The Dinner Guest by B P Walter

Thank you to One More Chapter and Harper Collins UK for the opportunity to read and review a digital copy via NetGalley. I’m taking part in the OMC Blogger Readalong this week and here is a mini non spoiler review.

Synopsis:

Four people walked into the dining room that night. One would never leave.

Matthew: the perfect husband.

Titus: the perfect son.

Charlie: the perfect illusion.

Rachel: the perfect stranger.

Charlie didn’t want her at the book club. Matthew wouldn’t listen.

And that’s how Charlie finds himself slumped beside his husband’s body, their son sitting silently at the dinner table, while Rachel calls 999, the bloody knife still gripped in her hand.

Classic crime meets Donna Tartt in this nerve-shredding domestic noir thriller that weaves a sprawling web of secrets around an opulent West London world and the dinner that ends in death.

My thoughts:

This was an interesting read. Rachel is arrested for the murder of Matthew after confessing to the police, but was she the killer? The synopsis mentions the word perfect four times – but were any of the four perfect?

The story moves back and forwards in time, as we discover more about how Matthew and Charlie met, and how they met Rachel. This story features secrets and lies, revenge and betrayal.

Few of the characters in the story were likeable but I was keen to keep reading, to find out who killed Matthew, and why. I enjoyed the story and I’m happy to recommend it. It is currently 99p on the Kindle in the UK.

The Little Swiss Ski Chalet by Julie Caplin

Thanks to Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources for the invitation to read and review the latest book by Julie Caplin. Thanks to One More Chapter for the digital review copy, my thoughts are my own and not influenced by the gift.

Synopsis:

It’s time to pack your bags and head to the breathtaking, snow-covered peaks of the Swiss Alps for velvety hot chocolates, delicious cheeses and a gorgeous love story…

Food technician Mina has always believed that chocolate will solve everything – and it’s just what she needs when her latest relationship mishap goes viral!

So with her bags packed and a new determination to sort her life out, Mina decides to drown her sorrows with the best hot chocolate in the world at her godmother’s cosy Swiss chalet. Chocolate: yes. Romance: no. Until she has a run in on an Alpine train with a mysterious but oh-so-gorgeous stranger…

Purchase Links 

http://amzn.to/3jU2lKy 🌎 

http://mybook.to/SwissSkiChalet

My thoughts:

Regular readers of my blog may remember that I read and reviewed The Little Teashop in Tokyo in 2020 (visit https://mentoringmumof2bookreviews.home.blog/2020/06/03/the-little-teashop-in-tokyo-by-julie-caplin/ for my review). After enjoying that book, I treated myself to a couple of Julie’s books on my Kindle and I’m thrilled to be sharing my no spoiler thoughts about her new book here today.

I had been trying to say no to blog tours after returning to work after my furlough ended, but when I saw the gorgeous cover and the synopsis, which mentions chocolate four times, I had to send an email to Rachel to ask/beg to take part.

I’m pleased to say that it was the right decision. From the starting chapter with the Mexican themed anniversary dinner ending differently to how Mina had planned it, I was hooked. In a year of hardly travelling more than 2 miles to our local supermarket, I loved my virtual visit to Switzerland. I wouldn’t have wanted to go downhill skiing but I fancied the cross country skiing, the train journeys and the food. There is a lot of delicious sounding food in this book (and I wanted to try it all).

This is another uplifting romantic novel by Julie Caplin, full of humour, some heartbreak and a fabulous set of characters. Mina’s godmother Amelie is the perfect hostess and I’m now craving a holiday in Switzerland. A perfect escape for the anxiety inducing world we are currently living in. Treat yourself to a copy today is my humble suggestion.

Author Bio:

Julie Caplin, formerly a PR director, swanned around Europe for many years taking top food and drink writers on press trips (junkets) sampling the gastronomic delights of various cities in Italy, France, Belgium, Spain, Copenhagen and Switzerland. It was a tough job but someone had to do it. 

These trips have provided the inspiration and settings for her Romantic Escapes series which have been translated into fifteen different languages.

The first book in the seven strong series, The Little Café in Copenhagen, was shortlisted for a Romantic Novel of the Year Award.

