2020, audible, Review, Uncategorized

Audio Review: Nights In Rodanthe By Nicholas Sparks

Blurb: Two fragile people. One desperate second chance.

Reeling and desolate, Adrienne Willis needs space to rethink her life after her husband leaves her for a younger woman. Fleeing everything, she jumps at the chance to look after her friend’s guesthouse in the coastal town of Rodanthe, North Carolina. But there is a storm heading for Adrienne, in more ways than she can imagine.

Stranded and isolated as the weather closes in, Adrienne has only one guest: Paul Flanner, a man running from his own shattered past. Taking refuge, Paul and Adrienne have only each other to turn to. Against all the odds, their one weekend sets in motion feelings that will resonate through the rest of their lives.

Review: It’s been such a long time since I’ve read a Nicholas Sparks novel. Nights in Rodanthe is one of the earlier novels that has somehow passed me by. I haven’t watched the film starring Richard Gere as yet but I will do now I’m familiar with the story. I’ve listened to this one via Libby supporting my library from the comfort of my garden. I really did enjoy the story I always do with a Nicholas Sparks novel but I must say the narration was much to be desired, I mean I persisted but I must say I listened to the opening twice. Although it must have grown on me like a song that you’re unsure of. As I finished listening in a number of days.

Since lockdown I’ve turned to audio again – having had trouble with my left ear I had cancelled my audible subscription as with only one headphone in I was struggling reading out and about. At home listening in my room whilst getting dressed, doing chores or before bed has been a welcome way to read more.

A gorgeous tale of lost souls who find a connection in that of a weekend in a guesthouse. Nicholas Sparks is quite simply the king of writing about lost souls with grace and integrity. His descriptions are always like a film reel so you can see it in your mind as you’re reading or listening, in saying that I can’t wait to watch this and see if the film lives up to that truly gorgeous description. There’s just something about a guesthouse in the United States. Like any Nicholas Sparks novel theres a strong story of sadness and tragedy which brings these two lost souls together.

I loved seeing Adrienne and Paul get to know each other their love story is brief yet all encompassing. I really enjoyed how the story was told through letters and memories as Adrienne recounted her love story to that of her daughter Amanda over a glass or two of wine. Before the story concluded I had worked out a few technicalities to the plot but it didn’t take away any of the enjoyment of it at all.

I’ve always been so in awe of the way Nicholas Sparks writes about love and this love story is so beautiful. I honestly cannot wait to see how this one looks on the screen.

2020, Bout of Books, Uncategorized

Book Review: The Minute I Saw You By Paige Toon

Blurb: When Hannah meets Sonny, she’s irresistibly drawn to him: he’s sexy and confident, but only in town on holiday. That’s fine with Hannah – she doesn’t do long-term relationships. And luckily for her, neither does Sonny. But before they can even so much as kiss, Sonny receives some shocking news and commits to making serious life changes – ones that can’t and won’t include romance.

With even a short fling now off the cards, Hannah and Sonny settle for being friends. But as summer hots up and their chemistry shows no signs of cooling, they start to question their reasons for shutting each other out. 

Are they both too broken to find love? And if they tear down the walls between them, will they still like what’s on the other side? 

Review: I’m wholeheartedly completely biased when it comes to Paige Toon, as I’ve stated numerous times I got into her books late on. Recently I’ve embarked on a readathon with Catriona and I’ve loved delving into the books I hadn’t read and re-reading the ones I loved.

The Minute I Saw You – is a first for me. In the first instance it’s the first proof I’ve not touched until publication day and in saying that I’ve read it in a day. Spending my day immersed in Paige Toon in Grantchester, Amsterdam and Australia pausing to watch her Facebook live, to make food and drinks and to watch her Insta live with a few chores in between. It was my mission to complete especially as I had the time to but I did find as I got further into the story my kindle said I didn’t have too long but it seemed to take me longer to finish.

Wow! I mean every single time I think I can’t be shocked by Paige I’m dumbstruck once again. The premise of this novel made my hairs stand on end the intensity and the angst was paramount. I have never imagined how sexual an encounter in an opticians could be making me think more and more about real life situations. Which I’m often left doing after being in Paige’s world.

