Saturday 30 July 2022

Guest Review: The Book of Fred By Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff

This is not a book of life lessons. But Freddie Flintoff has had a moment to reflect and he's noticed that throughout his four decades, although there's been little method in the madness, there has been the occasional common thread.

The Book of Fred is filled with anecdotes, observations and the odd opinion all told with Fred's trademark humour and no-nonsense style. Fred's approach to life draws on the sublime (his series winning performance in the 2005 Ashes) and the ridiculous (singing Elvis Presley's 'Suspicious Minds' in front of a live audience), from highs (making the transition to top TV presenter) to occasional lows (accidentally upsetting the lovely Bruce Forsyth), from the profane (discussing Shane Warne's barnet with Hollywood royalty) to the profound (why 'having a go' leads to self-respect).

Throughout, Fred shares his code for success, happiness and a life fully lived - and gives his readers a laugh, some joy, and (the occasional) pause for thought along the way.

Review: Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff is a former professional cricketer who played in 79 Test Matches for England, captaining the team on 11 occasions. Probably his greatest achievements came during the 2005 and 2009 Ashes-winning Test series against Australia. He retired from first class cricket after the final Test Match of the 2009 series. Following his cricket career, he has pursued a career in television and radio, featuring in such television programmes as “A League of Their Own” and being one of the presenters of “Top Gear”.

This is his latest book, which is a collection of anecdotes and opinions about life in general. It is divided into chapters covering different topics such as friendship, fame and money. “Freddie” Flintoff has always been a larger than life character, achieving notoriety for some of his off-field antics. What was not so apparent during his playing career was his struggles with mental health and the eating disorder bulimia, about which he has opened up in recent years. He bravely discusses these issues in the book.

Although I thought this was going to be a book mainly about cricket, it is more a personal insight into a person who, away from the cricket field and television cameras, is a very private character with much the same doubts and insecurities as most people. Although I found the writing style to be quite rambling, their are some interesting observations and a few humorous moments. If you are expecting a book about cricket, you will be disappointed, but it is a fascinating insight into the character of an individual to whom success and fame came at an early age, and who has now had the opportunity to reflect on his life.

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

Thursday 28 July 2022

Review: Time After Time by Louise Pentland

 Tabitha is stuck. She still lives in the small town she grew up in...the town she's barely ever left.

So, when her dad drops a bombshell over their weekly Sunday dinner, Tabitha takes a look at her own life. She lives firmly in her comfort zone and doesn't know how to break out. Sometimes she wishes she should go back and start it all again.

When she meets Bea, a free spirit like no one else she's ever known with an 'interesting' sense of style, Tabitha quickly befriends her, recognising in Bea the change she's been craving. But soon it becomes clear that more has changed than her new friend. Somehow Tabitha has been transported back to the 1980s.

With the chance to reinvent herself in another time, will Tabitha finally manage to move forward?

Review: Well this is a departure for Louise Pentland. I loved her Robin Wilde series and so I was intrigued to see what her next fiction novel would be like. I certainly didn’t expect time travel! The 1980s is such a hot time right now. It signifies such a time of social change and such a time of liberation for a lot of people and so it is certainly getting a lot of attention in all forms of media right now so I was pleased when I could read it in romcom form! I am the same age as Louise and so I think that it helps that we have a very similar outlook on the time period. I do sometimes struggle with fantastical elements in novels such as time travel but it really helped that this reminded me of ‘Who’s That Girl?’ by Alexandra Potter. 

Lpouise has said in interviews that she likes pretty names for the characters that she likes and Tabitha is a great character name for a very lovely character. Louise puts Tabitha through so much in this novel I am very surprised that she survived the book. She has the massive bombshell at the start of the book followed by many many revelations that she has to deal with throughout this narrative. She did such a great job coping with everything. It helps that she has some great characters to support her in the form of bestie Vivian and her new friend Bea. 

