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23 September 2021

Book Review: The Shanghai Wife by Emma Harcourt *AD gifted

I was provided with a free copy of The Shanghai Wife by Emma Harcourt ahead of the blog tour.

It has been a while since I read a Rachael Stewart book that wasn't a Dare title, and Surprise Reunion with His Cinderella was a reminder that this author can do it all. And there's a giveaway that I wish I could enter, because the goodies look incredible.

The Shanghai Wife by Emma Harcourt book cover

Forbidden friendship, political conspiracy and incendiary passion draw Australian woman Annie Brand deep into the glamour and turmoil of 1920s Shanghai.

Leaving behind the loneliness and trauma of her past in country Australia, Annie Brand arrives to the political upheaval and glittering international society of Shanghai in the 1920s. Journeying up the Yangtze with her new husband, the ship's captain, Annie revels in the sense of adventure but when her husband sends her back to Shanghai, her freedom is quickly curtailed.

Against her will, Annie finds herself living alone in the International Settlement, increasingly suffocated by the judgemental Club ladies and their exclusive social scene: one even more restrictive than that she came from. Sick of salacious gossip and foreign condescension, and desperate to shake off the restrictions of her position in the world, Annie is slowly drawn into the bustling life and otherness of the real Shanghai, and begins to see the world from the perspective of the local people, including the servants who work at her husband's Club.

But this world is far more complex and dangerous than the curious Annie understands and, unknowingly, she becomes caught in a web of intrigue and conspiracy as well as a passionate forbidden love affair she could not have predicted: one with far–reaching consequences...

Amazon UK | Amazon US

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Source: Blog Tour | Review Copy

5 Word Review: Belonging, love, change, Shanghai, travel.


The Shanghai Wife is a excellent book to read as the seasons shift.

At the start I loved the quiet budding relationship between Annie and Alec, even though I knew from the blurb that it wouldn't last. I loved the respect and care, and I feel like the river setting was perfect for them.

Annie is very much a product of her time and her upbringing - I loved her open-mindedness and how willing she was to change and try to effect change around her, even if she didn't put in much effort. She was open and kind and I loved her for it, even if her naivety had me wanting to hold her by the shoulders and give her a good shake. I liked her small acts of kindness to those around her, but they didn't always have the consequences she expected and at times it was heart-breaking.

I feel like this is a bit of a book of two parts, and they felt very different. The beginning, on he Yangtze river, had me enthralled. I loved the descriptions, the landscape, how it shaped the characters. Moving back to Shanghai I was less enamoured by the setting but definitely still gripped by the story.

The story is pretty fast paced, but at the same time felt slow. It was weird but enchanting, and I loved the writing style.

By the end, Annie is a completely different person, and I loved the journey she took as a character and the way she developed.

I'll definitely be reading more by Emma Harcourt.



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20 September 2021

Book Review: The Shameless Maverick by Louisa George

If you've read some of my romance reviews this year then you'll know that I am totally obsessed with the 200 Harley Street series, and I'm up to the penultimate instalment, The Shameless Maverick by Louisa George. 

I honestly don't know what I'll get overly invested in next, but I am going to miss this exclusive clinic.

The Shameless Maverick by Louisa George 200 Harley Street Mills & Boon Medical romance book cover

Junior surgeon Kara has been assigned her first high-profile case.

Great news – if she wasn’t working with surgeon Declan Underwood, the man she kissed at the hospital ball.

Declan’s notoriety with women is rivalled only by his reputation as the best reconstructive surgeon.

But Kara’s about to discover there’s more to her charismatic maverick than meets the eye…

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Source: Purchase

5 Word Review: Loyalty, family, love, trust, commitment.


I can't believe I am almost at the end of this series. 

I loved coming back to 200 Harley Street, and meeting even more of the characters who had been fluttering on the peripheral of the previous stories. With its sojourn across the Irish Sea, it felt very different from the previous books, even though most of the story retained the clinical setting.

Kara is messy and had had a complicated past - her heart has been betrayed and it makes her wary and reckless in equal measure. It added a dash of something unpredictable to her character and I absolutely loved it.

Declan is very closed off, and yet strikingly passionate. I loved the care and understanding he showed for his patients, the generosity he had when it came to sharing his skills. I loved that he learned to open up and trust.

Together, they are marvellous. I couldn't help but want them to be together, I was practically shouting KISS at the book every time they were alone. They just work. They're perfect.

