2019, Author Love, Uncategorized

National Book Lovers Day

Happy Book Lovers day….what are you reading? I haven’t had as much reading time as I would like but there have been some gasps and some OMG moments during my snatched moments.

I’m heading back to this now and so far I’m intrigued and there’s been a Hayley mentioned 🙂 Ruth is definitely one of my auto buy authors and she’s had me hooked each time.

Two weeks tomorrow I shall be going on holiday and I’m still trying to work out my books….any must haves.

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2019, Author Love, Review, Uncategorized

Book Review: Last Orders at the Star and Sixpence By Holly Hepburn

Blurb: Nestled in the quiet countryside sits the cosy village of Little Monkham, home of The Star and Sixpence, a renovated pub owned by sisters Sam and Nessie. As the locals welcome the new season, it appears that change is afoot in their tiny community, and not all of it for the better . . .
 
Nessie is moving in with her boyfriend, leaving Sam alone in the pub. But with the arrival of new chef Gabriel causing a flutter among the women of the village, it seems that Sam might not be so lonely after all. Having just recently come out of a relationship, Sam’s attraction to Gabe is inconvenient, but that’s the least of her worries when an unexpected visitor arrives at the pub, determined to stir up trouble.
 
As Gabe and Sam grow closer, Little Monkham’s latest arrival threatens to reveal a secret that will turn more than one world upside down. Can Sam and Nessie work through the fall out, or is it really last orders at The Star and Sixpence?

Review: I often find the term an emotional rollercoaster a bit of a cop out when reviewing a book but Last Orders at the Star and Sixpence is definitely a thrilling rollercoaster of a multitude of emotions. I’d like to take this time to thank Harriet at Simon & Schuster for not only championing me as a blogger but for the invite onto this tour. I will cherish my last orders beer mat.

Reading a Holly Hepburn novel sure is like reuniting with old friends, comforting, heartwarming and full of such hope. I must admit as much as I am always taken with her characters they can also be some of the most frustrating creatures I have ever met. Just like a friend who never takes the advice you have dished out.

I adore Nessie and Sam, I must admit the original A Year at the Star and Sixpence I own but I’ve only read the Valentines section. I know I know. But the good thing is when I’m really missing this bunch I have that to fully discover. I love how close these sisters are and I love how different they both are. If I can channel a little bit of either of them then I will definitely feel much more confident in my own skin and my abilities.

There are so many sub-subjects in this novel – family, friends, happiness, loneliness, grief, addiction, and a few tragic circumstances that I won’t reveal and most of all love.

Romance – now….I made Holly’s day on Twitter after my words on that kiss, that kiss when you read this novel you will know exactly what I’m talking about. Wow! The intensity gave me all the feels and I wasn’t even being kissed myself but I was definitely left breathless and wanting more.

Now I don’t want to spoil any actual information as I want you to read this book with the intrigue and suspense that I did, there’s a scene that is heart achingly real although, it’s not something I have suffered but I know people who have been through similar heartache. Saying that said sadness had me reading just a little more to find out what happened next.

Grief hits us all in different ways and out thoughts go into overdrive. Holly captures grief in both a male and a female but ultimately proves together they can heal. The Star and Sixpence is very much community driven and this bunch really do rally round for one of their own. This was truly heartwarming and something you really don’t see enough of these days.

There were so many lines that truly had me thinking about life. Sam had many great one liners and “If I cant have a love life of my own, at least I can get a vicarious thrill through yours.” Had to be one of the best I can imagine a cheeky glint in her eye and a smile on her face.

There was one character who I didn’t like from the off and something about said character had me dubious and I was right. I loved seeing the outcome and via whom. I now have to give a special mention to Ruby – everyone needs a Ruby in life. She’s experienced, classy and just damn fabulous.

I loved my time at the Star and Sixpence, Last Orders at the Star and Sixpence is very much a just another chapter sort of read and it each turn you’ll want more and more. It’s best served with an ice cold beverage and a slice of something sweet. I had a few cans of Baileys mocha and I no longer have any. I had a few breakfasts alongside this treat and I must say after spending Monday and Tuesday morning with them, I sure did miss them this morning.

I hope this isn’t the end as I would love another visit to the cosiest pub around and to see how Sam and Nessie and co are getting on. To be honest I would love to join them. Holly has left me feeling swoon-some and longing for romance.

