2019, Author Love, Review, Uncategorized

Book Review: When Polly Met Olly By Zoe May

Blurb: Polly and Olly were never supposed to meet…

Polly might spend her days searching for eligible matches for her elite list of clients at her New York dating agency, but her own love life is starting to go up in smoke.

Even worse, she can’t stop thinking about the very person she’s meant to be setting her latest client up with… surely it can’t get any worse!

But then Polly bumps into oh-so-handsome Olly, who heads up a rival agency, and realizes that perhaps all really is fair in love and dating war…

Review: I’ve been championing this lady since devouring Perfect Match – it was a Netgalley read that provided me a new author and friend. I’ve spoken to Zoe so much over Twitter and Instagram and as much as I have championed her she’s also been very complimentary of me and my blogging efforts.

When Zoe went to New York to research for this novel we had chatted loads and loads I felt like I wanted this book long before it had been written. In a way it’s bad form on me for only having just finished it. I’ve been away with my family and I knew it would be the perfect time to get some reading done although I haven’t read as much as I would like I’m so glad to have read ‘When Polly Met Olly’. It’s a perfect feel good read and the ultimate tonic when you need a pick me up or if you’re in a reading slump.

Zoe writes about dating so effortlessly, I’ve been a huge fan of Celebs Go Dating for yonks and if you have ever watched the series I’m sure Olly will remind you of a certain Eden Blackman. I could picture him from the off and for me it added to my enjoyment of the story. I didn’t always like Olly but deep down there was always another side to him and I’m glad that that came into fruition before the story ended.

I loved Polly and everything about her story, seeing her progress in New York. I said to Zoe how real Polly was with her struggles to become a photographer, I’ve known that pain. Having studied New Media Journalism and spent so much of my spare time trying to make something of myself. In reading this book it’s shown me that we do have to go back to why we started and why we loved it. I may not be getting paid to write but I have a blog that I enjoy sharing my passion for books and the written word. I’ve also shared a few of my other passions and lifestyle changes, in starting my new job at the end of September I’m hoping to add some new additions to the blog and I cannot wait.

Zoe May writes a truly engaging novel that keeps you on your toes. I loved the different aspects with the emails and Tinder/Match messages alongside texts and dialogue. I also loved the stark contrast to people in New York with money and those trying to make their way. I also have to mention Gabe I truly loved the friendship between Gabe and Polly, everyone needs that friend who will tell you how it is rather than what you want to hear.

The other resounding message from this novel is looks can be deceiving. In this day and age with social media taking over we’re all obsessed with how we come across and insta and reality are two separate things and sometimes we all need to take a step back. I pride myself on taking people as I find them and Polly’s gut instincts helped her in the end.

A truly enjoyable read that could have been devoured in a solitary sitting if I had had that luxury. A fantastic final read before I head back to reality, back to work for me tomorrow and I still have an audiobook to finish…

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2018, august, Monthly Wrap Up, Uncategorized, update, wrap up

What did I read in August.

Now I was overly optimistic with my TBR for August with so much happening it was obvious to me that I wouldn’t have completed it.

However, I sure did read some beauties that have left their mark on me.

I loved each of these for different reasons and they are all authors I adore. I must admit I have a few more of Catherine’s on my Kindle but that’s the first of hers I’ve devoured and what a fantastic start….

My thoughts on these 📚

Rewind By Catherine Ryan Howard

One Winter Morning By Isabelle Broom

The Turn of the Key By Ruth Ware

I’m hoping to have my Miranda Dickinson review up for publication day tomorrow. I started September with a few short reads which were ace and I’m now in the midst of Zoe May’s When Polly Met Olly which I’ve been meaning to read for ages. I feel like my time away caught up with me and last night and this morning I’ve had a massive headache – so I’ve only managed a little reading. I have two very different audios on the go and one is for a blog tour.

I’m hoping that seeing as I’m on holiday until the end of Saturday and I have a little downtime in September that I can read a lot more than I managed in August. I like being optimistic but I also like getting more reading into my month.

Two of my August reads were buddy reads and I’m pleased to say that myself and Catriona have a few ideas up our sleeves and one includes one of my fave authors.

2019, Netgalley, Review, Uncategorized

Book Review: Rewind By Catherine Ryan Howard

Blurb:

PLAY
Andrew, the manager of Shanamore Holiday Cottages, watches his only guest via a hidden camera in her room. One night the unthinkable happens: a shadowy figure emerges onscreen, kills her and destroys the camera. But who is the murderer? How did they know about the camera? And how will Andrew live with himself?

