The Hating Game by Sally Thorne #BookReview

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Nemesis (n.)

1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome.
2) A person’s undoing
3) Joshua Templeman

Lucy Hutton has always been certain that the nice girl can get the corner office. She’s charming and accommodating and prides herself on being loved by everyone at Bexley & Gamin. Everyone except for coldly efficient, impeccably attired, physically intimidating Joshua Templeman. And the feeling is mutual.

Trapped in a shared office together 40 (OK, 50 or 60) hours a week, they’ve become entrenched in an addictive, ridiculous never-ending game of one-upmanship. There’s the Staring Game. The Mirror Game. The HR Game. Lucy can’t let Joshua beat her at anything—especially when a huge new promotion goes up for the taking.

If Lucy wins this game, she’ll be Joshua’s boss. If she loses, she’ll resign. So why is she suddenly having steamy dreams about Joshua, and dressing for work like she’s got a hot date? After a perfectly innocent elevator ride ends with an earth-shattering kiss, Lucy starts to wonder whether she’s got Joshua Templeman all wrong.

Maybe Lucy Hutton doesn’t hate Joshua Templeman. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.

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OH MY, this novel is HOT HOT HOT. This also proves I haven’t lost it somewhere along the way, I’m still a hopeless romantic. The Hating Game is a fairy tale come true and gosh maybe it’s the dark and lonely days but I needed this. Enemies to lovers first, then in second place friends to lovers, they’re the best kind of love to read about if you ask me.

The animosity between Lucy and Joshua was brilliant and believable and it seemed to have started when Lucy and Joshua met as executive assistants on their first work day after the publishing companies Gamin and Bexley merged. She said hello to him with a smile, he didn’t say anything back, he certainly didn’t smile. It’s been a cold war ever since. The two of them play a lot of games during the day, designed to make the other one either laugh or cry. Joshua is pretty good at doing neither. He’s an unlikeable character but not one you ever really despise. Lucy wants to strangle him on a daily basis though.

Everything changes when Lucy goes on a date with Danny from IT, a date she never intended to have but then she can’t lose face when Joshua doesn’t even believe she has a date. That same day Joshua gives her the kiss of all kisses in the elevator because he was testing something out. Huh? Now she can’t stop thinking about this and neither will any reader. The elevator scene and the entire teambuilding day made me swoon so much and I it got my hopes up right there that they would end up together. How that was going to happen when the promotion was only going to one of them I didn’t figure out though. Would this be the kink in the cable? What would happen after they had played the Or Something game?

I loooved the games they played, the slow burn between the two of them and how much the tension was building. The big moment was put off for sooo long! Maybe some readers might find the characters a little too cliché (Josh has ‘the body’ and a spotless house, he’s also very much the bad guy; Lucy is loveable, quirky and cute) but it didn’t bother me for a minute. This is Romance with a capital R, I can hardly believe this was a debut.

I decided to finally pick this one up because I saw Jonetta of Blue Mood Cafe was going to watch the movie they made of this novel and although I really want to see this I wanted to read the novel first. I do wonder if the chemistry will be as big on screen as in the novel. I don’t want to say the novel is better beforehand but the way I experienced it… Well we’ll see when I get the chance.

I bought an ecopy of this novel. This is my honest opinion.

Eight Perfect Hours by Lia Louis #BookReview

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On a snowy evening in March, thirty-something Noelle Butterby is on her way back from an event at her old college when disaster strikes. With a blizzard closing off roads, she finds herself stranded, alone in her car, without food, drink, or a working charger for her phone.

All seems lost until Sam Attwood, a handsome American stranger also trapped in a nearby car, knocks on her window and offers assistance. What follows is eight perfect hours together, until morning arrives and the roads finally clear. The two strangers part, positive they’ll never see each other again but fate, it seems, has a different plan. As the two keep serendipitously bumping into one another, they begin to realize that perhaps there truly is no such thing as coincidence.

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I absolutely loved reading Dear Emmie Blue last year so I’m relieved to find the author’s new novel Eight Perfect Hours such a wholesome and delightful read.

