The Longest Holiday by Paige Toon Book Review

IMG_7019Laura 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?

Rating 5/5

In this book we follow Laura who, after a devastating betrayal by husband Matthew, seeks solace in a girl’s trip to Key West, Florida. Very quickly Laura finds herself falling hard for diving instructor Leo. As her holiday comes to and end Laura questions whether Leo is just a holiday romance, or something much more. Does her heart lie with him? Or Matthew and can she ever forgive him for what he has done?

This book has been floating around on my radar for a while now but I was undecided because I must be in the mood for a romance. I them stumbled across it in The Works for a mere £1 and with a trip to Florida planned I thought it would be the perfect time to give it ago. I started this book a little before by holiday, just to check if I thought I would like it before I took it with me as my holiday read. Within the first couple of chapters I just knew I was going to love this book. The opening chapter was set on a plane, for some reason I love a plane scene in a holiday book so that was a major tick from me. I immediately felt really at home with all the characters and like I was coming away on their trip with them.

I found I really did like the main character of Laura and identified with her straight away. As she explained her husband Matthews betrayal my heart just went out to her and I could completely understand her reaction and mix of feelings she experienced. As the book goes on Laura has to endure the opinions of many people around her regarding her situation, many of which are pro Matthew. I found myself becoming really mad on Laura’s behalf, that everyone didn’t seem to understand how she was feeling. Matthews betrayal is so big she would have to face the ramifications of it for the rest of her life and I know I for sure could not do that so I fully understood Laura questioning if she could. I think the fact I felt so strongly about the situation was a testimony to this book and how immersed in it I was.

I can sometimes find when I read romance books, I find my attention wandering or I don’t always feel compelled to pick the book up because they can be quite slow burn and a little dull. However, I didn’t feel like that with this book. The romance was quite sizzling, you could just feel the tension and attraction between Leo and Laura as soon as they met and this continued throughout the whole story. Leo most certainly isn’t perfect; he was a flawed character and at times I found myself questioning if either he or Matthew were good enough for Laura. However, I was always firmly on team Leo, as I said before I could not forgive Matthew. It was lovely watching their relationship grow and seeing the changes in Leo that Laura brings about.

I also want to give a special mention to the character of Bridget. At the beginning of the book I was a little unsure about her, she was more of an acquaintance to Laura than a close friend. However, she turns out to be a real star in my opinion. There were a couple of occasions in this book where I was cheering her on all the way in her support of Laura.

Overall, I was faced with that age-old problem of desperately wanting to rush through this book and gobble up the story but also not wanting it to end. I was so sad to leave these characters behind but also so satisfied with the ending. I would love to catch up with these characters further down the line and cannot wait to read more of Paige Toons work!IMG_7019

Mid Year Freak Out Tag

Having been AWOL for the last 6 months I have not really shared much of what I have been reading. However I have been reading so many amazing book that seems a shame not to be sharing these with anyone. I have been slowly catching up with my book reviews and have a little stock lined up ready to go. In the meantime, I thought I would take part in the mid-year freak-out tag to share a little of what I have been reading this year and which books have stood out for the right and sometimes the wrong reasons. With this in mind, it is likely most of my answers will mention multiply books because I have so many I want to talk about. I completed this tag last year but I am afraid to say I’m not sure who started this tag, I just saw it floating around and took part.

  1. The best book you have read this year so far? Tilly and the Book Wanders by Anna James.

fnha2431.jpgThis is a very easy question to answer because my gosh did I adore this book! In fact I find it hard to put into words just how much and why I loved it so much. Going into it I thought it would be a cute middle grade story and I don’t usually read middle grade so my expectation weren’t sky high. The main reason I picked it up was because the main character shares a name with my hamster! However this book went way beyond my expectations. I think the main reason I loved this story as because of he feelings it evoked in me. This story is the most cosy, homely, wholesome one you could imagine. I adored the characters, I adored the setting even more, it’s a giant multi story bookshop! I could imagine myself walking in and imagine the warmth I would feel doing so. It has a really interesting concept of characters that can enter books and live the story. I hadn’t seen it before and I felt it was a really originally concept, and what a concept? Couldn’t you just imagine the fun that would be had if we could really do that? I look at this book now and my heart just swells with warmth and joy and that is the reason it touched me so much. If I feel down, I can pick up this book, read a chapter and I will instantly feel better. I want to re-read this in August as a refresher before book two comes out in September. I am so excited to re-enter this world but also really nervous, what if its not as good as I remember?! If you take me recommendation from this tag please take this, even if you don’t usually read middle grade give it a go!

2. Best Sequel you have read so far? The Extinction Trials by S.M.Wilson

YATC9645This was the third and final book in the Extinction Trials series, a series that is now an all time favourite. Anyone who has been reading my blog for a while know just how much I adore it. Dystopian books are not my usual genre but this series was billed Jurassic Park meets the Hunger Games and that has made the most epic series of books. It has also made me very curious to try other dystopian books. I have been so invested in this story and the characters and as often happens with trilogies I wondered if this book would offer a fitting end. It 100% did as we followed the character venturing back to Piloria, land of the dinosaurs and exploring the prospect of living alongside them. It was just perfect but I was let desperately wanting more but also completely satisfied with how it ended which I think is how a good series should end.

3. New releases you haven’t read yet but want to?

gspl1189-e1563735129558.jpgI have been doing quite well this year keeping up with my anticipated released but unsurprisingly there are still some that are outstanding. I am particularly                        keen to get to The Teashop Girls, a new series by Elaine Everest. Elaine is the author of one of my favourite series, The Woolworth Girls so I am very excited to get to this one. I am also excited to get to read The Liberty Girls by Fiona Ford which is the second book in a new wartime series.

4. Most anticipated releases of the second half of the year?

There are a couple of books I am really hotly anticipated for later this year, number one being Tilly and the Lost Fairytales by Anna James, the sequel to my favourite book of the year. I am bursting to get to this so I will be frequenting Waterstones in the run up to the release date hoping it may be there a few days early. Next I am keen to get to are STAGS 2: DOGS by M A Bennet, the sequel to STAGS which was one of my favourite books of 2017. Her second book The Island was a disappointment and I did DNF it so I must admit I am nervous to read this one. Finally I am so excited for Last Orders at the Star and Sixpence by Holly Hepburn. Holly is one of my favourite authors and I have actually read the first half of this book as they were released in novella form but I decided to wait for the whole book to be released to finish it off.

5. Biggest disappointment? Hocus Pocus in Focus: The thinking fans guide to Disney Halloween Classic by Aaron Wallace.


I was so excited to read this book an thought it was going to be full of great Easter eggs from the film. However it was just a little dull and offered more information about the actors/writers backgrounds. It just wasn’t filled with the tasty tidbits I was expecting.

6. Biggest surprise?

I have a couple of books that have really surprised me this year. Two books that were extremely hyped were The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I usually find hyped book disappointing as they never live up to the hype they have been given in my opinion. However both books really blew me away and I completely understood why they got the attention they have.  Another surprise book has been The Bed and Breakfast on the Beach but Kat French as I didn’t expect to get so much from a romance book but I adored this story.

7. Favourite new/new to you author?

I don’t if you can class an author as a favourite having only read one of their books but I have to say Anna James as she is the author of my favourite book of the year…have a I mentioned what they books is?! I have actually discovered so may new authors this year who I have been impressed with which is always a great thing. I have read two books by Kara Thomas, Little Monsters and The Cheerleaders both of which were great. I also discovered Chloe Seagar who wrote Editing Emma and The Friendship Fails of Emma Nash, both of which I tore through and found hilarious. Next there is Laura Stevens author of The Exact Opposite of Okay and A Girl Called Shameless, which were also very humorous but talked about some tough topics. Finally I cant forget Taylor Jenkins Reid, author of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and Daisy Jones and the Six as they were both awesome books too.

