Tuesday 16 January 2024

Blog Tour: Review of The Happiest Ever After by Milly Johnson


It is my stop on the blog tour for the Amazing new book from Milly Johnson today! Here's what it's all about: 

Polly Potter is surviving, not thriving. She used to love her job as a business consultant, turning around businesses that were on their uppers – until her mentor died and her new boss decided to make her life hell. She used to love her partner Chris – until he cheated on her, and now she can’t forget. The only place where her life is working is on the pages of the novel she is writing – there she can recreate herself as a feistier, bolder, more successful version of herself – as the fictional Sabrina Anderson.

But what if it was possible to start over again? To leave everything behind, forget all that went before, and live the life you’d always dreamed of?

That’s how Polly finds herself as Sabrina, living at the heart of a noisy Italian family restaurant by the sea. Run by Teddy, the charming son of her new landlady Marielle, it has potential, if only a rival restaurant is stopped from moving in next door. Sabrina can’t remember her life as Polly, but she knows she is living a different life from the one she used to live.

But what if her new life could give her her happiest ever after…?

Review: I warmed to the main character Polly Potter straight away when I picked this book up. Like many Milly Johnson characters, she is hard done by (especially by men) but very very easy to relate to. However I did not expect the twists and turns of this story. It started out as a classic Milly novel with Polly trying her best to overcome the shit men who surround her and make her life as happy as it can possibly be. This involves a little deception and a lot of self-control, as well as a couple of awesome females in her office, then the books veers suddenly off in another direction and oh boy are you in for a treat?! This became part comeback tale and part mystery and I could not put it down. 

Polly really was delightful to spend the course of the novel with. As well as the fact that you find yourself rooting for her, she just feels like a classic Milly Johnson character that we all know and love and so there’s such a sense of familiarity with her. I really wanted her to live the life that she created for Sabrina and she genuinely does not have a bad bone in her body so you just can’t help but get behind her. Thankfully she does have a couple of other women looking out for her. Her new landlady is wonderful and we get to see a glimpse of her story as the book progresses as well and then Polly’s deskmate and head of HR also really do have her back and as a reader you are glad that they are there. 

Milly Johnson always does such a great job of writing a villain you love to hate so that when they get their comeuppance you can rejoice and cheer on those moments along the reading journey. The villains in this book are truly, truly horrible. They are so well-written you almost want to jump into the pages and warn Polly about them before she even comes face to face with them. There are quite a few baddies to boo along the way but they don’t take away from the happiness you feel as you unravel Polly’s tale. I know I’ve mentioned quite a few times that this feels like a classic Milly Johnson novel and that’s one of the things I liked best about it but that’s just the genius of it. If you love a Milly book then you know you’re in for a treat right from the word go, but if you’re reading this review trying to decide whether to read it or not then you can be reassured that this is indicative of this author’s work and you know you’re going to have a good time and you’ve made the right choice!

To order your copy now just click here!

Saturday 13 January 2024

Guest Review: The Ascent of Man By Jacob Bronowski

Dr Jacob Bronowksi's The Ascent of Man traces the development of human society through our understanding of science.

First published in 1973 to accompany the groundbreaking BBC television series, it is considered one of the first works of 'popular science', illuminating the historical and social context of scientific development for a generation of readers. In his highly accessible style, Dr Bronowski discusses human invention from the flint tool to geometry, agriculture to genetics, and from alchemy to the theory of relativity, showing how they all are expressions of our ability to understand and control nature.

In this new paperback edition, The Ascent of Man inspires, influences and informs as profoundly as ever.

Review: This book was published in 1973 to accompany the BBC television series of the same name. The series, detailing the history of scientific achievements, was commissioned as an accompaniment to a similar series on the arts entitled “Civilisation”. Dr Jacob Bronowski, a mathematician, physicist and biologist, was chosen to present the television series “The Ascent of Man”.

