My Top Reads of 2020 – there have been many! #MeAndMyBooks #booklove #booklist #TopReads2020

With what is going on around the world, books have been my go to this year. My escape if you like. Lockdown, Pandemics, Testing Tracing, Rules, New Rules, Even more Rules… Everything we knew has altered and yet books have been a constant. So here is what has kept me entertained, intrigued and mystified throughout the most bizarre of years…

These are books that I read in 2020, I did hit my target of 200/200 books on the Goodreads Challenge. As I write this post I think I am on around 220 books. It seems that 2 and 0 are making themselves know this year!!!

Any regular visitors to my blog know that I chop and change genres that I read, so you can expect a mix of all sorts in this list.

Books I have Absolutely Or Highly Recommend this year…

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So 32 books, and it seems very unfair that I have not included the ones I would Definitely Recommend as they are also excellent. Those books are a mix of my favourite authors as well as new to me authors. They include fiction and non-fiction and they all have a place in any list, its just that my list would be well over 100 books long!

One last addition to the list is a very recent read. It takes my Top Reads up to 33!

After a, well… interesting year to say the least. I would like to take this opportunity to say thanks you to all of you wonderful folk out there who have shared, liked and commented on my posts. I appreciate every single one of you.

I wish you all a wonderful Christmas, and all the very best in the New Year.

Much love to all you fabulous book loving friends,

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Yvonne xx

Finding Love at the Christmas Market by Jo Thomas #festivefiction #bookreview

I am delighted to share m,y review today for Finding Love at the Chriwtmas Market by Jo Thomas. I am a huge fan of this author and it is no real surprise to me as to how much I loved this book!So here is what it is all about…

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Synopsis…

Residential-home caterer Connie has had one online-dating disaster too many. Hurt in the past and with her son to consider, now she’s feeling hesitant. Then one of Connie’s residents sets her up on a date at a beautiful German Christmas market – with the promise she’ll take a mini-bus full of pensioners along with her…

Amongst the twinkling lights and smell of warm gingerbread in the old market square, Connie heads off on her date with a checklist of potential partner must-haves. Baker Henrich ticks all the boxes, but when Connie meets Henrich’s rival William, she starts to wonder if ticking boxes is the answer.

Will Connie’s wish for love this Christmas come true, and if so – with who?

My Review…

If you are looking for a fabulous festive feel-good book then look no further than this one. Grab a big old mug of hot chocolate, put on your favourite Christmas jumper and snuggle into a warm blanket and settle down to read Finding Love at the Christmas Market.

Connie is a meal delivery driver and has made friends with the elderly residents at residents she delivers to. It was Elsie’s last wish that she return to her home in Germany and so Connie and the residents get in the minibus to carry out Elsie’s final wishes. Oh, and to make sure that Connie is ok when she meets Heinrichwho she met online and is now going to meet in person.

Connie is a woman who lives by her lists, but does ticking all the boxes mean she will succeed? The author throws a spanner in the mix in the form of William. While Heinrich is organised, neat and punctual, William is the exact opposite. So is it organised or chaos that will win the day?

Now, the residents sound like an amazing bunch and yes they older than Connie but this means they have experience and also a few hidden secrets. They are such an amazing bunch of characters and as I got to know them I got to adore their different personalities. Sharing their experiences of happy times definitely brought a lump to my throat.

I did mention earlier hot chocolate, I should also mention the gingerbread, this book just oozes delicious-ness with festive fare and the aroma of gingerbread. Once again the author has brought the sights, sounds and smells of the towns to life. Traditional and modern are mixed into this story along with rivalry, friendship, new acquaintances and fulfilling wishes and promises.

The spirit of Christmas in a more nostalgic sense is definitely here within these pages. It brings home that Christmas is about friends, families and making memories. It is a truly wonderful read that has a touch of humour, a dash of romance, a sprinkling of memories and is such a wonderful read that I cannot help but absolutely recommend it.

