Monday 31 July 2023

Review: An Invitation to Seashell Bay by Bella Osborne

 One ambitious businesswoman.

One irresponsible heir.

A deal that will turn both their lives upside down…

To grow her craft business, Nancy is in desperate need of two things: help and money. So when a potential investor she’s looking to impress recommends an assistant, she jumps at the chance to secure both.

Freddy Astley-Davenport is a notorious playboy with zero work experience. He’s poised to inherit his family’s estate in sunny Seashell Bay – but only if he can hold down a job for six months first. His plan is to take the assistant role in name only, then do the least work he possibly can.

Nancy has other ideas, though, and the pair butt heads from day one. However, as they argue, sparks begin to fly, and they soon discover exactly why opposites attract…

Review: this was such a lovely story. I read part 1 as a standalone and then listened to the rest of the book on audiobook. I loved getting to meet Nancy and Alice in part 1. Both strong independent women who are finding their way in the world. I loved the fact that Nancy had built up her own business and was doing everything in her power to ensure that it continued to thrive. Alice is similarly trying to be as independent as possible by taking a job in a school and moving to london. They are by no means the best of friends but their relationship is important especially in a world that can be as lonely as the one we live in!

Then along comes a couple of men to throw spanners into the works. We have dad from Alice’s school Dom and then we have Freddy. Freddy is the perfect antidote to Nancy's continuous hard work and diligence. He’s a playboy with no real understanding of the real world but naturally this makes him the perfect person to be her personal assistant. Freddy is such a fin character to read and you know whenever he enters a scene, there’s going to be humour and perhaps chaos!

Then the titular invitation to seasell bay happens and we get to explore a whole new world outside of London. We get a bit of background as to why Freddy is the way he is and in addition, a deeper understanding of Nancy’s drive. We discover the secrets that Alice has been hiding and we also get to meet a peacock named Percy! It was wonderful to see the world that Freddy comes from and see his family and why they are the way they are, it made him seem to have much more humour and as we get deeper into the novel it's hard not to fall in love with all these characters and really genuinely care about what happens to them. 

I so enjoyed my journey to seashell bay, it was funny and real and had a great deal of warmth and heart about it. I really recommend the latest Bella Osborne, I’m sure you will enjoy it as much as I did!

To order your copy now, just click here!

Saturday 29 July 2023

Guest Review: Caught Short of the Boundary and Other Tall Stories By Henry Blofeld


Review: This is a short collection of humorous anecdotes by sports journalist and cricket commentator (now retired) Henry Blofeld. Published in 1984, it includes stories from his school and university days, when he played cricket for Eton and Cambridge, to his unsuccessful foray into the world of merchant banking, before turning to journalism and commentating. However, most of the tales are concerned with his travels around the world following cricket.

The author is well known for his rich turn of phrase and sense of humour, and the book is infused with this sense of fun throughout. It is also illustrated with several cartoons. If any James Bond fans are familiar with the name Blofeld, it is because the spy’s creator Ian Fleming knew the Blofeld family and took their name for Bond’s arch-enemy Ernst Stavro Blofeld. This story is covered in the book.

This is less a book about cricket, but more about some of the incidents, many amusing but some more alarming, that have befallen the author during his career. As a short read, I found it very entertaining.

Friday 28 July 2023

Review: None of This is True by Lisa Jewell

 Celebrating her 45th birthday at her local pub, podcaster Alix Summers crosses paths with an unassuming woman called Josie Fair. Josie is also celebrating her 45th.

A few days later, they bump into each other again, this time outside Alix's children's school. Josie says she thinks she would be an interesting subject for Alix's podcast. She is, she tells Alix, on the cusp of great changes in her life.

Alix agrees to a trial interview and indeed, Josie's life appears to be strange and complicated. Aix finds her unsettling but can't quite resist the temptation to keep digging.

Slowly Alix starts to realise that Josie has been hiding some very dark secrets, and before she knows it Josie has cajoled her way into Alix's life - and into her home.

Soon Alix begins to wonder who is Josie Fair really? And what has she done?

