Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Book Review - I Promise You This by Patricia Sands - #HolidayReading Book 7

Book 7 of 30 that I read on my holiday to Fuerteventura in December 2017

Amazon UK
Title: I Promise You This
Author: Patricia Sands
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Author supplied copy
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Publication Date: 17th May 2016
Rating: 4 Stars


Suddenly single after twenty-two years of marriage, the calm of Katherine Price’s midlife has turned upside down. Seeking to find her true self, she took a chance on starting over. A year later, she is certain of this: she’s in love with Philippe and adores his idyllic French homeland, where he wants her to live with him.

But all that feels like a fantasy far removed from Toronto, where she’s helping her friend Molly, hospitalized after a life-threatening accident. Staying in her childhood home full of memories, Katherine wonders: Is she really ready to leave everything behind for an unknown life abroad? And if all her happiness lies with Philippe, will it last? Can she trust in love again?

Searching her heart, Katherine finds the pull of the familiar is stronger than she thought. An unexpected meeting with her ex, the first time since his cruel departure, and a stunning declaration of love from an old flame spur her introspection.

With sunlit backdrops and plot twists as breathtaking as the beaches of Antibes, author Patricia Sands brings her trilogy about second chances to a provocative and satisfying close that proves that a new life just might be possible—if you’re willing to let your heart lead you home.

Despite knowing that book 2 had ended on a cliff hanger and being eager to jump back into the story, instead it has taken me many months before I had a chance to read this book 3. 

It didn't take too long until I was back up to speed with most characters although took a bit longer for me to remember who Molly is. 

This is a fabulous third book to end a trilogy with, and I believe all the lose ends are tied up neatly. 

Loved picking back up with Philippe and Katherine's story, and the section of the book set in Toronto was great, as its a city I've never really thought about before reading this. 

Then all the descriptions of French towns and villages had my mouth watering and found myself either eager to know more or to visit for myself. 

Really enjoyed this last book of the series, although i do regret having left it so long to read it. 

Thank you to Patricia Sands for this copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Book Review - Black Heart by Anna-Lou Weatherley

Amazon UK
Title: Last Cry
Author: Anna-Lou Weatherley
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Bookouture
Publication Date: 31st January 2018
Rating: 4 Stars


There’s a letter on the floor covered with blood next to a heart-shaped box of chocolates. The note says: ‘My beautiful darling, I’m sorry, please forgive me.’

When the body of a man is found with his wrists slashed in a London hotel room, it appears at first to be a tragic suicide. But Detective Dan Riley suspects there is more to this case than meets the eye and the pathology report confirms his worst fears – the victim was poisoned and suddenly Dan is dealing with a murder inquiry. 

Still grieving the devastating loss of his girlfriend and unborn child in a car accident two years ago, Dan throws everything he has into the investigation. Then he makes a disturbing discovery, uncovering links between the victim and a woman calling herself Goldilocks on an online dating site. Is she seeking revenge or something more? 

Yet just as Dan begins to piece together the clues of this complex case, the body of a woman is found in her bed with identical wounds. Dan is on the trail of a twisted serial killer – and the stakes just got higher: 

The first victim was Daddy Bear. The second Mummy Bear.

Unless Dan can catch the killer, Baby Bear will be next.

It is always tough when an author you love decides to start writing in a different genre, do you stay with them and trust that once a good writer always a good writer, or do you not take the risk even though you do like the new genre, and move on. 

Well with Anna-Lou Weatherley has switched genres and its a very good effort, there are elements of this book that I absolutely loved while other sections that just frustrated me.  

I loved the first couple of chapters, I was thinking, ok its a change of genre but this has a touch of the familiar about it, in terms of style etc..  The woman in the first chapter is a bit of an enigma and you learn quite quickly that she is key to the story and we keep getting insights into her every few chapters, which is a nice touch. 

In the mean time we have Detective Dan Riley, who is clearly a detective who cares about justice and getting the right result, and finding the killer. In fact he has a fabulous intuition  that makes him realise things about the case a lot quicker than other cops would have done. 

However as much as I was interested in the solving of the crimes, and the motivation behind them, Dan on another level completely bugged me. Yes he was grieving but there seemed to be almost continual mentions of his "perfect" dead girlfriend, and the love they had, the relationship etc, that I think I sort of tuned those bits out in the end. 

I found Black Heart to be interesting, and its certainly a promising first book in the series. For section of the book I was hooked but then, I found the story went a bit flat before picking up again. It just didn't grab me quite as much as I would have liked. That being said its clearly got good writing, and I loved the villain's storyline and found that great.  There were also some bad attempts at humour that did have me smiling, only because the jokes were that bad.  

I would definitely be interested in the next book of the series, as I think that as this author gets into her stride as a crime writer that she will be fabulous. 