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The Lies of Our Fathers (The Barnabas Trilogy #2) by Jonathon Mark #TheLiesOfOurFathers @jonmark1956 @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours #actionthriller #bookreview

It is an absolute honour to be sharing my review and to be opening the Blog Tour today for The Lies of Our Fathers by Jonathan Mark. This is the second in the trilogy and the first time I have read a book by this Author and I thoroughly enjoyed this fast paced, action-packed read. While it does work well as a stand-alone I do wish I had read the first book! Typical of me 🙂

My huge thanks to Emma at damppebbles blog tours for my spot on the tour and for arranging my e-copy of this book. Let me show you more about it…

Synopsis…

Antioch 1098. A Crusader knight saves the lives of a Muslim family.

A city under siege by the army of the First Crusade. Sickened by the slaughter of Muslims, an English knight rescues a family and helps them escape. In the midst of battle he discovers a holy secret. When the tide is turned and the Crusaders find themselves besieged within the walls of Antioch, the same Muslim family must risk their lives to save the English knight.

Ankara 2000. An ancient bible is discovered.

An original version of the Gospel of Barnabas, supporting the Islamic view of Jesus and suppressed by the Christian church for centuries, is discovered by Turkish police in an anti- smuggling operation.

Iran 2005. A son hunts his terrorist father.

Richard Helford, MI6 agent, is searching for his father, a wanted terrorist. A search for the truth will take him from the Greek islands to the deserts of Iran, via Turkish occupied Cyprus. Embroiled in the bloody rivalries of Iranian politics, could his father be guilty of a murder that hurts Richard to the core of who he is? Richard must find the secret of the Crusader knight and the proof that the Gospel of Barnabas is not a forgery. Or will the assassination squads from the CIA and Mossad get there first?

What are The Lies of Our Fathers?

The second novel in the Barnabas trilogy.

Purchase from Amazon US or UK ( the UK link is an affiliate link)

My Review…

First off I am going to mention the cover for this book, it was very eye-catching when I first saw it. Now I have read the book I realise how perfectly it fits! That is not all that fits, the title is spot on as well!

This is the second book in The Barnabas Trilogy, typically of me I didn’t read the first book so I can say this does work well as a stand-alone. But, yes I do wish I had read the first book as this second one is a cracking read. It is set over two time periods, the first takes the reader back to the crusades in Antioch 1098. Not much time is spent here as the main story is set in Iran in 2005.

What starts as a hunt for his father and the truth about an ancient scroll takes a definite turn into something much more unexpected for Richard Helford. He is an MI6 agent but is working off-grid as such and does not have the backing of the agency as he looks for his father David. The story leaps various countries as the cat and mouse chase begins and Richard tries to put together the pieces of an ancient puzzle.

It has been a while since I have read a book that involves lost artefacts and I have to say this one ticked all the boxes for me. Ancient artefacts usually have a religious base, this is certainly the case for this story as the hunt for a lost and ancient gospel hits fever pitch. Different religions factions are eager to get their hands on it. There are some who want it to use as leverage, others to prove a point and those that will not want it to see the light of day.

The author packs the religion, the politics into a story that is such a brilliant read and has a wonderful fluidity to it. There are several plots the at have been woven in together and yet I felt that I never felt lost. I admit it did take me a while to get my head around the characters, but then as I got used to them everything was good.

Because the author has injected religion and politics into the story, as well as government agencies then you just know that there is going to be a lot of conspiracy, mistrust and double-dealing. This sort of thing is right up my street and the author had me convinced… convinced that I couldn’t trust any of the characters that is! This again is something that worked really well for me, being off footed and not quite knowing who was working for who, who was telling the truth keeps the story flow moving along at a breakneck pace.

Sometimes you come across a story that you know would work really well as a film. As I was reading this book this is what kept springing to mind. I would love to see this as a film! There is also an interesting Afterward where the author explains briefly some aspects of religion and history with a list of books for further reading.

So, this is a cracking book. Fast-paced, action-packed, adrenaline-fueled, full of conspiracy and intrigue. I wanted to savour this book rather than read it at my usual speed, and yet I also never wanted to put it down! Fabulous read and one for action, thriller, conspiracy readers. It one I would absolutely recommend.

About the Author…

Jonathan Mark worked for nearly forty years in the City of London financial district, he retired early to pursue his long held ambition to write novels.  He shares his time between Essex and Cornwall and travels around the world to research material for his books.

