulties caused by her estranged father heaped on top of her grief, but I also felt that Alex would be there to shield her when needed - what a supportive character. Even with lots going on in his life, he was so considerate of her needs. Just as in her other books, Sarah Bennett has succeeded in drawing the reader into the world of her characters, feeling their every emotion. I can’t wait to find out what she has in store next for the inhabitants of Mermaids Point.

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

Tuesday 15 March 2022

Top Ten Tuesday: Books on my Spring 2022 TBR



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.

Ooo always love a seasonal list, I'm actually thinking it might be the way forward to go with seasonal TBRs rather than monthly!

Monday 14 March 2022

Review: The One by Claire Frost

 What happens when you lose the love of your life just three months after you meet him?

Lottie Brown has finally found The One. Leo is everything she’s ever wanted – he’s handsome, kind, funny and totally gets her. Three months into their relationship, Lottie is in love and happier than ever before. But then Leo tragically dies, and Lottie is left floundering. As she struggles to stop her life falling apart, Lottie learns more about the man she thought she knew, and starts to question whether Leo really was as perfect as he seemed…

Review: Oh wow, I did not read the synopsis of this book going in and so what happened within the first few pages took me completely off guard! This book reminded me of a classic Paige Toon novel wrapped up with the storytelling and heart of Miranda Dickinson. I adored every moment of it and I couldn’t wait to get in my car in the mornings and keep listening on my commute!

Lottie is a great character to spend this book with because she wears her heart on her sleeve. She is passionate about herself and her relationships, particularly her relationships with her sisters. It was such a pleasure to read about a character who is so passionate and about a character who actually has a good relationship with her family. It was a real treat. The other reason Lottie is so great to read about is because she is really relatable. She doesn’t have it all together and she doesn’t pretend to.  She is fine with her job but it could be better; she is unlucky in love and she knows that she sometimes drinks too much and is guilty of the hangover fake sick call to work. I just loved this about her!

This book deals with death and this book deals with some baby loss and so you definitely need to use care and caution going in but I do think that these massive topics are dealt with as part of the story in a sensitive way and yet in a way that shows that these things are part of life and that beautiful things can also come out of them. It is rare to find a book that explores such passionate love in this way without that passion turning into pure lust and so I loved that about it. I laughed at points and I cried along with the audiobook. I loved all of the themes explored through these three sisters and I loved getting to know Lottie. She is definitely a character I would like to hear more from and I would love to know what happens to her in the future!

To order your copy now, just click here!

Saturday 12 March 2022

Guest Review: Shane Warne: My Illustrated Career By Shane Warne

The Ashes reached new levels of excitement in 2005, with England's priceless win under Michael Vaughan's leadership, and Freddy Flintoff and co's determination to end Australian domination of the past 18 years. One man who kept the Australians in the series, right up until the last day of the final test match at the Oval, was their talismanic leg bowler Shane Warne. Quite simply, Warne is the finest cricketer ever to play the game - and acknowledged as such by his contemporaries and commentators alike. With over 600 test match victims, he managed to take 40 wickets against England, but still ended up on the losing team. Putting the torrid tales of his private life aside, Warne always lets his spinning do the talking for him, becoming the scourge of many international batsmen. Now, for the first time, we provide a superb biographical account of his career in pictures, with commentary from the great man himself. Supported with photographs from his own personal collection, plus superb professional photography of his key moments in first class cricket - this book will chart the rise of the game's greatest exponent of not only spin, but also of never-say-die cricket. Released with perfect timing for the upcoming Ashes contest in Australia in 2006, this is the story, in pictures of a sporting legend that everyone will want to buy.

Review: Shane Warne, who recently passed away, was an Australian cricketer who played in 145 Test Matches between 1992 and 2007. Described as the greatest leg spin bowler ever, he took 708 wickets, a total second only to the Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan. He was also a useful late middle order batsman, scoring 3,154 runs during his Test career. Following his retirement from playing, he took up coaching and was also a knowledgeable television commentator.

This book, published in 2006, is an illustrated autobiography of his life and playing career up until that date. Comprising numerous colour photographs and blocks of text, the book covers: his boyhood; Ashes series against England, as well as matches against the other Test playing sides; one day matches; and his time as captain of Hampshire. His approach to cricket, and to life in general, comes across in the book. Never one to shy away from confrontation, his career had its fair number of controversial moments. However, his playing record speaks for itself, and he was a key member of a very successful Australian side.

The book is more of a photographic record, so by its very nature the narrative is fragmentary. However, the high quality of the photographs means that it is an interesting record, and is a fitting tribute to an exceptional cricketer.

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

Wednesday 9 March 2022

Guest Review: Waiting to Begin by Amanda Prowse

1984. Bessie is a confident sixteen-year-old girl with the world at her feet, dreaming of what life will bring and what she’ll bring to this life. Then everything comes crashing down. Her bright and trusting smile is lost, banished by shame—and a secret she’ll carry with her for the rest of her life.

2021. The last thirty-seven years have not been easy for Bess. At fifty-three she is visibly weary, and her marriage to Mario is in tatters. Watching her son in newlywed bliss—the hope, the trust, the joy—Bess knows it is time to face her own demons, and try to save her relationship. But she’ll have to throw off the burden of shame if she is to honour that sixteen-year-old girl whose dreams lie frozen in time.

Can Bess face her past, finally come clean to Mario, and claim the love she has longed to fully experience all these years?