Review: this is one of those Lisa Jewell novels where you just don’t trust anyone! What I love about Lisa Jewell is that she writes characters which are definitely not all likeable, but they are so so intriguing and also just so easy to relate to. This kind of thing could have happened to any of us. The other big takeaway I loved in this novel is that it features the whole podcast situation. There has been a lot of talk recently about true crime podcasters getting sucked into their work and going too deep. This is so the case with this one. Poor Alix didn’t know what was coming for her when she invited Josie into her life. This mixed media format which cracks open the world of podcasting and just what a risk you could be setting yourself up for is just wonderful. 

As already mentioned, I didn't love Josie or Alix, or any of the other characters for that matter but oh my goodness they were intriguing. They stayed with me for a long time. I also really sympathise with both of them. I felt for Josie because of the life she has led, whether she chose to live that way or not and I sympathised with Alix because she just didn’t see what was coming for her. They both have fully formed lives and they’re about to be ripped apart by this story. 

I don’t know why I am surprised but I am always just so amazed at how dark a Lisa Jewell novel can get. This wasn’t dark in the same way that The Family Upstairs and The Family Remains was dark, its not scary in that way but the way Lisa Jewell weaves in the level of deception and the depth of twists, turns and lies that go on over the course of this story-it’s just truly remarkable. I absolutely flew through this, I didn’t see a lot of it coming and I really do feel like this ending was left the way it was for a reason. If this is your first Lisa Jewell novel-you’re in for a treat and if you’re already a fan then rest assured, this is every bit as good as her usual offerings, you won’t be disappointed. 

To order your copy now, just click here!

Wednesday 26 July 2023

Guest Review: The French Chateau Dream by Julie Caplin

You are invited to a summer of sparkling champagne, warm buttery croissants and a little bit of je ne sais quoi

With a broken heart and a broken spirit, Hattie is in need of a summer escape. So when an opportunity comes up to work at a beautiful, stately chateau in the Champagne region of France she books her flights quicker than the pop of a cork.

Romance is the last thing Hattie is looking for but then she wasn’t expecting gorgeous Luc to stroll into her life. With picnics in the warm French sun and delicious foodie trips to the local market, Hattie starts to wonder if a holiday fling – or maybe even something more – might be just what she needs.

Review: This is the tenth book in the Romantic Escapes series by Julie Caplin. The lighthearted romantic stories in this series are set in various destinations across the world. Each one centres on a particular character, but one or more players from other books in the series pop up on a regular basis. Although the books can all be read as a standalone, I have enjoyed reading them in order and recognising the ‘visiting’ characters. As the title suggests, this story is set in France.

The central character in the book is wedding planner Hattie, who has been sent on ahead to a French chateau where her cousin is to be married in a few weeks time. She is glad of the chance to get away from life at home, where a long association with a needy ex has left her drained. The chateau with accompanying vineyard is imposing, but very rundown inside. Hattie hopes to find assistance from staff in preparing the house for the wedding, but finds resistance to her ideas at every turn. She has to use her skills to circumvent the obstacles in her path, including bringing in her own caterer from home. Fortunately, Luc, the handsome son of the chateau’s owner, is more helpful and a relationship develops between the two which makes Hattie realise how much better life could be.

I have really enjoyed all of the books in this series, this being no exception. There is a host of interesting characters in this story in addition to Hattie and Luc. It was nice too to meet up with someone from a previous book in the series. Food plays a big part in all of the books; this one having a wedding at its centre features lots of delicious dishes, sweet and savoury, all with a distinctly French flavour. In addition, especially as Luc is a winemaker, there is lots of information about wine and specific pairings with food. I loved watching Hattie blossom as she grew in confidence and found real romance with stunning and sensitive Luc. He certainly sounded a hero that will appeal to many readers. I can thoroughly recommend this new addition to this already successful series.

To order your copy now, just click here!

Saturday 22 July 2023

Guest Review: Gone Fishing By Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse

 Two comedy greats talk life, friendship and the joys of fishing...

Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse have been friends for 30 years, but when life intervened, what was once a joyous and spontaneous friendship dwindled to the odd phone call or occasional catch up. Then, Glory Be! They were both diagnosed with heart disease and realised that time is short. They'd better spend it fishing...