2019, august, Author Love, july, Review, Uncategorized

Book Review: Those People By Louise Candlish

Blurb: Meet the neighbours you’ll love to hate. Until Darren and Jodie moved in, Lowland Way is a suburban paradise. Beautiful homes. Friendly neighbours. Kids playing out in the street. But Darren and Jodie don’t follow the rules and soon disputes over loud music and parking rights escalates to threats of violence.

Then, early one Sunday, a horrific crime shocks the street. As the police go house to house, the residents close ranks and everyone’s story is the same: they did it.

But there’s a problem the police don’t agree. And the door they’re knocking on next is yours.

Review: I’ve been excited for this novel since hearing a segment from Louise at Simon & Schuster’s Spring blogger event and then I inhaled the sampler. I decided against Netgalley as at the time I had exams although as it got nearer to publication day I regretted that thought process, even though I knew I needed to knuckle down.

My one downside with this read was that I was reading a hardback. Now a hardback looks gorgeous signed and on a shelf but carrying it around is a pain which is why it took me a while to finish. As it neared the final pages I did actually just carry it around. I thought I could have finished it on the stroke of July ending but it was not to be anyway enough rambling.

Louise really does have a way with words and the way each chapter was by a different person was genius. To start with all we know is something bad is happened but you have to keep turning those pages to find the missing pieces of the jigsaw and in this case there are many sides to this story. I wouldn’t say I liked any of the characters but at the beginning when Darren and Jodie arrive it’s easy to stereotype them as the bad trash who have gate crashed a nice neighbourhood but that isn’t the case at all.

It’s so hard to do books like this justice as there is so much to say but in saying so the intrigue and the mystery that I read would therefore be ruined for someone else.

As I turned those pages I kept coming up with my own theories but each and every time I was way off. Louise has engineered scenarios where you think you know where it’s leading but you are so very wrong.

As much as I didn’t really like the characters at times I warmed to many of them especially Jodie’s words nearer the end although she also made me laugh and made me think now could Lowland Way feature again.

I’ve read two of Louise’s books and I’ve been eager to shout her praise and recommend tenfold. I’m ashamed to say I have two copies of Our House but I’m yet to devour. I have it on audio now so I think when my current audio is done I shall dive in. If you’re looking for the perfect holiday companion look no further than Those People. I thought a few of my neighbours were questionable but they aren’t a patch on this bunch.

2019, Author Love, july, novella, Quick Reads, Review, Short Story, Uncategorized

Book Review: The Cornish Cream Tea Bus – Part four – The Icing on the cake By Cressida McLaughlin

Blurb: Can Charlie pull off the perfect showstopper?
Charlie has fallen in love with Porthgolow village and they adore her vintage bus, now getting a new lease of life as the best place to have a Cornish Cream tea in the whole of Cornwall. Charlie and her bus have heralded a new start for Porthgolow too, but the one fly in the ointment is Daniel Harper who is still resisting the charms of Charlie and her bus. Can Charlie bake her way into his heart or is it time to admit that her Cornish dream has got a soggy bottom?

Review: Now from how part three concluded I always knew that part four would have a special place in my heart and would be the hardest to finish. I initially read the first chapter just after midnight on release day and had subsequently started reading on my walk into work, however, work, lack of sleep and the heat meant it took me a little longer to finish this beauty.

What I will say is Cressida played an absolute blinder as expected by a series part four had lots of moments that made you gasp. From the very beginning I was heavily invested in these characters and watching them experience full on life changing emotions really got me. I don’t know about those characters pulses racing at that point mine definitely were. I loved what that part of the story suggested and the messages underneath both incidents.

If I had been off work the day after I had started reading at midnight I would have been hooked on this in one sitting. In a way I’m glad I got a little bit more time with Charlie and the gang.

There were a number of quotes from Charlie’s late uncle Hal that really made me stop and think….

There is nothing that can’t be overcome if you believe in yourself

this is definitely something that I should listen to. In my own worst critic.

Another that really made me smile was a description for Porthgolow

It’s a proper slice of magic

I could use that sentence about a few of my favourite places in the world and it’s a line and sentiment that proper made me smile.

