Saturday, 31 December 2016

Reading Bingo - 2016

A couple of weeks ago, I spotted this bingo game on both CleopatraLovesBooks & Our Book Reviews Online and my imagination was sparked instantly.

So instead of a top X books of the year which I was never going to be able to write as I can never make those sorts of decisions, I thought we would look back at 2016, in a slightly more random way, which is only befitting a blog called Rachel's Random Reads!

This is the bingo board that I need to either produce a full house for, or see just how many squares I will be able to cross off!



All I have to do now, is scour my Goodreads account, see what I have read over the past 12 months, and hope I can match some books to the squares. Wherever possible I will link the book title to my review on here, if I wrote one.

A Book With More Than 500 Pages

I will admit that nowadays books with 500+ pages can scare me, as I know I can't read them as fast I I want to. However there are some authors that I am more than happy to read regardless of size of book, and Karen Swan is one of them. Christmas Under The Stars was a brilliant longer book for 2016 and one I am so happy I read. 
A Forgotten Classic

I don't really read classics ever, apart from those I had to years and years ago at school. However I did this year read A Cornish Christmas Carol by Liz Fenwick, which is a modern take on the Dickens classic A Christmas Carol 




A book with non human characters
Having done my #CuteChristmas event recently I have read quite a few books this year that included non human characters, even as the main characters. Bertie's Gift by Hannah Coates is one of the standouts, a book that was emotional and adorable too, just an all around impressive book. 

A funny book

I am very partial to a bit of humour, but when asked for a funny book of the year, I would have to say Bricking It by Nick Spalding, which had me laughing out loud in hysterics at one point. 


A book set on a different continent 

It is probably by now quite well documented that I love books with an element of travel in them or fabulous locations. The one that is coming to mind for this category Little Girl Lost by Janet Gover, which is set in the small outback town of Coorah Creek, in Australia, so about as removed from London as you can get. 


A book your friend loves 

As part of the book blogging community, I obviously see a lot of book recommendations, however when your best friend, the love Alison Drew from Ali - The Dragon Slayer, pops up and tells me I really need to read a Jill Shalvis book and doesn't stop telling me, I tend to listen. When she then tags me in a giveaway of a Jill Shalvis Christmas book, which I go on to enter and win, I realise it must be fated, so my pick for a book my friend loves has to be The Trouble With Mistletoe by Jill Shalvis. There are other authors she tells me to read and I do listen when I can! 


A book that is more than 10 years old

Since I tend to stick to newer books while I'm blogging its rare for me to read anything as old as 10 years, unless its from the back catalogue of an author that I love. I think I only had 1 eligible book for this category, which is Stately Pursuits by Katie Fforde which was first published in 2003 and had all the warmth of a typical book by this author.  


The second book in a series

I have read quite a few second books of series this year, a lot of them I think though will just be two book series, since they were a summer and Christmas release. Whereas my choice for this square is Rules: Things are Changing at the Little School by the Sea by Jenny Colgan which is the second book in a proposed six book series, and it really does feel like Mallory Towers for adults. 


A book with a number in the title

It appears I have read a few books that had the number one in the title, but I thought for this option, I would go for a less obvious number. As it so happens I love Michelle Gorman's books, and enjoy dogs, so her new release this year, Love is a Four-Legged Word was great for me.


A book with an author under thirty 

Well this is a tricky category, as really without looking up the age of every author I've read this year, I can't really produce a shortlist. I asked my best friend if she knew if any of the authors we both love are young, and the reply was Lynsey James. Quick check of her bio, and we have an under thirty author. This year I read two more of Lynsey's releases in her Luna Bay series, and I've opted for The Silver Bells Christmas Pantomime, as I love Christmas books so much, and still have a festive mindset! 


A book of short stories

As far as I can recall I've only attempted to read 3 short story compilations all year, there was the one that I gave up on that I won't name, there was Champagne and Lemonade by John Hickling, but I only read a few of the stories, as that was all that was required for the blog tour, I was taking part on. However I did read the whole of one book of short stories, and it was 4 in the Afternoon by Geralyn Corcillo, which I thoroughly enjoyed. 


