Book Review: My Best Friend’s Wedding by Tilly Tennant

About the Book:

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Falling snow, sparkling champagne, and an ex that Libby would rather forget…

As chief bridesmaid, Libby knows she should be having the time of her life at her best friend’s snowy Christmas Eve wedding. But she’s at the mercy of three bossy little flower girls and she’s not looking her best in an enormous fuchsia dress. Which is a shame, as it is the first time she’s going to see her ex Rufus. The man she was supposed to marry. The man who left her alone at the altar…

As the dancing begins, and Libby does her best to avoid her ex, the snow outside falls faster and faster, making it impossible for the guests to leave. Snowed in at Lovage Hall, Libby is charmed by American Noah with his dark cropped hair and dimpled cheeks, and the two of them share their dreams and a very passionate kiss.

But when the morning comes, and the snow melts, a shocking revelation about Noah comes to light and Rufus reveals the desperately sad reason he ended their relationship. As Rufus begs for another chance, Libby’s head tells her to trust the man she’s known for years, but her heart can’t quite let go of the spark she had with Noah. Will she make the right decision for her own happy ending?

A gorgeous, romantic heart-warming read with characters that will find their way into your heart and stay there. Perfect for fans of Jill Mansell, Shari Low and Jenny Colgan.

My Thoughts:

My Best Friend’s Wedding follows Libby as she navigates her role as chief bridesmaid at her best friend’s wedding while trying to maintain her calm among all the chaos. The story is light and set in a single place covering three whole days. The main focus is the wedding and Libby’s interactions with the various characters.

The reader is also introduced to Noah, a potential love interest with whom Libby feels an instant attraction and ends up spending time overnight while snowed in. We also meet Libby’s ex, the one who cheated on her and now wants her back. I felt that some of the character development fell flat and I did not connect with the characters as much as I would have liked.

The entire setting was monotonous with a lot of focus on the three younger bridesmaids and their behavior. Libby, though kind and endearing, is not easy to relate to, though I did enjoy how adept she was at handling most of the situations.

Overall this is a pleasant one time read that the reader can sail through without having to think too much. It has a good mix of fun and romance and some of the character bonding is definitely worth reading about. This does read like a light rom-com with just enough in the plot to keep the reader going until the end. Though not one of my favorites by this author, I did enjoy the book.

Book Review: When We Were Sisters by Cynthia Ellingsen

About the Book:

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Two sisters who haven’t spoken for twenty years. One summer to bring a family back together.

Jayne Winters hasn’t seen her sister Charlotte since that last childhood holiday at their grandmother’s North Carolina beach house. Separated after that summer by their parents in a bitter divorce, Charlotte has never forgiven Jayne for not fighting to stay together.

So when Jayne discovers that they have both inherited the beach house, and that their grandmother’s last wish was for them to renovate it together, it feels like a miracle: one last chance to win her sister back.

At first Charlotte will barely speak to her. But slowly the memories of swimming races and storytelling in their attic bedroom looking over the sea start to break down the wall between them. With the help of photographs and letters left by their grandmother for them to find, the two women begin to restore not just the creaking mahogany staircase and the faded antique wallpaper, but their own relationship.

But then Jayne discovers that Charlotte has kept a heart-stopping secret from their past from her. Can she find it in her heart to forgive her sister and keep their grandmother’s dream of reuniting them alive—or are some wounds too big to heal?

An emotional and uplifting read about sisters, secrets and the family bonds that hold us together no matter how complicated they are, from the bestselling author of The Lighthouse Keeper. Fans of Mary Ellen Taylor, Elin Hilderbrand and Mary Alice Monroe will love this.

My Thoughts:

When We Were Sisters is a heart-warming story that follows sisters Jayne and Charlotte as they come together to honor their Grandmother’s last wishes. As per her will, the sisters have to stay together at their grandmother’s house and work on it’s renovations. Separated from each other as a result of their parents divorce, the sisters have a lot to work through, if they give each other a chance.

