It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? Is a weekly post to share what you recently finished reading, what you’re currently reading, and what you plan on reading this week. It’s hosted by Kathryn at Bookdate.

What I Read Last Week: 

I was a part of the blog tour for this one and really liked it.

I mostly liked this one and will be following Diamond now.

This was another lovely holiday read from Martin.

I participated in the release Week Blitz for this one and absolutely loved it!

This was a beautiful contemporary romance.

This was much more than a holiday novel it was just lovely.

This was a confusing one for me to review.

And finally I managed to listen to this one.

Currently reading: 

So far this is good, it’s giving me the domestic suspense that I’ve been loving lately!

Up Next: 

How was your week last week? What are you currently reading?

Review: The Survivor’s Guide to Family Happiness by Maddie Dawson @maddiedawson1

Goodreads|Amazon|Author Website
Release date: October 25, 2016

Publisher: Lake Union

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Goodreads blurb: 

Three women, three lives, and one chance to become a family…whether they want to or not.

Newly orphaned, recently divorced, and semiadrift, Nina Popkin is on a search for her birth mother. She’s spent her life looking into strangers’ faces, fantasizing they’re related to her, and now, at thirty-five, she’s ready for answers.

Meanwhile, the last thing Lindy McIntyre wants is someone like Nina bursting into her life, announcing that they’re sisters and campaigning to track down their mother. She’s too busy with her successful salon, three children, beautiful home, and…oh yes, some pesky little anxiety attacks.

But Nina is determined to reassemble her birth family. Her search turns up Phoebe Mullen, a guarded, hard-talking woman convinced she has nothing to offer. Gradually sharing stories and secrets, the three women make for a messy, unpredictable family that looks nothing like Nina pictured…but may be exactly what she needs. Nina’s moving, ridiculous, tragic, and transcendent journey becomes a love story proving that real family has nothing to do with DNA. 


Lake Union has done it again! They are quickly becoming one of my most valued and trusted publishers, it’s getting to the point where I’ll read anything they publish. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this one, but when this gorgeous book showed up in my mailbox, I was immediately interested, then I read the blurb and was even more intrigued. I can’t even imagine not knowing anything about my parents, the uncertainty and heartbreak must be devastating.

Nina Popkin is one of those characters that grabs the reader from page one and holds on tightly. I immediately took to her and felt a connection to her, she has a funny self deprecating sense of humor, she’s smart and sharp, and she’s raw and real. She’s recently divorced, with no children and her adoptive mother passed away. She’s all alone, with the exception of her friend Melanie, and she has a deep longing to reconnect with her birth mother. When the opportunity to finally find her mom presents itself,she is thrilled beyond belief.

Lindy is the sister that Nina never knew she had. She always assumed that she was her birth mothers only child and this revelation fills Nina’s heart with longing and love. Lindy doesn’t feel the same way whatsoever, she wants her past to stay there and she has no desire to form any kind of relationship with either Nina or their mom, Phoebe. But Nina is an eternal optimist and she’s not giving up on reuniting her family without a fight.

This story is told mainly from Nina and Lindy’s point of view, but there are pivotal chapters told from Phoebe’s perspective as well. Though they may share DNA, these three have very little in common. Lindy is an anxiety ridden wife and mom to three young children. She’s made a happy and successful life for herself and has no desire to shake up her perfect existence. Phoebe is a loner who has spent the last thirty three years since she gave the girls up for adoption in pain and sorrow.  Can these women unite and try to sort through their feelings about their shared history together? Or is it too late for a chance at true family happiness?

The character development here is outstanding. Nina is an emotional wreck at the beginning, but soon she meets Carter, a divorced dad of two teenagers that brings some love and light back into her life. Tyler and Indigo are his kids, and soon Nina finds herself thrust into a parental role with them. She’s wanted to be a part of a real family for so long that she clings to them, even to her own detriment. Lindy thinks she’s happy and that her life is picture perfect, but when she meets Nina, she soon finds that maybe she has been longing for something more as well. Phoebe is pretty cold and closed off, but by the end we see a whole new side to her and there is an understanding about her past actions.

