2020, Author Love, Publication Day, Review

Book Review: The Gin O’Clock Club By Rosie Blake

A Rosie Blake read is always a good idea.

Blurb: Bring the sparkle and fizz back into your life with the help of The Gin O’Clock Club.

Lottie is always in a hurry, rushing through her days ticking tasks off her to-do lists. Teddy is worried about his granddaughter – and he knows that his late wife, Lily, would have known exactly what to say to make things better. Now that Lily has gone, it’s up to Teddy to talk some sense into Lottie.

With the help of Arjun, Geoffrey and Howard, the elderly reprobates who make up his Gin O’Clock Club, Teddy makes a plan to help Lottie find her way back to the things that really matter – family, friendship and love. But as Lottie balances a high-powered job with her reluctant attendance at whist drives, ballroom dances and bingo, Teddy wonders if she’s really ready to open up her heart to the possibility of true happiness…

Review: Where do I start? I’ve been a massive fan of Rosie Blake since How to get a Love Life? I was so touched when she messaged me asking if I would like an early copy of The Gin O’Clock Club and as always my answer was yes. I’ve had this sat on my pile for a little while at first thinking it wasn’t available until August although today is publication day of the ebook and audiobook.

This had a different feel to that of the usual Rosie novels but it still had her trademark humour in abundance. I loved the love quotes at the beginning of each chapter they made me smile. Now before I go into detail about my thoughts I have to say OMG Rosie you can tell you are a mother of twins and one other just like my sister – my nephew is obsessed with Peppa Pig and who gets a mention I was like I honestly cannot get away from that pig ha. It did make me laugh.

Another aspect I loved in abundance was Teddy’s letters to Lily they really made the chapters and I must say reading this book made me miss my grandparents terribly. Teddy was by far my favourite character an extremely good friend, an at heart romantic who wants the best for those he loves. His relationship with Luke is heartwarming although at times he really did make a mess of things but at the heart of it was his heart of gold.

I really do love stories that interlink the older and younger generation as let’s face it we’re all going to be old someday. I love that Rosie has embraced the sense of youth amongst the older generation. I would never have got my Nan on Tinder – and I loved the contrast and the trading of places. Making me wonder should we all be a little more old school at our approach to life and love.

This story focuses on love, loss, family, friendship and loneliness to name that of a few of the themes that are covered in this book and oh there is Gin.

Lottie is an interesting character, fiercely driven although she gave me palpitations at times. I found myself growing frustrated with her when she was too busy to want to spend time with her grandad it seemed like a bit of a chore to her. This made me sad as in my last year or so with my Nan we created so many lasting memories she missed Grandad but I learnt so much about her in those final memories. I could see the spiral she was falling into but deep down she is a loving person. After what can only be seen as an emotional rollercoaster Lottie started to realise and embrace what really matters in life. Her journey to make things right across the board made me warm to her, it can be easy to lose sight of the things that matter.

During a time when we’ve been forced to stop our usual routines Rosie Blake has created a story that will tug at your heartstrings and really make you think of what’s truly important in this little thing we call life.

2020, Author Love, Publication Day, Uncategorized

Book Review: Where We Belong By Anstey Harris

Blurb: One summer.
One house.
One family learning to love again.

Cate Morris and her son, Leo, are homeless, adrift. They’ve packed up the boxes from their London home, said goodbye to friends and colleagues, and now they are on their way to ‘Hatters Museum of the Wide Wide World – to stay just for the summer. Cate doesn’t want to be there, in Richard’s family home without Richard to guide her any more. And she knows for sure that Araminta, the retainer of the collection of dusty objects and stuffed animals, has taken against them. But they have nowhere else to go. They have to make the best of it.

But Richard hasn’t told Cate the truth about his family’s history. And something about the house starts to work its way under her skin.
Can she really walk away, once she knows the truth?

Review: I loved The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton, it was a novel that sucked me in from the beginning. I was lucky enough to have my quote in the gorgeous hardback of this novel. A story that I loved and felt all encompassed by and one that stayed with me long after the final page.

