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Tuesday, 17 August 2021

Where Are You LE Hill book review

*AD - GIFTED* Today is my stop on the Where Are You by LE Hill book review tour. 

Where Are You by LE Hill book cover

Where Are You by LE Hill book review tour poster

Where Are You LE Hill blurb

An emotionally charged novel about secrets, family and the danger of hiding the truth.

Twenty years ago, Josie and Tara's mother left home and they haven't seen her since. The only contact they have had is the cards she sent them both each year on their birthday until they reached 21.

When Josie's marriage collapses, she returns home to the pretty town of North Berwick, on the east coast of Scotland, where she grew up. Tara and her partner, Mark, have bought the girls' childhood family home and Josie decides helping them with the renovation project will be a good distraction for her broken heart.

Then a knock at the door changes everything. Bones have been discovered at the bottom of their childhood home and a sinister story eventually emerges. But is everyone really telling the truth? 

Where Are You? questions the nature of family, sisterhood and reminds us that some of the most shocking crimes are committed close to home. And, as many people are now choosing to swap big cities for rural life, it warns that not all homecomings are happy ones.



Where Are You LE Hill book review

Where Are You by LE Hill book review

Where Are You is a fast paced mystery novel full of twists. 

Josie has moved back to her childhood town to stay with her Grandma after her marriage breaks down. Tara (Josies sister) is renovating their old family home at the time when builders find bones buried in the garden. And there is the fact their mother has been missing for twenty years! 

It is told through several different characters which I enjoy as you get lots of backstory to many of the characters as well as different view points. There are also some time jumps throughout the novel, but it is very easy to keep up with. 

The main mystery is who's bones are in the garden and what happened to Tara and Josies mum when she disappeared. The storyline is very fast paced, so the drama and mystery unfold very quickly. The entire way through has you constantly changing your mind about what has happened and who knows about it. I hadn't guessed until all was revealed.

As it is fast paced and twisty it is definitely a mystery that draws you in and has the "just one more chapter" factor to it. 

I think the book cover is a great fit for the novel, it's slightly creepy, mysterious and makes you wonder what it is all about. 

The writing style is a good mix of keeping the story moving at a good pace whilst still being descriptive. I feel like I can picture the scene without that sacrificing the speed of the book. 

I found Where Are You a refreshingly different read, the storyline is original, the characters are all very likeable and the scene is well set. 

It is an easy 5 stars from me. 


You can get Where Are You by LE Hill here and find out more on Goodreads here

Thank you to LE Hill and Love Books Tours for my advanced copy and for having me along on the book tour.
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Tuesday, 6 July 2021

When Twilight Breaks by Sarah Sundin book review

*AD - GIFTED*

When Twilight Breaks by Sarah Sundin book review


Today is my stop on the When Twilight Breaks by Sarah Sundin book review tour!  


When Twilight Breaks by Sarah Sundin book review tour poster

When Twilight Breaks by Sarah Sundin book review

When Twilight Breaks by Sarah Sundin - The blurb

Munich, 1938. Evelyn Brand is an American foreign correspondent as determined to prove her worth in a male-dominated profession as she is to expose the growing tyranny in Nazi Germany. To do so, she must walk a thin line. If she offends the government, she could be expelled from the country--or worse. If she fails to truthfully report on major stories, she\"ll never be able to give a voice to the oppressed--and wake up the folks back home.


In another part of the city, American graduate student Peter Lang is working on his PhD in German. Disillusioned with the chaos in the world due to the Great Depression, he is impressed with the prosperity and order of German society. But when the brutality of the regime hits close, he discovers a far better way to use his contacts within the Nazi party--to feed information to the shrewd reporter he can\"t get off his mind.


This electric standalone novel from fan-favourite Sarah Sundin puts you right at the intersection of pulse-pounding suspense and heart-stopping romance.


When Twilight Breaks by Sarah Sundin - book review

When Twilight Breaks by Sarah Sundin book review

When Twilight Breaks by Sarah Sundin is a historical fiction novel set in WW2 Nazi Germany and is packed full of drama, tension and romance.