When Noelle meets Sam you can feel that it is the perfect set up for a wonderful romance. They spend 8 hours together on a highway where they talk and laugh and share stories, and I could almost hear the lovey-dovey singing birds approaching but.. NOTHING HAPPENS. A few days later Noelle runs into her ex-boyfriend Ed in town. They were together for 12 years and every time she sees Ed it is so easy, so familiar, yet a little voice in her head does remind her that he left her for a job offer in Portland.

I really enjoyed reading about Noelle and how she tries to navigate her way trough life. She’s there for her mother who has anxiety and her best friend who suffers from postnatal depression, she even tries her best to help this grumpy old man who has to move out of his apartment, but maybe she needs someone to be there for her too? Ed slips back into her life and Noelle can’t just forget the 12 years they spent together but mountaineer Sam pops up on unexpected moments too and every time she sees him she feels that he really hears what she is saying, she feels something special and she gets the feeling it is fate that brings them together. Could she be right?

I expected this novel to be high on romance from the beginning but the author start-stopped my heart more times than were good for me, so I’m almost inclined to say that romance is involved but underneath what appears to be romance the story gives a life lesson about embracing life. From the very first pages the tragedy of losing her best friend are manifest but there’s a lot of growth for Noelle while she’s trying to find the right path for her and maybe fate will give an unmistakable signal that it is ok to start living and that she doesn’t have to feel guilty that she’s still alive and her best friend Daisy isn’t.

If you enjoyed The Switch by Beth O’Leary, this is definitely the novel for you. I had a few perfect hours of reading this heartwarming novel.

I received a free ecopy of this novel from the publisher via Netgalley. This is my honest opinion.

The Car Share by Zoe Brisby #BookReview

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A ninety-year-old woman with Alzheimer’s and a heartbroken young man end up sharing a ride to Brussels that changes their lives forever.

When Alex pulls up to meet “Max”, he expects everything but a ninety-year-old lady who has her heart set on getting to Brussels by carpool.

As for ‘Max’, who is actually called Maxine, she could not be more ill at ease when settling into the seat next to this young man with bloodshot eyes. God help her if he turned out to be a drug addict who hasn’t slept in days!

When it becomes clear that Maxine is suffering from Alzheimer’s and wants to take matters in her own hands while she still can, and that Alex battles severe depression, a wonderful friendship starts to form between the unlikely pair. Before long, their travel plans take an unexpected turn…

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star three and a half / 5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars_1457015877_81_246_96_2

I don’t pick up a lot of feel-good books but the fact that Max and Alex were to travel to Brussels (Belgium) for some reason got my attention and honestly, I wanted to read a novel with good vibes. The Car Share didn’t let me down, I really had much fun reading this quirky story with wonderful uplifting rays of positivity

Max and Alex’s first encounter already gave a little taster how much fun there would follow in the rest of the novel. They were as surprised as someone walking in on their husband lying in bed with someone else (minus the anger it would go with) when they discovered who their travel partner was going to be but even though they would have preferred someone else, other options weren’t really available so they were well and truly stuck with each other. I found the time they traveled taking quite long but I wasn’t complaining because there was plenty to keep me entertained along the way. Soon enough they have the police on their backs and they’re forced to travel incognito to outrun the nationwide manhunt. Alex, 25 years old is actually the one with the ‘old soul’ in the novel and Maxine is the one who acts like she’s mentally the youngest. Is it believable that a nonagenarian is as quick, agile and energetic as shown here? I’m not that sure, but then everything in this novel is quite over the top. Honestly, I did love that Maxine is not your ordinary heroine, and the fact that she still feels so much younger (she plays down her age whenever she has the chance) made me almost forget sometimes what age category she really was in. Max really stole the show for me and I loved how witty she was and how she tried to lift Alex out of his depression with the things she commanded Alex to do.

In fact they are both trying to change the other one’s mind for their set plans before the end of the car ride and I loved how they cared for one another. For all the hilariousness throughout the novel, the ending had me holding my heart and it became surprisingly emotional for such a funny story. Max and Alex are definitely characters that’ll grow on you and will be kept in your heart. A wonderful tale of an unlikely friendship that will change their lives. Exactly the sort of read I needed!

I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher Hodder & Stoughton via Netgalley. This is still my honest opinion.

