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28 September 2020

Book Review: Meet Me In London by Georgia Toffolo *AD - Gifted

Mills & Boon sent me a free NetGalley ebook and audiobook of Meet Me In London by Georgia Toffolo.

I read Meet Me In London by Georgia Toffolo way back in July. Yes, the middle of summer. Even though it's a pretty Christmassy read. But you know what? It was the perfect tonic to the weird and often upsetting world we live in.

And I can't wait to read it again in December to get myself properly in the festive mood.

I have to say I wasn't as big a fab of the audiobook, which I listened to in September, but that is more a personal preference of narration style and that I already had my own voice for Victoria in my head.

Meet Me In London by Georgia Toffolo cover

What do you do when your fake engagement starts to feel too real...

Aspiring clothes designer Victoria Scott spends her days working in a bar in Chelsea, and her evenings designing vintage clothes, dreaming of one day opening her own boutique. But these aspirations are under threat from the new department store opening at the end of her road. She needs a Christmas miracle, but one is not forthcoming.

Oliver Russell’s Christmas is not looking very festive right now. His family’s new London department store opening is behind schedule, and on top of that his interfering, if well meaning, mother is pressing him to introduce his girlfriend to her. A girlfriend who does not exist. He needs a diversion. Something to keep his mother from interfering while he focuses on the business.

When Oliver meets Victoria, he offers a proposition: pretend to be his girlfriend at the opening of his store and he will provide an opportunity for Victoria to showcase her designs. But what starts as a business arrangement soon becomes something more tempting, as the fake relationship starts to feel very real. But when secrets in Victoria’s past are exposed will Oliver walk away, or will they both follow their hearts and find what neither knew they were looking for...

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Source: Net Galley

Content Warning: Infertility.

5 Word Review: Friendship, secrets, London, fashion, love.

Meet Me in London feels very British in a Love, Actually and Bridget Jones kind of way. The moneyed and polished London that tourists expect, that's romanticised everywhere. And it works perfectly for the story.

This book hits upon one of my favourite Romance tropes - fake dating. Victoria and Oliver enter into a fake engagement (it's not a spoiler, it's right there at the top of the blurb!) and I loved the little twist on what I'd expect.

I loved Victoria's love of fashion - I loved her passion and her style, and it felt so natural that when we looked at fabric she pictured the outfit she would make from it and who she would make it for. I love how she shares her skills, she's so generous with her time and with herself and is a truly lovey person. Victoria as a character is so uplifting and the perfect Romantic heroine. I felt happy reading about her, even when the story explored darker and more difficult themes.

I really appreciated the triumphs of the characters. For all that Meet Me In London is a Romance, so you know you'll get a happy ending, I liked the small victories of the characters too, the hope throughout the story.

For all that everything is pretty glossy on the surface, the story was deeper than I expected. I enjoyed it so much that I'm itching to reread it!

I absolutely cannot wait to read more books about this group of friends. I feel like I'm one of the gang myself and I'd love to know what their happily ever after will be.

The audiobook is narrated by Toff herself and it didn't quite work for me. I think it's purely because I had already read the book and had my own idea of what Victoria would sound like and it didn't match up. That said, the narration by the author does give some different emphasis to certain parts of the story and really brought Victoria's pain to life.

You made me see beyond my world and opened up another one. One with you in it, front and centre.

21 September 2020

My Autumn To Do List 2020

Tomorrow hails the start of the astronomical autumn, and since I was a bit tied up during the meteorological autumn I figured now is the best time to share my Autumn To Do List.

As I've posted before, autumn is my favourite season. I love the scents and smells and colours and it inspires me so much. I can't wait to get layered up as the days and nights cool down.

My Autumn To Do List 2020

Autumn To Do List

Walk 100 Miles

I'll only have 89 days to do this, so I'll have to get my boots on often! Part of the month will be me recovering from dental surgery, and the days are shorter, so it will be hard to do. But I did the same challenge in the summer on ViewRanger and it was excellent fun, and it's a good way to keep my fitness levels up and explore new places. I love autumn walks.

Rereading Favourites

We all know that I love re-reading books, and I do this most in the autumn. I'm have such a hankering to reread the DCI Ryan books by LJ Ross and now that I have the first four in paperback (gifted) I can do just that. I'm sure they'll inspire some of my walks too.

Bingewatching Shows

I am mid-way through Ruyi's Royal Love in the Palace and I can't wait to binge the rest of the episodes on Prime Video (affiliate link). I'm also looking forward to Ghosts returning on BBC because it is excellent fun, and I'm re-watching Bedlam because it's creepy and atmospheric.


I have become a wee bit addicted to Elder Scrolls Online and invested in ESO Plus membership, so I will be taking full advantage of access to all of the DLC packs and the unlimited crafting storage. I've been having a lot of fun creating fictional characters on The Sims too, and I can't wait to play with my neighbourhood of Crescent City characters.

