My Bookish Month June 2022

Another good month for reading, largely due to escaping for two weeks to Wales and having a mini read-fest. Unfortunately I also had a mega buying-fest, so the balance was tipped the wrong way in my attempt to reduce the tbr mountain. I would say I’d do better this month, but as I’m booked to attend the Harrogate Crime Festival all bets are off!

Most of my blogging time this month was spent prepping posts for while I was away. Thankfully, that meant you probably didn’t notice I was missing in action, apart from not being supportive in the Twitter shares department. Since I’ve been back I’ve sent out a lovely batch of invites for Five on Friday and there’s some cracking ‘Fives’ coming up!

So here’s to getting back on track and having a great bookish month.

(NB This post features Affiliate links from which I earn a small commission on qualifying purchases)

Books I Bought this Month

Summer at the French Cafe by Sue Moorcroft

Sparkling sun, strolls in the gorgeous French countryside, that first sip of cool, crisp wine – Summer is Kat’s favourite season. And this year should be no exception…

Fun, emotional and packed with French sunshine. I adored it!’ – Sunday Times bestselling author Milly Johnson

As soon as Kat Jenson set foot in the idyllic French village of Kirchhoffen, she knew she’d found her home. Now she has a dreamy boyfriend, a delightful dog and the perfect job managing a bustling book café in the vibrant Parc Lemmel. ‘

But when she learns her boyfriend isn’t all he seems, it’s the start of a difficult summer for Kat. Vindictive troublemakers, work woes and family heartache follow, and the clear blue sky that was her life suddenly seems full of clouds.

Then she gets to know the mysterious Noah, and her sun begins to shine brighter than ever. But Noah has problems of his own – ones that could scupper their new-found happiness. Together, can they overcome their many obstacles, and find love again?

Single Bald Female by Laura Price

Jessica Jackson has hit all the milestones for turning thirty – the career, the loving boyfriend and a cosy London flat they share with their cat. But a shock diagnosis of breast cancer turns Jess’s world upside down, and her contented life implodes with it.

Around her, her friends’ lives continue to follow the script, with the big white weddings and the baby scans. With her own future so uncertain, the only thing Jess is sure of is that she’s being left behind.

In the midst of it all, she meets Annabel, an enigmatic twenty-seven year old with incurable cancer. But while Annabel may not have long left, she understands much more about living than anyone Jess has ever met. And she’s determined to show Jess how to make every day count . . .

A Welcome Misfortune by Kay Bratt

In 1867 an infant girl called Luli is born into a middle-class Chinese family on the mainland. Her fate is altered when instead of being put to the breast of her mother, her father declares her a misfortune and she is left at the famous Chaozhou wall where many parents and grandparents abandon their unwanted girls. But the child’s mother is desperate to save her and beseeches one of her sons to step in and deliver the baby to safety.

At the same time in the affluent house of a scholar on the island of Hong Kong, house slaves Sun Ling and Jingwei are sworn sisters, bound by their shared struggles. When the hardship and abuse become too much too bear, the girls escape and make a run for freedom, then find themselves on a ship bound for the western coast of the Americas. 

When the paths of these three forgotten girls of China meet, the ocean journey is treacherous and not for the faint-hearted. In the midst of monumental difficulties, their lives converge, and they traverse many obstacles, but will do anything for one another in their oath to stay together and fulfill their hope for a better future in Chinatown, on the shores of San Francisco.

London With Love by Sarra Manning

London. Nine million people. Two hundred and seventy tube stations. Every day, thousands of chance encounters, first dates, goodbyes and happy ever afters.

And for twenty years it’s been where one man and one woman can never get their timing right.

Jennifer and Nick meet as teenagers and over the next two decades, they fall in and out of love with each other. Sometimes they start kissing. Sometimes they’re just friends. Sometimes they stop speaking, but they always find their way back to each other.

But after all this time, are they destined to be together or have they finally reached the end of the line?

The Way Back to You by James Bailey

When Simon reconnects with his first love Sylvie – the French pen pal he never met – he is determined to not let her go again.

Life may not be as straight-forward at sixty as it was at sixteen, but that won’t stop him.

Together with old school friend Ian, he sets off on the same bike ride – from Bristol to Bordeaux – that they attempted all those years ago.

But while they now have better bikes, more acceptable haircuts, and Google Maps, some things never change.

And it soon becomes clear that this trip will have even more bumps in the road than the first . . .

The No-Show by Beth O’Leary

Three women. Three dates. One missing man…

8.52 a.m. Siobhan is looking forward to her breakfast date with Joseph. She was surprised when he suggested it – she normally sees him late at night in her hotel room. Breakfast on Valentine’s Day surely means something … so where is he?

