2020, ebook, Review, Uncategorized

Book Review: If I Never Met You By Mhari McFarlane

Blurb: If faking love is this easy… how do you know when it’s real?

The brand new novel from Sunday Times bestselling author Mhairi McFarlane

Laurie and Jamie have the perfect office romance

(They set the rules via email)

Everyone can see they’re head over heels

(They staged the photos)

This must be true love

(They’re faking it)

When Laurie is dumped by her partner of eighteen years, she’s blindsided. Not only does she feel humiliated, they still have to work together.

So when she gets stuck in the lift with handsome colleague Jamie, they hatch a plan to stage the perfect romance. Revenge will be sweet…

But this fauxmance is about to get complicated. You can’t break your heart in a fake relationship – can you?

Review: Mhari McFarlane literally had me at Hello….ever since devouring that novel I’ve been such a fan. Sometimes life and book blogger problems have got in the way but whenever I delve into a Mhari novel I know I will be sucked in from the off. I remember pre-ordering this as soon as I had read the blurb. It took me a little longer than expected to get to it and to devour it but it was everything I needed and more.

From the off I loved Laurie and I really love the fact she’s a high flying woman of colour. I am not a woman of colour but there isn’t enough books like this. I also loved how Mhari has brought across how most of us ladies do not realise our own value in ourself. It took Laurie feeling downtrodden via her long-standing boyfriend in dumping her to realise her worth. She’s an intelligent woman who is highly thought of at her law firm but for so long she’s pushed Dan to be the one chasing promotions when realistically she should have been looking in the mirror.

I just adore Mhari’s way of writing her descriptions are witty and relatable there were so many moments that I could 100% relate or that had me simply laughing out loud. I won’t be delving into the main aspects of the story as that would simply take the joy away from reading another fantastic Mhari McFarlane novel.

As I stated I loved Laurie from the off and her office pals. Jamie had me on the edge of my seat I just didn’t know what to make of him. Although I did call a few of the outcomes before they happened.

I have to mention Laurie’s best friend Emily I always adore the friendships in these novels and these two are a team to contend with. They wholeheartedly have each other’s backs even if they don’t always agree with the other.

If you are looking to loose yourself in a book that will have you constantly turning the pages then look no further the queen of wit and relatable reading has done it again. If you have never read a Mhari novel this isn’t a bad place to start.

2020, Author Love, ebook, novella, Quick Reads, Review, Uncategorized

Book Review: Broken Hearts at Brightwater Bay By Holly Hepburn

Blurb: On paper, Merina Wilde has it all: a successful career writing the kind of romantic novels that make even the hardest hearts swoon, a perfect carousel of book launches and parties to keep her social life buzzing, and a childhood sweetheart who thinks she’s a goddess. But Merry has a secret: the magic has stopped flowing from her fingers. Try as she might, she can’t summon up the sparkle that makes her stories shine. And as her deadline whooshes by, her personal life falls apart too. Alex tells her he wants something other than the future she’d always imagined for them and Merry finds herself single for the first time since – well, ever.

Desperate to get her life back on track, Merry leaves London and escapes to the windswept Orkney Islands, locking herself away in a secluded clifftop cottage to try to heal her heart and rediscover her passion for writing. But can the beauty of the islands and the kindness of strangers help Merry to fool herself into believing in love again, if only long enough to finish her book? Or is it time for her to give up the career she’s always adored and find something new to set her soul alight?

Review: The minute a Holly Hepburn series is announced I normally at least order the first part and that is exactly what I did with this beauty. I was still awake around midnight on publication day, so I managed to read the prologue and the first chapter before my tired eyes started telling me to get back to this in the morning. If I hadn’t been captured by sleep this would have been an easy one sitting read, although I’m glad I got to discover this gorgeous setting and intriguing characters for a little longer.

From the moment I met Merry I liked her, she’s full of charm and character. Let’s face it she’s a writer so I was always going to adore her. During the prologue Holly set the scene in the most upsetting of ways for poor Merry she literally didn’t see it coming and my heart literally broke for her. Knowing Holly and her heroines though I knew early on that Merry is a tough cookie who deserves much better in life.

