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19 April 2021

The Soldier Prince by Kate Hardy

As soon as I finished the previous book in the 200 Harley Street series I picked up The Soldier Prince by Kate Hardy. This is a series that is definitely easy to race through, and to be honest I don't want it to end.

The Soldier Prince by Kate Hardy 200 Harley Street Mills & Boon Medical romance book cover

A Royal surprise…

Injured war hero Prince Marco is desperate to be back in the field, fighting alongside his men. However, healing comes first, and he finds he’s in good hands with physical therapist Becca Anderson - the woman he once shared a magical forbidden summer with long ago..!

Becca can’t believe the boy she once fell for is actually a prince! Marco never told her...

But Becca has secrets of her own - and her fear of their discovery makes staying out of the royal limelight essential!

Resisting her heroic soldier prince, however, may be harder than she thinks...

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5 Word Review: Family, love, responsibility, understanding, fame,

Content Warnings: Medical procedures, war, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, sexual abuse.

Take one hot cross bun of a royal and one fiercely driven physio therapist, add a shared and secret past,  then a dash of secret royal, mix in some regret... And sit back and enjoy The Soldier Prince by Kate Hardy.

Marco is desperate to prove himself, to be more than the backup heir to a small European kingdom. He's loyal to his men, and proud of his work, and as much as the media tries to play him off as a playboy he's so much deeper than that. I loved his smoulder, and that Ethan nicknamed him Zorro almost straight away.

Poor Becca has been through a lot - with no family of her own she has hidden a past that she feel shamed by and built her own little family at 200 Harley Street and the rehabilitation centre she volunteers at. She is such a kind soul, generous and truly nice. My broke for her and what she's been through and I was so glad that this was a romance so I knew she'd be happy at least for now.

I loved the dual narrative, that we got to see the story from both Becca and Marco's perspective. It added to the frustration, it built the sexual tension, and it gave a proper reason for the miscommunication.

This is the first of the 200 Harley Street romances that didn't feel like a medical romance. I love a secret royal, and I love how cleverly it was presented - the power imbalance was acknowledged and worked though, and I am here for it.

I could happily read far more about this couple, especially after the heart-warming epilogue.

Next up, The Enigmatic Surgeon by Annie Claydon.

14 April 2021

Book Review: Recommended For You by Laura Silverman

When my favourite romance bookshop Words & Kisses had a winter sale, the first book I dropped in my cart was Recommended For You by Laura Silverman. I gotta be honest, I picked it for the cover. Isn't it gorgeous? And I can't resist a book about books either.

And do you know what the best thing is? It was utterly amazing. It lived up to that gorgeous cover, and then some.

Recommended For You by Laura Silverman book cover

Shoshanna Greenberg loves working at Once Upon, her favorite local bookstore. And with her moms fighting at home and her beloved car teetering on the brink of death, the store has become a welcome escape.

When her boss announces a holiday bonus to the person who sells the most books, Shoshanna sees an opportunity to at least fix her car, if none of her other problems. The only person standing in her way? New hire Jake Kaplan.

Jake is an affront to everything Shoshanna stands for. He doesn’t even read! But somehow his sales start to rival hers. Jake may be cute (really cute), and he may be an eligible Jewish single (hard to find south of Atlanta), but he’s also the enemy, and Shoshanna is ready to take him down.

But as the competition intensifies, Jake and Shoshanna grow closer and realize they might be more on the same page than either expects…

Source: Purchase

5 Word Review: Family, books, friendship, belonging, love.

This book made me cry. And sigh with happiness. And it filled me up with the warm fuzzies.

It made me miss bookshops too, and I can't wait until I can get back out there and into one. I want to browse!

This story focuses a lot on the "flaws" of the characters, and as much as there are amazing sub-plots all through it's very much driven by the characters themselves. Shoshanna is very sure of herself and a bit rigidly set in her ways. She's judgmental and bossy and I love it. Her self-assurance, her self-confidence, they blew me away. She wants to fix everything, she wants everything to be OK even as her life crumbles around her, and she tries her hardest. Her assumptions aren't always correct (in fact, they're often astonishingly incorrect) but I loved her all the more for it.

When she meets Jake, the clash is excellent. There are instant sparks, and instant dislike, and I love how their relationship slowly cooled and then grew. Shoshanna's assumptions about Jake lead to a lot of drama and resentment. I loved the way the enemies-to-lovers trope was played here.