2.43 p.m. Miranda’s hoping that a Valentine’s Day lunch with Carter will be the perfect way to celebrate her new job. It’s a fresh start and a sign that her life is falling into place: she’s been dating Carter for five months now and things are getting serious. But why hasn’t he shown up?

6.30 p.m. Joseph Carter agreed to be Jane’s fake boyfriend at an engagement party. They’ve not known each other long but their friendship is fast becoming the brightest part of her new life in Winchester. Joseph promised to save Jane tonight. But he’s not here…

Meet Joseph Carter. That is, if you can find him.

The Whirlpools of Time by Anna Belfrage

He hoped for a wife. He found a companion through time and beyond.

It is 1715 and for Duncan Melville something fundamental is missing from his life. Despite a flourishing legal practice and several close friends, he is lonely, even more so after the recent death of his father. He needs a wife—a companion through life, someone to hold and be held by. What he wasn’t expecting was to be torn away from everything he knew and find said woman in 2016…Erin Barnes has a lot of stuff going on in her life. She doesn’t need the additional twist of a stranger in weird outdated clothes, but when he risks his life to save hers, she feels obligated to return the favour. Besides, whoever Duncan may be, she can’t exactly deny the immediate attraction.

The complications in Erin’s life explode. Events are set in motion and to Erin’s horror she and Duncan are thrown back to 1715. Not only does Erin have to cope with a different and intimidating world, soon enough she and Duncan are embroiled in a dangerous quest for Duncan’s uncle, a quest that may very well cost them their lives as they travel through a Scotland poised on the brink of rebellion.Will they find Duncan’s uncle in time? And is the door to the future permanently closed, or will Erin find a way back?

Highland Fling by Emma Baird

A boy, a girl, a dating guru—what can possibly go wrong?!

Gaby’s recently split from her boyfriend of ten years and needs to escape fast. Where better than the Highlands of Scotland where she can lick her wounds and recover in peace and quiet?

Fate has different ideas in mind. First, there’s the rough and ready Jack McAllan who bears more than a passing resemblance to Gaby’s favourite fictional Scottish hero. He’s an important part of the local community, even if he’s failed to impress Gaby so far. Who knew a guy could be so rude and taciturn?

Then, there’s the mystery of the woman whose home she now inhabits. Kirsty’s left too many tantalising clues for Gaby to resist, not least her not-so-secret identity and YouTube fame. But why did Kirsty run, and does it have anything to do with the red-haired Scot who keeps turning up in Gaby’s daydreams much as she tries to resist…

Featuring kilts, mist-cloaked hills, lochs where the water runs deep, spoilt cats and a little too much whisky, Highland Fling is a sweet, fun-filled romp through Scottish small towns and rural life, finding love, making a fool of yourself and discovering that an overactive imagination leads you into all kinds of trouble…

Joe & Clara’s Christmas Countdown by Katey Lovell

This Christmas she’ll give her heart to someone special…

As Christmas approaches Joe Smith knows he should be celebrating with friends and family, making the most of the season. But for Joe, Christmas only holds painful memories. Ones he can feel crushing his heart, a reminder of a time he can never forget.

Clara O’Connell loves Christmas. For her it is the most magical time of the year. And she’s determined to make Joe love it too! She knows he’s hurting, but maybe she can help to ease his pain. Her plan: One special gift every day to remind Joe just how loved he is.

But the clock is ticking. Will the Christmas magic wear off at midnight or will Clara’s Christmas countdown be the perfect gift to heal Joe’s broken heart? And in doing so, maybe she will get a gift in return…Joe’s love for Christmas and forever…?

Waste Not, Want Not in Applewell by Lilac Mills

George can’t throw anything away. But he’s in danger of throwing away a chance at love

George Nightingale is a hoarder with a house full of junk. For years he’s kept it a secret, rarely leaving his house and keeping social interactions to a minimum, but his carefully balanced system is now under threat…

Nessa Millbrook can’t wait to get settled into her new home in quaint, rural Applewell. Everyone in the village is so friendly – except her neighbour, George, who wants nothing to do with her. But Nessa isn’t one to back down from a challenge and she’s determined to win George over.

The years have taught George to shield his heart and trust no one. Yet Nessa keeps reaching out to him – does he have the courage to take a chance, and reach back?

The Last Summer by Karen Swan

Summer on St Kilda – a wild, remote Scottish island.
Two strangers from drastically different worlds meet . . .

Wild-spirited Effie Gillies has lived all her life on the small island of St Kilda but when Lord Sholto, heir to the Earl of Dumfries, visits, the attraction between them is instant. For one glorious week she guides the handsome young visitor around the isle, falling in love for the first time – until a storm hits and her world falls apart.

