A week away at my Mum’s meant I didn’t read as much as I normally would, plus I also got dragged down another Kindle Unlimited vortex which impacted my attempt to reduce the backlog. In last month’s Prime Day deals I bought myself a spare Kinde e-Reader, mainly because it was so cheap it was daft not too. I currently have a Kindle Touch which is perfectly serviceable, but this new one has a built in front light which has it’s advantages. What I didn’t realise was that it also came with 3 months free Kindle Unlimited, so rather than waste all those lovely free books I continued to work my way through my KU reading list.
I also got sucked into a reading a genre that’s new to me. I say new, it’s still Romance (yes I’m still not ready to leave love behind) but with a far more raunchy side than I’d normally choose. I’ll be honest, a sponsored advert came up on Facebook with a rather eye catching cover, so I clicked through, read the blurb and though mmm don’t mind if I do. So I did!
The book was the first in a series about individual members and security of the fictional Canadian rock band called Dirty. Now I should say, if you hadn’t guessed, it’s not a book for the faint-hearted, or those who can’t cope with the ‘F’ word. If the weather hadn’t been so hot anyway, this would certainly have raised the temperature. It played out to the sex, drugs and rock & roll stereo types but at heart, the band members were essentially just waiting for the right woman to come along. The books follow the standard romance tropes of the fake date, friends to lovers, the best friend’s sister, the second chance etc – just with a lot more sex! They are easy reads and for me proved to be addictive, as, like one of their groupies, I found myself going through the whole band and their security manager (Oh Jude)! So that didn’t help reduce my existing reading pile.
The buying hasn’t abated this month, so I’m chickening out of doing the whole books in, books out thing. I think I’ll postpone that now until the year end in the hope that in the meantime I develop the ability to speed read, give half my books to charity and stop looking at the Kindle Sale (we all know how that’s going to play out)
I did at least attempt to get back to using the alphabet as the way of choosing this month’s reads and we’re now at M & N (as opposed to S & M but that’s back to the Dirty series!)
So that was my month, how was yours?
Books I Bought this Month
(NB This post features Affiliate links from which I earn a small commission on qualifying purchases)
The Botanist by MW Craven
This is going to be the longest week of Washington Poe’s life…
Detective Sergeant Washington Poe can count on one hand the number of friends he has. And he’d still have his thumb left. There’s the guilelessly innocent civilian analyst, Tilly Bradshaw of course. Insanely brilliant, she’s a bit of a social hand grenade. He’s known his beleaguered boss, Detective Inspector Stephanie Flynn for years as he has his nearest neighbour, full-time shepherd/part-time dog sitter, Victoria.
And then there’s Estelle Doyle. Dark and dangerous and sexy as hell. It’s true the caustic pathologist has never walked down the sunny side of the street, but has she gone too far this time? Shot twice in the head, her father’s murder appears to be an open and shut case. Estelle has firearms discharge residue on her hands, and, in a house surrounded by fresh snow, hers are the only footprints. Since her arrest she’s only said three words: ‘Tell Washington Poe.’
Meanwhile, a poisoner called the Botanist is sending the nation’s most reviled people poems and pressed flowers. Twisted and ingenious, he seems to be able to walk through walls and, despite the advance notice given to his victims, and regardless of the security measures taken, he is able to kill with impunity.
Poe hates locked room mysteries and now he has two to solve. To unravel them he’s going to have to draw on every resource he has: Tilly Bradshaw, an organised crime boss, even an alcoholic ex-journalist. Because if he doesn’t, the bodies are going to keep piling up . . .
Love Betty by Laura Kemp
One chance encounter might just change everything…
On the day that Betty meets Guy, her life is changed forever. She never thought she’d see him again, but a few months later, realizes she has something of his that needs returning…
So, she writes him a letter. It’s the perfect solution for Betty – it means she doesn’t need to tell Guy about what really happened that day, and the secret she’s been hiding.
For Guy, Betty’s letter arrives at his repair shop at the perfect time. His whole world has come crashing down around him and for the first time in a long time, he starts to feel hopeful.
But can you really begin to fall in love with someone you’ve only met once…?
Smoke and Ashes by Abir Mukherjee
India, 1921. Captain Sam Wyndham is battling a serious addiction to opium that he must keep secret from his superiors in the Calcutta police force.
But Wyndham finds himself in a tight spot when he stumbles across a corpse in an opium den. When he then comes across a second body bearing the same injuries, Wyndham is convinced that there’s a deranged killer on the loose.
However, revealing his presence in the opium den could cost him his career.