The Cornish Cream Tea Bus was an extraordinary treat that will make you salivate for afternoon tea and cake but it will also tug on your heart strings and stay there. A tasty treat with some truly powerful messages one that I won’t forget. I would love to see Cressida revisit these characters someday.

2019, Author Love, debut novel, july, New Author to me, Publication Day, Review, Uncategorized

Book Review: Living My Best Life By Claire Frost

Blurb: Recently dumped by her boyfriend of ten years, Bell is struggling to move on with her life – and surrender the fleecy pyjamas she’s been living in since January. Haunted by #blessed on social media, she can’t help but compare her life to those she follows online, wondering where she is going wrong . . .

In the world of social media, Millie is the successful online influencer @mi_bestlife. But in real life she’s just a regular single mum trying to make ends meet, while fending off the younger competition and tenacious internet trolls. Her Instagram feed is far more #BestLie than #BestLife, and soon Millie begins to wish her life was more like her filters.

It isn’t until Bell and Millie’s paths cross that they begin to realise what they’re both missing. Can Millie prove to Bell that life online isn’t always what it appears to be? And in return, can Millie learn that she needs to start living for the moment and not for the likes? 

Review: Now this is a debut that I couldn’t wait to get stuck into. Although saying that having listened to Claire read a section of Living My Best Life at the Spring blogger event, it’s remarkable that I had managed to wait until nearer to publication day to actually read this treat.

Living my best life is the book every social media addict needs to read. More often than not we all get bogged down by social media in some way and Claire manages to show both sizes of this double edged coin. Our lives on social media are a far cry from the strains of our real lives. I’m not saying it’s all faked but it sure is filtered. Just like Millie I’ve often taken pictures at various angles cropping out all the everyday crap that just isn’t insta worthy.

Where do I start – Living My Best Life focuses on two women Millie – an insta influencer with an adorable son and there’s a lot more to her than meets the eye. And then we have Bell who is approaching her 40th birthday and has just been dumped by her long-standing boyfriend of ten years. Bell works in fashion but has never thought of herself as fashionable.

From the beginning I liked both of them but I instantly warmed to Bell more, don’t get me wrong as Millie’s chapters went on I couldn’t love them both more. I don’t want to say too much about the morals of the story but I loved the community element of this book and we don’t always see that gumption anymore. I love how it brought the two very different women together and it made me think of my various friendship groups. There’s always a link that brings you together but then it’s your actual friendship that stands the test of time.

There are a number of other characters that I could and probably should mention merely due to their humour but I’m going to only add Suze – who is the best mate we all need – she tells Bell exactly how it is and drags her out of her bout of sadness and Cosette – Bells funny and loveable sister who thoroughly thinks of family first.

I’m not 40 for another five years but wow Bell sure did celebrate in style and let’s face it she deserved every single second of it.

Claire’s debut is impressive, funny and plain addictive. I was so heartbroken when I forgot my copy yesterday especially as I was so close to the finish line.

What I also loved was how Claire managed to have humour alongside a number of serious real life issues which include bullying, postnatal depression and loneliness. There may also be a romance that warmed me, I can’t say too much but I was sooo sooo Happy it turned out the way it did and I literally had all the feels. That saying it happens when you least expect it sure did come to mind.

Living My Best Life is the book you need this Summer if you’re not left feeling reflective and ready for anything then did you even read it. It also shows the power of friends and friendship and that alone warms my heart. There’s a few friends who I know will totally lap up this read and I cannot wait to give them this chance.

2019, Author Love, ebook, july, Review, Uncategorized

Book Review: As Luck Would Have It By Zoe May

Blurb: One holiday can change your life forever…Natalie Jackson might keep up appearances on Instagram, but in reality her fiancé has just jilted her after the birth of their baby and she’s moved back in with her mum. Life isn’t exactly going to plan!

So when she enters the village raffle for the holiday of a lifetime, she thinks she has no chance of winning. But her name is pulled out – and, as luck would have it, so is a ticket bought by her childhood nemesis: Will Brimble.

Surely a romantic holiday for two is the worst idea ever right?

Review: Ever since reading and totally falling in love with Zoe’s debut Perfect Match she’s been one of my auto-buy authors. Saying that I’ve also been a bit of a failure as she now has four books and I’ve only read two yet I own all of them.