8. Newest fictional crush?

This is actually quite a hard one as when looking through the books I have read this year no characters really stood out to me. I am going to say Lincoln from The Extinction Trials:Rebel. I have been a fan of him since book one (although I have wavered at times!) However he’s always been a very family orientated but he really came into his own in this book. I also would say, and it does feel like rather a naughty pick but I would say Michael from the The Kiss Quotient. I just felt he had such respect for Stella throughout and was also very family orientated..and he may have had some other appealing qualities too!

9. Newest favourite character?

This was an interesting question because as with the previous one there were no characters that immediately sprung to mind. I really liked Laura from The Longest Holiday by Paige Toon, I adored this book and also read it one holiday so now I have lovely memories associated with it. I loved how Laura followed her heart despite others thinking she was wrong. I also really liked Winnie from The Bed and Breakfast on the Beach by Kat French. She was a lovely person who grew through the story and came to love herself and be comfortable in her own skin.

10. Book that made you cry?

Now I am not a big book cryer so once again this was difficult for me. The only book that made me emotional this was The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. This book had a lifetimes worth of love and loss packed into it. It really made me so sad at times and made me think of those I love and how I would feel loosing them. I think because this book is so realistic you just feel the events so much more.

11. Book that made you happy?

There have been so many books that have made me happy this year as it been such a cracking reading year. To name a few stand out that really made me smile there was Wartime Brides and Wedding Cake by Amy Miller, Tilly and the Book Wanders by Anna James, The Extinction Trials: Rebel by S.M.Wilson, The Longest Holiday by Paige Toon, all of The Lonely Hearts Travel Club books by Katy Colins, The Paper and Hearts Society by Lucy Powrie so so many good books! Long may it continue!

12. Most beautiful book you have bought and read?

I am really trying to not be repetitive but I have to say Tilly and the Books Wanders by Anna James..has you seen I naked? It’s stunning inside and out, the underside of the dust jacket I jaw dropping, a lot of people commented whilst I was reading it. I purchase it the same time as Wandersmith: The Calling of Morgan Crow by Jessica Townsend, both the book itself and the dust jacket are stunning

13. What books do you need to read before the end of the year?

I would say all of the books an none of the books because my TBR is jam packed so I want to read every book on it but I also don’t have anyone I have to complete at a certain time.


Summer at the Dog and Duck by Jill Steeples Book Review


Rating 4.5/5

Ellie Browne has found happiness running The Dog and Duck pub in the idyllic village of Little Leyton, and her blossoming romance with tall, handsome property developer, Max Golding, is going swimmingly. With her new best friend, Digby, the black Labrador at her side, life just couldn’t be sweeter.

But their peace is shattered when Max’s younger sister, Katy, turns up unannounced with a whole heap of attitude. And Max’s loyalties are stretched further when his glamorous ex, Sasha, re-appears with her own burgeoning secret.

With the master of the manor preoccupied with the demands of his ‘other women’, Ellie’s forced to consider if she has any role to play in Max’s life or in the village of Little Leyton.

Can Ellie get her life and relationship back on track in time for the summer charity ball at Braithwaite Manor?

Ellie Brown has found happiness, running the local village pub, looking after her dog Digby and dating delectable man of the manor Max Goulding. With events like the summer fair and beer festivals a plenty there is a lot to keep Ellie busy. However, with the arrival of Max’s sisters and the return of his ex-girlfriend Saskia, who has a little news of her own Ellie wonders if her happiness could be under threat.

It was wonderful to return to Little Leyton and the Dog and Duck. There is something so re-assuring about re-meeting characters you have read about and loved in the past. I always think its like dropping in and catching up with old friends.

We join Ellie in this installment 6 months on from the events of Winter at the Dog and Duck and she is very much in swing of running the pub. The pub is running numerous events and gearing up to the summer fair. I do love books set in pubs (I don’t know why) but particularly village pubs if they are running events. I also adore books that feature summer fairs in villages and this story had both. I think I like books that feature these things because it usually means they are cosy and quaint reads that offer me those warm positive feelings.

We also see the arrival of Max’s sister Katie in this book. She is 17 and was definitely carrying some baggage. and showing some teenage angst. I thought this arrival may throw a spanner in Max and Ellie’s relationship but I loved the relationship that developed between Katie and Ellie. I actually found it very heartwarming. Over the course of the book the changes in Katie too meant that she turned out to be a lovely addition to Little Leyton.

Of course, this book gives us a chance to catch up with Max and Ellie. I was glad to see their relationship was as spicy as ever leading to some rather steamy moments! One thing I adore about Ellie and Max’s relationship is they do have bumps in the road and fall out like real couples do. However, they do not follow the trope I often dislike where every book leads to a conflict that lasts the entire length of the story only for the couple to reunite in the last chapter. Max and Ellie fall out but they make up do you get the enjoy seeing their relationship at its worst but also at its best. You are never in doubt of their love and that they will work it out in the end.

I think it’s possible that I enjoyed this book more than the first. I tend to find I enjoy books in the series more as they go along because you get to know the characters more and this leads to a familiarity that I find that I find quite cosy and re-assuring. I am very keen to head into the next installment as I predict these books will only get better. This series has been a great little discovery and I am really pleased I stumbled across it.

Winter at the Dog and Duck by Jill Steeples Book Review


Rating 4.5/5

A perfect, feel-good romantic novel to curl up with this Christmas. A story of new beginnings, love and friendship. Perfect for the fans of Jenny Colgan and Lucy Diamond.

Ellie Browne has left behind her high-flying job in London to return to the charming Buckinghamshire village of Little Leyton. Working shifts at The Dog and Duck pub and running her own doggy-day-care business, Ellie’s looking for a much simpler way of life in this idyllic English setting.

But Little Leyton’s landscape is changing; Johnny Tay, Ellie’s ex, wants to pick up where they left off; sultry property developer Max Golding has moved into the village and is ruffling feathers; and rumour has it that the pub, which holds a special place in Ellie’s heart, might be sold. Suddenly, life’s looking a whole lot more complicated…

Can Ellie overcome all the challenges to finally find her one true love?

Ellie Brown is taking time out from her London life to return to her hometown of Little Leyton. Ellie is spending her time working at the Dog and Duck and running her part time dog walking business. Her stay is only meant to be a short one but when local property developer Max Goulding catches her eye and with the Dog and Duck’s future uncertain, Ellie must question if her heart really lies in London or Little Leyton.

This was such an adorable, light, lovely story. Firstly, the cover of this book and indeed all of the books in this series are stunning. The book opens with Ellie out walking cockapoo Milo who sounds adorable but causes a bit of mischief and this leads to some funny consequences. It really set the tone for the rest of the story and what was to come. Ellie is a really likable character and the fact this book is jammed packed with pooches made it all the more fun.

One thing I loved about this book was Ellie returns to little Leyton by choice and wants to be in her village. I read so many books that involve main characters being forced back into small town life and slowly coming to love it. I appreciated this fresh take where Ellie liked her village life, the people in it and wanted to be there. I also loved that a large focal point for this book was the village pub, one of my favourite settings. I just always seem drawn to books in this setting and end up enjoying them. I think it is because there is something so quaint about village pubs and the sense of community you find within them. This is very true in this story and Little Leyton is packed with some great characters.

Of course, the story had a little romance and the odd spicy scene too! I enjoyed there being a few bumps in the romance road to add to the story but I was also glad the whole book wasn’t a huge slow burn where you never get to see and enjoy the couple being together.

Overall, I just loved this story in case you couldn’t guess! This book languished on my shelves for far too long as I thought it would be another average romance. However, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it, the setting, the characters and the fluffy friends were just perfect. I already own book number two and will be heading straight to it.

The Paper and Hearts Society by Lucy Powrie Book Review

Tabby Brown is tired of trying to fit in. She doesn’t want to go to parties – in fact, she would much rather snuggle up on the sofa with her favourite book.It’s like she hasn’t found her people …Then Tabby joins a club that promises to celebrate books. What could go wrong? EVERYTHING – especially when making new friends brings out an AWKWARD BUZZING feeling all over her body. But Olivia, Cassie, Henry and Ed have something that makes Tabby come back. Maybe it’s the Austen-themed fancy-dress parties, or Ed’s fluffy cat Mrs Simpkins, or could it be Henry himself …Can Tabby let her weird out AND live THE BEST BOOKISH LIFE POSSIBLE?

