On the basis of better late than never, I’ve finally got around to looking over September and assessing the bookish results.
We were away on holiday this month and, unable to get the dates we wanted, went a week later than usual. From a blog point of view, that proved a bit of a disaster. Trying to schedule all my normal posts before we went proved impossible as I struggled to juggle work deadlines. Not coming back until after the month end also meant pushing back my usual features as I had to go straight back into catch up mode with work. So, for the first time ever, I had to pause Five on Friday, but never fear it will soon be back up and running.
From a reading point of view I had a great month, but fell down another Kindle Unlimited rabbit hole which did nothing to reduce my real life reading pile. I’m getting hooked on American romances with their billionaire CEO’s, hockey players (I hate hockey) and rock stars. I’ve fallen for more grumpy, older men; brother’s best friends and, unsuspecting flat mates than is good for me! I blame my age – I’m clearly having a delayed mid life crisis as I found myself, almost daily, falling for a new book boyfriend. I need to wean myself of these though due to the language – I don’t want my car to have a trunk, the pavement to become a sidewalk or my bills to become checks! Mind you, with the prospect of increased energy bills this winter, maybe the extra heat they generate might come in handy – every little helps! As the 3 month free Kindle Unlimited option (which came with my new Kindle eReader) ends on 31st October my binging will come to a natural end. I’ll be paying for those bad boys in future so they’ll have to prove their worth.
My book buying is still of the scale, whose bright idea was it to post daily Kindle Bargains? I need to have a word with them. I also notice that Amazon are doing the spent £10 on ebooks and get a £5 credit promotion again – so that’ll be 15 books right there for October just for starters.
I’m not really sure why I ridiculously decided to re-instate the books bought vs books read/weeded table this month either – other than to shame myself into bucking my ideas up. However, I’ve realised I have no shame – ask my new book boyfriends!
So that was my September. Many thanks to all of you who continued to share my scheduled daily posts, it was much appreciated. I must admit, I enjoyed the break from social media and let that continue for a bit longer than planned. Normal service will be resumed from Monday.
Books I Bought this Month
(NB This post features Affiliate links from which I earn a small commission on qualifying purchases)
Ten Years by Pernille Hughes
Becca and Charlie have known each other since university.
Becca and Charlies have also hated each other since university.
Until now. Until Ally’s bucket list. The death of their loved one should mean they can go their separate ways and not look back. But completing the list is something neither of them can walk away from.
And sometimes, those who bring out the worst in you, also bring out the very best…
Over the course of ten years, Becca and Charlie’s paths collide as they deal with grief, love and life after Ally.
All I Want for Christmas by Joanna Bolouri
What if the love of your life was your best friend’s girl?
The sparkling Christmas romance to pick you up this year…
When Nick loses his job and is dumped by his glamorous but demanding girlfriend, he is forced to grudgingly accept work as a Santa at a local Christmas grotto. As his friends are getting married or promoted, Nick spends his days being terrorised by unfriendly elves and cried on by snotty, spoiled children.
Then he meets 4-year-old Alfie. All Alfie wants for Christmas is for his mum, Sarah, to be happy again. Moved by the boy’s selfless wish, Nick arranges a date between Sarah and his best friend, Matt. But as Sarah and Alfie become part of all their lives, Nick realises that happiness for Sarah and Matt might mean heartbreak for himself.
One Last Gift by Emily Stone
‘Will you be brave enough to follow your heart?
For as long as Cassie can remember, it had been the three of them: Cassie, her big brother Tom, and Tom’s annoying best friend Sam.
Now, Tom is sorted, Sam is flying high, and Cassie thinks she’s figured it all out. Then tragedy happens and three become two.
For Cassie picking herself up seems unimaginable. Until she finds an envelope addressed to her, asking her to follow the trail to one last gift…
And suddenly what seems like an ending leads Cassie to something unexpected, beautiful and new…
The Hidden Truth by Hilary Boyd
He was meant to be the perfect man, until she discovered the hidden truth . . . The gripping story of love, heartbreak and one devastating confession that changes everything
Sara Tempest never expected to meet a man like Bernard.
Charming and captivating, over the course of one hot summer he and Sara fall desperately in love.
Without a second’s thought, Sara moves into his beautiful home on the wind-battered cliffs of Hastings, ready for her new life to begin.
But soon she begins to wonder if Bernard is all he seems . . .
He’s barely in touch with his children. Stifling reminders of his late wife appear everywhere Sara looks.
And then comes Bernard’s confession.
All too quickly, Sara’s newfound happiness starts to crumble around her . . .
Forever Yours by Debbie Johnson
A love to last a lifetime…
Gemma knows perfectly well how one moment can change your life forever. That’s why, for two decades, she’s lived life by the rulebook.
But this year, everything is different. The beloved daughter she gave up for adoption all those years ago is about to turn eighteen – and that means, there’s a chance of being found.
For the first time in her life, Gemma can no longer run from her secrets. And she begins to realise that when everything is falling apart, love can be found in the unlikeliest of places.
