My March Reads and Listens

Another great reading and listening month for me and hardly a naked torso in sight this time!

Last month’s change of methodology for choosing my reads has certainly made life easier. Just scrolling through my Kindle and selecting ‘orange’ covers this month really speeded up my selection process. It also added a few less ‘romantic’ reads into the mix, but I haven’t ventured too far away from the light just yet. I suspect that will come when I get further down the line – indigo for example doesn’t strike me as an automatic go to romance colour! What orange did bring me was four titles that took me, directly and indirectly, on a trip to Spain which is something I always love. Retreat to the Spanish Sun was clearly signposted and a fun read, while The American Roommate Experiment gave me my favourite book boyfriend of the year so far – Lucas Martinez is everything (and Spanish to boot!!). My surprise trips came courtesy of The Other Half of Augusta Hope and Alberto’s Lost Birthday. These books were more thought provoking and heart-breaking. The former in view of the recent debates about small boats and migration and the latter because it looked at aspects of the Spanish Civil War. I highly recommend both.

I also caught up on some titles that have been on my Kindle quite a while, take a bow The Accidental Life of Greg Millar and The Rules of Seeing you were both well worth the wait. The latter was another title that made me think as it features a character who is blind and how her perceptions change when she has an operation that gives her sight.

This month I was able to catch up with my old friend Evie Epworth in All About Evie. For anyone who didn’t read her first outing in The Miseducation of Evie Epworth I urge you to do so because the latest book features Evie along with family and friends 10 years later. You won’t be disappointed.

Looking through my romance choices this I can see a bit of a pattern emerging – I’m clearly drawn to the fake dating/forced proximity tropes (with old friends or new – I’m not choosy). This month I’ve fake dated 5 boyfriends in Red Velvet, Mama’s Boy, Neanderthal, Playing Pretend and The American Roommate Experiment. I enjoyed them all, though my favourite was definitely the later, because OMG (as I the TikTok generation probably no longer say) Lucas was HOT!! The Flatshare which I also enjoyed was also a sort of forced proximity/friends to lovers in an unusual way, given that they lived in the same flat but never saw each other for a long time – just read it, or listen it’s a goodie. The friends to lovers trope covers off Chance of Romance, Grip and Sorry I Missed You, I think the latter would be my favourite of the three. The opposite of friends, namely enemies to lovers describes The Not-a-Date and Rich in Your Love. The former title was the best of the two for me, but the latter featured the sexily dulcet tones of Sebastian York so I was more than happy.

So that leaves The Dinner Club and The Minuscule Mansion of Myra Malone both of which I thoroughly enjoyed. The first one deals with a group of strangers meeting for friendship and support. It’s essentially Come Dine With Me, without the bitching and wardrobe searches. The members have a range of different issues from cross dressing, loneliness and domestic violence to deal with and the group proves to be a positive catalyst for acceptance/change. The latter book is one which just has to be read, it certainly requires you to suspend belief and step inside the magical world Myra’s mansion. It’s a different read, and while I don’t normally do paranormal I was quite happy to accept the magic and witchyness of it all, I was definitely bewitched.

Cyling is still helping me to keep up my reading speed. This month I finished the Estrada Real, a 1688km virtual cycle ride through Brazil. I made Rio de Janeiro on 27th a few days ahead of my end of March target. Consequently, I’ve started my next challenge early, and just as well. I’ve now signed up for the mammoth 3513km of the Great Wall of China. That should see me through to the end of the year, it should also ensure that my reading isn’t interrupted!

I’m looking forward to April which will be yellow. That’s fitting because it’s my favourite colour and my birthday month. Bring it on!

Books I Read This Month

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

The Accidental Life of Greg Millar by Aimee Alexander

How well do we know those we love? And how far will we go for them?

Lucy Arigho is not the type to be swept off her feet. Yet that is what happens when she meets novelist and widower, Greg Millar. Having lost his wife, Greg really lives. Grieving the death of her fiancé, Lucy is inspired. Within eight weeks, she is considering his pleas to marry him and hoping she is step-mother material.

But before she can make a decision about becoming part of Greg’s world, events plunge her right into it. Her careful existence is shattered as she has to figure out how to handle two vulnerable children and face the fact that she doesn’t really know the man whose life has so overwhelmed hers.