Thanks to Netgalley and Bookouture for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Monday, 29 January 2018

Book Review - The Widow by Fiona Barton - Rachel Reads Randomly Book #84

Amazon UK
Title: The Widow
Author: Fiona Barton
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Purchased
Publisher: Transworld Digital 
Publication Date: 14th January 2016
Rating: 4 Stars


We've all seen him: the man - the monster - staring from the front page of every newspaper, accused of a terrible crime.

But what about her: the woman who grips his arm on the courtroom stairs – the wife who stands by him?

Jean Taylor’s life was blissfully ordinary. Nice house, nice husband. Glen was all she’d ever wanted: her Prince Charming.

Until he became that man accused, that monster on the front page. Jean was married to a man everyone thought capable of unimaginable evil.

But now Glen is dead and she’s alone for the first time, free to tell her story on her own terms.

Jean Taylor is going to tell us what she knows.

Hard to know what to make of this book, it certainly captured my interest and hooked me as early as the first 10%, but equally I'm a bit worried to say that nothing particularly shocked me either. 

I ended up not really feeling anything for any of the characters, I didn't hate them, I just didn't love them. The story is told predominately from three perspectives....

The Widow, who has stood by her husband the whole time he was accused of horrific crimes, and now is able to tell her side of the story. 

The Detective who had pursued the widow's husband the whole time, and we see how became obsessed over his work, over a 4 year team span of the book. 

Then there is the reporter who is desperate to be the one the Widow talks to, but also has a part in the other news story surrounding the now dead husband's previous wrong doings. 

There are some horrible crimes that have been committed, but it was the widow, Jean who I understood the least.  Standing by your man because you love him...ok fair enough it happens, but the level of naivety she seemed to have about the big wide world out there was worrying for the 21st Century.  She seemed to lack the basic understanding for a lot of things, and yet even in the small bits where we hear about Glen, pre-investigations I wasn't really believing their relationship. 

The writing captured my attention and if I look on this book as a human interest story, then I certainly enjoyed reading it. But yet I know it has been described as a psychological thriller, but at no point did it feel like a thriller, nor did the psychology particularly grab me. No doubt it is a very good book, and I am curious to read more from Fiona Barton, but I just think the ending left me I think disappointed may be a good way to describe it, flat being another. 

Thank you to everyone that voted for The Widow this week,  you were right there were no cupcakes anywhere in the book, nor as I had randomly thought as I put together the vote any widow spiders thankfully. Really glad I had a chance to read this, as I was given a copy of The Child while I was on holiday, and I hadn't got as far as adding it to my spreadsheets yet. So what will this week bring me? Well you know the drill, take a look at the other post and make your decision! 


Rachel Reads Randomly - Vote #85


 
Thank you everyone for your input last time. The results of the last vote were:

0 Votes -  The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World's Happiest Country by Helen Russell 
0 Votes - The Real Lady Detective Agency: A True Story by Rebecca Jane
3 Votes  - All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
4 Votes - The Secret Life of Lucy Lovecake by Pippa James
13  Votes - The Widow by Fiona Barton

Overwhelming majority for The Widow last week and I can see why it was so popular. I really enjoyed the book,  and was certainly interested in the story. Thanks for picking it. 

So this year I've decided instead of changing what part of the TBR I randomise each week, I'm going with at least until I get bored books released in the current month - so for the next few weeks all the options will be books released in January - that is January from whatever year they were published! (At least based on the publication date I put on my master spreadsheet). Should give all books a few chances to get picked over a year and be slightly quicker for me to set up!  

Below is my initial theory for this feature, and then a bit further, what you are all waiting for... This weeks's vote! Enjoy!

I am also awful at deciding what book to read next, as I often have about 10 titles or authors jumping into my brain at any time, shouting at me to read them, and I tend to worry I have made the wrong decision while reading a perfectly good book. I am hoping this will save me having to make at least 1 choice a week, while possibly providing a review to the site of a book you all either love or are curious about yourselves. 

So what I am proposing, is my lovely loyal readers of Rachel's Random Reads, select one book for me to read a week, and I will post the review the following week. 

This week's random numbers are...


And the books these numbers correspond to are...

So the 5 choices with my gut feeling responses are:


11 - Some Girls Do by Clodagh Murphy - I keep meaning to read something by this author, and do tend to like my Irish authors, so very curious about this book. 
13 - Chasing Venus by Diana Dempsey - I really enjoy reading books from this author, but haven't read one for a few years. 
28 - Her Husband's Lover by Julia Crouch - I know this is a psychological thriller, but not really sure about anything else
33 - While My Eyes Were Closed by Linda Green - One of Linda Green's psychological thrillers. I read her latest one while I was on holiday and loved it, so maybe its about time I catch up on the others. 
37 - I'm Dreaming of a Wilde Summer by Rhona T Pinkleton - Well it sounds fun and summery! 