Three months later, St Kilda falls silent as the islanders are evacuated for a better life on the mainland. With her friends and family scattered, Effie is surprised to be offered a position working on the Earl’s estate. Sholto is back in her life but their differences now seem insurmountable, even as the simmering tension between them grows. And when a shocking discovery is made back on St Kilda, all her dreams for this bright new life are threatened by the dark secrets Effie and her friends thought they had left behind.

Secrets of Willow House by Susanne O’Leary

Maeve McKenna is on the verge of a breakdown. Having worked herself into the ground as a sought-after interior designer in London, she’s in desperate need of a vacation.

Philomena Duffy is a little lonely. After losing her husband, their crumbling mansion, Willow House, feels awfully empty.

With the rugged shores of Ireland calling, Maeve visits her aunt Philomena in Sandy Cove, where she once, as a teenager, kissed a wild, mysterious boy – a kiss she has never been able to forget. The beautiful night’s sky is dotted with stars as far as the eye can see, and Maeve is worlds away from her chaotic life in the city.

As Maeve throws herself into restoring Willow House to its former glory, a deep friendship with Philomena begins to blossom. Surrounded by the faded walls and peeling carpets of the old mansion, together they stumble across a secret that turns their family upside down.

All the while, she can’t stop thinking about the enigmatic boy from her past, and that magical kiss… Is he still in Sandy Cove?

Just as she’s beginning to feel at home, reality calls. Part of Maeve can’t bear to leave Willow House and its rocky beach. Does she have the courage to leave the security of her old life behind, and put down new roots in Sandy Cove, or is that just a daydream?

The Cottage at Hope Cove by Hannah Ellis

The summer that changed everything…

Lizzie Beaumont has it all: a great career, a wealthy fiancé, and the wedding of her dreams just months away. But when her fiancé puts work before her again, she sets off for a week in the picturesque town of Hope Cove. She’s hoping for time away from the chaos to find herself.

Instead, she finds Max.

When the gorgeous guy next door asks her for decorating help, Lizzie finds herself all too eager to please. The week she expected to drag suddenly flies by, and before she knows it, she has to return to her other life. The life with the impending marriage and the fiancé she loves.

Or does she?

One week with Max has left her questioning her life choices. Is her fiancé the man of her dreams, or just the man who asked? Now Lizzie must decide what her life will be. Will she go for the safe and predictable route, or take a chance on a man she hardly knows? No matter what she does, someone’s heart is going to break. She just doesn’t want it to be hers.

The Lost by Simon Beckett

You fall asleep in the playground.
Your son is gone.
10 years later, will you finally get the truth?

Ten years ago, the disappearance of firearms police officer Jonah Colley’s young son almost destroyed him.

A plea for help from an old friend leads Jonah to Slaughter Quay, and the discovery of four bodies. Attacked and left for dead, he is the only survivor.

Under suspicion himself, he uncovers a network of secrets and lies about the people he thought he knew – forcing him to question what really happened all those years ago…

The Setup by Lizzy Dent

SHE HAS A PLAN . . .
FATE HAS OTHER IDEAS.
There are two men in my life. But this is not a love triangle.

Mara Williams reads her horoscope every day – but she wasn’t expecting to be in a whole other country when destiny finally found her. Just as a fortune teller reveals that her true love is about to arrive, a gorgeous stranger literally walks into her life. And now Mara is determined to bring them together again . . . Surely even fate needs a nudge in the right direction sometimes?

But while Mara is getting ready for ‘the one’, the universe intervenes. Her new flatmate Ash is funny, and kind, and sexy as hell . . . There was no predicting this: it’s as if her destiny just arrived on her doorstep.

So will Mara put her destiny in fate’s hands – or finally trust herself to reach for the stars?

The Wedding Season by Katy Birchall

Freya Scott is getting married. Her wedding to Matthew, her long-term boyfriend, is the first of eight in her calendar this year, and as someone who prides herself on being meticulously organised, Freya is intent on making it the perfect day to remember.

But when Matthew calls things off hours before they walk down the aisle, Freya’s entire life plan goes up in smoke. Humiliated and heartbroken, the last thing she wants is to attend a summer of other peoples’ nuptials on her own.

Fortunately, her friends have an idea: together they devise a series of outrageous challenges for Freya to complete at each event, designed to distract her from Matthew and what might have been.

From getting stuck in an old church bathroom and needing to be rescued by the vicar to making out with a barman at a French chateau, Freya realises that despite herself, she might just be having fun.

By the time the final wedding arrives, she’s not the same woman she was at the start of the season. And maybe her own love story isn’t over just yet . . .

Book Lovers by Emily Henry

Nora is a cut-throat literary agent at the top of her game. Her whole life is books.