Because sometimes your true family is the one you pick for yourself…
Life Before Us by Roisin Meaney
Three facts about George:
His daughter Suzi is the best thing in his life.
He thinks it might finally be time to get over Suzi’s mum.
He’s never tried online dating but there’s a first time for everything.
Three facts about Alice:
She’s about to find out that her boyfriend is lying to her.
She never expected to return to her hometown (especially not without a job or a place to live).
Even though her heart has been trampled on, she’s still holding out for love.
One fact about love:
It’s out there for George and Alice.
All that needs to happen is for them to meet…
Eight Perfect Hours by Lia Louis
What if you fell in love…
… and then he disappeared?
When Noelle and Sam’s lives collide one snowy evening, they spend eight perfect hours stuck side by side believing that they’ll never see each other again.
But soon their lives become entangled in ways they never expected – and it’s going to change everything…
One Ordinary Day at a Time by Sarah J Harris
Behind every ordinary day, behind every ordinary story, there’s an extraordinary one just waiting to happen…
Simon Sparks hides in plain sight – his astonishing gifts locked deep inside himself, as he dreams of lost potential and extraordinary tomorrows.
Jodie Brook hides behind what you think of her – a single mum who can barely make ends meet. But her dreams are filled with the education she always wanted and discovering a better life for her and her son.
When Simon and Jodie’s lonely worlds collide, it upends everything. But as it becomes clear they have so much to learn from each other – Jodie can show Simon how to rejoin the world, and Simon can help Jodie prepare for her greatest challenge yet – they begin to realise that life could be so much more.
One ordinary day at a time…
The Grooms Wore White by Charlie Lyndhurst
Even wedding planners struggle to get it right…
Jason is the best wedding planner around, known as the Fairy Godfather to the couples whose special days he plans. But coming up against workplace prejudice is taking a toll on his love for his job.
His mother-in-law, Mel, has just discovered her husband has been cheating on her with a younger woman. Nearing fifty, jobless and struggling, she needs to work out who she is aside from a mum and a wife, and get her life back on track.
Meanwhile, up-tight wedding planner Harriet is struggling to find her own true love – if such a thing exists. Between liars, married men, and disaster dates, she thinks she may never find the one. And her outdated attitude toward LGBT marriages make her even more bitter.
When Jason starts Extra Weddings – helping people marry whoever they like, in whatever way they want – he, Mel and Harriet find themselves coming together to help couples make memories to last a lifetime. But can they bridge their gaps, and be a unit when others need them most?
The Lonely Hearts Lido Club by Charlie Lyndhurst
Three strangers all caught in the deep end… but can they help each other float through?
After tragically losing her husband and being left a single mother to two children, Gabriella has only one escape for herself – swimming at a local London lido to clear her mind.
A constant stream of both new and familiar faces visit the lido like Gabriella – but she doesn’t suspect any are suffering quite like her, until she meets Helen – who swims to escape her emotionless husband, and Ian – who feels lost in the deep end after becoming unemployed and unable to tell his husband.
Grateful for new companionship, these three strangers decide to make their friendship into something more permanent: The Lonely Hearts Lido Club.
The Central Line by Saskia Sarginson
What if you’ve already crossed paths with the love of your life?
Cora and Jacob live in London’s vast metropolis; he at one end of the Central Line, she at the other.
Their paths have crossed a thousand times without them knowing.
When a chance encounter on the underground brings them together, it seems they’re destined to fall in love.
But although they live in the same city, their worlds are miles apart.
Jacob’s life is uncluttered, while Cora’s is full of complications. And as events begin to divide them, they start to wonder:
Are they meant to be together, or were they never meant to meet?
Happy For You by Luci Beach
At the age of 7, they’re friends.
At 14, it’s a crush.
At 21, love… then heartbreak.
At 28, could they be happy again?
Every seven years, Ciara takes part in a study of happiness, together with a group of people born on the same day, including fun-loving Amelia and gorgeous, serious Max. Meeting at the ages of seven, fourteen and twenty-one, Ciara forms increasingly intense relationships. Until it all falls apart.
Then, before the next meeting at twenty-eight, Max comes back into Ciara’s life unexpectedly. Can Ciara ever be truly happy?
Blind Dates by Gordon MacMillan
Is true love just a few dates away…or even closer than you think?
Tom has always been a hopeless romantic: but now he’s just hopeless. After lockdown in particular made the millennial a reclusive introvert, it was finally time to get back ‘out there’ – at least according to his best friends Adam, Allison and sister Sarah.
As the group sets up 10 dates to rejuvenate Tom’s love life, he soon realises how difficult the dating scene has become, along with juggling his Shakespearean-themed cafe and a hobby of romantic mixtape making.
As some of the dates turn into disasters, an old flame keeps reappearing in Tom’s sight – along with bitter-sweet memories. Fearing it may be too little too late, Tom must decide whether he can date his way to happiness, or find his true match was under his nose the whole time…
This Year’s for Me and You by Emily Bell
When Celeste loses her best friend Hannah, she’ll do anything to keep her spirit alive.
So when she uncovers her friend’s old list of New Year’s resolutions, Celeste vows to complete them all.