As Wyndham and Sergeant ‘Surrender-not’ Banerjee set out to solve the two murders, Wyndham must tread carefully, keeping his personal demons secret, before someone else turns up dead…
Last Time We Met by Emily Houghton
Aged thirteen, best friends Eleanor and Fin are inseparable. Convinced it will always be this way they make a pact – to go to university together, always live near each other, and if they’re both single at 35 they’ll get married.
Eleanor and Fin haven’t spoken in fifteen years. Life has run away from them and they’re both far from where they’d dreamt of being all those years ago.
CAN THEY STILL KEEP THEIR WORD?
It takes tragic circumstances for Fin to come back into Eleanor’s life, but everything has changed since the last time they met. Is it too late to mend their friendship? Or is there a chance they can keep some of the promises they made?
Things We Never Got Over by Lucy Score
Bearded, bad-boy barber Knox prefers to live his life the way he takes his coffee: Alone. Unless you count his basset hound, Waylon.
Knox doesn’t tolerate drama, even when it comes in the form of a stranded runaway bride.
Naomi wasn’t just running away from her wedding. She was riding to the rescue of her estranged twin to Knockemout, Virginia, a rough-around-the-edges town where disputes are settled the old-fashioned way . . . with fists and beer. Usually in that order.
Too bad for Naomi her evil twin hasn’t changed at all. After helping herself to Naomi’s car and cash, Tina leaves her with something unexpected. The niece Naomi didn’t know she had. Now she’s stuck in town with no car, no job, no plan, and no home with an 11-year-old going on thirty to take care of.
There’s a reason Knox doesn’t do complications or high-maintenance women, especially not the romantic ones. But since Naomi’s life imploded right in front of him, the least he can do is help her out of her jam. And just as soon as she stops getting into new trouble he can leave her alone and get back to his peaceful, solitary life.
At least, that’s the plan until the trouble turns to real danger.
The Extraordinary Hope of Dawn Brightside by Jessica Ryn
She’s not lost. She’s just waiting to be found…
Dawn Elisabeth Brightside has been running from her past for twenty-two years and two months, precisely.
So when she is offered a bed in St Jude’s Hostel for the Homeless, it means so much more than just a roof over her head.
But with St Jude’s threatened with closure, Dawn worries that everything is about to crumble around her all over again.
Perhaps, with a little help from her new friends, she can find a way to save this light in the darkness?
And maybe, just maybe, Dawn will finally have a place to call home….
Hope to Die by Cara Hunter
A call out to an isolated farm on the outskirts of Oxford.
A body shot at point-blank range in the kitchen.
It looks like a burglary gone wrong, but DI Adam Fawley suspects there’s something more to it.
When the police discover a connection to a high-profile case from years ago, involving a child’s murder and an alleged miscarriage of justice, the press go wild.
Suddenly Fawley’s team are under more scrutiny than ever before. And when you dig up the past, you’re sure to find a few skeletons…
Butter and Whiskey : The Ballad of Maggie Doyle by Judith S Glover
Butter and Whiskey: The Ballad of Maggie Doyle.After an affair with a local priest, Maggie Doyle, an unhappily married woman in Southern Ireland, gives birth to a baby with tiny wings. Father John, meanwhile, abandons her and heads for the mainland, in disgrace. When The Vatican sends its Cardinal to investigate, Maggie takes an horrific course of action that will send her spiralling into madness and despair. Years later, they have both ended up in London where, unbeknownst to either, their fates become once again entwined. Whilst each finds friendship and love in unexpected places, someone is watching Maggie, and Father John is haunted by his guilt. And why is Maggie dreaming of a strange young man, she has never met before?On the night that their paths finally cross, the past too seems to have caught up with them, and Father John sees an opportunity to atone for having abandoned Maggie, in her hour of greatest need.
Skincare by Caroline Hirons
Caroline Hirons is the authority in skincare – and for the first time, she’s sharing her knowledge with the world. With over 100 million views of her blog and over 13 million views of her YouTube videos, she cuts out the jargon, tells you what you do and don’t need, and is finally going to get the nation off face wipes for good!
Skincare is the go-to book for people of all ages and skin types who want to feel and look fantastic. It explains the facts, the myths and the best way to get good skin – on any budget. With everything from Caroline’s signature cheat sheets, simple tips and tricks to glow (inside and out!) understanding ingredients lists, and advice on how to choose the products that are right for you, this is the ultimate guide to healthier, brighter skin.
