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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?

27 March 2021

Book Review: High Heels in the Highlands by Liz Hurley *AD gifted

I was provided with a free ebook of High Heels in the Highlands by Liz Hurley ahead of the blog tour.

Not me on another fictional trip to the highlands! Once travel is allowed I have money saved especially for a stay and all of these highland romances are making me even more excited for it.

High Heels in the Highlands by Liz Hurley had me weirdly aching for the Gretna Green services and all of the tourist tat, I am definitely buying myself a tartan blanket.

High Heels in the Highlands by Liz Hurley book cover

Clementine’s swapped a London flat for a Scottish castle – but will she get her fairytale ending?

After discovering they were heirs to an enormous fortune, the lives of the five Hiverton sisters have never been the same. 

While oldest sister Ariana settles in Norfolk, Clementine heads up to the remote Scottish Highlands to move into the castle that forms part of their estate. Not bad for a girl brought up scrabbling for money in a tiny house in East London…

However, Clem quickly finds out that Ruacoddy Castle is falling apart, the neighbours – especially grumpy young farmer, Rory - are suspicious of her and the eccentric housekeeper, Ottoline, is still in residence.

But as Clem finds herself growing closer to the village community, even growing closer to Rory and forming an alliance with Ottoline, she realises that life in the Highlands might just be the change she needed. 

She just needs to find out if Manolo Blahnik make wellies…

Take a trip to the gorgeous Scottish countryside with this utterly feelgood, romantic and hilarious read – fans of Jenny Colgan, Holly Martin and Cressida McLaughlin will love this!

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Source: Blog Tour | Review Copy

5 Word Review: Family, secrets, art, love, scenery.

Oh, take me to the highlands. Take me to Ruacoddy Castle.

High Heels in the Highlands is an excellent and truly laugh out loud romantic comedy. Reading it feels a bit like watching a Working Title film, with that picturesque look on the world. Whether it was London, a remote locked-in pub, or an ancient castle, I could picture everything perfectly.

I loved the vast, sprawling family, and I want to read a story about them all! This is the third book in the Hiverton series although they can absolutely be read as standalones and out of order. I will definitely be keeping an eye on Liz Hurly so that I can read about each of the five sisters and the future of their immense estates. I'm particularly excited to hopefully read more about Paddy, who I think is the subject of the second book, as I am intrigued by her.

This book plays a lot with classism and rich versus poor. It's even a major plot point in a very creative way, and I love how the author explored it. There are delves into the duties of landowners, the prospects of people in remote communities, and how a name isn't everything. It was beautifully done.

Clem has a massive change in scenery from the first pages to the last - and not just the scenery around her. I loved the character development, and how as much as she started off brash and confidence, she mellowed quite a bit as she found her place and her people and a pace of life to suit her. I loved her enthusiasm about everything she cares about.

Is it weird that one of my favourite characters was a side character? Otto is A Lot and I loved her for it. She's had a hard life, with hidden thrills and lots of heartbreak, yet is fiercely loyal and supremely talented. I loved every moment of Otto and Clem clashing, and I loved how their relationship developed beyond begrudging respect.

I have to say that I took a fancy to the main romantic interest Rory from the off, even if Clem wasn't so enamoured. He's rough and ready and kind and generous, he's unafraid of hard work and doing what needs to be done, and is genuinely nice. Sweet Rory.

I will absolutely be reading every other book in this series. If they're even a fraction as funny as High Heels in the Highlands I'll be roaring with laugher.

Tomorrow would be a better day. She would follow her parents' example and find the fun in every bad moment.
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24 March 2021

Book Review: Home on Folly Farm by Jane Lovering *AD - Gifted

I was provided with access to a free copy of Home on Folly Farm by Jane Lovering ahead of the blog tour, but as I'm a massive Jane Lovering fan I already had the book and the audiobook pre-ordered and so did not take up that offer.

If you haven't heard me fangirl about this author before then check out some of my previous posts about best authors and favourite books. Because I fully stan Jane Lovering. Home on Folly Farm was an instant hit for me, and an easy five stars.

Home on Folly Farm by Jane Lovering book cover

Escape the rat race by heading to the Yorkshire Moors in Jane Lovering’s funny, warm and magical new novel.