I was instantly drawn in to the book and kept on the edge of my seat throughout. 

The heroine of the story, Evelyn, is a tough, no nonsense journalist that for the first few chapters I wasn\"t sure if I liked. But as the story got going I loved her character. Peter, Evelyns friend and love interest is a really likeable, genuinely "good" guy. Both characters are well developed and have a good story arch. It is really easy to connect to the characters and will them on throughout the book. 

The storyline has clearly been well researched and really takes you on a journey. I really enjoyed learning about life in Germany as the Nazis rose to power, especially for the non-Germans living there. The tension of the storyline builds well into a quite thrilling ending. There are other moments of tension as things happen around the characters. These all really set the scene for what life would have been like then. The romantic theme to the book is slow building and seems a natural progression for the characters as they get closer. I really like that it doesn\"t distract from the other themes to the novel.  

I thoroughly enjoyed reading When Twilight Breaks and it is a perfect example of what a historical fiction novel set in that time should be. 

You can get When Twilight Breaks by Sarah Sundin here and read about in on Goodreads here

When Twilight Breaks by Sarah Sundin - Author bio

Sarah Sundin enjoys writing about the drama and romance of the World War II era. She is the bestselling author of When Twilight Breaks (February 2, 2021), The Land Beneath Us (2020), The Sky Above Us (2019) and The Sea Before Us (2018), as well as the Waves of Freedom, Wings of the Nightingale, and Wings of Glory series.


A mother of three, Sundin lives in northern California and enjoys speaking to community, church, and writers\" groups. Her novel The Land Beneath Us was a finalist for the 2020 Christy Award, The Sky Above Us won the 2020 Carol Award, The Sea Before Us won the 2019 Reader\"s Choice Award from Faith, Hope, and Love, and When Tides Turn and Through Waters Deep were both named to Booklist\"s 101 Best Romance Novels of the Past 10 Years. Sarah serves as Co-Director for the West Coast Christian Writers Conference. Please visit Sarah at www.sarahsundin.com, on Facebook at SarahSundinAuthor, on Twitter at @sarahsundin, and on Instagram at @sarahsundinauthor.

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Saturday, 10 April 2021

When They Find Her by Lia Middleton book review

 *AD - GIFTED* I was recently sent an ARC copy of When They Find Her by Lia Middleton so today I'm going to share my review with you. 


When They Find Her by Lia Middleton book review

When They Find Her by Lia Middleton book review - The Blurb

NAOMI ALWAYS WANTED TO BE A MOTHER.

But three years ago, her husband left, taking their child with him.

Now, her daughter has come to stay, and Naomi knows it's her one chance to re-build her family.

But the night ends in a terrible accident.

And Naomi has no memory of what happened.

Panicking, desperate, Naomi finds herself telling a lie:

'My daughter is missing.'

NOW SHE CAN NEVER TAKE IT BACK...

When They Find Her by Lia Middleton book review - my review

When They Find Her by Lia Middleton is a haunting, twisty, psychological thriller that will stay with you long after you have finished the last page. 

The story follows Naomi, once happily married to Aiden, but now a divorced mum whose daughter Freya lives with her Dad. After several years Aiden finally allows Freya to stay over night with Naomi, unfortunately her overnight stay ends in a terrible accident but Naomi can't remember what happened. Left panicking and desperate Naomi makes a split second decision to lie and report Freya missing instead of telling anyone what happened. 

What makes When They Find Her so different to other psychological thrillers is you know exactly what has happened and "who did it" right from the start. The suspense is built as the lie escalates and more and more people become involved. 

Despite the first chapter being so incredibly harrowing, I quickly warmed to Naomi's character and found myself willing things to go her way. Her love for her daughter and sheer Mother's desperation is haunting. As the story moves along, with snippets from the past interjected into the main story line, you can't help but sympathise with her and understand why she is like she is. 

