Book Review: Promise Me by Jill Mansell #PromiseMe @JillMansell @HeadlineFiction @headlinepg @RandomTTours

Synopsis

Fate’s about to make mischief…

One minute Lou is happily employed, with a perfect flat. The next, her home and job have gone. Suddenly she has to start over.

The last thing Lou wants is to move to a tiny Cotswolds village. She certainly doesn’t intend to work for curmudg-eonly eighty-year-old Edgar Allsopp. But Edgar is about to make her the kind of promise nobody could ignore. In return, she secretly vows to help him fall in love with life again.

Foxwell is also home to Remy, whose charm and charisma are proving hard to ignore. But Lou hasn’t recovered from the last time she fell for a charmer. She needs a distraction – and luckily one’s about to turn up.

Secrets never stay hidden for long in Foxwell, nor are promises always kept. And no one could guess what lies ahead…

My Review

Lou believes that she is only passing through Foxwell whilst spending some time with her friend Sammy that is until she bumps into Foxwell’s grumpiest resident, 80 year old Edgar. Edgar makes Lou a proposal that is too good to be true i.e. that if Lou becomes Edgar’s carer that when he passes she will inherit his home Walton House. Edgar has no family and no one he is close to so Lou decides to find out why Edgar is the way he is and helps him reconnect with an old flame. Also in Foxwell is Sammy’s older brother Remy who Lou cannot help but like more than she should.

One of my favourite things about a new Jill Mansell book is the map at the beginning because it helps me connect to the location, the characters in the story and where they are when the storyline is unfolding. I really liked the sound of Foxwell and Edgar’s home sounded like the perfect country home/mansion.

This was such an enjoyable read and it was nice to escape to Foxwell whilst reading. I knew after reading the first chapter that I was going to like this book. The first meeting between Lou and Edgar was memorable and comedic that had me laughing and smiling especially as Lou tries to help Edgar who’s fallen but he hits her with his walking stick as he believes he is being mugged. But in that first meeting grumpy Edgar takes a shine to Lou. He realises that he needs help and that Lou is the person to be his carer so he quickly connects with Lou making sure he has her contact details and then puts forward his proposal. Although Edgar’s offer sounds ideal Lou has to put up with a lot and Edgar expects a lot from her and it isn’t until later on in the book that Edgar realises how lucky he is to have Lou. I loved the addition of Captain Oates, the dog. He is the perfect companion for Edgar as he is another version of Edgar in dog form. They have the same temperament when it comes to people, are both grumpy and snappy.

Lou is a very caring character and this is apparent from the beginning. She is a very attentive carer, always putting people first but she does open a can of worms when she helps Edgar reconnect with Della who’s intentions towards Edgar are less that favourable. As a character Lou has lost her husband and finds herself newly single but she is apprehensive about starting a relationship with anyone because of the way that she was treated by her husband. When Remy makes an appearance Lou starts to reassess her position on relationships. I loved the interactions between Lou and Remy. It was clear that Lou really liked Remy but she believes that he was out of her reach and that he didn’t see her as anything other than his brother’s best friend. However, as we quickly learn Remy likes Lou more than a friend but he’s never actually pursued anything with her because he believed mistakenly that something might happen between Sammy and Lou and didn’t want to stand in their way.

A book about relationships and finding love.

Author Bio

Jill Mansell has been writing Sunday Times bestsellers for over twenty years, most recently Should I Tell You? Her hobbies include exploring the Cotswolds and the south west of England, scouting for locations for future books, and discovering brilliant new restaurants along the way. She lives in Bristol with her family.

Twitter @Jill Mansell

Facebook /OfficialJillMansell

Instagram @JillMansell

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Book Review: The House That Made Us by Alice Cavanagh #TheHouseThatMadeUs #BlogTour @julietstories @TeamBATC

Synopsis

One Day meets Up: The House That Made Us is a love story – and a life story – told through a series of photographs and inspired by a true story

When Mac and Marie marry and find a home of their own, Mac takes a snap of them outside their newbuild bungalow, the garden bare and the paint on the front door still wet. It becomes a tradition, this snap, and slowly the photographs build into an album of a fifty-year relationship.