Needing an escape, Dora swapped city living for life as a shepherdess on her grandad’s Yorkshire farm. More than a decade later Dora is still there, now farming the fifty acres and caring for the one hundred rare sheep by herself. She never hears the call of the city, but instead relishes the peace and simplicity of life on the Moors.

When Dora’s glamorous but quarrelsome sister Cass, her teenage nephew Thor and his handsome tutor Nat, turn up for an unexpected and unreasonably long stay, life on the farm is thrown into chaos. Cass brings with her unwelcome memories from the past, and of someone who once stole Dora's heart. 

Dora takes refuge in the comforting routine of the farm, the sheep never allowing her too much time to dwell. But, as the seasons change, the snow starts to melt, and as lambs begin to fill the fields, Dora can’t keep hiding in the hills. Because even though she’s trying, Dora can’t run away from a love that never really let her go…

Let Jane Lovering whisk you away to the beauty and serenity of the Yorkshire Moors, far away from the noise of the city. Just right for fans of Emma Burstall, Holly Martin and Kate Forster.

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Source: Purchase

5 Word Review: Farm, sheep, family, secrets, forgiveness.

Content warnings: Miscarriage, drug abuse.

The first lines of this book pack a bit of a punch - straight in there with the dry humour that I love from this author. We meet the main character Dora elbow-deep in a sheep while her polished sister Cass looks on in disgust, and honestly that sets the tone for the whole book. It was an excellent start and I was hooked straight away.

Dora and Cass clash. They couldn't be more different from each other, and I loved it. I have two sisters myself, and sometimes we can wind each other right up. I loved the messy relationships, the conflicts, the resentment, and the slow rebuilding after so much distance. I loved the exploration of sibling relationships, and the ending was beautiful and enlightening for the characters in that respect.

Thor is a spark of youthful energy, a stark contrast to the adults around him. It was great to see two sides of him - the twelve year old trying to make it as a Youtuber, and the twelve year old delighting in the novelties of farm life.

Then we have Nat, who harbours a pretty big secret. I loved the build of attraction between Dora and Nat, their secret shared history, the passion that sparked between them. I loved how Dora's defence was snark and the back-and-forth banter that ensued.

I loved the setting. The farm is that kind of romantic-idyllic that isn't really all that in real life. And I freaking loved it. The remoteness made the tension more tense, the things that could go wrong added an edge of anxiousness to the story, even as the beautiful scenery had me sighing. I love being up on the moors and dales and this book brought up such vivid imagery that I could almost forget it had been over a year since I last saw such a vast sky.

This story is an absolute joy. There's something about Jane Lovering's writing that soothes your soul (yea, even with Vampire State of Mind) and makes you feel whole and content at the end. Home on Folly Far was no exception and I'm only sad that I can never read it for the first time again. It's definitely one I'll reread.

I did dip into the audio book a few times and Rose Robinson does an amazing job narrating the story. I loved how she did different voices for each of the characters, and how that brought them even more to life.

Someone who's never lived without money can't understand what it's like to have to check, check and triple check before you spend, and she'd been bankrolled by our parents all her life.

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22 March 2021

Book Review: The Warrior's Innocent Captive by Ella Matthews *AD gifted

I was provided with a free copy of The Warrior's Innocent Captive by Ella Matthews ahead of the blog tour.

I was excited for this one - I love historical romance anyway, but throw in some force proximity in a rescue mission? Sorry, I'm gone. Woman down.

The Warrior's Innocent Captive by Ella Matthews book cover Mills & Boon historical House of Leofric

An impossible choice:

His family or love

As steward to the Earl of Borwyn, Erik Ward had only admired sheltered noblewoman Linota Leofric from afar – until he has to escort her on a dangerous journey.

When she’s kidnapped, he rescues the courageous beauty, revelling in finally having her in his arms. 

But Erik has a secret plan to reunite his family – now he’s forced to choose between that and his growing feelings for Linota…

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Source: Blog Tour | Review Copy

5 Word Review: Family, attraction, danger, love, loyalty.

Put simply: I loved it.

The Warrior's Innocent Captive is fantastically fast paced, and the pace is as driven by the plot and the events that unfold as it is by the passion between Linota and Erik. And it is fiery and tense and *fans self* oh boy you're in for a treat.