So they dusted off their kits, chucked on their waders and ventured into the achingly beautiful British countryside to fish, rediscover the joys of their friendship and ruminate on some of life's most profound questions, such as: How did we get so old? Where are all the fish? What are your favourite pocket meats? What should we do if we find a corpse?

Following the success of the BBC's Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing series, this wonderful book by two lifelong friends is a love letter to the joys of angling, the thrill of the catch and the virtue of having a right daft laff with your mates. On the fish, the equipment, the food, and the locations, Gone Fishing is the perfect book for fans of Bob Mortimer, Paul Whitehouse and for anyone who wants to read a brilliantly written and endlessly funny joint memoir on life, friendship and joys of fishing.

Review: Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse are two comedians and friends. After both underwent heart operations / heart procedures, Paul Whitehouse, a keen angler, suggested fishing trips as a way of recuperating, getting out of the house, enjoying the countryside and partaking of a hobby that is mentally relaxing. These trips ticked all those boxes, so they came up with the idea of making a television series, with the two of them ruminating on a riverbank about the meaning of life and the universe whilst trying to catch fish. Several series later, this book was published in 2019 as an accompaniment to the television programmes.

Whilst not a definitive guide to angling, this book covers the authors’ introductions to angling and how they found the trips therapeutic, giving them the idea for the tv programmes. There is even a chapter on healthy recipes, including one for an example of one of Bob’s famous “pocket meats”. I am not a fan of angling, having had a bad experience on my one and only fishing trip in my childhood, but I found the book entertaining, sprinkled throughout with the duo’s anarchic humour. There are also some thought provoking chapters covering the ecology of rivers and how anglers are best placed to know when fish stocks become depleted. There is a lot of jargon in the book, which I found difficult to follow at times. So if you want to know the difference between a waggler and a quill (types of float), or Quantum Radical and Dynamite Crave (types of synthetic bait), then this book will help.

Overall, I found this to be an entertaining and humorous book; less an earnest guide to angling but more about enjoying the pleasures of the countryside.

To order your copy now, just click here!

Thursday 20 July 2023

Review: Love Me Do by Lindsey Kelk

 She’s written the perfect romance . . . for someone else

Greetings card copywriter Phoebe Chapman knows a good romantic line or two – and it makes her a fantastic Cupid.

So when she lands in the Hollywood Hills – a place that proves film stars, golden beaches and secret waterfalls don’t just exist in the movies – she can’t resist playing matchmaker for her handsome neighbour, carpenter Ren.

But you can’t hide from love in La La Land.

And isn’t there something a little bit hot about Ren, her own leading man next door?

Review: Review: This book was so much fun from start to finish. If you know me you’ll know that I will read anything Lindsey Kelk writes and will recommend her books until the cows come home but this was a great standalone with all the feels and a great way to travel to LA without having to endure that hellishly long flight! I loved getting to meet Phoebe because she is a character who is easy to relate to. She has her flaws and she has a past btu she has come to LA for a break from her life and it was great sharing her adventure. Her sister is a fun character too and I enjoyed the ying and yang of their relationship and then her sister’s neighbour Ren is a great addition to the character line-up. They have a wonderful meet cute and you just know from their meeting that Ren is going to add quite the intrigue to the novel. 

My favourite character though has to be Bel. If you love the I heart series and you love the way Jenny and Angela meet and she sorts Angela out with the food and the shopping, this is the same but on the west coast. Bel is a personal trainer with every side hustle under the sun going on because of course she is an actress too and so you just know that she and Phoebe are going to get up to no good. The fact that she takes Phoebe out to one of the author's favourite restaurants to begin with really sets the tone for their relationship. Then we have glamorous retired actress Myrna. She is really something else. To begin with she gave me Sunset Boulevard vibes but then she also has a little bit of Elizabeth Taylor meets Moira Rose about her. Her meet cute with phoebe also includes fences like Ren’s does so there’s a definite theme going on here. 

I loved all the locations I got to travel to with phoebe and her new friends, it really was a great experience to be had through the pages of the book. Some of the locations I could picture because I have been there and others I felt like I had because they are described so vividly through Phoebe’s eyes-it was a lot of fun. And then we have the perfect balance of humour and romance that Lindsey Kelk always seems to manage to capture in her books. She never fails to make me laugh out loud with her funny one liners and the situations she puts her characters in. I mean “and do you know they don’t sell Birds Eye potato waffles in America? No wonder there’s so much political unrest.” How could you not laugh at that? I loved this book. You will laugh, you will go to Disneyland, you will be willing some of these characters to get it on already-what more do you want?