Every year they take a photo and though things change around them – the garden matures, the fashions change, they grow older – the one constant is their love. Every year, come rain, come shine, from the Seventies through the decades, every photo tells the story of their love. But life never travels the path you expect it to, though they know that a life with love is a life lived to the full.

Now, in the present day, the photo album belongs to someone who doesn’t know the people in its pages. As they watch the lives from the past unfold, will the truth of their love story be told…?

A heart-breaking story about life and love for readers who love Holly Miller, Jojo Moyes and Hazel Prior.

My Review

At the start of the book we are introduced to two unnamed characters that are looking through a photo album. That photo album contains the story of Mac, Marie and their home which they call Sunnyside. Each photo in the album documents Mac and Marie’s story from the first day they moved into Sunnyside to the present. But who were Mac and Marie and what is their story?

I found this to be a really enjoyable and heart-warming read. The story was unique and I loved the idea of Mac and Marie’s life story being documented in a photo album which was being looked at by a stranger. This is a duel timeline story. In the present we have the photo album being looked at by a stranger and each photo being discussed with their companion about how Mac and Marie’s life has changed each year based on the next picture in the album. As each page is turned we are taken back to the past where we meet Mac and Marie. We are given an insight into their first day at Sunnyside as a married couple and then we follow their story to the present date. It was interesting to learn about Mac and Marie’s life story but also the stories of the people that surround them and their extended families. Mac and Marie go through a lot together as a couple but also as a  family. We follow their journey from a newly married couple, to becoming parents, to becoming grandparents. As individuals Mac and Marie have very different family backgrounds. Mac lost his parents when he was a baby and was raised by his aunt. Growing up he wanted nothing more than a big family. Marie comes from a very big family and she initially planned to pursue her hairdressing career after marriage until she fell pregnant. In marrying Marie, Mac not only fulfilled his dream of starting a family but also became a part of Marie’s big family. One of the things I found interesting about the storyline is when Mac starts to delve into who his parents were and finds long buried secrets that were kept from him growing up.

I thought I had an inkling as to who the stranger was that was looking through the photo album. But when there was a plot twist towards the end of the book I realised I was completely wrong when the character’s identity was revealed. It was a very pleasant surprise and one I could never have guessed or anticipated.

An emotional and heartwarming read about the story of one family spanning many years.

Author Bio

Alice Cavanagh was born in Fulham and still lives in London. She writes under a variety of names, including her real name, Bernadette Strachan, and as Juliet Ashton.

Book Review: Becoming Ted by Matt Cain #BecomingTed @MattCainWriter @headlinepg

Synopsis

It’s never too late to follow your dreams…

41 year-old Ted Ainsworth has worked in his family’s ice-cream business, in the quiet Lancashire town of St Luke’s-on-Sea, for his whole life. But the truth is, Ted has never wanted to work for the family firm – he doesn’t even like ice cream, though he’d never tell his parents that. And when Ted’s husband suddenly leaves him, the bottom falls out of his world.

But Ted isn’t alone. His best friend, the flamboyant Denise, is determined to help – she hasn’t forgotten that he once helped her through her worst time. She knows that Ted has a secret dream, and she’s going to help him on his way, despite his parents, the disapproval of locals, and a series of mysterious letters that may threaten the happiness of Ted’s nearest and dearest…

My Review

When Ted’s husband, Giles tells him out of the blue that he’s leaving him for another man. Ted’s world quite literally falls apart. Ted no longer has a husband and he’s working and running the family business Ainsworth’s Ice Cream but he doesn’t even like ice cream. When Giles leaves, Ted starts to reassess his life and what he really wants to do, which includes his secret passion to become a drag queen. But then the mysterious letters start to appear. As Ted starts his journey to become a drag queen hiding this secret from his parents, it appears someone close to him maybe hiding their own secret from him. Will Ted take those first steps to making the life he’s always wanted and making his dream come true?

When I started this book and in the first chapter when Ted discovered Giles was leaving him I felt so bad for Ted. I just wanted to give him a big hug. It just seemed so unfair how he found out and then when the reality kicked in everyone around him were starting new relationships and Ted found himself very single. Giles leaving Ted did in some ways give Ted the push he needed and the motivation to pursue his dreams. As a young child when Ted met his first drag queen Ted was in awe and it left a lasting impression on him but he never had the confidence to go for it. But for the first time Ted puts himself first and makes a pretty amazing drag queen called Gail Force. At Ted’s first open mic night you could tell that this is a role that Ted was made for. He was a natural, funny and very witty. Although Ted loved Giles immensely, Giles wasn’t very good for Ted because he was always putting him down, telling him he shouldn’t try new things in case it showed him up. Rather than supporting him even if something went wrong Giles was very negative which did dent Ted’s confidence and supress his true personality.