The book consists of thirteen chapters, corresponding to each of the episodes of the television series. The author’s main thesis is that science and the arts are not separable and that their advancement during humankind’s evolution and intellectual development are intertwined. Hence the chapters cover such topics as: the evolution of hominids; architecture; perspective in art; planetary theory; nuclear physics; and genetics. The topics are described in a way such that they are understandable to a layman. The author’s main argument is that humankind is unique among other life forms on earth in that it has the ability to record, learn and improve, allowing it to mould nature to its wishes.

I found this to be a a wide-ranging and interesting book, written by a polymath who had an excellent command of his subject matter. Although a scientist myself, it is written in a style that will appeal to non-scientists as well, and is a fascinating account of the history of science from the evolution of humankind up to the 1970s.

To order your copy now, just click here!

Wednesday 10 January 2024

Guest Review: Secrets of Starshine Cove by Debbie Johnson

Cally, a devoted single mum, is stretched thin between caring for her clingy mother and her day job as a hairdresser with an always sympathetic ear. When her life in Liverpool is suddenly upended, she grabs her son Sam and jumps in the car to drive south for Christmas. Searching for a tiny speck of a village she once visited as a child, they nearly give up when a snowstorm hits, only to unexpectedly stumble across it: Welcome to Starshine Cove.

Amidst the welcoming – if slightly mad – locals, Cally finds some unexpected new friendships and even the beginnings of something more. But as the year draws to a close, she faces a tough decision: she and Sam can’t stay here forever, and the future looks a lot less jolly back home…

Review: This is the second book from Debbie Johnson set in the magical and mysterious Dorset village of Starshine Cove, so difficult to find but also hard to leave behind. It follows on from Escape to Starshine Cove, but can be read as a standalone story. I was looking forward to reading this book, having enjoyed the first tale about the village and its inhabitants. It proved one of those stories that pulled me in quickly and kept me coming back until the very end.

The narrative in this case focuses on single mother Cally and teenage son Sam. With Christmas fast approaching, Cally’s world caring for Sam and her needy mother while working hard as a hairdresser suddenly changes, leaving her with time on her hands, a strange situation for her. Without really knowing where they are going, she loads Sam into the car and sets off for a village where she has happy memories of spending Christmas as a child. When they have almost given up trying to find this elusive place, a sign magically appears directing them to Starshine Cove. Both Cally and Sam are astonished by the welcoming atmosphere in the village and the way they are absorbed into the community. One family in particular appeals to Cally, and, as she gets close to them, she wonders how she will ever be able to leave Starshine Cove and return to the life she knew before.

I absolutely loved this book and can highly recommend it, whether or not you have read the first story about this village. The storyline here has so much to offer, filled as it is with romance, humour and amazing characters, all wrapped up in a Christmas book. It is pure escapism, leaving the reader wishing that Starshine Cove really existed and that they could live among these kind people in this wonderful seaside setting - great writing from Debbie Johnson as always.

To order your copy now, just click here!

Tuesday 9 January 2024

Bout of Books 39 Wrap Up


I always love this first Bout of Books of the year I think it's just a bit of a shame that it landed on the first of January this year. We're always so busy and then I had to go back to schoool so I didn't read as much as I would've liked but still managed a decent chunk of reading to see in the new year with. Let me know in the comments what your first reads/reads of 2024 are!

Here's what I read:

321 pages

320 pages

302 pages

400 pages

338 pages

Part Books Finished

33% of 342 pages 114 pages.

Books Finished: 5
Pages Read: 1795

Friday 5 January 2024

24 Books I Want to Read in 2024

 I've made this list for the last couple of years now and I think they're a lot of fun! This list is in no particular order and any release dates I list will of course be UK unless otherwise stated and are subject to change. Keep your eyes peeled on the blog and the channel for more news about upcoming books and author events when they get released!

Thursday 4 January 2024

December 2023 Reading Wrap Up

 Well, December felt like a good reading month but then I ended up not really reading what was on my TBR and struggling to read anything during the last couple of weeks of term. I enjoyed some nice cosy reading on Christmas eve but then nothing again really until new years eve!

Here's everthing I read:

Physical Books


Wednesday 3 January 2024

Guest Review: A Breath of Fresh Air by Jessica Redland

Rosie feels like there's something missing in her life.