Charlie is an editor with a gift for creating bestsellers. And he’s Nora’s work nemesis.

Nora has been through enough break-ups to know she’s the one men date before finding their happy-ever-after. To prevent another dating dud, Nora’s sister has persuaded her to swap her city desk for a month’s holiday in Sunshine Falls.

It’s a small town straight out of a romance novel, but instead of meeting sexy lumberjacks, handsome doctors or cute bartenders, Nora keeps bumping into…Charlie.

She’s no heroine. He’s no hero. So can they take a page out of an entirely different book?

Rainbows End in Ferry Lane Market by Nicola May

39-year-old Glanna Pascoe – also known as ‘the Rainbow Painter’ – runs the Hartmouth Gallery in Ferry Lane Market in Cornwall. She is just getting her head and broken heart around being single, childless, and sober when Cupid flies in, shooting arrows all over the place.

Meeting the mysterious and fascinating Isaac Benson, famous local artist, and recluse, allows Glanna’s disillusioned heart and attitude to soften, and she begins to learn more about herself than she ever thought possible. Confused by her growing feelings for Isaac, Glanna throws herself into organising a life-drawing class at her gallery, using both male and female nudes – and setting local tongues wagging.

A theft from her gallery and the return of ex-love Oliver Trueman cause Glanna to wonder if a pot of gold will be appearing at the end of her rainbow. And will it bring her the happiness, she has sought for so long?

The Getaway by Isabelle Broom

Sometimes it takes losing everything to find the person you need . . .

Most people travel to Croatia for its endless sunshine, pebbly beaches and crystal clear sea.

Kate goes there to disappear.

She needs to escape from a life that has fallen apart in spectacular and public fashion, and no one on the beautiful island of Hvar knows who she is or what she’s running away from.

Until she meets another lonely soul.

Alex is different to any man Kate has ever known, yet the connection between them is undeniable. She soon begins to open up in ways she never has before – not even to herself. But Kate is not the only person in Hvar hiding secrets. And, as she is about to discover, it is always only a matter of time before the truth catches up with you . . .

A Postcard from Italy by Alex Brown

Grace Quinn loves her job at Cohen’s Convenient Storage Company, finding occasional treasure in the forgotten units that customers have abandoned. Her inquisitive nature is piqued when a valuable art collection and a bundle of letters and diaries are found that date back to the 1930s.

Delving deeper, Grace uncovers the story of a young English woman, Connie Levine, who follows her heart to Italy at the end of the Second World war. The contents also offer up the hope of a new beginning for Grace, battling a broken heart and caring for her controlling mother.

Embarking on her own voyage of discovery, Grace’s search takes her to a powder pink villa on the cliff tops overlooking the Italian Riviera, but will she unravel the family secrets and betrayals that Connie tried so hard to overcome, and find love for herself?

The Cottage on Winter Moss by Allie Cresswell

Burned-out author Dee needs fresh inspiration. Impetuously, she abandons London and her good-for-nothing boyfriend to go wherever her literary quest takes her. Journey’s end is a remote village on the shores of a wild estuary, overshadowed by a ruined pele tower. She rents Winter Cottage and waits for a story to emerge.

The bleak beauty of the whispering dunes, the jacquard of colour and texture of the marsh and a romantic tree in a secluded glade—The Trysting Tree—all seduce DeeNevertheless, the secretive behaviour of a handsome neighbour, lights across the marsh, a spurious squire and a bizarre, moonlit encounter all suggest there is something odd afoot.

Local gossip and crumbling graveyard inscriptions give Dee the opening she needs. She begins to weave hints about the tragic history of a local family, feuding brothers and a fatal fire into a sweeping historical saga. Her characters clamour for a voice as the tale spools effortlessly onto the page—demanding to be told. Dee feels more like its instrument than its instigator.

As she becomes enmeshed in the local community, Dee is startled to find her fiction unnervingly confirmed by fact, her history still resonating in the present-day.
Is she being guided by echoes of the past?

The Comfort of Saturdays by Alexander McCall Smith

Isabel Dalhousie is a new mother and a connoisseur of philosophy; she’d rather not be a sleuth. But when a chance conversation at a dinner party draws her into the case of a doctor whose career has been ruined, she cannot ignore what may be a miscarriage of justice. Because for Isabel ethics are not theoretical at all, but an everyday matter of life and death.
As she attempts to unravel the truth behind Dr Thompson’s disgrace, Isabel’s patient intelligence is also required to deal with challenges in her own life. There is her baby son Charlie; Cat’s deli to look after, not to mention her vulnerable assistant Eddie; and a mysterious and unlikeable composer who has latched on to Jamie, making Isabel fear for the future of her new family.
Isabel treads a difficult path between trust and gullibility, philanthropy and interference, while keeping in her sights the small but certain comforts of family, philosophy and a fine Saturday morning.