I really loved the storyline and it was such a refreshing read and one I will not forget very easily. The storyline is a mix of Ted finding his true self, with a little family drama thrown in and then of course he meets Oskar. That first meeting between Ted and Oskar in the ice cream shop was probably one of the cutest scenes I’ve ever read. They both catch each other’s eye but they both become really flustered when they try to talk to each other. As characters Ted and Oskar are quite similar because they are both keeping secrets. When Ted decides to become a drag queen and starts his preparations for the open mic night he doesn’t tell his parents as he’s not sure how they will react. When he does tell them they are nothing but supportive. Oskar fled Poland because he knew that as a gay man he would never be accepted but since moving to St Luke’s he’s never officially come out as gay or told anyone. So when the Oskar meets Ted it prompts him to be open about how he truly feels and who he truly is. When Oskar does come out to his work colleagues their reaction isn’t what he was expecting because they are fine about it and say they already knew he was gay but to them he is still the same Oskar.

A heart-warming story filled with drama, romance and a happily ever after that will make you smile.

Author Bio

Matt Cain is an author, leading commentator on LGBT+ issues, and a former journalist. For the past two years he has been a presenter for Virgin Radio Pride, was Channel 4’s first Culture Editor, Editor-In- Chief of Attitude magazine, and has judged the Costa Prize, the Polari Prize and the South Bank Sky Arts Awards. He won Diversity in Media’s Journalist Of the Year award in 2017 and is an ambassador for Manchester Pride and the Albert Kennedy Trust, plus a patron of LGBT+ History Month. Born in Bury and brought up in Bolton, he now lives in London.

Book Review: Someone To Kiss By Jaime Anderson #SomeoneToKiss @jandersonwrites @rararesources

Synopsis

As the clock strikes midnight over a disastrous New Year’s Eve and happy couples celebrate all around her, Kate makes a resolution, hastily scrawled on the back of a napkin, that next New Year’s Eve she will have found someone of her own to kiss.

But when you’re a forty-something cat-mom who’d rather binge Netflix than brave the singles scene, finding someone to kiss turns out to be harder than it sounds. Kate is totally unprepared for navigating hook-up apps, speed-dating, and sliding into somebody’s DMs.

With the end of the year rapidly approaching, Kate seems further than ever from reaching her goal. As relationships crumble around her and dark long-kept secrets spill out, could Kate’s fixation on her quest cause her to let true love slip through her fingers forever?

Amazon Link: https://mybook.to/someonetokiss

My Review

On New Year’s Eve Kate is at a wedding and whilst everyone is welcoming in the new year Kate realises that she is alone and she has no one to kiss. So she vows that by the end of the year she will have someone that she can bring in the new year with. So starts Kate’s journey into the world of dating. Will Kate meet the one before the years out?

I really enjoy this book. At times it was funny but at times it was very emotional. What really surprised me about this book is that there is so much more to the story than what is presented in the blurb. Essentially this book is pitched as Kate’s journey into the world of dating to see if she can find the person that she is meant to be with by the end of the year but the story isn’t just about Kate. In fact the story is about three people. Very early on we are introduced to Kate who is very lonely but wants to be in a relationship. Her past relationships haven’t ended particularly well and so when Kate makes a decision that she will find someone she puts a lot of pressure on herself to make it happen. She goes on some really disastrous dates, to what I can only describe as a very chaotic speed dating experience and when she thinks she’s met the right person for her it transpires that isn’t the case. The story is also about Kate’s best friend Julia. From Kate’s perspective Julia is perfect and she’s everything that Kate isn’t. Julia is independent, outgoing and attracts men very easily but doesn’t take relationships seriously. But as Kate learns this is far from the truth. Julia is hiding a devastating secret and she acts strong to hide her true feelings. This is also the story of Ben who is Julia’s older brother. Ben, Julia and Kate have always been friends and have always spent a lot of time together. However Ben has always liked Kate more than just a friend but he’s never expressed how he feels about her and Kate has never seen him other than Julia’s brother and her friend. It was very clear from the outset that Ben really liked Kate not only because of some of the things he would say to her but the way he would Interact with her. He was always there for her, he’d always listen to her talk about men but it must have been so torturous.

