If it’s April it must be yellow, and on the whole my yellow theme didn’t let me down.
It was another month full of romantic reads and listens and I managed to tick off a fair few of the acknowledged tropes, most of which I’m quite happy to indulge in. I do find ‘instalove’ problematic though and while I know that every book is fiction and therefore not real, I still want to find the story believable. I tend to view it as ‘instalust’. Consequently, whilst I still found myself rooting for the two protagonists, I did feel that declaring undying love and wanting marriage after two weeks in Everything We Are was stretching my limits. My early listens in the month were largely guided by the fact that I thought my Audible subscription was coming to an end and I wanted to make the most of Sebastian York’s and Zachary Webber’s dulcet tones while I had them. Sebastian didn’t let me down as the Playboy Pilot, the brother’s best friend turned Hollywood heartthrob in To Love Jason Thorn, or the grumpy, single NFL quarterback turned small-town coach in Beauty and the Baller. However, Zachary was a disappointment in Love Hacked, I feel it should certainly come with a warning that of the 13hrs plus, he only narrates the epilogue! Luckily the story was engaging and Joy Nash did a sterling job with the rest of the narration. Love in Lockdown had a sort of meet-cute crossed with friends to lovers vibe between two neighours who lived above/below each other despite never having met. The only jarring point with this story was what both parties were facetiming and zooming work, family and friends but never sought to do the same with each other. I guess that would have negated the story but it comes back to keeping it realistic. My final audiobook was In a New York Minute, another enjoyable meet-cute.
Re my Audible subscription, it was due to end mid month and I’d made to decision to cancel for now because I’d got a fair few box sets that I’d bought both with my credits, plus my Kindle Unlimited, (which includes some audiobooks) is not due to expire until July. However, when I cancelled the subscription I was offered 3 months at half price. So for £3.99 a month, 3 extra credits and a long list of books I want to listen too, I caved in and renewed!
My reads this month, actually introduced a couple of male authors into the mix, so it was interesting to ‘do’ romance from a male perspective. Coincidentally, they both delved into the thorny topic of dating. Fling involved a couple in a failing marriage resorting to a controversial new dating app designed exclusively for married individuals. The other, Blind Dates looked at Tom, who was becoming an introverted recluse being set up by his friends with ‘suitable’ or not dates. While I enjoyed them both, I much preferred the latter. I warmed to Tom and his predicament and was invested in a HEA for him – no spoilers! With Fling, I was bothered by the morally grey area of both parties while not actually cheating, actually going along with the premise. Infidelity, has always been a deal breaker for me, fictionally or otherwise. I loved the The Secrets of Sunshine, which dealt with a single dad, gradually if initially unwittingly, also stepping his toe back into relationship waters, this time after the death of his partner. It was also part mystery which gave it an additional angle of interest.
The Staycation and Summer at the French Cafe were both thoroughly enjoyable reads and offered me an escape to foreign climes, albeit from the luxury of a fixed hotel suite in the case of the first title. Second chance romances with first loves linked Better Date than Never and Always on My Mind. I must admit these tropes are ones I’m quite partial too and both books didn’t disappoint on that score. The Ex Next Door was less successful for me as it didn’t quite give me the rom-com vibe I felt it was selling. It was by no means a bad read though, as I wouldn’t include it on my list if it had been.
So that was a quick review of April’s reads, a list a bit shorter than normal as I lost a weeks cycling (and therefore reading) because of a bad back. Nothing serious and all sorted now, It felt akin to a trapped nerve but a bit of rest and all was well. I’m back on the bike with a vengeance now to make up for it. I’m making 25km my daily session to see me through forthcoming holidays as well as my ‘back’ break.
May will see me reading ‘Green’, that being the colour rather than the ideology, though that’s not to say I might not find a fictional read that will blend the two. I’m away for the first 4-5 days of May as we’ll be staying with friends in Northumberland. Consequently my reading will take a bit of a hit as it means no bike and no free time. I better make the most of my travelling time in the car! It might also mean I’ll be quieter on the blogging front as it depends on how much I’ve managed to schedule in advance. Consequently, don’t worry if you don’t see my daily Kindle deals for a few days. As they’re not released until 1st May I don’t have much time to go through the list and get the posts together. If that’s the case I’ll tempt you with longer selections for the rest of the month.