A Little Piece of Paradise by TA Williams
The inheritance of a lifetime… with a catch
When Sophie’s uncle leaves her a castle in the Italian Riviera in his will, she can’t believe her luck. The catch? She and her estranged sister, Rachel, must live there together for three months in order to inherit it.
Having worked in Rome for four years, Sophie’s excited to revisit to Italy, even if it reignites memories of a cheating ex who soon learns of her return and wants to rekindle their spark. Sophie realises that distance does indeed make the heart grow fonder – but for her friend back home, Chris, who she discovers is more to her than just a friend.
With the clock ticking, can Sophie and Rachel stick it out and heal old wounds, or are the sisters destined to go their separate ways at the end of the three months? And does Chris feel the same way about Sophie as she does for him?
To Kill a Troubadour by Martin Walker
Join Bruno, France’s favourite country cop, on his latest adventure as he fights to keep St Denis safe. Set in the beautiful Périgord region, The Dordogne Mysteries are the perfect combination of mystery and escapism.
It is summer in St Denis and Bruno is busy organising the annual village concert. He’s hired a local Périgord folk group, Les Troubadours, to perform their latest hit ‘A Song for Catalonia’. But when the song unexpectedly goes viral, the Spanish government, clamping down on the Catalonian bid for independence, bans Les Troubadours from performing it.
The timing couldn’t be worse, and Bruno finds himself under yet more pressure when a specialist sniper’s bullet is found in a wrecked car near Bergerac. The car was reportedly stolen on the Spanish frontier and the Spanish government sends warning that a group of nationalist extremists may be planning an assassination in France. Bruno immediately suspects that Les Troubadours and their audience might be in danger.
Bruno must organise security and ensure that his beloved town and its people are safe – the stakes are high for France’s favourite policeman.
The Last Party by Clare Mackintosh
On New Year’s Eve, Rhys Lloyd has a house full of guests.
His lakeside holiday homes are a success, and he’s generously invited the village to drink champagne with their wealthy new neighbours. This will be the party to end all parties.
But not everyone is there to celebrate. By midnight, Rhys will be floating dead in the freezing waters of the lake.
On New Year’s Day, DC Ffion Morgan has a village full of suspects.
The tiny community is her home, so the suspects are her neighbours, friends and family – and Ffion has her own secrets to protect.
With a lie uncovered at every turn, soon the question isn’t who wanted Rhys dead . . . but who finally killed him.
In a village with this many secrets, a murder is just the beginning.
The House Beneath the Cliffs by Sharon Gosling
A remote yet beautiful village. A tiny kitchen lunch club. The perfect place to start again.
Anna moves to Crovie, a tiny fishing village on the Moray Firth, for a fresh start. But when she arrives, she realises her new home is really no more than a shed, and the village itself sits beneath a cliff right on the edge of the sea, in constant danger of storms and landslides. Has she made a terrible mistake?
Yet as she begins to learn about the Scottish coast and its people, something she thought she’d lost reawakens in her. She rediscovers her love of cooking, and turns her kitchen into a pop-up lunch club. But not all the locals are delighted about her arrival, and some are keen to see her plans fail.
Will Anna really be able to put down roots in this remote and wild village? Or will her fragile new beginning start to crumble with the cliffs . . . ?
Lifesaving for Beginners by Josie Lloyd
In life’s stormy waters, it’s your friends who keep you afloat…
Maddy Wolfe’s life has just capsized. After her twenty-year marriage suddenly implodes, she heads to Brighton to search for her estranged son, Jamie. But he’s nowhere to be found and for the first time, she’s totally alone. That is, until she meets the Salty Sea-Gals, a group of feisty sea-swimmers.
Seventy-two-year old Helga is determined not to slow down, while thirty-something Tor is still figuring out who she is. Bereaved Dominica is trying to find a reason to carry on, and busy mum Claire is learning to put herself first for a change.
As their regular cold-water plunges become a lifeline for them all, Maddy starts to realise that these brave women might just help her find both Jamie and herself. Together, will they turn the tide?
Secrets at the Last House Before the Sea by Liz Eeles
From the attic of Driftwood House there are stunning views of the deep green sea and sapphire sky. But Rosie can’t tear her eyes away from the faded photograph in her hands, and the words written on the back that will change everything…
Back in the tiny seaside village of Heaven’s Cove after the death of her mother, all Rosie Merchant wants is to hide her tears, rent out her childhood home, and get back to her ‘real’ life, away from the gossiping villagers and wild Devon weather she escaped from years ago.