When Linota and Erik come together it really is something special. I loved the slow yet intense building of feelings, the spark of lust, the attention Linota received from Erik. I liked the hesitation, those small moments when they held back and the tension built.

Something I really enjoyed about this story was that it kept going - just when you think it might wrap up SURPRISE there is more to come. And it gets even more intense. I was breathless reading the ending, and as much as I knew it was a romance and I'd get a happy ever after, there was a part of my somehow surprised by it.

I loved the political intrigue simmering away in the background, and the added pressure and danger and drama it brought to the plot. This is an intense story, in more ways than one.

I now want to read all of the The House of Leofric stories. They can undoubtedly be read as standalones, but the glimpses of Katherine and Ellena's stories was enough to have me desperate to know more. I'd better buy some oatcakes if they're mentioned as much in them as they were in The Warrior's Innocent Captive.

She'd had his heart from the moment he'd first seen her and there was nothing he could do about it.

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19 March 2021

Book Review: Project Kaitlyn by Grayson Avery *AD gifted

I was provided with a free ebook of Project Kaitlyn by Grayson Avery ahead of the blog tour.

If you're after your next klutzy romantic heroine with a outrageous group of friends, then you've come to the right place.

Project Kaitlyn by Grayson Avery book cover

Meet Kaitlyn Colby, a clumsy, inappropriate blurter with self-esteem issues, but also quite handy with an axe. She's certainly no superhero, but she fights the battles of a single mom with sweet snarkasm. Between work and pining for and co-parenting with her man-child ex (is there any other kind?), Kaitlyn has no time to find that special someone. And if she did, would he really want her anyway? Kaitlyn's sister and friends (The Sweet Water Circle) say yes, so following a typical Kaitlyn slip up, The Circle intervenes to force her out of the funk that she fell into following her unwanted divorce.

When Kaitlyn makes a decision to pursue her advertising career over love, she tumbles (like no tumble you've ever seen… or heard) into the life of hunky, bay breeze-drinking Hunter Dixon, an ad exec who is intrigued enough by Kaitlyn that he hires her firm to revive a struggling project, much like herself.

Can Kaitlyn become the woman she needs to be to land the man of her dreams? Maybe. Maybe not. But you'll laugh out loud as she tries. There's no doubt you'll be rooting for the lovable, hilarious, and relatable Kaitlyn. And you'll probably love her friends, too, which is good, because their stories are ready to be told in the Sweet Water Circle series!

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Source: Blog Tour | Review Copy

5 Word Review: Friendship, responsibility, toxicity, family, love.

Are you looking for a disaster character? Well, look no further, because Kaitlyn is A Mess. And it is hilarious.

Kait has been absolutely shredded by her past, and on top of her dwindling confidence, all she wants is to be wanted and loved.

I really like the fun banter between the main friendship group. They're keeping their eye on Kaitlyn, they know what she has going on with Aaron is unhealthy, and they're trying to do their best for her. They just do it in the most hilarious ways and I loved the in-jokes and plays on words, the gentle teasing. It was outrageous at times, and it was an excellent depiction of friendship. It really did make me laugh out loud.

I loved that part of Project Kaitlyn was all about Kait rediscovering herself. She wasn't Kailyn, the mum. She wasn't Linnie, the woman used by her ex. It was lovely to see her grow as a character and become herself again.

Project Kaitlyn is a quick read, generally light-hearted but with a deeper exploration of toxic relationships and the hold that narcissistic people can hold over you. It was about a mum becoming more than just Child's Mum and finding herself again. And there was an excellent will-they-won't-they love story.

I'm excited at the prospect of more books about the friendship group, because they sure have some stories to tell.

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13 March 2021

Book Review: Harper’s Highland Fling by Lizzie Lamb *AD gifted

I was provided with a free ebook of Harper’s Highland Fling by Lizzie Lamb ahead of the blog tour.

I love a wee trip to the highlands, especially right now when no one can go there. Oh, the escapism. Harper’s Highland Fling by Lizzie Lamb was fantastically fun escapism.

Harper’s Highland Fling by Lizzie Lamb book cover

After a gruelling academic year, head teacher Harper MacDonald is looking forward to a summer holiday trekking in Nepal.