Rating 5/5

When I heard about this book and the themes and events that would feature I immediately knew I was going to love this story. I have been watching Lucy’s channel for a while now but I think even if I wasn’t a follower of her channel this book would have appealed to me just based on the blub. It is a book about books and booklovers and they are major buzz words or buzz themes for me and I wasn’t disappointed with the final result.

From the outset I immediately felt an affiliation for Tabby, she was a really likable character. It is clear very early on that Tabby does suffer with anxiety and identified with her on this level so much. You hear lots of Tabby’s internal thoughts and doubts she experiences in everyday situations. You see her constantly questioning herself, doubting herself and beating herself up about things she says and doesn’t. This was rather heart breaking because I identified with her so strongly and had experiences similar thoughts myself so I could feel how difficult it was for her. At the same time slow it was lovely that this was depicted. 30 year old me loved and saw myself in Tabby and I know for sure 15 year old me would have found it just as lovely to see myself in a character. I also found the scenes that involved Jess incredibly sad and felt every feeling along with Tabby. My heart broke for her on a few occasions.

Despite Tabby’s struggle throughout the book we see her push through them and step out of her comfort and part of that is joining the book club that is the focal point of the story. The tag line of this book is ‘Find your People’ and this is so accurate and you just saw Tabby bloom when she came into this group. Once again something I really identified with this, that feeling of slotting in and feeling so at home when you meet the right people for you. It was great seeing these friendships and how much this group looked after each other. They all had their quirks and problems but this was irrelevant to the others and they just had each other’s backs. As with any friendship group, it wasn’t problem free. Tabby is holding a secret back from her new friends which I was willing her to share because I just knew they would look after her.

Now for my favourite part of this book, it is no surprise that I loved loved loved the book references! As I say I love books that talk about books and when specific books or event from those are referenced my heart swells. What was so special about this book is it didn’t just focus on mentioning classics, all manner of books were mentioned, many of which I love so it was so exciting hearing the characters talking about them. I squilled aloud when I read the scene in the Bath books shop and once particular book that was mentioned, at that point I stopped reading and explained to hubby how much I was loving this story and why. That nearly brings me to the next thing I loved and that was a book club being at the centre of this story. Going into this book I thought it was going to involve a group of people meeting and discussing books in the traditional form but, it wasn’t. The group all have quite different tasks in books so there gatherings focused more on a mutual appreciation of literature and enjoying various events around literature. The scene that involved booky ‘never have I ever’ was over far too quickly for my liking, what a great idea for a game! There is also a literary road trip that is far from drama free but it was amazing. My particular favourite was the stop in Bath as I have visited there so I could visualise everything really easily. I have wanted to visit the Bronte Parsonage for a while now and reading this has made me want too even more. It was just such a fun concept and something I have wanted to do for a while myself, I wish I had a group of booky friends to do this with!

Overall, I adored this story, I loved the characters, the friendship and the literature love. I am so excited to read the next installment and even more so now Lucy has released details of the next book! Roll on release day.



Taking my OWLs


Readathons are a huge part of the book blogging/vlogging world. However, until recently they were not something I really enjoyed. I struggle with week long or short readathons as I just cannot fulfill the prompts in time so I become quite disheartened and give up. However, at the start of June I decided to take part in a 3-month readathon, the Summer Romance book bingo. I have thoroughly enjoyed this! I have found the sense of community you get when taking part in a readathon which is great. It is so much fun tracking what I have read online and seeing what others have been reading. I have also loved that trying to fulfill different prompts has pushed me to pick up books that have been languishing on my shelves for too long. It is also really satisfying ticking off completed prompts!

With this in mind, I am now eager to take part in other readathons. I saw that G from the Youtube channel Book Roast has announced that the NEWTs round of the Magical Readathon will be taking place this August, a month long readathon and it immediately appealed to me. For those of you who don’t know the NEWTS are the second round of a Harry Potter themed readathon based on the wizarding exams that feature in the books. The first round was the OWLs and these took place in April. It involved fulfilling lot of different prompts to pass subjects and different combinations of these passed subjects led to different career paths. In the NEWTS you then take exams in your chosen career path. Each career has three prompts and depending on how many you meet defines which level you achieve…make sense? Probably not as I doubt, I am explaining it very well! You can watch G’s video announcing the OWLs here and the NEWTS here as sge explains thing i lot better than i have.. The main thing to know is its an incredibly detailed, well thought out and creative readathon. I’m quite frankly in awe at the level work that must go into creating and hosting this.

I obviously did not take part in the OWLs in April as I was yet to discover the joy of readathons then! Now you can take part in the NEWTS without having took your OWLs but I am a Hermione Granger when it comes to the rules. I am therefore going to use July to complete my OWLs – I believe lots of other people are doing the same and then hopefully I can take part in the NEWTs in August. I am continuing with my Summer Romance Book Bingo so I will be attempting to read books that fit prompts in both readathons – wish me luck! I will also be tracking my progress in a little bingo board as i love them so much.

Below i have listed the 12 prompts and posted a TBR for those i hope to complete. You will notice from the picture above i have already completed two prompts so i have got off to a good start. You will also see i  haven’t picked books for all of the prompts as i am struggling to find books on my shelves that fit these. However if i manage to complete the ones i want to i will have another go at finding books for the remaining prompts.

12 Exams/Prompts 

  1. Ancient Ruins – Read a Retelling Alice by Christina Henry
  2. Arithmancy – A book written by 2+ authors
  3. Astronomy – A book with ‘STAR’ in the title
  4. Care of Magical Creatures – A book with a land animal on the cover Winter at the Dog and Duck by Jill Steeples icons8-office-16
  5. Charms – Read an adult book Wedding Bells at the Dog and Duck by Jill Steeples
  6. Defense Against the Dark Arts – Reducto, A book beginning with ‘R
  7. Divination – A book set in the future Scythe by Neil Shusterman
  8. Herbology – A book with a plant on the cover Tulip Taylor by Anna Mainwaring
  9. History of Magic – A book published at least 10 years ago
  10. Muggle Studies – Read a Contemporary The Bookshop Girl by Chole Coles
  11. Potions – Next ingredient, read a sequel Summer at the Dog and Duck by Jill Steeples icons8-office-16
  12. Transfiguration – A book with sprayed edges or a red cover Alex in Wonderland by Simon James Green

Summer Romance Book Bingo – June Summary


It really has been such a long time since I posted on here that I have almost forgotten how. However so far this year I have read so many amazing books I just want to share them with you all. I thought as we approach the summer it will offer me the perfect opportunity to start posting again and be able to share what I have and will be reading. I have lots of reading plans this summer with a bumper list of books I want to get through. At the start of June, I watched a  booktube video by Lindsi at the Wandering Reader where she announced the Summer Readathon Summer Romance Book Bingo. This readathon was originally created by Sarah at Steeped in Books and I hadn’t found Sarah’s channel before this so that was rather exciting, I love finding new booktubers. Both videos can be found here and here and both will explain the rules better than I can. However, in brief this is a three month long readathon taking place in June, July and August. There were 80 summertime prompts that Sarah created and you could either choose to be randomly generated selection of these or pick 25 of them yourself. I decided to pick my own as I had a few books in mind I wanted to read this summer and I also knew I didn’t have books that fulfilled some prompts and I didn’t want to be adding to my already huge TBR. Furthermore, I wanted to ensure that as many prompts as possible were based around summer and travel just to enhance those summer vibes. With this is mind I choose my 25 prompts and my Summer Romance Book Bingo card was born.a0baa492-5049-41d8-aae3-78a7349d8887.jpg

We are now one month in and I have surprised myself with how much I have loved taking part. I thought I would lose interest quite quickly to be honest as I have done before when I have attempted readathons. I tend to find if readathons are a week long or over a couple of weeks I know I won’t complete all the challenges as I just cannot read fast enough. However, I know 25 books in three months is very doable for me and I am really enjoying how trying to fulfill the prompts is pushing me to pick up books from my shelf that for one reason or another I haven’t got to yet. I am also finding it great fun tracking my progress and followings others on Instagram. I have in fact been enjoying it so much that I started brainstorming today some Halloween and Autumn prompts so I can continue book bingo throughout September and October. I also believe Sarah in the past has hosted a Winter/Christmas version of book bingo so hopefully she will do again this year and I can take part in that too. I think I am just enjoying the satisfaction of colouring in a square when I complete a challenge!

