All about Books, Book review

Book Review: Together Again by Milly Johnson

The mobile library has dropped off some treats this week including Together Again by Milly Johnson. The reservation list on this book is miles long so I took notice of the sticky note telling me to read it quickly.

Library stash with a range of books but centre place is the cover of Milly Johnson's book Together, Again
Library Stash

Book Review: Together Again by Milly Johnson

Book cover for Together Again by Milly Johnson
Yellow cover with Blue and dark pink typeface. Shows an open front doorway with 3 sisters outside on the steps. One leaning against the pillared entrance, one sitting on the steps and the other sitting on suitcases.
Together Again by Milly Johnson

Title: Together Again

Author: Milly Johnson

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Release date: 29th September 2022

Blurb

Together again after years apart, can they find a new beginning? The brilliant novel full of laughter, love, tears and hope from the Sunday Times bestselling author Milly Johnson.

‘This masterpiece honestly describes the strength and acceptance required to be a family. 5 STARS’ Adele Parks, Book of the Month, Platinum magazine

Sisters Jolene, Marsha and Annis have convened at their beautiful family home, Fox House, following the death of their mother, the tricky Eleanor Vamplew. Born seven years apart, the women are more strangers than sisters.

Jolene, the eldest, is a successful romantic novelist who writes about beautiful relationships even though her own marriage to the handsome and charming Warren is complicated.

Marsha, the neglected middle child, has put all of her energy into her work, hoping money will plug the gap in her life left by the man who broke her young heart.

Annis is the renegade, who left home aged sixteen and never returned, not even for the death of their beloved father Julian. Until now.

So when the sisters discover that their mother has left everything to Annis in her will, it undermines everything they thought they knew. Can saying their final goodbyes to Eleanor bring them together again?

Together, Again is the story of truths uncovered and lies exposed, of secrets told – and kept. It is a novel about sister helping sister to heal from childhood scars and finding in each other support, forgiveness, courage and love.

My Thoughts

Milly Johnson is one author I know will have me laughing one minute and crying the next with her quirky observations and down-to-earth Northern humour, which balances out the heartache and sensitive topics she covers in her romantic fiction. I’m still reeling from the chocolate eclair scene in Woman in the Middle. If you haven’t read it, you need to pop it on your must-read pile with this one. While love, friendship and character’s finding their own self or strength are fundamental in all her books, this one is different.

Maybe it was because there was less romance and more focus on the relationship between sisters from a dysfunctional family, but it sent me on a powerful, hard-hitting, and  emotional rollercoaster. Each sister’s viewpoint got under my skin as they dealt with the emotions following their mother’s death, getting to know each other and the secrets each were hiding. Grief is tackled in many books, but usually the person is loved and missed for their warmth but in this case, the mother was horrid. This triggered different emotions and guilt usually seen, and it was refreshing to see another type of family dynamic shown.  I’m sure it will resonate with many readers. Despite the tough issues covered, Milly Johnson writes with warmth, depth and hope, so when I finished reading I was left with the comforting belief that anything is possible with friendship and support.

Have you read it? I’d love your hear your thoughts. Keep warm and happy reading!

Love

All about Books, Book review

Book review: The Sleepover by Keri Beevis

It seemed to have been ages since I had read a thrilling psychological thriller so when an invite for this book landed in my inbox I had to say yes. The Sleepover by Keri Beevis’s blurb sounded creepy and promised to be an exciting read. Scroll down to see if it fulfilled its potential.

Book review: The Sleepover by Keri Beevis

Book cover for The Sleepover by Keri Beevis. A brooding dark sky with a desolate farmhouse in the foreground with an abandoned child's bike nearby
The Sleepover by Keri Beevis

Title: The Sleepover

Author: Keri Beevis

Publisher: Boldwood Books

Genre: Psychological thriller, crime

Release Date: 24th October 2022

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3o2ugfb

Blurb

When you’re a kid, you imagine monsters to have horns and fangs. That they hide under the bed or in the wardrobe. And you believe they can only come after you when it’s dark.