She loves her job as the manager of Willowdale Hall Riding Stables, caring for the horses and teaching children to ride, and she loves the home she shares with her mother in the beautiful Lake District. But she can't help wondering how her life might look if things had been different. What if her father had been around to help care for her mother? And what if she'd found someone special herself?

When Hubert Cranleigh - the owner of Willowdale Hall - is taken ill, his son Oliver steps into the breach. Brooding and distant, Rosie is furious when he claims not to know who she is. Especially when they have a history.

Rosie's life is about to be turned upside down, but with the New Year comes new opportunities. What Rosie feels is missing from her life might be closer than she thinks, and with more significant consequences than she could ever have imagined...

Review: This is the second book in the Escape to the Lakes series from Jessica Redland. The storyline is set once again in the fictional village of Willowdale on the shores of Derwent Water, one of the larger bodies of water in the picturesque Lake District. It was good to revisit the village where the first book in the series was set and to meet up with some familiar characters. Although this story can be read as a standalone, I would recommend reading the first book in the series before this one to give complete enjoyment. The book has a beautiful cover recognisable as a typical Lake District scene.

The story this time brings to the fore Rosie, a character who featured in the last book  She lives and works on the Willowdale Hall estate, where she looks after the horses and runs the riding school. She has lived all her life with her mother in a cottage on the estate, but has never known the identity of her father. When Hubert Cranleigh, who lives in the hall, has a riding accident near to Christmas, his son, Oliver, returns home. Rosie and Oliver grew up together and had a relationship in the past, but he now pretends not to know her and keeps his distance. When his father dies and the future of the hall and its riding school is in doubt, many surprises come to light for both Rosie and Oliver. 

I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it, especially to lovers of the Lake District. I must mention, though, that the book ends on a cliffhanger, which I was not expecting; I will be keenly waiting for the next book in the series to solve the mystery and hope it won’t be too long a wait. I loved the characters in this story, with the exception of Hubert Cranleigh, a very unlikeable character. Oliver was a bit of a contradiction - quite unlikeable to start with but the opposite by the end. I was quite prepared to dislike him but then he began to show another side to his character. Rosie and her mum were just as lovely as in the last book; I loved their relationship, and the way in which Rosie looked after her mum in particular. I liked the way in which Rosie and Oliver’s history was revealed in a series of flashbacks dotted throughout the book; I think that worked well to explain their current relationship. I am very much looking forward to the next story in this series, not only because of the cliffhanger but also because I am enjoying following the events in this village and the lives of the characters who live there. 

To order your copy now, just click here!

Tuesday 2 January 2024

Bout of Books 39 Sign Up and TBR


It's bout of books time again, always the BEST way to start the reading year. It's a busy week for me but I'm going to try my best to read as much as possible. 

If your'e not sure what Bout of Books is, here's a message from the creators to explain a little bit more: 

The Bout of Books readathon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple. It’s a weeklong readathon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 1st and runs through Sunday, January 7th in YOUR time zone. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are reading sprints, daily Discord questions, and exclusive Instagram challenges, but they’re all completely optional. For all Bout of Books 39 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

Or you can take look at my previous Bout of Books readathon BookTube videos

If you've already seen my January TBR this will look very familliar to you because it's exactly the same:

(I might cave and just read the whole series again)

Monday 1 January 2024

January 2024 TBR

 Wow a new year and a new TBR to be had. January is a bit of a funny one isn't it? We're full of motivation to achieve all our goals but it's dark and cold and there's a long time until the next holidays. I've got some carry overs from December as well as some 2024 releases I would like to get to. It is Bout of Books this month which is always an amazing way to kick of the new year althought Thursday, Friday and Saturday of Bout of Books week are very busy for me. 

I'd also like to try and include at least 1 nonfiction on my TBR each month this year so I'll list one of those here too. 

I'm also going to try and do the reading challenge from Books and The City so I'll let you know which of the challenges I hit off this as well...

December holdovers...

An unread book already on my shelf/adapted for stage/screen. 

A one-word title. 
An unread book already on my shelf/adapted for stage/screen. 

Borrowed from the library

2024 Releases

I think this one might be a weepy...

Nonfiction Read