Although this is a story about Kate finding the love of her life this is also a story about friendship and relationships. Kate and Julia have such a lovely friendship that starts to suffer when Kate starts to push herself into online dating which means that they start spending little time together but at the same time Julia’s hiding something from Kate. But that secret can only be hidden for so long until Julia eventually cracks and explains how she’s feeling. It takes them to have a very honest conversation with each other for them to realise that although they’ve drifted apart they’re still a big part of each others lives and they reconnect again very quickly.

A story about friendships and finding love where you least expect it.

Author Bio

Jamie Anderson is based in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. A proud Canadian and Saskatchewanian, she wanted to set her first two novels in the place she was born and raised.

She works in content marketing, has a certificate in professional writing and has done a smattering of freelance writing, character development and copyediting over the past several years.

She’s been writing for as long as she can remember, and has been reading for longer than that. She lives happily with her mountain of books, her TV and her two plants.

Sign-up to Jamie’s newsletter https://dl.bookfunnel.com/cxifz0ucfv for news on her followup romance novel Love, Julie. You’ll also receive exclusive deals, special offers and a FREE copy of Jamie’s sweet, uplifting novella Running from Christmas as a welcome gift!

Social Media

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/jandersonwrites

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Book Review: My (Extra) Ordinary Life by Rebecca Ryan #MyExtraOrdinaryLife #BlogTour @WriteBecsWrite @TeamBATC @simonschusterUK

Synopsis

Have you ever wondered how normal you are?
What if you were perfectly average?
More than anyone else.

For Emily – it’s true. When she watches a documentary on the average human she sees her life. Her job, her hair, her favourite food. All of her – plainly, horrifically average. Even her blood group. Right there and then, she decides she wants more

She’ll travel the world (i.e. venture out of her hometown)

She’ll become a vegan (it’s interesting to hate cheese, right?)

She’ll do something daring (As long as it’s safety tested)

Nothing will stand in the way of Emily living her best life. Not even Josh and his dimples. Because she absolutely can’t fall in love… that would be too ordinary. 

And from now on, Emily is going to be extraordinary.

My Review

When Emily watches a TV show about the average normal person she realises that she too is average. She believes that there’s nothing about her that’s extraordinary or different and that has to change. So Emily creates a life list of different things that she wants to do which will make her more interesting. Will Emily complete her list? And what happens when she meets Josh and his presence conflicts with one of the items on her list?

I’ve been looking forward to reading this book as soon as I read the synopsis and the cover captured my attention from the moment I saw it. Reading this book came at the right time for me because as soon as I started to read I could definitely relate to Emily and what she was going through. I was feeling a bit jaded with life, not sure where I was meant to be, what to do with myself and then I was introduced to Emily and things just started to make sense. I am a firm believer that books choose the reader and in this case this book chose me. There were a lot of times when I would read passages and the story felt like it was about me and my life. I definitely connected with Emily as a character. She’s likeable, funny, brave, has no filter, has been through a lot in her life but yet she still tries to do her best. Although Emily thinks that she’s just ordinary, nothing about her or her story is ordinary but she feels like she needs to do something more to be interesting. It’s through her journey of self-discovery that she embraces and accepts who she is. If I met Emily in real life I think we would get on really well.

The story isn’t just about Emily trying to complete items on her life list it is also about grieving. Emily lost her twin sister Claire at a very young age and it’s something that she’s never really dealt with. She is always comparing herself to Claire i.e. what would Claire do in her situation, where would Claire be now if she had lived. Despite trying to avoid her grief it is also unavoidable because every time she looks in the mirror she not only sees herself but she also sees Claire. So I can understand why it was so hard for Emily to embrace her loss.