To kick start his writing career he completed an MA in Crime and Thriller writing at City University London. At the time, this course was the only creative writing MA in the country which focused on commercial crime fiction. The Last Messenger was the novel submitted to complete the MA.

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Christmas at the Little Waffle Shack by Helen J Rolfe @hjrolfe @rararesources #romance # festivefiction #bookreview

My huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot onthe Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this book xx

I am absolutely delighted to be one of the Book Bloggers to open the Blog Tour for the totally scrumptious Christmas at the Little Waffle Shack by Helen J Rolfe. This is an author who is a regular feature on my site as I have read and reviewed several of her books. This latest one is just perfect for buying today (Sunday) and snuggling down to read this afternoon, or any time.

Let me show you more by starting with the cover…

Synopsis…

Heritage Cove is in full swing for the festive season and as the temperature dips, who will be lucky in love this Christmas?

It’s December in Heritage Cove and along with the village Christmas tree, frosty mornings and the promise of the most wonderful time of the year, the new waffle shack is about to open. And its owner isn’t a stranger to the Cove, because after all this time, Daniel is back to make amends with his brother Harvey – as well as a few other locals he might have offended along the way.

Fairly new to the village, local blacksmith Lucy has kept up the pretence of being with her ex for the sake of his gran but she’s fed up with all the lies. Determined to come clean and live the life she wants to live, she’s devastated to find that her attraction to Daniel is tainted by the fact he’s hiding a few things of his own. And his secrets are ones she isn’t sure she’ll ever be able to get past.

Heritage Cove is full of friendship and community; it’s a welcoming place people visit and never want to leave. But will it work its magic for Daniel and Lucy?

A festive read packed with Christmas romance, love and second chances, this is Book 2 in a series of standalone novels set in Heritage Cove, the little village by the sea…


Purchase Link

My Review…

When a mystery log cabin is built no one in the village knows who it belongs to or what it will be. That is until Daniel meets the local blacksmith Lucy for a sign for his new shop, yeah you guessed it he will be making and selling waffles. Sparks aplenty with this story and not just from the forge either!

Daniel has a few hurdles to get over as not everyone will be thrilled at his return to the village. Villages being what they are comments are made and though most are meant for the best, some are definite warnings! Can a person really change and can they turn things around?

The author has such a wonderful way of describing her settings and also food. I mean waffles, toppings, sauces, icecreams and yes this book should not be read on an empty stomach! It seems that with all this mention of sweet things there is something that balances it out and this is the blacksmith’s descriptions. I liked how the author doesn’t just mention a piece of metal being shaped, but a specific material and why it was chosen, yeah I think there is some good research in this to add another plus to an already great story.

So, Christmas, Waffles, handmade gifts, friends, trees, decorations and animosity in the air between Daniel and his older brother. What actually happened in the past does eventually start to emerge, but finding the right time and place is problematic given the busy run-up to Christmas.

This is a gorgeous read that has plenty of Christmas feels, heartwarming moments, the tension between characters, sparks and sparkles galore and waffles… oh yes the waffles! Sorry! If you are after a festive fiction that you will not want to put down, well apart from to pick up a waffle, then this is a book that should be on your list. I absolutely recommend this one.

About the Author…

Helen J Rolfe writes romantic fiction and contemporary women’s fiction and enjoys weaving stories about family, friendship, secrets, and community.

Location is a big part of the adventure in Helen’s books and she enjoys setting stories in different cities and countries where she thinks her readers might like to escape to.

Social Media Links –
Helen loves to hear from readers so please don’t hesitate to get in touch. She can be found at: Website Facebook Twitter Instagram

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The Phoenix Project (DI Jack MacIntosh #1) by Michelle Kidd #ThePhoenixProject @AuthorKidd @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours #crimethriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Phoenix Project by Michelle Kidd. This is a fabulous break necked action packed read that was such a fabulous read and a brilliant start to a series.

I would like to thank Emma at damppebbles blog tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this book.

Let me show you more about this book…

Synopsis…

How long can the past remain buried?