She’s surprised to find a smiling man in hiking boots – local farmer Liam – waiting on the stone doorstep. His kind offer to help clear crumbling, isolated Driftwood House is hard to refuse, and despite Rosie’s determination not to let anyone get close, soon they’re walking and laughing together along the clifftops. As clouds scud across the endless sky and green waves crash against the shore, Rosie is reminded that nowhere is more beautiful than home.
Then, up in the attic of Driftwood House, Rosie stumbles across a photo which exposes the heart-stopping truth about how her mother came to live at Driftwood House years ago… and Liam only seems concerned about the implications for his own nearby farm. Did he know this painful secret all along, and should she run from Heaven’s Cove for good? Or will facing up to her devastating family history mean Rosie can finally put down roots in this beautiful place?
The Lonely Heart Attack Club by JC Williams
Jack Tate is hopeless…
Everything he touches turns into a disaster, though he does mean well.His business is even less successful than his love life.
Most of the customers in his coffee shop have deserted him for the major chains, leaving him only with the old folk, for the most part, who unfortunately don’t have or spend all that much dosh.
Bracing herself for a trip to the job centre, his underappreciated assistant, Emma, helps Jack realise that the solution could actually be right under his very nose. The last chance to save his failing business could well be the formation of the Isle of Man’s first and only dating club for the elderly: The Lonely Heart Attack Club!
While the majority of his wrinkly client base may be in their twilight years, Jack will soon come to realise that there are still a fair number of tunes left to play on an old fiddle, so to speak.
The Rebound by Catherine Walsh
A newly single girl. A tall dark handsome stranger. What could go wrong?
It’s 7 a.m. on a Monday and Abby Reynolds isn’t where she wants to be. She wants to be in her beautiful loft apartment in Manhattan, drinking a coffee with her fiancé.
Instead, she’s heading back to the childhood home in rural Ireland she swore she’d never return to, with some big old secrets. Namely that she’s suddenly found herself unemployed, homeless, and absolutely 100% single.
She’s feeling all out of luck. Until the first person she meets after she touches down is an absurdly hot guy called Luke, who offers her a lift home. Gazing deep into his sparkling emerald-green eyes, Abby knows instantly that he’s exactly what she needs to take her mind off everything. The perfect rebound.
It’s a flawless plan. Until the next day, when Abby realizes who he actually is. Not just a stranger. He is, in fact, Luke Bailey, aka the boy next door. Luke Bailey who—so help her God—she’s pretty sure she once shared baths with, back when they were kids. Not that she can allow herself to imagine him in a bath now, not without blushing from head to foot.
And judging by the smirk on his face, the same Luke Bailey who’s known exactly who she was the whole time… And who, like everyone in the village, still thinks she’s a high-flying New Yorker… who’s getting married next year.
Abby is certain getting under Luke will help her get over her ex. But the truth is stopping her. Can she admit to everyone back home that she’s single and has lost everything? Because, if she wants the boy next door, she may just have to…
The Houseshare by Fiona O’Brien
Number 24 Ulysses Crescent is an elegant three storey mansion overlooking the beautiful Dublin Bay. Converted into luxurious seaview apartments, it’s now home to a close-knit group of tenants …
There’s former style icon Evelyn, who lives life as vibrantly as ever, not knowing her past is about to catch up with her; enigmatic sculptor Mike, who uses his art as a way to wrestle with his ghosts; café-owner Nessa whose gift for reading the Tarot hasn’t yet shown her if she’ll find love; and Bruce and Stella, recently separated and now co-parenting their toddler from separate flats.
Then there’s Morah, the caretaker, who keeps a watchful eye on everyone – especially, for reasons only known to herself, the irrepressible Evelyn.
When Evelyn’s granddaughter Truth, a high-flying London lawyer, arrives for the summer desperate to escape an online hate campaign, the residents of Number 24 are about to discover that the past is never truly over, especially when it comes to matters of the heart.
Elizabeth of York : The Last White Rose by Alison Weir
Mother. Survivor. Queen.
AN ENGLISH PRINCESS, BORN INTO A WAR BETWEEN TWO FAMILIES.
Eldest daughter of the royal House of York, Elizabeth dreams of a crown to call her own. But when her beloved father, King Edward, dies suddenly, her destiny is rewritten.
Her family’s enemies close in. Two young princes are murdered in the Tower. Then her uncle seizes power – and vows to make Elizabeth his queen.
But another claimant seeks the throne, the upstart son of the rival royal House of Lancaster. Marriage to this Henry Tudor would unite the white rose of York and the red of Lancaster – and change everything.
A great new age awaits. Now Elizabeth must choose her allies – and husband – wisely, and fight for her right to rule.