The first book by a favourite author

This year I have read the first two books of the Starlight Diner series by Helen Cox. I was very impressed with the debut and the second book which I only just finished a few days ago (review in the new year), where I have realised that I definitely have a new favourite author in Helen Cox to add to my growing collection of must read, favourite authors. The first book is called Milkshakes and Heartbreak at the Starlight Diner, and I loved the 50s diner setting, as well as the turns the book took. 
A book with a one word title

I've read a few one word titled books this year, then again I've also read a few books with titles so long I wondered how on earth I would ever tweet about them! My pick for a book with a one word title is Chances by Ruth Saberton (review coming tomorrow), which is so much more than a simple YA book about horses and I was impressed by the amount of story in it. 

A book of non fiction 

Due to my Greek Week and Booklympics I have read a few more non-fiction books this year than I may have in other years. Although I have enjoyed them all, I am including Falling In Honey by Jennifer Barclay as my pick for this spot on the bingo board, mainly because of my feelings of wanting to move to Tilos after I had finished it. 


A book you heard about online 

I don't recall the specifics of which blogs I spotted Viral by Helen Fitzgerald, but I do remember the general feeling that the opening was scandalous and shocking, and that was what attracted me to the book. I wouldn't have heard about it at all if it wasn't for the rest of the blogging community. 

A book based on a true story 

Outside of travel and autobiographies, which aren't just based on a true story but usually are a true story, this isn't really a category I thought I had an entry for. However when thinking back properly, I remembered that Lantana Bleu, author of  Learning The Life (The Spicy Secrets of a Jet Set Temptress #1) made it quite clear in her intro to the book that it was all based on her experiences as a real life courtesan. 


A book that scares you 

One of the best psychological thrillers I read this year has to be Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard, which was a book that drew me in completely and currently has had me far too scared to book another cruise, given if anything goes wrong at sea, the odds are nobody would ever know the truth, and frankly that does scare me! 

A book that became a Movie

I've not read any books that have since become movies, but I have read a few that have had TV/Movie rights secured so there is a chance that Behind Closed Doors by BA Paris, will become one in the future, which is a decision I can only applaud as it was a book that even as early as February last year I had down as a contender for book of the year, a statement I still stand behind. 

A book with a mystery

Having read a lot of crime and thrillers with lots of them featuring mysteries, I have decided to have my pick for this category from a completely different angle, as I recall being stumped by the mystery aspect of The Secret of Orchard Cottage by Alex Brown, which I feel is the best of the Tindledale series so far. 

A book at the bottom of the to be read pile

Arguably a lot of what comes up on my Rachel Reads Randomly votes could be counted at bottom of TBR pile books, as often I have had the books for many years, however the book that has jumped out at me, is one I reviewed for my newer Back Catalogue Books feature, and is one I bought in 2013 for Kindle, hence it had dropped to the bottom of my TBR not because I didn't want to read it, more because of quantity of books I appear to buy, means some good books just languish in the black hole of my kindle. Geli Voyante's Hot or Not by Elle Field is one of those books, and is one that has made me want to read other books by the author. 

A best-selling book

I'm fairly sure I have read quite a few books that have been top of the Amazon best seller charts, potentially including a few other books on this post already. However one of the first books I read for 2016, is one that really stuck with me, and almost certainly was a best seller, and that is Another Love by Amanda Prowse, which follows the story of Romilly and her relationship with alcohol.  





A book with a blue cover

Just scroll this post and I'm sure you can tell I read books with blue covers. I recall at one point over the year that the entirety of my Netgalley shelf looked very blue. What book though am I going to include in this? Well I've gone with Mistletoe on 34th Street by Lisa Dickenson, which is one of my favourite Christmas books of the year, and really gave me a great sense of the festive feeling. 

Free Space

Free Space pretty much gives me a choice to name anything that I have read this year, and after a lot of thought, I have decided that since my second love is of musical theatre, I am going to use this space for my feel good book of the year, which is The Singalong Society for Singletons by Katey Lovell which I adored. 

A book published this year

I'm a book blogger, the majority of what I read is published the year I read it, and as a result this is a near impossible category, as I have no idea how to choose. One of the books that really resonated with me this was debut novel by Isabelle Broom, My Map of You, which transported me back to when I was working on Zakynthos and had a brilliant story to go with it. 


A book by a female author

This is also the other toughest category for me in terms of choice as I'd say probably about 75% of what I read is written by female authors. Which probably gives me an approx pool of 300 books to pick from for this year, which just seems ridiculous. I almost closed my eyes and picked one at random which would be in keeping with my blog, but no I have made a decision. My Husband's Wife  by Jane Corry was superb, it was easily one of the more epic books I have read this year, and for an author who has had a change in direction, and this being her first book of this genre, I was bowled over but just how good it is, and I'm already looking forward to her next book, which is out in May. 