I enjoyed reading this book because it was poignant, emotional and comical all at the same time. There were many instances where I would find myself laughing because of something Emily had done or said. I loved the first meeting between Emily and Josh. Josh gives her an awkward smile and Emily just scowls at him (this is something I would totally do). Despite this they get to know each other and share a pizza while Emily wears her comfy Santa Sprout pyjamas. As for Josh as soon as he as introduced he sounded perfect for Emily. From his description he sounded very dreamy, plus he had dimples which was a bonus. What I liked in particular about Josh is that he sees the real Emily and to him she is perfect as she is. Another person who sees Emily for who she is, is her best friend Kaz. Everyone should have a Kaz in their life.

There were so many memorable scenes in this book that will definitely stay with me for a long time but one of my favourite scenes was definitely when Emily takes part in Tough Mudder and although when the race starts she’s really far behind she never gives up and completes the race.

A book about learning who you are and embracing yourself.

Author Bio

Rebecca Ryan lives in Bradford with her husband and three young children. Although she always loved writing, it hadn’t really occurred to her that she could do it professionally. She recently left her job as a teacher to pursue writing full-time. She enjoys walking in the countryside and takeaways (if that counts as a hobby).

Book Review: The Things That We Lost by Jyoti Patel #TheThingsThatWeLost @Jyoti__Patel @MerkyBooks @RandomTTours

Synopsis

Nik yearns to know more about his father, who died before he was born. His mother, Avani, held hostage by her guilt surrounding his death, refuses to share any information with her son. Nik is forced to create a fragmented image of his father, pulled together from hushed whispers at family gatherings and photos stolen from his mother’s bedroom.

When his grandfather dies, secrets are revealed, and everything Nik thinks he knows about his father is turned on its head. Nik makes it his mission to discover the truth about his father and the circumstances of his death, uncovering painful truths in the process.

The Things That We Lost is a beautifully tender exploration of family, loss, and the lengths we go to, to protect the ones we love.

My Review

When Nik’s grandfather dies a chain of events begin that change the life of his grandson Nik and Nik’s relationship with his mother Avani forever. Family secrets and long hidden memories are uncovered. Nik’s father Elliott died before he was born. Will Nik finally learn who his father was and what happened to him all those years ago?

This was a really interesting read and one I was looking forward too. It’s the death of Nik’s grandfather that is the catalyst for opening a can of worms and revealing family secrets that have never been revealed before. Nik knows very little about his father other than that he died in a car accident but his mother has never gone into great detail about what happened, how he died or who he was as a person. However Nik’s grandfather was keeping secrets of his own which then leads to Nik asking questions that his mother would prefer he didn’t ask.

The story is told from two perspectives: Avani and Nik through a dual timeline. In the past we meet a young Avani and are given an insight into Avani’s relationship with her own mother and how she met Elliott. In the present Nik is trying to uncover the truth about his family but also live his own life.

There are many themes in this book. The theme of identity comes through very clearly from Nik’s perspective as a person born of mixed heritage. Following his grandfather’s death it was quite a culture shock for Nik to see how people mourn within the Gujarati community. When he goes to India with Avani to scatter his grandfather’s ashes he can’t connect with India and doesn’t feel like he fits in but when he is home he faces questions about where he is really from. The subject of racism is also present in the story and appears in lots of different ways from the racism faced by Avani and her brother Chand when they were growing up to the racism that Nik faces in the present. Colourism is also portrayed in the story and it’s something that is still present in the Indian community today. Growing up Avani’s mother would make comments about Avani’s complexion and even would go as far as leaving skin lightening cream outside her bedroom door. By the time I reached the end of Chapter 14 my heart truly broke for Avani and I was really upset to read what she’d been through that I became quite emotional. It was clear from these scenes that Avani’s relationship with her mother was non-existent but that her mother was also very cruel. The way Avani was treated was witnessed by her father and brother but they felt helpless to intervene. But at the same time it made sense as to why Avani was so close to her father. Avani’s father was very forward thinking, respecting her thoughts and feelings whereas as her mother wasn’t.

I definitely connected with this book and with the characters due to my Gujarati heritage. I recognised a lot of Gujarati traditions, words and phrases which are so familiar to me and it was so refreshing seeing them written in a book.

A story about relationships and family secrets!

