We’ll always have Venice by Leonie Mack @LeonieMAuthor

What they say: ‘I love her beautiful settings and brooding heroes!’ Sarah Bennett
Who can resist the romance of Venice…

When Norah arrives in Venice for a ten-week internship she is surprised to discover that her guide for her work trips around the lagoon is the undeniably gorgeous and kind Gianluca. She can’t help thinking he might be too good to be true, with his endless fascinating local stories, and his infectious laugh.
Norah is still bitter after an accident left her with a serious injury and also meant the end of her long-term relationship. And besides, she’s serious about her career and that means leaving Venice at the end of the summer.
Gianluca has had a summer fling before that led to heartache for him and he won’t do it again. He enjoys the long hours out on the lagoon with Norah, but after a storm strands them on a picture-perfect island for a night, they agree they should just be good friends for the summer. 
But life doesn’t always go to plan, and when it’s time for Norah to go, they have to decide whether what they have between them is really just a friendship, and not something more… 
Leonie Mack is back with another fabulously romantic escape, perfect for all fans of Mandy Baggot, Jo Thomas and Carole Matthews.
What readers are saying about Leonie Mack:
‘I read a lot of romance books and I have to say this book is one of the best in terms of chemistry. Readers – we’re talking red hot!’

‘A hot and sizzling read!’

‘An uplifting, intelligent novel with a lot of substance and of course, plenty of romance’

‘I can’t stop thinking about this book!’

‘Beautifully written, this is a great take on the opposites attract theme.’
‘A delight to read with lots of fun, romance and funny bits along the way.’

The Review: I was asked the other day when authors came to mind that I would always click ‘request’ or ‘buy’ on, who came to mind first and, splat bang in the middle of my list (come on, who has just one author?!), was the amazing Leonie Mack, an author that I usually save for those moments-you know the ones-you have a cuppa and some cookies and a roaring fire, or you’re in work and have a bit of peace at lunch-time. I mean, she’s perfectly placed- fall in love with settings, relatable lead characters and fantastic love interests …

But, as they say, I digress! Norah is a marine biologist who is on a trip as part of an internship. I was grabbed immediately by her career and loved the fact that it was the accompaniment to a place as beautiful as Venice. Norah and Gianluca were perfect for each other in that they both had a reason to doubt love was any way on the cards. I’ve always found the more you can give people a reason not to be together, the better the read (yes, I am that mean!!) The views, the settings, the storms and drama, the romance is nothing short of exquisite and I savoured every single word. Beautiful, beautiful book and so beyond recommended!

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

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The Love Arrangement by Ruby Basu

What they say: Love was never supposed to be part of the deal…
Independent and free-spirted Annika has no plans to settle down anytime soon… if only her parents felt the same way. But when her father unexpectedly falls ill, she’ll do anything to make things better. Even if it means suddenly blurting out she has a boyfriend.
The only issue is, he doesn’t exist.
Then, by chance, she bumps into handsome entrepreneur Rav, and she can’t believe her luck. He’s single, sworn off relationships and looking for a date to attend work events with. He’s the perfect solution to her troubles. Or is he?
Because there’s just one slight catch – he also happens to be her childhood nemesis.
It was only ever supposed to be a simple, temporary arrangement. Nothing more. Certainly love was never part of the terms and conditions. But Annika’s about to discover that some deals are made to be broken…

The Review:

Thanks so much to the publisher and Netgalley for the book in return for an honest review.

On to another I jumped for the second I saw it-The Love Arrangement by Ruby bass. This is the story of Annika, who is under a huge amount of pressure to convince her dad that she has found her partner for life. I was pulled straight in with Annika’s decision of where to search as she tried to figure out should she fill potential suitors in on the fact that she only wanted them for a fake relationship.