You don’t expect them to look like everyday people or that they may be someone you already know…

The summer in question started out with hot, fun-filled days and new friendships.

We had just turned thirteen and had our whole lives ahead of us.

But that was before her…

Before we became known as the Hixton Six and our lives become defined by one night.

It’s hard to believe twenty years have passed since she was locked away.

But now she’s free and strange things have started to happen.

When I close my eyes, the creeping anxiety and fear is overwhelming and all too real.

Because the monster is back, and I know she has a score to settle with us.

My Thoughts

This was a thrilling and tense read with unexpected twists and a surprise conclusion. As a page turner, I couldn’t put it down. Luckily, I was in hospital so had the perfect excuse to just keep reading. I read it in a day and it surpassed my all expectations.

It was creepy and held its sinister undertone throughout. Told in three different points of view with seemingly unreliable narrators, it was hard to know who to trust as the story unfolded and the truth of what happened on the fateful night was revealed. This suspicion and twists kept me gripped.

The present dealt with the aftermath of a traumatic event and the effect on adult lives. In some cases, relationships imploded and others the shared event forged deeper bonds. It felt realistic making me engage with the characters more even when their decisions made no sense to outsiders. The threat of vengeance added the tension between the group and was cleverly broken up by the memories of childhood friendships and idyllic summer. Knowing that something terrible would occur to the six children made me fearful for them. I needed to know the inciting event for all the horror and I wasn’t disappointed with the ending.

Would I recommend?

Oh yes, it was a tense page turner where children’s lives were turned upside down by a danger hidden in plain sight and shows how childhood trauma has ramifications into adulthood. The childhood chapters were reminiscent to Stephen King’s Stand by Me in the emotions it evoked.

Keri Beevis is a talented writer and I need to catch up with her other books.

Author Biography

Photo of Keri Beevis. White woman, smiling with silvery long blonde hair wearing a red top.
Keri Beevis

Keri Beevis is the internationally bestselling author of Dying To Tell, Deep Dark Secrets, Trust No One, Every Little Breath and The People Next Door. Dying To Tell reached no. 1 in the Amazon chart in Australia and was a top 25 hit in the UK. Keri wrote her first novel at age twenty, but it was a further twenty years before she was published, after winning a contract in a competition run by a small press. She lives in Norfolk, along with her two naughty kitties, Ellie and Lola, and a plentiful supply of red wine (her writing fuel).

Social Media Links

Facebook: Keri Beevis – Author | Facebook

Twitter: Keri Beevis (@keribeevis) / Twitter

Instagram: Keri Beevis (@keri.beevis) • Instagram photos and videos

Bookbub profile: Keri Beevis Books – BookBub

Thank you Random Thing Tours for inviting me to this tour and providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Love

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All about Books, The Enchanted Emporium's Bookshelf

Book Review: The Beekeeper of Elderflower Grove by Jaimie Admans

After a sweltering few days, I hope you are all well. I’m excited to share my review for The Beekeeper of Elderflower Grove by Jaimie Admans. My attraction to this book was two-fold, firstly I adore bees and if I had the space I’d love to learn beekeeping and secondly, I loved Jaimie Admans The Post box at the North Pole. If this book was half as enjoyable as that one, I knew I’d be in for a treat.

Scroll down to see if this bee filled romance met my high expectations.

Book Review: The Beekeeper of Elderflower Grove by Jaimie Admans

Book cover for  The Beekeeper of Elderflower Grove by Jaimie Admans. Title in yellow. 
Green meadow with bees in the foreground and a mansion in the background.  A woman in a red dress is walking towards two beehives.
The Beekeeper of Elderflower Grove by Jaimie Admans

Title: The Beekeeper of Elderflower Grove

Author: Jaimie Admans

Publisher: HQ Digital

Genre: Romance, Women’s fiction

Release Date: 15th July 2022

Purchase Links

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B09Z757JFW

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B09Z757JFW

Blurb

Her new start is about to bee-gin!

