Retreat to the Spanish Sun by Jo Thomas #NetGalley #Romance #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Retreat to the Spanish Sun by Jo Thomas. I read this book last month and adored it a lot.

Eliza has a full house! When her three children grew up and moved out, she downsized to a smaller property… but now they’re all back. Every room in the house is taken and Eliza finds herself sharing her bed with her eldest daughter and her daughter’s pug. Combined with the online course she’s trying to finish, plus her job to fit in, there just isn’t the peace and quiet that Eliza needs.

So when an ad pops up on her laptop saying ‘house-sitters wanted’, Eliza can’t resist the chance to escape. She ends up moving to a rural Finca in southern Spain, looking after the owner’s Iberico pigs, learning about secret gastronomic societies… and finding a new zest for life and love along the way. 

MY REVIEW

I have read quite a few books by this author and it is always great to pick up her latest creation. In this one, we join Eliza tripping over her own grown-up children as they have gradually moved back home. Juggling her own job and also trying to finish her college course while. Being there for her children isn’t easy. But they are her family and she loves them. To try and get some space so she can finish her course she decides to take on a two-week house sitting g job in Spain.

Arriving in Spain and meeting the owner of the home she is going to stay in, is a nervy first meeting. The home is also a farm for special pigs that are reared to produce Iberico ham, expensive and with a unique flavour. Having time to herself, Eliza finds herself quite lonely so makes her way into town. Here again, she doesn’t get the best of welcomes but soon discovers a local shop and a tapas bar. These places become like sanctuaries and at the tapas bar, she finds herself with like-minded people.

Reading this author’s books is a pleasure and the research that goes into her work is amazing. It was great to learn about the lifestyle and pig rearing through to the ham, and they have brilliantly been brought into the story and are part of it. The different flavours and foods from the area are something that makes your mouth water while you read.

There is also a great set of characters in this book from various backgrounds. And, of course, there is a fabulous romance side to it as well as a wonderful main storyline that revolves around Eliza. This book has some brilliant moments and I scored it. It was wonderfully heartwarming, made me chuckle at times and has a fabulous feel to it as you read.

This was a wonderful book that readers of contemporary fiction and romance will adore. It is one I would definitely recommend.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

The Chemical Cocktail Fiona Erskine @erskine_fiona @PointBlankCrime @RandomTTours #crime #mystery #thriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Chemical Cocktail by Fiona Erskine. This book is the 3rd book in the Jaqueline Silver series, and yes, it is the first one I have read.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my copy of the book and for my spot on the Blog Tour.

Jaq Silver is back with a bang in this high-octane third novel in the series

When Jaq Silver’s mother dies, she is handed a poisoned chalice. An inheritance more valuable to her than she could have imagined. Travelling from Portugal to Brazil amid conspiracies and corruption to get to the bottom of her family mystery, Jaq learns she is not the only one with an interest in her unusual inheritance. Racing against the clock as the threats to her life increase on all sides, Jaq must use her scientific know-how to save what matters most. 

MY REVIEW

This is the 3rd book in the series, and as I am prone to doing, it is the first book I have read. I will say right from the off that I think this worked really well as a stand-alone. I felt that the story and the main characters worked for me. It felt like a complete story and that any questions I had were answered.

Jaq Silver, well, she is a character I really liked. I also liked how the book was laid out. Chapters were chemical symbols and their headings were aimed at the content of the chapters. This does have a back and forth timeslip to it, the past has its own symbol so at a glance you are aware of the change as well as the obvious date.

Jaq hasn’t been close to her mother, so when Angie dies whatever hasn’t been bequeathed to various other parties is left to Jaq. This is in the form of a strongbox, leather, old and full of secrets. One of which shatters what truth Jaq had known. It also sets her on a frantic journey to retrieve secrets taking her from Brazil to Portugal and back. Time is of the element (pun intended 🙂 ) and lives are at stake.

As this is the first book I have read by this author I did have a quick peek at her profile, having read the book and now the profile I can see the author knows her stuff. “Engineer by day, writer by night” and I think that this makes this book all the more interesting.

As there is a stopwatch for Jaq, this injects a thriller vibe to the story as well as a mystery one. The back and forth fills in the gaps and this worked really well for me, I was able to discover more about Jaq as a teen and as an adult and this is why this particular book works so well as a standalone.

There are some brilliant hair-raising moments in this story as Jaq tried to stay ahead of the clock and also of her pursuers. More and more details are given, and more and more questions are answered but it is not until the end that the bombshell is released. I never saw this and I was so glad I didn’t. It made for an amazing reader reaction.