I loved how this book takes you on a roller coaster of emotions with a strong focus on the bond between the sisters. The love for a sibling is one of the most basic and the author captures the yearning to connect and be a family, very well. At first reluctant, the sisters are forced to confront their feelings and try to talk to one another. As the story progresses, the reader will find out more and more about their past, the circumstances behind their parents decisions and some hidden truths which have the strength to break a person.

In the midst of all this, we see stability in Charlotte’s life, not without it’s own problems but those which  can be worked out together. Jayne deals with the beginnings of a new romance as well as the chance to finally connect with her sister and her family. As their lives mix, Jayne tries to form bonds with her nephews and bring back some light into her sister’s eyes reminiscent of their childhood.

This is a story of love, loss, summer fun and a second chance at a relationship that could help to heal old wounds and even some new ones. Secrets are never good and they have the power to destroy everything. However, I think that the strength of the characters and perseverance bring this story together with a conclusion that is tearful and full of joy. I definitely recommend this book that is filled with all kinds of emotions and is beautifully written until the end!

Book Review: A Lesson in Murder (A Lady Eleanor Swift Mystery Book 7) by Verity Bright

About the Book:

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When Lady Swift is invited to her old school, she walks through familiar classrooms, finds her favourite books in the library… and surely that’s not a body? Time for a lesson in murder!

Autumn, 1921. Lady Eleanor Swift is invited to her old school, St Mary’s, as a guest speaker. Her favourite teacher, Mrs Wadsworth, has asked that Eleanor talk about her intrepid travels around the globe – travelling the Silk Road by bicycle, crossing the Himalayas and even befriending the Maharaja of India. But in the circumstances, perhaps it would have been a good idea to talk about her career as a daring detective…

Because no sooner has Eleanor brushed up on her times tables then she is greeted by terrible news: Mrs Wadsworth has been murdered. Eleanor is utterly devastated but she owes it to her dearest teacher to find out who killed her and why. So, alongside Gladstone the bulldog, it’s best paw forward to track down a villain.

But when the art teacher is also found dead, Eleanor is sure someone is trying to do away with the people who taught her everything. As Eleanor delves into possible motives, she discovers a clue in the most unlikely place: her mother’s old school diary. Does the route to the murderer lie within a secret passageway her mother uncovered? Can Eleanor nail the culprit in time or is the killer coming for her next?

A totally gripping and glamorous 1920s cozy! Fans of Agatha Christie, T.E. Kinsey and Rhys Bowen are in for a treat.

My Thoughts:

This is the second book by author Verity Bright that I am reading and once again I must admit that I loved it. I first met Lady Eleanor Swift in ‘Murder in the Snow’, Book 4 of the series. Surprisingly or maybe not, I was able to dive right in and connect with all the characters in the story. Having missed some of the books in between, the current one is no different. I was instantly transported back to the 1920s along with Eleanor, Clifford the Butler and Hugh the Police Inspector.

I quite liked how the author shows us a different aspect of Eleanor’s life in this book, bringing to us a glimpse of her past while also showing how she could be an inspiration to the younger generations. For the time period in which the story is set in, Eleanor’s ways were indeed quite progressive and it was heartening to read about her ability to share some of her experiences with the children at the school and with us too!

I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the strong bond between Eleanor and her butler, Clifford. This is unique and endearing. The hint of romance in the background with the Police Inspector made the story all the more interesting. Even though the death of an old teacher was quite saddening, I enjoyed reading about how Eleanor conducts her investigation and tries to bring the killer to justice. Sometimes the reader is torn between exasperation and laughter at the main characters and this just adds to the appeal of the plot. The other characters in the book including the children under Eleanor’s temporary care were engaging and made me feel a part of them as the story progressed.

This book is definitely a must read for fans of cozy mysteries or any mystery in general! I highly recommend the author’s books and this entire series (even though I have not read most of the books in the series! I hope to rectify this very soon)

A huge thank you to Bookouture and netgalley for the advance copy of the book. The review is my honest opinion.

