I am very pleased to bring you my review of The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale.
Well this is a novel like nothing else I have ever read!
Cathy Wray is a young woman with a secret. When she finds herself having to run away from her home and everything that she knows, she finds herself following an advert to a mysterious toy shop in London. It is here that she makes herself a new home, despite the shop only being open during the Christmas season. It is also here that she finds herself making a new family whilst discovering a multitude of secrets.
Papa Jack started The Emporium as a way to escape his past and protect his two sons. The magic he brings to his toys is truly unbelievable. And yet all you want to do is believe. But setting such a high standard can only bring a competitiveness between his sons that he would never have imagined.
What a magical novel! I was hooked from the beginning…stories of patchwork dogs that are so lifelike, and toy soldiers that can wage a war are fantastical, whilst also containing the human element. A real life war, a young women escaping a future that she has no control over – it contains a little something for everyone.
I really enjoyed this novel, and once I had finished it I could not quite understand why I had put off reading it for so long. It was whimsical whilst also being emotional. The magical elements force you to look back at your own childhood whilst wishing The Emporium had existed for us all.
I am more than happy to recommend this novel – there are dark elements to it, but you can’t help but be enchanted by The Emporium and its inhabitants.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this novel. All views and opinions are my own.
I am so excited to bring you my review of this fabulous novel, Book Lovers by Emily Henry.
I feel like I barely need to talk about this book – it was the summer book of 2022 and quite rightly so! I am wildly late in providing you with my thoughts (because i’d like to think that you have already read it), but I’m here to give you my opinion nonetheless! If you’ve followed me for a while you will know that I read and loved Beach Read, so it was only natural that I would pick up Book Lovers. I am pleased to confirm that I was not disappointed!
Nora is a literary agent whose whole life revolves around books. Whilst being a literary agent may not have been her top choice of job, she is good at it. She has always needed stability in her life, and her job provides her with that. With her dating life being a bit of a bust, she has always found solace in her work.
Charlie is an editor who is renowned for the best sellers he creates. However following his first meeting with Nora it is clear that they would never get on, either personally or professionally!
When Nora and Charlie both find themselves unexpectedly in the small town of Sunshine Falls, they must find a way to get along because there is no way of avoiding each other in such a small town!
What a great book – Emily Henry has such a way with characters, as is evident in Book Lovers. Nora on first appearance may appear quite cold and calculating, but she is in fact a wonderful, well rounded character who loves her sister Libby fiercely. After a number of heartbreaks, she is clearly just trying to save herself from a broken heart by putting up walls to everyone but Libby. With Charlie, it is clear that you cannot judge a book by its cover. One bad day, one bad meeting, does not mean that you know him as a man. He attempts to hide his stresses and has the world upon his shoulders.
This is very much a character led novel, but the stereotypical small town setting works perfectly. I cannot recommend this novel enough – its an enemies to lovers novel that will be tough to beat!
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Support your local independent bookstores where possible – if you don’t have one then please feel free to support mine! Maldon Books
I am very pleased to bring you my review of Life and Love at Mulberry Lane by Rosie Clarke on day two of her fabulous blog tour!
Published only yesterday, I was so pleased to get my hands on an early copy of Life and Love at Mulberry Lane. If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you will know what a fan I am of Rosie Clarkes Mulberry Lane series. Life and Love at Mulberry Lane is book 9 in the Mulberry Lane series, so we’ve had plenty of time to become acquainted with these wonderful characters. If you haven’t read anything from the Mulberry Lane series before, check out my reviews of the rest of this fabulous series;
Life and Love at Mulberry Lane finds us in 60s where the next generation in Mulberry Lane is seeking to create their own successes and carve out lives of their own. Penny and Able find themselves heading off the America, with Able keen to show Peggy where he is from, leaving behind Fay and Maggie to finish renovations on the Pig and Whistle whilst pushing their budding businesses forward in the hope of being successful in their own right. But when Peggy finds herself injured so far away from her beloved Mulberry Lane, and with businesses hitting stumbling blocks and love being in the air, life is never straight forward!
I chose to read The Girls of Mulberry Lane because of my love of WWII fiction, so I was dubious when Rosie Clarke started to extend the Mulberry Lane series beyond this timeframe. However now that we are 9 books in, I can confirm that I read these books for the characters. I have loved following them and their children as they navigate a post war London, and it’s so wonderful as you watch the children grow into adults and carve their own paths in the world. I am sure this series is heading towards it natural conclusion now, but I remain hopeful that we’ll get one more book to finish off their stories nicely.
I am more than happy to recommend Life and Love at Mulberry Lane, along with the rest of this wonderful series to you all. It’s full of love, life and drama, with characters that you can’t help but become attached too. It’s Friday, so grab yourself a takeaway, a glass of wine, and settle in for a weekend with Peggy Ronoscki and her friends on Mulberry Lane!
Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Thank you to Boldwood Books, 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 Shop Girls of Harpers and The Mulberry Lane series. She has written over 100 novels under different pseudonyms and is a RNA Award winner. She lives in Cambridgeshire.
Today it is my stop on the fabulous blog tour for Daisy Does it Herself by Gracie Player.
I am a big fan of romance novels set in bookstores, so I knew I was onto a winner when Daisy Does it Herself popped up. Daisy finds herself in the awful position of being jobless and potentially boyfriend less all in the same day. In shock at how her day has turned out, she gets on a train – and doesn’t get off! Finding herself in the beautiful Peak District, she finds herself stuck with no way home. When she comes across the local bookstore in the quaint village of Upper Finlay, Daisy finds herself a refuge. With a place to stay, and a job in the bookstore, Daisy sets herself a timeframe to work out what she wants from her relationship, as well as what she can achieve in her professional life. With the very handsome bookstore owner literally right downstairs, and new friends being made, Daisy finds herself with some very tough decisions to make!
This is such a lovely, easy read novel. The relationship between Daisy and her boyfriend Phil is worrying and the relationship between Daisy and her mother is almost as bad, so watching her escape them and working out what she wants on her own is quite frankly, refreshing. The added bonus is that she has to make all these decisions whilst surrounded by books! There are worse places to be! This is the perfect light read for a rainy (or snowy if the weather forecasts are to be believed!) Sunday afternoon! So get that fire roaring, grab yourself a hot chocolate* (*feel free to replace this with a glass of wine if you’re not doing dry January!) and settle in with this lovely novel – its the perfect way to spend a lazy afternoon!
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources and TRMBooks 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.
Gracie is the author of the romantic fiction novel Daisy Does it Herself.
Gracie loves to create strong, quirky heroines and hopes to introduce you to your latest book-boyfriend crush.
She makes her home in the stunning Peak District in Derbyshire. Where she lives with her partner — amid ongoing negotiations over the size of her book collection and whose job it is to take out the bins!
Today it is my pleasure to bring you my review of New Beginnings at the Old Bakehouse by Christie Barlow, which is book 9 in the Love Heart Lane series.
Imagine my excitement when I found myself in possession of New Beginnings at the Old Bakehouse so soon after receiving The New Doctor at Peony Practice!
New Beginnings at the Old Bakehouse brings back to us some beloved characters, Molly and Cam, so that we can find out what happens to them next. First featured in Primrose Park, it was wonderful to come back to these lovely characters to find out what happened to them and their lovely son George.
Heavily pregnant Molly is keen to give back to the community, so whilst trying to help Sam at the homeless hostel Molly crosses paths with Bree, a young homeless girl. With Cam working hard at the Old Bakehouse, a baby on the way and now a young girl to help, Molly finds herself in a turmoil. With a snow storm thrown into the mix, there is plenty of drama in Heartcross!
Yet another excellent addition to the Love Heart Lane series, and with an opportunity to revisit characters, I am more than happy to recommend New Beginnings at the Old Bakehouse. Christie Barlow certainly knows how to write books that feel like a warm hug – it just makes me want to move to Heartcross and immerse myself in such a lovely community! Definitely go and grab yourself a copy, and cosy up with a blanket and glass of wine and lose yourself in Heartcross!
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Thank you to Netgalley, One More Chapter and Christie Barlow for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.
It is my pleasure to bring you my review of One Night on the Island by Josie Silver.
Cleo is a writer who writes about love but is yet to find it for herself. She has a dating column in a magazine, but she is fast approaching 30 and becoming disillusioned by both her life and her work. When her editor sends her to a remote Irish island to marry herself as a way of marking her 30th birthday, she embraces the idea, even if she’s not yet quite sure what it all means. What she doesn’t want however, is the tall dark American man she finds in her rental cottage on arrival.
Mack, the tall dark American, has escaped to Salvation Island in the hope of creating a photographic exhibition that will surpass anything he’s created before. He has spent years dreaming of following his Grandmothers stories to Salvation Island, but he finally gets the push when he realises he and his wife may be creating a toxic environment for their sons whilst they are separated. What he doesn’t need is some hippy woman in his cottage, intent on marrying herself.
This is a love story, but not in the typical sense. Cleo is a strong, independent woman looking for purpose, and she knows she doesn’t need a man to find it. Mack is a broken man who needs to navigate his marital breakdown whilst ensuring his sons are always his primary focus. They certainly don’t need each other at this point in their lives, but they may just find that wanting each other doesn’t have to mean giving up on their individual dreams.