The Italian Job by Kathryn Freeman
Dream job. Dream house. Fake fiancé.
A year in a gorgeous Italian castle…
When Anna Roberts’ life implodes, an online search leads her to an ad for the ultimate dream job – management of a gorgeous castle on the shores of Lake Como, accommodation included. The only catch? Anna can’t do it alone…
…With the last man on earth she’d choose!
The castle owners will only accept a couple as caretakers, which means Anna needs a man on her arm at the interview. Enter her neighbour, Jake Tucker. Though Anna and Jake have never seen eye-to-eye, Jake’s had a rough few years and an escape to Italy sounds ideal. Yet, when they get the job and jet off, Anna and Jake face an unexpected challenge. Pretending to be a couple is difficult … but pretending the tension simmering between them doesn’t exist is quickly proving impossible!
A Corruption of Blood by Ambrose Parry
Edinburgh, 1850. This city will bleed you dry.
Sarah Fisher is keeping a safe distance from her old flame Dr Will Raven. Having long worked at the side of Dr James Simpson, she has set her sights on learning to practise medicine herself. A notion everyone seems intent on dissuading her from.
Across town, Raven finds himself drawn into Edinburgh’s mire when a package containing human remains washes up on the shores of Leith, and an old adversary he has long detested contacts him, pleading for Raven’s help to escape the hangman.
Sarah and Raven’s lives seem indelibly woven together as they discover that wealth and status cannot alter a fate written in the blood.
The Last to Disappear by Jo Spain
A luxury resort. Three missing women. One body.
When young London professional Alex Evans is informed that his sister’s body has been pulled from an icy lake in Northern Lapland, he assumes his irresponsible sister accidentally drowned. He travels to the wealthy winter resort where Vicky worked as a tour-guide and meets Agatha Koskinen, the detective in charge. Agatha is a no-nonsense single mother of three who already thinks there’s more to Vicky’s case than meets the eye.
As the two form an unlikely alliance, Alex also begins to suspect the small town where his sister lived and died is harbouring secrets. It’s not long before he learns that three other women have gone missing from the area in the past and that his sister may have left him a message.
On the surface, Koppe, Lapland is a winter wonderland. But in this remote, frozen place, death seems only ever a heartbeat away.
Snowfall Over Halesmere House by Suzanne Snow ( a lovely prize win courtesy of Suzanne’s newsletter)
Welcome to Halesmere House, where romance might be just around the corner…
After years of living in the past, Ella is ready to start building a future. The perfect opportunity presents itself when she is offered a short-term role at Halesmere House in the Lake District, and tasked with kick-starting its artists’ residence. She can’t wait to start and explore a new career in an inspiring location.
But when Ella arrives at Halesmere, she wonders if she’s made a huge mistake after she clashes with Max, the new owner. Max has his own reasons to be unsettled by her presence, but despite his misgivings it seems everyone else loves having Ella around. As a single dad, it’s his children’s attachment to her that bothers him most. Who will pick up the pieces when Ella leaves?
What Max doesn’t know is that Ella is falling for more than just the Lake District and the community around her. Can her temporary job lead to a permanent happy ending?
The Girl on the 88 Bus by Freya Sampson
When Libby Nicholls arrives in London, broken-hearted and with her life in tatters, the first person she meets on the bus is elderly pensioner Frank. He tells her about the time in 1962 he met a girl on the number 88 bus with beautiful red hair just like her own. They made plans for a date at the National Gallery, but Frank lost the ticket with her number written on it. For the past sixty years, he’s ridden the same bus trying to find her.
Libby is inspired by the story and, with the help of an unlikely companion, she makes it her mission to help Frank’s search. As she begins to open her guarded heart to strangers and new connections, Libby’s tightly controlled world expands. But with Frank’s dementia progressing quickly, their chance of finding the girl on the number 88 bus is slipping away.
More than anything, Libby wants Frank to see his lost love one more time. But their quest also shows Libby just how important it is to embrace her own chances for happiness – before it’s too late.
A beautifully uplifting novel about how one chance meeting can change the course of your life
Should I Tell You? by Jill Mansell
Amber, Lachlan and Raffaele met as teenagers in the Cornish seaside home of kind-hearted foster parents. Years on, the bond between them is unbreakable
But Amber has a secret. She’s in love with Lachlan. She can’t tell him, because that would never work – he’s not the settling-down type. Surely it’s better to keep him as a friend than to risk losing him?