Book Review: A Letter to Three Witches by Elizabeth Bass

About the Book:

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From acclaimed author Elizabeth Bass, an bubbly, quirky paranormal rom-com set in the sleepy college town of college town of Zenobia, New York, a place where witches have been banned from practicing their magic…until romance problems among the great-granddaughters of the witch whose destructive spells invoked the edict cause their long-suppressed inner witches to go berserk…

In the sleepy college town of Zenobia, New York, the only supernatural trace on display is the name of Gwen Engel’s business—Abracadabra Odd Job Service. But Gwen’s family has some unusual abilities they’ve been keeping under wraps—until one little letter spells big trouble…

Nearly a century ago, Gwen Engel’s great-great-grandfather cast a spell with catastrophic side-effects. As a result, the Grand Council of Witches forbade his descendants from practicing witchcraft. The Council even planted anonymous snitches called Watchers in the community to report any errant spellcasting…

Yet magic may still be alive and not so well in Zenobia. Gwen and her cousins, Trudy and Milo, receive a letter from Gwen’s adopted sister, Tannith, informing them that she’s bewitched one of their partners and will run away with him at the end of the week. While Gwen frets about whether to trust her scientist boyfriend, currently out of town on a beetle-studying trip, she’s worried that local grad student Jeremy is secretly a Watcher doing his own research.

Cousin Trudy is so stressed that she accidentally enchants her cupcakes, creating havoc among her bakery customers—and in her marriage. Perhaps it’s time the family took back control and figured out how to harness their powers. How else can Gwen decide whether her growing feelings for Jeremy are real—or the result of too many of Trudy’s cupcakes?…

My Thoughts:

A Letter to Three Witches starts of with just that. A letter arrives at each of the three cousins’ houses, Gwen, Trudy and Milo. The letter is from Gwen’s adopted sister talking about her leaving and maybe taking one of their partners along. This message turns the three lives in disarray.

The story then follows the three cousins as they try to investigate and find out the truth behind Tannith’s words. The main secret they are keeping, they are witches but are not allowed to practice. The author gives us enough of the history to understand what happened in the family and how it has impacted the current generation. The story is simple and fun at times. There is unexpected magic, turning humans into animals and vice versa and a lot of bonding between family members. Secrets are found out and new relationships are forged in this fun rom-com style book.

I did find it a little difficult to connect with the characters and was not as invested in their lives as I would have liked to have been. I did however enjoy the story and how the cousins finally take back control of their lives and love. Some parts of the story seemed rushed but on the whole I think it was an enjoyable one time read! The writing is quirky and gives us a lot of happy vibes.

I would definitely recommend this for those who would like a light read with some fun, magic, love and family all in one.

Book Review: Little Bones (Detective Lottie Parker Book 10) by Patricia Gibney

About the Book:

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She lifted up her granddaughter from the cot, clutched her to her chest and, without looking at her beautiful daughter lying dead on the floor of her bedroom, ran from the house. Only when she was outside did she let a wail escape her lips, frightening the baby who joined in her screams.

When Isabel Gallagher is found murdered on the floor of her baby’s nursery by her mother, it’s a gruelling case for Detective Lottie Parker. Isabel’s pyjamas have been ripped, her throat cut and an old-fashioned razor blade placed in her hand. As Lottie looks at the round blue eyes and perfect chubby cheeks of Isabel’s baby daughter, she can’t understand who would want to hurt this innocent family.

That very same day she receives a call with devastating news. Another young mother, Joyce Breslin, has gone missing, and her four-year-old son Evan has been abducted from daycare. Lottie is sure that the missing mother and son are linked to Isabel’s death, and when she finds a bloody razor blade in their house, her worst fears are confirmed.

Desperate to find little Evan, Lottie leaves no stone unturned as she delves into Isabel and Joyce’s pasts and when she realises the two women have been meeting in secret, she knows she must find out why.

But when Joyce’s body is found in a murky pond and some little bones are found on a windy hillside, it feels as if this merciless killer will stop at nothing. The bones aren’t Evan’s but can they give Lottie the final clue to find the innocent child before more lives are taken?

This absolutely gripping and unputdownable crime thriller from bestselling author Patricia Gibney will leave you gasping for breath. A perfect read for fans of Angela Marsons, Robert Dugoni and Rachel Caine.

