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, Six for Sunday, Uncategorized

Six For Sunday: Favourite Series

I love a Six for Sunday and this prompt is speaking to me in volumes. Although in saying that I haven’t had many new series books for a while. Although I’m happy that a few faves have added new books mixing it up once again. I probably won’t be taking part for the LGBT ones as I’ve not really read many, if any of these but I’m open to recommendations so hit me. As I’ve mentioned I’m loving taking advantage of my library via Libby supporting from afar.

So without further ado….

I love these characters I still have the final book to read. Paige Toon’s Ya crossover is an absolute delight I’m so glad it’s a trilogy.
Twilight I’m so excited that Midnight sun will be released this Summer.
Another one with a new book the prequel is out now and when I have the time to read this I will reread books one and two and finally end this gorgeous series.
This series came into my life when I was first getting the taste for fantasy and series books. Another one I haven’t finished but I will soon and I’m sure being back with Patch & Nora will be immense.
Another treat that I got into late and I still haven’t finished. I believe I 💖 Vegas is where I’m at. I adore Lindsey so I will be making an effort to read more of her books.
Ending on this beauty, I will get back to this both in book and in Netflix series real soon.

I really love Six For Sunday but as I say I probably won’t be involved in June but I’m open to the recommendations. As I type I’m sat in my garden with a glass of water an iced coffee listening to.

Hoping to finish this ahead of the final Netflix series.
This beauty is out tomorrow and I love a Rosie Blake and I’m always touched when she asks my thoughts. I am 65% through so this will be finished.
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, Buddy Read, Paige Toon Read Along, Review, update

Five Years From Now By Paige Toon

Blurb: What if you met the right person at the wrong time?

Nell and Van meet as children when their parents fall in love, but soon they are forced worlds apart.

Five years later, they find each other.  Their bond is rekindled and new feelings take hold, but once again they must separate.

For the next two decades, fate brings Nell and Van together every five years, as life and circumstance continue to divide them. Will they ever find true happiness? And will it be together?

‘One day, maybe five years from now, you’ll look back and understand why this happened…’

My thoughts on re-reading: It’s not really a review the second time around is it. It’s more on how your thoughts changed. Wow! I still remember all the emotions I went through in reading this novel, the first time I experienced the first few chapters twice as o read a sampler and inhaled the book around this time in April 2018 I can safely say the weather has been sweeter this time around. I was lucky enough to read the teaser chapters via Netgalley Sampler thoughts and then I was given a proof at the Spring blogger evening and I’m pretty sure I had the ebook and then I purchased a physical copy for a signing.

My thoughts from the first time around can be read Here. I just briefly read over my thoughts from before and a lot of those emotions were the same. I can say without spoiling that what Nell and Van went through with Geoff was similar to my experience with my Nan and the first time joining those dots floored me- this time around I was preparing myself when I remembered certain aspects but there were elements that I forgot how they came to be.

I know I keep saying it but this read along has let me discover the Paige I didn’t know and the characters I hadn’t read and it’s also let me reacquaint with a few friends along the way. Nell and Van’s story is definitely still one of my favourites even if it simple floors me. It has everything a breathtakingly beautiful novel needs, love, friendship, loss and coming of age. I always love reading of the innocence of children we should all embrace our inner child more. It’s been a joy to have Nell/Van and co back in my life letting me forget the sadness of the world right now.

If you haven’t read Five Years From Now By Paige Toon then why not? You can get a copy Here. Or via your usual book supplier.

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, 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, Author Love, Uncategorized

Book Review: One Perfect Summer By Paige Toon

Alice & Joe have well and truly stolen my heart.

Blurb: Do you still love him?’ Every second of every minute of every hour of every day…Alice is 18 and about to start university while Joe’s life is seemingly going nowhere. A Dorset summer, a chance meeting, and the two of them fall into step as if they have known each other forever. But their idyll is shattered, suddenly, unexpectedly. Alice heads off to Cambridge and slowly picks up the pieces of her broken heart. Joe is gone; she cannot find him. When she catches the attention of Lukas – gorgeous, gifted, rich boy Lukas – she is carried along by his charm, swept up in his ambitious plans for a future together. Then Joe is there, once more, but out of reach in a way that Alice could never have imagined. Life has moved on, the divide between them is now so great. Surely it is far too late to relive those perfect summer days of long ago?

Review: I’ve said it before and I will say it again I got into Paige Toon seriously late with The Last Piece of My Heart being the first of her books that I read. But I’m not saying that was a bad thing I loved the heart and soul of that read and I remember finishing it in the early hours of the morning with a tear stained face but with an extremely happy heart and from that moment on I was a fan and was eager to lap up anything and everything Paige had written.

So in doing this read along with Catriona I’ve loved delving into her back catalogue. I have met Joe and Alice before in previous books but I hadn’t read their own story. Oh my….how has this beauty been on my shelf and on my kindle for ages although I totally forgot I also had the digital version. That could have sped up my reading time…

This book is in a few sections with The Summer, six months later and then a few years on and on. The Summer in Dorset where Joe and Alice meet is intense and all consuming. The chapters are quite short so it’s easy to be like just one more just one more…It never felt false or rushed their love story blossomed quickly and intensely, it swept me along and consumed me, which was exactly what I needed with the world going crazy right now.

When it got to six months later I found myself frustrated not by Alice or her emotions but by the lack of Joe. It brought me back to reading Eclipse enjoying the pages but longing for Edward to return to Bella. I loved meeting Jessie and the punting gang I had forgotten that I had also met him before in the One Perfect Christmas collection – after this I did re-read that with such love and a new found understanding for all the characters, and for their individual stories.