I kept thinking about Emily Giffin’s books while reading this, it had some very similar qualities to her books and I mean that in the best way as she’s written some of my favorite books. This was such a heartfelt and tender read, but Dawson infused it with so many quirky and fun moments that there were times I was smiling through my tears. All of these women will stay with me for awhile, but Nina especially left a mark on heart. I wholeheartedly recommend this one for anyone who likes writers like Giffin, but also anyone who longs for a raw and real story about family. 

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to Kathleen Zrelak for providing my review copy, I’m so grateful.

Audiobook Review: Hunted by James Patterson and Andrew Holmes @HachetteAudio

Goodreads|Amazon|Author Website
Release date: September 6, 2016

Publisher: Hachette Audio

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Narrator: Graeme Malcolm

Goodreads blurb: 

Evil has a new game …Someone is luring men from the streets to play a mysterious, high stakes game in the English countryside. Former Special Forces officer David Shelley will go undercover to shut it down–but this might be a game he can’t win.


These BookShots are quite addicting, there’s something really fun about being able to read/listen to a book in a really short timeframe. This one came in at just under three hours which seems to be the typical run time for these books. Once again, that short and sweet blurb still managed to catch my attention and I knew it would be an action packed and thrilling read.

David Shelley learns that his friend, Cookie has been killed as part of a strange  game that wealthy men are playing. They’re contacting homeless men and convincing them to play a hunting game, but they are the prey. He decides to go in undercover with the help of Simon Claridge who is a MI5 agent. But when David’s real identity is revealed to the awful men in charge of this game, all bets are off. 

Malcolm was a good narrator, his voice was the right blend of melodic and captivating that audiobook narrators should be. The story was good, even if the whole humans as prey bit is a little overdone. It’s short and frantic pace doesn’t allow character development as there is simply not enough time, but that doesn’t seem to be an issue. This was slightly different from the usual Patterson book, I’m guessing that’s because of his co author. It had a real covert, spy mission feeling to it with plenty of thrilling scenes and dangerous action scenes.

Overall rating: 3/5

Thanks to Hachette Audio for my review copy.

Review: The Lost Ones by Ben Cheetham

Goodreads|Amazon|Author Website
Release date: October 25, 2016

Publisher: Thomas and Mercer

Genre: Mystery/Thriller, Crime Fiction 

Goodreads blurb: 

Some secrets are better left undiscovered.

When a nine-year-old girl goes missing in Harwood Forest, the search for her brings back memories of an unsolved double murder some forty years earlier. Could the key to Erin Jackson’s disappearance lie in the bloody fate of Elijah and Joanna Ingham, bludgeoned to death while their young daughters slept? Were the Inghams really the victims of opportunistic burglars—or a more sinister fate?

The woods are combed for signs of the child, but Erin’s brother, Jake, mounts his own investigation, uncovering evidence that puts the Inghams’ daughters—vanished Rachel and ‘crazy’ Mary—in the frame. Meanwhile, Erin’s father suspects that the ragtag army of eco-warriors besieging his quarry development may have something to hide.

As devastating secrets and betrayals are revealed, the Jackson family is brought to a breaking point. But time is running out. Erin is still missing and Jake’s unorthodox enquiries have left him dangerously exposed. They must find Erin and lay the past to rest—before they become its latest victims.


Anytime I read a blurb that talks about a missing persons case I’m immediately interested. It never fails to grab my attention, and if the missing person is a child I’m even more intrigued. Maybe it’s because I’m a parent and I know I will be able to relate to the parents in the book or maybe it’s because I’m a bit weird, but the combination of a missing young girl that’s possibly tied to a cold case screamed READ ME NOW to me. 

The book begins on the morning of Erin Jackson’s disappearance. She’s out on a walk in the woods with her mom, Amanda and she just vanishes into thin air. As the small community unites to search for Erin, secrets and long buried betrayal begin to come to light. How in the world is the murder of a local couple in 1972 linked to her disappearance? What secret is Amanda hiding? And is this secret part of the reason Erin is gone? Tons of questions like this and more come up during the investigation.