In having that dramatic a feeling towards this gorgeous debut I was over joyed at the sound of her second novel Where We Belong. Long before I even knew what it was about there were grabby hands from me. I had to be back in Anstey’s world.

At the Simon & Schuster Spring blogger event which thankfully just happened just before the world went completely bonkers, Anstey read about the museum I was enthralled and you could literally hear a pin drop as us bloggers waited with baited breath. I knew then that this book would be another special read. It had been arranged seemingly ages ago that I and Catriona would buddy read this and what a week I had with this.

So Where We Belong….where do I start. From the off I was enthralled Anstey has a fantastic eye for descriptive detail and I was instantly mesmerised lapping up each and every detail.

In finishing reading this I’m extremely sad that the world is the way it is right now as I feel like wandering around a museum now would have such a different feel. I’ve always been interested in history but I don’t feel like I’ve always truly appreciated it. There’s lots of local history that I’ve been to but once life returns I may have to revisit with a new eye. Sorry for the ramble back to it.

Cate Morris is a truly exceptional woman, one that I had a bit of a love/hate relationship with. I mean hate is probably a harsh word but I didn’t always like or agree with her. Seeing her life change for a number of reasons was intriguing and kept me turning the pages. I wasn’t expecting her story to go the way it did. What I will say is deep down she loved the ones who meant the most to her, her family meant the world to her.

Leo is an interesting character and I wasn’t sure on his age to start with. There are lots to this young man and I loved seeing the change in him from the beginning to the end of the novel it’s like we watched him grow.

Araminta is another interesting lady I couldn’t read her to start with but in turning the pages I knew there was more to the eye. I loved seeing the change in her.

There are a number of supporting characters that add so much to this story I don’t want to mention them as I want you to read this novel as I did with fresh eyes not knowing where the historic tale would take you. Depression and mental health are major factors to this novel but they are woven to that of daily life. They aren’t an issue they are a reality which Anstey has created with Grace and empathy.

I was swept away by the description and in even saying that I want to explain more but I don’t want to ruin the story. A truly beautiful tale of love, loss, friendship, families and secrets. If you don’t find yourself in tears as this novel comes to a close then do you even have a heart. Not all the drama is concluded but never ever make assumptions over family life, Secrets or that of a seemingly solid venture.

Once again Anstey has written a novel that will stay with me long after I’ve closed the book. I’m truly in awe of her eye to detail and in weaving a tale that keeps you guessing and changing your opinion along the way. My question now is how long must I wait for book three…

2020, Author Love, Publication Day, Review, Uncategorized

Book Review: The Switch By Beth O’Leary

Blurb: Eileen is sick of being 79.
Leena’s tired of life in her twenties.
Maybe it’s time they swapped places…

When overachiever Leena Cotton is ordered to take a two-month sabbatical after blowing a big presentation at work, she escapes to her grandmother Eileen’s house for some overdue rest. Eileen is newly single and about to turn eighty. She’d like a second chance at love, but her tiny Yorkshire village doesn’t offer many eligible gentlemen.

Once Leena learns of Eileen’s romantic predicament, she proposes a solution: a two-month swap. Eileen can live in London and look for love. Meanwhile Leena will look after everything in rural Yorkshire. But with gossiping neighbours and difficult family dynamics to navigate up north, and trendy London flatmates and online dating to contend with in the city, stepping into one another’s shoes proves more difficult than either of them expected.

Leena learns that a long-distance relationship isn’t as romantic as she hoped it would be, and then there is the annoyingly perfect – and distractingly handsome – school teacher, who keeps showing up to outdo her efforts to impress the local villagers. Back in London, Eileen is a huge hit with her new neighbours, but is her perfect match nearer home than she first thought?

Review: First off I finished reading this during the early hours of publication day and slept with a happy heart. I loved The Flatshare so when The Switch was announced it was one of my must reads for April. As soon as I was introduced to Eileen and Leena I was hooked on their stories.

I loved the dual narrative in The Flatshare and just like that in The Switch at the end of each characters chapter your itching to know more which means you keep turning those pages.

