#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.


#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!!


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.


#BookReview One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle

What they say: When Katy’s mother dies, she is left reeling. Carol wasn’t just Katy’s mum, but her best friend and first phone call. She had all the answers and now, when Katy needs her the most, she is gone. To make matters worse, the mother-daughter trip of a lifetime looms: two weeks in Positano, the magical town where Carol spent the summer before she met Katy’s father. Katy has been waiting years for Carol to take her, and now she is faced with embarking on the adventure alone. 

But as soon as she steps foot on the Amalfi Coast, Katy begins to feel her mother’s spirit. Buoyed by the stunning waters, beautiful cliffsides, delightful residents, and – of course – delectable food, Katy feels herself coming back to life. 

And then Carol appears, healthy and sun-tanned… and thirty years old. Katy doesn’t understand what is happening, or how – all she can focus on is that somehow, impossibly, she has her mother back. Over the course of one Italian summer, Katy gets to know Carol, not as her mother, but as the young woman who came before. 

But can we ever truly know our parents? Soon Katy must reconcile the mother who knew everything with the young woman who does not yet have a clue.

The review: I’ll tell you something here and now. I don’t always read the blurb of books before I request or buy them. Yes-you’ve got me-I sometimes buy purely on the basis of cover, title or hype. What can I say-I’m fickle!

I chose this book nearly solely on the fact that it was a book about Italy. Having been there twice and read pretty much every Lucy Coleman and TA Williams’ books I can get my hands on about the place I now jump for anything Italian! In that respect I really loved this book, Descriptions transported me to clear waters that were a part of amazing settings (And of course to fabulous food.)

This is the story of Katy who is lost on the death of her mother. She finds that the solace she needs from her husband isn’t what she needs and so goes off on a trip to Italy that herself and her mother had planned sometime ago. I really felt for Katy and remembered and empathised with her grief for her mother as being similar to what I felt when my dad died. Unfortunately despite this myself and Katy possibly didn’t get along. While I could see her tied up in her grief, I just found her difficult to connect with, possibly not helped by the fact that this story was told in first person point of view and the fact that I really liked her husband.

I really I loved the time travel element, which made it different to anything I’d usually read- I always think of that what your parents would like when they were young when they were figuring it all out to and this book ticked that box nicely.

All in all I can’t tell you if I’m recommending this book or not-it wasn’t totally for me but definitely deserves the attention, hype and love it’s received. Thanks to the publishers and Netgalley for the book in return for an honest review.


The Girl Before Me by Laura Wolfe #bookreview

What they say:
I switched on the bedroom light, casting a glow across the apartment. No one was there. But then the locks on my front door caught my eye. I thought I’d locked them both, but now one was open…

When I moved into the apartment with my little daughter Lily, it was meant to be a new beginning for us. Now we are right in the heart of downtown, in a building with its own doorman. For the first time in a long time we are safe, away from my ex-husband.

But just as we settle into our new lives a letter arrives for someone called Annie. The neighbors tell me to ignore it. She’s just the woman who lived here before me, who moved out one day without a word.

Curious, I open it anyway and am shocked by what I read. It says Annie wasn’t safe. It said she needed to get out.

Now, I can’t escape the idea that someone is watching us. I feel I can’t trust my neighbors.

And I can’t help but think… Something happened to Annie. Something bad. And Lily and I are not nearly as safe here as I thought we were…

A totally unputdownable gripping thriller, perfect for fans of Lisa Jewell, Shari Lapena and Gillian Flynn. 

The Review: I have to admit I jumped for this book, the cover and blurb absolutely pulling me in. And what a beginning! I was fully grabbed by the creepiness of the beginning which was very much a nowhere to run scenario as we met the inhabitant of appartment 4b in a very classy building. Fast forward on and our lead character is moving into the same apartment with her daughter. She finds a note that hints that the girl before her (hence the title!), may not have suddenly left the way everyone was led to believe.

In a book full of unlikable characters the scene was set well but I will admit this one is more for the people who need a starter thriller, I just had different ideas on how it should be done which is more me being pernickity, but still very enjoyable. Thanks so much to the publisher and Netgalley for the book in return for an honest review.


