Wednesday 26 October 2022

Songs In Ursa Major by Emma Brodie | Book Review

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Songs in Ursa Major by Emma Brodie

Star rating: 

Publisher: HarperCollins

Publication date: 26th May 2022



Rising singer-songwriters Jane Quinn and Jesse Reid looked untouchable.

Captivating crowds in festival meadows, lighting up turntables, intoxicating fans from coast to coast.

It was a connection that inspired the greatest love songs.

But nothing lasts forever.

Beneath the hits that made them, a dark secret threatened to break them. Now it's time to hear the whole story, finally revealed in Jane's iconic album, Songs in Ursa Major...


Oh my god, this was beautiful! I went in expecting a standard romance novel but it is much more than that.

Jane Quinn, along with her band The Breakers, is called to fill in for star Jesse Reid at Folk Fest, following an accident on Jane's hometown of Bayleen Island. Whilst Jesse recovers, he and Jane strike up a friendship. He invites The Breakers on tour and thus ensues a romance until Jane discovers something about Jesse that she can't tolerate.

Both Jane and Jesse have a lot of trauma and this is a main focus in the book. The topics of mental health and drug use are tackled very well.

I absolutely loved the backdrop of Songs In Ursa Major. The 70s music scene, truth about women in the music industry when it comes to record labels and the emotion and passion in Brodie's words. It is poetic. I felt happy, I felt sad, I felt empathy.

Each character is fully fleshed out, I was immersed in their world. The fast forward to 2022 and how all of their lives turned out surprised me because it wasn't what I expected but I felt fully satisfied.

Friday 21 October 2022

This Is Gonna End In Tears by Liza Klaussmann | 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.]

This Is Gonna End In Tears by Liza Klaussman

Star rating: 

Publisher: John Murray

Publication date: 7th July 2022


Growing up, it was always the three of them: Miller and Olly and Ash. They stuck together, like they were keeping a secret. They needed each other. As teenagers, they drove to LA, lived in a ramshackle place on the beach in Malibu, set up a record label. They were successful, best friends and Olly and Miller fell in love. Before it fell apart, it was beautiful.

Then Olly stopped looking at Miller the way he used to. Miller spent a night with Ash, which turned into a marriage. And Miller and Ash came back to Wonderland, the tidal island of sugary painted houses they'd run away from. Now Miller's forty and she feels like she's disappearing. She wears her tinted sunglasses so often sometimes she forgets the world isn't green. Ash is having an affair with a helmet-haired tv presenter and Olly's career is over. Olly doesn't want to think about what he was going to owe, what any of them owed, to each other. But after everything that has happened, Wonderland is the only place it makes sense for him to go.

Over a long, hot summer of Chardonnay and Chicken, Olly, Miller and Ash try to work out what it is that exists between them. They're so consumed with their love, losses and longing and the possibility of a redemptive third act, they barely notice what's going on between Miller's son, his best friend and the girl who lives next door.

Some summers are spent yearning for something to happen, others are charged with the terrifying, exhilarating, feeling that everything is going to change. Welcome to Wonderland.


This is a wonderful novel focusing on friendships and relationships.

Olly, Miller and Ash were friends from childhood. Miller and Olly had a relationship before Miller ultimately married Ash and had a son called Nate. There is of course a complex relationship here. The three founded a record company together but life got in the way and caused issues between them.

Now, in the 80s, Miller and Ash haven't spoken to Olly in years, Nate is grown up and about to go off to college and they are all forced together again after Olly's Aunt Tassie is essentially kicked out of her nursing home. At the same time, Ash is having an affair with morning television host Candice.

Olly's former colleague, director Rodrigo Rodrigo comes to film Moby Dick at their hometown of Wonderland and the story follows the townspeople's excitement, Nate's newfound relationship with Olly after he gets him a job on the movie set and Nate's relationships with his friends Cam, Jess and love interest Suki. All the while exploring the past and present between Olly, Miller and Ash.

There is a lot to unpack with this novel and it is a beautiful read. It is the perfect summer book with its music references and it transports you straight to Wonderland in the 80s.

Thursday 20 October 2022

The No-Show by Beth O'Leary | Book Review

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The No-Show by Beth O'Leary
Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Publisher: Quercus
Publication date: 5th April 2022

Three women. Three dates. One missing man...