Raffaele has his own dilemma. Vee was the dream girlfriend, until it all went horribly wrong . . . and he can’t understand why. Is Vee hiding something from him?
Now their widowed foster dad Teddy has found new love. Charming and beautiful, Olga seems perfect. But is she? Or will she break Teddy’s fragile heart?
Against a backdrop of sparkling seas and sunny skies, the unexpected is always just around the corner. Welcome to Lanrock!
Big Chicas Don’t Cry by Annette Chavez Macias
Four cousins navigate love, loss, and the meaning of family over the course of one memorable year in this heartfelt family drama.
Cousins Mari, Erica, Selena, and Gracie are inseparable. They aren’t just family but best friends—sharing secrets, traditions, and a fierce love for their abuelita. But their idyllic childhood ends when Mari’s parents divorce, forcing her to move away. With Mari gone, the girls’ tight-knit bond unravels.
Fifteen years later, Mari’s got the big house and handsome husband, but her life is in shambles. Erica’s boyfriend just dumped her, and her new boss hates her. Selena can’t seem to find her place in the world—not Mexican enough for her family, not white enough for her colleagues. And Gracie is a Catholic school teacher with an all-consuming crush, but she can’t trust herself when it comes to romance.
As rocky as the cousins’ lives have become, nothing can prepare them for the heartbreaking loss of a loved one. When tragedy reunites them, will they remember their abuelita’s lessons about family and forgiveness—or are fifteen years of separation too much to overcome?
When We Were Young by Richard Roper
A tender and funny story about wanting to go back – when you know it’s time to move on.
Theo has been living in his parents’ shed, nursing a broken heart and a wounded ego, convinced life can’t get any worse. Then he gets evicted on his 30th birthday. Theo thinks he’s done with the real world – until it shows up on his doorstep…
Joel is a successful TV scriptwriter, still in love with his teenage sweetheart. A proper grown-up – and yet he’s falling apart at the seams. He’s headed home to reconnect with best friend Theo – except they haven’t spoken since the summer they turned 16.
One of them is keeping a secret, and the other is living a lie. But can the promise they once made to walk all 184 miles of the Thames Path help them find their way back to the truth – and to their friendship?
The Cinnamon Snail by Rosemary Whittaker
She’s found the love of her life. He just hasn’t realised it yet …
When Christian moves from Copenhagen to London, Kate quickly tumbles into love. He’s the most handsome and charismatic man she’s ever met, and she’s all set for her Happily Ever After.
Until he announces that he’s returning to Copenhagen, and he doesn’t want her to go with him. Nothing Kate can say will change his mind. All she can do is plan a new future without him. And if that future happens to be in Denmark, that’s entirely her own business.
She gets a job at The Cinnamon Snail Cafe and sets out to win Christian back. His new girlfriend is a slight problem – but when true love is on the line, anything goes.
Kate has a year to prove she can settle into a new country and persuade the love of her life she means business. A piece of cake!
A Summer of Second Chances by Suzanne Snow
Sparks and tempers fly when Ben comes to stay in Daisy’s holiday cottage
Daisy likes routine. She goes to work, makes dinner for her son, then loses herself for an hour or two in her sewing. She’s not looking for change, until Ben crashes – literally – into her life.
Ben is training for a triathlon, working himself to the limit in an attempt to forget a recent trauma. Daisy wants to help, but even as they draw closer with every week that passes, he pushes her away whenever things threaten to get serious.
Can Ben open himself up to love again? And with Daisy’s life in the Yorkshire Dales and Ben’s in New York, can they have a future together even if he does?
The Three Loves of Sebastian Cooper by Zoe Folbigg (pre-order due 27th September)
As friends and family gather for the funeral of charming and charismatic Seb Cooper, three women sit in the congregation, mourning his loss.
First there is Clair, Seb’s wife and partner of twenty years, and mother of his two children. Furious at Seb for dying and leaving their children without a father, Clair isn’t sure of her place, and has been left baffled and bemused by the conflicting stories of Seb’s last days.
Then there’s Desiree, the woman Seb left Clair for. Heartbroken, self-conscious, and wondering if she made a mistake coming today.
And the third and noisiest mourner of all is Noemie – Seb’s lover and the last woman to see him alive.
Three women who loved Seb in their own different ways.
Three women whose lives have now changed forever.
But only one woman knows what really happened at the end…and only one truly had his heart…
An Island Wedding by Jenny Colgan
Olivia and Anthony are planning A Very Extravagant Wedding at the newest hotel on the tiny Scottish island of Mure. They’re flying in chefs, musicians and something called a living flower wall… and no one is even allowed to think the word bridezilla.