Three’s A Crowd by Simon Booker #BookReview

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Out-of-work actor Harriet is recuperating from a crash-and-burn affair with Damian – aka ‘Cockweasel’ – and making ends meet as a barista when she meets two rather lovely men. Tom is a regular at the café, and seems like such a nice guy. Smooth-talking DJ Richard is older, but in great shape – a real silver fox.

Deciding to take a chance on both of them, Harriet doesn’t realise at first that she is actually dating father and son. Tom and Richard aren’t on speaking terms, and don’t share a last name – so how was she to know? By the time everyone finds out, both Tom and Richard are truly madly deeply in love with Harriet, and she’s faced with an impossible choice.

But as the battle for her affections intensifies, ‘Cockweasel’ makes an unexpected reappearance and begs her to give him another chance…

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Some will argue with me that you can enjoy a rom-com at any given time of the year but for me this is the best season to add some extra sweetness and love into my life and Three’s A Crowd certainly puts the sugar in my tea. I think I resist it most of the time but at the end of the year I can’t seem to get enough of it.

When I saw Simon Booker, the author, during a live Zoom session where several new books were announced for 2021 by publisher Simon & Schuster, I enjoyed his little quips and when he told us about his new book Three’s A Crowd, I knew it would contain that same type of humour and I wanted to read it as soon as I could. The book’s publication date is set for 24 August so you could say I really couldn’t wait to read it.

It all starts when Harriet meets Richard in the run-up for The Voice of London competition (to become the person who tells you to ‘Mind The Gap’) and she meets Tom in the coffee shop where she works as a barrista. Father and son don’t know of each other because they haven’t spoken to each other in a long time. The reason for the radio silence between them and their difficult relationship throughout Tom’s childhood was a mystery on its own and the revelations about the root of their astrangement certainly came as a big surprise and was definitely one of the best twists in this novel.

I know a lot of readers don’t really like a love triangle trope and although I don’t really mind as long as it doesn’t happen to me, you can rest assured Three’s A Crowd has a much lighter and funnier outlook on the whole love triangle trope. For one the whole ‘affair’ with the two men doesn’t go too deep and doesn’t get too complicated, on the contrary, it plays out on the same level field so that made it fun and I didn’t have to take sides to support whoever wasn’t winning. Tom and Richard were both interesting men with a good nature and with Harriet’s age right in the middle of them she could do well with both of them.

Three’s A Crowd has a little bit of everything, drama, mystery, love and well, the bottom line is that it is just fun to read. The story was engaging from the start and it was cute to see both men falling for Harriet and trying to be a perfect gentleman at every moment, being patient because they were playing the long game, patience thus being the key word.

A little word about the other characters who make Three’s A Crowd a very worthy read then. Age is just a number, Three’s A Crowd proves it! Gorgeous George, Richard’s father, is to put it quite frank an 80 year old gigolo trying to swindle his latest love interest Imelda for money by spinning her a story about an African gold mine… George is here and there and everywhere, except with his son who has cut him out of his life… And then there is one of the youngest of mind, Nan (Nancy), Harriet’s grandmother who is such a fun character to have come across and her advice to her granddaughter is priceless. It’s not really what you expect from a grandmother but I loved her one-liners!

3% in: “Like Nan says – try everything once except incest, folk dancing and bin juice.”

6% in: “… she listened to me wanging on about Cockweasel, took out her teeth then said, ‘The best way to get over a bloke is to get under a bloke.’ I like her style.”

The story kept me well entertained, it is certainly much more than a love story and quite enjoyable to read even if you’re not big on romance, and I’m satisfied with the way the story ended although I didn’t anticipate who she would choose/not choose. There were quite a few unexpected twists throughout the story and I did like that all the different storylines with the other characters, Nancy and Gorgeous George were thought out and were wrapped up nicely as well. It wouldn’t surprise me if I’d see this novel on screen at some point. I’d certainly watch it because it’s perfect rom-com material!

I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher Simon & Schuster UK via Netgalley. This is still my honest opinion.

Stand By Me by S.D. Robertson #BookReview

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Lisa and Elliot have been best friends ever since the day they met as children. Popular, bright and sporty, Lisa was Elliot’s biggest supporter when the school bullies made his life a misery, and for that, he will always be grateful.