I’m smack dab in the middle of my rating scale here with this one, there were things that really worked for me, then there were other things that didn’t work at all. I liked the pacing and structure of this one. Each chapter is time stamped and the bulk is told over forty eight hours. As the book progresses, the chapters get shorter and snappier which was great as it really ramped up the tension. It had a bit of a domestic suspense vibe to it, and that’s been one of my favorite genres as of late. Not enough to categorize it that way, but enough that I felt the need to mention it. Besides the characters of the Jackson family which includes Amanda, her husband Tom, son Jake and Amanda’s parents Henry and Cathy, there was Seth. He’s a mysterious out of towner who inserts himself into the investigation and I was really curious about how he would fit into everything.

What didn’t work so well for me? Well the mystery was just ok. I knew who the “bad guy” was, it felt rather obvious to me as Cheetham used a red herring that was just way too obvious to fall for. Another issue was that it was labeled as crime fiction and there wasn’t enough of the police officers perspective for me. In fact, there wasn’t anything from their POV at all. Yes, they were present in the story, but not really relevant and to me crime fiction always has a heavy presence of cops. Though I was pretty sure I knew how it would end, it played out slightly differently than I anticipated. Mostly because the ending reached a fever pitch rather quickly and things came off feeling very frantic and harried. It just didn’t sit well with me.

I feel like this may be my most confusing review to date! I didn’t love or hate this one, it was just ok. As I said before smack dab in the middle and unfortunately one I don’t think I’ll remember after I finish writing this review. I will say I would definitely give this author another chance as his writing was solid and the overall concept and plot was decent, I just can’t give this one my endorsement.

Overall rating: 3/5

Thanks to Thomas and Merced for providing my review copy.

Saturday Shoutout: Renee @itsbooktalk

This week I wanted to give a shoutout to a new book blogger, Renee from It’s Book Talk and welcome her to our fantastic bookish community! Though her blog is new, she’s been reading and reviewing books for ages. Read on to find out more about Renee in her own words.

It’s Book Talk: Renee

Here’s a little about me…I’m a wife and mom to 2 teenage boys, one who just started college and the other still in high school. My other 2 “furry” children are an English black lab , who I recently featured on my Instagram, and a black cat. In my life before kids I was a foster care social worker, then a stay at home mom and over the past few years a part-time professional tutor to college and high school students.
Of course I have loved reading since I was young, my favorites then being Nancy Drew and Treasure Island. Now, I’d have to say I still love mysteries and thrillers but I’ve also expanded my genres to basically anything that tells a page turning story with well-developed characters. To give you an example, a few years ago I wouldn’t have picked up a book like A LITTLE LIFE because it’s not a mystery but I read that book last December and it still haunts me! This is why you’ll be seeing different genres pop up on my blog. I’m always on the search for books that make me want to neglect everything else because I can’t put them down. That is the best feeling, for me, though not so much for my family! I also love promoting and connecting with authors on Twitter so I look forward to doing more of that on my blog.
 These days, when it comes to reading, the only thing I like more than a really good book (with a chilled glass of wine) is talking with others about all the really good (and not so good) books we’ve been reading. So almost 6 years ago I started my own book club and we continue to meet monthly at restaurants or each others’ houses to chat about books and drink good wine:) Then, a couple of years ago, I became interested in writing reviews and I wrote for (which is a fantastic review site) for a short time. I had an interest at that time in starting my own blog and now I’ve finally done it!
I continue to try to get in the swing of reading, reviewing, and connecting with others and tweaking my blog here and there. I plan on adding new features and a weekly theme in the near future. I would say the best and most surprising part of book blogging has been connecting with so many new friends from here in the US as well as so many other parts of the world. I wasn’t expecting that and it’s been so fun! Who knew so many people love to talk about about books and share recommendations as much as I do! I can’t believe how my TBR pile has grown over the last 3 weeks since I started blogging and chatting with all of you! The support from so many other bloggers, especially you Amy, and Annie from The Misstery has been invaluable. You both took the time to respond to my questions and provided info and support and I so appreciate it! I can’t wait to connect with more book lovers and hopefully some authors on my blog in the upcoming weeks and months.