Sorry I Missed You by Lorraine Brown

Rebecca isn’t looking for love. She’s perfectly happy with her high-flying city job, gorgeous flat overlooking Hampstead Heath and fortnightly fling with the hot CEO. She’s certainly not interested in the hot actor neighbour who’s just moved in opposite…

Jack is still looking for his big break. It turns out being the star talent at drama school doesn’t give you a golden ticket to Hollywood, after all. The last thing he needs is any distractions right now – especially not the uptight, power-suit wearing girl next door.

They might live only a few metres away from each other but their worlds couldn’t be further apart, plus opposites don’t really attract… do they?

The Other Half of Augusta Hope by Joanna Glen

Augusta Hope has never felt like she fits in.

At six, she’s memorising the dictionary. At seven, she’s correcting her teachers. At eight, she spins the globe and picks her favourite country on the sound of its name: Burundi.
And now that she’s an adult, Augusta has no interest in the goings-on of the small town where she lives with her parents and her beloved twin sister, Julia.

When an unspeakable tragedy upends everything in Augusta’s life, she’s propelled headfirst into the unknown. She’s determined to find where she belongs – but what if her true home, and heart, are half a world away?

The Rules of Seeing by Joe Heap

After 32 years of living her life in the dark, Jillian Safinova – Nova to everyone, except her mother – is learning to see.

She can see that the sky is blue. And green. And grey. And a whole spectrum of colours, as changeable as her mood.

She can see that clouds are surprisingly solid.

And she can see that Kate, a woman she’s only just met, is going to change her life forever.

Red Velvet by Carla Luna

Six nights in the Northwoods, two best friends, and one big secret. What could possibly go wrong?

In her ultra-competitive family, April Beckett is used to taking last place. She’s put up with years of jabs about her modest job and her pathetic love life. Especially after she tried to impress her older sisters with a fake boyfriend in college and failed miserably. But now she has a smoking-hot date for her brother’s wedding, guaranteed to wow them.

Until he bails. Cue total desperation.

Without April’s friendship, Brody Blackwood wouldn’t have survived his last breakup. So, if she needs a plus-one for a family wedding, he’s all in. Even if it means pretending to be her boyfriend. And committing to a week of activities at a wooded resort in Wisconsin. But how hard could a fall getaway with your best friend be?

Too bad there’s a grueling 10k race and a cutthroat trivia night to endure. Not to mention a massive secret to protect. But will the biggest secret of all be that this fake relationship feels more real than April or Brody ever imagined?

Chance of Romance by Kylie Gilmore

A slow burn friends-to-lovers romantic comedy!
When relationship counselor Sabrina Clarke gets a wedding invitation from the jerk who left her a jilted bride, she writes a scathing article on commitment-phobes that catapults her practice into the spotlight. But the publicity leads to unwelcome attention from a competitor who slams Sabrina for being single. And, hello, stupid mistakes! Sabrina panics in the middle of an interview and claims she’s in a relationship with the friend she secretly lusts for—Logan Campbell.

Steamed is an understatement when Logan’s long-distance relationship is derailed the moment Sabrina announces they’re a couple on TV. Way to throw him under the bus! The pressure’s on as Logan heads to California to repair his shaky relationship and navigate investor meetings for his tech company.

Sabrina knows she’s got to undo the damage, but when she meets the rotten cheating apple of Logan’s eye, she knows there’s only one thing for her to do…make another stupid mistake.

The Dinner Club by Helen Aitchison

Five people.

Five secrets.

Each needing healing, support and acceptance.

Derek’s life has changed suddenly. His wife of the past few decades has left him, unable to live with his secret anymore. Inspired by a TV show, he decides to start a dinner club to make new friends, the kind that might accept him if he can be brave enough to tell them the truth.

Eddie is grieving, a widower, struggling as a single parent. The void in his life slowly destroying him and his relationship with his young daughter.

Florence, supported by her carer Jessie, craves one more adventure to round off the last 80 odd years.

Violet needs a focus, a new identity, until she has the confidence to escape her grim reality with abusive husband, Ben.

Cara is lost, with nowhere to call home and no one to go home to, now she’s aged out of the care system.