Social Media Links – @JulieCaplin Twitter 

https://www.facebook.com/JulieCaplinAuthor/

Instagram @juliecaplinauthor

Christmas Island by Natalie Normann

Today I’m sharing a mini review. Thank you to One More Chapter for a digital review copy on NetGalley to read and review. My thoughts are my own and not influenced by the gift.

Synopsis:

In the bleak midwinter… 
A really frosty wind is making Holly’s life absolutely miserable

After all the years of hard work it took Londoner Holly Greene to become a doctor, now it could all be taken away and she only has herself to blame. She’s retreating to her brother’s rustic home on an island off the coast of Norway to lick her wounds. Only, it’s the middle of winter and icy slush plus endless darkness isn’t exactly the cheery, festive getaway she had imagined.

Nearly stumbling off the edge of a cliff in the dark, Holly is saved by Frøy, a yellow-eyed cat of fearsome but fluffy proportions, and his owner – grouchy, bearded recluse, Tor. Tor has his own problems to face but the inexplicable desire to leave a bag of freshly baked gingerbread men on Holly’s doorstep is seriously getting in the way of his hermit routine.

Call it kindness, call it Christmas, but Holly’s arrival means midwinter has never looked less bleak.

My thoughts:

Thank you to One More Chapter for inviting me to read the book. I didn’t realise until I started the book, that this follows on from Summer Island, but the main characters are new and I was able to read this without having read Summer Island.

Holly has escaped London and travelled to Norway to rest and reflect on what happened at work. Tor has escaped Oslo and is enjoying the solitude, until he saves a weary Holly, with assistance from a cute cat. Can Holly help Tor escape his self imposed exile and can Tor help Holly learn about Norwegian food and customs?

The story is set over the Christmas period, as Holly looks forward to spending Christmas with her older brother Jack, the main character in Summer Island and features food, friendship, romance and furry four legged friends.

I enjoyed my virtual visit to Norway and must admit that I’m now tempted to visit Norway once the global pandemic is over, to try all the fabulous sweet treats. Thanks to Natalie Normann for a festive treat of a story.

The Christmas Swap by Sandy Barker

Today I’m happy to be sharing my review for the latest book by Sandy Barker, The Christmas Swap. Thank you to One More Chapter for a digital proof copy and to Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to join the blog tour.

Synopsis

Christmas is coming and best friends ChloeJules, and Lucy are needing change… so swapping homes for the holidays could be the perfect present for all of them!

Australian Chloe spends her Christmas in a sleepy village in Oxfordshire, England. She is totally star-struck when she discovers who lives across the road.

Lucy, who has jetted off to snowy Colorado for her dream-come-true white Christmas, is taken into the fold of Jules’s loud and brash family, discovering more about herself in a few short days than she has in years.

And Jules leaves the cold climes of Colorado to spend her Christmas on a beach with Chloe’s friends in Melbourne, finding that time away is just what she needed.

The only thing better than one Christmas romance is three, and this wonderful festive novel is perfect for fans of Sarah Morgan, Holly Martin and Karen Swan.

Purchase Links 

https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/the-christmas-swap

https://books.apple.com/gb/book/the-christmas-swap/id1522992097

https://www.foyles.co.uk/witem/fiction-poetry/the-christmas-swap,sandy-barker-9780008390044

https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-christmas-swap/sandy-barker/9780008390044

My thoughts:

Having read many of Sandy’s previous books, I was pleased to be given a sneak preview of her new festive novel.

2020 has been the year when many of us haven’t travelled far, with holidays and family reunions curtailed by the global pandemic. So I was thrilled to be able to travel around the world with the May Ladies at Christmastime. I loved how everyone swapped to experience Christmas differently – to have snow guaranteed or to be able to visit a warm beach.

In each Christmas location, each of the May Ladies also met and fell in love with a gorgeous man, so this book is full of travel and romances. Personally I would have chosen the chance to travel to sunny Australia to meet Dexter the dog, but the rum hot chocolates after spending time in the snow was also very tempting.

This is a fabulous festive read, with fun stories from each of the three countries, all interwoven by the catch up video calls between Chloe, Lucy and Jules – thank goodness for video calling in 2020. I felt much more festive reading this in mid September and I’m happy to recommend it.