Please check out Renee’s blog, she’s got a great thing going! You can also find her on GoodreadsTwitter and Instagram

Review: Lizzie’s Christmas Escape by Christie Barlow @christiejbarlow @bookouture

Goodreads|Amazon|Author Website
Release date: October 21, 2016

Publisher: Bookouture

Genre: Chick Lit, Contemporary Romance 

Goodreads blurb: 

A gorgeous country house hotel, a liberal dusting of snow, a cosy weekend away…what more could Lizzie ask for at Christmas? 

Every Christmas Lizzie promises herself that things will change and she will leap into the new year a new woman. And yet here she is again, at the beginning of December and nothing is different. Her girls have grown up and left home, her husband Henry is slumped in front of the TV and she is alone in the kitchen, seeking refuge in the cooking sherry and talking to her Gary Barlow calendar. She’s also been very diverted by handsome new neighbour Marcus and she knows she shouldn’t be … 

So when best friend Ann suggests a weekend away in the country, Lizzie jumps at the chance. Will this Christmas escape give Lizzie some much needed perspective and allow her to mend her marriage? Or will Marcus prove to be too much of a distraction? 

A funny feel good festive read about rediscovering the magic of Christmas – just the thing to curl up with on a cold winters night. 


Most of you know by now that I’m a sucker for a pretty cover and this may be one of my favorite covers ever! Stunning. What’s inside is just as gorgeous and this is much more than just a Christmas novel. It wasn’t even close to what I expected, but I don’t mean that in a negative way. I assumed that it would mostly revolve around Lizzie having some sort of crazy adventure but instead it was a lovely story about strong friendships, family, marriage woes, and the trials of an average life. 

Lizzie is stuck in a monotonous cycle in her life and has been for years. Her two daughters are grown and off at university and her husband Henry couldn’t be more disinterested in her life. She does have her best friend, Ann and the two are as thick as thieves. Lizzie was such a fantastic character, the kind that I would want as a friend for myself. She’s experiencing a midlife slump and isn’t sure about anything in her life anymore. She’s lonely and just wants to feel loved and appreciated again. I found her to be wholly relatable and altogether utterly delightful. Her friendship with Ann was beautiful, the two supported each other no matter what. They were also so funny and their conversations had me cracking up. 

Marcus is Lizzie’s new next door neighbor and the two have an immediate connection. Lizzie is feeling rejuvenated and dazzled by simply spending time with Marcus, but she’s not the type to step out on Henry. Can she just be friends with him without jeopardizing her marriage? Does she still even want to be married to Henry? A weekend away with Ann may be just what she needs to figure everything out. But she may get way more than she bargained for…

There were several twists and turns that I was not expecting at all and things didn’t turn out the way I thought they would either, but I was absolutely not disappointed in the end. There were moments of laughter and joy, but there were also moments were I was teary eyed and emotional. I love a book that can bring out a variety of emotions within me and this one certainly did. It was a feel good, warm and cozy read that I was sad to see come to a close, I felt like I was saying goodbye to a dear friend when my time with Lizzie came to and end.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to Bookouture for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

Review/Release Week Blitz: Mixing it Up by Tracie Banister @traciebanister

I am so happy to be able to help celebrate the Release Week Blitz for Tracie Banister’s latest release Mixing It Up. Read on for more information about the book, my review and a fun giveaway! 

Release date: October 19, 2016

Genre: Chick Lit

Buy it here

Born with a silver spoon in her mouth, Manhattan upper-cruster Cecily Sinclair now uses that pricey utensil to dish up fancy French fare on her cooking show, Serving Romance. When there’s an executive shake-up at the network, she’s not worried. Not much anyway. Her show’s a hit after all. Why would the new CEO want to mess with success?

