I got some amazing books from some wonderful authors and publishers in New York this year. Here are some of my highlights and some of the books I will be picking up ASAP.
These are in chronological order of US Publication date...
January 21st 2020
4th February 2020
Of Curses and Kisses by Sandhya Menon
4th February 2020
I don't have a cover for this one so here's the synopsis...
Will the princess save the beast?
For Princess Jaya Rao, nothing is more important than family. When the loathsome Emerson clan steps up their centuries-old feud to target Jaya’s little sister, nothing will keep Jaya from exacting her revenge. Then Jaya finds out she’ll be attending the same elite boarding school as Grey Emerson, and it feels like the opportunity of a lifetime. She knows what she must do: Make Grey fall in love with her and break his heart. But much to Jaya’s annoyance, Grey’s brooding demeanor and lupine blue eyes have drawn her in. There’s simply no way she and her sworn enemy could find their fairy-tale ending… Right?
His Lordship Grey Emerson is a misanthrope. Thanks to an ancient curse by a Rao matriarch, Grey knows he’s doomed once he turns eighteen. Sequestered away in the mountains at St. Rosetta’s International Academy, he’s lived an isolated existence—until Jaya Rao bursts into his life. Sparkling and elegant, Jaya’s unlike anyone Grey has ever met. Still, he can’t shake the feeling that she’s hiding something. Something that might just have to do with the rose-shaped ruby pendant around her neck…
As the stars conspire to keep them apart, Jaya and Grey grapple with questions of love, loyalty, and whether it’s possible to write your own happy ending.
Welcome to my Reading Rush sign up post and TBR! The Reading Rush has an awesome website where you can sign up, that can be found here. On their site they explain that...
The Reading Rush is a week long readathon for book lovers all around the world. For one week readers gather together to read as much as they possibly can and to participate in challenges and giveaways online.
So I am very much looking forward to the week-long readathon even though it will be a reasonably busy week for me, I hope to get some good reading in and of course take part in the video challenges and Instagram challenges. You can find my channel here!
1/ Read a book with purple on the cover
2/ Read a book in the same spot the entire time AND 5/ Read a book with a non-human main character
3/ Read a book you meant to read last year (re-read) AND 7/ Read and watch a book to movie adaptation
4/ Read an author’s first book
6/ Pick a book that has five or more words in the title
Bonus/ Read 7 books!
Well here are the books that are left on my July TBR so I will be choosing from these...
I know it's been a while since I got back from Book Expo and Book Con in New York but things have been busy you know? I made vlogs of both events and the have been up on my channel for a while, I will link those for you if BookTube is more your thing but here are a few highlights of the events. There will be a separate book haul up soon!
Book Expo 2019 Vlog - YouTube
BookCon 2019 Event Vlog - YouTube
I saw some awesome Panels at both events and literally enjoyed every moment of them!
When Millennials met romance: The RomCom Phenom featuring Tessa Bailey, Alexis Daria, Mia Sosa, Jasmine Guillory, Abby Jimenez and Amanda Heger moderated by Meg Cabot
The Future of The Online Book Community moderated by Christina Marie, featuring @Mrcommonspence @Absorbedinpages @storiesforcoffee
Jennifer Weiner talking about Mrs Everything (out now)
Adam Rippon talking about Beautiful on the Outside (out October 15th)
EL James Talking about The Mister
I also got to hang out with awesome friends!
Jess from Enchanted Fandom
And awesome BookTuber Beautifully Bookish Bethany!
I was lucky enough to attend the Riveted (Simon Teen) books for breakfast breakfast event on the first day of BookCon where we got a whole goodie bag full of signed books from Cassandra Clare, SK Ali, Britteny Morris, Jenny Hann, Sandhya Menon and Margaret Rogerson.
Escape to the Scottish Highlands where a tiny bookshop perches on the edge of a loch
Zoe is a single mother, sinking beneath the waves trying to cope by herself in London. Hari, her gorgeous little boy is perfect in every way - except for the fact that he just doesn't speak, at all. When her landlord raises the rent on her flat, Zoe doesn't know where to turn.
Then Hari's aunt suggests Zoe could move to Scotland to help run a bookshop. Going from the lonely city to a small village in the Highlands could be the change Zoe and Hari desperately need.
Faced with an unwelcoming boss, a moody, distant bookseller named Ramsay Urquart, and a band of unruly children, Zoe wonders if she's made the right decision. But Hari has found his very first real friend, and no one could resist the beauty of the loch glinting in the summer sun. If only Ramsay would just be a little more approachable...
Dreams start here...