A simple message in a local newspaper. A set of highly sensitive documents left in the back of a London black cab. Both events collide to cause Isabel Faraday’s life to be turned upside down. Growing up believing her parents died in a car crash when she was five, Isabel learns the shocking truth; a truth that places her own life in danger by simply being a Faraday. Detective Inspector Jack MacIntosh of the Metropolitan Police races against time to save her, and at the same time unravels long forgotten secrets involving MI5, MI6, the KGB and NASA. Secrets that have lain dormant for twenty years. Secrets worth killing for. With kidnap, murder and suicides stretching across four continents, just what is the Phoenix Project?

The Phoenix Project is the first Detective Inspector Jack MacIntosh novel.

If you like a gripping page turner, with plenty of surprising twists, buy The Phoenix Project today to discover its secrets.

Purchase from Amazon UK ( this is an affiliate link)

My Review…

Wow, this is a fabulous break necked, action-packed read if ever there was one. This book was laid out so that I found it very easy to keep up with the numerous characters and also the ever-evolving plotline.

The synopsis is quite intriguing and gives little away apart from that fact that nothing is what it appears to be. the truth is not quite what it seems and this adds wonderfully to the overall tension and sense of suspicion right the way through the story.

Isabel Faraday is about to get her whole world turned upside down as she is told some shocking truths about who her parents are. This leads Isabel from London to France, things happen so fast she has barely time to get her head around what she has been told before she is plunged into a dangerous situation.

DI Jack Macintosh is one of the people who like to get the answers to all the questions and it is just as well because this case is about to go global with ramifications that will shake people at the top.

This was such a brilliantly fast-paced book that I just couldn’t put down. There are a couple of reasons why I think this worked so well for me. Firstly I do read quite a few thrillers that have conspiracy and governmental agencies involved, this one focused more on finding the truth rather than trying to work around agencies.

Also, there is not too much tech-speak or weaponry mentions. While this does work for me in books it is also nice to just get on with the story and not get caught up with what gun, what calibre and all the velocity stuff, instead I was able to get completely involved in the mystery unravelling. Believe me when I say there is a lot to unravel and the author has tackled this so well.

Cover-up, conspiracy, false identities, top-secret projects and finding out the real truth is what this story is all about. It would be very easy to get confused with the different threads and theories that are mentioned in this story but I never felt this at all. Everything followed and flowed really well and it made for such an enjoyable experience.

I really enjoyed this book and if you like crime, thriller, conspiracy and mystery reads then this is one you should definitely add to your list. A brilliant book that I would absolutely recommend.

About the Author…

Michelle Kidd is a self-published author known for the Detective Inspector Jack MacIntosh series of novels.

Michelle qualified as a lawyer in the early 1990s and spent the best part of ten years practising civil and criminal litigation.

But the dream to write books was never far from her mind and in 2008 she began writing the manuscript that would become the first DI Jack MacIntosh novel – The Phoenix Project. The book took eighteen months to write, but spent the next eight years gathering dust underneath the bed.

In 2018 Michelle self-published The Phoenix Project and had not looked back since. There are currently three DI Jack MacIntosh novels, with a fourth in progress.

Michelle works full time for the NHS and lives in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. She enjoys reading, wine and cats – not necessarily in that order J

Bibliography:

The Phoenix Project (DI Jack MacIntosh book 1)

Seven Days (DI Jack MacIntosh book 2)

The Fifteen (DI Jack MacIntosh book 3)

Social Media: Twitter: Facebook: Website: Instagram

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#Casino Chiseler #AlexCohenSeries @borstinski @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours #histfic #bookreview

I am delighted to once again feature the next book in the Alex Cohen series. The Casino Chiseler by Leopold Borstinki is the 4th book in the series and it just keeps getting better and better.

I would like to thank Emma at damppebbles blog tours for my spot on the tour and for arranging my e-copy of this latest book.

Let me show you what it is all about…

Synopsis…

Would you gamble everything you possess to win more than you can imagine?

Jewish gangster, Alex Cohen leaves jail to find salvation from the 1940s mob in the hotels of Las Vegas. When Bugsy Siegel invites him to take over sports betting in Nevada, Alex must figure out how to get back to the top table in New York without attracting the Feds’ attention.