This book made me pretty hungry. There is a big focus on food, it is very much the love language of some of the characters and it's how they show affection to their friends and family. This book goes perfectly with a large plate of snacks and a pitcher of cool lemonade.

I would say there is a very minor content warning for ablism, but I thought it was dealt with amazingly on page by the characters. It made me love them all the more.

I thought it was in for a cosy, light-hearted read. And I couldn't have been more wrong. This book is deep, and it hits hard. I wanted to cry for Shoshanna and give her a big hug, and remind her of how much she is loved and valued.

This is an adorable YA romance that will melt even the steeliest of hearts. It will fill you up with kindness and delicious sounding food and then top it off with the cutest of romances. It was perfect.

12 April 2021

Book Review: The Mersey Mistress by Sheila Riley *AD gifted

I was provided with a free ebook of The Mersey Mistress by Sheila Riley ahead of the blog tour.

Right from the start, The Mersey Mistress hit me in the feels. This book truly has it all, it's a rollercoaster of emotions, and I could not put it down. I am excited to be sharing my review to help close the blog tour.

The Mersey Mistress by Sheila Riley book cover

1910 Liverpool Docks.

Ruby Swift is a hard-working, straight-talking woman of substance who does not suffer fools gladly,

But when tragedy strikes on a bitter Christmas Eve, Ruby and her beloved Archie take matters into their own hands when a trusted employee’s house is mysteriously engulfed by flames and lives are lost.

Orphaned by the fire, Ruby welcomes heartbroken sixteen-year-old Anna Cassidy, into her home and family but circumstances conspire against them and she is unable to save Anna’s twelve-year-old brother Sam Cassidy, who is sent by the Church to Canada as a Homeboy. 

Can Ruby help mend a broken heart and can these two children ever be reunited or is there another higher game in play?

Mersey Mistress takes you on a journey to another time, another place. From the banks of the River Mersey to the frozen waters of the Canadian Saint Laurence River.

Source: Blog Tour | Review Copy

5 Word Review: Family, trust, kindness, belonging, love.

This story broke my heart and then filled it to bursting. Then broke it again. And refilled it. It's a bit of a ride.

There are threads of romance from the start of this story, winding together through the years. Ruby and Archie are the cutest couple ever, and their love is so strong.

Ruby has such a large heart. We are first introduced to her in the prologue, and it is pretty heart-breaking. But she pulls herself up and does her best for herself and everyone around her. She is kind and generous and properly a good person, despite what life has dealt her. She has a fiery attitude and a take-no-nonsense outlook, and it was a breath of fresh air.

What happens to Anna is devastating. Christmas Eve is perhaps the worst day of her life, what could go wrong went wrong catastrophically, and yet she is a bright spark. Although things get pretty desolate for her, I loved how she rallied and grew from her trauma.

And Sam? Oh, poor Sam. He's so positive and full of life, and honest and caring young man who doesn't deserve what happens to him. I read a lot of his parts of the  story on the edge of my seat, hoping and praying that things would work out.

The setting is vast, stretching across years and the Atlantic Ocean. I loved the contrast between the Docks at Liverpool and the open space of Canada, and I liked the contrast between Anna's home life and Ruby's business and home.

I have already read some of Sheila Riley's books under the Annie Groves name, and I will definitely be reading those under her own name.

This is a perfect read for all fans of historical saga stories, and fans of Rosie Goodwin.

The Mersey Mistress by Sheila Riley blog tour banner

Sheila Riley wrote four #1 bestselling novels under the pseudonym Annie Groves and is now writing a new saga trilogy for Boldwood under her own name. She has set it around the River Mersey and its docklands near to where she spent her early years. She still lives in Liverpool. Her new trilogy began with The Mersey Orphan in September 2019.

08 April 2021

Book Review: Mina and the Undead by Amy McCaw

Do you know how excited I was for Mina and the Undead by Amy McCaw?

I love vampire stories, I grew up reading Point Horror and the Night World books, watching Buffy. This book was a total nostalgia trip and absolutely excellent.

Mina and the Undead by Amy McCaw book cover

New Orleans Fang Fest, 1995.

Mina’s having a summer to die for.

Mina arrives in New Orleans to visit her estranged sister, Libby. She loves nothing more than a creepy horror movie and can’t wait to explore the city’s darkest secrets - vampire tours, seedy bars, spooky cemeteries, disturbing local myths...