Author Bio:

Sandy Barker is a writer, traveller and hopeful romantic with a lengthy bucket list. She loves exploring new places, outdoor adventures, and eating and drinking like a local when she travels, and many of her travel adventures have found homes in her novels. She’s also an avid reader, film buff, wine lover and coffee snob.

Social Media Links – 

https://www.facebook.com/sandybarkerauthor

https://www.instagram.com/sandybarkerauthor

https://sandybarker.com/

Eudora Honeysett is Quite Well, Thank You by Annie Lyons

Today I’m pleased to be sharing my mini review for this gorgeous book by a new author to me, Annie Lyons. Thank you to Claire Fenby at One More Chapter for sending me a digital proof copy via NetGalley.

Synopsis:

Eudora Honeysett is done – with all of it. Having seen first-hand what a prolonged illness can create, the eighty-five-year-old has no intention of leaving things to chance. With one call to a clinic in Switzerland she takes her life into her own hands.

But then ten-year-old Rose arrives in a riot of colour on her doorstep. Now, as precocious Rose takes Eudora on adventures she’d never imagined she reflects on the trying times of her past and soon finds herself wondering – is she ready for death when she’s only just experienced what it’s like to truly live?

Eudora Honeysett is done – with all of it. Having seen first-hand what a prolonged illness can create, the eighty-five-year-old has no intention of leaving things to chance. With one call to a clinic in Switzerland she takes her life into her own hands.

But then ten-year-old Rose arrives in a riot of colour on her doorstep. Now, as precocious Rose takes Eudora on adventures she’d never imagined she reflects on the trying times of her past and soon finds herself wondering – is she ready for death when she’s only just experienced what it’s like to truly live?

A heartfelt story of life, death, friendship and family perfect for fans of Gail Honeyman

My thoughts:

I have to be honest and say that I nearly didn’t read the book after reading the blurb as I lost my brother to depression 5 years ago and tend to avoid books where a character is considering suicide.

However I decided to give it a try a couple of weeks later, and I’m glad I did. This is the first book I’ve read by Annie Lyons and she has brought the characters to life beautifully. So much so, that I had tears in my eyes towards the end. The three main characters, Eudora (age 85), Stanley and Rose (age 10) are such a great combination and are all in need of some friendship in different ways.

If you enjoyed Saving Missy by Beth Morrey or Away With The Penguins by Hazel Prior, with a strong elderly female character, then I recommend this book.

Author Bio:

After a career in bookselling and publishing, Annie Lyons published five books including the best-selling, Not Quite Perfect. When not working on her novels, she teaches creative writing. She lives in south-east London with her husband and two children.

The Last Charm by Ella Allbright

I’m pleased to share my review for this beautiful book today on my book blog. Thank you to One More Chapter of Harper Collins for a digital proof copy via NetGalley – my thoughts are my own and not influenced by the gift. The ebook is published today in the UK and the paperback is due to be published in November 2020.

Synopsis:

A moving and heartwarming love story perfect for fans of Me Before You and One Day in December…

Leila’s charm bracelet tells a story of love, a story of loss, a story of hope. This is the story of her … and the story of Jake.

When Leila Jones loses her precious charm bracelet and a stranger finds it, she has to tell the story of how she got the charms to prove she’s the owner. Each and every one is a precious memory of her life with Jake.

So Leila starts at the beginning, recounting the charms and experiences that have led her to the present. A present she never could have expected when she met Jake nearly twenty years ago…

My thoughts:

This is the first book I’ve read by Ella Allbright/Nikki Moore and it won’t be the last. The story telling was superb, I loved the way that Leila and Jake kept spending small periods of time together, whilst you wondered if this would be the time that they finally realised that they belonged together properly.

The story covers some tough topics including domestic violence and mental health issues, but there are also lots of funny moments too. As the book title suggests, there is a charm bracelet at the centre of the story and the end of the book had me in tears as Leila searched for the last charm. This was a beautiful and emotional read, and I’ve given it a 5 star rating.