Twenty years later, life has pulled the pair apart and Lisa is struggling. Her marriage is floundering, her teenage kids are being secretive, and she’s so tired she can’t think straight. So when Elliot knocks on the door, looking much better than she remembers, she can’t help but be delighted to see her old friend again.

With Elliot back in their lives, Lisa’s family problems begin to improve – he’s like the fairy godmother she never had. As their bond deepens, she realises how much she’s missed him, and prays that this is one friendship that will last a lifetime. But sometimes, life has other ideas…

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In these (corona) times where we are confined to spend much time alone in our homes, I felt a need to wrap myself into a warm blanket of (fictional) friendship and if you need a friend too and want your heart filled then you must meet Elliot and Lisa because you’re going to wish for a friend like these two after you meet with them.

I’m very lucky to have received a wonderful copy of Stand By Me from an even more wonderful blogfriend and if you want to read an extract about the time Elliot and Lisa had to say goodbye when Elliot moved to Australia you can read it on her blog here. It’s definitely a scene that gives your heart a little squeeze but you don’t have to worry that you’ll be sobbing your heart out from start to finish, the heart of the story is a happy one that celebrates friendship and shows the meaning of a true friend, someone who literally stands by you when you need him or her the most.

The story flashes between present and past and the flashbacks convey just how great a young Lisa is for defending Elliot and being his best friend. And whereas it was Lisa who came to the rescue when they were young, it is now Elliot who is turning things around. Lisa doesn’t know he’s there to come to her rescue this time. She tries very hard to help everyone in her little family but sometimes a little help from someone else can go a long way.

Her husband, a deputy head at a school, was accused by a pupil of attacking him and since then he’s not himself anymore, taking up drinking more and more and putting a real strain on their marriage. He’s not the only one with a problem though, their children Chloe and Ben also have a very real secret, something they are struggling with and are facing all alone and it is Elliot who will help them come to terms with it as he’s always just showing up at the right time at the right place. It seems he has a sixth sense and dare I say magic skills because it looks like he knows things. It’s almost like he’s a godsend, an angel, or is he?

I knew from the beginning it was going to be ‘one of those stories’ but I didn’t really mind, it worked well here. I did think there was a lot of build-up towards the end about repaying for the past and I expected something else, something big and ominous to still happen to one of the members of Lisa’s family but I was completely wrong about that, I guess I made it worse in my own head :-). In the end it was a bittersweet ending but I couldn’t help but smile anyway. Stand By Me was a really heartwarming story of a friendship forming a bond for life. All this with a few extra sprinkles of love and a little magic. Exactly what I needed!

#CoverReveal: A Sky Full of Stars by Dani Atkins @HoZ_Books @AtkinsDani

Book Cover reveal

It’s a real pleasure to be involved in the cover reveal for A Sky Full of Stars by Dani Atkins. You don’t have to take my word for it but it’s such a gorgeous cover, I absolutely love it!

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He’d have done everything differently, if he’d known. He’d have held her tighter, kissed her longer. He’d have refused to let her go.

When Lisa married Alex, she gave his life meaning. She was a professional astronomer: a stargazer. And when she gazed at Alex, she saw that behind his tough exterior was a man she could love.

Alex, Lisa and their young son Connor made a happy little universe. But then Lisa dies in a train crash, and their universe is destroyed. Alex is shattered by loss, and overwhelmed by the difficulties of being a single father to a six-year-old boy. How can he and Connor carry on without Lisa lighting up their lives?

Then Alex meets four strangers. Two men and two women, who never met Lisa, but whose lives changed profoundly because she died. As Alex hears their stories, he begins to realise the world may not be as cruel and senseless as it seems. Perhaps, after all, the future is written in the stars…

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So … Are you ready to take a look? Well here it is

Cover A Sky Full of Stars

Doesn’t it look amazing?! If you can’t wait any longer you can pre-order A Sky Full of Stars right now:

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The novel is out on February 4th in hardback and e-book and on August 5, 2021 in paperback.

Author

Dani Atkins is an award-winning novelist. Her 2013 debut Fractured has been translated into sixteen languages and has sold more than half a million copies since first publication in the UK. Dani is the author of four other bestselling novels, one of which, This Love, won the Romantic Novel of the Year Award in 2018. Dani lives in a small village in Hertfordshire with her husband, one Siamese cat and a very soppy Border Collie.