Beach Read by Emily Henry

January is a hopeless romantic who narrates her life like she’s the lead in a blockbuster movie.

Gus is a serious literary type who thinks true love is a fairy-tale.

But January and Gus have more in common than you’d think:

They’re both broke.
They’ve got crippling writer’s block.
And they need to write bestsellers before summer ends.

The result? A bet to swap genres and see who gets published first.
The risk? In telling each other’s stories, their worlds might be changed entirely…

Grace Williams Says it Loud by Emma Henderson

This isn’t an ordinary love story. But then Grace isn’t an ordinary girl. ‘Disgusting,’ said the nurse. And when no more could be done, they put her away, aged eleven. On her first day at the Briar Mental Institute, Grace meets Daniel. He sees a different Grace: someone to share secrets and canoodle with, someone to fight for. Debonair Daniel, who can type with his feet, fills Grace’s head with tales from Paris and the world beyond. This is Grace’s story: her life, its betrayals and triumphs, disappointment and loss, the taste of freedom; roses, music and tiny scraps of paper. Most of all, it is about the love of a lifetime.

Blood Divide by A A Dhand

A detective rings the doorbell in the middle of the night.
He wants to ask Jack Baxi some questions. Jack fears the police have come to arrest him. But things quickly take a darker, more violent turn.

He isn’t here to solve a crime.
Because soon Jack is tortured and left for dead, with a young woman he’s never met before.

He’s here to commit a murder.
Now, running for their lives, Jack and Aisha set out on a perilous journey from Bradford to Delhi to expose a dangerous organisation – and to save the lives of the people they love…

Sleepless in Sicily by Emma Jackson

Under the starry Italian skies, anything can happen…

For most women, getting locked into a storeroom with movie star and undeniable heartthrob Rowan during a pre-production shoot in London would be the stuff of dreams. But for shy makeup artist Lila, it’s more like a nightmare. It doesn’t matter that Rowan is kind, easy to talk to and even more gorgeous up close. With her social anxiety, she can’t bear the idea of being embroiled in gossip and rumours about what exactly they were doing together.

More scandal is also not an option for outspoken Rowan, whose agency is threatening to drop him if he doesn’t toe the line. After the two make their escape, they promise to keep the incident a secret, and when they meet again on set in stunning Sicily, they pretend not to know each other. But between the blue skies and sizzling Italian heat, it becomes impossible to ignore the attraction simmering between them…

Lila and Rowan couldn’t be more different… but can they find a way to bring their worlds together?

Subscription Books

Mrs March by Virginia Feito

Shirley Jackson meets Ottessa Moshfegh meets My Sister the Serial Killer in a brilliantly unsettling and darkly funny debut novel full of suspense and paranoia

George March’s latest novel is a smash hit. None could be prouder than Mrs. March, his dutiful wife, who revels in his accolades and relishes the lifestyle and status his success brings.

A creature of routine and decorum, Mrs. March lives an exquisitely controlled existence on the Upper East Side. Every morning begins the same way, with a visit to her favourite patisserie to buy a loaf of
olive bread, but her latest trip proves to be her last when she suffers an indignity from which she may never recover: an assumption by the shopkeeper that the protagonist in George March’s new book –
a pathetic sex worker, more a figure of derision than desire – is based on Mrs. March.

One casual remark robs Mrs. March not only of her beloved olive bread but of the belief that she knew everything about her husband – and herself – sending her on an increasingly paranoid journey, one
that starts within the pages of a book but may very well uncover both a killer and the long-buried secrets of Mrs. March’s past.

A razor-sharp exploration of the fragility of identity and the smothering weight of expectations, Mrs. March heralds the arrival of a wicked and wonderful new voice.

The Dinner Guest by B P Walter

Four people walked into the dining room that night. One would never leave.

Matthew: the perfect husband.

Titus: the perfect son.

Charlie: the perfect illusion.

Rachel: the perfect stranger.

Charlie didn’t want her at the book club. Matthew wouldn’t listen.

And that’s how Charlie finds himself slumped beside his husband’s body, their son sitting silently at the dinner table, while Rachel calls 999, the bloody knife still gripped in her hand.

Books I Read

Knowing Me Knowing You by Mandy Baggot

Recently single mother Kate is struggling. Clinging on to a career and bringing up her 2 year old daughter leads to nights alone drowning her sorrows in the cheapest white wine she can find. Forced to employ Joel, a male escort, to accompany her to a professionals’ dinner, Kate somehow ends up in the middle of a relationship contest, competing for a £100,000 prize alongside someone she barely knows. With her boss, the Lady Dragon Miranda, desperate for Kate to flounder, her tarot card reading child-minder trying to match-make and her ex-husband making her life a misery, can Kate keep her life on an even keel? And more importantly can she put her trust in a serial dater who used to be an underwear model?

Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan

Polly Waterford is recovering from a toxic relationship. Unable to afford their flat, she has to move miles away from everyone, to a sleepy little seaside resort in Cornwall, where she lives alone above an abandoned shop.

And so Polly takes out her frustrations on her favourite hobby: making bread. But what was previously a weekend diversion suddenly becomes far more important as she pours her emotions into kneading and pounding the dough, and each loaf becomes better and better. With nuts and seeds, olives and chorizo, with local honey (courtesy of local bee keeper, Huckle), and with reserves of determination and creativity Polly never knew she had, she bakes and bakes and bakes . . . And people start to hear about it.

Sometimes, bread really is life . . . And Polly is about to reclaim hers.

The Little Shop in Cornwall by Helen Pollard

Claudia thought she knew how this summer was going to go. Turns out, she didn’t have a clue…

It’s been two years since Claudia arrived on the beautifully rugged Cornish coast with nothing but a suitcase to her name. She’d walked out on the husband who had never loved her, ditched the corporate job she’d never wanted and vowed that no gym membership card would come within ten feet of her ever again.

Swapping boardrooms and cocktails for a little shop right at the end of the beach road should have been a bit of a shock. But from the moment she first laid eyes on the empty, run-down store, Claudia knew this was where she was meant to be all along.

After all that upheaval, Claudia was looking forward to a quiet summer, full of the usual holiday makers and long walks along the clifftops. But life in her patch of paradise is about to change in more ways than one.

Enter recently widowed Jason, dragging his sullen teenage daughter Millie in tow. Millie and Claudia immediately hit it off. And while Millie loves everything about Claudia’s free-spirited way of life, practical architect Jason is less than thrilled about his daughter’s new interests. He doesn’t shy away from telling Claudia exactly what he thinks and sparks fly every time they meet.

But as circumstances throw Claudia into Jason’s path in increasingly unexpected ways, she begins to glimpse what lies beneath his fiery temper and sharp tongue. Claudia was sure her new life was perfect in every way. But was there something missing after all?

London, With Love by Sarra Manning

London. Nine million people. Two hundred and seventy tube stations. Every day, thousands of chance encounters, first dates, goodbyes and happy ever afters.

And for twenty years it’s been where one man and one woman can never get their timing right.

Jennifer and Nick meet as teenagers and over the next two decades, they fall in and out of love with each other. Sometimes they start kissing. Sometimes they’re just friends. Sometimes they stop speaking, but they always find their way back to each other.

But after all this time, are they destined to be together or have they finally reached the end of the line?

Living Your Best Life by Maxine Morrey

Sure she has a loyal group of friends, a job she’s good at, and a small London flat to call home, but a lot of the time, Bee feels as if no one actually ‘sees’ her.  

Her best friend, the unfeasibly handsome and successful Luca Donato does not have that problem. People are practically falling over themselves whenever they see Luca, but one thing the two friends do have in common, is they haven’t yet found the ‘One’.  When their friend Tia challenges them to change all that through online dating, Luca and Bee set about the task with very different levels of enthusiasm.

The saying goes that you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince, and it’s not long before Bee is ready to admit defeat. But with Luca inundated with potential love interests, Bee is determined not to give up. Surely her perfect partner is out there somewhere…

The Letter : Kitty’s Story by Eliza J Scott

To the outside world, she has it all: a chocolate-box pretty home, the perfect marriage and two beautiful children. But you never know what goes on behind closed doors…

Thirty-four-year-old Kitty Bennett is trapped in a loveless marriage to cold-hearted, expert manipulator, Dan, who’s gradually isolated her from her family and friends. Until the day she (literally) bumps into her first love, the handsome and easy-going Ollie Cartwright – someone she’s done her best to avoid for as long as she can remember. Looking into Ollie’s eyes awakens feelings for him she thought she’d buried deep years ago, and he clearly feels the spark, too. As she walks away, Kitty can’t help but wonder what might have been.
Dan senses that his marriage is on shaky ground and knows he needs to win his wife round. He turns on the charm, skilfully using their two children, Lucas and Lily, as bargaining tools. But Kitty’s older brother, Jimby, and her childhood best-friends, Molly and Violet, have decided enough is enough. For years they’ve had to watch from afar as Kitty’s been browbeaten into an unrecognisable version of herself. They vow to make her see Dan for what he really is, but their attempts are no match for his finely-honed courtroom skills and, against her better judgement, Kitty agrees to give her husband one last chance. But, all-too-soon, a series of heart-breaking events and a shocking secret throw her life into turmoil…
Will she stand by Dan, or will Kitty be brave enough to take the leap and follow her heart to Ollie?