Having moved into her mum’s spare room after a disastrous break-up, Kayleigh Harwood is desperate for a fresh start. When she sees an opening for a new beekeeper at the old manor house at Elderflower Grove she jumps at the chance – despite not knowing a thing about bees…

 The abandoned house holds a mystery of its own – the previous owner vanished years ago – and locals have been inventing stories about the manor ever since. Unable to resist the urge to look around, Kayleigh is shocked to find drop-dead-gorgeous gardener Carey living inside!

 Carey explains that the house and surrounding land is at risk of being demolished, endangering the bees, and he has been staying there to protect it.

 Convinced the secret of the house holds the key to saving Elderflower Grove’s bees, Kayleigh is prepared to do everything she can to help. But is she ready to find her own happy-ever-after too…?

My Thoughts

The Beekeeper in Elderflower Grove has the most original chuckle inducing openings I have read. The job interview conducted by a bee via zoom is one to remember and sets the tone of the book. It’s light-hearted, full of bee puns and offers the reader an escape from reality.

Kayleigh is down on her luck and needs a job at any cost even if she needs a dummy guide on beekeeping to do it. The location of Elderflower Grove is wonderful and has a fairy tale atmosphere about it which cast a spell on me just as much as the characters. Beautifully described, I could smell the flowers, taste the honey and hear the sound of nature, and I didn’t want to leave. The house has a huge personality of its own which made me long for it to be saved from developers.

Carey was someone I’d love to meet with his retro t-shirts which sent me down memory lane, and his humour and warmth despite a broken heart. Reading the developing friendship and chemistry between him and Kayleigh was like witnessing your best friends fall in love. It was a joy to watch.

The trials and twists to save the house and the bees made me keep turning the page so I read this in a day and night. Who needs sleep when a happy ever after is promised?

Would I recommend?

With more than a sprinkling of bee facts, this heart-warming novel is perfect for a summer’s read or when you need to escape from the world. This romance  is one for my forever shelf for a reread when I need some warmth and chuckles and with more than a few mentions of ghosts, it’ll be enjoyed by those visiting the Enchanted Emporium bookshelf too.

Author Biography

Photo of author Jaimie Admans, woman with dark long hair, glasses, smiling wearing a black top. The background is pink with white spots
Jaimie Admans

Jaimie is a 36-year-old English-sounding Welsh girl with an awkward-to-spell name. She lives in South Wales and enjoys writing, gardening, watching horror movies, and drinking tea, although she’s seriously considering marrying her coffee machine. She loves autumn and winter, and singing songs from musicals despite the fact she’s got the voice of a dying hyena. She hates spiders, hot weather, and cheese & onion crisps. She spends far too much time on Twitter and owns too many pairs of boots. She will never have time to read all the books she wants to read.

She is the author of several romantic comedies for HarperCollins – The Chateau of Happily Ever Afters, The Little Wedding Island, It’s a Wonderful Night, The Little Vintage Carousel by the Sea, Snowflakes at the Little Christmas Tree Farm, The Little Bookshop of Love Stories, The Wishing Tree Beside the Shore, The Little Christmas Shop on Nutcracker Lane, The Post Box at the North Pole, and The Beekeeper at Elderflower Grove.

Social Media Links –

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/be_the_spark

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jaimieadmansbooks

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to this tour and providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Love

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All about Books, Book review

Book Review: A Year of Mr Maybes by Judy Leigh

Today I’m thrilled to share my review for Judy Leigh’s A Year of Mr Maybes. Not only did the cover promise some cheer in a gloomy Yorkshire last week, I was drawn to read because of the older protagonist’s search for love. Scroll down to see if it fulfilled its promise.

Book Review: A Year of Mr Maybes by Judy Leigh

Book cover for A Year of Mr Maybes by Judy Leigh
A Year of Mr Maybes by Judy Leigh

Title: A year of Mr Maybes

Author: Judy Leigh

Publisher: Boldwood books

Genre: Women’s fiction

Release Date: 29th March 2022

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3tpoJmQ

Blurb

Never say never to falling in love…

Val didn’t expect to be starting again in her seventies, but when life gives her lemons, Val is determined to make lemonade.