Connect

Twitter: @AtkinsDani
Facebook: @DaniAtkinsAuthor

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman #BookReview

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The only child of a single mother, Nina has her life just as she wants it: a job in a bookstore, a kick-butt trivia team, a world-class planner and a cat named Phil. If she sometimes suspects there might be more to life than reading, she just shrugs and picks up a new book.

When the father Nina never knew existed suddenly dies, leaving behind innumerable sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews, Nina is horrified. They all live close by! They’re all—or mostly all—excited to meet her! She’ll have to Speak. To. Strangers. It’s a disaster! And as if that wasn’t enough, Tom, her trivia nemesis, has turned out to be cute, funny, and deeply interested in getting to know her. Doesn’t he realize what a terrible idea that is?

Nina considers her options.

1. Completely change her name and appearance. (Too drastic, plus she likes her hair.)
2. Flee to a deserted island. (Hard pass, see: coffee).
3. Hide in a corner of her apartment and rock back and forth. (Already doing it.)

It’s time for Nina to come out of her comfortable shell, but she isn’t convinced real life could ever live up to fiction. It’s going to take a brand-new family, a persistent suitor, and the combined effects of ice cream and trivia to make her turn her own fresh page.

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star three and a half

After last week’s thriller I really needed a book to help relax and loosen my tendons and muscles and The Bookish Life of Nina Hill was the perfect cure. If you’re looking for a novel with a quirky character then Nina definitely fits the bill. It might come as a shock because I read that lots of readers found many similarities in Nina but I didn’t identify with Nina as much as I had expected and I still don’t know if we would be friends exactly.

Nina is a strong, independent woman, whip smart and she really has her opinions. She lives by her calendar (the days were printed between the chapters and I really enjoyed these little extras) and she’s pretty rigid in her timings (ok we might have that in common), and lives with her cat named Phil (ok yes that too only mine doesn’t comment on my behaviour; I haven’t decided yet if that’s a good or bad thing), but for an introvert she does have a pretty full social life, she certainly doesn’t have social anxiety. She leads several book clubs at the bookstore she works, she has trivia night every week and movie nights on her agenda, gym class and there’s also reading time of course. How can a girl still fit in a date with a cute guy with all of that going on?

One day her life is turned upside down when she finds out that the father she never knew died and that he was quite rich. He knew about her though and he left her something in his will and gave her a large extended family as a bonus. Nina isn’t really looking for either and likes her life as it is but it’ll soon turn out that she won’t have a real choice in the matter… some of them look her up and it turns out they do have some things in common. At the same time the boy from a rival trivia team catches her eye and it seems that he might have noticed her too. Can she juggle all of that and let her quiet life become so much more chaotic?

I really enjoyed reading about the new family members and I thought she had much more in common with each of them than with her love interest, who was a lovely boy with lots of patience, but I didn’t really feel the chemistry, especially when she doesn’t find ‘time’ in her schedule to meet him and is still convinced that her future lover needs to read books to be a match. She knows so much and yet she knows nothing at all. Half of us would be single if that were true, right? The love angle was more of a sideplot for me and the focus of the novel was mostly on the new family and the intruiging will, with little sideplots involving the bookshop she worked at and the boy who knows more about sports than her.

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill is a charming book, easy to read and light-hearted. I enjoyed seeing Nina getting her head out of the books and adapting to the new situations. A great holiday novel if you’re still looking for one!

I bought a copy of this novel at my local bookstore. This is my honest opinion.

The Switch by Beth O’Leary #BookReview @OLearyBeth @QuercusBooks

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Eileen is sick of being 79.
Leena’s tired of life in her twenties.
Maybe it’s time they swapped places…

When overachiever Leena Cotton is ordered to take a two-month sabbatical after blowing a big presentation at work, she escapes to her grandmother Eileen’s house for some overdue rest. Eileen is newly single and about to turn eighty. She’d like a second chance at love, but her tiny Yorkshire village doesn’t offer many eligible gentlemen.

Once Leena learns of Eileen’s romantic predicament, she proposes a solution: a two-month swap. Eileen can live in London and look for love. Meanwhile Leena will look after everything in rural Yorkshire. But with gossiping neighbours and difficult family dynamics to navigate up north, and trendy London flatmates and online dating to contend with in the city, stepping into one another’s shoes proves more difficult than either of them expected.