The driving force behind several buzzed-about networks, Devlin Hayes is considered to be a wunderkind in the television industry. Although his plans to rebrand CuisineTV and make Serving Romance more Millennial-friendly don’t thrill Cecily, her charming, blue-eyed boss is a hard man to say “no” to and she really wants to keep her job—even if that means sharing screen time with a loathsome blast from her past.  

Mercurial Italian chef Dante Marchetti a.k.a. “Il Duce” was once Cecily’s boss, and she has the PTSD to prove it. Now the owner of one of the hottest restaurants in town, Dante’s egomania knows no bounds and his constant attempts to provoke and upstage Cecily make her want to conk him on the head with a sauté pan. She thinks they’re toxic together, but viewers love their chemistry and clamor for more.

As Cecily battles to maintain the integrity of her show, she finds herself scheming and manipulating right along with Dante and Devlin. Is she fighting a lost cause? Does she really belong on TV, or would her culinary talent be better served elsewhere? And could one of the men who makes Cecily’s blood boil ignite a passion in her for something other than food?


Cooking shows are always something I enjoy watching and I like to think I’m a bit of a foodie, so when I saw that Tracie Banister’s latest book centered around a chef, I just knew I had to read it! I was thrilled when Tracie sent me an ARC and I’m so happy to report that I LOVED every minute of my time spent with the characters in Mixing It Up

Let’s talk characters first, because this one is full of entertaining and hilarious people. Cecily is a classically trained chef and her passion for French cuisine is apparent from page one. She’s elegant, refined and classy, and though she’s part of the upper crust society in NYC there is so much more to her than meets the eye. She may always look polished but seeing her inner monologue revealed some really endearing qualities. One of my favorite things about her was her tendency to drift off while thinking about food and recipes she wants to tweak. I could totally picture her eyes glazing over as she thought about the best techniques and flavor combinations to use and I found myself dazing off right along with her. Dina is her cousin and though the two couldn’t be more opposite, they have a unique and honest bond. She’s eccentric and a bit wacky and some of the stunts she pulled made me snort laugh. (I know, super attractive) Paige is Cecily’s friend and coworker and she was just a sweet and cute character. Jessica is a producer on her show and she can be downright awful but her scenes with Cecily were so entertaining to read.

Did you think I skipped the men? Never! They just need their own paragraph. Dante is Cecily’s nemesis, they have a history and she is not happy that he’s back in her life. He’s egotistical and self serving, but man is he charming! You can’t stop yourself from liking him. Devlin is Cecily’s new boss and she can’t quite figure him out. He’s handsome and charismatic but she can’t seem to get on equal footing when they’re together. Cecily has fantastic chemistry with both men, though her relationship with Dante is definitely more volatile. Will she cross the line from coworkers to more with one of them? Or will she focus on her career and forgo romance?

This book was witty, hilarious, and smart which added up to being a highly amusing read.Do not pick this up if you’re hungry, I swear the descriptions of the food are drool worthy. Banister did a fabulous job researching both French and Italian food and I’ve never before had a craving for duck in my life but now I do! The behind the scenes action of a cooking show was hip and fresh and such a great setting. I really can’t say enough good things about this one, so I’ll close by saying that I haven’t had so much good old fun while reading a book in awhile and I’m crossing my fingers for a sequel?!

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks so much to the author for my copy, this review is my thank you.

About the Author: 

An avid reader and writer, Tracie Banister has been scribbling stories since she was a child, most of them featuring feisty heroines with complicated love lives like her favorite fictional protagonist Scarlett O’Hara. Her work was first seen on the stage of her elementary school, where her 4th grade class performed an original holiday play she penned. (Like all good divas-in-the-making, she also starred in and tried to direct the production.)

Tracie’s dreams of authorial success were put on the backburner when she reached adulthood and discovered that she needed a “real” job in order to pay her bills. Her career as personal assistant to a local entrepreneur lasted for 12 years. When it ended, she decided to follow her bliss and dedicate herself to writing full-time. Mixing It Up is her fourth Chick Lit release, and in it Tracie finally got to live out her fantasy of being a Cordon Bleu-trained chef.