Well with a bit of creative interpretation I have managed a full house on my first ever attempt at Reading Bingo! And what is my prize you may ask? Probably bragging rights, and the knowledge that if you see me attempting to narrow down a years reading ever again into just 25 books in assorted categories, that you have my permission to remind me how impossible that really is.

There are so many fantastic books I would have loved to include in these categories, but didn't really want to end up doing a top 3 or something for each one, so had to make decisions.

How well would you do at Reading Bingo for 2016? Would you be able to manipulate your way to a full house, or fall flat at the first hurdle?  What do you think of my choices?

And finally let me just wish everyone Happy New Year! I hope you all have a wonderful time celebrating the start of what will hopefully be a far improved 2017, and having already started reading some of the 2017 releases, I can say its already shaping up to be a great year for books 

Book Review - Midnight and Mistletoe At Cedarwood Lodge by Rebecca Raisin

Amazon UK
Title: Midnight and Mistletoe at Cedarwood Lodge
Author: Rebecca Raisin
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: HQ Digital
Publication Date: 22nd December 2016
Rating: 4 Stars


Join Rebecca Raisin for the final festive part of the Cedarwood Lodge serial and see who might be kissing under the mistletoe…

Planning a New Years Eve Party might be the kind of event Clio Winters used to dream about organising, but when everything is feeling a bit up in the air, she has to hope that this New Years her wish really will come true.

What a satisfying conclusion to a really sweet little 3 book series, starring Cedarwood Lodge at the heart of it. This is the third novella of the series and if you have read the others then you will be glad to know that all loose ends do get tied up, we finally found out the explanation for why Clio's mum acts the way she does, and Clio finally has some romance of her own (although I am not saying who with). 

If you haven't read the others yet, then please do read them first as I really think the three should be read together if at all possible, especially as it had been a month since I read the second book, and I struggled a bit for the first few chapters to get back into the swing of things. 

That unsettling feeling soon wore off as I remembered the characters properly, and loved catching up with them all. Aunt Bessie is an unexpected star of this book, as her donuts are becoming more in demand. It is always funny to watch a technophobe get to grips to social media! 

The installment takes in Christmas Day, and New Years Eve and a massive party that is planned from Boxing day onwards, with all the small hiccups you would expect from event planning at short notice. That being said I would have loved to have been there myself as it sounded like a lot of fun. 

There are many scenes that had me smiling in this story including any that involve Armory's Christmas present, and how she changes as a result of her present. 

Midnight and Mistletoe at Cedarwood Lodge is a fitting, and amusing finale to our time at Cedarwood Lodge, which could be a good thing as all the food and donut descriptions in the past couple of installments are making me far too hungry, but overall I am sad to say goodbye to the characters and setting. 

Thank you to Netgalley and HQ Digital for this copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Friday, 30 December 2016

Book Review - Up The Seine Without A Paddle by Eliza Watson

Amazon UK
Title: Up The Seine Without a Paddle
Author: Eliza Watson
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Author supplied copy
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: 29th October 2016
Rating: 5 Stars


What do you do when the City of Love doesn't love you?

Caity Shaw takes on Paris and her next event planner job with a bit more confidence--which is immediately shot down when she's forced to take responsibility for a six-year-old brat. They're kicked out of a famous museum, and she goes from being a glamorous event planner--for a funeral directors' group--to a reluctant au pair. Just what she doesn't need as she struggles to regain self-esteem whittled away by an emotionally abusive ex-boyfriend.

Declan, Caity's hot Irish coworker, helps her maintain her sanity and sense of humor when she is repeatedly thrown out of places in Paris. He also perpetuates her facade as an experienced planner, a goal she'll never achieve if she's spending her days at puppet shows. Caity and Declan spend evenings exploring Paris and researching her Irish grandmother's mysterious past, uncovering secrets that could tear Caity's family apart. Declan reveals his own secret, which might bring Caity and him closer, despite her attempts to keep an emotional distance from the charming womanizer. However, the only way to help Declan open up and heal might be to confide in him about her past.

Caity finally has faith in herself--can she learn to have faith that others won't judge her mistakes?

