What I read in August and September.

This time last month we’d returned from holiday. We’re lucky enough to have had a few amazing holidays this year either with some of our favourite friends, just the two of us, and then us four. The four of us being together is a very special time. Ten whole days of just us. It’s the only 10 days of the year where we get to think about JUST US and nobody else, where the most stressful decision is who gets to pick what and where we eat that day – I for one love it and value the time more than any other day in the entire year.

Of course, the other reason that I love our holidays together is that I get plow my way through a load of books rather than just grabbing snippets and falling asleep in them. YAY!

So here, as September has been hectic, are the books I read over the last couple of months (mainly on holiday if I’m honest!)…

I finished July reading Jenny Colgan – Where have all the boys gone?

Where have all the men gone? Faced with 25, 000 more women than men in London, and gleeful media reports that it’s statistically more likely for single women to be murdered than get married, Katie is reached an all-time low. But all is not lost …

Another hilarious high-concept romantic comedy from Jenny Colgan.

While Katie’s glad it’s not a man’s world any more, she’d be quite pleased if there were more men in it – or at least single ones, anyway.

More likely to get murdered than married, according to gleeful media reports, Katie resigns herself to the fact there’s no sex in the city and heads for the hills – or the Scottish highlands, to be precise.

Despite the fact she’s never been a girl for wellies – and Fairlish is in the middle of nowhere – the tiny town does have one major draw: men. Lots of them.

But while Katie relishes the chance to do battle with armies of admirers, she’s not reckoned on going head to head with her grumpy new boss, Harry, shadowy developers intent on destroying the beautiful countryside and Mrs McClockerty, the least suitable hotelier since Norman Bates.

At least there’s the local eye-candy to distract her, including gorgeous newshound Iain. But he is at loggerheads with Harry, and Harry despises her. Life in the country might not be one big roll in the hay but can Katie ever turn her back on the delights of Fairlish and return to city life?”

 Unfortunately this book failed my three chapter rule. This was a surprise, as I love Jenny’s books usually, however this time it just made me go ‘meh’. Perhaps I’m too old for the subject? But whatever it was I couldn’t waist my gin sipping time waiting to be made laugh.

I quickly moved onto  Christmas Confessions and Cocktails: A Humorous Holiday Memoir with Sassy Drink Recipes by Vicki Lesage.

“This Christmas-themed memoir features 25 funny and heartwarming essays, all with a tenuous tie to Christmas, and pairs each with a delicious drink recipe. So grab your martini shaker and get ready for tasty cocktails and hearty laughs this holiday season!”

When Vicki asked me to read her book for an honest opinion I couldn’t be more excited or flattered. I’ve not really read many memoir’s especially not by non-celebs which I have a pre-concieved idea about. Luckily you forget all that with Vicki’s laugh-out-loud humour. Even in the beating sun I sat chuckling sippig my gin, and making notes on my phone as to which cocktail recpies I was going to try out!


Then for something more serious, I started reading Nick Quantrill’s The Crooked Beat and YAY!

When Joe Geraghty’s brother finds himself in financial trouble, it’s only natural that he turns to the Private Investigator for help. But when it relates to a missing consignment of smuggled cigarettes, it’s not so easily sorted. Drawn into the murky world of local and international criminals around the port of Hull, Geraghty knows the only way to save his brother is to take on the debt himself. But as he attempts to find a way out of the situation, the secrets and conspiracies he uncovers are so deeply buried in the past, he knows he’s facing people willing to do whatever it takes to keep them that way.”

It was amazing.

I met Nick the same time I met up with David Mark at Lincoln Inspired, and again at Books in the Castle. I was interested to see if you’d get the same excitement in a crime novel when it revolves around a Private Investigator rather than the police, and actually, I think it gave it that extra buzz. Totally a book I would recommend, and I’m going back to the beginning of the series to read the others ASAP.

For anyone who’s read my Little Loves posts, Jonathan Harvey is probably one of my favourite authors. I love him, and his books. I’d KILL to be like him (not actually kill, I promise). So when I realised that The Secrets We Keep was out in time for my holiday I was super excited. I even sat on it so that I didn’t read it first on my holiday and let all the other books I’d planned fail.

‘It’s hard being that woman, the one whose husband disappeared. It’s made me quite famous. I just wish it was for something else.

He went out five years ago for a pint of milk and never came back. So here I am with a daughter who blames me for all that’s wrong in the world, a son trying his best to pick up the pieces and a gaggle of new neighbours who are over friendly, and incredibly nosy. Then I find a left luggage ticket in the pocket of one of his old coats and suddenly I’m thinking… What’s if he’s not dead? What if he’s still out there somewhere?”