If he succeeds then he will regain his self respect, but if he fails then the last members of the national crime syndicate will cut him dead and he will be left a nobody or wind up a corpse. And after he bumps into his childhood sweetheart, he has a once in a lifetime opportunity to win her heart. But Alex knows the criminal underworld has the habit of spilling over into his personal life and when Meyer Lansky asks him to murder Siegel, Alex must choose what is truly important to him.

The fourth book in the Alex Cohen series is an historical thriller novel, which rips open the Jewish mob’s involvement in the birth of modern Vegas. Leopold Borstinski’s shattering crime fiction deals a royal flush to each reader.

Purchase links –

Amazon UK – (this is an affiliate link)

Amazon US

Waterstones

My Review…

I am absolutely loving this series and have enjoyed each book. Casino Chiseler is the 4th book in the Alex Cohen series and Alex is making his way back into the fold after his spell in Sing Sing prison for tax evasion. Alex was part of a group called The Murder Corporation, a group that was the go-to people for a contract killing. This is America, Al Capone has already been imprisoned, the Mafia is on the up, loyalty is paramount and these are dangerous times. WWII has begun as Alex now sets his sights on Vegas.

Alex rejoins his friend Benny in Las Vegas. Benny had the foresight years ago to look towards Vegas as being the place to set up shop. Alex is soon back in the thick of things as he coerces people to pay up in the insurance game, after all, you don’t want your business to accidentally burn down or one of your employees to suffer a tragic injury. Extortion is not a new game, but those that run the game does change. Stepping on toes is inevitable and danger lurks in a passing car with a gunman.

I love the sense of urgency that this book has. Even though it spans a decade it runs across the years quickly. Buildings take time to build and get everything in place to guarantee a healthy profit. It moves along at a fast pace and the drama is still very evident. Now I know that Alex is a gangster, he is a killer and he is dangerous but I really do like this character.

This is a series that has followed Alex since his arrival in the country. Jews are still not trusted and this is evident within this story as newer members are unsure where Alex’s loyalties really lie. Alex’s loyalty will be tested in this book.

A fabulous series that is full of action all the way through from the first step of a Jewish immigrant on US soil through prohibition and now moving up into the world of gambling. It is one for readers who like historical fiction that is working its way through the decades and one I would absolutely recommend.

About the Author…

Leopold Borstinski is an independent author whose past careers have included financial journalism, business management of financial software companies, consulting and product sales and marketing, as well as teaching.

There is nothing he likes better so he does as much nothing as he possibly can. He has travelled extensively in Europe and the US and has visited Asia on several occasions. Leopold holds a Philosophy degree and tries not to drop it too often.

He lives near London and is married with one wife, one child and no pets.

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A Place to Belong by Cathy Mansell #histfic #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for A Place to Belong by Cathy Mansell. This is one for historical fiction readers and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Synopsis…

A Place to Belong is the gripping and heartwrenching novel from Cathy Mansell, set against the sweeping backdrop of Dublin and rural Ireland in the 1940s. 

She lost everything in one night. Now she must fight for happiness.

It’s 1943 and Ireland has escaped the worst of the war raging in Europe, but life is not without its hardships. When fire breaks out at the convent in Cavan where she has spent the past ten years, orphan Eva Fallon barely escapes with her life.

She’s offered a bed for the night by Ma Scully, whilst her nephew Cathal, visiting from Dublin, helps battle the blaze. Seventeen-year-old Eva has never known such kindness but she’s too proud to take advantage, and finds a job at Blackstock’s farm, setting in motion a chain of events that will change her life forever.

Amidst tragedy and hardship, the only ray of light is the friendship of Ma Scully and her growing, secret love for Cathal. And through it all Eva clings to her hope that one day she will find a place where she can truly belong.

Purchase link – Amazon UK (this is an affiliate link)

My Review…

This is the first book I have read by this author and I absolutely adored it. I am so pleased that there are several more books for me to read by her.