Well this is a book that kept me smiling from the opening chapter, right until the end. There are so many funny scenes in this, in addition to Caity's deeper issues, and the mystery over her grandmother's history all combined in this wonderful book. 

As the second book in the The Travel Mishaps of Caity Shaw series, I do believe it works as a standalone, but since the first book was also really enjoyable, it would be a shame to miss out and not get a more comprehensive feel for these characters.  There are also continuing storylines, which are great for those who have read Flying by the Seat of My Knickers, but may be a bit confusing at first for people new to the series. 

The unofficial recurring theme of the book seemed to be, how many places can Caity get herself thrown out of accidentally in Paris, for a whole number of unusual reasons. This is in part because she seemed to be the babysitter of 6 year old Henry whose parents seemed to not really care that most of the activities going on would not appeal to their child. 

Caity, thanks to Declan who she first met in the previous book, has bluffed her way into working this meeting in Paris, and she is determined to prove herself, and not let her lack of experience show. She is only just starting to gain some self-esteem after splitting with her ex-boyfriend and the problems that relationship had. 

The more I get to see of Caity, the more I like her, she is so enthusiastic about everything to do with this job, perhaps with the exception of touring the catacombs, and even gets to see a few things in Paris a bit off the beaten track, thanks to needing to entertain Henry. 

I'm very intrigued as to what happened with Caity's grandmother, and feel that we will hopefully get more information slowly revealed in the future books of the series, which is just one reason why I am already looking forward to the next book. 

Up The Seine Without A Paddle is a wonderfully light hearted and easy to read book, that will lift your spirits after a tough day, while allowing you to travel to Paris from the comfort of your living room., which is just one of the many reasons that I wholeheartedly love this book, and series. 

Thank you to Eliza Watson for this cop of the book which I reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Book Review - Mad Love by Nick Spalding

Amazon UK
Title: Mad Love
Author: Nick Spalding
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Publication Date: 6th December 2016
Rating: 5 Stars


Can two people who have never met make a marriage work? Popular dating site Sociality thinks so, and is marrying London lad Adam to California girl Jessica to prove it.

What better way to show that your ‘love algorithms’ work than to put two complete strangers together in an expensive publicity stunt? But, as livewire Jess and lazybones Adam quickly discover, just because a computer says you’re the perfect match, it doesn’t make it so!

Two million Sociality subscribers and the media are following the happy couple’s progress, and they have to make a go of it or they’ll lose everything, look like idiots, and destroy Sociality’s reputation. But can the mismatched pair, who seem to be constantly at each other’s throats, put their differences aside and work their way into each other’s hearts?

Nick Spalding, bestselling author of Fat Chance and Bricking It, will make you cry with laughter at this story of marital warfare—complete with sinking boats, badly aimed flatulence, well aimed tennis balls and some very suggestive pastry.

I recall laughing out loud pretty much hysterically at Nick Spalding's previous book Bricking It, so when I spotted Mad Love, I figured I had to give it a go, to see if that was a one off or not. Yet again there was at least one scene and a one-liner else where that had me laughing pretty much uncontrollably. 

It seems as though this is an author that can continually hit my funny bone,  and as a result I thoroughly enjoyed this whole book, which has a rather zany concept, that does seem to work. 

Take two complete strangers, one publicity stunt for an online dating site Sociality, and pray that everything works out for the best! That is pretty much what Cassie at Sociality has done, in running a competition where the winners as matched by her "algorithms" will get married on Valentines Day, get a honeymoon, a cash prize plus an apartment to live in for a year. 

So who are the "lucky" couple that feature in this stunt, well that would be Adam and Jess, who within the two intro chapters one for each of them, you see how on face value badly matched they really appear to be.  The first two chapters don't just serve as an introduction to Adam and Jess, but also give valuable insights into the personalities, and each of them has a laugh out loud instance, that early on in the book too, to give a feeling of starting as you mean to go on. 

Thinking back the majority of chapters have one highly hilarious event happen in them, a lot of them involving the various publicity stunts that Sociality keep arranging to show how happily married their couple are. 

Amongst the events, there is a memorable speedboat trip in an Italian Lake, a French Cookery lesson where one of the bakes turns into not quite what was planned, an exhibition tennis match, which shows just how good each of their aim is when they want, a party that had me almost in stitches, and that is before I mention Bad Bad Baa Sheep! 