Now for me what comes next is hard because there’s so much I would love to say but I cannot say and I wouldn’t want to risk ruining this rollercoaster for anyone. I will state one part of the storyline I had half guessed but I would never have anticipated what the actual outcome was. Paige delves into some dark subject matters but what I found encouraging was how she done so in a real way. Ignoring tabo and relying on good old fashioned friendships and conversations.

Both Sonny and Hannah I loved from the off – Paige naturally has a way of creating likeable and unlikeable women – which you will see from this novel there is a girl who features who you really won’t like ha. Hannah is strong on the outset but there is so much to her and her back story is woven through so well but you will be kept guessing for a while. With Sonny I had no incline or indication on his story but wow! I must say his cocky fun personality had me smiling like a goon throughout.

I love that this was a buddy read meaning I had a pal I could scream about stuff too. Paige has a habit of integrating characters from other novels and quite possibly my favourite couple appeared it was definitely a little OMG moment. If I had been able to read this in public it would have been one of those moments when people step away or give weird looks.

There’s so many aspects I want to talk about but I won’t spoil argh. I will mention friendships because there is a bond between a number of characters that grows, changes and evolves and each of those characters bring their own personality to the dynamic. I must say as ever for me there were tears and shocked expressions and genuine love for Paige and another heart wrenching story. The other sentiment I will mention is family and secrets in seeing Sonny and Hannah change, evolve and accept their pasts was emotional. Paige touches on sex in a totally different way showcasing that a true relationship is so much more than sex and that every single person has their own worries, stresses and insecurities but with the right person these aspects shouldn’t matter.

I’m glad I left this book until now to read, during the strangest time of my life I needed a Paige Toon all encompassing love – in saying that in this novel it made me want pizza, Prosecco and coffee…I’m not usually swayed by food in a Paige novel but this one had its moments.

This is another level of Paige Toon showcasing that this woman can put her hand to almost anything. Some hard hitting themes are dealt with such grace and precision and I’m actually left wondering on a few aspects. Quite simply her sexiest novel leaving me hoping these beauties come back to us some day. My time with Sonny and Hannah was short seeing as I read it on publication day but their story is one I will remember fondly and I will be recommending forever more.

2020, Author Love, Review, Uncategorized, update

Book Review: The Secret Seaside Escape By Heidi Swain

Blurb: Tess Tyler needs a break. Weighed down by her high-pressure job and her demanding father, she’s left little time to take care of herself. But after a shocking discovery sends her spiralling, she flees to Wynmouth, the seaside town she fell in love with as a child, to escape it all.

With its sandy beaches, stunning rock pools and welcoming community, Tess feels like she can finally breathe again. And as she grows ever closer to local barman Sam, she dares to dream that she might never return to her real life. But when a familiar face returns to town, Tess realises that there are secrets in Wynmouth too, and that her own past may be about to catch up with her . . .

Review: Firstly, I’m a massive Heidi Swain fan.

I was a fan from the moment I met her before I’d even read a single word of her writing. Heidi has a style that instantly makes you feel like you’re back in the arms of friends and The Secret Seaside Escape is no different.

When you think of seaside it’s normally a time of switching off and slowing down and Tess does exactly that. Turning off her phone and going with the flow is exactly what she needed to recharge her batteries. I loved the sense of self-care and realising what matters in life. The way of the world right now is definitely testing us in this way, embracing the simple pleasures in life. This was a welcome distraction for me. Tess is a character who I instantly loved, I wasn’t expecting her story to go the way it did but I loved that throughout she was real to herself.

If this is my only trip to the seaside this year then wow it was a good one. I sadly didn’t get to read this before publication day but I did enjoy sitting in the garden basking in the sun and imaging I was living Tess’s life at the seaside.

In having a happy place with memories threefold it had me thinking of both my happy places that here at the Kent coast and in Costa Del Sol in Salou. The description of Tess with her feet in the sand instantly had me transported to my own happy place.

It was great to have a Wynbridge feel but at the seaside. Although I must warn you in reading this I was in desperate need of a sausage sarnie and I must say when I had one it was sooo good. That’s another guarantee from Heidi Swain you will always want to eat all the food. I loved the coffee shop and the pub.

There is so much in this novel- families and their secrets, friends, tragedies, communities and togetherness. I can’t not mention Sam there really was something about him from the off he wasn’t what I expected at all although I had thought one scenario would come through and it made me smile.

If you’re longing to escape to the seaside and lose the worries of the world then look no further but as I said make sure you have the ingredients for a sausage sarnie and a coffee. I’m still longing to visit this bunch long after reading the final pages.