I’m such a fan of Holly’s writing and I love how there is differences for adverts, texts and emails it makes it feel more real if that makes any sense. I’ve never visited the Orkney Islands but I feel like Holly has painted an extremely atmospheric description of what the islands are like, they feel peaceful and full of life. Making me feel how I feel when I visit some of my most favourite holiday destinations that have me feeling happy and content.

As Merry discovers more and more about the locals and the history it’s as if you can feel the weight off her shoulders simply disappearing. Merry and Jess are the best of friends they are so different though and that works. Everyone needs a straight talking Jess who will tell you exactly what you need to hear even if you don’t really want to hear it.

I’m really enjoying everything about this novel and it’s shaping up to be another fantastic story from Holly. I’m intrigued by our Clark Kent in Niall and I’m hopeful that Magnus also makes a few more appearances. I cannot wait to see where the second part takes us in April.

2019, ebook, novella, Quick Reads, Short Story, Uncategorized

Novella Review: After Hello By Mhairi McFarlane

Blurb: A short story sequel to the bestselling romcom You Had Me At Hello!

In You Had Me At Hello, the one who got away came back… but what happened next?

Together, apart and then back together again, Rachel and Ben had a rollercoaster ride to get here. But now happily in love and partners in crime once more, it feels like it’s all been worth it.

But when a face from the past reappears, misunderstandings come between them once more.

Can they hold on to their happy ever after?

Review: I fell in love with Mhairi’s writing style and her characters when I read You Had Me At Hello. It was a heartfelt read that had me from the get go. I loved Rachel and Ben and their university times really did make me smile. My time at uni wasn’t as interesting as there’s but I did have a crush although it was never on the scale of best friends Ben and Rachel. In that novel I grew increasingly frustrated with them because I could see how they were meant to be.

I’m ashamed to say I’ve had After Hello on my Kindle on both my paper white and my iphone since 26th Jan 2017. As I’m on holiday and having just finished a book I thought let’s see what novellas I have. I love Mhairi’s style and whenever I read any of her books I’m hooked so I knew this would be the perfect tonic and I was oh so right.

I love a novella I know a lot of readers always complain how they are too short but for me they are fantastic quick reads that I like to slip alongside my longer reads. In After Hello I found myself getting angry as Ben and Rachel were the dream team for me in You Had Me At Hello in thinking their happy ever after wasn’t meant to be I was feeling heartbroken. I should have remembered how much Ben used sarcasm to get his point across.

A lovely reunion with Rachel, Ben and the girls. I never tire of reading stories about characters I have fell in love with it’s just like reuniting with old friends. It’s got me thinking of my university bunch and all we went through together.

Thank you Mhairi for taking me back to them, although I don’t think Ben and Rachel’s story has finished….

2019, august, Author Love, Buddy Read, ebook, Review, Uncategorized

Book Review: One Winter Morning By Isabelle Broom

Blurb: Genie isn’t feeling very festive this December. 

The frosty mornings and twinkling fairy lights only remind her it’s been a whole year since she lost her adoptive mother, who took her in as a baby and raised her as her own. 

She’s never felt more alone – until she discovers her birth mother’s identity.

And where to find her: New Zealand, half the world away. 

Travelling there could be her one chance to meet the woman who gave her up. 

But will she find the answers she has been looking for? Or something she could never have expected?

Review: It’s been a while since I’ve read an Isabelle Broom novel and I felt so privileged to have buddy read this with Catriona. I feel like I flew through this one, it’s one of those reads where you’re saying just one more chapter and at each turn there was more than enough to keep you wanting more.

This could have easily been read in one sitting but as I’m away with my family that was never going to happen but at each time I read a healthy amount, although at times I stopped myself because of my locations. I could feel my emotions brewing in public places. Not that that’s ever really bothered me but I did not want to feel uncomfortable when I have truly loved every single second with this book and these characters.

One Winter Morning is a story that will have you flying through the pages captivated by the words the imagery and most of all the people. Isabelle really does research her places well. I’ve never been to New Zealand but having read this novel I felt truly captivated by the surroundings and I feel like I’ve visited Lake Wakatipu. Her imagery is astounding I honestly feel like if I visited I would feel like I’d already been there, like retreating to a place you’ve been going to for years.