A Colorful Country Escape by Anita Faulkner @anita_faulkner_ @booksSphere #Bookreview


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?

Let yourself be whisked away with A Colourful Country Escape and fall in love with the cosy Cotswold charm, the colourful characters and some heart-stopping romance. Perfect for fans of Heidi Swain, Jo Thomas and Bella Osborne.

‘I absolutely adored this book. Fresh, funny and upbeat, A Colourful Country Escape is rom-com perfection!’ KITTY WILSON

The Review:
They say never meet your heroes. Well, I might add that it is truly terrifying to read books from your heroes too- in this case the sparkling force of nature that is Anita Faulkner, leader of the Chick Lit and Prosecco Facebook Group, one of the most supportive and fun places on the internet!

I needn’t have worried of course!! From the first sentence I was smiling and invested one hundred percent into the vibrant and vivid tale of Lexie, who had bad luck knocking her over from the get-go. My eyes widened at her boyfriend’s absolute audacity in a particularly standout scene and I willed her on, getting excited at an interview process that arose.

Nutgrass Hall, the characters that accompanied it and Lexie, the beautiful settings and spell binding descriptions all made for a cinematic experience that would pull me to any screen. The humour was bang on, the romance so lovely, and the book had enough fab characters to have me whisper the word ’sequel’! All in all, so up my street and beyond beyond recommended. Thanks so much to the publisher and Netgalley for the book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

#Coverreveal #holiday A Wedding in Tuscany by Sandy Barker Book 5 #holidayromance series @sandybarker @0neMoreChapter_

I came across Sandy Barker’s books a few years ago when I heard about how she is one of the best authors at describing fantastic settings and gorgeous romance. Understatement of the decade!!! I can guarantee instant transportation, taking you on that foreign holiday you so deserve! But I digress. Time for a reveal ..

What they say: Reunite with your favourite characters from The Holiday Romance series as they gather together for love, laughter and a party they’ll never forget

The Parsons sisters are all loved up.

Sarah has everything she ever wished for; she lives with her gorgeous boyfriend and their cat in Sydney and life couldn’t be better. If only she wasn’t so anxious about turning the big 4 0.

Meanwhile Cat is happily loved up with Jean-Luc, except she lives in London, and he lives in Paris. She loves their long-distance relationship so why is she worrying about their future.

But a surprise wedding proposal is about to change everything for these sisters. And with all their family and friends gathering at a vineyard in Tuscany to celebrate, love, laughter and mayhem are about to ensue.

Readers have fallen in love with The Holiday Romance series…

‘A fun read with lots of laughs, love and sizzles’ Ritu, NetGalley

‘The dose of escapism that I didn’t know I needed’ Andrea, NetGalley

‘The perfect getaway . . . it made me daydream’ Denise, NetGalley

‘A beautiful story’ Rosamond, NetGalley

‘A fun, feel-good read’ Nikki, NetGalley

‘Perfect vacation vibes . . . if you’re looking for a book to steal your heart, this is the book for you’ Camilla, NetGalley

And now, time for the cover. (Sighs contentedly…)

Bk 5 in the #HolidayRomance series is out June 17!
Join Cat, Sarah & your faves from the series.
The adventure of a lifetime is about to begin!


About the author

I’m a writer, traveller and hopeful romantic with a lengthy bucket list. I love exploring new places, outdoor adventures, and eating and drinking like a local when I travel, and many of my travel adventures have found homes in my novels. I’m also an avid reader, a film buff, a wine lover and a coffee snob. My first novel, a romantic comedy set in Greece and inspired by my real-life love story, was published in June 2019 by One More Chapter (HarperCollins). In 2020, two follow-ups in the Holiday Romance series hit the shelves: That Night in Paris and A Sunset in Sydney. My novel, The Christmas Swap, is a stand-alone inspired by some of my own Christmas adventures, and coming soon is a stand-alone romcom set in the world of Reality Television. This will be followed up by books 4 and 5 in the Holiday Romance series, and I am currently co-writing a contemporary thriller with Fiona Leitch. I am represented by Lina Langlee of The North Literary Agency.