As mentioned, there are some major bombshells and big reveals throughout this book and a few of them were definitely predictable but some of them came out of the blue and can be fairly hard hitting. Tabitha does have to deal with a lot but she definitely has some gumption about her and some courage in her convictions. She deals with a rubbish boyfriend and some major family drama. I loved the Easter eggs dropped in throughout the book by Louise Pentland, there are all sorts of references in there for fans of the Robin Wilde series as well as viewers of Louise’s channel. I listened to the audio of this one and there were quite a few repeated phrases so hopefully audible does an update on this soon to remove those because they did interrupt the flow of the book somewhat. 

This is definitely something removed from what I would normally read but I enjoyed the humour and the heart that this novel has. I am definitely intrigued to see what Louise Pentland writes next!

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

Wednesday 27 July 2022

Guest Review: A Home at Cornflower Cottage by Tilly Tennant

Escape to the flower-filled fields and hedgerows of the Cotswold countryside, to a tiny cottage and a summer that could change everything....

Amelie has lived in Cornflower Cottage since she was born. She did her homework at the scrubbed kitchen table and helped her mum hang washing from the line on the old oak tree in the garden. And when her beloved parents died, Cornflower Cottage became Amelie’s armor against the world.

The trouble is that Cornflower Cottage is too big for just her. With a broken boiler and a leaking roof, Amelie knows she must do something to make ends meet. When she meets Xander, a scruffy, brown-eyed nature-documentary maker living out of his backpack in a nearby hotel, Amelie rents him a room, hoping a lodger will solve her problems.

She soon realizes that her troubles are only just beginning. Xander’s muddy clothes all over the cottage and early morning jaunts to photograph otters are going to take some getting used to. But when an argument turns into a heart-to-heart, she finds herself confessing how lonely she has been.

Before long, laughter echoes round the cozy farmhouse kitchen once more, and sparks begin to fly. But when a face from Xander’s past appears at Cornflower Cottage, Amelie’s happy home is shaken once more. Xander has changed Amelie’s quiet country life forever. Should she open her heart to someone who has hidden things from her? Or let him leave and lose the love that makes her house a home?

Review: I am a great fan of Tilly Tennant, and can honestly say that I have never come across a book of hers that I did not enjoy. Her books always have interesting settings, compelling storylines and alluring characters. This one had a particularly attractive setting combined with cute animals, a captivating mixture.

The story centres on Amelie, who is desperately trying to make ends meet on her meagre wage from her job at a nearby hotel. She loves her home, remote Cornflower Cottage, a house left to her by her parents who died tragically in an accident, but the upkeep on the quaint Cotswolds cottage is expensive. She is perfectly happy sharing her home with house rabbit, Salad, but her boyfriend, Decker, is hinting more and more that he would like to move in, a step that Amelie is reluctant to take. The last straw for Amelie is when a storm damages the roof, leading to a huge repair bill. By chance, Xander, a long-term guest at the hotel is looking for somewhere that he and his girlfriend can rent, and Amelie finds herself taking in lodgers. Decker is not at all happy with this arrangement and when his jealousy eventually causes a break up, Amelie finds herself drawn increasingly to Xander.

I very much enjoyed reading this book, and don’t hesitate to recommend it to other readers. I found the majority of the characters likeable and believable, a notable exception being Decker, in whom I found no redeeming qualities and wondered how he was with Amelie in the first place. Xander was a much more suitable match for her, with his interest in nature and considerate disposition. Of course, like Xander, I loved Amelie’s house rabbit - what a great companion. Cornflower Cottage itself sounded a marvellous place to live, despite the obvious bills associated with its age.

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

Tuesday 26 July 2022

Top Ten Tuesday: Books From My Past Seasonal TBR Posts I STILL Haven’t Read


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. 

Love this idea and I feel that I will not have any trouble finding books from TBRs that I haven't read yet.

Saturday 23 July 2022

Guest Review: The Story of the World in 100 Moments By Neil Oliver

From Genghis Khan's domination on earth to Armstrong's first steps on the moon, discover the 100 moments that defined humanity and shaped our world forever.