8.52 a.m. Siobhan is looking forward to her breakfast date with Joseph. She was surprised when he suggested it - she normally sees him late at night in her hotel room. Breakfast on Valentine's Day surely means something ... so where is he?

2.43 p.m. Miranda's hoping that a Valentine's Day lunch with Carter will be the perfect way to celebrate her new job. It's a fresh start and a sign that her life is falling into place: she's been dating Carter for five months now and things are getting serious. But why hasn't he shown up?

6.30 p.m. Joseph Carter agreed to be Jane's fake boyfriend at an engagement party. They've not known each other long but their friendship is fast becoming the brightest part of her new life in Winchester. Joseph promised to save Jane tonight. But he's not here...

Meet Joseph Carter. That is, if you can find him.

I do class myself as a Beth O'Leary fan so I was really excited about the release of The No-Show. O'Leary's debut, The Flatshare, got a five star rating from me but the follow ups, The Switch and The Road Trip were four star. Still loved them, but I didn't think they were just as great as The Flatshare. The No-Show is well up there and I would go as far as to say I liked it more than The Flatshare which I didn't think was possible!

Miranda Rosso, Jane Miller and Siobhan Kelly have all been stood up, on Valentine's Day, by the same man - Joseph Carter. The book follows the three women's points of view. Miranda is a tree surgeon, Jane volunteers at a charity shop after moving away from her hometown due to an incident at her last job and Siobhan is a life coach. Each of these women's lives are fully fleshed out and I loved every single one of them. 

I made it over halfway into this book thinking Joseph Carter was an asshole...and then I didn't. I do not want to give any spoilers away if you choose to read this book off the back of my review, so I will just say that when I got to the crux of the story where everything made sense and was revealed, I had to set my Kindle down and threw my head back to the sky for a breather. I could not believe I didn't see it. Bravo, Beth O'Leary.

I felt all the emotions and cannot rate this highly enough. A wonderful writer and a wonderful novel!

Friday 14 October 2022

Santa Maybe by Mary Jayne Baker | Blog Tour Book Review

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

Santa Maybe by Mary Jayne Baker
Star rating:⭐⭐⭐⭐
Publisher: Aria
Publication date: 13th October 2022

Toy Store owner Elodie Martin is not one to get into the festive spirit but nothing gets her fired up more than the chance to get one over on her nemesis, Callum Ashley – the frosty, infuriatingly handsome owner of the local department store.

Christmas is the only time she can compete thanks to her grandad Jim, everyone's favourite Santa Claus. But when he has to unexpectedly hang up his red suit, Elodie is at risk of losing the business for good and has no choice but to rely on last-minute replacement out-of-work actor Nick Winter.

Can a sprinkling of Christmas magic warm Callum's heart and help Elodie find her happily-ever-after? Or is it just possible that love is to be found a little bit closer to home?

I am a sucker for a festive romance. There is just something delightful about the setting and this one is super cute!

Elodie Martin currently owns Martin's, the family toy shop where her grandad used to play the best Santa in town when it came to grotto season. They have always had a family rivalry with bigger superstore Ashley's, currently owned by Callum Ashley.

Following Jim's retirement after a stroke, Elodie is hiring a new Santa. Enter - Nick Winter. Nick absolutely lives for Christmas and is the perfect replacement for Jim but also is perfect to make Elodie enjoy Christmas again, a time that she hasn't particularly liked ever since her parents died when she was eight years old.

Elodie is so sure in Nick's abilities to be Santa, that she places a bet with Callum Ashley - her grotto will rake in more profits than his.

Both men are completely different in every way but have one similar thing in common; how much they like Elodie. I absolutely loved the development and relationship between Nick and Elodie. I'll admit, I didn't care too much for Callum but the differences in their lives and misunderstandings kept me reading. 

A cosy festive romance that I would definitely recommend!


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

Tuesday 11 October 2022

Permission by Jo Bloom | 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.]

Permission by Jo Bloom
Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐
Publisher: Legend Press
Publication date: 28th July 2022

After more than 20 years of marriage, Fay and Steve are happy enough, though life's become routine and lacks excitement. Fay believes an open relationship could reignite the spark they've lost. But can sex ever just be sex?