My Thoughts:

Little bones is Book 10 in the series that follows Detective Lottie Parker and her team. This is the first book that I read in this series and by the author. I liked the fact that I was able to read the book as a stand-alone though a little bit of the backstory is lost. This did not reduce the impact of this mystery thriller.

Lottie is dealing with two different crimes: the murder of a young woman while her four month old child is in the room; a missing woman and her four year old child. These seem to be different events, but Lottie suspects a connection due to razor blades that keep popping up which she seeks to find. The main target is to find the missing child and save him before something bad happens.

The story is well-written, fast paced with a strong focus on the plot and development. The characters are intriguing and I enjoyed the group dynamics of the team of investigators. As the plot unravels, the characters are pulled in different directions making us wonder about what is going on. This is the best part of the writing. It keeps the reader involved and guessing until the very end and then delivers a final punch.

I am also looking forward to reading the previous books and to getting to know Lottie Parker more. Her story is interesting as it gives us an insight into who she is and how she ended up where she is today! I enjoyed this book and I highly recommend it for those who are interested in police procedurals, detective stories, mysteries and thrillers that lead to a satisfying (though sad at times) end.

Book Review: Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café by Jessica Redland

About the Book:

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Welcome to The Starfish Café – where you will find stunning views, delicious food and lifelong friendships.

Two broken hearts.

Since she inherited The Starfish Café, Hollie has poured her heart into the business, striving to keep her mother’s traditions and warm-hearted spirit alive. But behind closed doors Hollie is searching for true happiness as she grieves the tragic loss of her family who were once the beating heart of the café…

An unexpected meeting.

Jake lives by two rules: don’t let anyone get close and don’t talk about what happened. Little does he know that a chance meeting at The Starfish Café, facilitated by a fluffy lost dog, is about to turn his world upside down…

The chance to love again.

Can Hollie and Jake break down the barriers that have been holding them back from finding love and happiness, before Christmas comes around? After all, with courage, nothing is impossible…

Join top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland for a magical winter at the seaside, where love blossoms and lifelong friendships are made.

My Thoughts:

A huge thank you to Boldwood Books, netgalley and the author for giving me this opportunity to read this book. The review is my own honest opinion.

Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café is a delightful read full of heartbreak, family, friendship and the promise of love.

The story follows Hollie as she deals with running the Café that her mother owned and the loss of her parents and brother. Christmas is always the worst time of year for her and the story follows her journey as she navigates it this particular year! We also meet Jake, a lovely person who has seen tragedy and faced a lot of bullying in his childhood. It’s thanks to the love and understanding shown by his grandmother that he grows into the wonderful human being that he is. I instantly fell in love with Hollie and Jake individually the moment I met them in the book.

The story follows these two people are they find each other by chance thanks to a small fluffy dog who brings about tremendous changes in their lives. He not only forges a bond between them, he helps bridge the gap and acts as a catalyst to the breaking down of multiple walls. I truly think that the dog is the true hero of this story!

The author has done a wonderful job with the setting and the characters. The place is described really well and to me it felt magical. There is something welcoming about a café by the sea and the warmth of family and familiarity. As for the others, I loved Angie and her daughter Katie. They brought light to the book and stability to Hollie as an extended and accepted family. 

Be prepared to deal with a rollercoaster of emotions as the characters’ pasts are revealed and as they start to deal with loss and move towards acceptance. Overall this is a lovely book about two people who find their way back to being themselves and in the process find lasting love. 

Book Review: The Summer We Buried by Jody Gehrman

About the Book:

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An unthinkable crime—and the tattered threads of a friendship gone wrong—come roaring back to terrible new life in Jody Gehrman’s riveting psychological suspense, perfect for fans of Joshilyn Jackson.

Twenty years ago, Tansy was drawn to Selene’s hard edges, her grit, and her knack for survival. Since then, the confused tangle of guilt about covering up a murder shattered their friendship, and even now, at thirty-eight, Tansy has never come to terms with what happened that night.