Will this mishmash group fill each other’s souls as well as their plates?

The Not-a-Date by Adele Abbott

I’d just been fired, so the last thing I needed was some guy hitting on me, and I told him so in no uncertain terms. Then he goes and offers me the job of my dreams.
Rob was altogether too sure of himself, but if he thought giving me a job was going to win me over, he was crazy. I had sworn off men for the foreseeable future, and that included my new boss. Especially my new boss.

You’ll laugh, cry and discover why the bird cage has a framed photo of a budgie inside it, in this closed-door romantic comedy.

Playing Pretend by Eden Summers

One bed. Two best friends. Three nights playing pretend.

When I agreed to let Rome be my fake boyfriend on a work trip, I didn’t think acting like a couple would be that complicated.

He’d flash his killer smile at my colleagues.
Impress them with his charm.
While keeping my toxic ex at bay.

But that’s not the reality I’m currently drowning in.

From the moment we arrive at the resort Rome’s hands are all over me.
His whispered words in my ear more scandalously filthy than sweet.

He’s acting like a lust-drunk fool who’s dying for a taste and I can’t stop blushing… Or panicking… Because there’s only one bed in our hotel room and Rome Cavanaugh wouldn’t know how to sleep in anything other than his birthday suit.

The Minuscule Mansion of Myra Malone by Audrey Burges

Once upon a time there was a house . . .

From her attic in the Arizona mountains, thirty-four year-old recluse Myra Malone blogs about a miniature mansion – a dolls’ house – which captivates thousands of readers worldwide. Myra herself is tethered to the Mansion by a strange magic she can’t understand – there are rooms that appear and disappear overnight, music that plays in its corridors.

Across the country, Alex Rakes, the thirty-four year-old heir of a furniture business, encounters two Mansion fans trying to recreate a room from her stories. Alex is shocked to recognize his own bedroom in minute scale.

The Mansion is his family’s home, handed down from the grandmother who disappeared mysteriously when Alex was a child. Searching for answers, Alex begins corresponding with Myra. Together, the two unwind the lonely paths of their twin worlds – big and small – and trace the stories that entwine them, setting the stage for a meeting rooted in loss, but defined by love.

All About Evie by Matson Taylor


1972. Ten years on from the events of The Miseducation of Evie Epworth and Evie is settled in London working for the BBC. She has everything she’s ever dreamed of (a career, a leatherette briefcase, an Ossie Clark poncho) but, following an unfortunate incident involving Princess Anne and a Hornsea Pottery mug, she finds herself having to rethink her life and piece together work, love, grief and multiple pairs of cork-soled platform sandals. 

Ghosts from the past and the spirit of the future collide in a joyous adventure that sees Evie navigate the choppy waters of her messy twenties. Can a 1960s miseducation prepare her for the growing pains of the 1970s?

Retreat to the Spanish Sun by Jo Thomas

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

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

Alberto’s Lost Birthday by Diana Rosie

A little boy and his grandfather embark on a quest to find the old man’s missing birthday in Diana Rosie’s debut novel, Alberto’s Lost Birthday.

Alberto is an old man. But he doesn’t know how old – he remembers nothing before his arrival at an orphanage during the Spanish civil war.

He rarely thinks about his missing childhood, but when seven-year-old Tino discovers his grandfather has never had a birthday party, never blown out candles on a birthday cake, never received a single birthday present, he’s determined things should change. And so the two set out to find Alberto’s birthday.

Their search for the old man’s memories takes them deep into the heart of Spain – a country that has pledged to forget its painful past. As stories of courage, cruelty and love unfold, Alberto realises that he has lost more than a birthday. He has lost a part of himself. But with his grandson’s help, he might just find it again.

Books I Listened to This Month

Mama’s Boy by Avery Flynn

Must hate dogs

Do you hate dogs? Only want to talk about yourself? Is having a sense of humor something you’ve never been accused of? Think eating for pleasure is a complete waste of time? Agree that tipping is for suckers? Then you’re the date for me.

Dixon Beckett is the kind of guy who loves his mama, treats women right, and never ever wants to fall in love again. That’s why he’ll do anything to win a bet to be the last single man standing by Christmas.