Steve eventually agrees to the idea of sleeping with other people, but first they must set some ground rules; no sex with friends, no telling the kids, and a limit on how many times they can see the same person. Can their marriage survive non-monogamy – even if they have permission?

Permission follows the story of Fay and Steve. They have been together for twenty-two years and have a son called Billy who is off at university and a primary school aged daughter, Rose. 

Their friends Katie and Matt have recently split following Katie's five-month long affair with a man named Nathan. This then forces Fay to have a look at her own relationship and although she and Steve are quite a strong couple, she introduces the idea of a open relationship. Steve isn't enthusiastic but goes along with the idea as it is what Fay wants. Fay however gets in a little too deep causing a whole host of familial issues.

I really did enjoy the exploration of marriage and societal norms but the characters did a lot of things that made me want to scream. I just didn't agree with most of their behaviours. I felt really sorry for Steve, but he had a wonderful character arc with regards to his relationship with his mother against his relationship now with Fay.

Friday 7 October 2022

The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid | Book Review

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The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK 
Publication date: 14th October 2021

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the '80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

I am always wary when it comes to books that are hyped up but I could kick myself for not picking this up sooner.

I probably don't need to properly review this as I feel like the only person left in the world who hadn't read it yet but, in case you haven't, here are my thoughts.

Evelyn Hugo is a Hollywood starlet with her golden years being from the 1950s to 1980s. Journalist Monique Grant receives a phone call to her workplace, Vivant magazine, from Evelyn's people, requesting that she write an article about her. Evelyn lured her there under false pretences. Evelyn doesn't want Monique to write an article about her for Vivant, she wants to relay her life story to Monique so that she can write a true biography after Evelyn dies. This could set Monique up to make millions.

Monique agrees but wonders why Evelyn would choose a relatively unknown journalist like her. As Evelyn tells her story, it all becomes clear.

This book is stunning. It is essentially split into sections, each focusing on one of Evelyn's seven husbands and the stories behind them. But who was Evelyn's true love?

It is so interesting to get to know Evelyn as a person, she is very well developed and such a strong character. She knew exactly how to get what she wanted and where she needed to be in Hollywood. I loved the interspersing of news articles in between the telling of Evelyn's story and also snippets of Monique's life too. I felt so many emotions whilst reading this and it is just perfection. I went through the whole book also wondering why Evelyn chose Monique but I did not see the reveal coming. Spectacular.

Tuesday 4 October 2022

Sea Shaken by J.M. Simpson | Blog Tour Book Review

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

Sea Shaken by J.M. Simpson
Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Publication date: 26th September 2022

Jesse Stevens lies in a coma after being pulled off a cliff by a psychopath who escaped from prison to find her.

He is in hiding, also hurt from the fall, but fuelled with rage. He needs to make sure she’s dead. If she isn’t, he’ll finish the job once and for all.

Military Intelligence Officer, Sam Jones, missing presumed dead, returns from Afghanistan after two years of brutal torture in captivity. Struggling to cope, Sam has no desire to carry on living, or return to family life, with his wife, Sophie, and son, Marcus. Sophie is desperate to help Sam recover and leans heavily on her friend and ex-forces soldier Foxy for support.

Castleby is plagued by a series of unexplained deaths among the elderly and that of a local fisherman. Inspector Steve Miller works closely with the new local GP, Kate Cooper, to try and find an explanation and they eventually uncover the sinister truth.

If you have been a follower of mine for a while, you will know that I reviewed the previous two books in the Castleby series; Sea State and Sea Change. As soon as I heard there was a third installment, I jumped at the chance to read because I am so invested in these characters.

If you haven't read the other two books, a lot is caught up but I would definitely advise reading them first. In Sea Shaken, we are back at Castleby where we left off last time. Jesse is hospitalised and in a coma following an attack by her ex-boyfriend, Sophie's husband Sam has been found after being kidnapped and tortured whilst serving but is in a bad way and, like the other two books, we have the introduction of a new character, GP Kate Cooper. As well as the previous mafia storyline involving Jimmy, we also have some further goings-on that need solved. Elderly residents at a care home seem to be dying suddenly and it doesn't seem to just be due to old age...

I think this is probably my favourite of the three books in the Castleby series. I love how the fleshed out storylines continued on, I felt more of a connection to the characters and the chase was fantastic. The ending too - wow!


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