Books I Read This Month
(NB This post features Affiliate links from which I earn a small commission on qualifying purchases)
Fling by Joseph Murray
Your next one might be closer than you think . . .
Tara loved Colin at first sight. Colin loved Tara at first fight. That’s when they knew they were meant for each other.
But after six years, their marriage has started to crumble. Unable to recapture the spark they once had, it seems it’s all over. Until they meet their 100% match on a controversial new dating app – Fling.
The Staycation by Cressida McLaughlin
Thanks to her fear of flying, she hasn’t been on a plane in years. Now Hester wants to make a good impression on her newest client, Jake Oakenfield, who was heroically injured saving an old lady, and is now laid up in a luxury hotel.
For Jake, unable to return to New York, binge watching Netflix just won’t do. He wants Hester to invent the ultimate escape and re-create her most magical holidays abroad from the confines of his hotel room.
As their perfect mini-breaks around the globe take on a life of their own, Hester wonders if her world of make-believe is all starting to feel just a little too real…
Summer at the French Cafe by Sue Moorcroft
As soon as Kat Jenson set foot in the idyllic French village of Kirchhoffen, she knew she’d found her home. Now she has a dreamy boyfriend, a delightful dog and the perfect job managing a bustling book café in the vibrant Parc Lemmel. ‘
But when she learns her boyfriend isn’t all he seems, it’s the start of a difficult summer for Kat. Vindictive troublemakers, work woes and family heartache follow, and the clear blue sky that was her life suddenly seems full of clouds.
Then she gets to know the mysterious Noah, and her sun begins to shine brighter than ever. But Noah has problems of his own – ones that could scupper their new-found happiness. Together, can they overcome their many obstacles, and find love again?
Better Date Than Never by Piper Sheldon
One moment of weakness and now I’m stuck fake dating the man I never thought I’d talk to again.
If it was up to me, I wouldn’t even look at Wesley Cole, let alone pretend to kiss him.
I’m smart enough to know the man in front of me now isn’t the boy from childhood who stole my heart. Too bad my body and brain can’t get on the same page. A few more months of playing nice and then he can go back to his family dynasty, and I’ll once again be the golden girl the media expects me to be.
If this is all for show, why is he so convincing when he looks at me like a man in love?
Always on My Mind by Beth Moran
Sometimes when you can’t see the way forwards, the best thing to do is to look back…
When Jessie left home at eighteen, she swore she’d never go back. But when life takes a turn for the complicated, she’s forced to move in with her twin, Isaac, and his two best friends. To her dismay, one of these is Elliot, the boy Jessie once loved, until his life was changed forever by a terrible accident that Jessie still blames herself for.
Cohabiting with three alarmingly unhouse-trained males was not in Jessie’s life plan so when Isaac, Elliot and Arthur offer her a generous rent discount if she’ll help them with their ‘Boys to Men Project’, designed to end years of disastrous dating, she reluctantly accepts the challenge.
As Jessie embraces the comfort of being home, revelling in her new job at her parents’ day centre full of people determined to grow old disgracefully, she realises her housemates aren’t the only ones needing to make some changes. And maybe, if she can finally forgive herself for Elliot’s accident, she can start to look forward to a future, with or without him by her side.
The Ex Next Door by Jo Platt
Thank you, n(ex)t.
After burst pipes destroy Esme’s city-centre flat, she temporarily relocates to a delightful and small cottage in a village on the edge of town. The change is a big one, but Esme soon settles in and, as the art gallery she co-owns with her business partner, David, continues to thrive, life is sweet.
Until Elliot – an ex whom she hasn’t seen or spoken to for years – moves in next door, along with his perfect new girlfriend, Morgan. Suddenly, Esme’s past is right on her doorstep, or at least just over the fence.
When Elliot and Esme decide to keep their former relationship a secret from those around them, their subterfuge sets off a chain of events which not only forces Esme to re-evaluate her past relationship with Elliot, but also puts her friendship with David under the microscope and under pressure.