As the story develops it really grips you and draws you in and you start to realise not all is what is seems. The plot twist as it is revealed what happened to Freya on that fateful night is utterly shocking and unthinkable, definitely not something you will see coming. 

I loved the ending, it was just for all the characters involved and leaves no loose ends or questions about anything. 

When They Find Her by Lia Middleton book review

I'm giving When They Find Her by Lia Middleton 5 / 5 stars.


You can buy When They Find Her by Lia Middleton here and read more about it on Goodreads here
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Sunday, 14 February 2021

January reads

*AD - GIFTED I mentioned in my 2021 goals reading more was something I was keen to get back in to this year. And I've started off well! Today I'm sharing the five books I read in January and what I think of them all. 

January reads vintage books in a wicker basket surrounded by fairy lights

The Art of Falling by Danielle McLaughlin

January reads - The art of falling by Danielle McLaughlin

Nessa McCormack is recovering from her husbands affair, whilst working as an art curator about to display the late Robert Lockes The Chalk Sculpture and raising a teenage daughter. And just when she is managing it all (just) along comes an eccentric Melanie Doerr to claim the Sculpture is hers.
The Art of Falling is a well written, windy story of family dramas and how secrets never do stay hidden.
The story follows Nessa through her home, work and social circle and all the characters blend really well into the story line and where it is going. The characters are all well written, with no one seeming out of place.
Whilst I found the first couple of chapters hard to get into, I sped through the rest of the book.
I love how Nessa is facing the truths and secrets from her past while trying to uncover the truth and secrets behind the sculpture and it’s creator. It’s a very cleverly written story line that comes together perfectly.
I really love the ending. It fits the tone of the book, not too “happy” and not too poignant. A just ending for everyone.

3.5 /5 stars

You can get The Art of Falling here.

The Longest Echo by Eoin Dempsey

January reads - The Longest Echo by Eoin Dempsey

In Monte Sole, Italy, Liliana’s family find an escaped American POW James Foley. They help him get to the local partisan resistance. But the SS strike a brutal attack against the resistance and locals leaving Liliana and James fleeing to the allied lines.
Years later Liliana and James are reunited. Both are haunted still by Monte Sole and Liliana wants to bring the SS responsible for what happened to justice and James knows how to do it.

The Longest Echo is a story that instantly draws you in and keeps you thinking long after you read it.
I love how you follow James and Liliana through the years and find out how what happened to them both has shaped their life. Despite the time jumps the story flows and is easy to follow.
I really enjoyed the different settings in the book. War ravaged Italy, New York, Argentina and back to America again.
The story is moving and poignant, made more so by the fact the Monte Sole massacre is a true event from the war.
The events here should be something everyone knows and I’m so glad The Longest Echo brings it to more people’s attention.

5/5 stars

You can pre-order The Longest Echo here.

A Splendid Ruin by Megan Chance 

January reads - A Splendid Ruin by Megan Chance

May Kimble is called to live at the Sullivan’s in San Francisco with her Aunt she’s never met after her mother dies. Her Aunts family welcome her into their wealthy, opulent world. But all isn’t as it seems. May almost loses everything, until the 1906 San Francisco earthquake gives her the ability to take it all back.

I loved reading this historical novel. I loved the setting, the characters and the mystery and drama of it.

Following Mays journey as she blunders through mixing with a higher social circle, as she tries to find out her past and as she realises what’s happening in the Sullivan’s house is entertaining and page turning.

The setting of the earthquake and how that gives May the ability to take her life back is a great storyline.

My only complaint is I would have liked the ending to be longer, or there to be a sequel. I’d love to know just how May is living her new life now.

4.5/5 stars.

You can get A Splendid Ruin here.