I really enjoyed this book and it is one that really had me hooked. It is a bit of crime, a lot of mystery and definitely a thriller feel to it. I am looking to reading more by this author and I would definitely recommend this book.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Fiona Erskine is a professional engineer based in Teesside, although her
work has taken her around the world. As a female engineer, she has been
often the lone representative of her gender in board meetings, cargo ships
and night-time factories, and her fiction offers a fascinating insight into this
traditionally male world. She is the author of The Chemical Detective and
The Chemical Reaction. The Chemical Detective was shortlisted for the
Specsavers’ Debut Crime Novel Award. Her second thriller in the Jaq Silver
series, The Chemical Reaction, was shortlisted for the Staunch Prize in
2020.

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The Mirror Man by Lars Kepler @RandomThingsTours @ZaffreBooks #crime #thriller #NetGalley #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Mirror Man by the writing duo of Lars Kepler. This is the 8th book in the Joona Linna series, and if you are a regular visitor to my blog, then you will probably know what I am going to say next…

Yep, this is the first one I have read, and yes it does work as a stand-alone.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my e-copy of this book and my spot on the Blog Tour. My copy came via NetGalley from the publisher Bonnier Books.

The gripping new crime novel from global thriller writing phenomenon, Lars Kepler

IF YOU SEE HIS REFLECTION IT’S ALREADY TOO LATE . . .

Seventeen-year-old Jenny is abducted in broad daylight and taken to a dilapidated, isolated house where she is chained and caged along with several other girls. Their captor is unpredictable and as wily as he is cruel: he foils every one of their desperate attempts to escape . . . and once caught they rarely survive their punishment.

Five years later, Jenny is found dead in a public park, and the police are scrambling to find a lead among the scant evidence. But Detective Joona Linna realizes that this murder has an eerie connection to a death that was declared a suicide years before. And now when Mia, a seventeen-year-old orphan, goes missing, it becomes clear to Joona that they are dealing with a serial killer-and the murderous rampage has just begun.

As the police close in on the killer, Mia and her fellow captives are plunged into ever greater danger, and Joona finds himself in a seemingly impossible race against time to save their young lives.

MY REVIEW

So this is the 8th book in the Joona Linna series, and it is the first time I have read a book by this author, as is my norm it seems. I do wish I had started this series at the beginning, but to be honest there is enough detail from the author for me to focus on this one story. I am curious however as to mentions of past events!

Joona Linna is a detective who doesn’t always follow orders, it could be said that his actions cost jobs, especially as his previous boss is no longer around. A new boss, a new set of rules that Linna just seems to be able to wrangle his way around. It is just as well really.

The case is one that had gripped the Swedish newspapers 5 years previously, Jenny Lind went missing and hadn’t been seen, assumed dead. When her body suddenly turns up in an execution-style way. There is a witness, but he cannot remember anything.

This is a brilliant story and has a good length to it at around 480 pages. This was a book that had me hooked from the outset and it was definitely an addictive one as I read it in one sitting!

The story is about a missing girl, but this isn’t the only story. There are various other substories, well I say that but they are also stories in their own right if you get what I mean. Trying to work out what connects them is what kept me eagerly turning the pages.

There is the story of a man who has mental health problems and it tells why he cannot remember what he saw. There is the story of his wife, the story of the missing girl and of Linna who is trying to piece together the puzzles when he isn’t even supposed to be working on the case.

These stories do start to connect but I didn’t see the bigger picture until the author literally dropped the bombshell. I had ideas, I had theories and I was, as I usually am, wrong. I discovered that each character has a lot more to them than first meets the eye. Everyone has a secret or has something that they don’t like to let on, but his story had many of them. What was preventing people from telling all they knew… fear!

This was such an addictive story and fr me the pacing was perfect. It is a slow case as there are no real leads as such, the odd lead that there is could be seen as tenuous at best. But this is where Linna comes into his own. While he can be annoying to his bosses, he is also quite tenacious. AS this is the first time I have come across this character I am curious. Curious to know more about him and what he has been through, he is a bit of an enigma for me and I think this also added to the intrigue of the story.

This is a fab story and one that has some really awful moments in it. It is shocking reading at times at the brutality but somehow the details that the author does include sort of fit with the image that the author builds up throughout the story.

This is one for those who like the longer mystery thriller, there are some brilliant clues and red herrings scattered throughout. Nothing can be taken for granted and I loved this. Brilliantly paced, fabulous characters and storyline and one for crime, thriller and police procedural fans. I loved it and would definitely recommend it.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Lars Kepler is the pseudonym of critically acclaimed husband and wife team Alexandra Coelho Ahndoril (b. 1966) and Alexander Ahndoril (b. 1967), authors of the No. 1 internationally bestselling Joona Linna series.

