I am very pleased to bring you my latest book review, Year One by Nora Roberts.
So there is no getting away from the fact that this novel centres around a pandemic, and in a rather brutal way. So my timing at reading this novel was possibly not the best. However, given the fact that this was released before our own pandemic experiences, I think that we can forgive Nora Roberts and focus on her writing!
Year One starts in a dark and sinister way – The Doom, a mysterious virus, sets off a chain reaction that decimates the human race, save for a select few. Of those that survive, some find themselves developing magical powers, with those individuals choosing to follow either the light or the dark.
As governments fall and society crumbles, a group of immune and ‘Uncannies’ set off to find a place to build a safe community, as war and brutality threatens to close in on those remaining who seek peace. We follow these individuals as they seek to rebuild what was so cruelly taken away from them.
I loved this novel. The storyline is complex in places but easily followed. I loved the magical elements to this novel, but I also loved how it was set in the real world. The brutality described and experienced within this novel is, at times, difficult to swallow. However I think that is because as the reader, you believe that this really could happen if governments were to fall. Without law and order, society would fall apart. Fear can be a dangerous emotion, and this is something that Nora Roberts really highlights. How we deal with that fear sets apart those who follow the light, and those who follow the dark.
Nora Roberts paints the most colourful pictures with her words. The locations are vivid in my imagination and the characters are well-rounded and believable. The end of this novel left me wanting to know more. I am invested in these characters and where the story will take them. I can not wait to read book two, Of Blood and Bone! So if you love dystopian fiction and you are looking for your next read, I highly recommend that you grab yourself a copy of Year One!
Today it is my stop on the blog tour for Kate Frost’s new novel, The Love Island Bookshop!
Freya makes a huge life decision – to quit her job and leave behind everything she knows for a job that is coveted by many – a barefoot bookseller on a luxurious island in the Maldives. What’s not to love?! I know that would be my dream job (although my husband and sons may have something to say about me running off to the Maldives for a few months!). With no ties keeping her in London and a job offer on the table, Freya is soon on a plane, leaving behind the grey humdrum, and heading towards paradise.
On her arrival, Freya finds herself in a luxurious island resort, where she, and she alone, will be responsible for the set up and launch of a bookshop in the most idyllic location. The resort owner Zander, former boyband member with a reputation, puts his faith in her to realise his dream of owning an exclusive bookshop in paradise, adding yet another piece of luxury to his already luxurious resort. Zander is direct, with a very clear vision of what he wants. He doesn’t suffer fools lightly, and Freya finds herself working hard to meet his goals and please him.
In contrast, Aaron, a dive instructor at the resort, is laid back and easy going. She quickly finds herself building a friendship with him at a time when she could have become lonely, despite the friendly staff and beautiful location.
Two very different men, one beautiful island and a dream job – something many of us can only dream about! Naturally none of it is plain sailing, and it would be boring if it was! Kate Frost has created a wonderful character in Freya. It would be easy to be jealous of Freya, however the way she has been written means that you find yourself rooting for her – you want the island, the job, and the relationships she forms to work out for her. Zander and Aaron are also both great characters in completely different ways – character progression is clear for them both, and i really enjoyed following them both. There are some twists in the novel that really work, and they certainly took me by surprise! It would also be remiss of me not to mention the location – Kate really brings to life the stunning, tropical location. She almost made me believe i was there!
I am more than happy to recommend this novel – it’s a great piece of escapism, and perfect for a summer read. So grab a copy, your sunglasses and a chilled glass of bubbles and lose yourself in the Maldives with Freya!
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Thank you to Kate Frost and Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour, and for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.
Kate Frost is the author of best-selling romantic escape novels (The Baobab Beach Retreat, A Starlit Summer, The Greek Heart and The Amsterdam Affair), character-driven women’s fiction (The Butterfly Storm series and Beneath the Apple Blossom), and Time Shifters, a time travel adventure trilogy for children. She has a MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University, where she also taught lifewriting to creative writing undergraduates.
Kate lives in Bristol with her husband, young son, and their Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Frodo. As well as writing novels, she’s also the Director of Storytale Festival, a new city-wide children’s book festival that she co-founded in Bristol in 2019 with the ethos of making books accessible to all and encouraging children and teens to read, write and be creative. Kate feels incredibly lucky to spend her days writing and being immersed in books.
Today it is my pleasure to bring you my review of Daisy’s Dilemma by Debbie Viggiano as part of her fabulous book tour!