I really enjoy a buddy read especially with Catriona, it’s mad that now she’s in the States we talk more than we did when she was in the UK. She saw a few things coming in this, although I was pleased to see one of my wants come into fruition. Because of the location I didn’t feel like I was reading a winter book in the wrong timezone, although it was based around Christmas and New Years heavily focussing on love and loss and finding yourself.

There’s so much I want to say but you have to read to fully understand the true gorgeousness of this book. From the off I loved most of the characters Genie aka Evangeline is a great girl struggling with the loss of her adoptive mother and with the emotions over whether to search for her real mother or not. She goes through all the feels, wonder and most of all guilt. In searching for her real mother she feels like she’s cheating on the woman who raised her when in actual fact that’s not the case at all.

I have to mention Hayley, I rarely get to read a book with a Hayley and this one is ballsy and fun and has hollow legs from the amount of cake and physical activity she does. This made my little heart so happy and for her to be such an amazing friend too it really was the icing on the cake.

I feel like I wanted more of David’s thoughts as he played such a huge part in this story and I must say Isabelle wrote a fantastic kids story. I wholeheartedly believe my nieces and nephew would love the Evangeline series.

Tui was the most adorable little girl, a truly gifted child who defies all odds. I loved her story and part of me saw some of it coming but nowhere near to the extent of how her story ended.

I don’t feel like Griff stood a chance next to Kit but oh le sigh! all the feels and some. Isabelle looks at love, loss and healing in so many ways. I loved the sentiment of the future being the light in the sun and the past being the shadow and looking to the sun.

I also loved how there were parts for Genie and for Bonnie and how the letters were in italics. I’m all for a back story and it gave you the remaining pieces of the puzzle not that I saw some of it.

I’m a massive worrier and I often need to take a step back and breathe. I know that I personally need to live in the moment more, I’m often too worried about things and circumstances that I cannot change. Looking too far at what’s to come and what’s been rather than looking into the here and now, I hope to do more of being in the now.

A brilliantly written story of love, loss, friendship and finding yourself. If you are looking for the perfect book to give you all the feels or to get you out of a reading slump this is definitely it.

Now I’ve got those thoughts out I can start another book. Although I must say I really must tackle more of Isabelle Broom’s books, just like Miranda Dickinson’s books I’m left feeling hopeful and extremely positive as well as left with an extremely happy heart and a book hangover.

2019, august, ebook, extract, Uncategorized

First chapter first paragraph Tuesday intros

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros @ I’d Rather Be at the Beach. Weekly. Share the first paragraph (or a few) of a book you’re reading or thinking about reading soon.

The morning began as so many do in winter, with lowhanging fog and a smattering of frost. For weeks the sky has been the muted silver of a much-thumbed coin, but today the sun has broken through, laundering my little Cambridgeshire village with light. As I walk the ten or so minutes to the pub, I relish this new brightness which has brought with it so much colour – red berries in a thicket of holly, a battalion of purple pansies in a window box, and perched on the wall outside the church, a blue tit, its head cocked inquisitively to one side. I see David as soon as I cross the threshold of the White Swan. He is easy to spot, with his round bald head and those John Lennon-style glasses, which he wears balanced precariously on the end of his nose.

I only started reading this beauty this morning and I’m hooked on this breathtaking story. So far Genie has been through so many emotions and my heart really does go out to her. Her best mate is called Hayley – which made me smile free-fold, I’m always looking for books with Hayley’s and she’s super fun. Although her eating lemon drizzle cake sure did make my sweet tooth twitch so I may have had some chocolate cake to accompany my reading. This is a buddy read that I’m reading with Catriona although for once I’m ahead I literally cannot get enough. I have extremely sore feet from a cut on the bottom and due to sunburn so I’ve enjoyed chilling with a book today. I’m in the midst of chapter 9 and I know I can get a few more chapters in before we go out this evening…..see there are major pluses to days staying on camp….what an absolute treat of a book. The descriptions of New Zealand sound amazing.

That’s me over and out for today…I have a few reviews to write but right now I need another coffee and to get back to One Winter Morning.

2019, august, ebook, novella, Quick Reads, Review, TBR, Uncategorized, update

A Patchwork Family – Part One – Moving On By Cathy Bramley

Blurb: Gina Moss is proud of herself: she’s just had the most amicable divorce ever. No arguments, no fuss, no drama. It means she has plenty of time and energy for her thriving childminding business too.