Mina lands a part-time job at a horror movie mansion and meets Jared, Libby’s gorgeous housemate and fellow horror enthusiast. But the perfect summer bliss is broken when she stumbles upon the body of a girl with puncture marks on her neck, clutching a lock of hair that suspiciously resembles Libby’s.

Someone is replicating New Orleans’ most brutal supernatural killings. Mina must discover the truth and prove her sister’s innocence before she becomes the victim of another myth.

Source: Purchase

5 Word Review: Family, vampires, horror, belonging, love.

This book? It's bloody brilliant.

From the very first page, I was in love with everything about Mina's story.

I love the messy family relationships, Mina and Libby have a lot of resentment for each other, they clash, but there is still some love deep down. At times it reminded me a lot of me and my sisters, because put us in a stressful environment and there will be a clash. Maybe some hair pulling. Regardless, I loved the slow build of their relationship back up, the desperation not to lose each other again, the sadness and reluctance to talk about their past.

There is an element of romance, and although there is a small age-gap that made me feel a teensy bit squiffy, I was here for it. If they were all just a couple years older I wouldn't have any issue at all, and I loved the chemistry. It was a pretty slow burn but once it got going *sigh*.

The writing feels kind of timeless - this could be happening at pretty much any time in the past 100 years, the plot is not constrained by technology, and I don't think it would change too much if it were set 30 years later. And I loved it. I loved the small hints and clues and the nostalgia about the setting. Whether it was bath pearls or Opal Fruits, I was misty-eyed for my childhood. I even looked out the Night World books once I finished, does anyone else remember counting down the millennium reading them and then there never being a tenth book?

As I read, I couldn't stop myself from tabbing out quotes or scenes that hit me particularly hard. If I'd annotated this book I wouldn't be able to reread it, and I ended up using an entire packet of page tabs. It was worth it.

I loved Mina's passion for vampires and all things horror. This book will give you an excellent TBR and have your watchlist full. It will probably also have you wanting to dress up as a horror character.

In terms of horror, this book did give me a pretty vivid nightmare when I was working on my review and a quote feature post (next week, guys), but I wouldn't say that it's especially gory. The action is very Buffy-esque, it has that fantasy element to it, and I found it easy to disconnect from the horror as I was reading and focus more on the feelings and psychological side of what was happening. Even if there is A Lot of blood and some pretty grisly murders.

A small thing that I thought was very clever was the whispered contrast of Whitby and New Orleans, how Mina's world in New Orleans was so vastly different from the grey and drizzly North of England, even if we barely saw her home. And that they are both places filled with vampire lore? Loved it.

Mina and the Undead was so, so good. It reminded me of why I love horror, even if I am a total wimp. Mina's passion for all things scary is contagious, and she was the perfect protagonist for the story.

I am desperate for a follow up. I want to know what happens next So Badly, and I'd happily read stories of their exploits at the manner for the fun of it. I want to see where they go from here after that wild ending.

05 April 2021

Book Review: American Surgeon in London by Lynne Marshall

As soon as I finished the previous book in the 200 Harley Street series I picked up American Surgeon in London by Lynne Marshall. This is a series that is definitely easy to race through.

American Surgeon in London by Lynne Marshall Medical romance Mills & Bon

Plastic surgeon Mitchell Cooper used to have it all...

But when his life collapsed, he and his little daughter Molly moved to London to rebuild their lives – and Mitchell sealed off his damaged heart.

Yet after one star-studded night with fellow surgeon Grace, Mitchell finds himself daring to live again! 

Only Grace is hiding painful secrets of her own…

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5 Word Review: Family, love, belonging, acceptance, .

Content Warnings: Medical procedures.

American Surgeon in London starts with a magical night that had me grinning like a Cheshire Cat.

Grace is a fantastic, layered character. I loved her insecurities, the parts of herself she wanted to keep hidden, her passion for her job. Also I'm pretty jealous of the apartment she stays in!

Mitchell is pretty bitter and guarded, although he tries to hid his emotions. He feels a bit jaded at times, but it absolutely makes sense once you learn his story. And he is devoted to Molly.

Molly was such a bright spark! As much as the small child was a side character, her scenes were so sweet. She'd a kid that's been raised right, despite her past, and she really came to life on the page. She felt so real.

I feel that this story very quickly brought on the intimacy. After fun and innocent the night they shared it was easy to watch the rapport build between them and the trust start to flow. And when they finally came together? It was excellent.

This was probably my least favourite book so far in this series, but it was still an excellent read. I just didn't like Mitchell's (understandable) qualms and hypocrisy when it comes to plastic surgery. 