I really quite enjoyed that The Shameless Maverick spent a lot of time away from the clinic and hospital. It's not that I don't like the usual setting, but more that this gave the story a chance to pull much more at my heartstrings. This could possibly be the most heart-warming of the series, and I loved the scenes on the farm in Ireland. The familial setting meant that Declan's character ended up with much more depth, and I loved it. I loved seeing his love for his family, his care for those around him, and how his past shaped him.

Next up, The Tortured Hero by Amy Andrews. I especially can't wait for this one!


17 September 2021

Book Review: Whisper Cottage by Anne Wyn Clark *AD gifted

I was provided with a free ebook of  Whisper Cottage by Anne Wyn Clark ahead of the blog tour.

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Whisper Cottage by Anne Wyn Clark book cover

How well do you know the woman next door?

When Stina and Jack move to an old rural cottage, they’re hoping for a fresh start. Their new home is run-down compared to their neighbour’s, but generous Mrs Barley quickly becomes a friend.

Until Stina sees a mysterious figure in the widow’s garden, and her happy new life begins to unravel. And when she hears strange noises in the night, she is forced to question if Mrs Barley is what she seems.

Why do the other villagers whisper about her? Why is she so eager to help the couple? And what is she hiding in her picture-perfect home?


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Source: Blog Tour | Review Copy


5 Word Review: Neighbours, mystery, chilling, secrets, rumours.


I feel like I should have guessed from the cover and the description, but wow this was dark. And I loved every moment.

I thought that Stina was pretty standoffish, and I have to admit that I didn't like her that much. But for me that lent itself so well to the story and for all I couldn't see myself being friend with her if she was real, I was so invested in her story.

The setting is exquisite. The small, claustrophobic village feels like it's bearing down on you as you read. It feels very isolated even despite (or because of) Mrs Barley next door. I was never quite sure of myself, and at times the narrator felt very much unreliable because of what she thought was happening, and yet I was utterly compelled to believe her at all times.

I thought that Whisper Cottage was so clever in how it built the atmosphere. It's slow and subtle, and all the more chilling for it, and it feels really Gothic. This book will keep you firmly in its grip, you will not be able to put it down, and the twists will absolutely take you by surprise. I felt like I was on the edge of my seat pretty much the whole time. I loved the mystery and how it was so slowly unravelled. It kept me guessing until the end.

Whisper Cottage took my by surprise, and I can't wait to read more by Anne Wyn Clark.

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Anne Wyn Clark lives in the UK, in the Midlands, with her husband, son and a feisty chinchilla. She has three (now grown-up) children and five grandchildren. She is particularly partial to Italian food, decent red wine (or any coloured wine come to that...) and cake - and has been known to over-indulge in each on occasions. She is passionate about animals and their welfare. Whilst she has enjoyed writing for many years, a love of all things gothic inspired her to try her hand at producing something dark and twisty, culminating in the haunting Whisper Cottage.



Book Review: Will They, Won't They? by Portia MacIntosh *AD gifted

I was provided with a free ebook of Will They, Won't They? by Portia MacIntosh ahead of the blog tour.

This book was so freaking fun I can't even. Will They, Won't They? by Portia MacIntosh is the rom-com you need in your life to brighten up the dark evenings.

Will They, Won't They? by Portia MacIntosh book cover

When life goes off track sometimes the only thing you can do is go back to where it all began...

Emmy Palmer is the star of Bragadon Forest, the biggest fantasy series on TV; adored by the public, living the life of glamour and luxury in London.

But when scandal strikes, Emmy must escape the city and return to her seaside hometown to lie low and wait for the storm to pass.

Emmy's agent decides it would be a good look to star in the community Christmas pantomime, but who else could be playing her leading man but her ex-boyfriend who she may or may not have ditched to move to London a decade ago...

As the show approaches, love and friendships blossom and the real question is - Will they? Won't they?


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Source: Purchase | Blog Tour | Review Copy

5 Word Review: Family, friendship, acting, misunderstanding, love.


I needed this book. It was so freaking fun and uplifting. I'd recommend running a nice hot bath, throwing in a bath bomb, and pouring a glass of wine. Then relax into Emmy's excellent story.

I love love loved Emmy. She is so funny as a character, I loved her personality too. Her family conflicts and personal relationships honestly had me in stitches at time. I loved the small scenes that showed the contrast between her life in London and her life in Yorkshire.