The love Arrangement was vivid and vibrant and fun, with a cast that was very well done, so much so, in fact, that I fell for her fake partner too, and was gunning for him throughout the book! The settings were brilliant, the comedy nicely done but there was a standout moment for me and that was a beautifully cinematic wedding they attended, which blew me away-I could see it! My only issue at all was that Annika reminded herself way too often of why this couldn’t work-I kept begging her to just see what was right before her! The other thing, really weirdly was that even by the end of the book I had no idea what Annika actually worked at! But that I think is showing my age, perhaps? Either way, really really enjoyable and so recommended!

Rating: 5/5

#bookreview Single with Cat by Rosa Silva


What they say: Can she save the Happy Endings Bookstore and have the happy ending she deserves?

Olivia is back in her hometown to reopen the bookstore her grandmother left her. She has a whole plan mapped out for the Happy Endings Bookstore. Just one problem – she finds out the bank is ready to foreclose on the bookstore’s mortgage.
Gabriel, the bank manager, is as drop dead gorgeous as he is grouchy. Olivia hates the guy, but her cat Chili seems to love him. Now Olivia has three months to save the bookstore and rub it in Gabriel’s face.

Olivia tries everything to save the bookstore, but with a quest to find out the identity of an anonymous romance writer, her mother wanting to find her a husband, and her grandmother’s grouchy neighbor making her life hell, Olivia has a lot on her plate.

The tension between Olivia and Gabriel escalates as the deadline to save the bookstore approaches, but as the two slowly begin to let their guard down, they might learn that sometimes stepping outside one’s comfort zone can lead to the greatest reward.

Single with Cat is a feel-good romantic comedy perfect for readers who love cats, books, and happy endings.

The Review: Well, you know me, give me a bookshop, and particularly one that needs to be saved, and I’m so all in!

Here we meet Olivia, who has big plans for the bookstore her grandmother left her. The issue is, the bank won’t let her due, basically, to rules and regulations and red tape, oh and the small fact of a sum of money required. My interests, of course, lay with Olivia, but actually as much with the gorgeous bank manager who was so by the book, but found himself beginning to be swayed.

There were a lot of bad tempered people in the book, at times Olivia wasn’t for me, but I was so invested to see how the bookshop would be saved or even if there was another way for the shop to go! With friendship, community and some nice comedy thrown in, this was a book I really enjoyed and definitely one of you like older characters (I’m 42 so I like the characters being older). Thanks so much to the author for the book in return for an honest review.

Rating:4.5/5

#Bookreview Raindrops on the Umbrella Cafe by Jodie Homer @umbrellacafe


What they say: The man of your dreams is one umbrella away.

On inheriting her uncle’s beloved Umbrella Café, Sarah packs up and leaves the busy city of Birmingham for her childhood seaside village of Cobble-Heath.

Discovering life at the Umbrella Café is not as idyllic as it was when she was a child. Sarah has to contend with getting to grips with managing a café, accepting her two childhood best friends falling in love and a handsome Australian stranger who has come for the summer. Throw in a family secret with an unexpected arrival and Sarah’s life is turned upside down.

Can Sarah keep the cracks in her life sealed up or will she be the next thing to crack up?

The Review: In the same way I always sit up and take notice when I hear a blogger has written a book, when I hear an avid reader, and especially one who’s actual books read are the perfect to be read list for any avid romance/chick lit reader! To add to this Ms. Homer is positive and so supportive to authors in real life. So, had to be done!!

I beyond enjoyed this book- people talk about light reads and this was one that I totally warmed to, settling into the easy narration style very quickly. It is quirky and unusual, with oodles of coziness as Sarah wonders whether she can run a cafe left to her by her uncle. Her mother has never been there for her and didn’t believe in her ability and so Sarah has to find it within herself to push forward. I loved the side characters in this, and the lovely moments of warmth. I read quickly, smiling and nodding in places and overall beyond appreciated. Innocent, quirky, cute and fun!

Rating:5/5

Stone Broke Heiress by Danielle Owen Jones #BookReview

What they say: Six months ago, I was the heiress to a soup empire worth millions. Now, I’m standing in a giant dumpster.