But now, Selene is back, demanding her old friend repay her. Selene’s daughter, Jupiter, attends the college where Tansy works as a guidance counselor. Selene is convinced that Jupiter’s boyfriend, Colton, is abusive, and wants Tansy to intervene. As she is drawn back into the intensity of Selene’s world, Tansy discovers the ugly truth about Colton. But Tansy suspects there’s far more to the story, and now she’ll finally have to confront Selene once and for all.

My Thoughts:

A huge thanks to NetGalley, Crooked Lane Books and the author for approving my request to read the eARC of the book. 

The Summer We Buried follows Tansy’s first person narration as we meet her and the various other characters through her experiences. The story starts of with an encounter between Tansy and Selene, an old friend. Their friendship was complicated and filled with a secret buried deep down. 

The author starts off alluding to this secret and builds up the story around Selene’s request, expectations and personality. We also see the influence she has on people around her through Tansy’s eyes. The story starts off quite slow and picks up momentum towards the middle.

Tansy, having ignored a secret from her past for a long time is forced to revisit the last summer that she and Selene were together, even as she navigates meeting Selene’s younger brother and her daughter. There is some mystery to the plot, but not enough to be intriguing. Some of the plot lines could have been further developed to include details and situations that help us understand the characters better. I found Tansy’s relationships and past to be under-developed as there was not enough of an explanation. There are just enough facts about what has happened. There are also some plot lines that do not get a proper conclusion leaving us to wonder as to what happens in the end.

However, all this does not take away from the fact that the book kept me hooked until the end. I got the chills in some sections and was even able to empathize with some of the characters’ feelings. Selene’s daughter, Jupiter is in an abusive relationship that she wants to save her from. She turns to Tansy for help in spite of their broken friendship. There is a lot of negativity, some abuse and a budding romance that make the story interesting to read. With all the troubles the characters face, we also see that a mother can do anything for her child and that love knows no bounds.

I would love to recommend this book to those who enjoy a good psychological thriller as the book touches upon some aspects of the human mind that makes us pause to think about people’s actions and the reasons behind them! This is definitely worth reading at least once.

Blog Tour – Book Review: We Belong Together by Beth Moran

Book Blurb:

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Eleanor Sharpley has been living a lie…
Needing to escape her London life quickly, Eleanor throws her things into the back of her car, and heads to her erstwhile best friend Charlie’s family farm.
But Charlie isn’t there. Instead she finds Charlie’s grieving brother Daniel, her eight-month old daughter Hope (a daughter Eleanor had known nothing about), and a crumbling and unloved Damson Farm.
Damson Farm lies at the edge of the village of Ferrington, with the river Maddon flowing at its heart. But Ferrington is a village divided by more than just a river – it is split in two by an age-old feud – between the Old Side and the New Side. Eleanor has run from her problems, straight into a family and a world that has problems of its own.
But Damson Farm has magic too, and as winter gives way to spring, the old farm starts to come to life under Eleanor’s love and care. The orchard starts to blossom with daffodils and bluebells, and the sound of bees busy in their hives fills the warming air. Can Eleanor bring Daniel and the feuding village of Ferrington back to life too, or will her secrets catch up with her first?

Purchase Linkhttps://amzn.to/3g55WF3

About the Author:

Beth Moran
Beth Moran is the author of three previous romance novels, including Making Marion. She regularly features on BBC Radio Nottingham and is a trustee of the national women’s network Free Range Chicks. She lives on the outskirts of Sherwood Forest. Beth’s first novel for Boldwood, Christmas Every Day, was published in September 2019.

Social Media Links:
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/bethmoranauthor
Twitter https://twitter.com/bethcmoran
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/bethmoranauthor/
Newsletter Sign Up Link http://bit.ly/BethMoranNewsletter
Bookbub profile https://www.bookbub.com/authors/beth-moran

My Thoughts:

We Belong Together is a heart-warming story that is well worth the read! The story follows Eleanor as she escapes to her best friend’s family farm to hide from her demons. At the farm, she encounters situations that she did not expect and in the midst of all the secrets, some mystery (this was unexpected) and the good she tries to do, she finds love!