The pacing of the book is quick, the writing it witty but also fairly descriptive as I could always see properly what was happening, and just loved the dynamics between Adam and Jess. The ultimate questions that book makes you ponder are would you be willing to take part in the ultimate blind date and end up married to a stranger? What sort of people would even enter that kind of competition? And most importantly do seemingly opposites attract, and can a computer really predict human chemistry?

I loved Mad Love so much, I am now contemplating buying the majority of Nick Spalding's back catalogue to see just how many times he can get me to laugh out loud in public!

Thank you so much to Netgalley and Lake Union Publishing for this copy of the book that I read and reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Book Review - Spring Fever by Emma Davies

Amazon UK
Title: Spring Fever
Author: Emma Davies
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Lawsome Books
Publication Date: 18th November 2016
Rating: 4 Stars


Life is about to get very exciting for Merry and Tom – a new baby, a wonderful new home, and a fresh business venture to get off the ground. Five Penny House is just the place to make their dreams come true, and so what if the locals think the place is cursed? Merry’s not about to let a little thing like that bother her…

For Freya and Sam too, spring heralds the beginning of their new life together at her beloved Appleyard orchard. There are plans to make and a lot of hard work needed if they’re ever to reverse its failing fortunes, but as long as they have each other, what could possibly go wrong? 

Then the rain starts to fall – and keeps on falling – and the new beginning both couples dream of begins to slip from their grasp. For Merry and Tom it now looks like the start of their worst nightmare. But sometimes help can arrive from the most unexpected places…

Action packed second book in the Tales from Appleyard series. For what feels like a reasonable length novella, this has a lot of story in it, and definitely a few moments of heart stopping action. 

It was ages ago when I read book one, and although I sort of remembered it, I was glad I didn't really need to know much to get into Spring Fever, as it feels like all the key relevant bits are mentioned, and the rest well the main focus in on Merry and Tom this time, and they are best friends of Freya and Sam from the orchard. 

Merry and Tom have just moved into a new house, and new business venture, with baby Robyn. They are determined to open a new shop but the locals all think the location is cursed.  As they start to sort out their new properties, they find all manner of things belonging to the old, long forgotten owner, which really inspires Merry.  There are certainly arguments for the Five Penny House to be cursed, especially with the run of luck Merry and Tom appear to be having since they have moved in. 

Freya and Sam are still trying to work on making Appleyard Orchard as good as it can be, they just need to be able to decide just what direction to take it in. 

There are many really good moments in Spring Fever, and the weather plays its part a lot too. Watch out for the excessive rain later on, causing one of the most nerve wracking moments I've read recently.  A really enjoyable novella, in a series that I am liking a lot. I am already looking forward to book 3, and curious to see what that one will be about. 

Thank you to Netgalley and Lawsome for my copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Book Review - Adventurous Proposal by Laura Barnard

Amazon UK
Title:  Adventurous Proposal
Author: Laura Barnard
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Author supplied review copy
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: 12th November 2016
Rating: 5 Stars

After a string of bad dates, Florence Gray is so over online dating. So much so, that if she has to survive another guy standing her up she might just do something crazy ... like accept the first proposal she gets. 

So when she finds herself alone in the bar, again, Florence can hardly believe her eyes-or ears-when Hugh Humphreys swoops in and presents her with an proposal so adventurous she can't believe she's actually considering saying yes.

Because, after all, twenty five days to plan a wedding is some feat and that’s while getting to know your fiancée, their disapproving Mother and dealing with a jealous ex. Throw in the small matter of where they should live and you have Florence wondering what the hell she's gotten herself into.

Can you really countdown to a wedding like an advent calendar? Fall in love with a stranger and make them your husband? Because if she's going to make it down the aisle Christmas morning, Florence has to find out and fast.


What a whirlwind of a book, with arguably completely bonkers main characters, but at the same time, the whole story has a whole grand romantic charm to it, and had me smiling throughout. 

Well let's face it most not bharmy people don't meet in a pub, and decide later that night not only that they should get married, but to have the wedding in 25 days time on Christmas Day.  Well this is what Florence and Hugh do. They barely know each other first names, but suddenly they are thrown into frenzy of wedding preparations, dealing with an ex-girlfriend, a mother in law who doesn't approve and all manner of other things that crop up. 

Not to mention, they are having to put the whole wedding together on a minute budget, comprising their respective saving, as there has been no time to save for a wedding. There is so much amusing mayhem that follows, I wouldn't want to spoil anyone's enjoyment as to just what occurs in any detail. 

