Thursday, February 21, 2019

It Started With A Note - Victoria Cooke

Blurb
Superhero single mum Cath always puts other people first. But now that she’s seen her son safely off to university (phew!), life seems a little, well…empty.

So when Cath unexpectedly discovers some letters written by her great-grandfather during the First World War, she decides to take herself on an adventure to France to retrace his footsteps.
Cath expects to spend her holiday visiting famous battlefields and testing out her French phrase book. What she doesn’t anticipate is that her tour guide, the handsome Olivier, will be quite so charming! Soon Cath isn’t simply unearthing the stories of the past – she’s writing a brand new one of her own, which might end up taking her in a very unexpected direction…
Review
Cath's is forever putting everyone else's needs ahead of her own but now her son has left for university and fed up of being a bulter to her boneadile jobless brother, she decides enough is enough and its time to do something for herself. She heads to France to retrace her great grandfathers steps (a solider in WWI), nervous to be travelling alone but excited to discover the wonder a new place can offer. She doesn't expect sparks to fly with the handsome tour guide Oliver... will this adventure be more life changing than anticipated?

This novel is perfectly balance fun, laughter-inducing and uplifting. The blend of romance and WWI history is insightful and enlightening. A perfect read with great characters the prove sometimes it is good to step out of your comfort zone.

Thanks to Rachel's Random Resources for sending me this in exchange for an open and honest review.

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Monday, February 18, 2019

Only When It's Love - Olivia Spring

Blurb
Alex is tired of getting ghosted. After years of disastrous hook-ups and relationships that lead to the bedroom but nowhere else, Alex is convinced she’s destined to be eternally single. Then her newly married friend Stacey recommends what worked for her: a self-help book that guarantees Alex will find true love in just seven steps. Sounds simple, right? 

Except Alex soon discovers that each step is more difficult than the last, and one of the rules involves dating, but not sleeping with a guy for six months. Absolutely no intimate contact whatsoever. Zero. Nada. Rien. A big challenge for Alex, who has never been one to hold back from jumping straight into the sack, hoping it will help a man fall for her. 

Will any guys be willing to wait? Will Alex find her Mr Right? And if she does, will she be strong enough to resist temptation and hold out for true love?

Join Alex on her roller coaster romantic journey as she tries to cope with the emotional and physical ups and downs of dating whilst following a lengthy list of rigid rules.


Review
Sick of agonising over, being ghosted and heartbroken by men? Alex is - so she decides to shake up her love life, by testing a dating method 'six months to love: seven sure-fire steps to finding the one', recommended to her by her friend Stacey is living proof it works as she is now happily married to Mr Drop-dead-gorgeous! Sounds perfect right? One of the steps is no sex for six months! This sounds torturous, stupid and utterly impossible to Alex, but determined to break out of the depressing dating scene she decides to give it ago... though surely there is a 'better chance of coming home to see both a little green man and a unicorn chilling on the sofa' than this abstinence stuff actually working? 

I laughed-out-loud throughout the novel! Spring writes with refreshing honesty what it's really like to date in world of dating apps and sex-on-tap. Her characters are fresh, funny and brilliantly relatable. There are touching moments too as Alex begins to value herself and realise the importance of doing things for known happiness rather than elusive man. Though after a few false starts she soon has two handsome men competing for her love... will she get her picture perfect romantic ending? Which one is Mr Right? The perfect fix for lovers of romantic comedy!

Thanks to Olivia Spring for sending me this in exchange for an open and honest review.

⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Wednesday, February 6, 2019

The Promise - Teresa Driscoll

Blurb
It was their darkest secret. Three schoolgirls made a promise – to take the horrible truth of what they did to the grave.


Thirty years later, Beth and Sally have tried to put the trauma behind them. Though Carol has distanced herself from her former friends, the three are adamant that the truth must never come to light, even if the memory still haunts them.
But when some shocking news threatens to unearth their dark secret, Beth enlists the help of private investigator Matthew Hill to help her and Sally reconnect with estranged Carol ­– before the terrible act they committed as teenagers is revealed.
Beth wishes she could take back the vow they made.
But somebody is watching and will stop at nothing to ensure the secret stays buried. Now, with her beloved family in peril, can Beth still keep the promise?

Review
Three friends have kept a secret for 30 years, now uncontrollable events threaten to reveal their terrible act...  should they stop at nothing to keep their secret buried or has the time arrived for them to break their promise?

 The premise of this novel is intriguing and the characters are well written with distinct personalities making it easy to love or hate them from the start. Although it is a slow-burner, curiosity kept me turning the pages and the twists make it worthwhile, just when you think you have it all figured out Driscoll surprises you by revealing more shocking revelations! Perfect for fans of Ruth Ware's The Lying Game and Michele Campbell's She Was the Quiet One.

Thanks to EDPR for sending me this in exchange for an open and honest review.

⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Dear Rose Hughes - Melanie Hudson

Blurb

The best friendships are worth fighting for…
It’s been fifteen years since Aggie’s friendship with Rosie Hughes ended abruptly. But now she’s heard from the village rumour mill that Rosie is off to war, she knows her best friend needs her more than ever – despite what’s happened between them in the past.
As Rosie faces a desert full of danger and Aggie falls further from the path to love she’ so wants, the two friends write each other letters.
The comfort in their shared words is an anchor to the life they knew before…and the only constant in a world as increasingly unpredictable as the wind.

Review
Aggie and Rosie used to be friends but haven't spoken in 15 years (due to a man and a misunderstanding!). When Aggie learns Rosie has been deployed to Kuwait as the Army Met Officer, she knows her best friends needs her now  more than ever, so writes her a letter. Soon the pair begin exchanging their hopes, dreams and everything they have missed through the years. 

