Monday 8 July 2024

Honey by Isabel Banta | Blog Tour Book Review

[ad/gifted - I received an eBook copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.]

Author & Title: Honey by Isabel Banta 
My rating: 4/5
Publisher: Zaffre
Publication date: 25th June 2024

It is 1997, and Amber Young has received a life-changing call. It's a chance thousands of girls would die for: the opportunity to join girl group Cloud9 in Los Angeles and escape her small town. She quickly finds herself in the orbits of fellow rising stars Gwen Morris, a driven singer-dancer, and Wes Kingston, a member of the biggest boy band in the world, ETA.

As Amber embarks on her solo career and her fame intensifies, she increasingly finds herself reduced to a body, a voice, an object. Surrounded by the wrong kind of people and driven by a desire for recognition and success, for love and sex, for agency and connection, Amber comes of age at a time when the kaleidoscope of public opinion can distort everything, and one mistake can shatter a career.

Inspired by the starlets of the 90s and noughties who became as infamous for their personal lives as their hypersexualised music videos and lyrics, Honey is a novel about the journey from girlhood to womanhood and how far we are willing to go in the pursuit of love...

Honey tells the story of Amber Young in the nineties and early 2000s. Singing is the only thing she is good at. She enters a show called Star Search when she is young but loses to a boy called Wes who can't believe his luck, as he thinks Amber is a fantastic singer.

At the age of seventeen, Amber is put into a girl group called Cloud9. There, she becomes good friends with bandmate Gwen, and the Cloud9 girls open for boyband ETA, Wes's band.

The novel follows Amber leaving the band and making it as a solo artist. The vibe feels nostalgic and it focuses on the industry, tabloids, the sexualisation of female artists. She is competing against other female solo singers (including her best friend Gwen), her relationships are highly publicised, people online say things about her. 

There are some aspects of mixed media in there too and whilst I love that, I would have enjoyed an extra chapter on Amber now in her forties with her husband and child and how that came to be, rather than it being akin to a Wikipedia article.

I really enjoyed this book and it is a great, easy to read debut. 


A massive thank you to Zaffre and Compulsive Readers for having me on the blog tour. You can find information on the other bloggers taking part in the tour in the graphic below. 

Sunday 23 June 2024

The Echoes Of Us by Emma Steele | Book Review

[ad/gifted - I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.]

My rating: 5/5
Publisher: Mountain Leopard Press
Publication date: 6th June 2024

Robbie and Jenn are meant to be. They've finally reconciled after eight months spent apart and both know that, this time, it's forever.

But forever might not be as long as they think.

As a truck hurtles towards their car on their way home, Robbie is thrown back into Jenn's past and he finds himself spectator in the most important moments of her life: golden moments from her childhood and heart-breaking ones from her teenage years; her exhausting time at med school and just where she's been for the last eight months. But he may find more than he bargained for...

Can Robbie right the wrongs in their past? Can he get to the bottom of what drove Jenn away eight months ago? Most importantly, can he change their present in order to save their future?

This book is absolutely stunning.

Robbie and Jenn have recently reconciled after a while apart. Whilst in a car journey, a truck hurtling towards them forces Robbie to visit some of Jenn's memories. Understandably he is very confused at the beginning as he can't understand why he sees Jenn as a child with her parents on a beach then moves through other timelines such as the night they meet, Jenn in school, their first fight, and so on. He wasnt a part of all of these memories but they must mean something when put together. He soon realises that Jenn has a secret and he needs to find out what it is.

This story is beautiful. Robbie and Jenn's characters are wonderfully developed and it is a fantastic take on the fragility of love and also self-reflection and realisation. Robbie and Jenn are human, they have made mistakes, they have flaws and the story feels so real.

The trials and tribulations they experience are emotional and I couldn't help but feel for both of them at separate times in the book. If you are looking for a novel with depth that will move you, this is for you. I usually am quite a fast reader but I really had to take my time with The Echoes Of Us and savour it. Beautiful.

Thursday 13 June 2024

Face Off by Chelsea Curto | Book Review

[AD/Gifted - I received an eBook copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.]

My rating: 5/5
Publication date: 30th May 2024

Emerson (Emmy) Hartwell has waited for a spot on an NHL roster since she became a professional hockey player, and this season, she’ll finally get a chance to showcase her talents with the struggling D.C. Stars.

Maverick Miller is the best player in the league, but he’s never had a winning record. Team captain and desperate to turn things around, he agrees to play nice with the fiery new left-winger even though they’re total opposites.

After a night where the tension between them reaches a tipping point and they fall in bed together, Emmy and Maverick vow it was only one time. Just once to get it out of their systems so they can play better and help their team. It doesn’t mean anything. She doesn’t date hockey players. He’s a notorious playboy who doesn’t date. Period.

Except… what should’ve been just once happens again, then again. They tell each other their friends with benefits arrangement is only for the season, but despite facing off on the ice, behind closed doors, the pair is nothing but fire.