Suffice to say that I really loved both Florence and Hugh, and also all their friends. Hugh's grandmother is lovely and wow she can ice-skate. However its Hugh's mother and his ex-fiance that are the not so nice people, and seem determined to spoil the party. 

I loved the sense of fun in this story, and the pacing was spot on for a story of this nature. It was fast and furious, every chapter pretty much was another day in the countdown to Christmas and the wedding, and with it, came more tasks that needed to occur to get a wedding into place. 

Of the few books I have read so far by Laura Barnard this is definitely my favourite, it just hit all the right notes for me, and I also loved the chemistry between Flo and Hugh, which was there in spades!

Thank you so much to Laura Barnard for this copy of the book which I reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Book Review - Duplicity by Sibel Hodge

Amazon UK
Title: Duplicity
Author: Sibel Hodge
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Publication Date: 27th December 2016
Rating: 4 Stars


There are three sides to every story: Yours. Mine. And the truth…

Max and Alissa have a fairy tale life—newlywed, madly in love and enviously rich. Then Max is brutally stabbed to death at their home and Alissa, miraculously, escapes with her life. But why was she spared?

The hunt for the killer begins, uncovering a number of leads—was Max’s incredible wealth the motive? Had his shady business practices finally caught up with him? Or was it a stalker with a dangerous obsession?

Devoted friends rally around gentle, sweet Alissa as she is left to mourn the loss of her husband and pick up her life. But not everyone is who they seem…Deep-rooted jealousies, secrets and twisted love lie just beneath the surface, and not all fairy tales have a happy ending.

Duplicity is a suspenseful thriller from the bestselling author of Look Behind You and Where the Memories Lie.

For a lot of the first part of the book, I will admit I was wondering if I had made a mistake, the story seemed to be fairly open and shut at least on the police's behalf and it all felt too neat and tidy to me. Don't get me wrong I was still interested in what was happening, but I felt as though the story needed a bit more oomph! I then had a day at work and returned to the book, praying that my gut feeling was there had to be a twist that would make the book suspenseful and gripping, and thankfully that was my reward for reading on. 

From the point where things start to make a bit more sense, while understanding more about the murder, from the murderer's point of view, I was fascinated and hooked. 

You need to pay attention at the start of each chapter, as they are all written in the first person, but the person changes depending on the chapter, and the header tells you who you are for that section. I didn't quite twig to start with, so doubled back while I worked out what was going on! 

The main perspectives you get are that of the person "who did it", complete with their childhood background and everything leading up to the moment, in bite sized chunks, so you can get to know them over the course of the book, and try to understand potential motivations. 

The other perspective is that of the detective. I initially struggled to get to grips with this detective and his team, but I was impressed with his determination to not be too bossed about by his superiors and to follow his own hunches. 

As the story progressed I was drawn more and more into it, and it soon became really hard to put the book down at all. The twists were far better than I could have predicted myself, and I loved the whole sequence towards the end, where the pacing suddenly sped up, and there was  a race against time involved. 

This is what I would call a strong suspenseful police procedural that had be second guessing my hunches, and had me completely immersed in the writing towards the end.  There were even some traits from the villain that I was really impressed with, despite them clearly being a sociopath!

Thank you to Netgalley and Thomas & Mercer for this copy of the book. This was my honest and voluntary review. 

Monday, 26 December 2016

My 12 Days of Kindle Sale Picks

I hope everyone had a good day yesterday for Christmas. 

I'm always a fan of the larger Kindle sales, and the new 12 Days of Kindle sale has already been running for a few days, but I really refuse to acknowledge sales at this time of year until Boxing Day, as that is the traditional sale start date, and of course it always helps that having some Christmas money in your pocket makes a sale more interesting!

I am going to pick out from the 440 books in the sale, the ones that have caught my eye for whatever reason, and will split them into a few categories for you!

Take advantage at these prices as they won't last forever! 

Please note the sale ends on 3rd January 2017, so if you are reading this after that date, then please double check the price, before you purchase, and since I am in England, this is the UK Amazon 12 Days of Kindle Sale, other regions may have different sales, and definitely different prices!

Top picks that I have reviewed



Top picks that I own and am looking forward to reading (eventually, when I ever find the time to!)