One adventure at a time, she rediscovers how wonderful life can be.
But when one resolution leads her to someone from her past, Celeste can’t help but wonder . . .
Could the biggest adventure of all be falling in love?
A Moment on the Lips by J Taylor
Etta has had enough. At 5 ft 3 and size 20, she is determined to make a change. A change for herself, her daughter and also a tiny bit to show her ex, Robert, that she is in fact not only good enough for him but in fact far too good.
Jenna is being driven mad by her mother-in-law’s critical and overbearing personality. And with her wedding fast approaching, she’s determined to regain control of both her body and her big day.
Val is feeling lost and in shock after her husband of thirty years has upped and left her. Why? Good question. Val really has no idea, but she’s determined to find out.
Nicky has been on a downward spiral since her divorce. Struggling to move on, and lonely with only her cats for company, food has become her best friend.
Yana has new life in England. Despite marital bliss being everything she’d hoped for, Yana misses her family back in Russia and has developed some new habits that even her new husband isn’t unaware of.
Together they decide to regain control of their lives with hilarious results and discover that it’s never too late to live the life they’ve always wanted.
How We Remember by Louise Scoular
‘Ever mine. The very last words he spoke to her before she watched him walk away.’
New York, 2000. When Luci recognises a face from her past on a magazine cover, her world is turned upside down. Should she approach him and demand an apology or just contact her lawyer?
Rock star Xander is determined to enjoy his extravagant birthday party. All goes well until an unexpected guest appears.
Secrets from the past are gradually revealed in conversations between guests. Interwoven is the story of their relationship, from their first meeting on the day Elvis died, to their teenage romance and the truth of the events that led to their parting.
Mistakes were made. Moving on is long overdue.
Days of Joy and Sorrow by Louise Scoular
‘I was ever yours and you were ever mine. Look into your heart and tell me you don’t still feel that way’
Luci built a successful career while singlehandedly raising her fifteen year old daughter, but plans to marry her fiance, David, are in limbo until she can solve the problem stopping her from setting the date. She’s already married.
Rock-star Alex enjoys international acclaim and an enviable lifestyle with his patient fiancee. But Dana insists on marriage before she will have his children, and is as shocked as Alex when he is suddenly thrust into fatherhood.
Broken promises, secrets and surprise revelations force Alex and Luci to face the truth and the consequences of their decision.
Second marriage. Second thoughts.
Immortal Beloved by Louise Scoular
‘Ever mine,’ he whispered, and she nodded.
Devastated by bereavement, Luci Lowell’s plans for a new life suddenly change. Her hopes and dreams are gone in an instant and she faces an uncertain future. One thing she’s sure of though … it doesn’t include her husband, David.
To the rest of the world, rock star Xander Mack is mourning the death of his beautiful wife, but in private Alex MacDonald would prefer to forget her—she caused the accident which also killed his beloved daughter. Meanwhile, the woman he truly loves is unaware of the dark threat against her, and he is powerless to help without endangering her life further.
When Luci starts to rebuild her shattered life, she receives a phone call which challenges everything she thought she knew. Warily, she agrees to help Alex but only so they can move on with their lives.
Can they overcome their heartbreak and build a future together? Find out in the final book of the Ever Mine Trilogy.
Owner of a Lonely Heart by Eva Carter
What are you most afraid of . . . ?
Gemma is terrified of slowing down, because if she does, she’ll have to admit how lonely she’s felt since losing the love of her life. So she fills her days with work and taking her dog, Bear, to comfort young patients at the local hospital. That’s enough, isn’t it?
Dan is scared of anyone getting to know the real him. He’s the life and soul of every party, but he’s certain that if people find out what he’s done, everything will fall apart.
Casey is Dan’s twelve year old daughter – though they barely know each other. She’s starting four weeks of treatment for a benign tumour, and is scared this summer could be her last.
When Gemma, Dan and Casey meet one scorching July, the connection is instant. Yet they’re all used to protecting themselves from heartbreak by keeping their distance. Now that fate – and a small, scruffy terrier – have brought them together, can they find the courage to connect?
Meredith, Alone by Claire Alexander
Meredith Maggs hasn’t left her house in 1,214 days. But she insists she isn’t alone.
She has her cat, Fred. Her friend Sadie visits when she can. There’s her online support group, StrengthInNumbers. She has her jigsaws, favourite recipes, her beloved Emily Dickinson, the internet, the Tesco delivery man and her treacherous memories for company.
But something’s about to change.
First, new friends Tom and Celeste burst into her life. Then an estranged sister she hasn’t spoken to in years.
Suddenly her carefully curated home is no longer a safe place to hide.
Whether Meredith likes it or not, the world is coming to her door . . .
Meet Me on Platform 3 by Zara Stoneley
Two people. One journey…
Millie loves her city life, her city friends and writing her true(ish) confessions column – but she’s starting to wonder if the grass really is greener on the other side, or if her heart really belongs back in Northumberland, with her mum who is struggling after the death of Millie’s dad.