The messes that Emmy gets herself into are a hoot. The misunderstandings are many, and only exacerbated by her eccentric family. Her Auntie Vee is really something else.

I liked the added drama of the scandal, but at the same time it made me so frustrated. Emmy just didn't do what she was accused of and it was so unfair that the rumours and lies could almost destroy her career. She is so freaking lovely, she didn't deserve it. That said, without it we wouldn't have moved the story to Marram Bay. I wish so badly that the setting were real, but at the same time I know many places similar. Although perhaps without the tidal island (and the complications it brings).

There was a gently festive feel to this story, especially after half-way through, so if you're looking for something to kick off the festive season then look no further. Will They, Won't They? by Portia MacIntosh is perfect. I can't wait to wander around Fenwick's Christmas department.

Portia MacIntosh is definitely an author I will keep an eye on.

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Portia MacIntosh is a bestselling romantic comedy author of 16 novels, including The Plus One Pact and My Great Ex-Scape. Previously a music journalist, Portia writes hilarious stories, drawing on her real life experiences.

15 September 2021

Book Review: Dark Things I Adore by Katie Lattari *AD gifted

I was sent a free copy of Dark Things I Adore by Katie Lattari ahead of the blog tour. 

Dark, twisty, and sure to keep you gripped to the last page. I loved it 

Dark Things I Adore by Katie Lattari book cover Titan books

hree campfire secrets. Two witnesses. One dead in the trees. And the woman, thirty years later, bent on making the guilty finally pay.

1988. A group of outcasts gather at a small, prestigious arts camp nestled in the Maine woods. They're the painters: bright, hopeful, teeming with potential. But secrets and dark ambitions rise like smoke from a campfire, and the truths they tell will come back to haunt them in ways more deadly than they dreamed.

2018. Esteemed art professor Max Durant arrives at his protégé's remote home to view her graduate thesis collection. He knows Audra is beautiful and brilliant. He knows being invited into her private world is a rare gift. But he doesn't know that Audra has engineered every aspect of their weekend together. Every detail, every conversation. Audra has woven the perfect web.

Only Audra knows what happened that summer in 1988. Max's secret, and the dark things that followed. And even though it won't be easy, Audra knows someone must pay.

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Source: Blog Tour | Review Copy

5 Word Review: Art, secrets, ambition, toxicity, revenge. 


This was the perfect book for stepping into autumn. 

Dark Things I Adore made me want to curl up under a blanket with a hot chocolate. It made me want to hide from the world, and honestly even the book at times. It's excellently dark. 

I liked the slow reveal of the past, the massive amount of thought that Audra has put into her plan. None of her actions are done on a whim, she's whip smart and shockingly manipulative. 

I freaking hated Max right from the off, even his point of view feels smarmy and arrogant. A truly marvellous villain, a character to easily hate. 

I think that the writing style was very clever - we are seeing the story from the perspective of artists and that really came through in the despcriptions. Max would literally wax lyrical when describing Audra. It also lent something extra unreliable to the narrative, like the characters were painting their own pictures with their words.

Dark Things I Adore is a perfect autumn thriller. From the setting to the twitsted, thrilling storyline, it will keep you wholly gripped for an entire evening or two. This story takes toxicity of all sorts and amps them up, and the result is deliciously dark and will chill you to the bone. 

And now this invitation. I'm like a vampire over the threshold.

14 September 2021

Book Review: Take A Moment by Nina Kaye *AD gifted

I was provided with a free ebook of Take A Moment by Nina Kaye ahead of the blog tour.

I went through a whole box of tissues and bottle of wine reading Take A Moment. It hit so close to home it was like the author could see me. And it was so freaking good.

Take A Moment by Nina Kaye book cover

Life is better lived in the moment

Meet Alex. She has a wonderful fiancé, a job she thrives in, and a best friend she’s known since childhood. Life’s not perfect, but it’s pretty fantastic. Until a shock diagnosis suddenly throws everything off course.

But Alex has never been one to back down from a fight. Now single and unemployed, she packs up and moves from her Glasgow hometown to vibrant Birmingham for a fresh start. In a new job, in a new city, she’s learning all over again what’s important in life.

Friendship, fun and even romance lie just around the corner – but can Alex get out of her own way and learn to just take a moment, and live?

A stunning, uplifting romance for fans of Mhairi McFarlane and Jo Watson.