Leena learns that a long-distance relationship isn’t as romantic as she hoped it would be, and then there is the annoyingly perfect – and distractingly handsome – school teacher, who keeps showing up to outdo her efforts to impress the local villagers. Back in London, Eileen is a huge hit with her new neighbours, but is her perfect match nearer home than she first thought?

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Have I got the book for you this week! If you’re looking for something uplifting, a read you can really relax into, then you don’t need to search any more, The Switch is the perfect remedy to cure #lockdownloneliness!

I’m not going to lie, I did go into this with high expectations. I loved Beth O’Leary’s debut novel The Flatshare so much, it being one of the biggest surprises of last year for me, so where does this leave this novel? Maybe it’s not as swoonworthy as The Flatshare because a lot of the story’s progress is about developing friendships whereas in the first novel you felt the excitement for a blooming romance (through notes) between two people but I have to say that I was invested in the characters again and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it.

The author chose another format and a completely different story to tell in her second novel, not about two strangers of the opposite sex this time, but rather two main characters Eileen and Leena (well actually also Eileen but lucky the author gave her a nickname here) with about 50 years of an age difference and she made the right move to choose a very different relationship.

So, the women in this novel step into each other’s lives while still very much being themselves and I must say I really love these type of tropes (I’m still a fan of The Holiday starring Cameron Diaz) and the novel gave off a little bit of that vibe of the movie. It was refreshing to see 79-year old Eileen dipping her toes into the world of online dating in the bustling city and to see her granddaughter Leena at the same time in the rural countryside trying to take the local neighbourhood committee serious, to get invested there and roll with the slow life, as well as take care of her mum who she hasn’t been in contact with after her sister died.

The story had enough drive on both sides and I was never bored, even if the neighbourhood watches issues were not really crucial to start with, but it’s more about the people instead of the issues of course and getting to know them and the feeling that they are looking out for each other. If I’m really honest I think for once that I liked the part of the older Eileen with her multiple love interests maybe a little bit more – she’s far from a cliché for her age – because it’s always interesting how someone deals with being dropped into a totally different world, although Leena and grumpy next door neighbour Arnold were quite entertaining too and it was so nice to see them both softening up to each other.

The Switch is a story of one closely knitted community and another community that is about to be changed forever. A few of the themes involved in this novel are love and friendship, reconnecting with people, being forgiving, and especially finding yourself again or should I say accepting that you can’t sometimes be the person you were but that you are a new you.

Beth O’Leary has proven with this sequel that she’s definitely here to stay and her name belongs to be mentioned in the lists with Lucy Dillon, Jojo Moyes and so many others. She’s a brilliant author and if you want a novel to give you a warm fuzzy feeling and a satisfactory smile then I definitely recommend both of her novels. I hope we don’t have to wait too long for her third one now :-).

I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher Quercus Books via Netgalley. This is still my honest opinion.

My One True North by Milly Johnson #BookReview

 

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Laurie and Pete should never have met.
But fate has pushed them together for a reason.

Six months ago, on the same night, Laurie and Pete both lost their partners.
Struggling to manage the grief, they join the same counselling group – and meet each other.

From their sadness, Pete and Laurie find happiness growing and they sense a fresh new beginning.
Except, the more they talk, the more they begin to spot the strange parallels in their stories.
Then Pete discovers a truth that changes everything.

But, as surely as a compass points north, some people cannot be kept apart.

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There’s romance and then there’s ‘Romance’ and My One True North falls in the latter category, the one I absolutely love. Milly Johnson willed me to see Pete and Laurie together very early into the novel because I could see sooooo clear as day they were meant to be together. The story was perfectly paced and it had a very satisfying build up for me, their surprisingly easy connection wasn’t left too long hanging but didn’t come too quick either.

There were a few mysteries and secrets woven into the story that made it even more interesting even if is not so difficult to spot what is going on. The main thread is still about people having lost their loved ones, yet the comments and the situation the characters were in didn’t make me feel utterly sad for either party. Pete and Laurie are missing their partners but they are not stuck in their grief and both want to move forward with their life at the start of the story. It also helped that I already had a sense of the direction the plot developments were going to take so I couldn’t feel too bad about what I thought was coming.