Which then brings me onto Lukas – there were elements of Lukas that I found sweet but I never warmed to him. I found him controlling in the weirdest of ways… even though in some ways he was good for Alice at that part of her life but I like Alice was still longing for Joe.

I shan’t be ruining the ins and outs of the story but I must say this read did give me a rollercoaster of emotions and left me with a bit of a book hangover and longing for a cuddle. I do love seeing how all these characters intertwine it’s like reuniting with old friends comfortable and like a warm hug.

If you want a Paige Toon to start with One Perfect Summer is a gorgeous introduction to an author who covers many real-life aspects in a way that keeps you informed and let’s you escape. I’m totally loving this read along with one of my closest friends even though she’s across the pond and one of my most favourite authors.

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

Book Review: Pictures of Lily By Paige Toon

I fell for Lily and Ben long before I knew their full story…

Blurb: Ten years ago when Lily was just sixteen, she fell in love with someone she really shouldn’t have fallen in love with. Now, living in Sydney and engaged to another man, she can’t forget the one that got away. Then her past comes back to haunt her, and she has to make a decision that will break her heart – and the heart of at least one of the men who love her.

Review: So most of you know that I became a fan of Paige Toon kinda late, which means I have a fabulous back catalogue to delve into. Alongside the fabulous Catriona we have been buddy reading Paige’s books in order. Although due to my birthday, work and a brief cold on my side I haven’t actually finished reading Chasing Daisy but I wanted to get back on track with Cat and during the early hours of this morning I finished reading Pictures of Lily.

I had met Lily and Ben before in the One Perfect Christmas collection and in re-reading that now I’m smiling at remembering first reading that and now that I fully understand their story I’m full of such love for them and their story.

Lily is another of Paige’s gorgeous women who I instantly connected with, the intensity of her feelings and her passions are inspiring and intoxicating. This is a classic story of the one who got away? But what happens when they return. I loved seeing Lily become herself and in doing things she loved- it was heartbreaking to see her feelings so torn but eventually her heart won out.

An emotional rollercoaster that had me from start to finish. Once again an eclectic group of characters and even when you didn’t like them they were still an important part of Lily’s story….

As I had read the short from One Perfect Christmas I found myself thinking of what I knew of their story but it didn’t ruin my enjoyment in finding out all the details. Paige really does have a way of conveying every single emotion that both parties go through.

I would love to have Lily and Ben back again someday….

2020, Author Love, Book challenge, FabBookFiend Recommendation, Readathon, Uncategorized

Paige Toon Read-along Readathon

There are some books coming out this year that I am very excited about but probably one of my most anticipated 2020 releases is Paige Toon’s new novel The Minute I saw You. This one publishes on 14th May in the UK and I just can’t wait.

I was going through some of my top books of the decade at the end of last year and I noticed that I had a couple of Paige Toon novels sitting unread on my shelf so I thought what better way to get to them than host a readalong of all her back list titles in the run up to publication day of The Minute I Saw You? I spoke to my friend Catriona to see if she’d be on board and so we hashed out the details and here we are!

We’re going to be reading a book a week starting on February 1st and if there is a short story or sequel that goes with that book we’ll be reading that in the same week too. Catriona will be vlogging the whole process and we will both be hosting some discussions over on social media too. 

I’ve listed all the books and reading date below. If a short story/sequel has its own ebook version I’ve listed that, otherwise it can be found in the bind up of all the short stories/sequels One Perfect Christmas-so you have options of how you would like to read. 

We would also love to read the Jessie Jefferson novels as well but we know that young adult isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, just like adult fiction isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, so we’ll be doing those afterwards, at the end so you can choose to join in or not. 

I’m very excited about this readalong because some of these novels will be a first time read for me and others will be a much welcome re-read. I have some of these on audio, some on ebook and others in paperback form. Others I will be borrowing from my library so you have time to see if your library has them, or time to download or buy from your preferred outlet. I’ll leave links to each book if you still need to track them down. 

Here are the books and dates-any questions, just leave a comment on this post or get in touch with Catriona or I over on social media…

1/2/20 

Lucy in The Sky

8/2/20 

Johnny Be Good

15/2/20 

Baby Be Mine

Johnny’s Girl & extra scene

22/2/20 

Chasing Daisy

Daisy Says Goodbye

29/2/20 

Pictures of Lily

When Lily Met Alice

7/3/20 

One Perfect Summer

One Perfect Christmas

14/3/20

The Longest Holiday

Laura’s Longest Day

21/3/20 

Thirteen Weddings

A Christmas Wedding

28/3/20 

The Sun in Her Eyes

4/4/20 

The One We Fell in Love With

Rose’s Big Night Out

11/4/20 

The Last Piece of My Heart

Bridget’s Beach Proposal

18/4/20 

5 Years From Now

25/4/20 

If You Could Go Anywhere

2/5/20

The Accidental Life of Jessie Jefferson

9/5/20

I knew You Were Trouble

16/5/20

All About The Hype

23/5/20

The Minute I Saw You

Any questions or comments, just leave them below or get in touch with Catriona or I over on social media. And remember this is just a fun readalong and a way to get hyped up for The Minute I Saw You. You don’t have to read all the books, feel free to jump in and out as you wish-happy reading!

I’m so so excited about this do get in touch if you are joining us even to just dip in and out.