I thought it would be nice to have a mini check in to share what I have been reading, which books I have really enjoyed and maybe give others some ideas if they are looking for some recommendations for certain prompts.

The Bed and Breakfast on the Beach by Kat French

IMG_6989Rating 5/5

Prompt: A romance set at the beach

This book was such a pleasant surprise to me. I have major Greek wanderlust; Shirley Valentine is one of my all-time favourite films and the fact this book is set in Greece was the sole reason I picked it up. I haven’t read anything from Kat French before so didn’t really know what to expect. However, my love for this book went way beyond appreciating its setting. This was such a fun fantastic depiction of love and friendship as we follow three ladies who spontaneously buy a bed and breakfast in Greece. We follow along for the ride as they find new friends, integrated into the Greek community and also have a little romance along the way. This book was just the perfect summer holiday read and it made me feel very warm inside even though when I read it, it wasn’t particularly warm outside.


AAZA1606Destination Thailand by Katy Colins

Rating 4.5/5

Prompt: First book in a series

This was a re-read for me because I loved it so much the first time, I read it I wanted start the series again and finish it this time. In this story we follow jilted bride to be Georgia who finds herself jobless and fiancé less and decides to use the opportunity to backpack around Thailand. We follow along with Georgia and her backpacking group. The results range from truly awful, to truly hilarious to truly magical and I adored it! I have never really felt the desire to go backpacking before or visit Thailand but I really enjoyed living vicariously through Georgia, I’m am not sure I would have done so well on her trip so I will stick to reading about it. I think this is the sort of book you don’t have to be on holiday to enjoy but could read at anytime as its just so real and humorous. As I side note I would definitely recommend the audio book as the narrator was fantastic and really brought the character of Georgia to life.

Destination India by Katy Colins

Rating 5/5

Prompt: A book involving travel

Following on from destination Thailand, I could not wait to continue my travels with Georgia. Once again this was a re-read and again I chose the audiobook route which was fantastic and as with the first book I loved following along on Georgia trip. This time she found herself going undercover boss on a failing package tour across India. I enjoyed this book more than the first one and that was because this time around Georgia was travelling in a nice tour group! In the first one the tour group is pretty questionable which although very funny meant that Georgia’s experiences were not always positive. However, in this book she was with the lonely-hearts travel club and it proves quite a different experience. It was nice to see Georgia getting on with and having that group comradery and support. It just made this book feel a lot warmer. Of course, the trip isn’t without a hitch and as a result there is lots of humour thrown into the mix. It was another fantastic offering and great to revisit the characters from the first book.

Destination Chilie by Katy Colins

Rating 4/5

Prompt: A book set in a different country to your own.

I was not ready to leave Georgia behind just yet and I had never read this book in the series so I was keen to see how the trilogy ended. This one I was particularly looking forward to getting to as it had a concept that was perfect for lots of laughs and things going wrong. In this installment we follow Ben and Georgia as they take part in a competitive tv show that involves them completing challenges against other couple to win a cash prize. This is Georgia and Ben’s first holiday together and it was great to coming along for the ride, especially with such a great setting. This time our travelers were exploring Chilie and whilst doing so were meeting some rather interesting characters along the way. Some of the other people on the show were truly comedically awful; there were also lots of twists and turns that just made more an even more interesting book. I was quite sad when I finished this book as I didn’t want to leave Georgia and Ben behind and luckily, I don’t have too as a have found another book as Georgia ventures down under which I will soon be picking up.

Game of Scones by Samantha Tonge


Rating 3.5/5

Prompt: A book about food or cooking

I really liked this book but there were a couple of things about it that I didn’t enjoy and that pulled my rating down a little. This book follows Pippa a baking enthusiast who is holidaying with her boyfriend in the Greek town of Taxos, the place of her childhood holidays. Whilst there she reconnects with family friends and this includes Niko her childhood friend which causes Pippa to question her relationship. Pippa then finds herself whirling into when the sleepy village of Taxos comes under threat. Once again, we had a book set in Greece which I adored, even though Taxos is fictional I could picture It so easily and the town felt very real to me. I liked a lot of the side characters who lived in the village and was very invested in them and wanted their town to survive. I also adored the food and that Pippa is a baker so you get lots of beautiful descriptions on the food she bakes. I felt really inspired once I finished this to go and bake some scones! My main frustration with this book was my ambivalent feelings towards to the two men in Pippa’s live. I didn’t particularly like Henrik and even Niko who is meant to be the male you routed for I wasn’t particularly keen on. I really liked Pippa but I was frustrated with her a lot as she just made lots of assumption instead of talking to people about what was going on. Essentially all the characters lacked communication between them and this led to lots of confusion and wrong assumption which I just didn’t like. Overall, I would say it was a good holiday read but I found it frustrating in parts.


The Paper and Hearts Society by Lucy Powrie


Rating 5/5

Prompt: A book with a yellow cover

This was one of my most anticipated releases of the year and it didn’t disappoint. In this story we meet Tabby as she moves to a new area and joins a book club. You know early on Tabby is suffering from anxiety and is also dealing with some bad experiences from her past. However, the more she gets to know her friends the more Tabby begins to come out of her shell and feels she can be herself. I really did love this book, I really liked and identified with the main character of Tabby and enjoyed meeting her friendship group and getting to know them. It was lovely to watch Tabby grow as she realised it was ok to be herself and these people would accept her for who she was. My favourite part of this book was that it was a book for book lovers about book and book lovers, there were so many literary references and it just truly celebrated friendship and loving books.

The Curvy Girls Club by Michele Gorman

Image result for the curvy girls club

Rating 4/5

Prompt: A book by a new to me author

This was a book I started reading a few years back and for some reason I put it down and never returned to it. I then spotted it on Scribd and decided to give it another go. I think my first encounter with it was just a case of right book wrong time as this time around I really enjoyed it. In this story we are introduced to four friends, Kate, who narrates the book, Pixie, Ellie and Jane. They meet weekly at their local slimming class and despite being regular members have struggled to shift the weight they want to for several years. Finally having enough of their lack of results they instead decide to use their time doing more fun activities. However, they soon learn that being a curvy girl means a night out isn’t as simply as they first thought and that they must invest a little time in planning these outings considering a curvy girl’s requirements. Work soon circulates and the group realise this may be the very thing every curvy girl has been looking for. This book was a huge amount of fun, I liked three of the main girls, I did like Pixie to start with but my feelings towards her changed throughout the book. However, Ellie, Jane and Kate were lovely. I thought it offered a great spin on body positivity as we see these ladies change and develop through the story without focusing on dieting. It was just a really pleasant enjoyable book that made me smile throughout.


Books I Want to Re-Read in 2019

There was once a time if I was asked, I would have said re-reading books was a complete waste of time. However, in the last two years my opinion has changed and I have really begun to discover the joy of re-reading. I have realised there are two main reasons I enjoy re-read old books. The first is simple the fact that some books have the power to transport you to the happiness of places. There are some books that make me feel as if they are giving me the warmest of hugs when I read them and quite honestly why wouldn’t I want to go back into that world when it makes me feel like that. A great example of this is Victoria Connelly’s book A Weekend with Mr Darcy. This book is probably my favourite book of all time and the world in which it is set I just find captivating. I love revisiting this world and I never tire of reading the stories set in it even if I know the outcome because the world just makes me so happy.