I’ve been chatting to Zoe on and off via Twitter since first discovering her, we’ve chatted about so much that she feels like a good friend. When reading any of her books you’re given likeable strong females and Natalie is just that. Her story is nowhere near mine but in some ways her story gave me real hope. Becoming a single mum has changed her outlook on life, but there’s so much more to her than that.

Zoe has an effortless way of writing a truly uplifting story full of hope, love and most of all friendship. Delving back into the past and reigniting old thoughts and feelings. They say our school days are the best of our lives yet none of us believe that at the time fast forward to sixteen years later. This is where Will and Natalie are reunited.

Everything about this pair had me hooked and wanting more. I love that Cancer Research got a little mention and the talk of charity shops made me laugh considering my day job.

Both Natalie and Will are a far cry from where they imagined their lives would have taken them but in winning the raffle they won much more than they bargained for.

A laugh out loud read that will have you hooked and begging for more. There is always an element to dating and this was a whole new ball game with lots of humour. I loved Will and Natalie’s chat in regards to Tinder being like a shit computer game and feeling hollow and that to me is exactly my thoughts.

When it ended I was left a little bereft but Will and Natalie’s story will stay with me for the long haul. It’s made me look back on my childhood memories and those boys that changed my world – haven’t seen any of them in forever but Natalie and Will’s story has shown that anything is possible.

I’ve never really had the inclination or want to visit Marrakech but Zoe painted it as a hectic yet, visually colourful place.

Another corker from Zoe May now do I read How Not to Date A Prince or When Polly Met Olly next?

2019, audible, Author Love, july, Review, Uncategorized

Audible Review: The Accidental Life Of Jessie Jefferson By Paige Toon

Blurb: Meet Jessie, small-town girl turned wild child….

Jessie has never known her real dad, and when her mum dies she thinks any hope of finding him is gone. As she goes off the rails, her stepdad announces that her father is Johnny Jefferson – legendary rockstar and former hell-raiser.

Still dealing with her loss, and now the daughter of a superstar, Jessie is sucked into the LA lifestyle – paparazzi, parties and hot guitar-wielding boys included. But is Johnny up to the job? And, more importantly is Jessie?

Review: Are you ready for me to gush all over Paige Toon once again. And, a lot sooner than I thought I would too.

It’s been forever since I’ve read a YA novel and in listening to this I’ve realised just how much I love them. All that teenage angst and hope it’s liberating and it’s the perfect tonic – when I downloaded this I was on a day off and I had lots to do but I wanted to read. So I thought this is the perfect time for an audiobook- I’ve been meaning to read this series since when I first met Paige at YALC.

I have books two and three in physical form although book one seemed to elude me so it seemed like the perfect choice. Another fabulous narration from Heather Long too I cannot recommend her enough – each of Paige’s that I’ve listened to have had her and it’s been an easy listening experience.

Jessie is acting out but at 15 it’s what most of us did. I can’t imagine losing your mum that young. Mine can drive me mental sometimes but I couldn’t bare to be without her. Seeing Jessie go through a number of emotions in her stages of grief is real and heartbreaking. Her heart to hearts with Johnny are pure and heartbreaking at times.

Finding out Johnny Jefferson is your dad is mega, but Jessie couldn’t comprehend what she would face as the news broke. Those scenes were intense but I believe it would have been exactly like that.

When Jessie gets to LA she’s star struck and at times she’s lonely – she goes through so much in such a short space in time. I loved seeing the change in her and with Johnny her step brothers and with Meg. I’d met Johnny and Meg briefly in another Paige Toon novel so parts of the beginning of this story was apparent from the crossover. In some ways Jessie slots into LA life like a natural in others not so much. Her intuition over some of the girls in LA is spot on but she didn’t expect them to be quite so bitchy.

As I said in my last Paige review she really does have a way with words in how she writes about first love and those intense emotions and feelings. Friendships, boys and family heartbreak feature predominantly in Jessie’s story. Families whether they are biological or not are definitely one to cherish. I have to mention Stuart – Jessie’s stepdad my thoughts on him changed from the beginning, you can see he genuinely cares for Jessie like she’s his own and that’s touching and in being separated Jessie realised how much she cares for him too.