Flora is trying – and failing – not to let Olivia and Anthony’s wedding distract her from planning her own big day with Joel. But the couple have wildly different ideas about how to celebrate and somehow, just when their relationship should be plain sailing, everything is suddenly very hard indeed.
And then there’s Lorna and Saif. The local headmistress and the GP desperately keeping their relationship a secret to protect his sons. But while they’re looking out for the boys, who’s looking out for them?
Three couples. One midsummer’s night. Can everyone get their happy ever after?
The Hidden Child by Rebecca Griffiths
Connie splashed through puddles, the rain slapping her face. Everywhere was tarmac and concrete, fog and drizzle, but no sign of her child. ‘Have you seen my daughter? Please, you must’ve seen her?’ Connie’s face crumpled, preparing to cry. But there wasn’t time for tears, she told herself, she had to find her child.
Manchester, England, 1965: In an instant Connie’s life has changed. She only left her daughter Kathy alone for a moment but that was enough for her to vanish without a trace. As Connie desperately searches for her, she has to put the news reports of other missing children to the back of her mind. She is determined to find her safe. She will bring her daughter home.
As local farmer Ronald listens to the news, he is shocked by what he hears. He has spent his life away from the spotlight, quietly tending to his farm. But when a young couple begin acting suspiciously on his land, he knows that trouble is about to reach his door.
And then he sees her. A girl in a bright red coat who looks completely lost. Ronald knows he needs to help keep her safe and find her family. But on the wild and desolate farmland, Ronald has buried his own dark secret. Can he risk it coming to light to save her life?
The Flames by Sophie Haydock
Vienna at the dawn of the 20th century. An opulent, extravagant city teeming with art, music and radical ideas. A place where the social elite attend glamorous balls in the city’s palaces whilst young intellectuals decry the empire across the tables of crowded cafes. It is a city where anything seems possible – if you are a man.
Edith and Adele are sisters, the daughters of a wealthy bourgeois industrialist. They are expected to follow the rules, to marry well, and produce children. Gertrude is in thrall to her flamboyant older brother. Marked by a traumatic childhood, she envies the freedom he so readily commands. Vally was born into poverty but is making her way in the world as a model for the eminent artist Gustav Klimt.
None of these women is quite what they seem. Fierce, passionate and determined, they want to defy convention and forge their own path. But their lives are set on a collision course when they become entangled with the controversial young artist Egon Schiele whose work – and private life – are sending shockwaves through Vienna’s elite. All it will take is a single act of betrayal to change everything for them all. Because just as a flame has the power to mesmerize, it can also destroy everything in its path…
The Dark by Sharon Bolton
When a baby is snatched from its pram and cast into the river Thames, off-duty police officer Lacey Flint is there to prevent disaster. But who would want to hurt a child?
DCI Mark Joesbury has been expecting this. Monitoring a complex network of dark web sites, Joesbury and his team have spotted a new terrorist threat from the extremist, women-hating, group known as ‘incels’ or ‘involuntary celibates.’ Joesbury’s team are trying to infiltrate the ring of power at its core, but the dark web is built for anonymity, and the incel army is vast.
Pressure builds when the team learn the snatched child was just the first in a series of violent attacks designed to terrorise women. Worse, the leaders of the movement seem to have singled out Lacey as the embodiment of everything they hate, placing her in terrible danger…
The Holiday Bookshop
Are you looking to start a new chapter?
Role: Bookseller wanted! (3-month fixed-term contract)
Location: A luxury resort on the tropical island of Bounty Cove Bay.
Skills required: The ideal candidate will have experience in a retail environment, preferably within the book industry.
Desired qualities: This role will appeal to a book lover with an adventurous streak who is looking for an escape from their everyday life.
What to expect: Sun, sea, and a bookshop that is far from thriving. No one said it would be smooth sailing!
Please note: You may fall in love with more than just our island along the way.
Six Days in Rome by Francesca Giacco (NB book club sub)
Emilia, an artist, arrives in Rome alone. What was supposed to be a romantic trip has, with the sudden end of her relationship, become a solitary one.
Six days lie ahead. She wanders the streets, surrendering herself to the music, food and beauty of the city.
But when she meets John, an American living out a seemingly idyllic existence in Rome, their instant connection challenges how she sees her past, her family and herself. As their intimacy deepens, can Emilia begin to imagine life anew?
Books I Read and Recommend
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 Man I Fell in Love With by Kate Field
Sometimes we find happiness where we least expect it…
After twenty years of contented marriage, no one is more surprised than Mary Black when her husband announces he’s leaving her… for another man.
