Tuesday, 26 September 2023

The Wake-Up Call by Beth O'Leary


Two sworn enemies. One failing hotel. Love is the last thing they need . . .

It's the busiest time of the year, and Forest Manor Hotel is quite literally falling apart. So when sworn enemies Izzy and Lucas are given the same shift on the hotel's front desk, they have no choice but to put their differences aside.

The hotel won't stay afloat without some sort of miracle. But when Izzy returns a guest's lost wedding ring, the reward convinces management this might fix everything. With four rings still sitting in lost property, the race is on for Izzy and Lucas to save their beloved hotel - and their jobs.

As their bitter rivalry turns into something much more complicated, Izzy and Lucas begin to wonder if there's more at stake here than the hotel's future. Can the two of them make it through the season with their hearts intact?

The Wake-up Call by Beth O’Leary follows two colleagues Izzy and Lucas as they try to help save the hotel they work in from collapse but this means working together and yet the pair can’t be in the same room without arguing or winding each other up.

With each chapter alternating between both characters POV we get an insight into how they are both thinking and feeling in each situation and also see how the other is interpreting things differently too and this worked really well for this book. The author writes from both the male and female perspective perfectly and this helped to really connect with each of them.

There is a love hate romance burning through the middle of this storyline that at times had me laughing away and at others wanting me to bash their heads together but there are also many tender heartfelt personal moments too which added more depth to this uplifting story.

There is  a wonderful sense of support in this novel with everyone trying to chip in and do what they can to try and help each other in this very odd set up and it brings a comforting feeling and one of hope.

This was one of my favourites by this author it was easy reading, witty and sparkling with romance the perfect book at the perfect time for me.

Hardback                Kindle

Monday, 25 September 2023

Watching You by Lisa Jewell


You're back home after four years working abroad, new husband in tow.

You're keen to find a place of your own. But for now you're crashing in your big brother's spare room.

That's when you meet the man next door.

He's the head teacher at the local school. Twice your age. Extraordinarily attractive. You find yourself watching him.

All the time.

But you never dreamed that your innocent crush might become a deadly obsession.

Or that someone is watching you.

Watching You by Lisa Jewell has been on my kindle for some time now, I remember trying to read it when it first came out and struggling to settle into the pace of the book. I sat down this morning to try it again years later and have just this minute finished the last page and I am desperate to get my thoughts down straight away.

Newly married Joey has just moved in with her husband to her brother and sister in-laws house but she soon becomes infatuated with the local headteacher who lives only two doors down. Little does she know her every move is being watched.

This was certainly the right book wrong time when I read it before because put simply this is my favourite EVER book by Lisa Jewell! It did take a little patience again to get into the flow of the storyline and that is mainly due to the vast number of characters who we are introduced to but this is done on purpose, the author has been very clever in bombarding us with characters so we are distracted trying to keep up with what is going on with everyone in the book and also it throws so many suspects into the mix too so we are always kept in the dark.

Its strange I never actually liked any of the characters because I was suspicious of them all, they all had their own little quirks that tarnished their character so I never really trusted them but yet they created so much tension and intrigue that I couldn’t step away from this book.

The story did take an unexpected turn, I thought it was all going to be about Joey and her infatuation with Tom but we soon got lured down a darker twisted path and this was when my attention became truly piqued and the pace of the book quickened and all of the characters all suddenly felt real and I well and truly had the wool pulled over my eyes as I didn’t expect things to unravel the way they did.

A truly addictive, tense read that was completely unpredictable.

Kindle          Paperback

Friday, 22 September 2023

I Heart Forever by Lindsey Kelk


A wedding in Manhattan…and someone’s keeping a secret.

The day her husband Alex picks up a backpack and goes travelling, Angela Clark swears she’ll stay out of trouble. But from trying to keep a secret from her best friend to accidentally flirting with her brand new boss at the fashion magazine where she works, nothing goes according to plan.

Then suddenly there’s another big secret Angela’s got to keep – and the man she loves is still thousands of miles away. As her BFF’s wedding looms, Angela is going to need her friends by her side. Her old life is set to change forever.

Those of you who follow my socials will likely know that I have set myself a challenge to try and make a dent in my backlog of Netgalley books. With two more needed to complete my challenge it was an easy pick for me when I spied a Lindsey Kelk novel on the list as I absolutely adore her books and this one is I Heart Forever from one of my favourite series the I Heart Series.

Ok I am pretty certain I did actually read this and must have forgotten or misplaced my review because as I made my way through the pages things began to become familiar to me and began predicting what was going to happen next so either I have gained psychic abilities or my memory was kicking in!