Ella Allbright:

A self-confessed reading addict, Ella Allbright writes commercial women’s fiction set in her beautiful home county of Dorset. Her first novel in this genre – The Last Charm – will publish in August 2020 (ebook) and November 2020 (paperback) with One More Chapter, a division of HarperCollins. She’s currently hard at work on her next book, and is represented by agent Hattie Grünewald at The Blair Partnership.

Ella also writes as Nikki Moore, the author of the popular #LoveLondon romance series. A number of the novellas featured in the Top 100 short story charts on Kobo and the Top 20 in the Amazon UK bestsellers Holiday chart, and in 2018 the collection was released in Italy. Her first published work was the short story A Night to Remember in the best selling Mills & Boon / RNA anthology Truly, Madly, Deeply. Her debut romance Crazy, Undercover, Love was shortlisted for the RNA Joan Hessayon Award 2015.

When not writing or reading, she can usually be found working in her HR day job, walking the family’s cute beagle puppy or watching a Netflix series!

She vlogs about how to get published as ‘Author By The Sea’ on her YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQNV3lWENgnIRG4NWejSjmQ

The Saturday Morning Park Run by Jules Wake #blogtour





I’m pleased to share my review for the latest book by Jules Wake. Thank you to One More Chapter for a digital review copy to prepare for the blog tour with Rachel’s Random Resources – my thoughts are my own and not influenced by the free digital copy. The book will be published later this month but can be pre-ordered now.

Synopsis:

This is the story of two women.
One old, one young.
One looking for new adventures. One looking for a purpose.
Both needing a friend.
And this is how, along with two little girls in need of a family, a gorgeous stranger, and a scruffy dog, they bring the whole community together every Saturday morning for love, laughter and a little bit of running…(well, power walking).
Some people come into your life when you need them the most.

My thoughts:

I enjoyed this story, which seems even more relevant now after lockdown, looking at how there are lonely people all around and people are starting to reconsider their work/life balance alongside their physical and mental health.

I was thrilled to be able to read this book because I recently enjoyed The Little Teashop in Tokyo by Julie Caplin (see my review at https://mentoringmumof2bookreviews.home.blog/2020/06/03/the-little-teashop-in-tokyo-by-julie-caplin/ ), then discovered Jules Wake is her real name – thank you to TheBookBabe for recommending her books. I was also keen to read about the Park Run – my family have been involved with running and volunteering at our local Park Run over the past few years.

The story takes some time to get to the Park Run, but please do keep reading as Jules Wake introduces you to a great cast of characters and a dog (all the best books have a dog). My favourite character was Hilda, who is determined to enjoy life and to encourage others to do the same.

This is a book about friendship and trust, community spirit and improving our mental health with exercise. An uplifting read for 2020.

Pre-order Links:

Jules Wake:

Jules Wake announced at the age of ten that she planned to be a writer. Along the way she was diverted by the glamorous world of PR and worked on many luxury brands and not so luxury brands. This proved fabulous training for writing novels as it provided her with the opportunity to hone her writing and creative skills penning copy on a vast range of subjects from pig farming and watches, sunglasses and skincare through to beer and stationery.  

She writes best-selling warm-hearted contemporary fiction for One More Chapter as Jules Wake and under her pen name Julie Caplin, she writes the Romantic Escapes series.  

Between them, the two Js have written fourteen novels, The Saturday Morning Park Run being the latest. 

Social Media Links – 

Twitter @Juleswake

https://www.facebook.com/juleswakewrites/

Instagram: juleswakeauthor

Please check out the other reviews on the blog tour – information below.

Summer at Rachel’s Pudding Pantry by Caroline Roberts

The Pudding Pantry opens its doors for summer.

And there are wedding bells on the horizon . . .

The sun is shining as Rachel and her gorgeous beau, Tom, prepare to tie the knot at Primrose Farm.

It takes a village to pull off the perfect country wedding and Rachel couldn’t be more grateful for her friends and family as they roll out the haybales and string up the bunting – all she needs to do is focus on her Happy Ever After.

But no wedding is without drama. A face from the past is looking to stir up trouble in the village and there’s a secret following Rachel all the way up the aisle . . .

With old friends, new promises and a little borrowed time, will Rachel get the wedding of her dreams?