Welcome Cottage is both home and workplace for Gina. It sits just on the edge of The Evergreens – a grand if slightly run-down Victorian residence to three octogenarians who have far too much fun for their age: Violet, Delphine and Bing.

But a tragedy puts her older friends at risk of eviction – and Gina in charge of the battle to save them. It might be her first fight, but it’s one that Gina is determined not to lose…

Review: It’s been a while since I’ve read a Cathy Bramley novel and when this series was mentioned I instantly pre-ordered it, them good old 99p kindle purchases. I had hoped to have read and reviewed on publication day but that wasn’t to be. See I’m getting more organised but I’m also wanting to read more and more.

Part one is aptly named – Moving On as Gina has accomplished her amicable divorce and later on in the instalment there are more tragic circumstances. It starts with Bramley’s trademark wit, I’d heard of divorce parties via another book and the meal between Gina and Eric sure was full of laughs. It’s extremely rare that marriages can end well – but they are one of those rare breeds. The scene in the restaurant had me laughing out loud, but it also made me want to know more as they got on so well, I’m sat there wondering why they called time on their marriage.

It being part one it sets the scene and the groundwork for the story with the hint of what’s to come. What I’ve grown to love about these type of series’s is that you are left eager and wanting more and this did not disappoint. A Patchwork Family crosses over to The Lemon Tree Cafe as it’s based in the same town with some of the same characters. In realising that I realise I only read the first part of that story, so that will need to be rectified but August is proving to be a busy one.

Gina is a character that I instantly liked, she’s a go getter and wants the best out of life. A tragedy makes her realise she needs to live every day like it’s her last.

I loved the sentiments in this novel, friends and family come in all shapes and sizes and I loved the variation of age groups. You have the older generation who Gina is extremely fond of and then you have the children to whom she is also fond of. Being a childminder and an extremely good and experienced one at that. It also showed me that families can be a blessing and a curse. I don’t want to spoil the intrigue so I won’t say anymore than that. I want to see whether Dexter pulls through for the sake of his family.

2019, ebook, july, novella, Quick Reads, Review, Uncategorized

Book Review: The Cornish Cream Tea Bus – Part Three Scones Away By Cressida McLaughlin

Blurb: Charlie’s toughest technical challenge yet…

Now that Charlie’s Cornish Cream Tea bus has taken off, everything should be going swimmingly- the locals love her baking, Marmite adores getting his paws wet in the crystal-clear sea at Porthgolow beach, but Charlie has managed to get on the wrong side of the mercurial owner of The Porthgolow Hotel, Daniel Harper. He wants her to pack up her doillies and pastry cutters and take her bus elsewhere, but can Charlie convince him that they have just got off on the wrong foot and that her bus could be the start of something wonderful for the little village?

Review: I’ve truly loved every second of Charlie’s story and Cressida has made me excited for my Summer trip to the coast. Although my travels will take me to the Kent coast not the Cornish one but alas it’s given me a spark. Nothing beats that glisten on the water and the feel of sand between your toes.

Anyway that’s enough of my daydreams this beauty pinged through on Wednesday evening at midnight and if I hadn’t been so hot and bothered and still reeling from the last book I had finished I could have easily read at the stroke of midnight. Seeing as the next instalment is the conclusion I may just do that.

Part three – has to have been the most intense of instalments, it’s the real meaty part of the story with lots of OMG moments constantly keeping you guessing. Now in these sort of stories there’s almost always a man behind a woman’s thoughts. In this case in part there is two guys – it’s not quite a triangle but it could have been. So I don’t want to say too much as part three has shaped my opinions on Ollie and Daniel. Although I have to mention Daniel because if you can read this and not feel anything for the hotel owner then hats off to you. I however found myself a little breathless – Cressida describes the perfect kiss on a beach location.

In reading a number of these novella style books part three is always the cliffhanger leaving so many unanswered questions. Charlie has come so far that I hope she gets the ending she deserves and I’d like to hope that it includes Daniel and staying put in Porthgolow. But we shall see.

Once again I’ve had to stop reading this treat as it’s made me extremely hungry at times. I’m going to miss the Cornish coast and watch this space I may have to dive in at midnight on 25th July.

If you fancy a trip to the coast with a slice of afternoon tea look no further. I will miss these guys when this story concludes.

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, 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.