Connect with Tracie: 

Banister Buzz Newsletter|Blog|Twitter


Purchase a copy of Mixing It Up between October 19th, 2016 and October 25th, 2016 and you could win this fantastic prize pack inspired by the book’s heroine and her love of French food!


This prize pack includes: 

Garnier-Thiebaut Oh, La La, Chéri French-themed 4-piece Kitchen Linens Set

(Apron, kitchen towel, pot holder, and oven mitt.)


Kate Spade Deco Dot Recipe Box with 8 tabbed dividers and 40 recipe cards


The French Women Don’t Get Fat Cookbook by Mireille Guiliano


To enter this giveaway, simply e-mail the author at with your proof of purchase. Entries will be accepted until midnight on October 26th, 2016 when a winner will be selected via random drawing. This is an international giveaway, so anyone who buys Mixing It Up within the allotted time frame is eligible to win. Good luck!

Blog Tour/Review: The Cherry House by C. J. Carlyon @CJCarlyon

the-cherry-house_cover-artTHE CHERRY HOUSE by C.J. Carlyon
Genre: Contemporary Romance

“Two strangers destined to be lovers, making agreements without even speaking; two souls wordlessly making changes, making room, making space, in seconds, you could feel it.”

When Austen Soren returns home for the summer to the lush beautiful valley of her childhood it’s with the sense that she can be, will be, anything; accepted into the prestigious Writers’ Workshop her life is unfolding just as she planned.

Headstrong and impulsive, Austen’s world is upended the moment she meets Cashel Drai, the enigmatic owner of the storybook estate known throughout the village as The Cherry House. Cashel, devastating and damaged, loves her instantly but is held hostage by his past, falling backwards into its darkness and loss as Austen struggles with the experience of her first great love – at once desperate for him and desperate to be free of their wild longing.

As their relationship reopens the hearts – and wounds – of those closest to them can Austen hold on to the ambitions she has for her own life, is Cashel brave enough to let go of his past, and can they, together, fulfill the destiny that the quiet grave on The Cherry House estate whispered always; that forever is written upon them.





After her swim Austen lay on her back beside her friend close to the edge of the pool. She loved the delicious surprise of cool water splashing her ever so lightly, almost like a touch, whenever someone swam by. She closed her eyes. Her mind wandered. While Lilou had many boys – men – for fun and love while they were away, Austen found she couldn’t be as free. The boys – boys – she had been with had beguiled her with their smiles and their eyes and their young smooth lips, but their fingers were too unsure and too tenacious, not sure exactly where to touch her but determined anyway. They knew only how her body felt under their hands not how their hands felt on her body. And the softness of their skin, prickled with clippered hair rough like pencil shavings, unnerved her, the vanity and the cluelessness of it. Austen longed to feel something hard, something urgent, something real. She wondered what it was that Ruby had seen. “Are you going to fall in love this summer?” Austen asked Lilou.

“Of course; I love every man I’ve ever been with, I just don’t love them for very long. An hour, two hours . . .”

A rush of water sounded in Austen’s ear. She turned towards the noise and the first thing she saw were his devil’s horns, wet. Those curved hollows carved into his hips. She knew immediately, instinctively, it was Cashel Drai. His broad shoulders bulged and his biceps swelled as he raised his body up out of the pool looming over her, almost on top of her, splashing water onto her stomach, her breasts. Her eyes followed the cascade between his muscled chest, winding through the hair that licked across his stomach, down the muscles, down that bump, bump, bump, bump. He was so close Austen surprised herself imagining, just for a second, flicking her tongue along those dark chiselled trenches.

Cashel Drai stood above her. Their eyes met, locked, blue on blue. Austen’s breathing quickened as he ran his hand through the wet tangle of his dark brown hair, dripping water across her thighs. Veins ribboned the tanned skin on his forearms and his gaze traced the lines of her hipbones before coming back to her face where his eyes danced, wicked, his smile cocky. So sure.