However, despite the familiarity of the book I absolutely loved this book and devoured it in a day, being back with the loveable Angela and Jenny was like being reunited with old friends and the manic, crazy lives they lead provided laughs all the way. I did miss Alex in this book as he is missing for the majority of it but there was more than enough going on to still hold my interest from start to end.

As ever Angela and Jenny are in life changing situations that many of us can relate to, just maybe in a less frantic way! We are routing for them and hoping that everything works out in their favour because over the years we have formed a strong bond with these characters and ultimately, we want them to get their happy ever afters. This book takes our characters through two big milestones in life that will change their lives.

We still have the glitz and glamour in this modern lifestyle but we also have the reality of life’s hurdles thrown into the mix. If anyone has yet to read a book from this series (seriously I don’t think I have met a reader yet who hasn’t) then you really are missing out because these characters really leave their mark. Fans of Sophie Kinsella Shopaholic series or Paige Toon Johnny Be Good books will absolutely adore this series and I for one wish I could go back and start them all for the first time again.

Another fabulous witty frenzied read from Lindsey Kelk that gets a thumbs up from me.

Kindle                 Paperback

Thursday, 14 September 2023

Night Train to Marrakech by Dinah Jefferies



Vicky Baudin steps onto a train winding through Morocco, looking for the grandmother she has never met.

It’s an epic journey that’ll take her to the edge of Atlas Mountains – and closer to the answers she’s been craving all her life.

But dark secrets whisper amongst the dunes. And in unlocking the mystery of Clemence’s past, Vicky will unearth great danger too . . .

Night Train to Marrakech is the latest release by Dinah Jefferies, an author whose books I have adored in the past for their richness and vibrancy in her storylines so I was looking forward to stepping back into one of her novels and this time being transported to Marrakech.

I was surprised to find that I was struggling a little to get into the first quarter of this book which is unusual for me with Dinah Jefferies novels as they usually lure me in from the first chapter however I then discovered this book was actually book 3 in a series which I was unaware of and explained why I felt a little disconnected but I persevered and began to find my way as the dramatic turn of events began to break in the story.

Each chapter alternates between our two heroines Vicky and her Grandmother Clemence, the pair are meeting for the first time after Vicky makes the trip to visit her Grandmother but she is not met with the warmth she was expecting and it is clear to the reader that there are secrets being concealed.

The book then takes a dramatic turn of events when Vicky and her cousin witness a murder and things begin to spiral in a dangerous way and there is soon more than one life at stake.

The one thing that always sets this author aside from any other authors books I have read is her powerful and detailed writing style, she really does have a pure gift of bringing her storylines to life, everything is so vivid from the smells in the air, to the tastes of the food and drink to the bold colours and breath-taking sights it just makes this novel so atmospheric. The author manages to pull the reader into the storyline so you really feel like you are there living and breathing the same air as the characters but she manages to feed us all these small intricate details without distracting you from the storyline.

This novel managed to create drama and tension along with suspense with deep rooted secrets that were clear to see but yet impossible to solve so when Clemence reveals her heart-breaking story I was in shock and also felt such compassion for her and the life she missed out on.

After the rocky start with this book I then found it got under my skin and I was thoroughly immersed in the storyline and now I know it is the third book of a series I am keen to pick up the previous two books in the series.

Paperback                   Kindle

Sunday, 20 August 2023

The Book of Fire by Christy Lefteri


Once upon a time there was a beautiful village that held a million stories of love and loss and peace and war, and it was swallowed up by a fire that blazed up to the sky. The fire ran all the way down to the sea where it met with its reflection.

A family from two nations, England and Greece, live a simple life in a tiny Greek village: Irini, Tasso and their daughter, lovely, sweet Chara, whose name means joy. Their life goes up in flames in a single day when one man starts a fire out of greed and indifference. Many are killed, homes are destroyed, and the region's natural beauty wiped out.

In the wake of the fire, Chara bears deep scars across her back and arms. Tasso is frozen in trauma, devastated that he wasn't there when his family most needed him. And Irini is crippled by guilt at her part in the fate of the man who started the fire.

But this family has survived, and slowly green shoots of hope and renewal will grow from the smouldering ruins of devastation.

Having read The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri I had high hopes for The Book of Fire and the author hasn’t disappointed with this latest book which with current events around the world the theme of this book could not be more apt.

The story has a desperate beginning as we watch a loving family Tasso, Irini and Chara in their harrowing attempt to escape the fire that was consuming the forest surrounding their home as they flee to safety the only place for them is the sea.