Leena – From the off I liked her but I wanted to know more about her and her story. It’s weird as until the Coronavirus hit us I had never really struggled with anxiety until now and seeing Leena deflate made me want to know what made her tick. I loved the stark contrast between London life and rural countryside. I’m a London girl but I can wholeheartedly appreciate the quiet of a town.

Eileen – I love how Eileen is 79 but has so much life in her. I truly loved her sense of humour and her determination, she’s a woman to be reckoned with one who doesn’t take no for an answer.

It’s heartwarming to read a story where the seniors are also living life. There were a few laughs as I can safely say I’ve not had those sort of conversations with my Nan’s although neither of them are here today for me to enjoy those sort of chats. I must say she did have me thinking about my Nan June and how she’s given the women in my family some of her spirit, and that made me smile.

When I read Leena is too young to be stuck and Eileen is too old to start over I knew that just like Beth’s debut that The Switch would turn that sentiment on its head and create a gorgeous book and I wasn’t wrong. It was nice to see both females finding friendships with the opposite generations and seeing how that changed both their outlooks on life and on people. The experience that came as a bit of fun at the start helped both ladies realise their worth and what truly matters in life.

There were so many lovingly supportive characters that made this story what it is and as ever there were a few that I disliked but they got their karma ha.

The Switch is the perfect escapism during these testing times it’s also a novel that makes you realise that each and everyone of us should step out of our comfort zone from time to time and reach for the stars.

2020, Author Love, Publication Day, Review, Uncategorized

Book Review: Dark Corners By Darren O’Sullivan

A thrilling fast paced read.

Blurb: It’s been twenty years since Neve’s best friend Chloe went missing. Neve has never recovered and promised herself she’d never go back to that place.

But secrets can come back to haunt you

When Neve receives news that her first boyfriend Jamie has gone missing, she’s forced to return. Jamie has vanished without a trace in a disappearance that echoes the events of all those years ago. Somebody is watching and will stop at nothing until the truth about what took place that night is revealed …

Review: Most of you who know me know that Darren O’Sullivan’s debut novel Our Little Secret pulled me out of some of my most darkest moments during ankle gate. I’m so pleased to have read and to now be reviewing his fourth book. Darren we are on book four and wow what a rollercoaster ride it’s been not only your latest novel but your journey. I couldn’t be prouder of you.

I had seen a few writers who had read early copies stating how this was Darren’s best and I was sat there thinking but I’ve loved all of his books in different ways. I knew I would love it but I didn’t know the emotional journey I would go on in reading it. It’s such a weird place in the world right now but being immersed in this fast paced thriller sure has helped me to say the least.

Dark Corners is so aptly named but you won’t even realise that until right near the end of the novel. It’s a story about a group of childhood friends who go through a lot together and when tragedy strikes they all cope in different ways.

Neve is our main character and the story revolves around her, we have parts of her story from now and parts from back in 1998 when Chloe went missing. I loved getting the back story although it didn’t always make sense and it’s safe to say it’s hard to review without explaining any of the plot.

What I will say is Darren weaves a good tale and right up to 80% in I was still sitting there with not that many answers there were a number of OMG moments. I was shocked even if it made sense when you stepped away from the story. The perfect tale to read during these strange times we are living in- I was swept away on Neve’s rollercoaster ride where she wasn’t sleeping, heavily relying on booze and distancing herself from pretty much everything.

This is out today so go grab this beauty because this book really does deserve to fly….Here

2020, Author Love, novella, Publication Day, Uncategorized

Book Review: The Cornish Cream Tea Summer: part one All You Knead is Love By Cressida McLaughlin

Blurb:Everyone’s favourite bus goes on a summer adventure full of sunshine and the promise of romance…

Charlie has a new helper on her bus, her free-spirited and loveable cousin, Delilah, who’s paid a visit to the charming Cornish village of Porthgolow and is helping out on Charlie’s adorable cream tea bus.
When the Director of a new TV series filming further along the coast tells Delilah that the bus would be the perfect addition to their onsite catering, she takes him a bit too literally, and before long she and the bus have taken a rather unexpected journey…

Review: So if you’re not new to the blog you will remember I was hooked on the first Cornish experience – where I first met Charlie. Who instantly stole my heart and then alongside Charlie I also fell wholeheartedly for Daniel. The rollercoaster ride of the will they won’t they had me itching for the next instalment.