This book is everything. If you are looking for a spicy ice hockey romance where she is an athlete too, this is for you.

Thirty-year-old Emerson Hartwell is transferring to DC Stars and she will be the first female player on the team. Team Captain Maverick Miller, also thirty, spends his evenings with a different woman every night so is far too busy to check out videos of the Stars' latest signing. Imagine his surprise when he flirts with Emerson outside of their meeting not realising that new winger Emerson Hartwell is in fact, not a man.

Emerson knows of Maverick and her guard is already up being a female in a male-dominated industry. She tells Maverick under no uncertain terms that she is going to kick his ass on the ice.

I absolutely adored this book and literally could not put it down. The backstories of every character made me fall in love with them and I am so excited to hear that there will be more in the DC Stars series. One thing that I find a lot of romance novels get wrong is not letting me feel the emotions build but Face Off does it perfectly. Maverick Miller - wow.

This novel is so gorgeous with so much depth and I would highly recommend it if hockey romance, enemies to lovers and forced proximity are your thing! 

Monday 20 May 2024

Invite Me In by Emma Curtis | Book Review

[This post contains affiliate links.]

My rating: 4/5
Publisher: Penguin
Publication date: 2nd September 2021

To those who think they know her, Eliza Curran has it all: two healthy children, a stunning home and a wealthy, adoring husband. No one would guess the reality of her life: trapped in an unhappy marriage to a controlling man, she longs for a way out.

When she takes on a new tenant, her life changes unexpectedly. Dan Jones is charming and perceptive, and quickly becomes a close friend to the whole family.

But Dan's arrival threatens to tip Eliza's fragile world out of balance. And when someone has as many secrets as Eliza does, the smallest slip could destroy everything...

I really love Emma Curtis's books as she writes domestic thrillers very well.

Eliza Curran is married to Martin and they are parents to 6 year old Lucas and 3 year old Aurora. They are quite well off and own a lot of rental properties. Martin uses a wheelchair as he became paralysed after a car accident.

Whilst at an upcoming rental property, Eliza answers the door to a man named Dan who is interested in the flat and asks for him to be considered ahead of it going on the market officially. Dan soon infiltrates Eliza's family, by getting into a relationship with her au pair whilst also hitting on Eliza, causing tons of destruction but why? Eliza did not know Dan before this but did he know her?

This is so twisty and I loved the little bits of information that were being drip fed to us. Although I didn't particularly like any of the characters, I did feel sorry for Eliza as Martin was a very controlling person. I always worry about the endings of thrillers because they can make or break a novel but I was pleased with this one!

Tuesday 14 May 2024

Iris Is More Than Okay by Natalie Cooper | Audible Original Book Review

[ad/gifted - I received an audiobook copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]

Author & Title: Iris Is More Than Okay by Natalie Cooper 
My rating: 5/5
Publisher: Audible Originals
Publication date:  16th May 2024

Iris Nightingale is more than okay. She has her life planned out to a perfect schedule. Work, run, sleep, repeat. She spends her quiet Friday nights sitting alone on a bench in the park, trying to push back the memories that no amount of running can help her escape.

But one evening, there’s someone else on her bench - Hunter. Tall, wry and infuriating: everything about him gets under Iris’s skin. Little does she know that he's about to upset more than just her routines...

Hired as a consultant at the firm where Iris works as engineering manager, Hunter has a knack for knowing just what to say to irritate her, and Iris can’t help rising to the spark in his eyes each time.

Sent away on a work trip together, Iris is taken out of her comfort zone. As their connection deepens, will Iris finally be able to face the memories that have been haunting her for years? Can her blossoming relationship with Hunter survive some brutal truths?

Only one thing is certain: The spark between them is beyond Iris’s expertise, and there's no running away from it.

I love Jenna Coleman so when I heard that she was narrating Iris Is More Than Okay, I knew I'd love it. I love audiobooks but sometimes the narrator makes all the difference.

Iris is an engineer for a perfume company and she has her own routines. She runs on specific days and has a certain bench at her local park that she likes to sit at. When a stranger places himself next to her on the bench one day, she is not happy. She is less than enthused to bump into him at work the following day.

Hunter has been hired by her firm to analyse and see what they could do better. He is divorced and we learn that Iris was married also but no longer is.

As these two develop feelings for each other, it isn't easy. Secrets come out, coincidentally linking them together without them knowing it.

This is a beautiful story about loss, heartbreak, finding love and allowing yourself to move on. I loved the characters of Iris and Hunter together and separately. The exploration of their relationship was wonderfully paced and you really felt Iris's hurt. A beautiful story that I found absolutely no faults with.

Trigger warnings: suicide, gambling addiction.

A massive thank you to Midas PR for having me on the blog tour. You can find more information about the other bloggers taking part in the tour in the graphic below.