I adored the format of this novel entirely written through letters. Hudson's characters are so well-drawn you can't help falling in love them and rooting for them to get their happy endings. The ending is predictable but you become so invested you are hoping and keeping everything-crossed that you are wrong, and Hudson couldn't possibly end it like that, could she?! - I was reading the last few pages with an uneasy feeling of dread in my stomach. This novel is a little gem, heart-warming and heart shattering in equal measure - laughing and crying along with this cast of wonderful characters is not to be missed!  

Thanks to NetGalley, Harper Impulse & Killer Reads for sending me this in exchange for an open and honest review.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Sunday, February 3, 2019

She Was The Quiet One - Michele Campbell

Blurb
For twin sisters Rose and Bel, enrolling at the prestigious new boarding school should have been a fresh start. But with its sinister rituals and traditions, Odell soon brings out a deadly rivalry between the sisters.

For Sarah and husband Heath, the chance to teach at Odell seems like the best thing that ever happened to their small family – a chance to rise through the ranks and put the past behind them.
Until one dark night ends in murder.
But who’s guilty and who’s telling the  truth? And who’s been in on it all along..?

Review
The twin Sisters were once close, until boarding school changed them, changed everything. Now one lies dead with multiple stab wounds; the other locked in the infirmary accused of her murder with a large lump on her head and a foggy memory... sure she had a fight with her Sister but that doesn't mean she would kill the only family she had left - would she? how could she? 

This novel is gripping from the start, I read the first two pages in a bookshop whilst waiting for a friend.... but I couldn't put it down, I was hooked - so naturally I had to buy it! I loved the structure of this novel, it combines present day, with police interviews and the past. Drip feeding the reader the lead up to the crime revealing the who, how, what and whys along the way. Maintaining the intrigue though out, Campbell keeps the twists coming right until the very last pages. This is a must read for fans of Liane Moriarty's Big Little Lies. 

⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Monday, January 28, 2019

Jog On: How Running Saved My Life - Bella Mackie

Blurb

Divorced and struggling with deep-rooted mental health problems, Bella Mackie ended her twenties in tears. She could barely find the strength to get off the sofa, let alone piece her life back together. Until one day she did something she had never done of her own free will – she pulled on a pair of trainers and went for a run.
That first attempt didn’t last very long. But to her surprise, she was back out there the next day. And the day after that. She began to set herself achievable goals – to run 5k in under 30 minutes, to walk to work every day for a week, to attempt 10 push-ups in a row. Before she knew it, her mood was lifting for the first time in years.
In Jog On, Bella explains with hilarious and unfiltered honesty how she used running to battle crippling anxiety and depression, without having to sacrifice her main loves: booze, cigarettes and ice cream. With the help of a supporting cast of doctors, psychologists, sportspeople and friends, she shares a wealth of inspirational stories, research and tips that show how exercise often can be the best medicine. This funny, moving and motivational book will encourage you to say ‘jog on’ to your problems and get your life back on track – no matter how small those first steps may be.

Review
Jog On is an unfiltered, insightful account of how running helps Bella battle her crippling anxiety and depression. There is no sugaring coating the details in these pages, from the depths of despair, the euphoric runners high and everything else in between all her accounts are detailed with refreshing honesty. Sprinkled with humour, Bella incorporates a wealth of others inspirational experiences, interesting research results and tips for absolute beginners. Full of hope and motivation to get those running shoes on!

Thanks to NetGalley & Harper Collins UK for sending me this in exchange for an open and honest review.

⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Friday, January 18, 2019

The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker - Jenni Keer

Blurb

Meet Lucy, aged 25, and Brenda, aged 79. Neighbours, and unlikely friends.

Lucy Baker is not your usual 25-year-old. She is more at home reading and knitting in her cluttered little flat than going out partying and socialising.
79-year-old Brenda is full of wise and wonderful advice, but when she’s diagnosed with dementia her life begins to change. Before her memories slip away for ever, Brenda is desperate to fulfil one last wish – to see Lucy happy.
Gifting Lucy the locket that helped Brenda find her own true love, she hopes to push her reticent neighbour in the right direction. But is Lucy Baker ready for the opportunities and heartbreaks of the real world? It’s about time she put her knitting needles aside and found out…
Review
Lucy loves knitting, reading and is good friends with her 79 year old neighbour Brenda, she is content with her life though she wishes sometimes she could be more assertive -  for instance one of the things she would do is tell her rather handsome neighbour her name isn't Lisa and of course she will look after his cat but would it kill him to say please?

Free spirited Brenda has got dementia and her final wish is to ensure her beloved friend Lucy is happy, confident and in the arms of her true love. Brenda has a plan to encourage Lucy in the right direction involving a very special locket, that handsome next door neighbour and a gorgeous black cat...but is Lucy ready to experience all the things life has to offer?

This novel is a delightful read! The characters are lovable with all their little quirks. There are moments to make you laugh-out-loud and others that will break your heart. The plot is slightly predictable but the message at it's core is beautiful, the friendship between Lucy and Brenda smashes ages barriers and the lengths each of them with go to ensure the other is okay is truly heart-warming. Throw in an adorable stray cat, a gorgeous neighbour (straight of the cover of a Mills and Boon book) and you have a charming read, perfect for a lazy weekend.

Thanks to NetGalley & Avon Books UK for sending me this in exchange for an open and honest review.
⭐⭐⭐⭐

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It Started With A Note - Victoria Cooke

Blurb Superhero single mum Cath always puts other people first. But now that she’s seen her son safely off to university (phew!),...