Review: How lovely to find a new book from Jenny Colgan. I have enjoyed so many of her books in the past, with their amazing characters, and loads of humour mixed in with real life drama and romance. Although Jenny says in her introduction that this book is not a sequel to The Little Shop of Happy Ever After (or The Bookshop on the Corner for US readers), it sounded to me as if there might be echoes of that story in this one. I sat down to read and was reluctant to pause until I got to the end.
This story concerns single mum Zoe and her son Hari. Although four years old, Hari has not begun to talk, which is causing Zoe not inconsiderable concern. She has other concerns too, living in a small, noisy and altogether unpleasant flat in London where the rent is about to be raised beyond her reach. A possible solution comes out of the blue, when a friend tells her of not one but two jobs in a remote Scottish village on the shores of Loch Ness, living in as nanny to three children and helping out on a mobile bookshop. With that all sounding pretty good, if a little far away, Zoe and Hari board the bus to the highlands towards a new life. However, on arrival, Zoe finds herself landed in the midst of a truly dysfunctional family and working for a bookshop owner who is hard to please and with customers who are even more difficult to deal with. Can the wonderful setting, in such contrast to what she has left behind, and the fact that Hari seems happy compensate for the challenges of her new situation?
I thought this was a marvellous story. It has it all; humour, many dramatic moments, surprising revelations and promises of romance. Having previously read The Little Shop of Happy Ever After, I was delighted to meet up with familiar characters and find out how their lives have progressed. I’m sure I’m not alone in enjoying that aspect of any story. Here, although Zoe finds herself in the midst of a chaotic household with a distant father, children with behavioural problems and a weird housekeeper, she is not deterred and I admired her tenacity greatly. Of course, her lovely surroundings, so well depicted by Jenny, free from the noise and bustle of the city, would go a long way to persuading anyone to stay. I was impressed with the way in which Jenny dealt so sensitively with the mental health issues raised in the story. This is a book I would highly recommend to other readers; you might even be tempted to go monster hunting in this stunning area of the highlands.
To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US
Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.
Some of these characters have really stuck with me and so that is why they have made it onto the list! Let me know in the comments what characters have stuck with you!
Ok I have to apologise that I forgot to post this one... It's now well into July and I have already posted my July Wrap up. I will leave my June BookTube Wrap up at the bottom in case you would prefer this in video form.
As always I will break this down into what format I read each book in and leave any reviews I have already posted. It's a short list this month...
Jo and Bethie Kaufman were born into a world full of promise.
Growing up in 1950s Detroit, they live in a perfect “Dick and Jane” house, where their roles in the family are clearly defined. Jo is the tomboy, the bookish rebel with a passion to make the world more fair; Bethie is the pretty, feminine good girl, a would-be star who enjoys the power her beauty confers and dreams of a traditional life.
But the truth ends up looking different from what the girls imagined. Jo and Bethie survive traumas and tragedies. As their lives unfold against the background of free love and Vietnam, Woodstock and women’s lib, Bethie becomes an adventure-loving wild child who dives headlong into the counterculture and is up for anything (except settling down). Meanwhile, Jo becomes a proper young mother in Connecticut, a witness to the changing world instead of a participant. Neither woman inhabits the world she dreams of, nor has a life that feels authentic or brings her joy. Is it too late for the women to finally stake a claim on happily ever after?
In her most ambitious novel yet, Jennifer Weiner tells a story of two sisters who, with their different dreams and different paths, offer answers to the question: How should a woman be in the world?
Review: Oh my goodness this book! This was such an epic read in so many ways. It covers so many issues that we face as women today, it covers such a great time period and it covers the thoughts and feelings and lives of two amazing characters. This book to me what it must have felt like when Little Women first came out and readers discovered it for the first time.
I loved reading about these two sisters. They are amazing characters because they really are just like you and me and yet they have to face so many things, so many difficulties and so many choices in their lives and we get to go through all of that with them. Bethie is such a sweet girl and yet life is tough on her from such a young age and we can see how much she has been affected by that. She doesn't always make the best choices and yet I was wishing her all the best the entire way through the novel and I am pleased that she got the ending that she did. Jo is initially such a strong person and yet she too is hit by such devastation and has to witness her sister going through such a lot as well. She is such a complex character who seems so keen to do well by her entire family and that often means putting herself last. I really fell in love with Jo and cried more than once over what she had to go through.
There is also a third character of sorts in the form of the sisters' mother, Sarah. She definitely has an important part to play in each step of these women's lives and yet she has also had a tough time. She isn't an easy person to like but boy does she love her daughters and she worked hard for them. She is conservative in her values but that provides a springboard for both of the journeys that the sisters go on and she is an important character in the novel.