Bella Whittington’s caviar-and-Cristal life comes crashing down when she walks in on her fiancé and best friend tangled up in page 34 of the Kama Sutra, limbs everywhere. But her plan to dull the pain with Daddy’s credit card is totalled by the news that they’ve lost the family business. Suddenly Bella’s both single and completely broke.

Shivering in her dingy new studio apartment after a traumatic incident with a homemade turmeric face mask (Hello Tangerina Jolie!), Bella realises she must pull up her Gucci socks and get a job, fast. But Dan, the gorgeous, grumpy owner of the local soup kitchen, hates the Whittingtons, so a teensy lie about her surname gets Bella through the door, and set loose on the stove… Minestrone with a side of melted spatula, anyone?

When Bella’s ex returns with a golden ticket back to her glitzy old life, should she accept? Because that would mean no more box wine and frozen pizza nights with Dan. No more singalongs to the crackly kitchen radio. No more my-heart-is-as-melted-as-that-spatula moments when he finally cracks a reluctant smile… But if Dan finds out the truth about who she really is, will she even have the choice?

An absolutely hilarious, feel-good rom com that will have you snorting with laughter. The new must-read for fans of Sophie Kinsella, Lindsey Kelk and Schitt’s Creek!

The Review: I’ll admit the second I opened this book (this is where ebooks are a hard fail, isn’t it? Because I switched on my Kindle, and ‘the second I switched on my Kindle’ isn’t even close to the same, is it?) I sailed along with this, the story of Bella Whittington from Whittington Soup, who has lived the high life to the extreme, daughter of a father who also splurges and doesn’t quite know how to manage money.

When things go kablooey, under suspicious circumstances, Bella, her mum and dad face a huge drop, and suddenly she goes from princess essentially, to living in the type of circumstances she didn’t really see as existing before.

The characters in this were spectacular, to warm to a lead who was all about the high life, and be cheering her on, along with her parents, who were comedy cold, to the villains of the piece, was truly special. The story line was of course fab-riches to rags couldn’t be anything less, plus the whole cinematic feel of it-I felt like I was watching a movie!

All in all so recommended! Thanks so much to Netgalley and the publisher for the book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 5:5

Four Aunties And A Wedding by Jesse Sutanto #BookReview

What they Say: The aunties are back, fiercer than ever and ready to handle any catastrophe–even the mafia–in this delightful and hilarious sequel by Jesse Q. Sutanto, author of Dial A for Aunties.

Meddy Chan has been to countless weddings, but she never imagined how her own would turn out. Now the day has arrived, and she can’t wait to marry her college sweetheart, Nathan. Instead of having Ma and the aunts cater to her wedding, Meddy wants them to enjoy the day as guests. As a compromise, they find the perfect wedding vendors: a Chinese-Indonesian family-run company just like theirs. Meddy is hesitant at first, but she hits it off right away with the wedding photographer, Staphanie, who reminds Meddy of herself, down to the unfortunately misspelled name. 

Meddy realizes that is where their similarities end, however, when she overhears Staphanie talking about taking out a target. Horrified, Meddy can’t believe Staphanie and her family aren’t just like her own, they are The Family–actual mafia, and they’re using Meddy’s wedding as a chance to conduct shady business. Her aunties and mother won’t let Meddy’s wedding ceremony become a murder scene–over their dead bodies–and will do whatever it takes to save her special day, even if it means taking on the mafia.

The Review: In the same ‘grab you and won’t let go’ vein, I feel the need to pull your attention over to this, Four Aunties and A Wedding’ by Jesse Sutanto (nice Segway eh?;). This was a book sitting in chart regularly and coming up to the counter with people gushing that their friends had told them it was the best ever, and, as I did whenever a romcom or thriller came to be sold, I wanted to grab it to read the back, because it totally does look like my cup of tea and also my nice cool juice or fizzy drink too (it’s hot, I can’t be talking about tea!!)