So there we go (gazes at cover …) Definitely one to watch, and out june 17! I’ve preordered mine!!

The Family Holiday by Shalini Boland #Netgalley #BookReview #Thriller

What they say:

Two families. One house swap. A vacation to die for.

The white-washed Italian villa is perfect. I thought it might feel odd, living in a stranger’s house for the summer, but as my husband and children swim in the infinity pool, I start to relax. And then, in the back of a wardrobe, I find a photograph that shatters everything…

Sparkling green eyes, square jaw, lopsided smile. A young man with his arm around a beautiful woman. The picture is old and faded but I’d recognise him anywhere. The man is my husband.

But we’ve never met the family we’ve swapped homes with and my husband swears it isn’t him in the photo. He’s lying. We argue on the balcony with the sun setting behind us and I storm out.

When I finally calm down enough to go back to the villa to confront him, I find him sprawled across the veranda… dead.

Why would someone kill my husband? Am I in danger? And how well did I really know the man I married?

The review: I know I start every review with a ‘what they say’, aka the blurb, but this is one time I’ll tell you it’s better not reading anything.

I loved this, the story of a family, the Kildares, who decide that for a holiday they’ll swap with a family from a different country. The country is Italy and so we meet Amber, a lady who lives a charmed life with her lovely Italian husband.

How I loved this book!! It was a classic slow burn, but with some great ‘mike drop’ moments, where you suddenly, and I mean brilliantly out of the blue, got hit over the head with how one of the characters was playing the role of someone a lot friendlier than they seemed. The second half of the book was almost like those satisfying clicking rollarcoasters, gathering momentum and building your intrigue as to what was to come. I’ll admit the pacing was up and down in places, partly due to the blurb which insinuates the book going a certain way, but, to be honest I was so invested and enjoyed it so much that I didn’t care. There is a twist of course, which will divide some, personally I loved it!

What else can I say … very much recommended and thanks so (so so!) much to Bookouture and Netgalley for the book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

#BookReview The Little Library on Cherry Lane by Katie Ginger @KatieGAuthor

What they say: The heart-warming new novel from the author of The Secrets of Meadow Farmhouse and The Perfect Christmas Gift. The ideal next read for fans of Cathy Bramley, Rachael Lucas and Heidi Swain

Elsie Martin may lead a quiet life, but working in her beloved local library is enough to make her happy. After all, books have always been her armour against the world. So when the library is threatened with closure to make way for a new housing development, Elsie knows it has to be saved – and that, despite being painfully shy, she needs to lead the campaign to save it.
Jacob Yardley thinks he’s doing the right thing by building a new affordable housing development. Why shouldn’t local people be able to buy a house in the place they grew up? Having to leave his own small hometown broke his heart. Plus, people don’t really use libraries anymore, do they?
As Elsie and Jacob clash over the future of the library, sparks begin to fly. Jacob is falling back in love with books and libraries – could he possibly be falling for her too? And will Elsie be able to save the library that means so much to her?

The review:

Any book which features a library will no doubt grab any of us book lovers out there, I don’t know about you, but for me the library was the starting point for my love of books, and my library card was a laminated little source of pride- I had somewhere to belong to, where the people behind the counter nodded to me as I walked in, then chatted about my choices as they scanned them out.

The library on Cherry Lane brought this feeling of home and belonging to the locals too, sounding like a slightly busier version, with the local group meet up going on, but no less warm than ours. I nodded appreciatively at the goings on and descriptions, and swooned for our lead, Elsie, who was one in a cast that was, without doubt, the most worthy of being cast on the big screen I’ve found for some time.

Put with the premise, that of saving the library when developers came in to knock it down, the action added to the cinematic feel, helped by Jacob, a man who needed to prove his worth to his building tycoon dad.

This book had it all and then oodles more! It was warm, bright, vivid, vibrant, funny and gorgeous, everything you need from a feel good read. This is definitely going to be a contender for book of the year! Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the book in return for an honest review.