I loved reading about Eleanor, her secretive past (that is hinted at a lot), he relationships and friendships with people. I also enjoyed reading about Daniel and all the people of the village. The characters are pleasure to read about and are very well thought out. The vivid descriptions by the author make it so easy to imagine the village, it’s surroundings and experience the place along with the chanracters.

This is a light read that can be read anytime but would be best for a lazy summer afternoon. I fell in love with the story and enjoyed it completely. This is the first book by the author that I have read and I am definitely looking forward to reading more!

A huge thank you to NetGalley and Boldwood Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book!

We Belong Together Blog Tour

Book Review: Saved by the Spell (House of Magic #2) by Susanna Shore

About the Book:

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Magic and I hadn’t exactly had a good start, but thanks to a spell that made me repulsive to men, I was seriously considering becoming a witch hunter.

A chance encounter with a charming stranger makes Phoebe dream of a happily-ever-after, until she learns that there’s a spell on her that makes her repulsive to men. Luckily her boss, Archibald Kane, and her new landladies are experts on magic. Only this one seems to confound them all.

Who has spelled her and why? Is it a challenge on Kane’s leadership of the mages? Or is there a more sinister game afoot?

Phoebe doesn’t mind the space men give her in the tube, but her cousin’s engagement party is coming up. How is she to celebrate, if she makes half the guests nauseous? And how is she to charm the man of her dreams when she suspects he’s part of the problem?

It might take the Archmage to break the spell—if only they could find him. A spell may be needed to save them both.

My Thoughts:

This is the first book by the author that I have read. I dived right into Book 2 without having read Book 1, but that was alright. I was easily able to catch on to who the characters are and what happened in Book 1 based on the references.

The story follows Phoebe as she once again finds herself in an awkward situation with magic. She has been spelled and is now repelling all men. This makes it difficult for her at work with her boss and at home. Surrounded by mages, Archmages, werevolves and vampires, Phoebe just might have a chance to break the spell. Who knows, maybe being spelled can come in handy or maybe not? Read on to find out.

The story is light and fast paced, the events developing rather quickly. The plot is straightforward but with an element of mystery that adds value to the magic of the book. I enjoyed reading this book and getting to know the various eccentric characters. The author has added in some humor to lighten the situations further and this helps to set the story apart.

I am definitely looking forward to reading the next book to join Phoebe, Archibald and all the others on their next adventure.

Book Review: Lord of the Masquerade by Erica Ridley

About the Book:

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A fun, fast-paced interracial romance full of banter, scandal, and devastating secrets, from a New York Times bestselling author:

Entrepreneur Miss Unity Thorne helped two different men amass their fortunes—only to end up on the street. She’s scraping by at the theatre, but this isn’t the show she plans to star in. The next fortune Unity builds will be hers alone. Her masquerade-themed assembly rooms will rival the ton, but to do so, she’ll have to apprentice the most dangerous rake of all.

The arrogant, sexy-and-he-knows-it Duke of Lambley’s weekly masquerade parties are decadent odes to excess: unlimited food, drink, dancing, romantic gardens, and private pleasure rooms upstairs. Everyone loves his balls, and he likes it that way. He’ll take a wife someday, but it certainly won’t be the pretty termagant who challenges him in the ballroom and the bedroom…

In the Rogues to Riches historical romance series, Cinderella stories aren’t just for princesses!

My Thoughts:

This is yet another lovely romance by Erica Ridley this time in the Rogues to Riches series. The story follows the Duke of Lambley as he orchestrates and presides over his masquerade parties. They are well planned and cater to every persons needs specifically while keeping everyone anonymous except to him. One might even say that he is controlling and this is exactly what our heroine Miss Unity Thorne thinks.

Unity hears about these much sought after parties and decides to find a way to observe them in the hopes of one day hosting her own. An entrepreneur in her own right, she helped her cousin with his business before she was cast away. Left with nothing, she tries to find her way, full of confidence. This is what drew me to the character.

This is a simple one time read that follows the two characters as they meet, fight their attraction and eventually fall in love. They are so wrong for another which just makes it right in the end! I have enjoyed reading Erica Ridley’s books in the past and once again am happy to recommend this pleasant and at times scandalous (for the time it is set in) read!