This book not only covers a wide expanse of time but also a wide range of geographical destinations and so it feels a little bit like we got to live and travel with these sisters no matter where they are. As a result you do feel a little worn out by the time you get the final stages of this book and yet it feels like a worthwhile journey and oh the things you will see along the way.
This book has good LGTBQ+ representation and really shows what it could be like to question your sexuality in 1950s Detroit. It also has good representation of other diverse groups and the fact that the story lines for these marginalised groups change as the time and location changes shows how well thought out these characters and this plot is. This is intersectional feminism in novel form, I loved every minute of it and I know that you will too!
To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US
Escape to the daisy-strewn windswept Dorset cliffs, to the donkey sanctuary at Sweet Briar Farm, where Hattie Rose is about to find, that in this world, the most unlikely opposites can sometimes attract …
Hattie was once thrilled to call the beautiful city of Paris her home. But when her heart is broken by her boyfriend and she loses her dream job, she bids farewell to the city of love and hurries home to Gillypuddle, a sleepy village on the Dorset coast. But as she returns home she finds her parents struggling to cope with a terrible family tragedy.
In a desperate search for a new start, Hattie takes a job at the donkey sanctuary nearby on Sweet Briar Farm where Jo, the taciturn owner, certainly loves her animals far more than humans. Hattie can’t help but fall in love with the donkeys (and the opportunity to get close to dreamy Canadian vet Seth) but Jo is harder to get to know and when she finds her boss sobbing in her sleep one stormy night, she knows that her new friend is hiding a dark secret.
And when handsome newspaper reporter Owen does some digging into Jo’s past he finds something that connects her to Hattie on a whole new level. Can Hattie trust what Owen says, especially when he seems intent on standing in the way of her blossoming romance with Seth? And can Hattie help Jo to start healing and the donkeys of Sweet Briar Farm?
Review: I have been a big fan of Tilly Tennant since the very first of her books that I read. I was delighted to see another new one in the offing and sat down to read it as soon as I could. This one has the most eye catching cover, with an idyllic country scene that just speaks of peace and quiet (apart from the occasional braying donkey sound).
Hattie Rose, the lady in the title, has returned home to the wonderfully named Dorset village of Gillypuddle after her job working for a fashion designer in Paris has gone wrong in a really spectacular way. In the time she was away, a local farm has been bought by Jo Flint, a somewhat mysterious woman who has made herself unpopular with the locals due to her brash manner and overall rudeness. When Hattie learns that Jo has homed some donkeys and is looking for help with her sanctuary, she decides to apply, even though her family and friends think she must have lost her mind. Living with Jo isn’t easy, but Hattie’s love for the donkeys and visits from the handsome young vet, Seth, go a long way to compensating for that. However, Hattie is keen to find out about Jo’s past and the dark secret she suspects is lurking there. When newspaper reporter, Owen, comes into Hattie’s life, will he uncover some of the mystery, and what effect will that have on Jo?
I thought that this was a truly moving story of unlikely friendships and the way in which animals can help to heal even the most damaged of human hearts, as evidenced by the marked contrast between Jo’s relationships with humans and with the donkeys. Although I might not have enjoyed living with the frosty Jo, I absolutely loved the setting and envied Hattie’s view of the sea from her bedroom window. Hattie herself had a troubled past, and I could understand her parents’ despair at her ever settling down. I found myself worried about her choice of men and wishing I could steer her in the right direction. All in all I would say that the book is an easy read and perfect for popping in the holiday luggage, the only problem being that you might be thinking of buying, or at the very least adopting, a donkey by the final page!
To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US
I’m wondering how many more f*cking ‘phases’ I have to endure before my children become civilised and functioning members of society? It seems like people have been telling me ‘it’s just a phase!’ for the last fifteen bloody years. Not sleeping through the night is ‘just a phase.’ Potty training and the associated accidents ‘is just a phase’. The tantrums of the terrible twos are ‘just a phase’. The picky eating, the back chat, the obsessions. The toddler refusals to nap, the teenage inability to leave their beds before 1pm without a rocket being put up their arse. The endless singing of Frozen songs, the dabbing, the weeks where apparently making them wear pants was akin to child torture. All ‘just phases!’ When do the ‘phases’ end though? WHEN?