There are also several books that I loved when I read them but that was quite some time ago now and long enough has passed that I re-reading them will feel similar to a first time read. I want to revisit these books and see if I still like them as much and refresh my memory on little details I may have forgotten over the years. However, I have found that I am very selective when it comes to picking books to re-read and it takes quite a special book that will make me want to do that. I have therefore compiled a little list of books I would like to re-read over the coming year. A number of these books are the start of a series and I would like to re-read the whole series but for now I will be aiming to read the first book

Cupcakes at Carringtons by Alex Bown

Georgie Hart loves her job–running the luxury handbag concession at Carrington’s Department store in the pretty seaside town of Mulberry Bay, and treating herself (once too often!) to a red velvet cupcake with buttercream icing in Carrington’s café.

But Georgie is thrown into disarray when Carrington’s is plunged into a recession-busting makeover, cueing the arrival of femme fatale Maxine, who wields the axe in her immaculately-manicured hands. It spells a recipe for disaster for Georgie and soon she is fighting not only for her job, but also for the attentions of her gorgeous boss, James. And when hot newcomer Tom arrives, who may or may not be the best thing since sliced bread, Georgie must decide where her loyalties really lie…

Billy and Me by Giovanna Fletcher

Sophie May has a secret. One that she’s successfully kept for years. It’s meant that she’s had to give up her dreams of going to university and travelling the world to stay in her little village, living with her mum and working in the local teashop. But then Sophie unexpectedly meets the gorgeous Billy Buskin – a famous actor with ambitions to make it to the top. As they begin to grow closer, Sophie finds herself whisked away from the comfort of her life into Billy’s glamorous – but ruthless – world. After years of shying away from attention, can Sophie handle the constant scrutiny that comes with being with Billy? How much is she prepared to give up along the way? And is their love strong enough to keep them together against the odds?

You’re the One That I Want by Giovanna Fletcher

Maddy, dressed in white, stands at the back of the church. At the end of the aisle is Rob – the man she’s about to marry. Next to Rob is Ben – best man and the best friend any two people ever had. And that’s the problem. Because if it wasn’t Rob waiting for her at the altar, there’s a strong chance it would be Ben. Loyal and sensitive Ben has always kept his feelings to himself, but if he turned round and told Maddy she was making a mistake, would she listen? And would he be right? Best friends since childhood, Maddy, Ben and Rob thought their bond was unbreakable. But love changes everything. Maddy has a choice to make but will she choose wisely? Her heart, and the hearts of the two best men she knows, depend on it…

Dream a Little Dream by Giovanna Fletcher

Sarah is doing just fine. Sure she’s been single for the last five years, and has to spend an uncomfortable amount of time around her ex-boyfriend, his perfect new girlfriend and all their mutual friends. And yes, her job as a PA to one of the most disgusting men in London is mind-numbingly tedious and her career is a constant disappointment to her mother. But it’s really okay. She’s happy (ish). So it’s not surprising that when Sarah starts dreaming about a handsome stranger, she begins to look forward to falling asleep every night. Reality isn’t nearly as exciting. That is until her dream-stranger makes an unexpected real-life appearance, leaving Sarah questioning everything she thought she wanted. Because no one ever really finds the person of their dreams . . . do they?

Meet Me at The Cupcake Café by Jenny Colgan

Sarah is doing just fine. Sure she’s been single for the last five years, and has to spend an uncomfortable amount of time around her ex-boyfriend, his perfect new girlfriend and all their mutual friends. And yes, her job as a PA to one of the most disgusting men in London is mind-numbingly tedious and her career is a constant disappointment to her mother. But it’s really okay. She’s happy (ish). So it’s not surprising that when Sarah starts dreaming about a handsome stranger, she begins to look forward to falling asleep every night. Reality isn’t nearly as exciting. That is until her dream-stranger makes an unexpected real-life appearance, leaving Sarah questioning everything she thought she wanted. Because no one ever really finds the person of their dreams . . . do they?

A Proper Family Holiday by Chrissie Manby

Your grubby small nephew torpedoing any chance of romance with the dishy guy you met on the plane . . .
Your eighty-five-year-old granddad chatting up ladies at the hotel bar . . .
Getting nothing but sarcastic comments from your older sister, who’s always been the family favourite . . .
And all this is before your parents drop their bombshell. Is a week enough time for the Bensons to put their differences aside and have some fun? Or is this their last ever proper family holiday?



Destination Thailand by Katy Collins

Instead of slipping on her something borrowed and tripping up the aisle to wedded bliss, Georgia spends her big day crying into a warm Sex-on-the-Beach, wondering where it all went wrong. Forced to make a bucket list of her new life goals by best friend Marie, it’s not long before travel-virgin Georgia’s packing her bags for a long-haul adventure to Thailand. Yet, Georgia’s big adventure doesn’t seem to be going to plan. From strange sights, smells and falling for every rookie traveller scam in the book Georgia has never felt more alone. But the good thing about falling apart is that you can put yourself back together any way you please. And new Georgia might just be someone she can finally be proud of…


At Home with Mr Darcy (Austen Addicts Book 6) by [Connelly, Victoria]At Home with Mr Darcy by Victoria Connelly

It’s summer and renowned actress, Dame Pamela Harcourt, has organised a treat: the first Purley Hall Jane Austen holiday – to the home of Mr Darcy no less. With Katherine and Warwick, Robyn, Doris Norris and the rest of the gang, it’s going to be a trip to remember. But then a hardened journalist and non-Janeite, Melissa Berry, joins the party. Fearing a stitch-up, the friends rally together, hoping to convince Melissa that the only way is Austen.




Mr Darcy Forever (Austen Addicts Book 3) by [Connelly, Victoria]Mr Darcy Forever by Victoira Connelly

Sisters, Sarah and Mia Castle haven’t spoken for three years but they’re about to meet again – at the Jane Austen Festival in Bath. But what was it that drove them apart and can the magic of Jane Austen help bring them back together again?







The Perfect Hero: The perfect summer read for Austen addicts! (Austen Addicts) by [Connelly, Victoria]The Perfect Hero by Victoria Connelly

Die-hard romantic, Kay Ashton, uses her inheritance to open a B&B in the seaside town of Lyme Regis and is dumbstruck when the cast and crew of a new production of Persuasion descend, needing a place to stay. Kay can’t believe her luck – especially when she realises that heart throb actor Oli Wade Owen will be sleeping under her very own roof! Meanwhile, co-star Gemma Reilly is worried that her acting isn’t up to scratch, despite landing a plum role. She finds a sympathetic ear in shy producer, Adam Craig, who is as baffled by the film world as she is. Kay thinks the two are meant for each other and can’t resist a spot of matchmaking. Then, when Oli turns his trademark charm on Kay, it seems that she has found her real-life hero. But do heroes really exist?

Last Christmas by [Williams, Julia]Last Christmas by Julia Williams

Catherine Tinsall is dreading Christmas. As the ‘Happy Homemaker’ she is an online sensation, but the reality couldn’t be more different. With Catherine’s marriage in tatters, her children running wild and her mother increasingly forgetful, seasonal cheer is running low. Husband Noel also hides a secret: he’s facing the axe at work. Until he chances upon the village of Hope Christmas, deep in the Shropshire countryside, which could be the second chance he’s searching for. If he can save it from the developers…In Hope Christmas itself, schoolteacher Marianne Moore is trying to heal her battered heart. But Christmas is a time for families, and memories of what she’s lost haunt her at every turn. Meanwhile, Gabriel North faces a lonely Christmas but hides his sadness for the sake of his son. Will his wife ever come home? Or does love lie elsewhere? All four need a Christmas miracle. And it might just happen – courtesy of a mysterious guardian angel … Forced to reassess their lives, will Catherine, Noel, Marianne and Gabriel discover what the meaning of Christmas really is?