This book was so my thing, in fact I can’t even begin to tell you how much. It is the story of Meddy, who apparently we met in the first book (which I wish I’d read just because it sounds as good but not reading it on the whole didn’t impact this one for me), who is getting married.

You might think that this is a rom com with some form of madcap thread running through it, but actually there’s crime and mystery and mafia in here too!!!!

I loved everything about this book, I loved the clash of cultures, the sudden surprises where you thought ‘hold on, what?!’, the characters, all of them, with a great balancing act done, oh, and as well as that not just the setting, but the crisp realness to all of it as it played out like a movie in my head. Fab book and can’t recommend enough for escapism perfection. So recommended! Thanks so much to Netgalley and the publisher for the book in return for an honest review.

Rating:5/5

#BookReview The Lying Wife by Kathryn Croft


Be careful what you wish for… 

Callie has known sadness, and sometimes doubted she would ever have the life she wanted. When she meets James, also no stranger to grief, it seems as though her luck has changed. She becomes his wife, and in the process a stepmother to his two sons. Callie has finally got what she always imagined for herself. 

But things don’t go to plan for Callie. She tries to get things right, but at every turn she makes mistakes. If she can only show her new family just how much she cares, perhaps everything will be okay. Yet the harder she tries, the more she fails. A split-second decision leads to her spiralling out of control, and there is no way back for Callie. 

When the police arrest her for murder, the dark tale of Callie’s shocking fall from grace slowly unfolds. But how much is Callie willing to reveal about the choices she made? If those she cares for the most learn the truth, they will hate her. Will her secrets be her undoing? Or will she tell the truth, no matter the cost?

The Review: ok, so. The people who regularly read this blog (there’s what, two of you now?;) Well you know who you are and thank you very much for always reading!!) know of my absolute love for Kathryn Croft’s thrillers. I’ve adored every single one up until now but … I’m only joking of course!!! (Jumps from foot to foot!) I Loved this book sooo much!!! From a clanger of a first line on, I was totally sucked into the life of Callie, who has met the love of her life and was fully in and ready to accept James and his family as her own, only there’s a few things standing in her way …

I loved the everyday of this, coupled with a sense of unease that something was going to happen. The characters were that satisfying mix of likeable and unlikeable and the twists made it so I absolutely wanted to keep reading. I had some slightly patchy bits, but then absolutely flew down to one of the best endings I’ve read in some time. All in all, beyond totally my bag!! Thanks so much to the publisher for the book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

The Love Experiment by Kitty Wilson #miniReview @Kittywilson23

What they say:

He can’t date, she doesn’t date…but what happens when they fall in love?

A heartfelt romance that isn’t afraid to tackle serious issues for fans of Ali Hazelwood, Colleen Hoover and all the best ‘Tiktok made me buy it books’!

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?

T/w: mention of past violence and abuse, PCOS

The review: This is the story of two people who, for totally different reasons,are not looking for love.

Dr lily Galbraith, someone who needs order and control in terms of keeping herself perfect, has plenty of issues, both past and present, that do not lend themselves to love. As you will see from the blurb there’s trigger warnings aplenty as we find out about a tough past that means this book has one or two tough moments, one in particular that played an uncomfortable image in my head. The psychology is explained to us and makes for a book that properly held my attention.

Then there’s Jay, who is trying to stop himself running down the path he wants, that of a full on relationship. He brings another heavy storyline- that of a sister who needs his help, one I really wanted to get resolved.

For all the heavy sides to this, there’s also the perfection of fantastic side characters, including Lily’s housemate, stunning romance and some great comedy, with perfect will they won’t they times.

All in all so informative and eye opening, and a different kind of read for the summer, so not light but still superb even for those used to easy reads. Thanks so much to the publisher for the book in return for an honest review.

Rating:5/5

#BookReview The Holdout by Graham Moore @orionbooks

One juror changed the verdict. What if she was wrong?