This is set in 1943, WWII rages in Europe. Ireland is not affected as much by bombs like the UK and apart from rations life does seem to progress as normal for Eva. The story begins when there is a fire at the orphanage where Eva lives. Not everyone gets out. Eva comes across the wonderful character of Ma Scully, a straight-talking woman who keeps her eye on Eva. Once Ma realises that Eva is indeed trustworthy she helps her to find a job on the Blackstone farm as a scullery maid. Life there is hard and the mistress Aggie holds no favour for Eva, in fact, she goes out of her way to be as horrid as possible.

A turn of events causes Eva to leave quickly and she makes her way back to Ma Scully. Bad news seems to follow Eva as much as bad luck. Eva finds her self in the midst of an investigation that is no fault of her own. But, as much as there are many nasty people in the world, Eva has the good fortune to have met some very genuine, honest and caring people, especially in Ma Scully and her nephew Cathay.

This was such a gorgeous story that completely wrapped me up. A fabulous historical fiction that starts with a tragedy and finds Eva followed by heartache and worry. Eva is such a lovely character her innocent outlook on life and her naivety are just so nice to come across in a story. But obviously, with those nicer qualities, there are those that will try to take advantage. Don’t think for a moment thought that Eva is a walkover, she will stand up for herself and fight her corner.

I really enjoyed the descriptions of the settings, with the odd mentions about the war helping to keep me firmly planted in the time of the story. There are some mentions of politics, but only briefly as the main focus of the story is Eva and the people who come into her life.

A truly wonderful story that I think readers of historical fiction, historical romance will enjoy. I loved the setting, the characters and the storyline and I would absolutely recommend this wonderful book.

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

Boomerville at Ballymegille by Caroline James @CarolineJames12 @rararesources #rararesources #bookreview

I am absolutely delighted to share my review today for Boomerville at Ballymegille by Caroline James. THis is the second book in the Boomerville series and yes it could be read as a stand alone, you would miss out on a lot of fun and giggles though!

My huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this fabulous book. Let me show you more about it…

Synopsis…

Boomerville is back!

Join Hattie and Jo as they head to Southern Ireland to open Boomerville Manor, a holiday retreat for guests of ‘a certain age’. There’s Irish craic and shenanigans aplenty for the colourful cast of characters as everyone gathers for the grand opening.

Meet Melissa, an ex-cabaret singer running from her abusive husband, and Bill, a bachelor bullied from beyond the grave by the ghostly voice of his mother. Along with local bobby Harry the Helmet, ageing aquatic team the Boomerville Babes, eccentric artist Lucinda Gray, and heartthrob Finbar Murphy, they gather in Ireland and the fun begins. But murder is in the air and there’s mischief afoot. Will the residents get more than they bargained for at Boomerville?

Set in the beautiful Irish countryside, ‘Boomerville at Ballymegille’ is a heart-warming story of friendship, fears and new beginnings.

Purchase Links Amazon UK or US

My Review…

I thoroughly enjoyed the first book when I first got to meet some of the author’s amazing characters and I was recalling the characters as I got going with this second book. It is a fabulous story that I just could not put down.

It does have a slightly sombre start with a funeral but rather than being the end it is the start of something new. Hattie returns back to Boomerville and her friend Jo. Boomerville is a hotel for people who are a little older but still very much full of life and wanting to try new things.

Two such new guests are Bill, a recluse and in someways a very odd fellow but one that I liked. For all his odd and standoffish ways he does start to come out of himself and join in with the various activities.

Melissa is the other new guest, and in some ways, she is very much like Bill as far as being a loner and wanting to stay on the edge of things. She, however, does have a reason for this as she is petrified her husband will find her and make her go back with him.

The one thing about Boomerville is that Hattie and Jo make a point of making sure their guests are ok, whether it is cajoling them into visits with the shamen or taking part in art classes. But, they also know when to stand back and give people space but letting them know they are there if a shoulder or a friendly ear is needed.

I was absolutely enchanted with the cast and residents of Boomerville. Hattie, Jo, Melissa and Bill are the main focus but there are also more characters that add so many madcap antics to the story. This is a story that will have you grinning, snorting with laughter and also the odd tear.

The journey Jo makes to Ireland is one that comes a little further in the book. I thought this was nicely done as I got to know Bill and Melissa more before Boomerville made its way to Ireland to a new Boomerville at Ballymegille.