Daisy is currently living her perfect life, after coming through a particularly difficult breakup with her husband Harry. She runs her own perfect little florist shop, and she is engaged to the wonderful Dominic. Even the fact that he hasn’t yet bought her ring, or that she hasn’t met his mother yet can bring her down. However knowing that her best friend Becky is less than keen on Dominic, and with a few comments making her start to doubt him, is her relationship with Dominic as perfect as she thought? Throw in an ex-husband who is now convinced that he made a mistake leaving her, and a new gorgeous neighbour moving in next door, Daisy’s life has gone from perfect to complicated in seconds!
There are no surprises in this novel but please don’t see that as a bad thing. Sometimes a novel just works for us due to the lack of surprises…it provides comfort and ease of reading! Which is exactly what Debbie Viggiano provides us with in this novel, Daisy’s Dilemma. Daisy and Becky are a great duo – wonderfully different as characters, but they just compliment each other beautifully. Daisy does of course have her rose tinted glasses on when it comes to Dominic which in a novel can sometimes come across as a little annoying – I’m pleased to confirm though that this is not the case in this novel. Instead, it is clear that the pain her ex-husband Harry caused her just makes Daisy want to be loved. She loves Dominic, and so she is a little blinkered when it comes to him. However the arrival of her new neighbour Seth gives her all the feels, and forces her to see the cracks in her relationship with Dominic, even if she doesn’t really want to.
This is a great novel from Debbie Viggiano – it’s a nice easy read that is perfect for those summer days ahead of us. The characters are fun and relatable (I’m a big fan of best friend Becky), and the story is a good one. Naturally we get a nice dose of romance thrown in, but rather than all-encompassing romance, it’s more of a sweet slow burner. I really enjoyed this novel, and I am more than happy to recommend it to you all. So please, go and grab yourself a copy!
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Thank you to Debbie Viggiano and Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour, and for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.
Prior to turning her attention to writing, Debbie Viggiano was, for more years than she cares to remember, a legal secretary. She lives with her Italian husband, a rescued pooch from Crete, and a very disgruntled cat. Occasionally her adult children return home bringing her much joy… apart from when they want to raid the fridge or eat her secret stash of chocolate. Tweet @DebbieViggiano or follow her on Facebook!
Today it is my pleasure to bring you my review as part of Maxine Morrey’s fabulous blog tour for her new novel, Things Are Looking Up.
I’m feeling confident that the blurb has drawn you in…in a world where we all spend far too much staring down at our phones, we meet Milly, a woman who can’t tear her eyes away from hers. Her job is her everything, to the detriment of her relationships with both partners and her family. She’s never really truly present in her own life, and is not really able to give 100% to anything outside of her job.
Milly is a fashion journalist, and the chance of a lifetime is within her reach; a job at Vogue, the ultimate fashion magazine. The years of hard work and loneliness were finally going to pay off until the one important moment she spent her staring at her phone. Waking up in a hospital bed after her very close encounter with a bus, Milly is forced into a new life – one with significantly less money, less work but more time. Time to spend with loved ones and time to re-evaluate what was really important. I’m pleased to confirm that we have also a delightful romance with an incredibly handsome man thrown in for good measure!
Maxine Morrey has yet again provided us with an excellent novel – I’m not sure she can write a bad one! Our phones are such an integral part of all of ours lives that I think we sometimes forget to look up, just like Milly. Enjoying your job is for many people a rare thing, but we have to remember how important relationships are to us all – the people in front of us are, social media and our phones do not always depict real life. Maxine captures this perfectly, and highlights the fact that we should all be focusing on our real relationships.
I am more than happy to recommend this novel. If this is your first Maxine Morrey novel, you will read this and be left wanting to read more! So please do! Grab yourself a glass of wine, a blanket (yes I know its May, but the sunshine still hasn’t made an appearance!!) and settle in for an evening with Milly and the delicious Jed!
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Thank you to Maxine Morrey and Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of this fabulous blog tour, and for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review!
Maxine Morrey is a bestselling romantic comedy author with ten books to her name including Winter’s Fairytale and the top ten hit The Christmas Project. Her eleventh book is being released by Boldwood in 2021. She lives in West Sussex. Her first novel for Boldwood, #No Filter, was published in November 2019.
Today I am pleased to bring you my review of Bridgerton: The Duke & I by Julia Quinn.
I’m going to assume that you know all about Bridgerton – if you don’t, have you been living under a rock?! Bridgerton, series one, was the Netflix hit of lockdown. If you don’t want to marry the Duke of Hastings then I don’t know what is wrong with you! Anyway, after falling in love with the Bridgerton family thanks to Netflix I just knew that I had to dive into the novels!