Neil Oliver takes us on a whistle-stop tour around the world and through a million years to give us this unique and invaluable grasp of how human history pieces together.

From the east to the west, north to south, these 100 moments act like stepping stones allowing us to make sense of how these pivotal events have shaped the world we know today.

Including many moments readers will expect - from the advent of the printing press to the birth of the internet - there are also surprises, and with them, some remarkable, unforgettable stories that give a whole new insight on our past.

Review: This is the archaeologist, historian and television presenter Neil Oliver’s sweeping review of the documented history of the world by describing 100 key moments. These are when events, discoveries, ideas or inventions changed the course of the subsequent history of the world.

As the author describes in his introduction, it is a personal list of the key moments that influenced his own perspective of history. He also hopes that it will instigate thought and discussion among readers as to what their own list would include. Starting with the first named writer and poet, a priestess in Mesopotamia, and finishing with the last living survivors of the world wars of the 20th century, the book covers a wide expanse of time and geography. Amongst the events described are: the proclamation in the city of Eboracum (present day York) of Constantine as Roman emperor; Alfred the Great establishing the foundations of England; Mongols declaring Genghis Khan as their leader; Johannes Gutenberg developing his printing press; and Neil Armstrong setting foot on the moon.

Although there were occasions when I found the author’s use of language somewhat flamboyant, I found this to be a wide-ranging and interesting book. Each of the 100 moments is fairly short, making it easy to pick up and dip into for either a brief or a longer read. The book also achieved its aim of making me think about which particular moments I would choose. For enthusiasts of history, from ancient to modern, I would recommend this book.

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

Wednesday 20 July 2022

Guest Review: The New Doctor at Peony Practice by Christie Barlow

All’s fair in love and…medicine?

Dr Katie O’Neil has only been in Heartcross a few hours when she finds herself already ruffling feathers – not least with medical school nemesis and new colleague Ben Sanders.

Katie’s the woman Ben loves to hate and until now he’d hoped he’d never set eyes on her again but now she’s back – and living next door!

When a charity boat race down the River Heart puts the two in direct competition, sparks fly. The winner takes it all, but who will it be? And will their prize be far more than they were expecting…

This is the eighth book in the Love Heart Lane series, in which the stories are set in Heartcross, a fictional village in the Scottish highlands. With each successive book, readers learn more about returning characters, while being introduced to one or more newcomers. Although part of the series, each book can be read as a standalone, but it is better to read them all in order to get the most out of the continuing saga. 

In this story, the focus is on the medical practice in the village, where Dr Ben Sanders has been in charge for just 6 months. Feeling overwhelmed by the workload, Ben has contacted an agency who are sending another doctor to join the practice. However, Ben gets a shock when help arrives in the person of Dr Katie O’Neil, a figure from his past, and not a welcome one. The pair had been at university together, where they had always competed for the top spot. As the two doctors start to work together, Ben wonders whether Katie may have mellowed over the years since they graduated, but when a charity boat race with the two of them as opposing captains is planned, it seems that the competition may be back on. 

I have enjoyed returning to Heartcross and finding out a little more about the village and its inhabitants. I feel sure that other readers will find this book equally enjoyable and entertaining. The storyline deals with some serious topics including dementia, with its damaging effect on so many families. There are also a number of secrets coming to light along the way as Ben and Katie get to know more about their personal lives and histories. As well as the central characters, I loved the practice receptionist, Helly. She sounds a really fun person to work with, but also very capable in a crisis. I am now looking forward to the next book in the series, which should be along soon.

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

Tuesday 19 July 2022

Review: A Wedding at Sanday Cove by Bella Osborne

 Escape to Sandy Cove, where the scent of summer and the sound of wedding bells is in the air!

Ella is in the business of making brides’ dreams come true with yards of white tulle, delicate lace and sparkly sequins.

But Ella’s own love life couldn’t be further from a fairy tale. Recently dumped by her boyfriend and with her best friend’s wedding only months away, Ella feels more alone than ever so she finally accepts her friends’ offers to set her up on a blind date.