This was such a lovely story – I loved the remote, harsh landscape of Salvation Island with its tiny community cut off from the rest of the UK. But mostly I loved the characters. I loved that neither one of them wanted to compromise on their aims for the future, and that neither of them had to. Cleo is headstrong and independent, whilst being feminine, loving and empathetic. Mack is a man who is lost and emotional, but with a deep understanding of the need to allow others to grow. The chemistry between them is slow burning, and builds beautifully.
I am more than happy to recommend this novel. This is my first Josie Silver novel, but it certainly won’t be my last!
I am so pleased to bring you my review of The Christmas Trip by Sandy Barker as part of her fabulous blog tour – its officially Christmas novel season!
The Christmas Swap was a standout Christmas novel for me back in 2020, so imagine my excitement when I discovered The Christmas Trip was on its way! I always love a novel that revisits beloved characters, and The Christmas Trip is no exception!
After finding love following the big Christmas swap, Chloe, Jules and Lucy find themselves one year later, living their new realities with Archer, Matt and Will. With big moves, and plenty of travelling, the three of them are looking forward to spending Christmas with their beaus and finally relaxing after what has been a very full on year.
Chloe’s life has changed beyond all recognition as she finds herself living the Hollywood lifestyle with her famous actor boyfriend Archer. After a very fast paced, hectic year, all they want is a relaxing break in Paris – until a volcanic eruption halts all air traffic over Europe.
Jules made the move to Melbourne from Colorado and she couldn’t be happier with her life and with Matt. However she’s finding her flat share a little crowded and craves her own living space.
Lucy is struggling. Whilst she adores her boyfriend Will, the long distance relationship is tough, especially when she seems to be the only one doing any travelling.
When Chloe and Archer’s plans for Paris fall through, he surprises her by bringing her friends to Hawaii so that they can finally enjoy a Christmas all together in the place where they met so many years ago.
I love a good revisit novel – getting the ‘happy ever after’ ending in a romance novel is always great, but we don’t always get the chance to find out what happens next. We all know that ‘happy ever after’ isn’t something that comes easily so actually seeing the bumps in the road after a couple gets together, and seeing how they deal with them serves to make the characters more realistic.
Chloe, Jules and Lucy all have such different stories and relationships, which is what really helps makes this series all the more engaging. They are most definitely not the same, and nor do they try to be. It feels like we’re getting three stories for the price of one, something that I definitely won’t complain about! I like them all as characters, and I feel that they are all relatable and believable. Throw in the beauty of Hawaii and you are onto a winner! Whilst, like Lucy, I was a little disappointed with the lack of snow (I did rather love the Colorado setting in The Christmas Swap), the description of Hawaii definitely left me wanting to visit. It’s just a shame that its unlikely I’ll be seeing Hawaii from a Billionaires mansion!
I am more than happy to recommend this novel to you all. Whilst you could read The Christmas Trip as a standalone, I’m not sure why you would want to – so grab yourself a copy of The Christmas Swap (feel free to check out my review!) and get yourself into the Christmas spirit by reading these two novels back to back! Immerse yourself into the lives of 3 very different best friends, and enjoy their journeys to find love, and what happens next!
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Thank you to Sandy Barker and Rachel from 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.
Sandy is a writer, traveller and hopeful romantic with a lengthy bucket list, and many of her travel adventures have found homes in her novels. She’s also an avid reader, a film buff, a wine lover and a coffee snob.
Sandy lives in Melbourne Australia with her partner, Ben, who she met while travelling in Greece. Their real-life love story inspired Sandy’s debut novel One Summer in Santorini, the first in the Holiday Romance series with One More Chapter, an imprint of HarperCollins.
The series continues in That Night in Paris and A Sunset in Sydney and there are two more to come in 2022. Her standalone novel The Christmas Swap celebrates her favourite time of the year, and next up is The Dating Game, a laugh-out-loud romcom set in the world of Reality TV.
I am very excited to bring you my review of Just Say Yes by Maxine Morrey, on day one of her fabulous blog tour and publication day!
I’m always excited when I find out Maxine Morrey is releasing a new novel – she hasn’t written anything that I haven’t loved yet! I am pleased to confirm that I was not disappointed with Just Say Yes!
Madeline is a wedding planner, with a business that has really suffered thanks to the recent global pandemic. Money is tight, so she really needs her business to start taking off again if she doesn’t want to find herself swimming in her cottage every time it rains! Maddie is ecstatic when she finds herself planning a wedding for American heiress Peyton to her beloved Irish fiancé Patrick. When she finds out that the best man Lorcan is on hand to help, she’s less than impressed. She needs this wedding to be a huge success, and the last thing she needs is the distraction of a tall, dark and handsome irishman.
With the wedding set to take place in Ireland, Maddie finds herself in the small village of Ballelee with Lorcan. After spending so much time alone, Maddie finds herself drawn into the warmth of a tight knit village – maybe she really does need more in her life than just her work.