So when Cressida said she would be returning to the Cornish coast, my interest was already piqued. It’s great to have Charlie and the gang back although in this first instalment we meet her loveable cousin Delilah Lila to her friends.

Today is publication day of the second instalment of this story and for me it’s a much needed distraction in a crazy world right now. I loved going back and I’m loving seeing Lila open up to Charlie and in seeing her confidence change. I’m also loving seeing the story of the TV show and in the blossoming friends and romances. I can’t lie it’s also good to have the loveable Daniel back…..

Right without further ado I believe it’s time to put my current book down and to get back to the bus and see what Lila is up to right now….if you’re lucky I maybe back with another review shortly.

2020, New Author to me, Publication Day, Review, Uncategorized

Book Review: Mr Nobody By Catherine Steadman

Blurb: Who is Mr. Nobody?

When a man is found on a British beach, drifting in and out of consciousness, with no identification and unable to speak, interest in him is sparked immediately. From the hospital staff who find themselves inexplicably drawn to him, to international medical experts who are baffled by him, to the national press who call him Mr. Nobody, everyone wants answers. Who is this man? And what happened to him?

Some memories are best forgotten.

Neuropsychiatrist Dr. Emma Lewis is asked to assess the patient in a small town deep in the English countryside. This is her field of expertise, this is the chance she’s been waiting for, and this case could make her name known across the world. But therein lies the danger. Emma left this same town fourteen years ago and has taken great pains to cover all traces of her past since then.

Places aren’t haunted . . . people are.

But now something—or someone—is calling her back. And the more time she spends with her patient, the more alarmed she becomes that he knows the one thing about her that nobody is supposed to know.

Review: What a way to start 2020. Mr Nobody was my first Thriller and buddy read of the year and what a thrilling start. Just this morning on publication day here in the UK I finished reading this heart pounding tale. I have Catherine’s first novel awaiting me in my Audible library and it will definitely be pushed further up my list since finishing Mr Nobody.

When I first read the synopsis to this book I was intrigued and in the first few chapters my intrigue and my hunger to know more was apparent although the more I read the more answers I was hoping for. Catherine weaves a good story and I was left on the edge of my seat with many heart in mouth moments. The chapters are separated into Emma the Dr with a past that you are constantly wondering about until the later stages of the novel and that of Mr Nobody who also keeps throwing you off with your thoughts on who he is and what he wants. Each chapter leaves you with a sort of cliffhanger meaning you scramble to continue reading. It’s definitely one of those just one more chapter books for sure. I had mixed feelings about both narratives from time to time but I loved the omg ah-ha moments. This would make a fabulous book club pick I’m so glad this was a buddy read for me I loved sharing my thoughts and my intrigue with Catriona.

There are so many twists and turns and as the story progresses it gets harder and harder to put down. Catherine writes gorgeously descriptive where you can physically see what she’s describing and in doing so I saw both a truly gorgeous setting and a completely gory scene that has you reeling like it was your own personal nightmare.

If you’re looking for a truly thrilling read that will have your heart pounding and keep you awake until the small hours then look no further than Mr Nobody. There’s so much more I could say but I didn’t see any of what panned out oh actually that’s not strictly true one part I could totally see even if Emma couldn’t at the time.

2019, Blogtober, christmas, Publication Day, Uncategorized

The Christmas Wish List By Heidi Swain

Happiest of publication days to one of my most favourite authors. Heidi I hope today is everything you deserve and more and I hope there is cake and bubbles too. I cannot wait to go to Wynbridge this Christmas. You can purchase it Here also be sure to check your local independent book shops and supermarkets.

I’ve been so excited for this book since it was announced although that feels like forever ago.

If my excitement isn’t enough for you be sure to read the blurb….

After being let go from her job in a swanky hotel just weeks before Christmas, Hattie is feeling lost. Even more so when her high-flying boyfriend announces he’s landed his dream job in Abu Dhabi and asks her to move with him. Luckily, Hattie’s long-time friend Dolly is on hand to help and invites Hattie to spend one last holiday in the small, festive town of Wynbridge, determined to give her a Christmas to remember . . .