Having already seen the series (over the course of two days, I really binge watched it!), I already knew the premise of this first novel. But as we all know, movies and tv series will never include all the finer details included within a novel, so I was keen to dive right in.
The Duke and I focusses on Daphne Bridgerton, the eldest daughter in the Bridgerton family. She has been on the debutante circuit for a while now, without any suitable marriage proposals. She’s forthright, and knows what she wants; she’s also lucky enough to have supportive brothers who won’t palm her off on the first man to propose.
The Duke of Hastings has returned to England following the death of his father. With his new title, he is the most eligible bachelor in London, with mothers everywhere desperately pushing their single daughters towards him, hoping to secure their futures. Naturally, Simon has a secretive past that has him convinced that he needs to remain single – he will never marry, and no one can persuade him otherwise.
When Daphne and Simon come up with a mutually beneficial fake courtship, everything seems perfect for them – Daphne is now attracting suitors and Simon is no longer constantly surrounded by meddling mothers. As we all know though, the route to love is never a smooth one, especially when you have the elusive Lady Whistledown providing a very thorough commentary…
Based on the assumption that you have watched Bridgerton (and loved it – what’s not to love?!), then it is safe to assume that this is the novel for you. It’s got all the little details that are missing from the series, but includes all the handsomeness, sauciness and amazing costumery. Plus, we all know that we’re going to have to wait for series 2…no need to wait for the novels though! I shall be diving into The Viscount Who Loved Me as soon as I am able to, I can’t wait to learn more about Anthony, the eldest Bridgerton, and his rakish ways! So go and grab yourself a copy of this book, a large glass of wine and get ready to devour the naughtiest book of the season!
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Obviously this book can be purchased at all good bookshops, but personally I’m rather attached to my local independent bookshop – so if you want to support a local business, then please follow the link below when buying your copy (not an ad, I just happen to love that I have a local independent bookshop!)
Today it is my pleasure to bring you my review of Primrose Park by Christie Barlow as part of her fabulous Blog Blitz!
Molly is a career driven, independent woman. She loves being a vet, and her veterinary practice is her sole focus, caring for the animals in her community. When the opportunity to do some new training comes up, she jumps at the chance – she is keen to ensure that everyone has the opportunity for a loving relationship with their dogs, even the more difficult ones! A random encounter with a handsome stranger at the training conference makes her question if she actually does want something more in her life, but her night of passion ends abruptly when he vanishes the next morning, leaving Molly with nothing but his first name – Cam.
Three months later, Cam is never far from her thoughts. Whilst she is not one for one night stands, she knows they had an amazing connection – so when he turns up in Heartcross Molly cannot believe her luck! Until of course, he makes it quite clear it really was just a one night stand…for Molly though it will never just be a one night stand, when she finds her situation changing dramatically – it could be said that she finds herself with a lifelong commitment thanks to their one night together!
I was so excited to revisit Love Heart Lane – this is a series that I love. It is full of characters that we know and love, whilst learning more about a character that we are aware of, but know nothing about yet. It’s like putting on your favourite jumper – its warm and comforting, and that is how Heartcross feels to me. Yet again, I was lucky enough to get an early copy of this novel, so I was able to make my sisters jealous again as they waited until publication day to get their hands on it!
Molly is such a lovely character, although I did find her a little needy at times when it came to Cam – this is easily forgiven though when you consider her raging hormones and her own upbringing. She is keen to create her own family, and I can understand her reasons for wanting Cam to be a part of that.
Primrose Park is an excellent addition to the Love Heart Lane series, and I am more than happy to recommend it to you all! So grab yourself a hot chocolate (because quite frankly it’s still chilly, despite now being May!), a blanket, and a copy of this lovely book!
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Thank you to Christie Barlow and Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting to me a part of this Blog Blitz, and for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.
Christie Barlow is the number one international bestselling author of fifteen romantic comedies including the iconic Love Heart Lane Series, A Home at Honeysuckle Farm and Kitty’s Countryside Dream. She lives in a ramshackle cottage in a quaint village in the heart of Staffordshire with her four children and two dogs.
Her writing career has come as a lovely surprise when Christie decided to write a book to teach her children a valuable life lesson and show them that they are capable of achieving their dreams. Christie’s dream was to become a writer and the book she wrote to prove a point went on to become a #1 international bestseller in the UK, USA, Canada and Australia.
When Christie isn’t writing she co-presents The Book Show on Radio Northwich, enjoys playing the piano, is a keen gardener and loves to paint and upcycle furniture.