Since leaving home. Joe’s lived believing that looking back means you’ve failed, and life is about taking chances and seeing the world.
So when the two meet up surely it can never work, their lives are moving in opposite directions. On different tracks…
String of Hearts by Roxie Clarke
When widower Ryan Tupper walks into the Pinwheel Plant Shop, owner Avery Wheeler is surprised to see her brother’s best friend from high school and confused by her attraction to him.
It’s only been six months since Avery’s husband died in a car accident and she’s had zero desire to date again, but Ryan knows what it’s like to be the spouse left behind.
While he’s been adjusting to his new life as a single dad, Avery’s been trying to get up to speed on the business side of the plant shop—something her late husband always took care of—but she’s in serious debt and could lose the store.
In what should be a win-win opportunity, Ryan asks Avery to co-host a call-in radio show with him all about houseplants. He’s a popular morning show host who knows nothing about plants, and she’s a plant whisperer in need of extra funds. See? Win-win.
That is until people ask if they’re together together, instead of how much and how often they should water their begonias.
Caught between missing her husband and missing out on a budding relationship with Ryan, Avery must mourn or move on and both choices terrify her.
Hotel Las Flores by Kate McCabe
The Hotel las Flores in Tenerife offers sun, sea, sand and an escape from the humdrum of everyday life. But underneath the surface, all is not what it seems.
There’s Trish who has arrived with a pressing problem, and her oblivious writing-obsessed husband Adrian in tow. Mollie McGinty and her family are celebrating a win with a trip to Tenerife, even though she cannot stand the heat and her husband will not eat the food.
Charlie Dobbins has made the trip to try to overcome his shyness with women. Bobby Bannon is escaping a public humiliation, and society hostess Monica Woodworth is determined to crawl her way back up to the top after a fall.
What will happen when this quirky cast of characters all find themselves staying in the Hotel las Flores?
Will they return home with a new outlook on life or even with someone new?
One thing’s for sure – nothing in their lives will ever be the same again.
Six Weeks With You by Janet Koops
Would you let yourself fall in love if you knew the date your relationship ended?
Vicki Meyers is alone, and that’s how she likes it. If life has taught her anything, it’s that relationships are problematic, and people can’t be trusted. So, when she escapes her troubled past by moving to Montreal, she only wants to find a job. Not a soulmate, even if he is cute, funny, and, best of all, housetrained.
Opening her heart to a rescue dog named Gunner cracks her armor, and before she knows it, she’s friends with Daniel, another lost soul. However, when Vicki finds out Daniel is leaving the country in six weeks, the built-in expiration date makes moving their relationship beyond friendship a safe bet. But as time winds down, things heat up. Was falling for Daniel a mistake or the smartest risk she’s ever taken?
Set in Montreal in the early 2000s, Six Weeks With You draws upon the timeless themes of hope and possibility, along with a sense of nostalgia for a time when everyone still had landlines.
A Flower Farm by the Sea by Polly Babbington
Chloe Butterworth has quite a nice life, thank you very much. A little cottage, a little girl, & a more than okay little existence.
But after the funeral of her mother, she is confronted by what to do with what was once her family holiday home and a rather large amount of debt. A chance read of an article in a two-year-old magazine at a motorway services station catapults Chloe onto a journey to a different chapter. A new adventure in a tiny little coastal town called Pretty Beach.
As she and her daughter Ivy move into the old holiday house with its huge garden, tumbledown greenhouses and embark on her ludicrous idea, everything goes swimmingly and she only wished she’d taken the plunge sooner.
With her head in the flower beds, her new adventure turning out rather well and her heart most definitely not looking for love, along comes Lando Jones and Chloe for once in her life is taken by surprise.
Determined to stick by her principles that she doesn’t need or want anyone to make her feel successful and especially not a partner, Chloe tries to convince herself that Lando can stay in a nice little compartment labelled ‘casual.’ Lando has other ideas.
The Harlech Beach Killings by Simon McCleave
A murdered millionaire. A violent drug operation. Can a detective with a haunted past stop the next assassination?
Detective Inspector Ruth Hunter is still struggling to deal with her stress. So when the body of a businessman washes up on a secluded North Wales shore, the former London cop is anxious to prove she can lead the local investigative team and nail the killer. But as she digs into the dead millionaire’s business affairs, DI Hunter discovers a disturbing link to an infamous Liverpudlian drug lord…
Tracking down clues alongside a hot-headed partner, she worries his private vendetta could seriously jeopardize bringing the gangster to justice. And between botched raids, tight-lipped suspects, and a slew of cold case murders, she’s sure the criminal mastermind must have corrupt players in his pocket…
Can Hunter take down the mobster before he orders a highly personal hit?
Blood Tears by Michael J Malone
The first in a series of books with D.I. Ray McBain – a Glasgow detective who turns to his best friend, Kenny O’Neill when he goes on the run after he becomes the prime suspect in a grisly murder.
An old man is found murdered in his Glasgow flat. DI Ray McBain is called to the scene and is the first to notice that the man’s wounds mirror the Stigmata. The police quickly discover that the victim is a former janitor who worked in several care homes where he abused his charges. Is someone taking revenge thirty years after the fact?