Life is anything but peaceful in the idyllic village of Lytell Stangdale, where life unravels, and hearts are broken. Full of heart-warming moments, this book with have you crying tears of joy, laughter and sadness.

The Spanish Garden by Cherry Radford

Andie finds herself in the midst of a media scandal that threatens to end her career as a TV landscape designer and her relationship with fellow presenter Johnny.

On impulse, she decides to rent her grandmother’s old home in southern Spain where she stayed as a child, but is shocked to discover that the beautiful Mediterranean garden she loved is now neglected and overgrown. Worse, her booking has fallen through and ex-flamenco dancer Vicente and his little son Rafi are staying at Casa Higuera – where Vicente’s wife died in an unexplained accident.

After a rocky first meeting, Andie offers to restore the garden, and gradually she and Vicente form a tentative bond.

As the garden heals and reveals its secrets, can anything grow between two people who have lost so much?

The Lovers and the Dustman by Lynn Bushell

“Why can’t I have two wives?”

The two women artist Stanley Spencer loved most were his wife and fellow artist Hilda Carline and his muse, gay vamp Patricia Preece. The problem was, he wanted both of them together. As an artist, wasn’t he entitled to have two wives?
The result was scandal, madness and some great art.

Miss You by Kate Eberlen

Get to know Tess and Gus in Kate Eberlen’s first novel, Miss You.

Tess and Gus are meant to be. They just haven’t met properly yet. And perhaps they never will . . .


Today is the first day of the rest of your life is the motto on a plate in the kitchen at home, and Tess can’t get it out of her head, even though she’s in Florence for a final, idyllic holiday before university. Her life is about to change forever – but not in the way she expects.

Gus and his parents are also on holiday in Florence. Their lives have already changed suddenly and dramatically. Gus tries to be a dutiful son, but longs to escape and discover what sort of person he is going to be.

For one day, the paths of an eighteen-year-old girl and boy criss-cross before they each return to England.

Over the course of the next sixteen years, life and love will offer them very different challenges. Separated by distance and fate, there’s no way the two of them are ever going to meet each other properly . . . or is there?

Learning to Dance Again by Frankie Valente

Julia Robertson is devastated after the sudden death of her husband Duncan. Her friends rally to support her, but with her sons away at Edinburgh University she still feels isolated in her grief. She is unemployed but has no wish to return to her old job as the manager of a care home; but she cannot decide what to do instead. With the approach of her fiftieth birthday that she has no desire to celebrate, together with the gloominess of her mood which will only get worse when winter arrives, Julia knows she needs to take drastic action to heal her broken heart.

It was Duncan’s last wish to take her on a second honeymoon to Sicily. So Julia books herself a holiday for the whole of October; much to the surprise of her friends and to the horror of her sons, who are convinced she will be kidnapped by the Mafia. Julia ignores their warnings and rents a villa in the coastal town of Cefalu. The villa is owned by the charming Tony Hugo, a widowed English crime writer; who wastes no time in helping Julia feel at home.

Sicily is everything Julia expected it to be – hot, sunny and exotic; but her holiday turns out to be far more of a life changing adventure than she could ever have imagined.

Learning to Love by Sheryl Browne

Sometimes help comes from the most unlikely places …

Living in a small village like Hibberton, it’s expected that your neighbours help you in a time of need. But when Andrea Kelly’s house burns down, taking all her earthly possessions with it, it’s the distant and aloof Doctor David Adams – the person she would least expect – who opens his door not just to her, but to her three kids and slightly dotty elderly mother as well.

Andrea needs all the help she can get, dealing with aftermath of the fire and in the suspicious absence of her husband, Jonathan. But, as she gets to know David and his troubled son, Jake, she begins to realise that maybe they need her help as much as she needs theirs …

Beach Read by Emily Henry

A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters.

Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast.

They’re polar opposites.

In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer’s block.

Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really.

Looking for Wonderland by Jane Ainslie

Welcome to the world of Alice.

At forty-four, she’s a nurse who is burnt to a crisp by her job, has a family which makes dysfunctional look normal, and thinks valium should be handed out like lollies.

Alice knows things have to change.

Calling on her two best friends for advice, they decide to try and find their purpose in life.

Alice hopes Pilates, yoga, and Oprah The DVD Box Set, may have some answers.

Or does Dr. Botha, the hospital’s Infectious Disease Consultant, hold the key to Alice’s future?