Christie is an ambassador for the @ZuriProject alongside Patron of the charity, Emmerdale’s Bhasker Patel. They raise money and awareness for communities in Uganda.
Christie loves to hear from her readers and you can get in touch via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
I am very pleased to bring you my review of The Single Mums Book Club by Victoria Cooke on publication day!
Great blurb, and a great cover – excellent ways to draw a reader in, and The Single Mums Book Club provides us with both!
Stephanie is a single Mum of three, who is struggling with her newfound situation. She had always craved to be part of a stereotypical family unit, and for a few short years she had achieved that. Unfortunately, her husband had decided that he wasn’t actually keen on marriage, and therefore ended her perfect family life. As a result, Stephanie finds herself regularly alone, with three children, and very little help. She needs to find herself again, but she has no time, no money and she didn’t even get to keep her friends in the divorce. After what can only be described as an epic breakdown in the local supermarket, Stephanie finds herself in the company of her neighbour Janey, a fellow Mum with her own problems. And so, the Single Mum’s Book Club was born! With the addition of Amanda, a widowed woman desperately in need of company, these three women form a support group that is, at times, loosely based on books!
The descriptions of motherhood in this book are scarily accurate, divorced or not. We’ve all felt stressed, juggling the many tasks that we are faced with when we have children. Even if you’ve got a supportive partner, life is always hectic when children are involved! Victoria Cooke captures the feelings of Mums everywhere beautifully – she really shows how women can feel torn, how much they adore their children, and how they really do put their children first.
I loved following Stephanie’s story – it was good to see her realise that her perfect family life may not have actually been that perfect. In fact it was good to see her realise how her idea of perfect may not have been perfect for her at all! Naturally we got a lovely little romance thrown in for good measure, which was not picture perfect either – dating a divorced mother of three is never going to be easy, but I loved following their own story.
I am more than happy to recommend this novel – it was a lovely, easy read which was very easy to relate to. Perfect for a bank holiday weekend – so grab yourself a copy, a blanket and a glass of wine and dive right in!
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Thank you to Victoria Cooke and Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me on this blog tour, and for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Victoria Cooke grew up in the city of Manchester before crossing the Pennines in pursuit of a career in education. She now lives in Huddersfield with her husband and two young daughters and when she’s not at home writing by the fire with a cup of coffee in hand, she loves working out in the gym and travelling. Victoria was first published at the tender age of eight by her classroom teacher who saw potential in a six-page story about an invisible man. Since then she’s always had a passion for reading and writing, undertaking several writers’ courses before completing her first novel, ‘The Secret to Falling in Love,’ in 2016.
Her third novel, Who Needs Men Anyway? became a digital bestseller in 2018 and her debut, The Secret fo Falling in Love was optioned in 2020.
Today I would like to bring you my review of Away with the Penguins by Hazel Prior.
I’m sure that like me, you have seen this novel recommended everywhere! I was therefore determined to read this novel as soon as I could, and I was not disappointed!
Veronica McCreedy is an 85 woman, who lives alone in her large house, with only her housekeeper Eileen for company. She is stubborn, and she is most definitely set in her ways! She spends her days litter picking or watching wildlife documentaries, but as the days pass her by she realises that she has a significant amount of money and no one to leave it to when she dies. As her past seems to haunt her more and more, she looks to the future – one that she would really like to have an impact on, despite her advancing age. One evening, whilst upset that her beloved Earth Matters show seems have finished, she discovers a new wildlife show, The Plight of Penguins, presented by her favourite wildlife presenter Robert Saddlebow. What follows, is a journey of epic proportions. An elderly woman with a plight, a long lost Grandson, and finally, a colony of penguins in deepest Antarctica.
Away with the Penguins is a story about love and loss, but it is so much more than that. It is a story that shows us that no matter what barriers you find in front of you, they can be overcome. Mrs McCreedy is a very wealthy woman, and as we all know, money can indeed help make life a little easier. But that money did not stop her reaching 85 years of age all alone, with no one but her housekeeper for company. However, she does not let her age hold her back in her quest to help the penguins. Instead she goes on an actual quest, across land and sea, finding out more about herself whilst also cautiously letting others into her life.
This is such a wonderful novel – it was easy to get wrapped up in Veronicas story and empathise with her. She may have been an older lady set in her ways with a grouchy nature, but as you learn more about her you realise why she has shut herself away for so long. I also really enjoyed learning more about Patrick, which added such a beautiful element to the story as it unfolded. I am more than happy to recommend this novel – if it does nothing else other than make you want to pick up the phone and call your Grandparents if you are still lucky enough to have them, then it will have been a successful read.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Away with the Penguins can be bought in all good bookshops, but if you can support a local independent bookshop then please do.