McBain, as a child was a resident of Bethlehem House, a Catholic run care home where the murdered man worked and early on in the investigation, McBain decides to hide a crucial bit of evidence relating to his stay in the convent orphanage.
When his superiors find out, McBain becomes the prime suspect in the case and has to make a decision which will leave him on the run and alone, trying to solve the murders and, at the same time, the puzzle of his past – a past that is pushing into the present with a recurring suffocating dream of blood and feathers that descends on him every night.
Just Neighbours by Charity Ferrell
Every day, my neighbor tells me to have a good morning.
Every day, I tell him to f*ck off.
Kyle Lane is the town’s hottest cop.
He’s also the man I’ve despised since high school.
Each morning, he stands on his porch with an annoying smirk on his perfect face.
He’s made it his life’s mission to get under my skin.
Until one day, he’s no longer on his porch but on mine.
He claims he wants to redeem himself for ruining my reputation.
My instincts tell me to stay away, but with each morning he shows up, it becomes harder and harder to resist his charm.
I was never supposed to fall in love with my neighbor and once he finds out my secret, we’ll forever be enemies.
Bever Fall For Your Back-Up Guy by Kate O’Keeffe
Three things I’ve learned this week:
1) Never fall for a client
2) Never fall for your best friend
3) And most importantly, never fall for your back-up guy
…especially if they’re all the same person.
I’m the queen of dating disasters—I’ve had more rotten dates than you can shake a long stemmed rose at. After years of one disappointment after another, I’m beginning to feel like I’ll never say “I do.”
So after being dumped one too many times I do something stupid:
I make a pact with my best friend Asher. If neither of us are married by 35, we tie the knot. That’s five full years of searching for The One.
I’ve got to meet Mr. Right by then, don’t I?
Except when I take a job redecorating Asher’s bachelor pad, I realize he’s a lot different from the guy I thought he was. Against all odds, I find myself falling for my best friend. Maybe my back-up guy could be The One after all?
Except there’s only one problem…
My back-up guy has a secret that could ruin everything.
Confidence by Denise Mina
DECEPTION. THEFT. MURDER. ALL YOU NEED IS CONFIDENCE.
When amateur film-maker Lisa Lee vanishes from a Scottish seaside town, journalists Anna and Fin find themselves at the centre of an internet frenzy to find her.
But she may not be the hapless victim everyone thinks she is. The last film she made showed her breaking into an abandoned French chateau and stumbling across a priceless Roman silver casket. The day after Lisa vanishes the casket is listed for auction in Paris, reserve price fifty million euros, with a catalogue entry that challenges the beliefs of a major world religion.
On a thrilling chase across Europe to discover what happened to Lisa, Anna and Fin are caught up in a world of international art smuggling, religious zealotry, and murder.
But someone doesn’t want them to find the missing girl… and will do anything to stop them.
The Summer Trip by Isabelle Broom
What if your life worked out perfectly . . . for someone else?
It’s been 18 years since Ava spent the summer on the Greek island of Corfu, but she has never forgotten what happened during those months – or who she left behind.
Now single, estranged from her family, and preparing to wave her daughter off to university, Ava’s life seems a million miles away from the one she dreamed about as a teenager – a life now being lived by her sister instead.
When Ava decides to return to Corfu for the summer, she knows she must finally face the place and the people that broke her heart. But with old resentments festering, long-buried secrets lurking, and familiar feelings resurfacing, it looks set to be a holiday that will change all their lives forever. . .
A Colourful Country Escape by Anita Faulkner
FALLING IN LOVE ISN’T ALWAYS SO BLACK AND WHITE . . .
When vibrant but penniless Lexie is dumped by her posh boyfriend who is looking for a more financially suitable match, she decides to pack up her beloved orange campervan Penny in search of a new path. Stumbling upon a vacancy at a family-run paint company in the Cotswolds, Lexie believes she’s found her perfect match . . .
Lexie arrives at Nutgrass Hall, home of Carrington Paints, but it seems that owner Benedict Carrington is less than impressed with her arrival, and Lexie realises she’ll have her work cut out for her if she’s to convince stuffy “Beige Ben” to trust her with rescuing his out-of-touch business. But Ben has more on his mind than just the company – his mother is determined to find him a suitable wife worthy of carrying the Carrington family name, or she’ll take the business from him.
As Lexie sets to work on injecting some life colour into Carrington Paints, Ben allows himself to be set up with Tewkesbury’s finest ladies. But the more time the pair spend together, the more they realise their feelings for each other aren’t so black and white. Will Lexie be able to brighten into Ben’s colourless world before it’s too late?
The Love Experiment by Kitty Wilson
He can’t date, she doesn’t date…but what happens when they fall in love?
Dr Lily Galbraith solves her city’s love problems with wisdom and wit every week on her widely popular Love Doctor podcast, but her own approach to romance centres on one goal: staying single. So when a meet-cute in the sauna brings gorgeous Jay Hooper into her life she knows she needs to run the other way.