Author Bio

Jyoti Patel was born in Paris to British Indian parents and grew up in North West London. She is a graduate of the University of East Anglia’s Prose Fiction MA and winner of the 2021 #Merky Books New Writers’ Prize. Her writing has previously been published as part of We Present’s ‘Literally’ series and in the anthology for the 2022 Bristol Short Story Prize, for which she was shortlisted. The Things That We Lost is her debut novel.

Spotlight: Daisy Does It Herself by Gracie Player @GraciePlayer @rararesources

Synopsis

Sometimes, the Last Place You Intended to Go is Exactly Where You Need to Be.

When 26-year-old Daisy’s life in London comes crashing down around her, the only thing she can think of is getting away – far away. That’s how she found herself stumbling off a train in England’s picturesque Peak District – 150 miles from home, with no idea why she’d gone there and even less idea how she intended to get home.

As Daisy explores the gorgeous village of Upper Finlay, she glimpses the possibility of a different life. The Derbyshire Dales offer up new friends, new opportunities, and a distractingly dishy object of attraction in the form of local bookstore owner Alex (and his bumbling Great Dane.) When Daisy discovers Alex’s business is in trouble she steps in to save the day.

But London’s Calling – literally. The life Daisy ran away from is calling her back. Why then, is she so reluctant to heed its call?

Daisy’s got a decision to make: Will she play it safe, and return to what she knew? Or is she brave enough to take a leap of faith and create a bold, new life for herself in the last place she’d ever expected?

Daisy Does it Herself is a sweet, uplifting romantic comedy about the power of self-confidence, friendship and of course love! Fans of warm and witty romantic comedies with a guaranteed happily-ever-after will be entranced.

Purchase Links

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086HTRDQD

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B086HTRDQD

Universal Link: https://mybook.to/daisy

Author Bio

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!

Social Media Links

https://twitter.com/GraciePlayer

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20170609.Gracie_Player

https://www.gracieplayer.com/mailing-list/

Book Review: Escape to Darling Cove by Holly Hepburn #EscapeToDarlingCove #BlogTour @HollyH_Author @TeamBATC

Synopsis

Eve has always lived on Ennisfarne, an idyllic island just off the coast of Northumberland and only accessible when tides are low. There she runs a bar overlooking Darling Cove, a heavenly horseshoe-shaped beach named after her seafaring ancestors, whose links to the Farne Islands stretch back centuries.

Logan is a famous photographer desperate to evade the limelight after a difficult break-up. Renting a cottage from Eve, he chooses Ennisfarne in the hope of anonymity but is immediately spellbound by its natural beauty.

The pair don’t get off to the best start, butting heads over Eve’s adorable but boisterous Chocolate Labrador. But when Logan’s true identity is revealed, Eve realises her new tenant isn’t quite the man she thought he was. Is it too late to start again or will Logan’s island escape be over almost before it’s begun?

My Review

Eve runs a bar overlooking Darling Cover in Ennisfarne, where she has lived all her life. Logan, a famous photographer is hoping to lie low in Ennisfarne after a very public break up. It transpires that the cottage he is renting in Ennisfarne is owned by none other than Eve. Eve and Logan’s first encounter isn’t ideal but is certainly memorable when Huxley, Eve’s dog knocks Logan off his feet. However the more Eve and Logan get to know each other their opinion of the other changes but Logan’s stay on the island is only temporary so what if they start something they won’t be able to finish.

They say you should never judge a book by its cover but when I saw this book I did exactly that because as soon as I saw it it made me smile and filled me with warmth. The cover reminded me of Durdle Door in Dorset and brought back a lot of happy memories for me.

Whilst reading this book, I was ready to pack my bags and move to Ennisfarne because it sounded like such a magical place. I liked the idea that there is a path from the mainland to Ennisfarne that is only accessible when the tide is low. So people have to be very careful to plan their visit carefully based on the tide. I really enjoyed the storyline and it was the perfect read to escape into on a winters evening. I loved the characters in the book. My initial thoughts when Logan and Eve interacted were that Logan had grumpy sunshine written all over him. His first meeting with Eve wasn’t ideal because when Huxley knocks him over he inadvertently breaks Logan’s camera. So Eve and Logan’s first impression of each other isn’t great until Logan learns that it’s Eve’s cottage he is renting. Initially Logan is quite aloof and cool with Eve. When there is an issue with the tap at the cottage he assumes she can’t fix it and dismisses her but then later realises that he has judged Eve without actually knowing her. Eve is a very likeable character and even when Logan is very dismissive of her and undermines her capabilities she keeps her cool. However Eve never judges Logan even when his face is all over the newspaper labelling him a playboy cheat. Rather she gives him the benefit of the doubt, tells others that they shouldn’t judge him and is kind to him. The more Eve and Logan spend together the more they realise that they have a lot in common but also start seeing another side to the other. They quickly warm to each other. Eve is a very strong character but when she realises that she likes Logan more than a friend she thinks the only way to avoid her feelings is to spend as little time with him as possible as she knows his stay is only temporary.