Next up, The Soldier Prince by Kate Hardy.

01 April 2021

Series Crackdown 11.0 Readathon Prompts and TBR

Series Crackdown is a readathon where you attempt to read those unread series on your bookshelf, between Friday 2nd of April to Sunday 11th April. Sign-ups are open until Monday 5th of April, so there's plenty of time to join in.

I'm going to be using this readathon to try and tackle the books on my shelves that I already own and have not read yet, and as I'll be dipping in and out of series of all lengths (and standalones too) I'll be joining the Beasts team lead by Charlotte.

This time, there is even a reading challenge on The Storygraph to help you keep track! It means I don't have to make my own spreadsheets and charts (although who am I kidding, I will be).

Series Crackdown 11.0 Readathon Prompts

The Prompts

One book can tick off up to three prompts, and I'll be using the Team Read The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon to fulfill three of them. Because fantasy, has gorgeous maps in it, and is first in a series.
  • A book about mental health
  • POC Author
  • Children's Book
  • Featuring a key worker
  • Multiple POVs
  • A book released a year ago
  • Featuring communication technology


Honestly I think I'm gonna wing it mostly! I have set out three books that I'd like to tackle, the last book is anyone's guess. Here are the books and the prompts they fit.
  • Mina and the Undead by Amy McCaw
    • A book about mental health
  • Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert
    • Author of colour
    • A book released a year ago
  • The Soldier Prince by Kate Hardy
    • Featuring a key worker
  • Perfect On Paper by Sophie Gonzales
    • LGBTQIA+
    • Featuring communication technology

As you can see, I'm only hitting four of the prompts, so take a look at my TBR on The Storygraph and recommend something to fit, I beg of you.

Sprint Schedule

One thing I love about this readathon is that there are daily sprints in the evening to help you get your reading done. I also love that there are chances to earn extra Moo Points by taking part, and there are sometimes flash prompts and sprints to join in with too.

Series Crackdown 11.0 Readathon Sprint Schedule

Will you be taking part?

31 March 2021

March Bookish Wrap Up

Some of the titles mentioned in this post have been provided to me for free these will be shown with a *.

It's been a long time since I did a monthly wrap up, but I really enjoy reflecting back on what I've read and I love reading other people's wrap ups. So here I am!

I now have all of the super handy stats from The Storygraph to help me put this together, and I admittedly spent a lot of time just looking at the pretty charts.

March 2021 Bookish Wrap Up stats

March Bookish Wrap Up

March was a err... Weird month. I read a lot, especially romance. I am absolutely loving reading romance at the moment, it brings my heart so much joy to read those happy endings. I also tried to read some more non-fiction, but I generally find it hard going and managed 3 non-fiction audiobooks. Recommendations are appreciated!

Books Read: 18
Pages Read: 5880
Average Rating: 4.21
Most Read Genre Romance

Books I Read

Eight Pieces of Silva by Patrice Lawrence
Wedlock by Wendy Moore
The Language of Kindess by Christie Watson
The Manningtree Witches by A.K. Blakemore *
The Island by C.L. Taylor *
The Princess Trap by Talia Hibbert
The Single Mums' Book Club by Victoria Cooke *
How to Make a Plant Love You by Summer Rayne Oakes

Books I Added To My Shelf

A Dark and Hollow Star by Ashley Shuttleworth
This Golden Flame by Emily Victoria
The Scarlet Harvest by Kate Ashbrook *
Not Our Summer by Casie Bazay *
Midnight Jewel by Richelle Mead
The Endless Skies by Shannon Price *
A Chorus Rises by Bethany C. Morrow *
Red Tigress by Amelie Wen Zhao
Where the Road Leads Us by Robin Reul *
Perfect On Paper by Sophie Gonzales *
The Mersey Mistress by Sheila Riley *
Firekeeper's Daughter by Angeline Boulley *
Bone Crier's Dawn by Kathryn Purdie
The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia *
Red Sky Burning by Teri Terry *
The Single Mums’ Book Club by Victoria Cooke *
Nellie's Heartbreak by Rosie Clarke *

Books I'm Currently Reading

Red Sky Burning by Teri Terry *
Wicked Fox by Kat Cho
Midnight Jewel by Richelle Mead

Book Events I Attended

Fantasy Worlds: Ben Aaronovitch, Namina Forna & Patrice Lawrence
Mina and the Undead by Amy McCaw Launch

What did you read in March?
What are you reading now?