“Got you all wet,” he said.

Austen eyed him coolly. Cashel Drai or not, who did he imagine he was, speaking to her that way, as though she would swoon. Please. Slowly she raised one hand, pretending to shield her eyes from the sun. As her arm reached higher towards her face the fullness of her breast shifted upward and her nipple, erect, edged closer and closer to the seam of her bikini. Cashel’s smile faltered his eyes hungry. Austen smirked and her gaze dropped to his black trunks and the thickness she saw there. She arched an eyebrow. All was quiet, as if everyone at the pool was waiting on her reply. For Cashel Drai she had just one word.


The crowd tittered, Lilou winked and no one could tell that Austen had lied.


It’s been a really long time since I’ve read a truly romantic and swoon worthy book, typically I read more chick lit type romances, but this one blew me away! Austen and Cashel’s love story is epic and one that could definitely withstand the test of time. The passion and chemistry these two have is hot, sexy and completely sizzling. I would actually compare it more to a grand fireworks show than your standard sizzle. There are plenty of vivid and sensuous love scenes so this one is definitely best for mature readers. I was really captivated by Carlyon’s writing style, she used such gorgeous and descriptive imagery, especially when talking about food. It was effortless and stunning, one of those books that as you’re reading it, you can really conjure up the images. This was the kind of love story that makes everyone who reads it want to experience it themselves, truly a beautiful and emotional tale. I don’t want to say too much more as their love story is something you need to read and experience for yourself, but I would definitely recommend this one to anyone who wants to get caught up in a lovely story full of romance, heartache and tender first love. 

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the author and HEA Book Tours for my copy in exchange for an honest review.


C.J. grew up in a very small town – just 800 people – leaving for boarding school when she was 15. Attending university she attained a law degree and an arts degree with honours, majoring in English. Instead of pursuing the law she was a newspaper columnist for more than 10 years.
The idea for her debut novel, The Cherry House, struck long before the writing of it when travelling through the south of France she found a beautiful Provencal quilt covered with cherries. Unlike her protagonist, C.J. didn’t buy the cherry quilt. She has never found another one like it.




Review: Christmas Under a Starlit Sky by Holly Martin @hollymartin00 @bookouture

Goodreads|Amazon|Author Website
Release date: October 19, 2016

Publisher: Bookouture

Genre: Chick Lit, Contemporary Romance 

Goodreads blurb: 

Step inside a beautiful winter wonderland where love, laughter and cosy nights by the fire will make this Christmas one to remember. 

Neve Whitaker loves managing the Stardust Lake hotel. She gets to work alongside her wonderful family and she’s spending Christmas on the most enchanting, snow-covered island in Scotland. So why is her heart so heavy this festive season? 

It might have something to do with the gorgeous actor Oakley Rey, the man she finished with before he left for California and the man she loves more than anything. With Oakley’s career in Hollywood soaring, Neve is convinced she’d only hold him back. She had to end it with him – at least that’s what she keeps telling herself. 

But now she has a secret she’s struggling to keep, and when Oakley arrives on Juniper Island determined to win her back, Neve is thrown off balance. Will Neve’s fear of having her heart broken again push Oakley away for good, or is it time for her to take a leap of faith? 

Get swept away by this deliciously sweet and heartwarming tale, and spend an unforgettable Christmas on Juniper Island. 


I confessed in my review of the first book in this series, Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky that I’m a Christmas junkie and I couldn’t wait to revisit this lovely and enchanting town again! I may have even liked this one a bit better than the first though they’re equally charming and romantic, this book just has a bit more drama and secrecy than the first.