He’s got a plan, too. Create the most no-good, horrible, very bad dating profile in existence. Only someone actually responds to his ad….

The rules say he has to go on six dates with the first (or in his case, only) person who answers — even if that person is Fiona Hartigan: hater of dogs, non-lover of any delicious food, and zero sense of humor.

But something feels off about this pariah. In fact, Dixon is almost positive Fiona is just pretending to be awful. Pretending to be the most horrible date in existence. And she’s most definitely pretending to not be as interested in him as he is in her.

The more Dixon Beckett starts to unravel the mystery of why Fiona answered his ad in the first place, the more he starts considering the most vile, awful, terrible idea ever…falling in love.

Neanderthal by Avery Flynn

So I may be in the Last Single Man Standing competition with my cousins, but five minutes around Kinsey was all it took to take myself out. Who cares about bragging rights when you’ve just found the woman you’re going to marry? Sure, she may work for my biggest competitor. Sure, she’s not dating right now. Sure, she’s my sister’s best friend and I’ve been sworn off her. But somehow she agrees to go on six fake dates to help me save face in this competition.

What does the guy who never uses his words have to say to convince the girl of his dreams that they’re perfect for each other?

Rich in Your Love by Pippa Grant

Secrets always catch up with you. The world knows me as Tavi Lightly, sugar-free social media influencer. But my true purpose lies in secretly restoring a cacao farm in Costa Rica. Unfortunately, to save the farm, I need access to the trust fund that my grandmother has frozen. She’s requiring me to do charity work in Tickled Pink, Wisconsin, and until I meet her ultimatum—no trust fund. So to Tickled Pink I go.

My first grandmother-approved charity project? Helping local reformed bad boy Dylan Wright. He has secrets too, like how he’s hung up on his married best friend. Kick-starting his dating life is as easy as making him famous through association with me.

Not so easy is the fact that we’re falling for each other. He belongs in Tickled Pink, and I belong on my farm. We might share our secrets with one another, but can we really share our lives too?

Grip by Kennedy Ryan

Resisting an irresistible force wears you down and turns you out.

I know – I’ve been doing it for years.

I may not have a musical gift of my own, but I’ve got a nose for talent and an eye for the extraordinary.

And Marlon James – Grip to his fans – is nothing short of extraordinary.

Years ago, we strung together a few magical nights, but I keep those memories in a locked drawer and I’ve thrown away the key. All that’s left is friendship and work.

He’s on the verge of unimaginable fame, all his dreams poised to come true.

I manage his career, but I can’t seem to manage my heart. It’s wild, reckless, disobedient – and it remembers all the things I want to forget.

The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary (via Library)

Tiffy and Leon share a flat.

Tiffy and Leon share a bed.

Tiffy and Leon have never met….

Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast. Leon Twomey works nights and needs cash. Their friends think they’re crazy, but it’s the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy’s at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time. 

But with obsessive ex-boyfriends, demanding clients at work, wrongly imprisoned brothers and, of course, the fact that they still haven’t met yet, they’re about to discover that if you want the perfect home you need to throw the rule book out the window….

The American Roommate Experiment by Elena Armas (via Library)

Rosie Graham has a problem. A few, actually. She just quit her well paid job to focus on her secret career as a romance writer. She hasn’t told her family and now has terrible writer’s block. Then, the ceiling of her New York apartment literally crumbles on her. Luckily she has her best friend Lina’s spare key while she’s out of town. But Rosie doesn’t know that Lina has already lent her apartment to her cousin Lucas, who Rosie has been stalking—for lack of a better word—on Instagram for the last few months. Lucas seems intent on coming to her rescue like a Spanish knight in shining armour. Only this one strolls around the place in a towel, has a distracting grin, and an irresistible accent. Oh, and he cooks.

Lucas offers to let Rosie stay with him, at least until she can find some affordable temporary housing. And then he proposes an outrageous experiment to bring back her literary muse and meet her deadline: He’ll take her on a series of experimental dates meant to jump-start her romantic inspiration. Rosie has nothing to lose. Her silly, online crush is totally under control—but Lucas’s time in New York has an expiration date, and six weeks may not be enough, for either her or her deadline.

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



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