The Secret’s of Sunshine by Phaedra Patrick
Only his daughter Poppy knows that behind his prickly exterior, Mitchell Fisher is deeply lonely. He may have sworn off romance, relishing his job cutting off the padlocks that couples fasten to his hometown’s famous ‘love story’ bridge… but underneath it all, he’s still grieving the loss of Poppy’s mum.
Then one hot summer’s day, everything changes when Mitchell bravely rescues a woman who falls from the bridge into the river. He’s surprised to feel an unexpected connection to her, but then she disappears. Desperate to find the mysterious woman, Mitchell teams up with her spirited sister Liza to see if she’s left any clues behind. There’s just one – a secret message on the padlock she left on love story bridge…
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…
Books I Listened to This Month
Playboy Pilot by Penelope Ward and Vi Keeland
Money or love? Which would you choose? You probably just answered the question in your head, thinking it’s an easy decision. For me, it’s not. Did I mention it’s a lot of money? A hell of a lot.
I needed to go far away to think it through. As I embarked on an impulsive trip, I hit a detour when I met sexy Carter in the airport lounge. We struck up a heated conversation. Then, he left. I thought I’d never see him again. But fate had other plans.
Surprise! He was the pilot of my flight. The bigger surprise was the adventure that followed after the plane landed. Carter was dangerous and always on the move. Even though our connection was magnetic, I knew it was only temporary. He would give me tickets, and I would follow him around the world to exotic places. A bevvy of flight attendant exes and rumors about Carter’s reputation were never far behind. I didn’t know what to believe. But I was addicted. Nothing else mattered anymore. And I was going to get hurt. Because a part of me wanted to be the one to finally ground the playboy pilot.
To Love Jason Thorn by Ella Maise
Jason Thorn…my brother’s childhood friend. Oh, how stupidly in love with that boy I was. He was the first boy who made me blush, my first official crush. Sounds beautiful so far, right? That excitement that bubbles up inside you, those famous butterflies you feel for the very first time – he was the reason for them all. But you get to live in that fairy tale world only until they crush your hopes and dreams and then stomp on your heart for good measure. And boy did he crush my little heart into pieces.
After the stomping part, he became the boy I did my best to stay away from – and let me tell you, it was pretty hard to do when he slept in the room right across from mine. When tragedy struck his family and they moved away, I was ready to forget he ever existed. Now he’s a movie star, the one who makes women of all ages go into a screaming frenzy. Me? I’m Olive, a new writer. Actually, I’m the writer of the book that inspired the movie he is about to star in on the big screen. As of late, I am also referred to as the oh, so very lucky girl who is about to become the wife of Jason Thorn.
Beauty and the Baller by Ilsa Madden Mills
An NFL quarterback turned small-town coach gets sacked by a Texas beauty queen in this swoony, passionate romance from Wall Street Journal bestselling author Ilsa Madden-Mills.
Gorgeous, talented, and brilliant, NFL quarterback Ronan Smith has the world in his hands. But after losing his career and his fiancée in a car accident, he falls into a pit of grief and bad choices. When a mysterious girl shows up to his party, he feels drawn to her and makes her his…for one night.
Former beauty queen Nova Morgan is on a mission. Scantily clad as a princess from a galaxy far, far away, she sneaks into a high-profile party to capture the attention of her favorite quarterback. But her hopes crash after an awful one-night stand.
Fast-forward two years. Broke and desperate, Nova returns home to Blue Belle, Texas, where, by a cosmic twist of fate, her broody neighbor is none other than Ronan, the shiny new football coach everyone adores. But he has no idea who she is.
The booster club keeps shoving women at Ronan to keep him in town. His solution? He proposes fake dating to Nova. But things heat up for real under these Friday-night lights when he realizes she’s the one who slipped away.
Has this jaded beauty found her forever baller, or will his past keep them apart?
Love in Lockdown by Chloe James
A joyful love story set against the backdrop of lockdown – perfect for fans of The Flatshare.
Do you believe in love before first sight?