Sorry to Heidi and the lovelies at BATC for how delayed my review has been. A truly special read in these trying times.

2020, audible, Author Love, Buddy Read, Paige Toon Read Along, Uncategorized

Book 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 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?

My thoughts the second time around: Having been on a Paige Toon rollercoaster readathon it’s been thrilling to re-read a few. I read this before I knew the full extent of Johnny and Meg’s story. So to start with I was really unsure of Meg but now knowing her backstory I can see why Meg is the way she is. Seeing as she’s been put through a lot over the years. I feel like I appreciated how Meg and Jessie’s relationship transformed much more on my second listen. This one I listened to on audio at both sittings and in finishing both times I’m left with a lot of unanswered questions.

The next two in the Jessie Jefferson YA series I have as paperback but I’m undecided as of whether I will download the audio too. Although in saying that recently when I’ve got back to a paperback rather than a kindle read I’ve embraced it and loved the feel. In saying that audiobooks have kept me occupied whilst getting dressed, doing chores, exercises and winding down at the end of the day, so we shall see I guess.

The Jessie Jefferson series sees a completely different side to Johnny and in the bombshell at the end of the first book I’m looking forward to where the story takes us. As ever Paige Toon has a way of writing teenage angst amongst real life family drama. A welcome distraction to the chaos that is life right now.

This is what I said the first time around you can read my thoughts Here.

We’re nearing the end of our read a long and are almost up to Paige’s latest which I’ve had sat on my kindle for a while in loyalty to my friend Catriona it’s still unopened but I know it’s going to be another 5 star treat that makes me laugh and more than likely makes me cry.

2020, Author Love, Uncategorized

A book I’m simply excited for…One By One By Ruth Ware…

I cannot wait for this…

Blurb: A real spine-chiller that confirms Ruth Ware as the true heir to Christie’s crown. Ingenious plotting sees the body count rise and multiple suspects eliminated until we’re left with breathless game of cat-and-mouse’ Erin Kelly, bestselling author of He Said, She Said

**The unmissable new thriller from the queen of the modern-day murder mystery.**

Snow is falling in the exclusive alpine ski resort of Saint Antoine, as the shareholders and directors of Snoop, the hottest new music app, gather for a make or break corporate retreat to decide the future of the company. At stake is a billion-dollar dot com buyout that could make them all millionaires, or leave some of them out in the cold. 

The clock is ticking on the offer, and with the group irrevocably split, tensions are running high. When an avalanche cuts the chalet off from help, and one board member goes missing in the snow, the group is forced to ask – would someone resort to murder, to get what they want?

This morning I woke up kind of early but did not want to move. During these weird times extra hours means I’m more than likely to grab for snacks I don’t really need. I had remembered seeing Ruth had posted a piece on her Facebook that linked to an extract from her up and coming new novel. The downside for me is I have to wait until November to read this treat from the queen of thrills. I mean she literally sends shivers down my spine in the best of ways. I was simply hooked on the extract any of you in America you’ll be lucky enough to read this in September…If like me your itching to go on another adventure with Ruth you can pre-order it Here

2020, Author Love, Cover Reveal, Uncategorized

Zoe May never fails to deliver….

Ever since I first discovered Zoe May I’ve been hooked and today she announced not her next novel that’s already known and available next month. Today she has shared her cover for her novel that comes out next February. Just ahead of my 37th birthday now that makes me feel old but I know that this will be welcome escapism.

It’s available for pre-order and you can do so Here and this is how Zoe describes it…I have a new book coming out next year!! 🤗💕 Swiped Out is about what happens when a serial online dater quits swiping and seeks love in the real world 😁👨‍❤️‍👨

I still remember devouring When Polly Met Olly when I was at the seaside with my family you can read my thoughts Here

I ended up winning a signed paperback of this one I truly loved it and I was so excited that it was also available in physical form and you can read my thoughts on this one Here.

This one is what brought me to Zoe and I’m so thankful to this book as she’s a go to author for me, so here are my thoughts on her debut Perfect Match Debut thoughts. I have How (Not) to date a Prince but I still haven’t got my teeth into that one and her next novel Flying solo is out next month and I cannot wait.

It’s been a month now since my last working day and to say I miss my daily routine and work is an understatement. In these strange and scary times my blessings are being with most of my family and being able to face time the rest and having time to do those things we keep putting off and shoving my head into a good book.