My thoughts:

First of all, I need to say what a gorgeous cover this book has – I know I only have a digital proof copy at the moment but I’m looking forward to getting a paperback copy of this book when it is published in July 2020.

Thank you to One More Chapter at Harper Collins for approving my NetGalley request to read and review. I enjoyed the first two Pudding Pantry books and was eager to find out what happened next for Rachel, Maisy, Jill, Ruth and the friends of Primrose Farm in the Cheviot Hills.

At the start of the book, wedding plans are in preparation for Rachel and Tom’s big day. As the current pandemic has forced the postponement of many weddings in 2020, it felt even more special to be able to read this.

Alongside romance, puddings, farm life, desserts, community spirit, children, cake, the story also covers issues with ex partners, missing loved ones and recognising that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. I loved being back at Primrose Farm and would like to thank Caroline Roberts for giving me a wonderful escape on a wet and windy lockdown bank holiday Saturday.

A delicious, delightful story and a much need uplifting read, plus a recipe book (recipes are included in all three Pudding Pantry books). A five star read too.

Caroline Roberts information from Goodreads:

Family, friends, food, a glass of bubbly and, of course, a good book make me smile. I love writing emotional stories about love, loss, betrayal, and family, that explore how complex and yet beautiful love can be. I also like to write romantic comedy, letting the characters have a bit of flirty fun too! I believe in following your dreams and working hard towards them, which led me to Harper Impulse (Harper Collins) and a publishing deal (woop!) after many years of writing. Stunning Northumberland is my home – sandy beaches, castles and gorgeous countryside that have inspired my writing.

Website http://carolinerobertswriter.blogspot.co.uk/



View all my reviews from http://www.karenkisreading.com

The Backpacking Bride by Janice Horton

Today I’m pleased to share my review for The Backpacking Bride (being published later this week) on my book review blog. Thank you to One More Chapter and Harper Collins UK for the digital proof copy via NetGalley – my thoughts are my own and not influenced by the gift.

Synopsis:

When her walk up the aisle leads to disaster Maya Thomas must forge a new path…

Saying ‘I Do’ was meant to be the start of her greatest adventure, but when Maya’s fiancé drops dead just moments before he’s set to kiss the bride, her life is spent spinning out of control.

Now, as Maya travels a path she never expected to take, setting off on the mystery honeymoon her fiancé had planned for them, she finds that there is life after loss, that fate has its own way of helping you heal and that those with the courage to grasp love will never go lonely…

My thoughts:

This book starts with Maya arriving in India on the honeymoon planned by the love of her life, Jon, who collapsed and died at the start of the wedding ceremony just one week earlier. She is middle aged, grief stricken and suddenly in a bustling foreign country trying to find peace, to practice yoga and mindfulness and to come to terms with how quickly her life has changed.

We spend a week with Maya in India, before continuing the journey to Hong Kong and beyond. Maya meets a variety of people on her way, including other travellers and local people. However meeting Henri in Hong Kong, organised by the post it notes in Jon’s folder, makes Maya reassess her life yet again.

I enjoyed the travel aspects of this story – India and Hong Kong sound amazing. I didn’t understand why the financially astute Jon wouldn’t have organised travel insurance but then we wouldn’t have had the story.

The story moved slowly during the week in India, then suddenly the pace picked up in Hong Kong. Looking back I’m confused by the timelines – was the end of the book really only about three weeks after the tragedy at the wedding? I enjoyed lots of elements of the story but found the timings very far fetched. A 3.5 star read for me.

Janice Horton:

Janice Horton, also known as the backpacking housewife, writes contemporary romantic fiction with a dash of humour and a sense of adventure. Once her three children had grown up, Janice and her backpacking husband sold their empty nest in Scotland UK along with almost everything they owned and set off to travel the world. Since then they have been travelling full-time and have explored over 50 countries, living out of an apartment, a hut, or wherever they happen to find themselves.

Janice works as a writer wherever she is in the world. When not writing bestselling romantic adventure novels, she writes lifestyle and travel features for her website and her work has also featured in national and international magazines like ‘Prima’ in the UK and ‘Friday’ in Dubai. She has also been involved in BBC Scotland’s Write Here Write Now project and has been interviewed on many podcasts and radio shows including Loose Women’s Kaye Adams’ prime time BBC Radio Scotland Show.