This book picks up right where the first one left off, Neve is shocked by the sudden, unannounced appearance of her ex boyfriend, Oakley who also happens to be a huge Hollywood movie star. Things between them are immediately complicated and muddled up though it’s clear they’re still madly in love with each other. While the first book focused mostly on the love story between Gabe and Piper love is in the air for many of the residents of Juniper Island this time around. Adam, the new assistant manager of the hotel begins a tentative relationship with one of the shop workers Ivy, and we are even shown brief glimpses of Luke (Neve and Gabe’s brother) and Andrea as they fall in love. All of them must sort through various problems and issues as they take a chance on love. And one of my favorites little Wren is back and she’s just as unabashedly honest and hilarious as she was in the first book.

No one writes a Christmas book quite as beautifully as Martin does, she captures the magic of Christmas and she made me feel like a young child again, I was so enraptured by this extraordinary town. I’m going to go ahead and dub her the Queen of the Romantic Christmas novel! Just look at that cover, doesn’t it make you want to crawl right inside? I’m actually trying to talk myself out of decorating my house for Christmas because if I actually do that in October my husband may think I’ve finally gone and lost my mind! Pick this one up for a feel good, funny, warm and cozy read that will make you sigh with happiness and contentment by the end.

Overall rating: 4.5/5

Thanks to Bookouture for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

Review: The Secret by Katerina Diamond 

Goodreads|Amazon|Author Website
Release date: October 20, 2016

Publisher: Avon UK

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Goodreads blurb:

The Queen of Grip-lit is back…

‘A terrific story, originally told. All hail the new Queen of Crime!’ HEAT

‘A web of a plot that twists and turns and keeps the reader on the edge of their seat. This formidable debut is a page-turner, but don’t read it before bed if you’re easily spooked!’ SUN


Can you keep a secret? Your life depends on it…

Bridget Reid has a secret, one that could get her killed… If she can escape the man who is keeping her locked in a basement bedroom.

DS Imogen Grey is good at keeping secrets – truths she’d never reveal to her colleagues at Exeter Police. She worked hard to get where she is – she nearly died for it. Now her past is catching up with her…

As DS Grey and her partner DS Adrian Miles search for Bridget, they uncover a terrifying web of abuse, betrayal and murder. And they realise that some secrets are better left buried… 


I have to start this review by admitting that I didn’t read the first book in this series, The Teacher. In the past, I would never read a series out of order, but within the past few months, I’ve stopped caring. I feel like I would miss out on too many great books if I skipped book four in a series because I didn’t read the first three. It’s been working out pretty well for me so far, but I think this time I may have screwed up by not reading book one first. Whoops.

It all begins with Bridget Reid, a woman who has found herself in a terrifying situation. She’s been abducted by a man and she’s being held captive. Nothing makes sense to her though, she’s pretty well taken care of, but why can’t she remember anything day to day? And is everything she is witnessing real or is she cracking up? 

Imogen Grey and Adrian Miles are the officers assigned to Bridget’s case. Portions of the book are told from Bridget’s point of view and there are also sections told from both Grey’s and Miles perspectives. I really liked the two of them as partners, they’re jaded and struggle with their own morality which made them relatable and interesting. There are flashbacks to Grey’s life two years ago when she worked in Plymouth and she’s now in Exeter. At first, I had no idea why we were being told about old events, but soon it all makes sense and things converge beautifully. There are also parts told from a young unknown boy that added a real chill to the story. His chapters were told in such a dispassionate and cold manner that I actually got goosebumps a few times!

This was so close to being a five star read for me, it had so many aspects I loved. There were gory and gruesome crime scenes, secrets and betrayals, well written characters, and plenty of mystery. The problem I had here was that the middle dragged for me. With so many viewpoints and timeframes, I found myself a little confused. I kept mixing up details about the case from two years prior and the current one. For those of you who read The Teacher, do you think I would’ve been less confused if I started there? I’m really wondering if it was just me?

I would definitely recommend this book to lovers of mysteries and thrillers. Diamond really did an excellent job merging all the various storylines and plotted them all together tidily. The ending was left wide open, I can only assume that there will be a third book in the series and I will definitely be checking it out. I really think maybe I need to find time to go back and read book one, maybe I can bump my rating up? 

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to Avon UK for my copy, this review is my thanks to them.