As things begin to look brighter, a life changing event sends Alice tumbling down the rabbit hole, leaving her to wonder if she has missed her chances for happiness.

Will she ever find her Wonderland?

The Lantern by Deborah Lawrenson

When Eve falls for the secretive, charming Dom, their whirlwind relationship leads them to purchase Les Genevriers, an abandoned house in a rural hamlet in the south of France.

As the beautiful Provence summer turns to autumn, Eve finds it impossible to ignore the mysteries that haunt both her lover and the run-down old house, in particular the mysterious disappearance of his beautiful first wife, Rachel.

Whilst Eve tries to untangle the secrets surrounding Rachel’s last recorded days, Les Genevriers itself seems to come alive. As strange events begin to occur with frightening regularity, Eve’s voice becomes intertwined with that of Benedicte Lincel, a girl who lived in the house decades before.

As the tangled skeins of the house’s history begin to unravel, the tension grows between Dom and Eve. In a page-turning race, Eve must fight to discover the fates of both Benedicte and Rachel, before Les Genevriers’ dark history has a chance to repeat itself.

Letters from Home by Kristina McMorris

It’s 1944, and although foreign battles are escalating, the war seems distant in every way to sensible college student Liz Stephens. That is, until her chance encounter with charming infantryman Morgan McClain at a USO dance in Chicago. Their deep connection feels mutual to Liz, but to her dismay, her bombshell roommate, Betty, is the one who promises to write the deploying soldier.

Singer Betty Cordell delights in the prospect of a dashing serviceman filling her life with adventure, marital bliss, and societal circles outranking her modest roots. It only makes sense for her to beg Liz for help penning an eloquent letter to Morgan, now bound for a dangerous front. After all, she’s certain the beauty of Liz’s ghostwritten prose would ensure a courtship as enviable as their roommate Julia’s relationship with her beloved sailor-and Betty is right, though not how she foresees.

Likewise, Julia Renard’s betrothal is more complicated than it appears. When tempting opportunities arise, the future she always envisioned as a devoted wife and mother risks derailment. And yet, as the Allies edge toward victory, every person-through heart-wrenching choices and life-altering letters-will discover within themselves profound courage, bittersweet hope, and the true meaning of home . . .

The Last Goodbye by Fiona Lucas

How can you ever move on, if you can’t let go?

A beautiful and poignant story of love, loss and finding hope where you least expect it, perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes and Cecelia Ahern.

Anna’s world was shattered three years ago when her husband Spencer was killed in a tragic accident. Her friends and family think it’s time she moved on, but how can she when she’s lost her soulmate?

On New Year’s Eve, Anna calls Spencer’s old phone just to hear his voicemail greeting. But to her surprise someone picks up. Brody answers and is the first person who truly understands what Anna is going through. As they begin to speak regularly, Anna finds herself opening up and slowly she discovers how to smile again, how to laugh, even how to hope.

But Brody hasn’t been entirely honest with Anna. Will his secret threaten everything, just as it seems she might find the courage to love again?

Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan

Summer has arrived in the Cornish town of Mount Polbearne and Polly Waterford couldn’t be happier. Because Polly is in love: she’s in love with the beautiful seaside town she calls home, she’s in love with running the bakery on Beach Street, and she’s in love with her boyfriend, Huckle.

And yet there’s something unsettling about the gentle summer breeze that’s floating through town. Selina, recently widowed, hopes that moving to Mount Polbearne will ease her grief, but Polly has a secret that could destroy her friend’s fragile recovery. Responsibilities that Huckle thought he’d left behind are back and Polly finds it hard to cope with his increasingly long periods of absence.

Polly sifts flour, kneads dough and bakes bread, but nothing can calm the storm she knows is coming: is Polly about to lose everything she loves?

So how did I do with my reading intentions?

A-Z Reading Challenge, This Month K & L

TitleFormatDate purchased
Knowing Me Knowing YouKindleMay 2013
Little Beach Street BakeryBookJul 2014
Little Shop in Cornwall KindleJun 2020
London, With LoveKindle Jun 2022
Living Your Best Life Kindle UnlimitedJun 2022
The LetterKindleOct 2018
The Lovers & the DustmanKindle Jun 2022
Learning to Dance Again Kindle Oct 2013
Learning to LoveKindle Jun 2016
Looking for Wonderland Kindle Jul 2015
The LanternBook Nov 2014
Letters from HomeBookDec 2014
The Last GoodbyeBookJul 2021

Wading Through Treacle or Weeding the Shelves (real and virtual)

Unread ebooksUnread Tree Books
Start of Month 3840 741
Items Added 24 04
Items Removed
Items Read 10 06
End of Month 3854 740

That’s me for this month so all that’s left to say is : Happy Reading!

 

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