2020, audible, Author Love, Uncategorized

Book Review: Thirteen Weddings By Paige Toon

Blurb: A year ago, Bronte left Sydney for a wedding in England, where she met newly single Alex. After one amazing night together they parted ways.

Now working on the picture desk for a glossy magazine in London, Bronte is about to meet a new colleague – who turns out to be all too familiar. Alex is now engaged, but the memory of the spark they felt when they met hasn’t died. As Alex’s wedding day looms, it is clear that he and Bronte have unfinished business…

Review: Now in re-listening to this I was looking back through my blog where I realised I hadn’t written a review the first time around. What I will say is now I’ve met more of the people in this story I found myself smiling more and understanding more.

In my chat with Catriona she called Bridget a friend and that’s definitely how she feels now…Bridget was my first leading lady in The Last Piece of my Heart and she feels like a totally different person to the woman I met there. Alongside Bronte she’s a truly amazing friend.

I listened to Thirteen Weddings just before A Christmas Wedding was released and I went through so many emotions. I loved Bronte from the get go and just like Bronte I fell hard for both Alex and Lockie. It’s weird because on the reread I was still thinking like that but my thoughts were somewhat different. On both reads I loved both guys but on the second read I felt more for Lockie although I was 100% full on team Alex from the off.

The story starts with a hen and stag party colliding and that’s where Bronte and Alex first meet. I loved everything about their interaction and the way their nights changed. All the fancy dress types were amusing for me especially with the talk of Michael J Fox from Back to the Future one of my personal favourites.

Fast forward and both Alex and Brontes lives changed dramatically until they become reunited once again. I can’t go into that too much without revealing a lot of the plot. There are a number of themes that are showcased within this novel and as ever Paige Toon does so beautifully and with grace. Brontes back story really pulled at my heart strings although it felt different the second time around as I already knew the heart of the story.

Bronte accompanying Rachel as a wedding photographers assistant was great. I love how Bronte took one of her passions and ran with it even if weddings weren’t her best place to be although that comes clear a lot later in the novel.

This read along has been heart warming even before the Coronavirus took over our lives. Due to my mental week of headaches I’m a bit behind in my reading but I’m coming back strong having finished a novella this morning.

If you haven’t discovered Paige Toon now is the time to rectify that.

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, Uncategorized

Book Review: The Longest Holiday By Paige Toon

Blurb: Laura has been married to the man of her dreams for seven months. But, she now discovers, a week before the wedding Matthew made a terrible mistake …

Escaping the heartache and humiliation, Laura is whisked off to Florida’s Key West by her best friend Marty. A carefree holiday full of cocktails and fun, surrounded by gorgeous, tanned men, is exactly what the doctor ordered. Distraction comes in the form of sexy Cuban scuba diver Leo. As the end of the holiday approaches, Laura doesn’t want to go home. Is it time to face the music? Or is there more to Key West than a holiday romance?

Review: The Longest Holiday Really did have a totally different feel to that of most of Paiges reads. It just felt different somehow not in a bad way just a change of writing and tact in the way Laura spoke.

Laura has to be one of the most free spirited ladies who speaks exactly how she feels. What I did love about this story was seeing how different Laura, Marty and Bridget are. Now I had already met Laura and Bridget from different books but seeing what joined them together was a totally different feel. As the book begins Laura is feeling a multitude of emotions following Matthew’s heartbreaking mistake. You can see why Laura is feeling the way she is and I believe Paige showed the emotions that any woman would be going through. At the start of the holiday Laura is going through the motions but she’s not truly thinking about what she wants and deserves not really. She’s grateful to the girls for taking her away from it all but when push comes to shove she’s not ready to go back to her reality. Her reality is that of nightmares and her heart isn’t ready to face what awaits her in London or what she would leave in Key West. I don’t want to say too much but that scene at the airport I had my heart in my mouth….

When Laura returns to London her thoughts are a million miles away across the pond. Watching her agonise over her situation was heartbreaking and hard to read. Now I 100% can’t say much more but woah Paige I wasn’t expecting what happened that raw emotion of Laura, her friends, her parents, Matthew and Leo meant I lapped up the final pages full of eager and intensity.

Another gorgeous tale from Paige Toon which right now you can download for 99p. What are you waiting for?

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.