This is such a great novel – Maddie is a great character. She is a strong, ambitious woman despite the trauma that she hides. She has built up her own business, and she has created the life that she lives. All of this has made her a little isolated though, most definitely not helped by the pandemic.
Lorcan is the tall, dark and handsome – what’s not to like? To make him even better, he is kind, caring and all about his family and friends. He’s the man I am more than happy dreaming about, and he makes the perfect leading man!
I am more than happy to recommend this novel – it’s a great light hearted romance with some wonderful characters. I loved the Irish setting too, it really made me want to visit Ireland as soon as possible! So if this sounds like your kind of book, then I recommend that you immediately grab yourself a copy and curl up with a lovely chilled glass of wine! Once you’ve finished Just Say Yes, I highly recommend that you go and visit Maxine’s back catalogue – check out my blog for my many reviews of her wonderful novels!
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 such a fabulous blog tour, and for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.
Today it is my stop on the fabulous blog tour for Hideaway in Iceland by Victoria Walker!
I was very excited to get my hands on this novel, after previously reading Snug in Iceland which I loved! Despite not yet making it to Iceland in real life, immersing myself in Hideaway in Iceland felt like I really was revisiting Reykjavik!
It was lovely to catch up with Rachel and Jonas, as it’s always lovely to find out what happens to characters after a story ends. However it was also nice to finally be introduced to Rachel’s friend Anna and find out what her story is.
When Anna finds herself jobless without any prospects in London, she finally takes the plunge and heads to Iceland to catch up with Rachel who has embarked on a new life in Reykjavik with her beloved Jonas.
Ned Nokes was a member of one of the biggest boy bands in the world. He is desperately trying to find himself outside of the confines of his group, but with the paparazzi and media always on his tail, he really needs to find somewhere in the world that he can get lost. After settling on Reykjavik, he finds himself able to be himself. No one recognises him as Ned Nokes, famous singer so he finds himself able to relax and work out exactly what kind of music he wants to make for himself.
Naturally Ned and Anna meet in the beautiful setting that is Iceland. What I really enjoyed though is not just that this is a love story – it’s also a story about two individuals who are attempting to forge their own paths in life. They don’t need each other, but the support they have for one another is really wonderful to follow. They are both equals in the story, and whilst the path of their relationship is definitely not smooth, you can’t help but root for them!
I am more than happy to recommend this novel – the setting is stunning and the characters are sweet, loving and ambitious – what’s not to like?! So grab yourself a glass of wine and a blanket, and curl up with this lovely novel!
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Thank you to Victoria Walker 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.
Victoria Walker has been writing romantic fiction since a visit to Iceland in 2014 inspired her first novel. As well as writing, she spends her free time dressmaking, knitting and reading an inordinate amount of contemporary romance, occasionally punctuated by the odd psychological thriller and saga.
In the past she has worked as a cinema projectionist, a knitting and sewing tutor and has owned a yarn store, all things which will no doubt appear in her books if they haven’t already.
Victoria lives in the Malvern Hills with her husband and occasionally her two adult children.
I can’t believe it’s taken me so long, but I have finally read Where the Crawdads Sing – so I am very pleased to bring you my review.
I am more than a little late to the Where the Crawdads Sing party. My bestie loved this book, and insisted that we go and see the newly released film adaptation. Naturally I thought I should read the book first, which didn’t exactly go to plan.
So I really struggled when I first picked up this novel – after 10 days of reading, I went to see the movie having only finished Part One: The Marsh and I wasn’t sure if I would even be able to finish it. To say my friend was disappointed was an understatement. Add my inability to finish the book to the slew of negative movie reviews, we went to the cinema feeling a little dejected.
I am pleased to confirm however that you can confidently ignore the movie critics! I loved the film, it was an emotional watch, set against a stunning yet eerie backdrop. I cried, and I suddenly felt compelled to rush home and read Part 2: The Swamp! I was not disappointed – with a renewed enthusiasm I devoured the second half of this novel. Delia Owens descriptions of the swamp are hauntingly beautiful. The feeling of isolation flows from her words, pulling you into the marsh with Kya, the shunned marsh girl who against all odds survived the wilderness alone, with only nature for company. The characterisation is beautiful; as a mother my heart breaks for Kya as her childhood becomes increasingly isolated and lonely, and she has to grow up far too fast in order to survive.
A murder trial runs throughout this novel, but plays second fiddle to Kya’s story as she learns to survive and live in a wilderness that many much braver than she could not survive.
If you want a novel rich in atmosphere, haunting yet beautiful, with stunning characterisation, then this is the novel for you. If, like me, you had ignored the hype about this novel and just added the novel to your TBR pile – please pick it up and get reading. You won’t regret it!