A Merry Little Christmas by [Williams, Julia]A Merry Little Christmas by Julia Williams

With four children, a Christmas cookbook to write, and her mum suffering from dementia, Cat Tinsall has plenty to juggle. When her eldest daughter, Mel, starts going off the rails, Cat has even more on her plate. Pippa Holliday adores her family, although often finds her hands full. When Dan is involved in a terrible accident, Pippa’s world is suddenly turned upside down. Balancing her job as a school teacher with twins and her step-son Steven isn’t easy for Marianne North. With her husband’s ex causing trouble, life is getting even trickier. As Cat, Pippa and Marianne help each other through a difficult year, they’re all hoping for a much brighter Christmas.






Most Anticipated Releases of 2019

Anticipated Releases of 2019

One of my favourite parts about heading into a new year is having 12 months of fabulous of book releases ahead of me..well I always hope they will be fabulous. I thought it would be fun to share some of the books I am most looking forward to reading when they are released later this year. It will also serve a good reminder to me of the dates they are being released on as I’m terrible at remembering when a book is coming out no matter how excited I am for it. This is quite a tentative list as I’m sure there will be many more books coming onto my radar as the year goes on, but for now here are the book I am really excited to read in 2019.

January –

Two Can Keep a Secret by [McManus, Karen]Thursday 10th January – Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M.McManus

Two teenagers are dead. Two murders unsolved. And a killer who claims to be coming back. Ellery’s never been to Echo Ridge, but she’s heard all about it. It’s where her aunt went missing at age sixteen, never to return. Where a Homecoming Queen’s murder five years ago made national news. And where Ellery now has to live with a grandmother she barely knows, after her failed-actress mother lands in rehab. Malcolm grew up in the shadow of the Homecoming Queen’s death. His older brother was the prime suspect and left Echo Ridge in disgrace. His mother’s remarriage vaulted them to Echo Ridge’s upper crust, but it could all change when mysterious threats around town hint that a killer plans to strike again. And the return of Malcolm’s brother doesn’t help matters. But his return is just a coincidence… isn’t it? Ellery and Malcolm both know it’s hard to let go when you don’t have closure Then another girl disappears. As they race to unravel what happened, they realise every secret has layers in Echo Ridge. The truth might be closer to home than either of them want to believe. And somebody would kill to keep it hidden.

I really enjoyed Karen’s first book One of Us is Lying, released last year. For that reason, I am really keen to get a new offering from her but also quite nervous as its always slightly scary to read a new book from a debut author you have loved because it has big shoes to fill. Hopefully this new book will be just as good if not better than One of Us in Lying.


Cosy Nights at the Star and Sixpence: Part Three of Four in the new series by [Hepburn, Holly]Thursday 7th – Cosy Night at the Star and Sixpence by Holly Hepburn

The New Year brings hope to Nessie as she begins to put her life back together – she’s almost tempted by a flattering job offer from a rival pub – but things only get worse for Sam. The arrival of old flame Nick Borrowdale brings some much-needed perspective, and Sam finally accepts the inevitable and faces up to her responsibilities.
Laurie continues to stir up trouble at the pub, causing Gabe to wonder whether he has another agenda. And then tragedy strikes at the heart of Little Monkham and nothing will ever be the same again.

This is the third part in the new series of Holly Hepburn’s book. After finishing part two with a shocking revelation I’m very intrigued to see where part three will take us.


Thursday 7th – The Extinction Trials: Rebel by S.M.Wilson

Stormchaser and Lincoln’s home city is burning. The people are starving. The only place left to run is Piloria – the continent of monsters. And it’s up to Storm and Lincoln to keep everyone alive.
But will the biggest threat to their new colony be the monsters in the jungle… or the ones inside the encampment with them.

This is probably the book I am most excited for and anticipating the most from this list. I adored both books one and two in this series. I know very little about the premise for this story but after the cliffhanger of book two I simply need to read it as soon as possible. I think this is the final installment in this series and if it is I will be so sad to see it come to an end.

Thursday 7th – Fierce Fragile Hearts by Sara Bernard

Two years after a downward spiral took her as low as you can possibly go, Suzanne is starting again. Again. She’s back in Brighton, the only place she felt she belonged, back with her best friends Caddy and Rosie. But they’re about to leave for university. When your friends have been your light in the darkness, what happens when you’re the one left behind.

Sara Bernard has fast become one of my favourite authors and I have loved all three of her books. In this story we revisit the characters from Sara’s first book Beautiful Broken Things I think it will be fun to catch up with the girls. However as with all Sara’s book I expect it will tackle some difficult issues in the fantastic way they always do.


A Vintage Summer by [Bramley, Cathy]Thursday 21st – A Vintage Summer by Cathy Bramley

London has not been kind to Lottie Allbright. Realising it’s time to cut and run, she packs up and moves back home – but finds her family in disarray. In need of a new place to stay, Lottie takes up the offer of a live-in job managing a local vineyard. There’s a lot to learn – she didn’t even know grapes could grow so far north. Butterworth Wines in the rolling Derbyshire hills has always been run on love and passion but a tragic death has left everyone at a loss. Widowed Betsy is trying to keep the place afloat but is harbouring a debilitating secret. Meanwhile her handsome but interfering grandson, Jensen, is trying to convince her to sell up and move into a home.

Lottie’s determined to save Butterworth Wines, but with all this and an unpredictable English summer to deal with, it’ll be a challenge.

And that’s before she discovers something that will turn her summer – and her world – upside down . . .

Anyone who knows this blog or my reading tastes will know Cathy is an auto-buy author for me. I love all her books I have read so always anticipate any new releases from her.


Thursday 18th April – Last Words at the Star and Sixpence by Holly HepburnThe village of Little Monkham is reeling from their loss but gathers together to celebrate a life well lived. Behind the scenes, Nessie is struggling with a distant Owen and confides in Laurie about her tempting job offer. He offers to step up his role at the Star and Sixpence so that she can leave.
Gabe and Sam grow closer, although she still refuses to be anything more than friends and colleagues. Laurie’s behaviour causes Gabe to become increasingly suspicious and what he discovers causes a scene that turns more than one world upside down. Can Sam and Nessie work through the fall-out or is it really last orders at the Star and Sixpence?

This will be the final instalment in Holly’s latest book series. (the third instalment I mentioned earlier) It will be a bitter sweet read for me because I am always so excited to read anything Holly writes yet it’s the end of another book which is always sad. I really hope this won’t be the last we read about the Star and Sixpence because I would be so sad to leave all the characters behind.


Thursday 2nd – The Teashop Girls by Elaine Everest

It is early 1940 and World War Two has already taken a hold on the country. Rose Neville works as a Lyon’s Teashop Nippy on the Kent coast alongside her childhood friends, the ambitious Lily and Katie, whose fiancé is about to be posted overseas in the navy. As war creates havoc in Europe, Rose relies on the close friendship of her friends and her family. When Capt. Benjamin Hargreaves enters the teashop one day, Rose is immediately drawn to him. But as Lyon’s forbids courting between staff and customers, she tries to put the handsome officer out of her mind. In increasingly dark and dangerous times, Rose fears there may not be time to waste. But is the dashing captain what he seems?

I absolute adore Elaine Everest’s series The Woolworth Girls, so I cannot wait to get my hands on her attest book and dive into a brand new series.

The Liberty Girls by [Ford, Fiona]Thursday 9th – The Liberty Girls by Fiona Ford

March 1942: new mother Alice Milward is itching to return to her job as a shop assistant at Liberty’s.

Despite her husband still being missing in action, Alice is determined to give baby Arthur the best possible start. She soon settles back into the rhythm of life on the shop floor, and the Liberty Girls rally to help keep everything on an even keel.

But when the American GIs start swarming into London, there are more complications to come. And each of the Liberty Girls has their own impossible storm to weather.

As they each fight their battles on the home front, only their close friendship will give them the strength they need to carry on.

I read the first book in this series Christmas at Liberty’s at the end of the year and I really enjoyed this book. I do love a wartime novel that focuses on women, family and friendship and that is what the first book was about, so I am looking forward to reading more from this series.