To order your copy now, just click here!

Wednesday 19 July 2023

Guest Review: Escape to Starshine Cove by Debbie Johnson

Ella steps through the gate, and within seconds is standing at the edge of the most perfect beach she’s ever seen – a small horseshoe of sand fringing a rolling blanket of sparkling turquoise sea. Breathing in the fresh, salty air, she wipes the tears from her cheeks. Surely, in a place as beautiful as this, she can finally be happy?

Ella Farrell has reached breaking point. Shattered by her job and her boyfriend’s recent betrayal, she grabs her stuff and flees down the coast. When her car breaks down a few miles short of Cornwall, she’s astonished by where she’s ended up. Not on any map, the tiny seaside village of Starshine Cove is almost too perfect for words. A cobbled lane lined with pretty, thatched cottages slopes towards a pristine white beach… has she finally lost it, or is this place for real?

Spotting a little café on the edge of the cove, Ella settles in. It’s not long before – with a wedge of homemade raspberry cheesecake in front of her – Ella finds herself promising Connie, the café’s Dolly Parton-lookalike owner, that she might just stick around.

As days turn into weeks, Ella warms to the quirky little village and the people who live there. Particularly Jake, the broad-shouldered, dark-haired landlord of the Starshine Inn. As they sip cocktails together at sundown, Ella feels they’ve been friends for years… except that her heart does a little flip-flop whenever their eyes meet. Jake also came to Starshine Cove by chance – was he too trying to run away from something?

Just as Ella begins to feel the tension she’s carried for so long beginning to ease, the past comes knocking on her rustic, driftwood door. Will Ella find the strength to embrace this place and forge a new path, or is Starshine Cove – and her growing connection with Jake – simply too good a dream to last?

Review: This is the first book in a new series from Debbie Johnson that centres on Starshine Cove, a beautiful and magical bay and community in Dorset that I wished was real by the end of this story.

The tale concerns doctor Ella Farrell who has reached a crisis in her life, which has finally culminated in her fleeing home after catching her long-term partner cheating on her. After travelling around aimlessly for a few days, her car breaks down and, seeking help, she wanders down a path that opens out onto the most perfect beach she has ever seen. Further exploration reveals a village of small dwellings and businesses and a collection of truly warm and welcoming people who persuade her to stay for a while. At the Starshine Inn, she meets strikingly handsome landlord Jake, who also wandered into the Cove by chance and decided to stay. As the days and weeks go by, Ella gradually begins to feel part of the community and that maybe this is where she belongs. She also feels more and more attracted to Jake. However, a near tragedy has her realising that perhaps she should rethink her future and that Starshine Cove and her relationship with Jake could be just too good to be true.

I absolutely loved this charming, heart-warming and romantic story, with its incredible setting and amazing characters. There is a lot of the trademark Debbie Johnson comedy throughout the story, but also some very serious and heartbreaking back stories and moments for all the characters. Ella herself has had a hard few years and deserves a large dose of TLC, but others in the little village have also suffered hard times that had tears running down my cheeks as they were related. The stories of cafe owner Connie and elderly resident George are particularly poignant. It would be remiss of me not to mention perhaps the most important character of all - Larry, a stray dog befriended by Ella as she arrived at Starshine Cove, who became her faithful companion through thick and thin. This is a book that I recommend to all. Fans of Debbie Johnson will probably, like me, recognise echoes of her Comfort Food Cafe series which I also enjoyed immensely. I am already looking forward to the next book in this series, a taster for which is included at the end of this book.

To order your copy now, just click here!

Monday 17 July 2023

Guest Review: The Start of Something Wonderful by Jessica Redland

Autumn Laine has lost her creative sparkle. After losing her grandad and her job as an illustrator in quick succession, she is at a crossroads in life and needs a break. Spending time with her parents in Paris, even in the artistic community of Montmartre, doesn't appear to be the answer.