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Source: Purchase | Blog Tour | Review Copy

5 Word Review: Disability, friendship, work, family, love.


Those five words don't do this story justice, by the way.

This is probably the hardest book review I have ever written. Because this book? Err... It's my life. Someone has been watching me go through my surprise diagnosis and my life falling apart and my body betraying me and having to come to terms that I will never ever get better and can only hope to put off getting more ill for as long as possible... And they've written it.

If you ever wondered what life with Multiple Sclerosis is like, look no further. Take A Moment is absolutely heartbreakingly perfect in its depiction of this auto-immune condition. I almost felt sick at the accuracy, but in a really good way. Is this how it feels to be represented in a book?

I completely understood Alex and her thoughts, feelings, and behaviour in the story. A Life changing diagnosis is difficult enough, but to know you will never get better? Your whole world is turned upside down. My heart broke when her personal relationships broke down, and yet I could see both sides of it. For all that she and her sister were like chalk and cheese there is still care there. 

I utterly adored the romance in this story, and the conflicts it caused. It was messy and felt so real, and it was so uplifting in how it all turned out. Disabled people are allowed romance and happy endings and I'm glad this book allowed one. 

I really enjoyed the work-conflict at Alex's new place, even if it did make me so so angry. And I lived how her manager rallied around her and was an actual friend. 

I wish this book had been around when I was going through the months after my diagnosis. It would have helped me so much (and even now so many years later it is helping) and I am just so thankful that this book is now around. Although my experiences have been very different, this hit the nail on the head. It was sensitively done, and for every hard moment there were moments to make you smile and laugh.

This is a hard hitting yet ultimately uplifting book that I will absolutely read again. 


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Nina Kaye is a contemporary romance author who writes warm, witty and uplifting reads with a deeper edge. She lives in Edinburgh with her husband and much adored side-kick, James. In addition to writing, Nina enjoys swimming, gin and karaoke (preferably all enjoyed together in a sunny, seaside destination). Nina has previously published The Gin Lover’s Guide to Dating and has also been a contender for the RNA Joan Hessayson Award.

13 September 2021

Book Review: Second Chance to Wear His Ring by Hana Sheik *AD Gifted

I was provided with a free ebook of Second Chance to Wear His Ring by Hana Sheik ahead of the blog tour.

I'm not usually a fan of the amnesia trope, but this one knocked the second chance at love right out of the park and I loved it. Read my review of Second Chance to Wear His Ring by Hana Sheik to find out why.

Second Chance to Wear His Ring by Hana Sheik Mills & Boon Harlequin romance book cover

A forgotten past…

Could pave the way to forever!

When millionaire Mansur Ali is called urgently home to Somaliland, he’s shocked to find that the woman who broke his heart needs his help.

After an accident, Amal has lost many memories… Including Manny’s marriage proposal and her rejection!

Manny will help her seek treatment in Addis Ababa, but he’s resolved to keep his heart firmly off-limits.

A promise that is tested when their journey brings them closer than ever before…


Amazon UK | Amazon US


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Source: Blog Tour | Review Copy

5 Word Review: Family, history, responsibility, memories, love. 


I wasn't sure about this at first, but after the first chapter I was hooked. It was an excellent and heart-warming romance. 

Manny is the first character we meet and honestly I wasn't set on him at first, he seemed so arrogant. But that he'd jump on a plane and travel so far for those he cares about was what sold him for me. He's generous with his heart, even when he pretends he isn't. 

I felt so sorry for Amal. She's had it really really rough since her accident, her whole world was turned upside down. She's a successful woman in her own right and I loved the glimpses we saw of her working, and the passion she had for her projects. I also loved how charitable she was, from giving money to the poor to working to build a proper and decent hospital for everyone. She's the kind of person we need more of in the world. 

I loved the slow rebuild between Amal and Manny, that spark of care that was there from the very beginning and grew and grew. I liked their shared history and how they helped each other in their own way. They didn't smother each other, and it was like the further in love they fell the greater they became as individuals. 

This is probably one of the best second chance romances I've read, and I wouldn't hesitate to read more by Hana Sheik. 

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Hana Sheik falls in love every day reading her favourite romances and writing her own happy-ever-afters. She's worked as a data entry operator, customer service rep, telemarketer, and ghostwriter—but being a romance author is without a doubt the best job ever! Born in Somalia, she moved to the beautiful capital of Canada as a toddler, and still lives there happily with her family.

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