The Girl Who Escaped From Auschwitz by Ellie Midwood 

January reads - The girl who escaped from Auschwitz by Ellie Midwood

Mala Zimetbaum is prisoner 19880 in Auschwitz and she uses her work position in the concentration camp to help save as many other prisoners as possible. Edward, a camp veteran and political prisoner, needs her help and finds her in camp. Together they plan their escape from Auschwitz and fall in love along the way.
This is based on the true story of Mala who was the first woman to escape from Auschwitz.
The book is incredibly well written and really does justice to the story of Mala.
It is moving, harrowing and yet intercepted with moments of humanity and “normal every day” life. I connected with all of the characters, whether it is willing on Mala and Edwards escape, or despising the SS officers working in the camp.
The end had me in tears and it is a book that will stay with me for a long time.

5/5 stars

You can pre-order The Girl Who Escaped from Auschwitz here. 

Catch The Rabbit by Lana Bastasic

January reads - Catch the rabbit by Lana Bastasic

Sara has left Bosnia behind and is settled in Dublin when she gets a phone call from her childhood friend Lejla who she hasn’t spoken to in years. Lejla summons Sara home to drive her to Vienna and Sara goes.

The book follows them through their road trip to Vienna and through their past friendship.
It is written as if Sara is telling their story to Lejla. The writing is to the point, with nothing extra that doesn’t need to be said there, Which makes it quite an intense read.
I really enjoyed learning more about Bosnia and it’s past through Sara and Lejlas story. Both of their childhoods are interesting.
I unfortunately found both characters hard to connect to and also found the ending strange and somewhat unresolved.
I’m sure there is a point I’ve missed but it just wasn’t the book for me.

3/5 stars. 

You can pre-order Catch The Rabbit here

What have you read recently? And what is next on your to read list? 
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Monday, 8 February 2021

2021 goals

A (very) belated Happy New Year to you all! Here's to hoping 2021 is a better year than 2020 was for us. I'm not one for resolutions but I do always like to set myself some goals for the year. So, here are my 2021 goals.

2021-goals

2021 goals

  • Get outside more I love being outdoors and a walk does wonders for me. Fresh air and movement really boosts my mental and physical health. This year I want to make sure I have a walk every day. Whether that's a day out at the weekend or a quick walk around the block after work I'll be making myself move. 
  • Explore new places As you'll know from my travel posts I love exploring new places and sights. 2020 wasn't a good year for travelling or visiting new places. This year I want to visit somewhere new at least once a month. I don't know what travel will look like the coming year, but if things are still the same there are plenty of new places to see on my doorstep. 
  • Make more time for me Again, 2020 as a healthcare worker wasn't the best for relaxation and me time. Whilst I can't see my work life returning to more normal levels any time soon, I can make sure I take a bit of time out for me. I'm thinking a scheduled weekly long soak in the bath, a night of reading instead of Netflix, finding an hour a fortnight to do my nails, even blogging however sporadic it may be. All the things that I love to do and have missed the last year. 
  • Make more time for the people I love Like making time for me, making time for family and friends has been hard too. I'll be scheduling in date nights, mum & daughter time and (more than likely virtual for the time being) time with friends and other family. 
  • Photograph everything I can't even tell you of one time I picked my camera up since the pandemic hit. So, I'm going to try take it with me when I'm getting myself outside. I've thought of a few photography challenges too that I can do to get back in to snapping all the things. 
  • Get a new skincare routine I don't know if it is just a general change, or if the pandemic change of lifestyle and full PPE 5 days a week has caused it but my skin is SO dry! I need to spend some time looking in to and trying out new skin care, for my face and body. 
  • All the wedding planning As some of you will already know, me and Tom are engaged. Trying to sort a wedding out in the pandemic and all the lockdowns isn't easy but we're hoping to get married in 2022. And there is so much to do! I'll be sharing our engagement story soon, and will keep you up to date with all the wedding planning and plans. 
  • Learn some new skills or hobbies I really enjoy learning new things so I'm on the look out for online courses and classes. I've recently been drawn to manifestation so I've signed up to a couple of virtual workshops but I'd love to find a few more new to me things too. 
2021 goals laptop, notebook and blue flowers flat lay




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Friday, 11 December 2020

My favourite Christmas books

In non-Covid times Christmas is usually the season of rushing around, being busy 24/7 and making no time for yourself. Reading, for me, is a great way to unwind and what better to do in December than make sure you've got some festive books? One thing I love about Christmas books is no matter what has happened during the characters year or how awful things have been there is always that happy ending for them. Here are my favourite Christmas books to give you some suggestions if you need them. 