So when her penpal, Rosie, invites her to stay in the Lake District, Autumn jumps at the chance to get away from the hustle and bustle of Paris. After all, where better to re-discover her creativity than the place which inspired her heroine, Beatrix Potter?

Arriving at the picturesque lakeside village of Willowdale, Autumn is swept up by the beauty and magic of the stunning landscape. Welcomed into the community with open arms, she slowly starts to feel like herself again as her creative instincts re-ignite.

But when she meets Dane, who has escaped to the Lakes for his own reasons, will Autumn's walls come down to let someone in again after so long? Or will the secrets of her past continue to hold her back?

Review: This book is the first in a new series from Jessica Redland. I have read and enjoyed all of her books, most of which have been set in Yorkshire. This new series is set instead in the Lake District, an area loved by her family and mine. I’m sure that we will get the odd glimpse of characters from previous books in these new stories; in fact, Jessica has already promised that for the next in the series. I love the cover of this book, which just says Lake District to me and had me keen to dive into its pages. 

The story centres on talented illustrator Autumn Laine, who is struggling to recover from the death of her dear grandfather and in fact loses her job with a greetings card company due to her lack of creativity. Hoping to reignite her joy of painting, she decides to visit her long-time penpal, Rosie, who lives in the small village of Willowdale, on the shores of Derwent Water. Perhaps exploring the area loved by her idol Beatrix Potter will help her recover her mojo. She has only just arrived there when she literally bumps into Dane Featherstone, also hoping that a stay in the village will help him recover from a bad situation. Autumn has no wish to enter into a relationship having had a bad experience in the past. However, she soon finds that she has fallen in love with the area, and perhaps is also ready to let someone into her heart again.

I can definitely recommend this new book from Jessica Redland. It is full of interesting characters and wonderful descriptions of a very beautiful area of the country. As someone who has visited this region often, I found it delightful to follow Autumn as she discovered places that I could recognise from my own visits. It is certainly a fitting place for somebody like Autumn, who has a similar painting style to Beatrix Potter. Parts of the book were quite emotional as Autumn struggled first with the death of somebody dear to her and then with memories stirred up by the unwelcome re-emergence of a person from her past. Readers might want to have a tissue handy. Dane was a great leading man, handsome but vulnerable, and able to turn his hand to most things from waiter to mountain rescue volunteer. I was willing the pair to get together as more than just friends. I hope to meet them again in future parts of this series. 

To order your copy now, just click here!

Wednesday 12 July 2023

Guest Review: Thirty Days in Paris by Veronica Henry.

Because Paris is always a good idea...

Years ago, Juliet left a little piece of her heart in Paris - and now, separated from her husband and with her children flying the nest, it's time to get it back!

So she puts on her best red lipstick, books a cosy attic apartment near Notre-Dame and takes the next train out of London.

Arriving at the Gare du Nord, the memories come flooding back: bustling street cafés, cheap wine in candlelit bars and a handsome boy with glittering eyes.

But Juliet has also been keeping a secret for over two decades - and she begins to realise it's impossible to move forwards without first looking back.

Something tells her that the next thirty days might just change everything...

I always enjoy Veronica Henry’s books and look forward to each new release. Her stories are always full of strong female characters who the reader can get behind and follow on their adventures. It certainly sounded like this story was going to take its lead player on an exciting trip. I listened to the audio version of the book and was quickly transported into a different world by a compelling storyline.

The story centres on writer, wife and mother, Juliet. With the kids having left home and newly separated from her husband of 25 years, Juliet sets off for a month in Paris where she intends to spend her time writing a book based on an earlier period in her life and reflecting on her experiences at the time.  In the 90s, aged 20, she lived in Paris, working as an au pair to a wealthy couple with three young children. As she now settles in to her rented apartment and begins to explore her surroundings, Juliet’s mind goes back to that time and all that happened to her, including the reason why she left the city and her life there very suddenly. In her book, she is writing about her experiences as a naive young woman in a foreign city, a very different person from the one she is now. She wonders if she should try to reconnect with friends from the past, explain her actions back then and try to lay some ghosts to rest into the bargain.