However, her plans are scuppered when wayward niece, Ariel, leaves a note announcing that she’s running away with a boy called Pen. The only clue to their whereabouts is a footnote: I’ll be in Scotland.

Cue a case of mistaken identity when Harper confronts the boy’s father - Rocco Penhaligon, and accuses him of cradle snatching her niece and ruining her future. At loggerheads, Harper and Rocco set off in hot pursuit of the teenagers, but the canny youngsters are always one step ahead. And, in a neat twist, it is the adults who end up in trouble, not the savvy teenagers.

Fasten your seatbelt for the road trip of your life! It’s going to be a bumpy ride!

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Source: Blog Tour | Review Copy

5 Word Review: Family, expectation, secrets, summer, romance.

If you're looking for your next romantic comedy to get stuck in to, look no further. Harper's Highland Fling more than delivers on the fun romance-infused capers that it promises.

Harper's Highland Fling is a perfect summer rom-com, with an emphasis on the comedy. So many moments had me laughing out loud, despite how serious the story got at times. I wouldn't say it's especially fast paced, but the story takes place in a an intense few days. I was so caught up in the story that it almost took my breath away.

There is a scene about a third of the way into the story where Harper sits on a deck with another woman and they drink wine from large glasses and nibble on snacks and chat away in the summer evening air, and honestly I want to to be doing that while reading this book.

The story is mostly from Harper's perspective, but we do see some of it from Rocco's eyes, and this dual narrative really lends itself to the not-so-slow building of tension and attraction. It feels like a slow burn while still having the urgency of the little time they've known each other, and it was marvellous.

I felt so sorry for Harper at times - she's given her all to her job and her family, and especially her niece, and she has missed out on so much of life because of it. She wanted more. She deserved better. I was honestly heartbroken for her when she couldn't go on her trip, because it was the trip of a lifetime and something I would dearly like to do. Although what ends up happening instead? Well, it's excellent fun.

This book was written for long evenings and a glass of chilled wine and a bowl of olives. It's a book to take time with and enjoy, and it's a bit of a journey. I will definitely be reading Harper's Highland Fling again, keeping an eye on Lizzie Lamb.

"Unresolved-Sexual-Tension. Textbook case, Miss MacDonald".

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10 March 2021

Book Review: Trouble for the Leading Lady by Rachel Brimble *AD gifted

I was provided with a free ebook of Trouble for the Leading Lady by Rachel Brimble ahead of the blog tour.

I pounced on this book the second I got my hands on it - I'm pretty desperate to fill the void Bridgerton has left and any historical fiction will do. Well... I was not disappointed! It's like Trouble for the Leading Lady takes all of the best bits from Bridgerton and Harlots and smooshes them together: sex positivity, personal agency, fierce passion. YES.

Trouble for the Leading Lady by Rachel Brimble book cover

Bath, 1852.

As a girl, Nancy Bloom would go to Bath's Theatre Royal, sit on the hard wooden benches and stare in awe at the actresses playing men as much as the women dressed in finery. She longed to be a part of it all and when a man promised her parents he could find a role for Nancy in the theatre, they believed him.

His lie and betrayal led to her ruin.

Francis Carlyle is a theatre manager, an ambitious man always looking for the next big thing to take the country by storm. A self-made man, Francis has finally shed the skin of his painful past and is now rich, successful and in need of a new female star. Never in a million years did he think he'd find her standing on a table in one of Bath's bawdiest pubs.

Nancy vowed never to trust a man again. Francis will do anything to make her his star. As they engage in a battle of wits and wills, can either survive with their hearts intact?

The second in Rachel Brimble's thrilling new Victorian saga series The Ladies of Carson Street, Trouble for the Leading Lady will whisk you away to the riotous, thriving underbelly of Victorian Bath.

Source: Blog Tour | Review Copy

5 Word Review: Lust, attraction, passion, family, friendship.

From the very first page, I loved Trouble for the Leading Lady.

One thing I really loved was the inclusion of small details that will strike every woman as familiar - not taking back paths and alleyways, having a friend as back up when talking to a stranger. As much as the women in this story very much own themselves and their sexual agency, these little things struck me right to the core. The underlying yet never mentioned danger everywhere in the world and the characters acknowledging that hit me deep.