Thursday 13th – The Paper and Hearts Society by Lucy Powrie

Tabby Brown is tired of trying to fit in with her classmates. She doesn’t want to go to parties at the weekend – in fact, she would much rather snuggle up on the sofa with her favourite book. It’s like she hasn’t found her people …That is until she moves to a new town where a book club, The Paper & Hearts Society, is recruiting. Tabby might just be in luck. Enough of her old “friends” who only talk to her when they need something. It’s time for Quidditch themed fancy dress parties, games like “shut up and Shakespeare” … and LOTS of chocolate

 I have watched Lucy’s YouTube channel for a couple of years now and always enjoy listening to her talk about classics. I usually find myself very inspired after watching a video to pick up a classic which I always think is a good thing. From Lucy talking about this story on her channel it sounds like it will be the perfect book for people who love books and love being immersed in the world of books. I cannot wait to read it.


Thursday 8th – Last Orders at the Star and Sixpence by Holly Hepburn

Roaring fires, cosy nooks and friendly locals, welcome back to the perfect village pub… 
It’s September and the new season is bringing change to the village of Little Monkham. Nessie has moved in with the lovely Owen and his son Luke, leaving her sister Sam next door in their renovated pub, the Star and Sixpence. But is all change for the good? Sam and Joss have gone their separate ways and he’s left Little Monkham for good.
New chef Gabriel Santiago is causing a flutter among the women of the village but Sam is determined not to make the same mistake again and keeps things strictly business between them. But an inconvenient attraction to Gabe is the least of Sam’s worries when an unexpected visitor arrives at the Star and Sixpence. Who is Laurie Marsh and what does he want from the sisters?

This is the full book release made up of 4 short offering written by Holly Hepburn. I have so far and will continue to read these as the novellas are released but when the paperback comes out, I do plan to purchase it. I have said before Holly is one of her my favourite authors and I like to have paperbacks of all her books for my collection.

Thursday 22nd – The Cornish Cream Tea Bus by Cressida McLaughlin

As of Yet no synopsis has been released for this book.

As with Holly Hepburn and Cathy Bramley, Cressida is now an auth-buy author for me. She too releases her books in 4 mini parts before later releasing them as a whole book. In this instance I am going to wait for the full release to read this story. As of yet there is not a synopsis for this story, but it is released in the Summer and hopefully will be the perfect read for that time of year.




Thursday 26th – Breaking and Mending by Joanna Cannon.

A few years ago, I found myself in A&E.
I had never felt so ill. I was mentally and physically broken. So fractured, I hadn’t eaten properly or slept well, or even changed my expression for months. I sat in a cubicle, behind paper-thin curtains, listening to the rest of the hospital happen around me, and I shook with the effort of not crying. I was an inch away from defeat, from the acceptance of a failure I assumed would be inevitable, but I knew I had to carry on. I had to somehow walk through it.
Because I wasn’t the patient. I was the doctor.”

A frank account of mental health from both sides of the doctor-patient divide, based on her own experience as a doctor working on a psychiatric ward.

I read my first Joanna Canon book in 2018 in the form of Three Things About Elise and I love it! I found it such a beautiful, poignant and touching story and Joanna’s writing really impressed me. The synopsis of her new book really interests me. This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay was one of my favourite books of 2018 and the synopsis of this book gives me similar vibes so I am excited to get to it.

2018 Christmas Book Haul

I believe when it comes to gifts of books for book enthusiasts for Christmas it can divide opinions. Some people will choose to give a book as a gift if they know the persons taste and your almost certainly guaranteed it will be a hit. On the other hand, some people prefer to stay away from giving books as a gift as you run the risk of gifting a book someone already owns. Personally, I love receiving a book but will often have wish list running for suggestions if people are looking for present ideas for me.

In November there was a small event that occurred by the name of Black Friday and during this time the website The Book People ran a sale. I intended to treat myself to a few early Christmas presents but my lovely hubby offered to me the opportunity to fill my basket and he would buy them for me. I had to wait until Christmas day to unwrap them and obviously I knew some of my presents but I didn’t mind at all and ended up with a bumper haul.  I thought it would be fun to share with you all the books that I got for Christmas as well as some I picked up in the sales too.

Gifts I was given

IMG_5005.JPGQueen Victoria, Daughter, Wife, Mother, Widow by Lucy Worsley

As well as a queen, Victoria was a daughter, a wife, a mother and a widow, and at each of these steps along life’s journey she was expected to conform to what society demanded of a woman. On the face of it, she was deeply conservative. But if you look at her actions rather than her words, she was in fact tearing up the rule book for how to be female. By looking at the detail of twenty-four days of her life, through diaries, letters and more, we can see Victoria up close and personal. Examining her face-to-face, as she lived hour to hour, allows us to see, and to celebrate, the contradictions at the heart of British history’s most recognisable woman.

img_5018Matilda at 30, Chief Executive of the British Library Edition by Roald Dahl

Matilda is the world’s most famous bookworm, no thanks to her ghastly parents. Her father thinks she’s a little scab. Her mother spends all afternoon playing bingo. And her headmistress, Miss Trunchbull? She’s the worst of all. She’s a big bully, who thinks all her pupils are rotten and locks them in the dreaded Chokey. Despite these beastly grownups trying to push her down, Matilda is an extraordinary girl with a magical mind. And she’s had enough. So all the terrible adults had better watch out, because she’s going to teach them a lesson they’ll never forget!

IMG_5012.JPGWhere am I Now? by Mara Wilson

For readers of Lena Dunham, Allie Brosh and Roxane Gay, this funny, poignant, daringly honest book introduces Mara Wilson the former child actress best known for her starring roles in “Matilda “and “Mrs. Doubtfire “as a brilliant new chronicler of the experience that is growing up young and female 
Mara Wilson has always felt a little young and a little out of place: as the only child on a film set full of adults, the first daughter in a house full of boys, the sole clinically depressed member of the cheerleading squad, a valley girl in New York and a neurotic in California, and an adult the world still remembers as a little girl. Tackling everything from how she first learned about sex on the set of “Melrose Place,” to losing her mother at a young age, to getting her first kiss (or was it kisses?) on a celebrity canoe trip, to not being cute enough to make it in Hollywood, these essays tell the story of one young woman s journey from accidental fame to relative (but happy) obscurity. But they also illuminate a universal struggle: learning to accept yourself, and figuring out who you are and where you belong.

IMG_5029.JPGThe Potion Diaries by Amy Alward

When the Princess of Nova accidentally poisons herself with a love potion meant for her crush, she falls crown-over-heels in lovewith her own reflection. Oops. A nationwide hunt is called to find the cure, with competitors travelling the world for the rarest ingredients, deep in magical forests and frozen tundras, facing death at every turn. Enter Samantha Kemi – an ordinary girl with an extraordinary talent. Sam’s family were once the most respected alchemists in the kingdom, but they’ve fallen on hard times, and winning the hunt would save their reputation. But can Sam really compete with the dazzling powers of the ZoroAster megapharma company? Just how close is Sam willing to get to Zain Aster, her dashing former classmate and enemy, in the meantime? And just to add to the pressure, this quest is ALL OVER social media. And the world news. No big deal, then.

The Potion Diaries: Royal Tour by Amy Alward

Since winning the Hunt and saving her new BFF, Princess Evelyn, Sam Kemi has been royally busy.. What with TV interviews, working in her family’s potion store and preparing to join Evelyn on her world tour, Sam STILL hasn’t had time for a real date with Zain, her new-boyfriend-slash-former-rival. And that’s not happening anytime soon. Someone has tampered with Sam’s grandad’s mind and she is the only one who can unlock his memories. Memories that contain the key to the most powerful potion in the world and one which people would kill for . . .
So Sam must swap dresses, princes and palaces for dragons, centaurs and caves in her quest to save her grandad (and everyone else). Just your standard episode in the life of a potion-making teenager, then.