Lockdown is putting Sophia’s life on pause – just as she planned to put herself out there and meet someone. When the first clap for the keyworkers rings out around her courtyard, she’s moved to tears for all kinds of reasons.
Jack is used to living life to the fullest. He’s going stir-crazy after just days isolating. Until the night he hears a woman crying from the balcony under his. He strikes up a conversation with the stranger and puts a smile on her face.
Soon their balcony meetings are the highlight of Jack and Sophia’s days. But even as they grow closer together, they’re always kept apart.
Can they fall in love during a lockdown?
In a New York Minute by Kate Spencer
Their love story has gone viral. But it hasn’t even begun . . .
Franny Doyle is having the worst day. She’s been sacked, the subway doors ripped her favorite dress to ruins, and now she’s flashed her unmentionables to half of lower Manhattan. On the plus side, a dashing stranger came to her rescue with his (Gucci!) suit jacket. On the down side, he can’t get away from her fast enough.
Worse yet? Someone posted their (entirely not) meet-cute online. Suddenly Franny and her rescuer, Hayes Montgomery, are the newest social media sensation, and all of New York is shipping #SubwayQTs.
Only Franny and Hayes couldn’t be a more disastrous match. She’s talkative, and creative. He’s serious, shy, and all about numbers. Yet somehow, Hayes and Franny keep running into each other. It seems fate isn’t done with the subway sweethearts just yet . . .
Love Hacked by Penny Reid
There are three things you need to know about Sandra Fielding:
1) She makes all her first dates cry,
2) She hasn’t been kissed in over two years, and
3) She knows how to knit.
Sandra has difficulty removing her psychotherapist hat. Of her last 30 dates, 29 have ended the same way: the man sobbing uncontrollably. After one such disaster, Sandra gives in to a seemingly harmless encounter with her hot waiter, Alex. Argumentative, secretive, and hostile, Alex may be the opposite of everything Sandra knows is right for her. But now, the girl who has spent all her life helping others change for the better; must find a way to cope with falling for someone who refuses to change at all.
Everything We Are by Megan Walker & Janci Patterson
Felix never believed in soulmates…until he met her.
Felix Mays has only two goals in life – to play his cello and to stay off heroin. He’s only a few weeks out of rehab and accomplishing both – barely. Then Felix meets gorgeous Jenna Rollins, single mom and half of the rising pop-star duo Alec and Jenna, who’ve practically been voted LA’s cutest couple. Jenna offers Felix a job with the band, and it’s an opportunity he can’t refuse, even though his feelings for Jenna are quickly turning romantic.
Then Felix learns the truth – Alec and Jenna have been broken up for over a year, and maintain their couple-image just for the fans. Jenna is falling for Felix as fast he is for her, but she and Alec have agreed not to date anyone until the band has peaked – and that’s clearly years away.
Felix and Jenna are determined to make it work, despite the strain on their careers, their relationships with the band, and even Felix’s struggling sobriety. A situation this stressful is the last thing Felix needs – and the one thing he can’t bring himself to walk away from.
That’s me for this month so all that’s left to say is : Happy Reading!
I loved The Secrets of Sunshine too. I’ve loved all of Phaedra Patrick’s books and have the latest from Netgalley coming up soon on the tbr!
I’ve loved her others too. I’m now off to Amazon to check out the new one, thanks Joanne x
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I always get caught with the £3.99 renewal as well Jill, it’s just too good to turn down! 😂 Hope you have a lovely break up in Northumberland. x
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As I’ve been buying boxed sets it’s a great way of stocking up and using the credits. I’ll see what happens next time. x
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Thanks re the holiday, I’m still busy trying to prep & schedule posts with the added bother of Twitter! x
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It looks like you had a great month of reading and listening Jill. It sounded like Everything We Are was one I would like, but a two week instalove would bother me, so I will pass. I love all those yellow covers, so bright and spring like. I hope you have a wonderful May and enjoyed your holiday.
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Thanks Carla, I’m now back from a lovely break and raring to go! I’m not totally averse to instalove where the couples actually get to know something about each other, but these two were still virtually strangers. I’m hoping green this month will give me some good reading. x