Another thing excellently done was Nancy's reactions to these situations. Her panic and anxiety was real, the unconscious physical reactions described so perfectly. As a character she came to life on the page, and her narration of events was perfect. I could truly feel how she felt, feel the conflicts she faced. She has worked herself up from the horrors of her past and she is determined to live her life only for herself.

Francis is fantastic romantic hero, set on his decision of who he wants to play the lead in his production. He's had an almost equally as hard past and like Nancy has worked his way up, with an added dose of the privilege of being a man. He's hard-working and self-assured yet vulnerable, and it made for an excellent romantic interest, especially for Nancy.

The passion between Nancy and Francis is intense, palpable. From pretty much instant lust, a bit of mutual infatuation, and almost all-consuming chemistry, the relationship only builds, and I am here for it.

I have not read the first book, and you can easily read this as a standalone, but I am absolutely going to go back and read Louisa's story, and then I think I'll dive into the Pennington books - Rachel Brimble's books have jumped straight to the top of my TBR.

You emanate a strength, a tenacity, that is tangible.

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09 March 2021

Book Review: Wartime with the Tram Girls by Lynn Johnson *AD gifted

I was provided with a free ebook of Wartime with the Tram Girls by Lynn Johnson ahead of the blog tour.

I love a saga, and have a soft spot for wartime sagas. So this was right up my street from the off.

Wartime with the Tram Girls by Lynn Johnson book cover

July 1914: Britain is in turmoil as WW1 begins to change the world. While the young men disappear off to foreign battlefields, the women left at home throw themselves into jobs meant for the boys.

Hiding her privileged background and her suffragette past, Constance Copeland signs up to be a Clippie - collecting money and giving out tickets - on the trams, despite her parents’ disapproval.

Constance, now known as Connie, soon finds there is more to life than the wealth she was born into and she soon makes fast friends with lively fellow Clippies, Betty and Jean, as well as growing closer to the charming, gentle Inspector Robert Caldwell.

But Connie is haunted by another secret; and if it comes out, it could destroy her new life.

After war ends and the men return to take back their roles, will Connie find that she can return to her previous existence? Or has she been changed forever by seeing a new world through the tram windows?

Source: Blog Tour | Review Copy

5 Word Review: Family, betrayal, circumstance, belonging, empowerment.

I loved this story, the way it spread across class and experience, the sweeping arc of love and betrayal and rebuilding oneself and fighting for what you believe in. It was very uplifting and an ultimately very hopeful book, even set as it was against world war one.

Constance at the start is a very privileged character, who held little regard for anyone but herself. She has grand ideas and a grand ego, and is swept up in the suffragette movement - to the detriment of her maid.

It was excellent to see her change and mature as a character and become Connie, a much more well rounded and all together better sort of person. I was sad that it took such heartbreak and hurt for it to happen, but it did make for an intense start to the story.

I loved the inclusion of the suffragettes and suffragists, and that way that the distinctions were very clearly displayed - if you don't know much about them then the information about the movements will certainly teach you something.

I thought I was in for a pretty slow paced book when I picked up Wartime with the Tram Girls, but I ended up swept up in Connie's life, particularly at the beginning. As much as I loved Connie, my favourite part of the story was when she was still Constance and thought she had it all.

I would love to read more of Ginnie's story, so I will definitely be picking up the first book in The Potteries Girls! They can absolutely be read separately, but Ginnie is far too compelling as a side character to just be ignored, so The Girl from the Workhouse went straight on my TBR.

This is a perfect read for all fans of historical saga stories

It had a sense of purpose and she was old enough to make up her own mind.

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08 March 2021

Audiobook Review: Crossing The Line by Isabella Muir *AD gifted

I was provided with a free audiobook of Crossing The Line by Isabella Muir ahead of the blog tour.

I love audiobooks, and this one had me intrigued right from the start.

Crossing The Line by Isabella Muir audiobook cover

Tragic accident or cold-blooded murder?

Retired Italian detective, Giuseppe Bianchi, travels to England to escape one tragic death, when he comes face-to-face with another. When the body of a teenager is found on a Sussex beach, Giuseppe is drawn to the case - a case with no witnesses, and a case about which no one is prepared to talk.