Settled into her new home – a picture-perfect fisherman’s cottage in the small Cornish seaside town of Lowenstowe – Val is ready to start a new chapter. And with her son due to get married next Christmas, there’s also the little job of finding herself a plus-one to help her face her ex-husband and his new girlfriend.

With the support of her neighbour Connie, and after decades of married life, Val takes the plunge back into the world of dating with trepidation and excitement. But can she remember how the single life works, let alone what her type is? There seem to be plenty of Mr Maybes, but no sign of Mr Right.

As the year passes, and as friendships and community life flourish, Val begins to blossom. And as Christmas approach, she might just decide she doesn’t need that plus-one after all – although never say never… 

Judy Leigh is back with her trademark promise of laughter, love and friendship. The perfect feel-good novel for all fans of Dawn French, Dee Macdonald and Cathy Hopkins.

My Thoughts

Welcome to a year of Cornish loveliness, community and fun. The ease of writing lured me into the Val’s life who proves you’re never too old to search for new beginnings and love. The relationship between her, Connie, and Loveday were a joy to read and the adventures they went on made me want to go on  a road trip to Cornwall and visit the places they visited.

I was expecting a warm, romantic read but this is so much more: it’s a story of friendship, community and how coming together can make big things happen. With older protagonists, it proves romantic stories aren’t just for the young and it provided many memorable moments. I will have the image of a leopard skin catsuit wearing septuagenarian singing karaoke ingrained in my mind forever.

Would I recommend?

Yes, this was a joy to read and Judy Leigh’s talent for painting pictures with words provided a perfect Cornish escape without leaving home. This novel is full of warmth, memorable characters and moments that capture the heart and imagination.

Author Biography

Judy Leigh

Judy Leigh is the bestselling author of Five French HensA Grand Old Time and The Age of Misadventure and the doyenne of the ‘it’s never too late’ genre of women’s fiction. She has lived all over the UK from Liverpool to Cornwall, but currently resides in Somerset.

Social Media Links –  

Website http://judyleigh.com

Twitter https://twitter.com/judyleighwriter

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/judyrleigh/

Newsletter Sign Up Link http://bit.ly/JudyLeighNewsletter

Bookbub profile https://www.bookbub.com/authors/judy-leigh

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to this tour and providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Love

All about Books, Book review

Book Review: The Start of Something by Miranda Dickinson

It’s only a week until the book I’m reviewing is released and I can’t wait any longer especially when I’ve seen on social media the unique signed copies that are available at Tea leaves and Reads and Bert’s books. If you like the sound of The Start of Something by Miranda Dickinson and need to treat yourself, you may want to pop over to pre-order soon. Scroll down to see why I’m excited about this romantic novel.

Photo of quirky signed copies of The Start of Something by Miranda Dickinson

Book Review: The Start of Something by Miranda Dickinson

Book cover The Start of Something by Miranda Dickinson
The Start of Something by Miranda Dickinson

Title: The Start of Something

Author: Miranda Dickinson

Publisher: HQ

Genre: Romance

Release Date: 3rd February 2021

Spotify playlist: https://t.co/S79z2ICdAP

Purchase:

Tea Leaves and Reads – March book box

Bert’s Books – signed copy

Amazon – Kindle

Blurb

Lachlan Wallace is stuck at home after a car accident stalled his army career. With months of physiotherapy still to endure and only his rescue dog and cat for company, he’s taken to gazing out of the window, watching the world spin on without him. And then he notices a vase of flowers on the windowsill of the apartment opposite his. Drawn to their hope and colour, he decides to reach out and sticks a message in his window…

Bethan Gwynne is a stranger in a new town. Bringing up her son Noah by herself, she is slowly rebuilding her life, but loneliness is one obstacle she has yet to overcome. She’s intrigued by a glimpse of her neighbour in the apartment across from hers – and then, one evening, she sees a message in his window just for her:

WHAT ARE THOSE FLOWERS CALLED?