PAUSE
Natalie wishes she’d stayed at home as soon as she arrives in the wintry isolation of Shanamore. There’s something creepy about the manager. She wants to leave, but she can’t – not until she’s found what she’s looking for…

REWIND
This is an explosive story about a murder caught on camera. You’ve already missed the start. To get the full picture you must rewind the tape and play it through to the end, no matter how shocking…

Review: It’s been a while since I’ve read a book like this where the story goes back and forth.

PLAY: Focuses on Andrew the manager of Shanamore Cottages. Andrew is an interesting case and for me he had a touch of Norman Bates about him. Which in turn left me intrigued for each of his instalments. Like Norman he was strange but at times I also felt extremely sorry for him, just like with Norman in Psycho- when realistically the logical part of your brain is saying don’t emphasise he’s a complete creep. For me that’s a fantastic creepy character where you have conflicting emotions. It also made for compelling reading as I wanted to know what he’d done and why he was going through the motions that he was.

Andrew is strange and even his back story shows how weird he is. His thought process isn’t normal and the way he treats girls is sickening but when he sees the murder play out on his hidden camera you can feel his terror.

PAUSE: Focuses on Natalie, from the off I feel for her. I can’t say too much on Natalie as if you read it you’ll soon know her fate or will you? I was conflicted on a number of things linked to Natalie but had somehow overlooked what actually was the case. Just like with Andrew’s instalments it made for compelling reading.

REWIND: Brings you back to the jigsaw of the murder. Who died and why? This kept me on my toes although I wasn’t sure at one point if there was more than one death but as I kept turning those pages I knew my original thoughts were right.

This was a Netgalley read for me and I’m so glad that I was approved to read this beauty. It was just the read I needed at the start of my holidays and just the tonic after a purely emotional read. It really did bring me back to my media studies classes when we were studying Psycho – all those thoughts and feelings came right to the forefront of my mind. A truly creative read that will shock you and keep you guessing in a world where Instagram posts aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. There’s a fine line between online and in real life. It’s also strange to see how people cannot separate reality and fantasy, that aspect is terrifying but I’ll leave you to read and form your own opinions.

I still have Distress Signals on my Kindle and it will definitely be pushed up the list. Catherine writes a compelling story and I’m a definitely a fan.

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, Review, Uncategorized

Book Review: The Turn of the Key By Ruth Ware

Blurb: I know you don’t know me but you have to help me. I didn’t kill anyone.

When Rowan stumbles across the advert, it seems like too good an opportunity to miss: a live-in nanny position, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when she arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten by the luxurious ‘smart’ home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family.

What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare – one that will end with a child dead and her in a cell awaiting trial for murder.

She knows she’s made mistakes. But she’s not guilty – at least not of murder. Which means someone else is…

Review: I’m a massive fan of Ruth Ware she’s definitely an auto buy author and if you only discover her from here. Wow I truly believe you will be reaching wholeheartedly for her back catalogue. For me it all started with In a Dark Dark Wood and I was mesmerised by it. So much so that I wanted to share the story so I gave my copy away, I now have another signed copy and I’m so glad as it really changed my reading habits. Enough about my fangirl back story.

I read the first chapter of The Turn of the Key and instantly wanted more. I knew that I needed this book more than anything. I hit the request button on Netgalley and was checking my emails obsessively, the email never came so just before publication I pre-ordered it when it pinged through just after midnight I tried to read past where I had been but tiredness took hold. If it wasn’t for circumstances I wholeheartedly could have devoured this in one maybe two sittings.

In some ways I’m blessed as extending this read gave me added enjoyment. I ended up finishing it whilst waiting to be seen by the doctor and that last 30% was probably the most intense. Although saying that the levels of intensity were there throughout.

Where do I begin?

There is so much in this novel and even at 70% in I still didn’t know anything connected to Rowan being in prison. At each turn I was left with many unanswered questions and new theories sprang to mind and each and every time I was so far from the truth.

Rowan is an interesting character, I can’t say I liked her, as at times I didn’t but I also sympathised with her at times. Either way she was a compelling leading lady with so much substance and as I got further through the book so much became clear, yet it also wasn’t totally clear.

Maddie and Ellie went through stages of being insanely cute and incredibly creepy. There was something about each of them from the off. Rhiannon was a totally different kettle of fish and was nowhere near as bad as the persona we are given from the off.