But a mix up on the night throws her into the path of Kit, instead.

Kit is most definitely not the man she was supposed to meet, but he could end up changing her life in ways she never thought possible…

Review: This was such a great summer read from Bella Osborne. Iloved getting to meet Ella and her friends and see her drive for business and her drive to get her life back on track. Ella really shows us that we don’t have to be perfect and that everyone struggles but that we can all make something of ourselves if that’s what we want. She is a great character to spend this novel with, especially because she comes with an amazing group of ride or die friends!

I loved getting to meet Lucy in particular. She has a whole subplot of her own going on and I really hope we get to meet her again soon! Lucy is a lawyer and so we actually get to follow one of her cases through the novel. It dips inot all four parts of the book so we can get updates along the way. The ending of Lucy’s story verges on the crime/thriller novel and so I was glad to have her in the book as a bit of an antidote to the romance and wedding side of things!

Brittany is getting married and so we have that to contend with. There are the usual awful bridesmaids dresses and embarrassing relatives on the hen do but her wedding is what ties all of the parts of the book together and what brings these friends together for a mutual event/love/hate. I adored how she was such a lynchpin in the whole story. 

Of course there are a few love interests along the way for our girls, all of them complex and all of them interesting and fully developed characters in their own rights. No spoilers here but I was definitely so here for all of the drama that each and every romance throughout the book brought. 

I always love a Ball Osborne four part series but I really did enjoy this one. It had a little bit of everything and definitely had me hooked from the very first page!

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

Thursday 14 July 2022

Guest Review: Bamburgh by AJ Ross


When a cantankerous old woman dies at her home in the sleepy, picturesque village of Bamburgh, DCI Ryan doesn’t think much of it—except, that is, for the small matter of it having been his wife who happened to find her body. Then another body turns up amongst the sand dunes at the base of the mighty castle fortress, and he decides it can’t be a coincidence…

Meanwhile, after a recent revelation about her sister, DC Melanie Yates’ quest to avenge her death is becoming an obsession—much to the concern of those around her. With a new DCS to contend with and hundreds of cold case files to sift through, the chances of uncovering a dormant killer seem unlikely. But as Melanie delves deeper into the secrets of the past to uncover the truth, she soon realises it lies much closer to home…

Murder and mystery are peppered with romance and humour in this fast-paced crime whodunnit, set amidst the spectacular Northumbrian landscape.

Review: This is book 19 in the DCI Ryan Mysteries series from AJ Ross, which follows the life and career of this policeman and his team at the serious crime division of Northumbria constabulary. I have been following this series from the very start and have enjoyed getting to know Ryan, his wife, Anna, and his colleagues as they have worked on various crimes in the north-east of England. Each book can be read as a standalone, but it is helpful to know the relationships among the main characters, so I would advise reading some previous books in the series before this one.

In this story, there are two crimes being investigated by the team. One is the recent murder of an elderly property owner in the small village of Bamburgh, and the other is a cold case involving the murder of the sister of one of Ryan’s colleagues, DC Melanie Yates, 15 years previously. As the team focuses on the murder in Bamburgh and the possible motive, Melanie is becoming obsessed with finding her sister’s killer and is getting dangerously close to the truth. Can her colleagues stop her before she becomes another victim of a ruthless serial killer?

I found this an extremely exciting and gripping tale, with light relief provided by humorous interludes, mainly in the form of banter between Ryan and his DS Frank Philips. Unusually, the reader is not given clues to the identity of the killer of Melanie’s sister, but is taken back 15 years and told the name. I was a little disappointed by this, as I enjoy trying to work it out along with Ryan. Returning characters in this story included Dr Alexander Gregory, a forensic psychologist who features in another series written by this author that I have enjoyed. The climax of the present story was particularly thrilling and had me on the edge of my seat. I feel that there may be some fallout from the action in future stories and am looking forward to the next book in the series.