National news reports of a missing 12-year-old in Manchester spark fear across the nation. The phrase "stranger-danger" filters into public consciousness. Local reporter, Christina Rossi, already has concerns about her local community. Families are not as close-knit as they first appear.

As the sea mist drifts in and darkness descends, can Giuseppe and Christina discover the truth and prevent another tragedy? 

Crossing the Line is the perfect listen for everyone who loves Agatha Christie style twists and turns, with a Mediterranean flavor. Imagine the charismatic Italian police series, Montalbano, combined with those TV favorites set in the 1960s - Endeavour, George Gently, and Call the Midwife.  

Source: Blog Tour | Review Copy

5 Word Review: Family, mystery, loss, responsibility, investigation.

I have a bit of a thing for the sixties - although I was born 40 years too late I have a certain nostalgia for the time. I love Heartbeat and The Royal, cosy family dramas with mystery. So Crossing The Line was right up my street.

The writing is very atmospheric. Great attention is paid to the setting, whether it's a sea fret rolling in then lifting, cat hair clinging to every material, or pipe smoke thickening the air. This would be a perfect cosy mystery for a rainy summer's day, and I kind of regret that I listened to it in the earliest moments of spring. As much as the story is set in the sixties, it also feels pretty timeless.

Christina Rossi was a fantastic character - I loved how she was conflicted over her morals, and was trying to juggle her own nature with her job as a journalist. I loved how sensitive and aware she was, and it added so many extra layers to the story.

Giuseppe is honestly a bit of a pain, always sticking his nose in. This would make a perfect daytime drama, it's very much a cosy mystery and Giuseppe really puts a smile on your face with his mild belligerence. It's surprisingly endearing.

This was an excellent cosy mystery, with many layers to get stuck in to and a twist that took my by surprise. I will definitely read on in the Giuseppe Bianchi mysteries.

Now, as an adult, Rose Walker had discovered it was the lines and boundaries in her life that kept her safe.

Crossing The Line by Isabella Muir blog tour banner

Isabella is never happier than when she is immersing herself in the sights, sounds and experiences of the 1960s. Researching all aspects of family life back then formed the perfect launch pad for her works of fiction. Isabella rediscovered her love of writing fiction during two happy years working on and completing her MA in Professional Writing and since then she has gone on to publish six novels, three novellas and two short story collections.

Her latest novel, Crossing the Line, is the first of a new series of Sussex Crimes, featuring retired Italian detective, Giuseppe Bianchi who is escaping from tragedy in Rome, only to arrive in the quiet seaside town of Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex, to come face-to-face with it once more.

Her first Sussex Crime Mystery series features young librarian and amateur sleuth, Janie Juke. Set in the late 1960s, in the fictional seaside town of Tamarisk Bay, we meet Janie, who looks after the mobile library. She is an avid lover of Agatha Christie stories – in particular Hercule Poirot. Janie uses all she has learned from the Queen of Crime to help solve crimes and mysteries. As well as three novels, there are three novellas in the series, which explore some of the back story to the Tamarisk Bay characters.

Isabella’s standalone novel, The Forgotten Children, deals with the emotive subject of the child migrants who were sent to Australia – again focusing on family life in the 1960s, when the child migrant policy was still in force.

04 March 2021

Book Review: The Infinity Files by SM Wilson *AD gifted

Usborne Books sent me a free electronic review copy of The Infinity Files by SM Wilson via NetGalley.

Do you know how excited I was for this book? Having loved The Extinction Trials, I had very high expectations of The Infinity Files. And I was not disappointed...

The Infinity Files by SM Wilson cover

Ash Yang dreamed of being a starfighter pilot. But when she crashes out of her final test - literally - she somehow lands the most powerful job in the universe.

As Guardian of the Infinity Files she must secretly planet-hop through the galaxies, stealing or returning treasures that have the power to stop wars...or start them.

But when her home planet is the one at war, is she the right person to save it?

Source: NetGalley, Review Copy

5 Word Review: Responsibility, power, friendship, space, war.

I feel a bit sick at how good this book was. No, really. I have a massive book hangover and don't know how I can bring myself to pick up a book that isn't The Infinity Guardians (I have to wait how long?!).

The Infinity Files is amazing. It is tense and adventurous, and there is danger everywhere. It is exhilarating and heart-breaking, yet the hope in the story almost glows.