With seven instalments to date, the series has sold 15 million copies in 40 languages. The Ahndorils were both established writers before they adopted the pen name Lars Kepler, and have each published several acclaimed novels.

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Airside by James Swallow @jmswallow @welbeckpublish #crime #thriller #mystery #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Airside by James Swallow. This is a brilliant, tense, crime mystery and thriller book.

My huge thanks to Maddie at Welbeck Books for my copy of this book and for my spot on the Blog Tour.

Beleaguered businessman Kevin Tyler’s life is imploding: he’s spent months setting up a deal to open an office in Northern Germany, risking everything he owns to push the project through – but at the last possible moment, his partners renege on the agreement when another party sweeps in with a better offer.

Left high and dry, Tyler knows he is going home to bankruptcy and an uncertain future. And to add insult to injury, an overbooked flight sees him bumped off the last plane home, leaving him behind to wait out a storm until the next departure the following morning.

Stranded in the airside zone of a remote municipal airport, Kevin’s luck seems to have run out – until he stumbles upon a bag of money that could be the solution to all his woes.

There’s just one problem – the money is part of a conspiracy of blackmail and murder, and those involved are willing to do anything to keep it… 

MY REVIEW

I have not read any books by this author but I do have a copy of Nomad that I really must get to. This is a standalone novel and one that takes place in a small airport in Germany.

Kevin Tyler’s day goes from bad to worse and then worse again. He has lost a lucrative deal, has been bumped from the flight due to the flight being overbooked and then he finds himself in a quandy when he discovers a small fortune in the airport toilet.

Kevin is used to only passing through this airport, it’s somewhere to pick up or switch onto connecting flights. So when he finds that he may have just put himself in the worst situation possible by taking the bag of money, he is very much on his own.

Of course, a bag of money is not going to be hidden in the toilet for just anyone to find. It will have been put there for a reason, and so also be picked up at some point. And, yes, you just know it isn’t going to be honest money.

I do like the dilemma of Kevin, he knows he shouldn’t, but just thinks about how it will help him. He isn’t one of life’s greatest thinkers, and the author does suggest that actually thinking isn’t necessarily one of Kevin’s skills. This actually paints Kevin into quite a sad, lonely and unsuccessful character. A normal businessman who has found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time and doing a stupid thing like helping himself to a lot of money.

This starts as quite a slow read, it then subtly starts to speed up. I do like stories like these because it gives the reader a chance to get to know the main players and start to form opinions. The author then makes more subtle changes, adding more characters, and a slight twist and it moves the story along.

While part of me thinks this is a mystery, it is also a suspenseful thriller and it does have a certain noir feel to it. It is essentially a locked room mystery, but the room in this story is an airport. This gives the author a lot of room to play with and he uses this space to great advantage. While the characters may be limited, the airport itself becomes almost like a character in itself as various sides and levels are shown, and indeed used.

As I mentioned this is a slower book, by the end it suddenly bursts into a full-blown pace. I didn’t initially notice this but it did start to become more evident around the halfway point.

This is one for those who like a thriller that is subtle, it is almost quiet, until a lot further in the book. I like the suspense and intrigue. I wonder what other people would do if they found a bag of money – after reading this book I would definitely leave it where it was and scurry away quick!

This is a fab read and full of mystery. I am definitely going to have to look at other books by this author. Airside is a wonderful read and one I would definitely recommend.

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My Week In Books (w/e 5th June 2022) #mygarden #booklove #MeAndMyBooks

What another lovely week it has been. The weather has been hit and miss, a mix of gorgeous and (almost too) hot days with the occasional wet one. I don’t mind the odd wet day this time of year as it means it waters the garden for me and fills up the water butts.

For some, it has been the chance of a long weekend, but for most of us, we still have to work. Luckily I did have Thursday off and that was a day that I literally spent outside all day. I could hear the family fun day in the park near us with music being played and an entertaining DJ, he is a local chap and so he knows he can have a laugh with. It made an entertaining day as we weeded, tidied and caught up with various random jobs.

As you can see from this photo, the park is not far from us. The bottom of our garden had to be fenced off years ago to stop the dogs from munching their way through our vegetables! This was taken from my bedroom/ office window and I like this view a lot.

I did buy a few new plants the other day. One was a gorgeous red coloured cordyline that I got for the front garden, it was to replace a rather leggy rhododendron. I think it looks great now it is planted.

Here is what I have read this week…

The Siege by John Sutherland – this is a tense thriller, it felt like a slower-paced story but wasn’t slow! Detailed, addictive and brilliant to read. Full review later this month.