You think you have the perfect life, the perfect kids, and then it’s all turned inside out. What if I don’t like what I find? And is it a chance I’m willing to take?

I’m gutted to say I was disappointed. I mean. It’s Jonathan Harvey, it was still a good read, I still couldn’t put it down. But there was something that made me sigh a bit (I’m sighing now as I write it). Perhaps my expectations were raised, but from a plot that seemed to have SO SO much promise, I found that the characters didn’t draw me in the same way. I would still recommend it as a read, but would say if you’re not keen don’t dismiss any other books because they are amazebogs.

To lighten up the mood again I turned to Sophie Kinsella and Shopaholic to the Stars

“Becky Brandon (nee Bloomwood) is in Hollywood! She’s hanging out with celebs . . . or at least she will be, once her husband Luke introduces her to his new A-list client Sage Seymour.

Becky sets her heart on a new career – she’s going to be a stylist to the stars! And when a chance encounter thrusts her into the limelight, she grabs her opportunity. But in between choosing clutch bags and chasing celebrities, Becky loses touch with her family and her best friend . . . Caught up in the whirlwind of Tinseltown, has Becky gone too far this time?”

There’s nothing like a good Shopaholic book, which is why I’ve been holding off reading this one. The consensus from those I’ve spoken too has not always been good, and I didn’t want to be disappointed – I love Becky Bloomwood! I guess my opinion, as I read the book in less than a day, is similar to above. It wasn’t the best Becky adventure, and I was cheesed off that it finished without an ending ready for the next book. Plus, Becky and her best friend falling out bothered me perhaps more than it should – as did how quickly things were forgiven. BUT BUT BUT – I will always love Becky for her determination and 99% of the time upbeat outlook on life. Becky does leave you feeling upbeat, and for that I’m looking forward to her next adventure.

Unlike the two books above, I’ve never read anything by Leylah Attar, and I’m going to admit I started Paper Swans with low expectations. Cheap download, when I was on limited wifi, I downloaded quickly even though I knew nothing about it.

“Intense, gritty, and full of heart.

They say it takes 21 days to form a habit. They lie. For 21 days she held on. But on Day 22, she would have given anything for the sweet slumber of death. Because on Day 22, she realizes that her only way out means certain death for one of the two men she loves.”

Turns out this isn’t a genre I normally read AT ALL. It also turns out that I actually LOVED it. It totally encouraged me to stretch out and read ANYTHING, and I’d recommend you to do the same. 

I LOVE Belinda Jones, and when it comes to The Travelling Tea Shop I have two words.


“A delectable tale of love, friendship and cake…

Laurie loves a challenge. Especially if it involves tea-time and travel. So when British baking treasure Pamela Lambert-Leigh needs a guide on a research trip for her new cookbook, she jumps at the chance.

The brief:

Laurie and Pamela – along with Pamela’s sassy mother and stroppy daughter – will board a vintage London bus for a deliciously unusual tour of the USA’s East Coast, cruising from New York to Vermont.

Their mission:

To trade recipes for home-grown classics like Victoria Sponge and Battenburg for American favourites like Red Velvet Cake and Whoopie Pie.

All the women have their secrets and heartaches to heal. As well cupcakes galore, there’s also the chance for romance…

But will making Whoopie lead to love?”

Funny, heartwarming, engaging, gutted when it ended.

Favourite time of the day? Reading Five go off to Camp by Enid Blyton to the boys (then putting them to bed).

“Ghost trains in the dead of night that seem to vanish into thin air? Enid Blyton’s The Famous Five are on to it! If they follow the tracks, will they solve the mystery?”

I don’t care that there’s a lack of continuity between the books, that George is ridiculous, or that if Theo was Julian I would knock him from here to next week. But of course THREE CHEERS FOR THE FAMOUS FIVE!


I’ve been READING A BLOODY AMAZING book, that’s hitting the shelves SOON! VERY VERY SOON. It’s called Mothers Ruined and it’s by Aimee Horton.

HOW SELF ABSORBED DO I SOUND? It’s the final stage, I read it about 20 times (well 2) before sending the email back to the publishers saying OK LET’S DO THIS THING. Because well. I’m pretty scared. I know that a lot of you have read it already, that first time round you seemed to enjoy it, but just as I did with Christmas Spirit I’ve tweaked it. So will you still like it? Will NEW READERS like it?! WHAT IF YOU ALL HATE IT.

But no Aimee. Think positive. You’re gonna love it, you can’t not* – it’s Dottie.

So with that, I’m leaving you on this cold and wet stupid October day, to press send so I can focus on the next Dottie adventure.

Gin. Now. Please.

*please don’t hate her.

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