Jessie maybe fifteen but thanks to her grief she’s much older and wiser than her years. Her time in LA is cut short, from circumstances out of her control. So much has happened and o can’t wait to see what the rest of this series has in store.

I loved the end of this novel “life will never be the same again and I’m excited to see what it has in store for me next.”

A perfect ending, I was sat on a plane still with a good chunk of my journey left feeling content. Another fantastic Paige Toon novel and the start of a series that I’m so excited to read. Really must incorporate books two and three into my reading and soon.

2019, Author Love, Publication Day, Uncategorized

As Luck Would Have It By Zoe May

Today is publication day for Zoe May’s latest offering – As Luck Would Have It. Ever since loving her debut novel – Perfect Match. You can read my review here

I’m pretty sure it was a Netgalley find and in doing so I read it really quickly and was eager to see what was next for Zoe. I must admit my ever expanding TBR pile still has a few of hers but I decided that I would make this one a priority this July. Tomorrow I will be flying to Dublin for the weekend and won’t have much in terms of luggage space so I’m hoping to get some reading in on my phone via my Kindle app.

Blurb: One holiday can change your life forever…Natalie Jackson might keep up appearances on Instagram, but in reality her fiancé has just jilted her after the birth of their baby and she’s moved back in with her mum. Life isn’t exactly going to plan!

So when she enters the village raffle for the holiday of a lifetime, she thinks she has no chance of winning. But her name is pulled out – and, as luck would have it, so is a ticket bought by her childhood nemesis: Will Brimble.

Surely a romantic holiday for two is the worst idea ever right?

Seeing as I’m off to Dublin tomorrow I didn’t stay up to see this ping through- good job really as I’m sure I couldn’t have resisted starting it. This morning I needed to get ready and pack a bag as after work I’m off to my friends ahead of Dublin early tomorrow. As I’m walking I’m listening to an audiobook but later on I will be starting this beauty. Have a fantastic day Zoe. You deserve it.

2019, Author Love, ebook, New Author to me, novella, Short Story, Uncategorized

Book Review: The Cornish Cream Tea Bus – Part One – Don’t Go Baking My Heart By Cressida McLaughlin

Blurb: Baking fanatic, Charlie Quilter, is surprised when her late uncle bequeaths his vintage bus to her in his will. Charlie thinks it will be the perfect mobile café for afternoon tea, and when her friend, Juliette, suggests Charlie comes to stay with her in the picturesque Cornish village of Porthgolow, she’s thrilled at the chance of a new start.
Charlie and her cute dog, Marmite, make new friends wherever their bus stops – except for the attractive but reclusive owner of the posh spa up on the hill, Daniel Harper, who isn’t very pleased that her bus is parked outside his lovely hotel.
Has Charlie’s Cornish dream developed a soggy bottom? Or can she convince Daniel that her bus could be the start of something wonderful for the little village – and for them?

Review: So I’m going to just say it. I have a few of Cressida’s novels on my Kindle but part one of the Cornish Cream Tea Bus – Don’t Go Baking My Heart is the first I have read, which makes me feel bad but wow what a treat and what a starting point.

I’ve on/off been reading but yesterday I managed to finish part one and I thought it was best to pen my thoughts before diving into part two. These shorts are aiding my reading alongside my hardback – which annoyingly isn’t on Audible yet as I found out yesterday to my dismay.

From the start I really warmed to Charlie and her story. Her connection to her late uncle really made me think of my grandparents – our stories weren’t nowhere near the same but I shared a love or reading with my grandad and a love of film with my Nan. My do I miss them and books like this are heartwarming and nostalgic.

I loved how she wanted to keep her uncles Gertie alive but did so in a way that was part of her. Old and new – keeping her uncles pride and joy and introducing her passion to reinvent the bus and for her to be able to make it work. I loved seeing how taken she was with the task and seeing if she could make it happen. The first event was an eye opener but I loved her can-do spirit when she stepped back from the situation – I honestly believe this is something we should all do from time to time – and this is definitely a lesson I should be listening to and taking note.