One of my favourite scenes from the book was when Eve and Logan went diving and interacted with the seals. The scene was so descriptive and so well written that I felt like I was with them interacting with sea life and seeing exactly what they were seeing.

In addition to romance, community is one of the biggest themes in the book. I loved the sense of community in this book. When Logan appears in the newspaper and with tourist season starting the community band together to protect him and do their best to stop a journalist finding him. Although Logan is a visitor to the island within a short period of time the community accept him as one of their own. That community spirit definitely rubs off on to Logan who steps in as an emergency wedding photographer but also creates an exhibition of pictures he’s taken of the local scenery and the locals themselves as a tribute to the island and the people as a way of thanking them for embracing him.

A book about community and finding love when you least expect it.

Author Bio

Holly Hepburn is the author of seven novels including The Little Shop of Hidden Treasures, Coming Home to Brightwater Bay, and A Year at the Star and Sixpence. Follow her on twitter at @HollyH_Author.

Book Review: Alone With You In The Ether by Olivie Blake #AloneWithYouInTheEther @OlivieBlake @UKTor @BlackCrow_PR

Synopsis

Chicago, sometime. Two people meet in the armory of the Art Institute by chance. Prior to their encounter, he is a doctoral student who manages his destructive thoughts with compulsive calculations about time travel; she is a bipolar counterfeit artist undergoing court-ordered psychotherapy. After their meeting, those things do not change.

Everything else, however, is slightly different.

Both obsessive, eccentric personalities, Aldo Damiani and Charlotte Regan struggle to be without each other from the moment they meet. The truth – that he is a clinically depressed, anti-social theoretician and she is a manipulative liar with a history of self-sabotage – means the deeper they fall in love, the more troubling their reliance on each other becomes.

My Review

In Chicago two strangers meet. Regan works at the Art Institute and Aldo is a doctoral student. Their meeting was clearly not chance but fate.

I have a habit that whilst reading I take notes. Whether that is about the characters, storyline, any shocking twists so that when I wrote my review I can recall what my thoughts, feelings and emotions were at the time I was reading. However I made very few notes because I was completely absorbed in the storyline and the characters. The storyline was unique and is one of the most beautifully written books I’ve read in a while. This book is very different to what I’ve read before and this is mainly due to the writing style. I wasn’t entirely sure about the book to begin with and it took me a while to get use to the writing style but I’m glad that I continued reading. Regan and Aldo are such different characters. They meet by chance but they were clearly destined to meet. Although they are both very different when they are together it’s like they’re in their own little bubble and no one else exists outside of that world. The key thing I took away from this book is that this story is about two individuals who find friendship and something more. Although they have different thought processes and are from different family backgrounds the one thing that seems to connect them is this understanding that they have between each other. They just seem to understand each other without having to try or even question the other. This to me was evident from the chapter entitled Conversations because this followed Regan and Aldo when they spent time together and what they would share with each other when they talked. At times it did feel like I was a fly on the wall watching these interactions and this for me brought the characters to life.

The author has also done a fantastic job in bringing to life two characters who are not only eccentric, who are very focused on tasks but also that mental health plays a big part in both of their lives. It was interesting to see how each of their families deals with their personalities and who they are as people.

A unique and beautiful love story.

Author Bio


Alexene Farol Follmuth, also known under the pen name Olivie Blake, is a lover and writer of stories, many of which involve the fantastic, the paranormal, or the supernatural, but not always. More often, her works revolve around the collective experience, what it means to be human (or not), and the endlessly interesting complexities of life and love.