Review: This is a story covering 37 years and focusing on two birthdays. It begins on Bessie’s 16th birthday, when she is excitedly waiting to find out her school exam results and meet up with her boyfriend later. Suddenly, in a matter of just a few hours, her world comes crashing down around her and she feels that nothing can be the same again. Then we see Bessie, now Bess, on her 53rd birthday. She has been married to Mario for thirty years and has two grown-up children. The dreams she had of becoming an air hostess were shattered by events all those years ago. She is unhappy, her relationship with her husband is strained and she knows it is all because of what happened and the fact that she has kept it hidden from everyone since. If she is to save her marriage and herself, she knows what she must do.

This was a truly emotional story that will surely have the reader’s heart breaking for Bess and the hard decisions she had to make, firstly at such a young age and then after having had a burden kept inside for such a long time. The situations and indeed the characters in the book were totally believable. I liked the way in which the story is told, switching between the past and the present until the whole truth is revealed. Bess had just one ally who knew the whole story, and sadly even that relationship had been damaged by the need to keep the secret. There are some lighter moments in the story, particularly involving Bess’s parents, who are marvellously supportive of their daughter; I loved the fact that her mother was ready with a cheese and tomato sandwich in any situation. I can recommend this well written and moving story with a central character and events that many readers will relate to, and which will draw you in from the very beginning.

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

Tuesday 8 March 2022

Top Ten Tuesday: Books With my Favourite Theme/Trope



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.

So my favourite trope changes depending on what I just read so that's a little challenging to do, therefore I'm going with books with my favourite setting/theme New York!

Monday 7 March 2022

Review: Again Rachel by Marian Keyes

 Back in the long ago nineties, Rachel Walsh was a mess.

But a spell in rehab transformed everything. Life became very good, very quickly. These days, Rachel has love, family, a great job as an addiction counsellor, she even gardens. Her only bad habit is a fondness for expensive trainers.

But with the sudden reappearance of a man she'd once loved, her life wobbles.

She'd thought she was settled. Fixed forever. Is she about to discover that no matter what our age, everything can change?

Is it time to think again, Rachel?

Review: Oh it was so good to be back with Rachel again. I reread Rachel's Holiday right before this one hit my phone after my pre-order and it was just such a treat to go from one book right into the next. I listened to this one on audio and it was read by Marian herself which was also just immense fun. I feel like because this was read by the author we heard Rachel and Luke and all the Walsh clan just exactly as they were supposed to be heard, with all the feelings and all the punchlines in just the right places!

It was definitely quite tough to revisit Rachel though. We left her in a really good place at the end of Rachel's Holiday and so getting another book about her, you know things can't be going entirely smoothly in her life. When you've known a character as long as we;ve known Rachel we absolutely want the best for her and so to ease her struggling in any way is always going to be a tough read. The great thing about this book, though, is that it's not just Rachel that we get to see again, it's her entire family, as well as lovely Luke and there are even some new characters that we get to know. 

I think my favourite thing about this book was the fact that we get to see all of the Walsh sisters, as well as Mammy Walsh all together again and interacting and the heart and fun and drama that goes along with this. I listened on my commute to and from work and I was sometimes just waiting to find out what Claire or Helen was going to do next when I got in my car at the end of the day. They are as much a reason to return to this world as Rachel herself is. 

Just like the first book, this one deals with some hard hitting issues and many things books in this genre tend to shy away from. I always love the way Marian Keyes tackles heavier subjects because she does so in such a way that is so unique to her and you can hear her voice coming through the characters and situations. There's a wonderful author's note at the end of the book that is very sensitively written but also serves as a good care warning if you are concerned about picking this one up. 

All in all this was a fantastic read. I normally avoid books that are on the longer side but this one meant that it was a commute treat that lasted 2 whole weeks rather thans 1 and I am so on board with that because it meant longer with Marian Keyes, longer with the Walsh family and longer with Rachel.

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

Friday 4 March 2022

February 2022 Reading Wrap Up: All The Audiobooks I Read


World Book Day 2022-Why Didn't I post Anything?

 The irony of the fact that I didn't post anything on here or on any of my other channels on World Book Day is not lost on me. I am having such a hard time reading the things I want to read and reviewing them on here or on my BookTube channel. This is not because I am in a reading slump but because I started a new job in January and it is still literally taking up all of my time. Yes, I have time to eat and sleep occasionally but aside from that there isn't time for much else. It's also taking up a lot of my mental energy and so focusing on an eBook is HARD right now. I am reliant on my audiobooks that I can listen to on my commute to and from school and my commute isn't even that long so I don't necessarily get through a book a week this way. 
I just wanted to check in and let you know that I haven't been posting as much and this will likely continue. I'm hoping once I get back into my stride of teaching full time I can get into a routine of catching up with posts and videos at the weekend and setting myself up for the week but right now that time is also being taken up with work so it’s a watch this space kind of situation. 
However, I DID have a lovely World Book Day. I dressed up as Pete the Cat rocking his school shoes and was able to read an enjoy all of these lovely books throughout the day...

Wednesday 2 March 2022

March 2022 TBR: New Release Books & Audiobook Pre-Order Reading


February Reading Wrap Up: Allllllll The Audiobooks

 Ok so February reading wasn't great. Work has been super busy, as have I, and then February half term ended up being a busy week of not a lot of reading rather than a chilled out week filled with books. Hopefully next school holiday should be a little more laid back!

I didn't read any physical books or ebooks this month so we'll just go with the few audiobooks I read!

(Book vs movie of this one coming to the channel very soon!)

Just as a side note I am part way through these 2 eBooks which I have for review and are therefore both on my March TBR if you haven't seen that already...