And so begins a love story of two people reaching out, daring to trust a stranger…

My Thoughts

I discovered this book by chance when I came across Miranda’s Chatty Night on Facebook and she was discussing it.* I was excited to be accepted for an advanced copy and had high expectations for it and I wasn’t disappointed. It was everything I wanted it to be and more.

As someone who has been shielding throughout the pandemic, this novel hit a nerve; the loneliness of being in four walls is gripping despite having had years of being used to living in a reduced environment and this book captured the feelings well. Simple things like seeing flowers in the window or a surprise letter can make a huge difference to the day. They add excitement and a sense of belonging. As soon as Lachlan and Bethan began communicating via letters in the window I was invested in their relationship.

Bethan and her flowers brought light and sunshine to the novel despite her challenges, but it was Lachlan I connected with. His emotions around his accident and situation took me back to the early days of my illness and disability. His feelings were captured well.

There are many memorable characters but one who stood out is Noah. With his stone collecting dragons, he shone. Life and books are always better with dragons.

I enjoyed watching the relationship between Bethan and Lachlan grow but I did have to stop reading midway as my heart ached too much.  I could see what may happen and I didn’t want either of them to be hurt.

Would I recommend?

Yes,  Miranda Dickinson has the ability to tap into the characters and bring them alive so they connect to the reader. The Start of Something is an uplifting story of loneliness and hope and reminds you small changes and reaching out to others can make a big difference. Loneliness is crippling for many, and has been heightened in the last couple of years, so Bethan and Lachlan’s tale shows a way forward; It is possible to improve people’s lives and communities with simple gestures and love.

I loved this book for its message, the characters who will be forever in my heart and on my bookshelf when I receive my physical copy. The Start of Something may not be accepted on the Enchanted Emporium Bookshelf but it will be the first book in the upcoming Rosa’s Box of Romance so the customers of The Enchanted Emporium can enjoy and spread the word.

 *If you ever need an hour of fun and bookish chat and community, pop over to Miranda’s Facebook page on Weds night – it’s a uplifting treat.

Author Biography

Photo of Miranda Dickinson holding The Start of Something
Miranda Dickinson

Miranda Dickinson has always had a head full of stories. Born in Wolverhampton, in The Black Country, West Midlands, she grew up in Kingswinford and dreamed of one day writing a book that would reach the heady heights of Kingswinford Library… Her first novel, Fairytale of New York (2009) was discovered on Authonomy.com – HarperCollins’ site for unpublished authors. Within three weeks of its release, Fairytale of New York had entered the Sunday Times Top Ten Bestsellers List, where it remained for five weeks – making it the world’s first crowd-sourced bestseller. The novel was also shortlisted for the RNA’s Romantic Novel of the Year Award 2010 at the Pure Passion Awards.

Miranda is a six-times Sunday Times Bestseller, with Fairytale of New York, Welcome to My World, It Started With a Kiss, When I Fall in Love, Take a Look at Me Now, I’ll Take New York, A Parcel for Anna Browne and Searching for a Silver Lining, a Christmas novella, Christmas in St Ives, is a festive treat and prequel to her ninth novel, Somewhere Beyond the Sea. The Day We Meet Again has won critical acclaim and is much loved by readers, most recently publishing in the US and Canada, taking her words Stateside for the first time.

Miranda is an international bestseller in four countries and her books have been translated into sixteen languages. To date, she has sold one million books worldwide. Her latest book is Our Story, out now.

Miranda is the founder of WriteFoxy – resources, vlogs and inspiration writing days for writers of all ages and abilities. Her popular vlogs feature her own publishing journey for each new novel, together with advice for authors and lots and lots of hats!

Miranda lives in Dudley with her husband, Bob and daughter, Flo. She is also a singer-songwriter and recently released her first solo album, About Time.

Social media

WEB: www.miranda-dickinson.com
MUSIC: www.soundcloud.com/mirandadickinson FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/MirandaDickinsonAuthor INSTAGRAM: www.instagram.com/wurdsmyth
BLOG: www.coffeeandroses.blogspot.com
STORIES: www.septembers-cafe.blogspot.com
TWITTER: www.twitter.com/wurdsmyth

Thank you HQ Stories providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Love