My favourite Christmas books - A Wedding in December

My favourite Christmas books - A wedding in December


First on the list for me is A Wedding in December by Sarah Morgan. I love the setting, love the characters and love the storyline. It's a perfect feel good festive read. 

In the snowy perfection of Aspen, the White family gathers for youngest daughter Rosie's whirlwind Christmas wedding.

First to arrive are the bride’s parents, Maggie and Nick. Their daughter’s marriage is a milestone they are determined to celebrate wholeheartedly, but they are hiding a huge secret about their own: they are on the brink of divorce. After living apart for the last six months, the last thing they need is to be trapped together in an irresistibly romantic winter wonderland.

Rosie’s older sister Katie is also dreading the wedding. Worried that impulsive, sweet-hearted Rosie is making a mistake, Katie is determined to save her sister from herself. If only the irritatingly good-looking best man, Jordan, would stop interfering with her plans…

Bride-to-be Rosie loves her fiance but is having serious second thoughts. Except everyone has arrived – how can she tell them she's not sure? As the big day gets closer, and emotions run even higher, this is one White family Christmas none of them will ever forget.

My favourite Christmas books - Coming Home to Glendale Hall

My favourite Christmas books - Hopeful Hearts at Glendale Hall


Next is  Coming Home to Glendale Hall by Victoria Walters, photo credit to the very lovely Victoria herself. This is the first book in the Glendale Hall series (that are all great btw!) and it really is the most cosy, lovely read. It has love, Christmas, happiness, family drama and reconnections. As someone who recently got engaged to their one that got away I felt a real connection with Beth and Drew. You can get it right now for just 99p in the kindle store. I've just about finished the newest in the series, Hopeful Hearts at Glendale Hall, which is equally as festive and lovely. 


Beth Williams hasn’t been home for ten years. After falling pregnant at sixteen, she ran away from her family and the imposing Scottish estate where she grew up, working hard to build a life for herself and daughter Isabelle - but now she’s returning to Glendale Hall.

As Beth tries to mend her broken family ties, and fights to bring the community of Glendale back together, she realises that the story she has told herself for a decade might well be a very different one from the truth. Even though she ran from Glendale it has never left her heart. And, she soon realises, neither has Drew – Beth’s first love.

Will Beth be able to forgive her mother and grandmother (and herself) for what happened ten years ago? What will Drew say when he discovers the secret she’s been keeping from him for so long? Can a festive trail bring the village back together?

Will returning to Glendale bring back the old magic that she’s been missing - or will Beth be forced to run away from it all over again?

My favourite Christmas books - Christmas on the little Cornish Isles by Phillipa Ashwood

My favourite Christmas books - Christmas on the little Cornish Isles

Next is Christmas on the Little Cornish Isles by Phillipa Ashley. This book has a tranquil setting, great characters and is another real feel good read. I really love a slight element of mystery and trying to guess what is going on as I'm reading too

For Maisie Samson, this Christmas is going to be different. After years working in a busy Cornish pub, she’s moved back to quiet Gull Island where she grew up, to help her parents run the family inn.

But even though she can’t wait for the festive season to arrive, Maisie cannot shake the memories of what happened to her last Christmas – the day she lost everything. She keeps herself busy, setting up the tree and hanging mistletoe ready for her first proper family Christmas in years.

Until a new arrival to the island walks into her bar and changes everything. Australian backpacker Patrick is looking for a job for the low season. When Maisie takes him on, she doesn’t expect him to last the week, but to her surprise Patrick is the perfect fit. Charming and handsome, could Maisie allow herself to hope that she and Patrick could be more than just colleagues?

As Christmas approaches, Maisie finds herself dreading the spring, when Patrick is due to leave. With the help of a little Christmas magic, can Maisie get the happily ever after she always dreamed of?