Upon Hattie’s arrival, holiday preparations are in full swing. But for Hattie, whose Christmas cheer has long since run out, it’ll take more than mince pies and mistletoe to open her heart to the season once more. Relishing the task of reigniting Hattie’s Christmas spirit, Dolly suggests they create a wish list of all the things the season can offer, and with the helpful hands of Wynbridge’s resident handyman, Beamish, Hattie finds her frosty exterior is starting to thaw.

As Wynbridge prepares for its most spectacular Christmas yet, will Hattie leave snowy England behind for life in a sunnier clime, or will she in fact realise that her heart’s desire lies much closer to home?

I don’t usually read Christmas books this early but there really are a few good ones this year….plus each year I always get a few that I don’t get to and I promise to read it the following year. Let’s see how I fair this year.

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, 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.

2018, Blog Tour, Publication Day, Review, Uncategorized

Blog Tour: Forgive Me Not By Samantha Tonge

Blurb: How far would you go to make amends?

When Emma fled her home at Foxglove Farm, she’d let down and hurt those who cared for her most. But now, two years later, she’s ready to face up to her past; she’s ready to go back.

But Emma’s unannounced return causes more problems than she could have foreseen. The people she knew and loved aren’t ready to forget, let alone forgive. And the one person she wants to reconnect with the most, her mother, can’t remember who she is.

Just as Emma starts to rebuild trust, an uncovered family secret and a shocking past crime threaten her newly forged future…

Sometimes simply saying sorry isn’t enough.

Review: Now I can’t say I have read all of Samantha Tonge’s back catalogue but what I have read I have really enjoyed.

Forgive Me Not is a brand new novel from Samantha with Canelo it’s a whole new direction for her and all I can say is wow.

I took part in a readathon at the weekend and for once I didn’t do too badly. (More on this later) but I knew I was due to review Forgive Me Not today so it was definitely on my TBR and it kept me transfixed. I was working over the weekend but every spare minute was spent truly devouring Emma’s story.

Emma is such an interesting character although at times I felt frustrated at her and on behalf of her. As the story unfolds you’re taken back and forth on her journey. There’s so much to Emma and her story isn’t as clear cut as it seems at times. I loved seeing the twists unfold and the terror and shock of what she discovered. It’s remarkable how secrets and lies can shape your whole existence – well this is definitely part of Emma’s story and I’m pretty sure there are many people out there that will agree if certain events in their lives had been different their journey would have been different. This sentiment made me question how we are towards others around us. It’s all well and good being sorry but actions do speak louder than words and Emma learns the hard way.

If you have read Samantha’s work wipe away any misconceptions as this novel is a one off a stand alone that will stay with you long after the final page.

This novel seemed to come to me at the right time. I’m penning a post that will link nicely to this book but I don’t want to give too much away the gist I will say is that every single person you meet is fighting their own personal battles and appearances can be deceptive. Sometimes we automatically judge people when we have no right. Anything can change our way of life, a difficult childhood doesn’t mean you’ll turn out a tearaway, and coming from money also doesn’t mean you’ll never experience hardship in some way shape or form.

I could share so many quotes from this epic tale but I really liked this “she’d concluded that all being normal meant was being happy with yourself.” This speaks volumes to me and right now in a good place on my Slimming World journey I finally feel happier in myself.

Forgiving comes easy to some but Emma’s sister isn’t ready to forget and on Emma’s journey as she starts to heal she realises where her family are coming from. I truly believe this sentiment will be an eye opener for most.

This story has so much to deal with and it’s done so well. I don’t want to elaborate too much as it’s a special journey and each and every reader will see different signs and triggers. Sadly in the world we live in there’s still a stigma around mental health and depression. On the flip side they are just two aspects and thanks to authors like Samantha these everyday real life battles are being spoken about more.

If you want to read a book that’s going to entertain, intrigue and teach you something then go grab Forgive Me Not and join Emma on her rollercoaster ride. My final words are Never judge a book by its cover, appearances can be deceptive and think before you judge another.