Laurie and Pete meet each other and others too, Maurice, Sharon and Michelle at Molly’s tea club, a small support group that comes together at a tea shop where they chat over cake about the difficulties they are all experiencing. Each person deals with grief but I really appreciate that the author had one character grieve the passing of her dog. It is so underestimated what that does to someone and the important place a pet has as part of the family so I really liked there was attention given to this kind of grief. This lovely bunch of people find friendship and even a few laughs too when they have their meetings, something I hadn’t expected immediately but healing comes in several formats and it made me happy when I saw them dealing with it in such a great way.

I really enjoyed all of the characters in the novel, not only Pete and Laurie are positive and wonderful people (Pete is a firefighter who rescues kittens and dogs in the most touching way, how can you resist him after that?!) but so many others really made this story, from Pete’s father Nigel to Lucy and Griff, his brother and sister in law, to Alan, Laurie’s employer, even Keith Richards and Pong (a goldfish and a cat) had me under their spell.

My One True North is a lovely novel to read, giving hope when you think there might be none to be found again, and truly sends out the message that you can’t waste time and you should be living. It is full of warmth, great friendship and love. It’s contradictory – I do know how it sounds given the subject of the novel – but it really is the truth: if you’re feeling down My One True North will certainly lift up your mood!

I received a free ecopy of this novel from the publisher Simon & Schuster via Netgalley. This is still my honest opinion.

A Cat Called Cupid by Tilly Tenant #BookReview

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Lara and Theo are meant to be. They just don’t know it yet…

Lara loves her job as a wedding planner. She gets to organise other people’s perfect days and make sure nothing ever goes wrong.

Theo loves his job as a jazz musician, working unpredictable hours and giving other people great nights out.

Lara knows she’s got high standards. But there’s nothing wrong with getting things right… so why has it stopped her finding Mr Right?

Theo knows people think he’s a bit scruffy, a bit too laid back. But there’s nothing wrong with setting your own pace… if only he could find someone who wanted to live life at his speed.

It’s okay, though. Lara gets to come home in the evening and have heart-to-hearts with her greedy grey cat Fluffy. And Theo can come home in the early hours and unwind with his loyal cat Satchmo.

What they don’t know is that it’s the same cat.

And when they find out – standing in the street in their pyjamas, both on the hunt for their lost pet – sparks of the wrong sort will fly…

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Surprised with my choice of read? I think I surprised myself a little bit too but it all makes perfect sense. I love cats (and dogs too), I love romances where two lost souls find each other when they least expect it, so my interest was raised right away and the cat playing such a big role in the story as a catalyst bringing people together was the big fat bonus that really sold it for me. So while I don’t read romance novels very often I simply couldn’t resist A Cat Called Cupid when I saw it. I can’t believe this is my first novel by this author, even though she has written 30ish books now, but yes… the cat did it!

This novel was very engaging and easy to read. The friendship between Lara and her employee Betsy is warm and sweet enough to make you jealous as well as making you want to work for Lara yourself. I’m not sure I’d have the patience and professionalism Lara has when problems occur on a couple’s wedding day. A big part of the story shows Lara organising weddings (some couples book her only for the day, others ask her to organise everything herself from start to finish) and I quite enjoyed reading about her work.

Time and time again her path crosses with Theo, the man who tries to snatch her cat Fluffy away from her, claiming it’s his cat and calling him Satchmo. I could easily identify with Lara’s feelings towards her pet and what Fluffy meant to her. She would do anything for that cat and I could only cheer her on to fight for him. Can she win this fight though? The little naughty furrball has a cattitude and likes to play both fields. It is a game of push and pull that ensues between both cat owners but it is the cat himself who ultimately brings a truths between them, even though it wasn’t his intention. Can it hold, who will get sole ownership, and will these enemies turn into lovers, because you’ll wish for it right away when you meet them and they meet each other. You’ll have to read and see :-).

A Cat Called Cupid is a a warm read and perfect escapism. If you’re a cat lover you’ll want to read this purrrrfect novel!

I received a free ecopy of this novel from the publisher Bookouture in exchange for my honest opinion.