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

Tuesday 12 July 2022

Top Ten Tuesday: Books Releasing in the Second Half of 2022


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. 

Apparently I did this week's list last week so here's last week's list!

Wednesday 6 July 2022

Guest Review: Mothers and Daughters by Erica James

Even happy families have their secrets…

Anchor House is the coastal home where Naomi and her husband raised their two girls. Now widowed, Naomi is building a new life alone, but the arrival of Ellis next door is bringing some long-awaited fun back too.

Naomi’s daughters are very different: Martha is determined and driven like her father, while Willow is a free spirit. The three women have always been close, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have secrets of their own. There are things Naomi has kept from her girls, like the fact that her marriage to their father wasn’t quite what it seemed…

Review: I was delighted to discover this new book from Erica James. I always enjoy reading her stories that are usually full of families with realistic lives and problems that can resonate with the reader. This one deals with women from one family who are facing changes in their lives and coping in different ways. I listened to the audio version of the book and enjoyed it from start to finish.

The story centres on Naomi and her two daughters, Martha and Willow, sisters who are like chalk and cheese. Naomi has been a widow for many years, but is happy living in the family home in the seaside location of Tilsham by the Sea. Her quiet existence is suddenly turned upside down by the arrival of a new neighbour, Ellis, with whom, it turns out, she has a history. When it seems that their relationship may become serious, the rest of the family, Martha in particular, are not happy. Martha is a serious young woman who is desperate to have a child and would like her mother to sell the family home and move nearer to her and her sister. Willow, on the other hand, is much more easy going than her sister, and takes life as it comes. However, she has recently met a new man who, at first, seems to have a steadying effect on her, much to the relief of her mother and sister, but is he as good for her as everybody thinks? As time goes by, it seems that the women have been keeping secrets from each other. What will happen to the relationships within the family when the secrets come out?

As I expected I would be, I quickly became immersed in this family drama and kept returning to its pages whenever I could until the end. I loved the setting of the family house, right by the sea. Like Naomi, I wouldn’t have been keen to move away, even without the attraction of Ellis. There are lots of characters in the story, but the focus is on the three women. I have to say that I couldn’t take to Martha at all and felt almost sorry for her long suffering husband, Tom. Of course, she is desperate to start a family and is frustrated that nothing is happening, but she seems to like to ride roughshod over others and isn’t pleased when they don’t fall in with her plans. Poor Naomi was expected to up sticks as if her life was finished having reached her 60s. However, both women were a bit dismissive of poor Willow, who turned out to have the biggest, and most tragic, secret of all. Of course, I most detested Willow’s boyfriend Rick and could see from the start the type of person he was. I was hoping that he would show his true colours before it was too late. Despite the differences between mother and daughters, they were a close family who could close ranks when threatened. I can highly recommend this emotional and powerful story.

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

Tuesday 5 July 2022

June 2022 Reading Wrap Up-Pride Reads and Audiobooks


Top Ten Tuesday: Book Covers With Summer Vibes


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. 

I love this, the countdown to summer is on and I am ready for some reading alfresco so here are the books that give me all the summer vibes!

Monday 4 July 2022

June 2022 Reading Wrap Up-Pride Reads and Audiobooks

June was a longer reading month for me because I wanted to incorporate all of May half term in there. I had some very specific reading in mind this month and I'm happy to say that I'm really pleased with my reading this month. I've achieved most of my goals!



Friday 1 July 2022

July 2022 TBR New Book Recommendations and Audiobooks For Road Trips


July 2022 TBR New Releases and Audiobooks for Road Trips

So July is very busy at the start of the month with the end of the school term but then after that I should have a little more reading time. I also have a couple of road trips lined up and so I have already pre-ordered some audiobooks for those so yey!

July Releases

7th July

6th July

7th July

21st July

21st July

21st July

Leftover Quick Reads for 2022

Then the Penguin Random House Volumes App is going away very soon so I have some audiobooks from there that I would like to get to over the next 2 months before they disappear...