Look out for her latest romantic adventure novel and escape to a tropical paradise in this epic story of hidden pasts and family secrets: ‘Island in the Sun’ (published January 2019)

Janice writes for HarperCollins Publishers. Janice signed a three-book deal with HarperImpulse – the romance imprint of HarperCollinsUK for ‘The Backpacking Housewife’ (published July 2018) and two more backpacking romantic adventure novels including a sequel ‘The Next Adventure’ (July 2019) and a third title to be published later in 2019.

Her backlist of bestselling romantic adventure novels include: ‘Bagpipes and Bullshot’ and ‘Reaching for the Stars’ and ‘Castaway in the Caribbean’ – a #1 Kindle Bestseller shortlisted for the prestigious Love Story Awards.

Janice also writes under the author name of Janey Travis. Look out for her fun romantic comedy ‘I Need a Doctor’. “Just the right sprinkling of romance and humour” says Brook Cottage Books.

Janice keeps in touch with her readers on social media and from her website at: https://thebackpackinghousewife.com/

The English Wife by Adrienne Chinn #blogtour

I’m thrilled to share my thoughts about this time slip historical novel on my book review blog today. Thank you to One More Chapter and Rachel’s Random Resources for a digital review copy via NetGalley – my thoughts are my own and not influenced by the gift.

Synopsis:

Two women, a world apart.

A secret waiting to be discovered…

VE Day 1945: As victory bells ring out across the country, war bride Ellie Burgess’ happiness is overshadowed by grief. Her charismatic Newfoundlander husband Thomas is still missing in action.
 
Until a letter arrives explaining Thomas is back at home on the other side of the Atlantic recovering from his injuries.

Travelling to a distant country to live with a man she barely knows is the bravest thing Ellie has ever had to do. But nothing can prepare her for the harsh realities of her new home…

September 11th 2001: Sophie Parry is on a plane to New York on the most tragic day in the city’s history. While the world watches the news in horror, Sophie’s flight is rerouted to a tiny town in Newfoundland and she is forced to seek refuge with her estranged aunt Ellie.
 
Determined to discover what it was that forced her family apart all those years ago, newfound secrets may change her life forever…
 
This is a timeless story of love, sacrifice and resilience perfect for fans of Lorna Cook and Gill Paul.

My thoughts:

This is the first historical fiction novel I’ve read involving Newfoundland – I must admit that I had to look up Newfoundland to check exactly where it is. If you read some of the other blog tour posts for The English Wife, you can read about the author growing up in the area.

This book involves two distinct time periods – we follow Ellie through the war years in the UK, then her early years in Newfoundland. We also meet her again when her niece Sophie has an unexpected visit to Newfoundland in September 2001, returning again in 2011. This is not a ‘light read’ due to the time periods it is set in (war and terrorist attacks) and needing to move between the different time periods. However it is a well written and thought provoking book, looking at how the events of the 1940’s impacts on the life of Sophie.

I enjoyed travelling to the different time periods, each with their own challenges for the characters of this story. There is romance, love, loss, hardship, new friendships, in-laws, mystery and lots of secrets. My favourite time period was 2001 when Sophie met her aunt and other family members for the first time.

Purchase Links 

https://amzn.to/2KpCBpb

https://amzn.to/3bqYKPZ

https://amzn.to/2VpSoLk

Adrienne Chinn:

Adrienne Chinn was born in Grand Falls, Newfoundland, grew up in Quebec, and eventually made her way to London, England after a career as a journalist. In England she worked as a TV and film researcher before embarking on a career as an interior designer, lecturer, and writer. When not up a ladder or at the computer, she can usually be found rummaging through flea markets or haggling in the Marrakech souk. Her second novel, The English Wife — a timeslip story set in World War II England and contemporary Newfoundland — is published in June 2020. Her debut novel, The Lost Letter from Morocco, was published by Avon Books UK in 2019. She is currently writing her third novel, The Photographer’s Daughters, the first of a 3-book series, to be published in 2021.

Social Media Links – 

https://www.facebook.com/adriennechinnauthor/?modal=admin_todo_tour

https://www.instagram.com/adriennechinn/?hl=en