Well I do have an inkling already which one may win this, but I do like being surprised too! I'm sorry yet again I can't offer much of a gut feeling about these books, we really do seem to be hitting the forgotten depths of my kindle but hopefully will come up with some really enjoyable or something that we are al curious about!  Have fun picking! 

And authors, if its your book up on this feature, feel free to take part, vote for yourself, or stir up excitement amongst your fans! 

Pick your favourite or the one you most want me to review, or just the one you are curious about, and leave me a comment below, before midnight on Wednesday. 

I look forward to seeing what I will be reading over the weekend, courtesy of you all. 

The explanation if you haven't seen the feature before. 

How is this going to work?

Every Monday, I am going to have a post like this, which is going to have some choices on it. I am planning on using random.org to select 7 random numbers, to coincide with my spreadsheet of unread books.  

I will from that produce a list of hopefully 5 books, I reserve the right to veto any books, and will give reasons for them, if it occurs.

I will take screenshots and post them, of the chosen books, and also give you my instinctive reactions to the choices (without checking blurbs or any other info about them, which could be interesting as there are probably many forgotten about books on my spreadsheet!). 

Your task is to post a comment on this post, with the book you would like me to read this week. At midnight on Wednesday I will take a tally of the votes and the book with the most, I will read and review for the following Monday, where you will also get a new choice post. 

In the event of a tie, I will chose which one appeals most, for the Monday review, and possibly try and read and review the other to appear when I can. 

I am hoping this will provide some variety to the books appearing, and will let me potentially read or discover some great authors that I have wanted to read but not got around to yet.

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Book Review - A Sewing Circle In Cornwall by Laura Briggs

Amazon UK
Title: A Sewing Circle in Cornwall
Author: Laura Briggs
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Author supplied copy
Publisher: Self Published 
Publication Date: 9th January 2018
Rating: 4 Stars


Determined to help with the autumn village heritage fete for charity, Julianne joins the local quilting circle and discovers that her creative talents do not extend to patchwork and small stitches, and, worse, that her time is stretched too thin already by assisting Lady Amanda in organizing the event's festivities. When Julianne encounters an age-old feud between two villagers over the village's 'Old Cornish' name, she wants to get involved in finding the solution — and, as a result of this impulsive habit, incites a fierce argument between herself and Matt that leaves them both feeling distant and unhappy.

Fighting with Matthew is bad enough — but to make things worse, the village's requested 'celebrity host' for the fete is none other than Petal Price-Parker, who arrives as gorgeous as ever, and with her marriage doomed to be nothing more than celebrity gossip in a few more weeks. To Julianne's dismay, Matt and Petal are thrown together by the local garden club's role in the fete, where it becomes obvious that Matt's runway model ex still finds him attractive after years apart.

Is this the end for Julianne and Matt's perfect romance? Will Matt's feelings for Petal return? Will Julianne finish her pathetic patchwork quilt in time for the fete? Find the answers to these questions and others in Book Nine of the bestselling romance series!

Can't believe we are on book 9 already, and that I have stuck with a series of novellas for so long, which can only show how much I really do love this series.  And what I found myself reflecting on as I was reading A Sewing Circle in Cornwall is just how different each book is. 

This time around there are three  main storylines in place. There is Julianne attempting to sew a small patchwork quilt in time for the traditional Cornish fete, despite her being clueless at craft. There is the huge fight that she has with Matt and leading onto that the knowledge that his ex-fiance is in town. 

Despite being book 9 I believe this is still able to be read as a standalone, as it works as a story in it own right, although prior knowledge is always good and the each book really is quite quick to read. 

This was another good addition to the series, I loved seeing Julianne's attempts at quilting, and learning about the differences in old Cornish languages, plus the wonder whether Cal's petition would work and for the village to have its name changed. 

I really enjoyed A Sewing Circle in Cornwall, and am already looking forward to book 10, and the talent show! 

Thank you to Laura Briggs for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Book Review - The Magic of Stars by Jackie Ladbury

Amazon UK
Title: The Magic of Stars
Author: Jackie Ladbury
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Author supplied copy
Publisher: Fabrian Books
Publication Date: 12th January 2018
Rating: 4.5 Stars


Sapphire Montrose always felt like a loser in the struggle of life, but when she becomes the airline manager of a run-down airline she starts to believe she is a winner – until she unwittingly propositions her new boss and all her hard work is undone.

In a moment of recklessness air stewardess, Sapphire Montrose throws caution and her dress to the wind by propositioning a handsome stranger in a hotel in Florence, only to find herself waking up alone and embarrassed in her hotel room.