Ash is ballsy and confident and knows what she wants - and her journey as a character, the development? *chef's kiss* The story is a pretty even mix of being driven by plot and character - as much as sometimes thing are propelled along out of Ash's control, when she does take control it is one heck of a ride. I loved the way she matured as a person, how the responsibility thrust upon her changed her in small ways that were so subtle I didn't realise until the end.

This is the second sci-fi I've read recently where my favourite character is the AI. Orius is more than a hologram, and I loved his snark at the beginning. By the end, I'm not so sure I should trust him, but the growth? Amazing. Although I was left feeling a little bereft.

The only downside, the only negative I can think of, is Ash's response to a corset on one of the planets she is sent to. With the technology at her disposal and what I know of corsets from experience, it didn't make sense to me that a corset would be uncomfortable. I could understand her balking at the restrictions a corset and full skirts imposed upon her, she's never had long skirts tangling about her legs, but corsets are comfy, damnit!

The ending of The Infinity Files? Wow. I was on the edge of my seat, fidgeting, unable to sit still. It is INTENSE and breath-taking and I had to stop reading and do a little scream.

02 March 2021

My Favourite Horror Films

I am joining in the #TeamMina festivities in the run up to the release of Mina and the Undead by Amy McCaw on the 1st of April.

I'm not a massive fan of most horror. I can't hack it with gore and violence. I prefer it when a horror really gets in to your head.

So here is a run down of some of my favourite horror films.

Mina and the Undead: My Favourite Horror Films


This one really gets in your head, I love the intensity of it and the manipulation of the main character. It's chilling and shocking.

Van Helsing

It's just so much fun! Vampires and werewolves and a supernatural hunter. I love how fun it lets itself be and I wish there were more films like it.

Shaun of the Dead

It's a classic. To be honest I could watch the entire Cornetto trilogy over and over and I suppose in a way they're all horror films. But I love the fun of Shaun of the Dead, the way the actors have fun with it, the epilogue that lightens things up.

Lesbian Vampire Killers

I just love the camp feeling that this film has. It's fun, and as far from serious as can be.

What's your favourite horror film?

#TeamMina #MinaAndTheUndead


01 March 2021

Book Review: Our Little Secret by Rachael Stewart *AD gifted

I was provided with a free ebook of Our Little Secret by Rachael Stewart ahead of the blog tour.

It has been a long long time since I read any of the stories from Mills & Boon Dare, and I think I had forgotten quite how steamy they are. Grab a fan, a glass of wine, and prepare for a women's pleasure to be front and centre.

Our Little Secret by Rachael Stewart Mills & Boon Dare

A little secret sexy fun

Under the Tuscan sun!

It's her best mate’s wedding week – and Faye Davenport is celebrating with a skinny dip under the Tuscan moon. Except she's not alone. The sexy Italian dish is Rafael Perez – her mate’s off-limits older brother.

But now it's too late.

This illicit, irresistible fire is already out of control…

Source: Blog Tour | Review Copy

5 Word Review: Lust, attraction, passion, family, friendship.

From the moment I picked up Our Little Secrets, it felt a bit like summer. The setting made the glimpses of spring around me come to life, and now I can't wait for more sunshine.

I resonated so much with Faye, and I can't think of why! There was something about her that was so relatable, something so normal and human that I was like girl, I feel you right from the start. I love her hesitancy and doubts, the game face and false confidence she puts on.

There is a fairly hefty age-gap in this story - but then again that is also true for the secondary characters, and it's something very much acknowledged on page. And I loved that. I loved Rafael stopping and thinking to himself this is a bit much, and the internal battles that went on with the characters.

This is a relatively short book, and the pace is driven by the intense passion and lust between the characters. It's a book that is easy to fly through and will leave you breathless. 

And for all that it's a story primarily about lust, there are plenty of sentimental and deeper emotional parts too, including some really profound depictions of grief. Our Little Secret delivers so much more than I expected, it truly exceeded all of my expectations. I loved the family dramas and reconciliations that helped drive the characters on.

I will definitely be checking out more of Rachael's Stewart's Dare titles. This was a romance that had me thinking yes, this is it. This is perfect.

It's our little secret. Our little bit of fun...

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