Mummy dreams of a quirky rural cottage with roses around the door and chatty chickens in the garden. Life, as ever, is not going quite as she planned. Paxo, Oxo and Bisto turn out to be highly rambunctious, rather than merely chatty, and the roses have jaggy thorns. Her precious moppets are now giant teenagers, and instead of wittering at her about who would win in a fight – a dragon badger or a ninja horse – they are Snapchatting the night away, stropping around the tiny cottage and communicating mainly in grunts – except when they are demanding Ellen provides taxi services in the small hours. And there is never, but never, any milk in the house. At least the one thing they can all agree on is that rescued Barry the Wolfdog may indeed be The Ugliest Dog in the World, but he is also the loveliest.
Review: Well this book was just an absolute dream. Funny, honest and just so true to life it is hilarious. This book picks up right after book two in this series leaves off so if you continue reading this review, you may be spoiled for Why Mummy Drinks and Why Mummy Swears.
I just love Ellen as a character and because we get these books in diary form, we get to see everything that Ellen is thinking at any given moment. Whether that is thoughts about her kids and how much they are driving her crazy, thoughts about how perfect she is going to make her new country home or thoughts about what will happen if anyone else has to see her stretch marked belly, her saggy boobs and her stitched up fanny! She makes me laugh so much but she is just so easy to relate to and just a breath of fresh air when it comes to mums in fiction!
Her children have grown up just a little more in this book and so that makes for some hilarious situations involving booze, boys and teenage tantrums, but they are just a delight to read about and provide a great catalyst for many plot points and comedy moments in the book. Ellen's friends and former husband also provide for some funny moments but also some meaningful moments and so add another layer to the book.
This novel just had me laughing out loud at every turn and any writer that quotes Victoria Wood is a true hero to me. I was nodding along with the plight of husbands that don't wipe the surface after making themselves a sandwich and cackling hysterically at a bikini line trimming mishap. I love this series, I highly rate the audiobook which I bought from Audible and just really loved this book-highly recommend!
To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US
Today is my stop on the blog tour for A Walk in Wildflower Park by Bella Osborne. I have a guest post from Bella about Wildflowers to share with you today and if you like the look of that, you can click here to order your copy now. Don't forget to check out the other blogs on the tour for more exclusive content and reviews.
Here's what it's all about...
Life’s not always a walk in the park…
Anna thought she’d found The One – until he broke off their engagement exactly a year before their wedding day. Hoping new surroundings will do her the world of good, she moves in to a place of her own on the edge of gorgeous Wildflower Park.
With the help and friendship of her neighbour Sophie, Anna quickly settles in and pledges to focus on her career, but a handsome new colleague seems determined to thwart her attempts at every turn. And when she receives a text from a mystery man, it looks as though an unlikely romance is on the horizon…
Is Anna about to be swept off her feet by someone she really shouldn’t be falling for? Or could this be the new start she needs and deserves?
And now it's over to Bella...
My Favourite Wildflowers
I love the recent move by local councils to encourage British wildlife to thrive by introducing more wildflowers to verges, open ground and park areas. Wildflowers provide food in the form of nectar, pollen, seeds, fruits and foliage. They also provide nesting sites and shelter.
Not only is it brilliant for insects and animals it also brightens things up for us humans too.
In Britain we are lucky to have a variety of native wildflowers that, given the opportunity, thrive. Here are some of my favourites:
Daisy – Such a common flower and frequently dispatched by the lawnmower but still a simple favourite of mine. A pretty and delicate flower that adds a dot of colour. And who doesn’t enjoy playing ‘He loves me, he loves me not’?
Bluebells – I am extremely lucky to live near to a bluebell wood. When in full bloom the richly coloured carpet of bluebells is extraordinary.
Dog Rose – I’m not entirely sure why it’s called a dog rose, I think wild rose would be a kinder name. It’s quite different and more delicate than its cultivated cousins but, in my opinion, no less beautiful.
Foxglove – I was brought up on the coast where foxgloves were plentiful and if I had a penny for the number of times my Grandma told me off putting my fingers inside the flowers I’d be quite wealthy now (assuming I’d invested from an early age). Adorned with multiple flowers, frequented by bees and in a brilliant purple they are quietly majestic.
Poppy – It was a long time before I realised poppies came in colours other than red. I favour the orange poppy and have some in my garden, which multiply every year. They are a shock of colour when they appear and their bobbing faces never fail to make me smile.
As well as being pretty wildflowers are also a vital resource for our wildlife and its food chain so if you get the chance to turn a corner of your garden into a wildflower patch then nature will thank you with a beautiful display of visitors.
Thanks so much to Bella for stopping by the blog today and sharing your favourite wildflowers with us. Don't forget to check out the other blogs on the tour for more exclusive content and reviews.