Having just agreed to a bet with his sister that he’ll stop dating and searching for ‘Mrs Right’ for at least six months, Jay tries to ignore the attraction he feels for Lily, which is only intensified when they find themselves working together.
He can’t date, and she doesn’t date…but then again, rules are made to be broken, aren’t they?
Mad About You by Mhairi McFarlane
One big coincidence.
Driving each other crazy is just the beginning…
Harriet Hatley is running away from everything.
Her boyfriend’s family.
A dream house-share seems like the perfect place to hide, but her unlikely housemate Cal is no stranger to running away himself. And he’s also hiding secrets of his own . . .
Can these two take a crazy risk, face the past and finally find a reason to stay?
True North by Robin Huber
It’s been eight years since the moment that changed Olivia Dalton’s life. Gabriel North was her first love—her only love. But an accident shattered their world, leaving Gabe with a serious injury and Liv with a broken heart.
In the years that followed, Liv left their small coastal town in Georgia and began her career in North Carolina. But she often feels like a stranger watching the woman she’s become drift farther and farther from the girl she used to be.
Now, confronted with a decision and a future that seems more uncertain than ever, Liv can no longer ignore the hole in her heart that’s been quietly aching for years. The only way to move forward is by going back—back home to face the love she left behind.
The Museum of Ordinary People by Mike Gayle
Still reeling from the sudden death of her mother, Jess is about to do the hardest thing she’s ever done: empty her childhood home so that it can be sold.
But when in the process Jess stumbles across the mysterious Alex, together they become custodians of a strange archive of letters, photographs, curios and collections known as The Museum of Ordinary People.
As they begin to delve into the history of the objects in their care, Alex and Jess not only unravel heartbreaking stories that span generations and continents, but also unearth long buried secrets that lie much closer to home.
Inspired by a box of mementos found abandoned in a skip following a house clearance, The Museum of Ordinary People is a thought-provoking and poignant story of memory, grief, loss and the things we leave behind.
The Italian Fiance by Victoria Springfield
When sisters Cassie and Lisa receive a wedding invitation, the last person they expect to be getting married is Jane, their seventy-year-old aunt! Convinced that she’s making a big mistake, the two put their differences aside to travel to the vibrant Tuscan city of Lucca. But there’s something magical about Italy …and this trip may just change their relationship – and their lives – forever.
Jane knows it’s not just a holiday fling. After her husband of four decades passed away, Jane never thought she’d find love again. But Luciano, with his big heart and artistic flamboyance, fills her life with colour. Can she convince her nieces it’s never too late for a second chance?
A Bookshop in Algiers by Kaouther Adimi (NB Mag sub)
In 1936, a young dreamer named Edmond Charlot opened a modest bookshop in Algiers. Once the heart of Algerian cultural life, where Camus launched his first book and the Free French printed propaganda during the war, Charlot’s beloved bookshop has been closed for decades, living on as a government lending library. Now it is to be shuttered forever. But as a young man named Ryad empties it of its books, he begins to understand that a bookshop can be much more than just a shop that sells books.
A Bookshop in Algiers charts the changing fortunes of Charlot’s bookshop through the political drama of Algeria’s turbulent twentieth century of war, revolution and independence. It is a moving celebration of books, bookshops and of those who dare to dream.
The Herd by Emily Edwards
Two best friends
Elizabeth and Bryony are polar opposites but their unexpected friendship has always worked. They’re the best of friends, and godmothers to each other’s daughters – because they both trust that the safety of their children is their top priority.
One little secret
Little do they know that they differ radically over one very important issue. And when Bryony, afraid of being judged, tells what is supposed to be a harmless white lie before a child’s birthday party, the consequences are more catastrophic than either of them could ever have imagined.
Every parent’s worst nightmare . . .
The Great Godden by Meg Rosoff
This is the story of one family, one dreamy summer – the summer when everything changes. In a holiday house by the sea, in a big, messy family, one teenager watches as brothers and sisters, parents and older cousins fill hot days with wine and games and planning a wedding.
Enter the Goddens – irresistible, charming, languidly sexy Kit and surly, silent Hugo. Suddenly there’s a serpent in this paradise – and the consequences will be devastating.
Books I Read and Recommend
A New Map of Love by Abi Oliver
How can you pack for the journey of a lifetime?
George Baxter has settled for a comfortable life, content as the years unfold predictably – until Win, his wife of twenty-six years, dies.
With his loyal dog Monty by his side, George throws himself into his work as an antiques dealer. His business is at the heart of the village and all sorts pass through the doors, each person in search of their own little piece of history.
When George meets local widow Sylvia Newsome, he imagines a different kind of future. But life has more revelations to offer him. Over the course of an English summer George uncovers some unexpected mysteries from his past, which could shape his tomorrows . . .
Queenie Malone’s Paradise Hotel by Ruth Hogan
Tilly was a bright, outgoing little girl who liked playing with ghosts and matches. She loved fizzy drinks, swear words, fish fingers and Catholic churches, but most of all she loved living in Brighton in Queenie Malone’s magnificent Paradise Hotel with its endearing and loving family of misfits. But Tilly’s childhood was shattered when her mother sent her away from the only home she’d ever loved to boarding school with little explanation and no warning.