The Position Diaries: Going Viral by Amy Alward

After finding her great-grandmother’s potion diary, escaping the clutches of Emilia Thoth, saving her grandfather’s memories AND become a Master Alchemist, surely it’s time for Sam Kemi to have a good, long rest? And maybe, just maybe, a proper date with her boyfriend Zain?
But now that Princess Evelyn is married to the sinister Prince Stefan and showing symptoms of the Gergon illness, it looks as though Sam’s adventures are just beginning. The GOOD news: there might be a cure for the virus spreading like wildfire through the city. The BAD news? It’s buried in a remote village in a far-flung country next to an active volcano – and Sam’s not the only one after it. With a TV crew trailing Sam’s every move and time fast running out, it looks like things are about to…GO VIRAL

img_5035Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

Marianne Dashwood wears her heart on her sleeve, and when she falls in love with the dashing but unsuitable John Willoughby she ignores her sister Elinor’s warning that her impulsive behaviour leaves her open to gossip and innuendo. Meanwhile Elinor, always sensitive to social convention, is struggling to conceal her own romantic disappointment, even from those closest to her. Through their parallel experience of love – and its threatened loss – the sisters learn that sense must mix with sensibility if they are to find personal happiness in a society where status and money govern the rules of love.

img_5033Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

Taken from the poverty of her parents’ home in Portsmouth, Fanny Price is brought up with her rich cousins at Mansfield Park, acutely aware of her humble rank and with her cousin Edmund as her sole ally. During her uncle’s absence in Antigua, the Crawford’s arrive in the neighbourhood bringing with them the glamour of London life and a reckless taste for flirtation. Mansfield Park is considered Jane Austen’s first mature work and, with its quiet heroine and subtle examination of social position and moral integrity, one of her most profound.

img_5037Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

The daughter of a clergyman from an ordinary family, Catherine Morland’s only encounters with romance have been through the pages of the Gothic novels she devours. During an eventful season at Bath she experiences the joys of fashionable society for the first time. She is delighted with her new acquaintances: flirtatious Isabella, who shares Catherine’s love of romance and horror, and sophisticated Henry and Eleanor Tilney, who invite her to their father’s mysterious house, Northanger Abbey. There, her imagination influenced by novels of sensation and intrigue, Catherine imagines terrible crimes committed by General Tilney but she is about to discover that society holds a very different kind of danger.

img_5078Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

For generations, children around the world have come of age with Louisa May Alcott’s March girls: hardworking eldest sister Meg, headstrong, impulsive Jo, timid Beth, and precocious Amy. With their father away at war, and their loving mother Marmee working to support the family, the four sisters have to rely on one another for support as they endure the hardships of wartime and poverty. We witness the sisters growing up and figuring out what role each wants to play in the world, and, along the way, join them on countless unforgettable adventures.

img_5077Good Wives by Louisa May Alcott

Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy have grown up together in Orchard House with their friend Laurie next door, and now it’s time for them to go out and find their places in the big wide world, to do the great and marvellous things they’ve dreamed of and discover their ‘castles in the air’. They each find themselves tested, and fall in love, but when tragedy strikes they find their best comfort is in each other, and home.

Little Men by Louisa May Alcott

With two young sons of her own, and twelve rescued orphan boys filling the unusual school at Plumfield, Jo March – now Mrs Jo Bhaer – couldn’t be happier. But the boys have a habit of getting into scrapes, and their mischievous antics call for the warm and affectionate support of the whole March family to help avoid disaster.

Jo’s Boys by Louisa May Alcott

Ten years after the school at Plumfield was founded, Jo’s boys – including wanderer Dan, sailor Emil and musician Nat – are grown up and discovering more about the world. But life after childhood can be confusing and frightening, and it is Jo and the warm-hearted March family who can comfort and guide the boys when they need it the most.

img_5060Hocus Pocus in Focus by Aaron Wallace

In the first and only book ever written about the beloved 1993 Halloween movie, Aaron Wallace takes readers deep into the world of Hocus Pocus to learn everything they never knew. He provides a lighthearted but scholarly look at the film in its all spooky-kooky glory. 


Biscuiteers, Book of Iced Gifts

Brimming with famous Biscuiteers designs, along with exclusive creations you won’t have seen before, this beautiful book shows how easy it is to bake, ice and assemble your own delicious biscuits and cakes at home.

Books I bought in the sales

IMG_5021.JPGThe Little Brooklyn Bakery by Julie Caplin (£2.00 in The Works)

When Sophie Bennings arrives in New York, love is the last thing on her mind. Still reeling from a painful break up, she throws herself into her work as a food editor on a top-notch magazine. Columnist Todd McLennan is everything that Sophie wishes she didn’t want. Like the gorgeous bakery below her Brooklyn apartment, he’s as tempting as the delicious cupcakes on display. Surely a little of what you fancy can do you good? As Sophie and Todd get to know one another, a love of food isn’t the only passion they share. In the city that never sleeps, has Sophie finally met the man of her dreams…?

img_5073To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee (£3.00 in Waterstones)

Meet Scout, the narrator of this book. Her story is one of Deep South summers, fights at school and playing in the street. The spooky house of her mysterious neighbour, Boo Radley, sags dark and forbidding nearby. Her brother, Jem, and her friend, Dill, want to make Boo come outside. Her story is about justice. When Scout’s father, a lawyer, agrees to defend a black man against an accusation by a white girl, he must battle the prejudice of the whole town. It’s about imagination – not just the kind you need for childhood games. Because you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them.

Wartime Brides and Wedding Cakes by Amy Miller (£2.00 in The Works)

January, 1941: As Charlie Barton tiptoes silently out of the house one cold winter morning to go off and fight for his country, his wife Audrey is left to run the family bakery on her own. Times are tougher than ever, but at the Barton Bakery in Bournemouth, Audrey is determined as always to serve the town with love, loaves and cakes, even as the town is reeling from the struggles of the Blitz. Audrey’s brother William has returned from battle with serious wounds. His fiancé Elsie is waiting for wedding bells, but William is a changed man, and will her hopes be in vain? Bakery helper Maggie has her heart set on dashing officer George. But will George still want to marry her when he discovers the truth about her family? And Lily, Audrey’s stepsister, is struggling to raise her illegitimate baby and facing judgement from many in the town. The man who broke her heart returns with an offer, and Lily faces a hard decision about where her future lies. When disaster strikes the bakery, Audrey fears that everything she has worked for may be ruined. With her shop threatened and her family in turmoil, can she fight to save everything she holds dear? 

Once in a Lifetime by Chrissie Manby (£2 from The Works)

Twenty two years ago Dani Parker had grand plans for her life. Now, she’s a single mother in quaint Newbay working at the hotel where she got her first ever job. When she bumps into ex-boyfriend Nat, she wonders if this might be the start of something not-quite-new. Until his fiancée walks through the door .Dani’s daughter Flossie is sixteen – so of course she knows best, about everything. And her new boyfriend Jed is all she could ever want in a man . . . right? Flossie’s widowed grandma Jane firmly believes that lightning never strikes twice. So when she finds herself frequenting Bill’s pet shop, she refuses to believe that the L-wordhas anything to do with it. In a confusion of cakes, elopements and naughty puppies, will the three women discover that ‘once in a lifetime’ isn’t quite as rare as they thought?

Noah Could Never by Simon James Green (£3 from Waterstones)

Noah’s back, and more bananas! He and Harry are now officially boyfriends, but is Noah ready for the difference? It’s no help that a group of cosmopolitan French exchange students have descended on Little Fobbing – including sexy Pierre Victoire, who seems to have his eye on Harry! Meanwhile, Noah’s paired up with a girl … who, most outrageously, is not even French. But that’s not all: the police are monitoring Noah, and he can’t tell if it’s because

  • his dad and secret half-brother, Eric, have made off with his gran’s fake diamonds;
  • because his PE teacher is receiving mysterious cash infusionsfrom Russia;
  • or because drag queen Bambi Sugapops is hiding out at Noah’s house in the midst of a knock-down, bare-knuckled drag feud.

Will Noah ever catch a break?!

I’ll be Home For Christmas by Multiple Authors (£1 from Waterstones)

The UK’s top Young Adult authors join together in this collection of new stories and poems on the theme of home.