I absolutely loved this romantic and inspiring book. Juliet is a wonderful leading lady, brave and determined to face her demons and move on with her new life. She is lucky to be in a position that allows her to go off and explore what she left behind in Paris all those years ago. I loved the way in which the story is told, the narrative flitting between the present day and the past, as told in the pages of the book she is writing. The secret behind her sudden exodus from Paris on her first visit is revealed very gradually in a masterful way that keeps the reader guessing and eager to read on. So immersed was I in young Juliet’s life that I felt quite enraged at what happened to her and the consequences for the rest of her life. Of course, the skilled writing that I have come to expect from Veronica Henry leads the reader around Paris, with all the sights, sounds and smells that will entice many to make a trip there in the future. This is definitely another hit for this author that I can recommend to all.

To order your copy now, just click here!

Saturday 8 July 2023

Guest Review: Fifty Years in Cricket By Len Hutton


Review: Len Hutton (1916-1990) was a professional cricketer for Yorkshire and England. This is his autobiographical account, written with the assistance of the journalist Alex Bannister. Len Hutton made his first class debut in cricket for Yorkshire in 1934. This book, published in 1984, marked 50 years since that debut, hence the title.

A prolific batsman for Yorkshire, Len Hutton made his debut for England in 1937. His career was interrupted by the Second World War, and could have been curtailed altogether as a result of a bad accident during training with the Army, resulting in a broken left arm and wrist. After enduring bone grafts and periods in hospital, his left arm was healed but was found to be 2 inches (5 centimetres) shorter than his right. Nevertheless, when first class cricket resumed after the War he continued making big scores for Yorkshire and England. At the time, there was a distinction between amateur and professional cricketers, and it was the custom for the captain of England to be an amateur. However, he achieved the distinction of being the first professional to captain England in 1952. He had a successful time as captain, winning 11 matches and losing 4, including a famous Ashes series win in the 1954-1955 tour of Australia, the first win in Australia since the “Bodyline” tour of 1932-1933. However, ill health and the the constant strain on his body were taking their toll and he was forced to retire from playing later in 1955. He was knighted for services to cricket in 1956 and was later appointed an England cricket selector.

The book covers his childhood and his formative years playing club cricket for Pudsey St Lawrence before being invited for trials with Yorkshire. He also describes meeting various legends of Yorkshire cricket such as Wilfred Rhodes and George Hirst. Other chapters go on to describe the various highs and lows of his career and the characters he played with and against. The final chapters describe who, at the time of publication, were the outstanding players of the day, and conclude with reflections on the state of the game, particularly the turbulent events that had been happening to his home county of Yorkshire.

Although I thought the narrative of the book jumped around quite a lot, I found it to be a fascinating and nostalgic account of cricket either side of the Second World War. There are accounts of many of the cricketers of the era, accompanied by several photographs. I occasionally found the author’s views a little outdated, but they were the common views held at that time, and ones with which I was familiar from my own parents. Overall, this book was an interesting window into cricket during the pre and post-war years and will appeal to anyone wanting to know more about that era.

Thursday 6 July 2023

Review: A Song of You and Me by Mike Gayle

 Helen and Ben parted as heartbroken 18-year-olds and went their very separate ways.

Twenty years later, mother-of-two-teenagers Helen is still in Manchester, a part-time primary teacher, stunned by the behaviour of her love-rat husband. In an old T shirt and scruffy jeans, she feels at the lowest point in her life.

And suddenly, impossibly, Ben is standing on her doorstep. Tired maybe, lonely even, but clearly still the world-famous, LA-based multi-millionaire rockstar he has become.

Can you ever go back?

For Helen and Ben, so much has happened in the years between. But just to sit in the kitchen for a while and talk - that would be nice.

Before the world comes crashing in.

Review: This is easily one of my top ten books of the year-I loved it. If you liked Daisy Jones and the Six or if you are a fan of Paige Toon’s Johnny Jefferson books, then you will absolutely love this one! I was hooked into Ben and Helen’s story from the start. I loved meeting Helen. She is trying her absolute best to be there for her kids and do the right thing by them. Like a lot of parents with children who are about to go off to university though, she is struggling with her own sense of identity. She has a fabulous best friend and a mum who help to build her up and amplify her voice but she has an ex-husband who is trying to undo all of the good work that she has done.