Now an adult, Tilda has grown into an independent woman still damaged by her mother’s unaccountable cruelty. Wary of people, her only friend is her dog, Eli. But when her mother dies, Tilda returns to Brighton and with the help of her beloved Queenie sets about unravelling the mystery of her exile from The Paradise Hotel, only to discover that her mother was not the woman she thought she knew at all …
Mothers and daughters … their story can be complicated … but it can also turn out to have a happy ending.
The Night We Met by Zoe Folbigg
As a man holds his wife’s fragile hand, he recounts a journey like no other…
Daniel and Olivia are destined to be together. At least, Daniel thinks this the night he sees Olivia across a sea of people. As he backpacks through Australia, Daniel and Liv continue to cross paths, yet never speak. Until one night, Liv joins Daniel for a drink. And that night everything changes.
Back in London, stuck in a monotonous routine, Daniel finds himself daydreaming of the woman with amber eyes and fiery hair. Armed with only a name he vows to find her, yet with every passing moment, Daniel’s hopes begin to disappear. What if it wasn’t meant to be?
But then fate steps in, and Daniel and Olivia’s story can truly begin…
This is a tale of serendipity, missed chances and the power of love.
The One You Really Want by Jill Mansell
It all starts with a shiny, red, sit-on lawn-mower. When Nancy spies her Christmas present from her husband sitting on the lawn, she realises the jewellery she thought was for her must be on someone else. Her best friend Carmen isn’t surprised (she never liked Jonathan) and persuades Nancy to leave Edinburgh and come and stay in her luxury London flat – far too vast for Carmen since her husband, millionaire rock star Spike Todd, died. Soon Nancy’s met gorgeous Connor O’Shea, who lives next door, and his daughter Mia is matchmaking – not least because she’d like to see the back of Connor’s current pushy girlfriend. Meanwhile Carmen, who’s always been certain she doesn’t want another man in her life, feels a spark when a handsome charity worker called Joe calls round. But Joe’s not quite all he seems…
The Country Village Summer Fete by Cathy Lake
Emma Patrick’s life is spiralling out of control. On the cusp of her 50th birthday, she realises that she’s been so focused on work that she’s lost any real connection to people.
When Emma’s ageing father needs her help, she decides to go back home to the countryside to spend some time with him. But returning to Little Bramble after years away is filled with complications and people she’d rather avoid.
To her surprise, as Emma settles in she finds herself loving village life. When the opportunity to get involved in the running of the summer fête comes her way, soon she’s embracing jam making, cake baking and bunting. And with romance brewing, Emma begins to doubt the glamorous city life that she worked so hard to build . . .
Out of Practice by Penny Parkes
Meet married mum of two and successful GP Holly Graham as she relocates her family to join the team at The Practice at Beckerford, hoping to find the peaceful life she craves, despite the chaos that comes with her two year old twins and the troublesome state of her marriage. It will certainly be a challenge to keep her private and professional lives separate in such a tight-knit community.
Her colleagues have their own issues to contend with. The gorgeous Dr Dan Carter is struggling with to focus on work and the last thing he needs is any more stress; having his ambitious ex-girlfriend Dr Julia Channing working alongside him isn’t really helping. Thankfully, the rather delectable Dr Taffy Jones is on hand to distract Holly from the escalating situation at home.
Feisty octogenarian and resident celebrity, Elsie Townsend, is Holly’s favourite patient and saving grace. Elsie’s inspirational Life Lessons come at the perfect moment, as The Practice is suddenly under threat of imminent closure and Holly rediscovers her voice and her priorities just in time …
Tell Me by Abigail Strom
Shy bookstore owner Jane Finch grew up hiding in the margins of her own life while her vibrant, adventure-loving sister, Samantha, dominated every plotline. She’s made peace with it, unlike Sam’s business partner, Caleb, who’s always nudging Jane to go after what she really wants. Why should she care what blunt, brash Caleb thinks? They’ve never had much in common, except for Sam.
After tragedy strikes, they don’t even have that.
Caleb can’t quite remember when Sam’s little sister stopped being like a surrogate sibling to him and became just…Jane. She’s the most intriguing woman he’s ever met, and so much sexier and stronger than she thinks. On the emotional journey to honor Sam’s memory, the spark they’ve tried to deny becomes an inferno. This journey was meant to be an ending, but will they discover an unexpected new beginning?
Open House by Jill Mansell
Nell O’Driscoll has known Marcus Kilburton for years – according to her diary, she even had a crush on him as a teenager. When he decides to open Kilburton Castle to the public, Nell takes a job as his assistant – and soon sparks are flying between them. But is Nell free to pursue Marcus, when a figure from her past refuses to let go?
Meanwhile, Nell’s best friend, Hetty Brewster, has other problems. Her husband has abandoned her for a bitchy but successful writer. Now the press is full of stories about the frumpy, boring wife losing out to a younger, slimmer model. But Hetty’s about to get her chance for sweet revenge – if she can stop being a nice person long enough to take it!