Alexene tripped and fell into writing after abandoning her long-premeditated track for Optimum Life Achievement while attending law school, and now focuses primarily on the craft and occasional headache of creating fiction. Under her Olivie byline, New York Times and Sunday Times bestselling The Atlas Six released 2022 from Tor Books, followed by its sequel The Atlas Paradox and the re-release of her viral literary romance Alone With You in the Ether. She has also been published as well as the writer for the graphic series Clara and the Devil and a variety of other books. As Alexene, her debut YA novel My Mechanical Romance released May 2022 from Holiday House (US) and Macmillan Children’s (UK). 

Alexene lives and works in Los Angeles with her husband and goblin prince/toddler, where she is generally tolerated by her rescue pit bull.

Book Review: A Touch Of Moonlight by Yaffa S. Santos #ATouchOfMoonlight @yaffa_santos @Harper360UK @instabooktours

Synopsis

Larimar Cintrón works hard at three things: her job as brand manager for Beacon Café, a New York based corporate bakery chain; taking care of her parents and her abuela; and hiding that she’s a ciguapa—a mythical creature of Dominican folklore with long, straight hair and backwards-facing feet. Larimar may only be a ciguapa on full moons, but she feels like an outsider in her family the rest of the month too. Her love of ’90s punk rock music and style further sets her apart. But when her best friend introduces her to Ray, a bakery owner and fellow punk rock lover, Larimar thinks she may have finally found someone with whom she can be her true self.

As Beacon’s brand manager, Larimar oversees all new location openings, including its newest store in New Jersey, which could be the project that finally lands her a coveted promotion. But when she discovers the location is right across from Ray’s bakery, Borrachitos, Larimar is torn between impressing her boss and saving Ray’s business.

As Larimar continues to grow closer to Ray and the new store’s opening looms, she struggles to hide the truth about herself and her job. But embracing her magical nature may be the only way Larimar can have everything she wants. Witty and poignant, A Touch of Moonlight is a celebration of heritage, culture, and identity—of embracing yourself and finding your place in the world.

My Review

Larimar is the brand manager for the number one bakery café corporation in the tri state area, Beacon Foods. In addition to her job she has family responsibilities and is also trying to balance the fact that she is a Ciguapa, a mythical creature from Dominican Folklore. When Larimar is set up on a blind date with Ray they instantly connect. Although Larimar tries to treat Ray as a temporary part of her life because she’s a Ciguapa she can’t help but start to like him more than she should. However when she is given a new project at work and it transpires that the new café location will be in direct competition with Ray’s café Larimar is left in somewhat of a dilemma. Does she help her employer put Ray out of business, jeopardising any future relationship with Ray or does she help Ray which could jeopardise her own employment. Will Larimar tell Ray that she is a Ciguapa and if she does how will he react.

This was such a fun and quick read. It was definitely what I needed as I found myself in some what of a reading slump prior to picking up this book. I found myself flying through the pages and didn’t want the book to end. What made the story unique for me was definitely the character of Larimar and that she’s a Ciguapa. I have never heard of a Ciguapa so before I started to read the first thing that I did was to find out more about them and what they looked like. This helped me to understand and bond with Larimar’s character even more. Larimar definitely has a lot of responsibilities on her shoulders. She works hard so she can provide for her family but is also trying to embrace her Dominican side. I can understand why Larimar would be reluctant to embrace being a Ciguapa because it is very different, unfamiliar to people not of Dominican heritage but also something to be feared by some. So I can see why Larimar is reluctant to meet anyone or let someone into her life because if they find out who she is she doesn’t know how they will react to her real identity. So she treats any relationship as temporary. When Larimar meets Ray it was clear that there was  something between them. Ray is such a sweet man and I loved his interactions with Larimar as they were so cute. One of my favourite scenes was after their first date then Ray was a perfect gentleman and asked Larimar for a hug. I adored how he created a cupcake in Larimar’s honour and the recipes dotted between each chapter.

A story about embracing your heritage, taking a chance and finding love.

Author Bio

Yaffa S. Santos was born and raised in New Jersey. She is the author of A Taste of Sage, which won an International Latino Book Award and was named an Indie Next List Pick and an Amazon Editor’s Pick, and the forthcoming A Touch of Moonlight. Yaffa is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, where she studied writing and visual art. She enjoys books, coffee, and the beach, and lives in Central Florida with her family.