My favourite Christmas books - The Cosy Christmas Chocolate Shop 

My favourite Christmas books - The Cosy Christmas Chocolate Shop

The Cosy Christmas Chocolate Shop by Cathy Bramley has to make my list. Christmas, chocolate, a seaside setting, romance and a fight to save a village shop, what's not to love? 

Emma is the proud owner of The Chocolate Shop by the Sea, nestled in the heart of the cosy seaside village that s become her home. With Christmas right around the corner, she and her assistant Holly are busy cooking up the locals festive favourites.

From cinnamon hot chocolates to reindeer lollipops, Christmas wouldn t taste the same without a little cocoa magic. And for Emma it s the perfect distraction from her romantic pains of the past. So when the shop s miserly landlord threatens to hike up the rent, Emma s Christmas and New Year suddenly look a lot less cheerful.

With the whole village rallying behind her and loyal spaniel Alfie by her side Emma s determined to hold onto her chocolate-box dream.

The chocolate calendar countdown is on. Can Emma rescue her business and her broken heart?


My favourite Christmas books - Second Chances at the Log Fire Cabin

My favourite Christmas books - Second chances at the Log Fire cabin

Second Chances at the Log Fire Cabin by Catherine Ferguson has to be on my list of favourite Christmas books. It's got romance and humour as well as great characters and a stunning setting. I would love to spend my Christmas at the cabin. This is the second in a series but it won't matter if you haven't read the first book. 

When Roxy proposes to her boyfriend Jackson in a moment of madness on live TV, she’s mortified when he rejects her.

To escape the embarrassment, she takes a job working as baking assistant at the idyllic Log Fire Cabin. Roxy hopes the new job will take her mind off Jackson, because to her eternal annoyance, she hasn’t been able to stop thinking about him…

But when Jackson turns up at the cabin unexpectedly, things begin to go wrong. With a sprinkle of snow, the help of new friends and more than a couple of mince pies, can Roxy heal her heart in time for Christmas?

My favourite Christmas books - The Little Village Christmas

My favourite Christmas books - The little village Christmas

I had a hard time picking between Sue Moorcrofts The Little Village Christmas or The Christmas Promise but I just slightly prefer this one. I love all the characters, the village, the storyline of trying to get the shop open and the will they / won't they romance element. 

Alexia Kennedy interior decorator extraordinaire has been tasked with giving the little village of Middledip the community café it s always dreamed of.

After months of fundraising, the villagers can t wait to see work get started but disaster strikes when every last penny is stolen. With Middledip up in arms at how this could have happened, Alexia feels ready to admit defeat.

But help comes in an unlikely form when woodsman, Ben Hardaker and his rescue owl Barney, arrive on the scene. Another lost soul who s hit rock bottom, Ben and Alexia make an unlikely partnership.

However, they soon realise that a little sprinkling of Christmas magic might just help to bring this village and their lives together again...


My favourite Christmas books - A Christmas Cracker

My favourite Christmas books - A Christmas Cracker

Last but definitely not least on my favourite Christmas books is A Christmas Cracker by Trisha Ashley. I love the unique storyline and the main characters. Whilst this is the least Christmasy themed book in my list it will still get you in the festive mood. 

Things can’t possibly get worse for Tabby. Framed for a crime she didn’t commit, she suddenly finds herself without a job. Then to make matters worse, Tabby’s boyfriend dumps her and gives her cat away to a shelter.

But rescue comes in the form of kindly Mercy. A master of saving waifs and strays, Mercy wants Tabby to breathe new flair into her ailing cracker business. Together, they’ll save Marwood’s Magical Christmas Crackers.

But someone has other ideas. Mercy’s nephew Randal thinks Tabby’s a fraudster. Stubborn, difficult and very attractive, her future depends upon winning him round. But it’s that time of the year when miracles really can happen. Standing under the mistletoe, Tabby’s Christmas is set to be one that she will never forget . . .


Have you read any of my favourite Christmas books? What books would be on your list?  
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