Today it is my pleasure to bring you my review of High Heels in the Highlands by Liz Hurley on day one of her amazing blog tour!
So High Heels in the Highlands is the third novel in the series about the Hiverton sisters – if you want a quick catch up them please head over to check out my reviews of the first two books in the series;
I adored the first 2 novels in this series, and High Heels in the Highlands was no exception. Lady Clementine is having a bit of a rough time in her career, and so when her older sister Ariana asks that she heads up to Scotland to check out their newly inherited Scottish castle, she is more than happy to do so. What she doesn’t anticipate though is the resident housekeeper and the local bearded young farmer. Clem is hot headed with a temper to match, but with her heart in the right place. She is fiercely loyal to her family, and will do what it takes to ensure that they are all safe and well. What she doesn’t anticipate though, particularly as a city dweller through and through, is falling in love with her castle. It ignites something in her – her passion for fashion, but it also gives her something to fight for. She finds herself working within her small community, and realising that the castle is just as important to peoples livelihoods as it is to hers. Add in a very stubborn housekeeper who hasn’t left the castle in decades and what follows is certainly not boring!
I love this series, I really do. It provides us with the familiarity of following one family, the Hiverton sisters, whilst also introducing us to a whole new story each time with a wealth of new characters. It’s the best of both worlds in terms of giving us a great standalone novel, whilst learning about a family member that you’ve already been briefly introduced to! The five sisters are all so different as well, so none of the stories can possibly be the same, even though they all experienced the same traumatic childhood following the loss of their parents at such a young age. Its like putting on your favourite comfortable cardigan but in a new colour!
I am more than happy to recommend this novel. It is a light easy that really draws you in and gets you to engage with the characters. I loved the dynamic between Clem and Otto, and I adore the fierce loyalty of the sisters to one another. If I was to have one gripe, it would be that the books haven’t been released in chronological order – it caused me a little confusion to begin with (you’ll understand if you’ve read the first two already) but if that’s the worst thing I can say then I think we are doing well! So please do go out and grab yourself a copy of this fabulous novel!
Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Thank you to Liz Hurley and Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of this wonderful blog tour, and for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.
Stormy Days on Mulberry Lane is the seventh book in this wonderful series, and once again it focuses on our heroine Peggy Ronoscki. She has finally returned to the lanes, both for herself and for the opportunities that it provides her children. She is once again surrounded by her beloved friends and family and she is content with her life. The war is over, rationing has eased and she loves to look after those that stay at her guesthouse. But when Peggy finds a collapsed girl in the marketplace, her good nature pushes her to take her in and care for her. Her son Pip is also involved in an awful car accident, leaving Peggy to hold together everything in the lanes so that her daughter and daughter-in-law can rush to be by his side. Peggy’s good nature may finally come back to bite her, as trouble starts to follow in her wake!
Whilst Stormy Days on Mulberry Lane can definitely be read as a standalone novel, I would not recommend it because you’d be missing out on the wonderful, colourful stories that bring you to this point in the lanes. Peggy Ronoscki is such a central character in the Mulberry Lane series, that it would be a shame to miss out on understanding her story and how she came to be at this point in her life. She is such a kind and caring character, who clearly suffered during WWII, but it made her stronger. Her strength of character is a delight to read, and her husband Able compliments her so beautifully that they are really a pleasure to read about. Maureen and her daughter Shirley are also favourite characters of mine, and I’ve really enjoyed watching them grow and evolve as characters throughout this series. Shirley in particular really comes into her own in this novel,.
So whilst we have left WWII behind us in this novel (and I am a big fan of fiction set during WWII, particularly when its following the strength of women), I continue to love this series as it shows us how that period in time continues to have an effect on all those who made it through. I love revisiting characters, and continuing to watch them evolve and grow, and the Mulberry Lane series is no exception to this. I am more than happy to recommend this novel to you (along with the other 6 in the series!). If you haven’t get discovered the ladies of Mulberry Lane, a snowy, lockdown day like today is the perfect opportunity! So grab yourself a hot chocolate and blanket, and curl up with the women of Mulberry Lane!
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Thank you to Rosie Clarke and Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour and for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.
Rosie Clarke is a #1 bestselling saga writer whose most recent books include The Mulberry Lane series. She has written over 100 novels under different pseudonyms and is a RNA Award winner. She lives in Cambridgeshire.