‘Ten years ago we made a decision together…’

Fifteen-year-old Jessica Silver, heiress to a billion-dollar fortune, vanishes on her way home from school. Her teacher, Bobby Nock, is the prime suspect. It’s an open and shut case for the prosecution, and a quick conviction seems all but guaranteed. 

Until Maya Seale, a young woman on the jury, persuades the rest of the jurors to vote not guilty: a controversial decision that will change all of their lives forever.

Ten years later, one of the jurors is found dead, and Maya is the prime suspect.

The real killer could be any of the other ten jurors. Is Maya being forced to pay the price for her decision all those years ago?

The Review: So my Netgalley account has been getting totally out of control lately. As is always the way I have been trying not to prioritise all the shiny new books as I requested but instead wanted to look back over all of the ones that I’ve been neglecting.

Prime example of this is the book The Holdout by Graham Moore. Any book that has been lauded by Richard and Judy book club is one that I I’m very likely to look twice at that but given that the cover didn’t jump out at me in any way, I hate to admit that this is one of the ones that languished somewhat. What a calamity and what a book!!!! As one who used to live for John Grisham, I was in the mood for a courtroom novel and on remembering this my interest was piqued once again.

This is a book about Bobby Nook. Bobby Nook, a black teacher accused of the murder of a rich white student he was thought of to have been dating.

As a result of the jurors he was found innocent to the disbelief of many, not least some of the jurors themselves, who found themselves swayed in different ways. Now, on the tenth anniversary of the verdict, the jury is back together and one has been murdered.

This is a book I absolutely could not put down and couldn’t stop thinking about afterwards. It deals with the fallout of the jurors’ decisions, how their lives were changed, with so many twists and turns that you have absolutely no idea who to trust. It is heartbreaking, mind boggling and just one of the most unputdownable books I’ve read. I cannot recommend enough!!

Rating:5/5

The Sleepover by Carol Wyer #BookReview


What They Say: She said she’d gone to a sleepover. But she never made it. Someone must know why…

When Detective Natalie Ward is called to the home of fourteen-year-old Roxy Curtis she can’t help but empathise with Roxy’s distraught mother Cathy. Roxy hasn’t come home, last seen heading next door for a sleepover with her best friend Ellie. As the mother of two teenagers herself, Natalie knows that this is every parent’s worst nightmare.

But when Roxy’s body is found in the basement of a beautiful Victorian mansion on the other side of town, Natalie’s darkest fears are confirmed. What was Roxy doing there? The people who knew her best should know – but Cathy seems evasive, and Ellie refuses to talk. Natalie is determined to find out what secrets they are keeping…

Then Roxy’s mother Cathy disappears. 

When her body is found two days later, Natalie is forced to face the fact that Roxy’s loved ones are in real danger. Things take a more sinister turn when Ellie vanishes, her mobile phone switched off. Is Ellie hiding something about the night Roxy died that could put her in terrible danger? And can Natalie work it out before another innocent life is taken?

Gripping, fast-paced and nail-bitingly tense, this book will keep you flying through the pages long into the night. Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons, Rachel Abbott and Karin Slaughter.

The Review: So you’ll know that when I see a Carol Wyer book I jump to buy or request and generally say that I’m saving it for a time I can properly savour it. As a result this was my Italy read!

This is part of a series (book 4) but you wouldn’t have had to read the preceding books. It definitely helped though as you know the investigators, so here we get a huge insight into what is going on in Detective Natalie Ward’s life as she looks into a death that is too close to home given she has teenagers.

I felt for the family of the victim and then was intrigued and shocked when another murder happened. We get to know the victim’s family, a mostly unlikeable crowd, but who are victims of poverty. Their unlikeability, along with constant cursing, removed me slightly from being fully invested. Also the fact that pacing wise it was slow, not really slow burn, just trundling along. That being said, by the end I was thinking ’next in the series, please! So, a mixed bag that did the job! Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the book in return for an honest review.

Rating:4/5