While My Eyes Were Closed by Linda Green - 99p - I have loved Linda Green's women's fiction books, so really looking forward to starting her psychological drama
The Ballroom Class by Lucy Dillon - 99p - I love Lucy Dillon's books, and couldn't resist picking this up in a previous sale a couple of months ago. 
Would Like To Meet by Polly James - 99p - I admit to being a bad blogger when it comes to this book, it has been on my radar and review pile since before its release, and I still haven't read it. I will though!
Seven Years Bad Sex by Nicky Wells - 99p - Bought this a while ago, and still hoping to fit in reading it at some point. It has such a great title. 
I'll Take New York by Miranda Dickinson - 99p - Apparently this is the only book by Miranda Dickinson that I still haven't read

Books I've purchased from the sale..so with my current reading patterns may appear in a random vote feature at some point! 




There are quite a few other books in the sale that I would also recommend but some of them I read so long before I started blogging, I wouldn't trust myself to give an accurate opinion on them still. There are plenty of great looking books in this sale and I hope you enjoy browsing it for yourselves. 

Have you gone with any of my picks, or what have you purchased?

Book Review - Days Like These by Sue Margolis

Amazon UK
Title:  Days Like These
Author: Sue Margolis
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: 6th December 2016
Rating: 4 Stars


In the new novel from the author of Losing Me, one woman is about to discover what happens when you take the “grand” out of “grandma.”

Recently widowed, Judy Schofield jumps at the chance to look after her two grandchildren for six weeks, while their parents are out of the country. After all, she's already raised one set of children—and quite successfully, if she may say so herself. But all it takes is a few days of private school functions, helicopter parents, video games, and never-ending Frozen sing-a-longs for Judy to feel she's in over her head.

As weeks become months, Judy feels more and more like an outsider among all the young mothers with their parenting theories du jour, especially when she gets on the wrong side of the school's snooty alpha mom. But finding a friend in another grandmother—and a man who takes her mind off all the stress—almost make it worthwhile. She just needs to take it one food allergy, one incomprehensible homework assignment, and one major meltdown at a time...

I'm not sure how many years it has been since I last read a Sue Margolis book, so I was shocked and delighted to see she had a new one out. And then I was scared, just incase my tastes in books had changed so radically that I no longer would like her writing. 

Thankfully I didn't need to worry at all, as it didn't take me long to remember why I feel so at home with this author's writing. 

The characters of Judy and her mother, Freida, between them are composite of the best bits of my own grandmother.  They are nourishers, supportive of their family, couldn't do enough for their daughters, while also trying to have an active group of friends, and putting others first. In a way this was bittersweet for me, as my own grandmother passed away a couple of months ago, but this has brought the grandmother from my childhood back to life, so I very grateful to Days Like These. 

The story revolves around Abbie and Tom's decision to help out in Nicaragua after an earthquake, leaving Judy to look after her grandkids for an initial period of 6 weeks, which soon extends quite a bit further. The children are Rosie who is about 5, and Sam who is 9. 

The two children are some of the stars of the story, and most of the action centres around them, how they are getting on in this situation, and just how Judy is coping. 

Judy only lost her husband a couple of years back, and her mother Freida moved in to help her with her grief. She is still grieving, but by looking after the kids, they are giving her a new purpose in life and a chance to move on. 

What I loved was Judy's thoughts on the private school her grandkids go to, the extra-curriculars, and the different approach she has to things, than the majority of the parents on the school run. She does make friends with another grandma, as well as another mother. 

The other star of the book is without a doubt Frieda who I loved. She is the classic hypochondriac and loves using google to look up hers and others symptoms. She loves to cook and taking care of the family, all while moaning about her aches and pains. She also has a tragic childhood, but not one that is unsurprising, given the horrific era she was trying to live through. Frieda more than Judy uses a lot of yiddish phrases, which again reminds me of my own grandparents, although I hadn't ever seen half the words written, I think I may have heard more of them than I first thought. 

Days Like These is a wonderful story that spans four generations of one family, three of which living under one roof. There is a lot of humour, as well as the more serious storylines, and the children always keep things feeling fresh. I found Rosie to be very sweet, and Sam was a lot more complicated but hes older to that feels very realistic. 

I thoroughly enjoyed my first Sue Margolis book definitely of this decade, and really hope she will continue to write, especially if they are as full of warmth as this one is. 

Thank you so much to Netgalley and Berkley for this copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 
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