I haven’t been to Cornwall in a long time and I have never visited Porthgolow but wow I loved the way Cressida described the town and I think there are probably many seaside towns that need that revitalisation. I regularly visit Dymchurch in Kent with the family and that’s looked tired at times it’s always nice to see new businesses pop up and renovations to happen when we return most years. I also adore Salou in Spain I haven’t been for a few years and sadly it doesn’t look like I will get there this year. At times that’s also needed a boost and a refresh – although for me they are always places I feel at home and calm so I will always visit but there needs to be change to see tourism boom.

I don’t have enough me time but Charlie sure is something else. When she relented and took her best friends advice I was chuffed for her. Charlie getting to Cornwall sure was a journey and some feat. The characters she encounters in Porthgolow are something else although I can’t work out Daniel and I’m pretty sure most people will say the same thing – as I believe that is part of Cressida’s thought process too.

There have been some bumps along the way in inheriting Gertie but wow what a journey in part one. One event that was eventful and then the trip to Porthgolow where Gertie undertakes a major transformation I love all the little things that have been put into the bus really giving it a touristy and nostalgic feeling. It’s like she’s thought of absolutely every trick in the book even down to mementos.

Part one ended with Charlie feeling extremely positive and upbeat for her Summer and for her future with Gertie a major part of it. I finished this part giddy to know more as it was left making me wonder but I knew I had to get my thoughts in order before I continued on this seaside journey.

One thing I will say is in devouring part one I want all the cake and I could murder a hot scone and a good coffee. In reading this you will get hungry, you have been warned.

2019, Author Love, event, Uncategorized

Waterstones Event 10th June Paige Toon, Lindsey Kelk and Lucy Vine.

When Paige Toon started adding events for her promotion of If I Go Anywhere I had hoped to have got to her Bluewater signing until it became apparent I just wouldn’t get that Saturday off work.

Then the events alongside Lindsey Kelk popped up. I’m not going to lie there were so many fantastic author combos if I had time and money I would have got to more. I’ve been desperate to meet Mhari McFarlane since I devoured You Had Me At Hello all those years gone by. I’m a huge fan of Isabelle Broom – although she’s given me major travel envy I’ve still not visited Mojacar yet.

Anyway I could ramble for hours then London was announced with Lindsey Kelk and Lucy Vine. I still haven’t read a Lucy novel but I’ve had Hot Mess on my Kindle for a while and at the event I purchased her latest which sounds fabulous and should be my next read after what I’m in the middle of.

I’d booked the day off so I could chill I was hoping to have finished Paige’s book but I also had revision to do so revision and trying to balance having some me time and getting things done had to happen.

The weather was god awful but I wasn’t letting that dampen my spirits most of my bookish lovelies had been to the event a week previous but I wasn’t going to miss out and I’m glad as I did meet some lovely readers. On my way in I grabbed a Salted Caramel Latte and a piece of Tiffin from Costa two of my naughty treats when given half a chance and when I arrived I was handed a glass of Prosecco which was also appreciated.

I’m still a million miles behind on the I Heart series but I had to buy a physical copy of the last one which Lindsey kindly signed for me. I have a few on paperback but they always can’t be found when you’re actually going to a signing, I know the first one was loaned to someone and gone forever and I’ve been listening to them which is always fun so I think I will listen up to the latest and then my signed copy will come out.

Right the event – I loved attending the one last July in the church it was such a fun night and left me with a happy heart and I knew this one would be just as much fun. This time round I didn’t ask a question but so many people had good ones. I love just watching how the authors interact and their genuine passion for their books and their friends. I must admit like most book events of my faves it left me wanting a holiday and time to just sit and read.

Paige’s latest I’ve finished and I finally posted my review yesterday. It’s always lovely when one of your favourite authors remembers you 🥰

I think where I am in the I Heart series may have to be my next audible treat and Lucy’s latest is in my up and coming pile. I anticipate finish that and delving into Hot Mess which has been sat patiently on my kindle for what seems like forever.

I love instax and this just made me realise I should use mine more. OMG I may have to take mine to my next event. Which I don’t have at the moment damn missed a trick could have taken it on Wednesday. I love that I’m being as I still have so much good to come. I adore that these events don’t make you feel bad for being behind it just makes you eager to indulge and I love that feeling.

Thank you ladies for a fabulous night of fun and escapism at best. You guys look fabulous my hair not so much damn rain. Thank you to Jess Barratt for the gorgeous photos and ladies it was a pleasure I cannot wait to do it again.