I cannot say anymore than that a twisting tale with oh soo much. It’s a story you will want to talk about but you honestly can’t until your mates have read it. I loved the set up of the letters, emails etc. It’s one of those books where you keep saying just a little more and then something happens to change your thought process again and the pages just keep turning. It’s also a very atmospheric book, I’ve been to Scotland but never anywhere like this although I feel like I have been there from how Ruth has explained everything about Heatherbrae House.

Ruth Ware is the Queen of thrilling, a twisting tale with sooo many ifs, buts and OMGs. A heart in mouth read that I will be recommending to any and every thriller lovers out there. This is the compelling read that will keep you awake at night, once you get to the heart of the story you won’t be able to stop.

Once again Ruth Ware has left me breathless and with a massive book hangover. I have a number of thrillers to read and now it’s going to be a hard task in beating this one…..and I loved that there was a very brief Hayley mentioned.

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

Book Review: Those People By Louise Candlish

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2019, Author Love, 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, july, Six for Sunday, Uncategorized

Six For Sunday – Books and the Seaside

It’s been forever since I’ve written a Six for Sunday especially since starting Self Care Sunday’s which I’m doing by chilling today. I’m not sure what my week will entail so I would like to rest, get a few things done and organised ahead of my impending holiday at the end of August and I would like to get a fair amount of reading in as I’m truly loving my current reads.

Miranda wrote the most beautiful book based at the seaside. Somewhere Beyond the Sea – is a love story that will stay with me and I shared the story of sea glass with my niece our favourite beach hasn’t had any but we always look now.

After devouring Hannah’s short story I was itching for this I read this whilst on holiday at the seaside last year and I loved every single second of it. I can’t wait to get stuck into another Hannah Pearl novel.

Evie’s Little Black Book

I read these in part and I love love loved devouring this cinema based story. It really did make me think of my Nan who I shared a love of film with.

The Picture House by the Sea

This week the fourth and final part of this novel will ping through to my kindle and I’m excited and sad. I won’t want to say goodbye to Charlie and the gang.

Part one In doing this meme I’ve realised how long this beauty has been on my TBR I really must change this. Although I did read another of Ali’s books whilst last on holiday at the caravan in Dymchurch.

This beauty by Isabelle Broom has me longing for Mojacar I will get there someday….

Then Now Always

Part two Cressida McLaughlin

Part three Cressida McLaughlin

As ever I’ve loved sitting down and penning my thoughts. I love being by the seaside and I still haven’t worked out what I hope to read this year on my travels. I’m loving having my mojo back right must eat breakfast have the soaps on and a book to get back to.

2019, Stacking the Shelves, Uncategorized

Stacking the Shelves – my Netgalley shelf

I’ve been looking for other inspirations for the blog and I stumbled upon this.

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme co hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and Reading Reality. Stacking the Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can add any books that you add to your shelves, whether you’ve bought them been sent them or borrowed them from the library. And then be sure to post your links over on Tynga’s Reviews.

So for my first Stacking the Shelves post this week I am looking at what’s on my Netgalley shelf.

This gorgeous treat has been sat on my Netgalley shelf for a short while I’m itching to read it but I’m trying to time it right, if that makes sense. Not sure whether to save for my holiday at the end of August and first week of September- it’s out whilst I’m away so maybe at the beginning of my time off.

This one grabbed my attention via the Netgalley email although I should have read it already. Hoping to bump it up.

I’ve read a short from Veronica and have been meaning to read more from her. I’ve heard such good things about this one that I simply couldn’t resist hoping to read this after my current read and get it up for publication day if possible.

This is one of those reads that when you start looking at Netgalley you have to have.

Seeing the lovely Harriet from Simon & Schuster at Louise Candlish’s launch she spoke of this and my interest was piqued it maybe my next Thriller.

I love and hate Netgalley I am trying to get better but my willpower isn’t great. I have a few of Tammy Cohen’s on my ever expanding pile this will be the next I read.

I keep checking my shelf to see if I’ve been accepted for this one. I read the first chapter last Sunday and I need it in my life. If I’m not accepted I will be pre-ordering so it comes through on midnight of release day.

Another that I keep checking for on Netgalley – pretty annoyed on this one. I had requested before the email about the first 100 readers and still nothing. I’m a huge fan of Louise’s and I will download if I don’t hear anything.

I hope you have enjoyed my first Stacking the Shelves. I would love to hear what you think I should do next. I’m thinking possibly an audio Stacking the Shelves or a specific author maybe a Daphne Du Maurier….

I’m open to suggestions and cannot wait to hear from you.

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.