Daisy’s French Farmhouse by Lorraine Wilson – fun and entertaining, a lighthearted read with dogs and romance. Full review soon.

Reputation by Sarah Vaughan – a fabulous psychological thriller set in the halls of power. Totally gripped while I was reading this book. Full review soon. This is also the first book on my #20booksofsummer challenge.

The Forgotten Beach by Amanda James – gorgeous reading, brilliant storyline and I loved this. A different cover style than her usual books and I really like this. Full review soon, and number 2 on my #20booksofsummer challenge.

All done for another week,

I wish everyone a fabulous week ahead

Take Care

Yvonne xx

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

Marriage Unarranged by Ritu Bhathal @RituBhathal@ZooloosBT @SpellBoundBks  #romance #chicklit #bookreview

I am delighted to be one of the Book Bloggers opening the tour today and to share my review today for Marriage Unarranged by Ritu Bhathal. This was a fabulous read that took me into the life of Aashi, her family and her friends. A chick-lit with an Indian twist!

My huge thanks to Zoe at Zooloos Book Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of the book via NetGalley from the publisher Spellbound Books.

It all s̶t̶a̶r̶t̶e̶d̶ ended with that box…
The year 2000 and Aashi’s life was all set.
New Millennium, exciting beginnings, new life.
Or so she thought.
Like in the Bollywood films, Ravi would woo her, charm her family and they’d get married and live happily ever after.

But then Aashi found the empty condom box…

Putting her ex-fiancé and her innocence behind her, Aashi embarks upon an enlightening journey, to another country, where vibrant memories are created, and unforgettable friendships forged.

Old images erased, new beginnings to explore.

And how can she forget the handsome stranger she meets?
A stranger who’s hiding something…
Coming Summer 2023, book 2 in The Rishtay Series

PURCHASE LINKS – AMAZON UK US

MY REVIEW

This is the first time I have read anything by this author and I need to read more. I loved the journey I was taken on with the story of Aashi, her brothers Bali and Sunny, also her best friend Kiran.

After discovering her fiance isn’t quite the man she thought he was, Aashi makes the decision to break up the relationship. Aware of the possible embarrassment and shame that she may bring on her family worries her. It is so good that she has an understanding family and her best friend.

Deciding to use the honeymoon holiday rather than cancel it, Aashi and her brothers and Kiran make the journey to India. A trip that brought surprises and new experiences as well as new contacts.

This is such a wonderful story and it was interesting to see the author had put a list of the Punjab terms for the different family members. I have to say that as I got to know each of the family members and also others in the cast it soon became easy to understand them. This list of terms also includes that they may refer to non-related people as well.

This was a fabulous story and one that was full of so many things I know nothing much about. Understanding the family and the traditions as well as how things are gradually changing was great, also the food. mmmm… it sounds amazing. The one thing that I really appreciated knowing was the way the characters reacted when they arrived in India. The distinct smell and the colour overload were something that I had not even considered.

While this is a story about family and friends, it is also one about working out what makes the characters tick. There is a wonderful romantic tension, and nothing is straightforward. I do like the referrals back to tradition and how the rest of their families would feel. Even though each character has a choice, they are always resp[ectful of their families and how things will appear. Family is the core of the story in some ways and it was great to discover this.

As the story gradually progressed from home to India and then back home again I was taken on a whirlwind of a tour. Had some giggles and laughs as well as feeling for some of the characters. Aashi especially. It seems that Aashi transformed when she was allowed to be herself, and this was a subtle but amazing thing to watch.

How things worked out at the end was so appropriate and I felt it kept within the traits of the characters and it just felt really right.

I cannot wait to read the next book in this series, as this one was the first. A story that I think fans of romance and contemporary fiction are going to love. I know I did and I would definitely recommend it.

The only problem with this book that I had, is that I have to wait until next year before I can read the second in the series!!!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ritu Bhathal was born in Birmingham in the mid-1970s to migrant parents, hailing from Kenya but of Indian origin. This colourful background has been a constant source of inspiration to her. From childhood, she always enjoyed reading. This love of books is credited to her mother. The joy of reading spurred her on to become creative in her writing, from fiction to poetry. Winning little writing competitions at school and locally encouraged her to continue writing.
As a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and teacher, she has drawn inspiration from many avenues to create the poems that she writes. A qualified teacher, having studied at Kingston University, she now deals with classes of children as a sideline to her writing! Ritu also writes a blog, www.butismileanyway.com, a mixture of life and creativity, thoughts and opinions, which was awarded first place in the Best Overall Blog Category at the 2017 Annual Bloggers Bash Awards and Best Book Blog in 2019.
Ritu is happily married and living in Kent, with her Hubby Dearest, and two children, not forgetting the fur baby Sonu Singh.