The story then takes a very interesting and still more addictive turn. It felt more dramatic and more personal for some of the characters. As much as I love Boomerville I also love this new business venture Jo has started to add to her portfolio.

This is a book that I could just keep going on and on about, it is gorgeous reading and the author has done such a wonderful job of wrapping me up in the pages once again. Absolutely adored it from start to finish and I would highly recommend this book for readers who want to experience the warmth of friendship with plenty of giggles, amazing characters and with some serious and sad moments.

In case you hadn’t realised I loved this book so much and I would absolutely and most definitely recommend it.

About the Author…

Best-selling author of women’s fiction, Caroline James has owned and run businesses encompassing all aspects of the hospitality industry, a subject that often features in her novels. She is based in the UK but has a great fondness for travel and escapes whenever she can.

A public speaker, which includes talks and lectures on cruise ships world-wide, Caroline is also a consultant and food writer. She is a member of the Romantic Novelist’s Association, the Society of Women’s Writer’s & Journalists and the Society of Authors and writes articles and short stories, contributing to many publications. Caroline also runs writing workshops.

In her spare time, Caroline can be found walking up a mountain with her two Westie dogs, sipping raspberry gin or relaxing with her head in a book and hand in a box of chocolates.

Books by Caroline James:

Hattie Goes to Hollywood

The Best Boomerville Hotel

Coffee Tea the Gypsy & Me

Coffee Tea the Chef & Me

Coffee Tea the Caribbean & Me

Jungle Rock

Contact – WebsiteTwitterFacebook

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Some Like It Greek by Sue Roberts #contemporaryfiction #NetGalley #bookouture #romance #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Some Like It Greek by Sue Roberts. This is the second book I have read by this author and another very enjoyable read. Let me show you more…

Synopsis…

There’s nothing like a summer escape. A sun-kissed story about living life to the full.

In the month-from-hell, incurable optimist Anna has lost her father and her job, and her trademark smile is dimming. Clearing out her dad’s house, she discovers a postcard of a beautiful sandy beach and a map with a route plotted to the Greek island of Kefalonia. With an empty summer stretching ahead, Anna’s eyes stray to her father’s old camper van. Next thing she knows, she’s hitting the road with friend Demi in tow, on a course from Salford to Skala!

Over one unforgettable summer, Anna and Demi make their rickety way along the sparkling Mediterranean coast, the hot sun shining down on their frequent mishaps with cheerful local characters. It’s the trip of a lifetime, and the scent of lemons in the air – as well as an unexpected romance – are just what Anna needs to awaken her inner Greek goddess.

But there are big surprises in store when they arrive at the island paradise, which could change both women’s lives forever. And as summer comes to an end, Anna has to decide whether she has had enough of the Greek life, or whether this is only just the beginning…

A joyful, hilarious summer read, perfect for fans of Carole Matthews, Jenny Colgan and Sophie Kinsella.

Purchase from Amazon UK (this is an affiliate link)

My Review…

If you have ever thought about a road trip from the UK through Europe to Greece then this is the book you need to pick up. The synopsis for this book gives such a wonderful idea of what you are going to get, but the author has exceeded my expectations as I journey with Anna and Demi through France, across the Alps, into Italy and onto Demi’s childhood home in Greece.

The is an age gap between the women and the author pulled off their friendship with such natural ease. While Demi is older she is so full of life and energy more so than her younger friend. Anna takes advantage of voluntary redundancy in a firm she has worked in for 12 years and decides to recreate her fathers trip in his old converted fish van. Demi wants to return after too long away from her family as well as for a more personal reason.

This is just an amazing read and with such an easy flow to it. The main female characters have an easy companionship that really suits the style of the story. It is also a chance for them to get to know each other better and also make some of their own personal realisations. In essence, a story that is about family, relationships, friendships and realisations.

Then there is Dara! Yeah, a little bit of a swoon moment here! He sounds so amazing, yes there is a small romantic aspect to the story but one with doubts, what if’s because after all, a holiday fling is just a holiday fling!

A gorgeous read from start to finish that has left me wanting to try numerous Greek dishes from the mouthwatering descriptions the author gives. There is an obvious affinity for this area and culture as the love of the food, people and location just oozes from the pages.