The Queen of Wishful Thinking by Milly Johnson
When Lewis Harley has a health scare in his early forties, he takes it as a wake-up call. So he and his wife Charlotte leave behind life in the fast lane and Lewis opens the antique shop he has dreamed of. Bonnie Brookland was brought up in the antiques trade and now works for the man who bought out her father’s business, but she isn’t happy there. So when she walks into Lew’s shop, she knows this is the place for her.
As Bonnie and Lew start to work together, they soon realise that there is more to their relationship than either thought. But Bonnie is trapped in an unhappy marriage, and Lew and Charlotte have more problems than they care to admit. Each has secrets in their past which are about to be uncovered.
Can they find the happiness they both deserve?
The One Plus One by Jojo Moyes
One stressed out single mum + one lost stranger = one unexpected love story . . .
Jess Thomas has two jobs and two kids and never enough money. And when life knocks her down she does her best to bounce right back. But no one told her it’s okay to ask for help.
Ed Nicholls is the good guy gone bad. He had it all, then one stupid mistake cost him everything. Now he’ll do anything to make it right.
Ed doesn’t want to save anyone.
And Jess doesn’t want saving.
But could they add up to something better together? . . .
Practice Makes Perfect by Penny Parkes
The Practice at Larkford has suddenly been thrust under the spotlight – and its nomination as a ‘NHS Model Surgery’ is causing the team major headaches. Dr Holly Graham should be basking in the glow of her new romance with fellow doctor, Taffy – but she is worried that the team is prioritising plaudits over patients, and her favourite resident, the irreverent and entertaining Elsie, is facing a difficult diagnosis. Add to that the chaos of family life and the strain is starting to show.
Dr Dishy Dan Carter’s obsession with work is masking unhappiness elsewhere – he can’t persuade girlfriend Julia to settle down. It’s only as Julia’s mother comes to stay that he realizes what she has been hiding for so long. Alice Walker joins the team like a breath of fresh air and her assistance dog Coco quickly wins everyone round – which is just as well, because Coco and Alice will soon need some help of their own. Can they pull together and become the Dream Team that the NHS obviously thinks they are?
A Patchwork Family by Cathy Bramley
Gina Moss is single and proud. She’s focused on her thriving childminding business, which she runs from her cottage at the edge of The Evergreens: a charming Victorian home to three elderly residents who adore playing with the kids Gina minds. To Gina, they all feel like family.
Then a run-in (literally) with a tall, handsome American stranger gives her the tummy-flutters… Before a tragedy puts her older friends at risk of eviction – and Gina in charge of the battle to save them. The house sale brings her closer to Dexter, one of the owners – and the stranger who set her heart alight.
As the sparks fly between them, Gina carries on fighting for her friends, her home and her business. But can she fight for her chance at love – and win it all, too?
We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker
Right. Wrong. Life is lived somewhere in between.
Duchess Day Radley is a thirteen-year-old self-proclaimed outlaw. Rules are for other people. She is the fierce protector of her five-year-old brother, Robin, and the parent to her mother, Star, a single mom incapable of taking care of herself, let alone her two kids.
Walk has never left the coastal California town where he and Star grew up. He may have become the chief of police, but he’s still trying to heal the old wound of having given the testimony that sent his best friend, Vincent King, to prison decades before. And he’s in overdrive protecting Duchess and her brother.
Now, thirty years later, Vincent is being released. And Duchess and Walk must face the trouble that comes with his return. We Begin at the End is an extraordinary novel about two kinds of families–the ones we are born into and the ones we create.
So how did I do with my reading intentions?
A-Z Reading Challenge, This Month O, P & Q
|Queenie Malone’s Paradise Hotel||Kindle||Aug 2019|
|One You Really Want, The||Book||Sept 2014|
|Out of Practice||Kindle||June 2017|
|Open House||Book||Feb 2017|
|Queen of Wishful Thinking, The||Book||Jan 2018|
|One Plus One, The||Book||Jan 2016|
|Practice Makes Perfect||Kindle||June 2018|
|Patchwork Family, A||Book||Nov 2020|
Wading Through Treacle or Weeding the Shelves (real and virtual)
|Unread ebooks||Unread Tree Books|
|Start of July||3854||740|
|Items Added||96 !!!!||21 !!!!|
|End of Sept||3939 !!!!||753 !!!!!|
That’s me for this month so all that’s left to say is : Happy Reading!
You made me chuckle with your book boyfriends Jill, great fun! 😂 xx
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I think the OH is starting to suspect something 😂 xx
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Rabbit holes, I find that with research, I find what I’m looking for then something unrelated to it crops then up and away I go, or using the rabbit hole analogy perhaps down and away I go.
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I’m currently lost down a music rabbit hole and consequently tomorrow’s blog post is taking far too long!
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I love that you hate hockey but enjoy hockey player romances 😂
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Let’s be honest Kelly, the appeal lies in the unrealistically fit, handsome, sexy hockey players – swap hockey for football, baseball or even cricket and I’d be smitten 😂
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