Hot Drinks and Cold Days

This ties in a lot to my walking goal - I'll likely have a flask with me so I can have a hot cuppa on the go. I love warming my hands, watching the steam rise. I can't wait! I do need a new insulated flask though, so if you have any recommendations please let me know.

What do you love most about Autumn?
What's on your Autumn To Do List?

18 September 2020

Book Beginnings: A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A Brown

   For Book Beginnings, Rose City Reader invites us to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

For Friday 56, Freda's Voice asks you to turn to Page 56 in your book or 56% on your e-reader and pick a sentence.

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A Brown cover

"Abraa! Abraa! Come and gather - a story is about to begin!"

I couldn't resist buying myself the Fairyloot edition of A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A Brown - it's simply stunning. The cover is so pretty and striking, and my copy has gorgeous green sprayed edges.

This book is the first in a new fantasy duology, and aside from that I know nothing as I don't tend to read blurbs. I really appreciate that this book has a note from the author at the front with a list of possible triggers.

This first sentence I think is pretty clever - it sets the scene and indeed a story is about to begin. I like the writing style too, there is something also wistful about this first part told from Malik's perspective.

I'm reading A Song of Wraiths and Ruin for Conquer A Chonker this weekend, at 480 pages it's a Chonky Boi. Wish me luck!

Karina had stopped trying to scale that wall years ago.

This is from page 56 in my finished copy.

I have so many quotes written down from this book already! I am in love.

The characters have their own feel and voice when the perspective switches so I am finding it very easy to follow who is where and who is telling the story.

I know I'm not far through at all, but A Song of Wraiths and Ruin is truly excellent so far and I'm addicted. It'll be difficult to put down for sure.

What are you reading this week?

11 September 2020

Book Beginnings: The Mermaid, The Witch, and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall

  For Book Beginnings, Rose City Reader invites us to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

For Friday 56, Freda's Voice asks you to turn to Page 56 in your book or 56% on your e-reader and pick a sentence.

I am currently reading The Mermaid, The Witch, and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall.
The Mermaid, The Witch, and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall cover

Long after the sun had set, when the passengers were nestled neatly in their cabins, the crew gathered on the deck of the Dove.

I was sent a free review copy of The Mermaid, The Witch, and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall.

I am so excited for this book. Queer pirates? Yes please.

The cover is absolutely stunning, I adore the details. It's so pretty, I would love it as an art print.

Evelyn's eyes went wide. "Don't you dare burn a book."

This is from page 56 in my review copy.

I am nowhere near this far but I have to agree with Evelyn, they'd better not dare burn a book!

What are you reading this week?

07 September 2020

Audiobook Review: The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman, narrated by Lesley Manville *AD Gifted

Penguin provided me with access to a digital copy of the audiobook for The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman, narrated by Lesley Manville.

I have a thing for "celebrity" novels. They tend to be pretty easy to read and I fly through them. I purposefully seek them out and I keep my expectations middling. Which meant that The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman far exceeded my expectations.

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman, narrated by Lesley Manville cover

Four septuagenarians with a few tricks up their sleeves

A female cop with her first big case

A brutal murder

Welcome to…


In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet weekly in the Jigsaw Room to discuss unsolved crimes; together they call themselves The Thursday Murder Club.

When a local developer is found dead with a mysterious photograph left next to the body, the Thursday Murder Club suddenly find themselves in the middle of their first live case.

As the bodies begin to pile up, can our unorthodox but brilliant gang catch the killer, before it’s too late?

Amazon UK | Amazon US

Source: Review copy

5 Word Review: Friendship, murder, mystery, retirement, life.

I found that The Thursday Murder Club was an easy read, but I also think this is the cosiest cosy mystery I have ever experienced. And it's truly excellent fun. And quite cleverly written.

Lesley Manville does an excellent job at narrating the story. Her voice suits the character so well and really brought them to life, with slightly different intonation for each when the story is told from their perspective. They were the perfect choice of narrator and I'll be keeping an eye out for other books they have lent their voice to.

The Thursday Murder Club feels very, very British. It is somehow slightly quaint, even being set in a luxurious retirement village. And that retirement village, wow. I would very much like to live at Coopers Chase myself, I'll take the risk. It sounds like heaven, and very expensive.

Some of the characters did grate me a little - mostly in how they played in to stereotypes. It did lend a very recognisable face of sorts to the characters, their flaws and the things that made me dislike them slightly made them all the more real. But I could have done without the cantankerous old man being a knob just because he can!

I kind of need more to the story - it was a really comforting read and I enjoyed the mystery. I would happily join the Thursday Murder Club for more of their investigations.