For the sake of the children, Mary has no choice but to pick herself up and start again. She hosts family meals that include Leo and his new partner. She copes with the kids wanting to spend less time with her and more time with their ‘fun’ dads. But one thing she can’t quite ignore is Leo’s gorgeous brother, who has just come back to town…
After living a life of sliding doors and missed opportunities, can Mary finally put herself first and take a chance that could change everything?
The Moment I Met You by Debbie Johnson
It only takes a second…
For life to change forever.
Elena Godwin could never have known that her dream holiday to Mexico would change her life forever. She thought that she was in charge of her own destiny. But on a gorgeous summer evening, her whole world is ripped from her feet in a single moment.
Ten years later, she still can’t forget the face of the stranger who held her whilst everything she knew was destroyed. Thrown back together again, Elena starts to uncover the truth around that fateful night – and questions whether she made the right decision all those years ago.
She only met him for a moment, but maybe it’s not too late…
Mr Right Across the Street by Kathryn Freeman
Mia Abbott’s move to Manchester was supposed to give her time and space from all the disastrous romantic choices she’s made in her past. But then the hot guy who lives opposite – the one who works out every day at exactly 10 a.m., not that Mia has noticed thank-you-very-much – starts leaving notes in his window…for her.
Bar owner Luke Doyle has his own issues to deal with but as he shows Mia the sights of her new city he also shows her what real romance looks like for the first time. And when he cooks up a signature cocktail in her honour, she realises that the man behind the bar is even more enticing than any of his creations. And once she’s had a taste she knows it will never be enough!
Meet Me at the Lighthouse by Mary Jayne Baker
A birthday. A lighthouse. And the love of her life…
Bobbie Hannigan’s life is perfectly fine, but that doesn’t stop her from wanting a bit of adventure. To throw caution to the wind and buy a lighthouse. Armed with her new purchase, she decides to turn it into a music venue with the help of local musician, Ross Mason, the first boy she ever kissed.
Determined to keep things professional, Bobbie tried to forget the past, but the happily-ever-after they’re working towards is too good to resist. That is, until someone from the past crawls back to cause trouble. Can Bobbie look past the secrets Ross has been keeping from her? Or will the boy, the lighthouse, and the dream all slip away?
Songs For Your Mother
I’m greeted by the strangest sight. A small dark-haired boy is standing there. It’s like he’s a human parcel, delivered to my front door.
‘My name is Luke,’ he says.
When Johnny meets Lauren in a bar in Santa Cruz, there’s an instant connection. On an American road trip with best friend Will, Johnny promises to return to the girl who has stolen his heart.
Until tragedy strikes, forcing Johnny to fly back home without ever seeing Lauren again.
Six years later, Johnny is living his life in London, even if he’s never forgotten the girl with the grey eyes and dark hair.
Until one September morning, he opens his door to find a little boy standing there – a child, Johnny quickly comes to learn, who was created that one magical night. Lauren is dying, and her last wish is to reunite five-year-old Luke with the father he doesn’t yet know.
Thrown into unexpected parenthood, Johnny finds himself navigating school-gate politics, Disney movies and tantrums, guided by the notes Lauren has written for him.
Life as an instant dad isn’t always easy, but as Johnny and Luke open their hearts to each other, Johnny is about to discover that life’s joy isn’t always where you expected it.
The Little Bookshop by the Sea by Eliza J Scott
Welcome to the Happy Hartes Bookshop in Micklewick Bay on the beautiful North Yorkshire Coast!
The Happy Hartes Bookshop has been a part of bookworm Florrie Appleton’s life as far back as she can remember. From the evocative smell of the books, to working alongside her beloved Mr H and his black Labrador, Gerty, there’s no wonder she calls it her happy place.
Living in a town she loves, with her family and group of close-knit friends around her, life is sweet. Until one dreadful Monday morning, when everything is turned upside down and things are changed forever.
Devastated, Florrie finds herself thrown into an unexpected situation with handsome stranger, Ed Harte, owner of a pair of twinkly navy-blue eyes and a smile that has the knack of making mischief with her insides.
Despite herself, Florrie quickly finds herself falling for him, but she’s torn, reluctant to give her heart to someone who seems intent on not sticking around.
While her heart’s doing battle with her head, Florrie soon finds herself privy to a secret with Ed involving a heart-wrenching twist they could never have imagined.
Will love find a way to bring them together, or are they destined to go their separate ways?
That’s me for this month so all that’s left to say is : Happy Reading!