Follow her at – Facebook Instagram Twitter TikTok Website

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Sweet Love and Country Roads by Camilla Isley @rararesources #romance #contemporaryfiction #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Sweet Love and Country Roads by Camilla Isley. This is the 7th book in the series, I have not read them all, but they do work as stand-alone.

My huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging for my e-copy of this fabulous book.

Falling for the wrong cowboy never felt so good . . .

Samantha Baker is a high-flying movie producer living in New York City. She loves her shoes, drinking cosmopolitans, and wouldn’t trade the comforts of city life for anything in the world. But when her job is put on the line, Samantha has no other choice than to move to the middle of nowhere to straighten out the filming of her latest romantic comedy blockbuster.

Her new country home has no Starbucks, no Pilates, and the one pub in town has never heard of appletinis—only serves beer and whiskey neat. On the plus side, the views are scenic. And not just for the aerial shots, as the local eye-candy provides a welcome distraction.

At least until Samantha discovers a native cowboy, Travis Hunt, is the source of all her troubles…

And the battle begins.

Each has something the other wants, but as Samantha and Travis go head to head, they might discover the endgame has changed. When hate turns to heat, all becomes fair in love and war for these two sworn enemies who’ve been playing a game of hearts.

But will a roll in the hay be enough to make Samantha decide there’s no sex in the city and convert to country living? 


Purchase Links – Amazon Apple Barnes & NobleKobo Google Play

MY REVIEW

This is the 7th book in the First Comes Love series, they can be read as stand-alone and they are a lot of fun to read, not that I have read all of them btw!

The synopsis for this book is one that really sums up the atmosphere, style and humour that the author has injected into her characters and also the storyline. If you like fun, romance, and rom-com stories about battles of the wills and of the hearts then this is one for you.

Samantha is a city girl. all shoes, outfits, cocktails, everything on tap type of girl. While she has got her city smarts they don’t help her when she relocates to the middle of nowhere. Especially when it comes to Travis. Their first meeting is not good, a cow may have been at fault here! What Samantha lacks in country ways she more than makes up for in quick put-downs and retorts. Well, she thinks she does until she comes up against Travis. If a man had sass then he is full of it with cheeky smirks.

Little does she realise that they will have to work together to achieve the end results they are both hoping for. Travis has plenty going for him and is a busy chap indeed, but not that busy that he can’t find time to wind up Samantha.

This is a fabulously entertaining book, with quick-witted banter, innuendos and the fact they both find something interesting about each other. The author does throw the odd spanner in the works, and the romantic tension is definitely in the air, does it go further than that… well read the book!

The author has woven two different lifestyles and characters together to create a brilliant story. There are obviously other characters, and these are also great as well. They add their own opinions, banter and advice, adding to the fun of the story.

Overall this is a great lighthearted romantic comedy that had me chuckling several times. It has that fabulous “will they/ won’t they” scenario to it and it was one that had me hooked. I would definitely recommend this book.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Camilla is an engineer who left science behind to enter the whimsical realm of romantic fiction.

She writes contemporary rom-coms. Her characters have big hearts, might be a little stubborn at times, and love to banter with each other. Every story she pens has a guaranteed HEA that will make your heart beat faster. Unless you’re a vampire, of course.

Camilla is a cat lover, coffee addict, and shoe hoarder. Besides writing, she loves reading—duh!—cooking, watching bad TV, and going to the movies—popcorn, please. She’s a bit of a foodie, nothing too serious. A keen traveller, Camilla knows mosquitoes play a role in the ecosystem, and she doesn’t want to starve all those frog princes out there, but she could really live without them.


Social Media Links – Goodreads Bookbub TikTok YouTube (Free Audiobooks) – Facebook Instagram

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It’s that time of year again! #20BooksofSummer 2022 #ReadingChallenge

It is that time of year again when I join in the #20BooksofSummer Reading Challenge organised by Cathy at 746books.

The challenge starts TODAY!

Rules – they are basic and are not set in stone.

Choose 10, 15 or 20 books that you have been meaning to read, or have slipped down the TBR pile. You can change the titles, you can read more or you can read less. The idea is to read the titles between the Ist of June and the final one by the 1st of September.

I am going for the “Full Monty” of 20 books, here are the ones I have decided on…

From my NetGalley shelf…

And, here are the physical books that I want to read…

There we have it, 20 titles…

I wonder which if any will change!

Will I complete the challenge?

Only time will tell 🙂

All the best

Yvonne xx