We watch over time the effect these devastating situations have on the family and their community and see how each survivor processes their grief and trauma, nursing their injuries both physical and psychologically. It is a powerful and poignant novel told in such a gentle and honest way with the authors writing style bringing everything to life so vividly.

The author uses a clever way of splitting the book between the story she is telling and then our character Irini telling things from her perspective in the form of a book as she writes her feelings and memories of the events down. I though this was a great idea and it kept my interest piqued in the storyline.

This was a wonderful thought provoking and insightful read that fans of Christy Lefteri will not be disappointed by, her writing style is simply beautiful and her storytelling holds such depth and purpose.

Kindle                 Hardback

Thursday, 3 August 2023

A Little in Love by Florence Keeling


Rose Pedal is the proud owner of Pedals & Prosecco, a brand new business serving ice-cold fizz from a vintage bicycle, and she’s excited to be attending her first wedding fayre. But, on the way to Weddington Hall she’s involved in a near miss crash involving dashingly handsome James from Blume’s Florist.

Arriving at the beautiful stately home drenched and disheveled, Rose is horrified to find James is not only not sorry for nearly knocking her off her bike, but he’s gatecrashing her allocated spot on the lawn. His arrogance gets her back up and it’s definitely a case of hate at first sight.  But as the wedding fayre season continues, James gently wins Rose over, and their relationship starts to bloom.

Can being just 'a little in love' help Rose and James find their own happy-ending…

A Little in Love is a sweet little romance weaved in around a new business start-up that provides escapism and enjoyment. Rose Pedal is our protagonist and she is determined to make her new business ideas Pedals and Prosecco a big success but is keen to do this solo to be able to prove herself. Rose soon finds the Wedding business is cut throat and as her heart gets entangled in her business plans, she may need the help of others to support her.

This was the perfect light hearted read to enjoy on a Summers day, I have always loved books that follow entrepreneurs building their dream businesses and watching Rose pushing forward with her career facing realistic bumps along the way really appealed to me. The romance between Rose and James wasn’t without its complications and although I could see how things would end between them it was still enjoyable watching the rollercoaster of events that they had to ride through.

There were some witty and touching moments and times when the importance of friendship and community spirit really brought the novel together. I also loved the presence of the not so loveable characters, some very bratty and dramatic others super self-obsessed but they gave a little grit to the storyline.

Florence Keeling knows how to pour a whole heap of romance into her book and I thoroughly enjoyed A Little in Love.

Paperback               Kindle 

Tuesday, 1 August 2023

A Thousand Roads Home


Meet Tom…

Or Dr O’Grady, as he used to be called. When you pass him on the street, most people don’t even give him a second glance. You see, Tom isn’t living his best life. Burdened by grief, he’s only got his loyal dog, Bette Davis, for company and a rucksack containing his whole world.

Then there’s Ruth and her son, DJ, who no longer have a place to call home.
But Ruth believes that you can change the world by helping one person at a time – and Tom needs her help…

I have loved each and every one of Carmel Harrington's novels and now adding A Thousand Roads Home to that list it is clear to see that this is a remarkable author who can be relied upon to provide a novel to pull at the heart strings and to shine light on very real and raw topics.

A Thousand Roads Home follows the story of Ruth and Tom with each chapter switching between each character’s points of view as we move back and forth in time building a vivid picture of their lives and struggles that they have faced. Ruth is mum to DJ but they have now found themselves homeless and she is desperate to provide for her son despite her daily struggles. Tom knows what it is like to be homeless as he has been sleeping on a park bench for ten years. As the pair unite, they find comfort in each others company and shows that solidarity and support is what they both need.

I have read a few books now who have a main character who has autism however none have taken the direction that Carmel Harrington has with Ruth being a parent and showing the effects it has on a mother and son relationship. She really does have a heart of gold even if she may unintentionally say or do the wrong thing from time to time and I was really hoping for a positive outcome for her and DJ. DJ is a pure delight too, he is very honest at times with certain things he struggles with in relation to his mum and their situation and this comes across well, he did seem a lot older than ten years old but I believe this is a consequence from the responsibilities he has in helping his mum.

Our little hidden gem that is our dear Tom, well what can I say I just wanted to reach in and pull him out of the book and give him the biggest hug and help him back on his feet. His story is a heartbreaking one that is delivered with such tenderness and care.

I was so immersed by this storyline, it is emotive and insightful with characters who are so well developed. There was such depth to this story with so many challenging issues tackled along the way the author raises awareness whilst creating a beautiful storyline that I didn’t want to end.

Kindle               Paperback