Then we have Ben. Ben is a celebrity, and it is always fun to read about celebrities in novels. I think they must be so much fun to write because you can make them have the most extravagant life style and do the most unthinkable things and Ben really does seem to have it all-on the surface. Underneath all of that, Ben is just like you and me and is struggling just as much with his sense of identity as Helen is. I love the idea that he is attempting to come back to his roots in this book in a sense but only subconsciously, consciously he has made a decision to try and escape it all and I think that was incredibly brave of him.

This book deals with the celebrity lifestyle, yes, but it also covers issues that you and I face in our everyday lives and, most importantly, it deals with mental health in men, a bit of a buzz topic right now but something that still isn’t talked about as openly as it should be. I love the way Mike Gayle writes characters of all genders, but I’m always interested to read his male characters and hear certain love stories from their point of view. I couldn’t put this book down. It made me laugh, it made me cry and it will definitely stay with me for a long time-highly recommend!

To order your copy now just click here!

Wednesday 5 July 2023

Guest Review: Coming Home to the Highlands by Lisa Hobman

Sometimes life is full of surprises, especially when you least expect them…

Born into the Scottish Clan MacBain and the 17th century ancestral home, Drumblair Castle, Liv MacBain has always dreamt of leaving the ancient homestead and becoming her own person in the world of fashion.
From a young age, she worshipped the trailblazing designs of the haute couture glitterati, hoping one day to join them.
With older brother Kerr, the rightful heir, Liv has been free to spread her wings.
Fast forward. Liv, is now 28 years old, working at a high-end fashion house and living her dream life in New York. She’s never been happier.
Until everything changes with one devastating phone call from her brother, Kerr, that brings her rushing back to Scotland.
Old friends and adversaries resurface and Liv faces a difficult decision that could mean her dream future can no longer be a reality.
Or can you have your castle and your career?

I have discovered Lisa Hobman’s books relatively recently, but I have quickly caught up with her back catalogue and am always on the lookout for her new releases. I have a soft spot for the highlands of Scotland, so the settings of her books are perfect for me. The striking cover of this one told me all that I needed to know to be sure that I was in for a treat.

Fashion designer Olivia MacBain is living in New York and building a reputation in her chosen field when she receives the news that her mother has died suddenly. Returning to her family home, Drumblair Castle near Inverness, Olivia learns that her mother has unexpectedly left the estate to her, much to the displeasure of her brother Kerr, who expected to inherit. Never having expected to move back home permanently, Olivia has some difficult decisions to make, but luckily she has the support of friends at home and in the US. She is particularly surprised to find Brodie, a figure from the past who had once been an adversary, coming to her aid; it even looks as though their new-found friendship may turn to something more.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, which allowed me to escape to the Scottish highlands for a few hours and share Olivia’s life in a castle. Of course, the author has carefully highlighted the drawbacks of living in a castle, mainly the upkeep and how to fund the work involved. I liked most of the characters in the story, with the exception of Kerr; how Olivia could so easily forgive him his outbursts towards her is a mystery to me. I was also puzzled by the way in which she suddenly changed her attitude to love and marriage. As I have always found with Lisa Hobman’s books, there is a gorgeous dog or two in the story and on the evocative cover, a feature that I enjoy. This is a romantic story that I can confidently recommend to anyone looking to retreat to a beautiful setting and enjoy the company of some interesting people for a while.

To order your copy now, just click here!

Tuesday 4 July 2023

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books From The First Half of 2023

So this is not this week's official top ten tuesday post but I wanted to share my favourite books from the first 6 months of 2023!

These are, as always, in no particular order...

Saturday 1 July 2023

July 2023 TBR: New Book Releases, Summer Reads and Audiobook Pre-Orders!

July starts off really busy with basiclly no reading (you know how it is working in schools in July) and then ends with a week of being ill because it's the first week of the holidays so... lots of ambitious books I would like to read. I'm going to list some July and August releases but realistically I think more of this will get read in August than it does in July so be prepared for some repeats when it comes to my August TBR!

July Releases

6th July

20th July

20th July

20th July

20th July

August Releases

3rd August

Audiobooks to read