I loved this book, the story, descriptions, the characters, food and well… yeah pretty much everything about the story. It is one I would absolutely recommend.

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

Choices Shape, Losses Break by Nia Lucas @BooksNia @rararesources #bookreview

I am absolutely delighted to share my review today for Choices Shape, Losses Break by Nia Lucas. I am so pleased that Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources sent me a message about this book as I had missed seeing the post for the Blog Tour about it. Having read Nia’s previous book Loved Punked I knew I would be in for a good read, I wasn’t disappointed.

Synopsis

Shunned and struggling at home and school, teenager Lorna Davies clatters into chaotic and charismatic Shay O’Driscoll and Leon Barrett at an illegal rave in 1995. As Lorna’s talent for dancing sees her unexpectedly employed in the strobe-lit heart of 90’s club culture, her world is turned on its head by her budding friendship with Shay and Leon. For the boys, their high-risk lives endanger all three of them in an association that blurs the lines between friendship and dependency.

As the risks escalate, Lorna’s best friend Hannah, her brother Dan, her bully-turned-protector Nico and her unexpected friend Rosa watch with concern as she is thrust ever closer to harm in an intoxicating new landscape. When life-threatening events risk separating them permanently, Lorna, Leon and Shay juggle love, loyalty, sacrifice and exploitation as their lives change beyond recognition. Will the losses they face break them all?

Purchase from –Amazon UK (this is an affiliate link) or Amazon US

My Review

Once again this author has written an absolutely amazing novel. I am still at a bit of a loss as I sit and try and put my thoughts into some sort of order. So before I really get into it I am going to try and categorise this book into what genre I would put it in and actually it falls into several. I was wondering if there was such a thing as urban contemporary fiction and when I had a sneaky peek over on Amazon I discovered there was! It is also a coming of age, older teen romance and also a damned fine read.

The story is that of Lorna Davies, she is bullied, she has chores at home that are never done right or to a good enough standard in her mother’s opinion, she doesn’t have the best reputation and even the teachers expect her to achieve nothing. She is one of those girls who wants to live in the shadows as much as she can trying not to be noticed. Some of the accusations are down to her actions but are not worthy of the taunting and bullying.

Things change when she goes along to a club and loses herself to the music and she is spotted and asked to join two other dancers to dance on the podium spots, this then leads to being paid to dance. Friends are made and things start to change in Lorna’s life.

The author has the ability to completely captivate me with this story. A girl who is bullied who then starts to find a freedom from the taunts, and jibes. There is a problem however, one is her age, she is not yet 16, and also her out dancing at raves and in nightclubs actually leads an even bigger rift between Lorna and her mum.

The author has woven a storey of family friends, expectations, sacrifice and love. There is quite a strong sexual thread through this story and there are times it does border on the explicit. Now, I am not one for this type of thing in my reading but the author has tackled this in such a varied way. I am not going to elaborate any more but just be aware.

The characters of Leon and Shay are brilliant, and there are times I really wanted to knock their heads together and as I understood their backstories more I realised that understood how they acted and reacted as they did. Lorna, well, initially it took me a while to warm to her but as the story progressed I found a character that had a hell of a lot more gumption to her than I originally thought. The three characters support each other in different ways. It has a whole range of emotions and the ending is just unbelievable.

This is a fabulously addictive read that I absolutely adored. It is a book that I would Absolutely Recommend.

About the Author

I am a UK-based author of Contemporary women’s fiction who is passionate about writing amazing, strong and relatable female characters who readers really invest in- I love to write stories about the best mate you wish you’d had! My Welsh heritage and my life as a practising Social Worker with teenagers and their families heavily influences my work as does my love of all things 90’s, especially Rave and Clubbing culture. My first novel, ‘Love Punked’ is rated 5* on Amazon and my second 5* rated Novel ‘Choices Shape, Losses Break’ is now available on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited!

Social Media Links – My Facebook Page is Nia Lucas Books where my latest news and updates are posted and readers can also follow me at @BooksNia on Twitter or @nialucasbooks on Instagram.

Check out the other stops on the Blog Tour…

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