Unfortunately for Sapphire, it turns out that her new boss, Marco Cavarelli, is the man she failed to seduce and she is now fighting for her job and her self-respect when he tells her there is no place in his revamped airline for an alcoholic woman with lascivious tendencies. To make matters worse she is increasingly attracted to him and he seems to be giving out the same vibes. Or is he simply testing her? One wrong move could be the end of her career. But what if he really is offering love – and is he worth the risk?

Having recently read Jackie Ladbury's first book, I jumped at the chance to read the next one, and what a lovely story this one is too.  I was drawn into the story from the first few chapters that were hilarious, but relatable to at the same time, and from then on I was just rooting for Sapphire to have a happy ending. 

Sapphire is a rather innocent, naive person in some respects but in others she is absolutely fabulous, and incredibly good at her job as an air stewardess, although as you read further you will discover she has hidden talents. 

It seems like the bane of her life is sexy Italian Marco Cavarelli, a man she drunkenly propositioned and then a few chapters later discovers is her new boss at the airline,  and from there sparks fly between them, and not necessarily in a good way. 

I love the way Jackie Ladbury creates such rounded, realistic characters, that feel like they could be good friends with you. Fintan, Sapphire's friend and colleague is hilarious and I was laughing a fair amount of his antics.  

The other thing I'm realising this author does incredibly well, is dialogue, I loved the conversations between Marco and Sapphire, especially when the reader has more likely more idea of what is going on than Sapphire a lot of the time. 

As you may hope there is a grand romantic gesture towards the end that I absolutely loved seeing, and guessed only a few pages before hand, that almost made me go weak at the knees.

My only disappointment with the book, is despite its absolutely gorgeous cover, was how little Florence was featured as the majority of the book takes place in the UK. I understand it makes for a much more striking cover, and the Florence scenes were pivotal to story, I just wish I had seen a bit more of the city and its food, as I'm a huge lover of anything Italian in fiction! 

Besides that I thoroughly enjoyed this book from cover to cover, and kept wanting to return to it even when I was meant to be working. It made me smile and I am positive this is an author who is going to go from strength to strength. 

Thanks to Jackie Ladbury for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Friday, 26 January 2018

Book Review - Evie's Year of Taking Chances by Christie Barlow - #HolidayReading Book 6

Book 6 of 30 that I read on my holiday to Fuerteventura in December 2017

Amazon UK
Title: Evie's Year of Taking Chances
Author: Christie Barlow
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Bookouture
Publication Date: 10th March 2017
Rating: 5 Stars

It’s Evie’s birthday and the start of a year she’ll never forget. An emotional story of love, friendship and grabbing life by the horns.

Evie’s job has always been her safe haven. As a librarian in the little town of Becton she loses herself in books - after all it’s far easier to read about other people’s problems than set about solving her own.

Then, one birthday, everything is turned upside down. A mysterious parcel containing a beautiful book with a poignant inscription arrives for Evie. It’s the beginning of a new chapter for Evie and she’s inspired to try and find her real mother. 

Evie’s search leads her to meet handsome author Noah Jones. Charming and intelligent, Noah seems the perfect catch but what Evie doesn’t realise is that he is hiding something – a key to Evie’s past. 

As Evie gets closer to Noah and discovering her mother, she must take a giant leap of faith. Can she embrace the new and make this her year of taking chances? And if she does, will she get her heart broken? 

I can't believe it has taken me most of a year to get around to reading this superbly addictive book.

It didn't take me long until I was completely hooked on the story, and had to see how the various threads would unravel.

Evie works in a library and I loved the dynamics between her and Clara her best friend, Adrian the new librarian and there other friends. 

There are some large issues dealt with in this book, and one of the biggest to do with Evie's birth mum, i unfortunately predicted very early on, but it turns out not for completely the correct reasonings. 

I loved all the characters in this book, and felt really at home reading this story and the setting of Becton. 

This is a great showcase for the recent direction Christie Barlow's writing has gone in, and is easily one of my favourite books by her - well written, a joy to read and made me have the "feels". Definitely felt emotions towards various aspects of this story.. I loved it.

Thank you to Netgalley and Bookouture for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Book Review - Anything You Do Say by Gillian McAllister

Amazon UK
Title: Anything You Do Say
Author: Gillian McAllister
Format reviewed: Paperback
Source: Publisher supplied copy
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: 25th January 2018
Rating: 4 Stars


'I could run, or I could stay and call him an ambulance. Now it is decision time . . .'

It's the end of the night. You're walking home on your own.

Then you hear the sound every woman dreads. Footsteps. Behind you. Getting faster.

You're sure it's him - the man from the bar who wouldn't leave you alone.

You make a snap decision. You turn. You push. Your pursuer tumbles down the steps. He lies motionless, face-down on the floor.

Now what?

Call 999

Wait for the police to arrive. For judgement, for justice, whatever that may be. You just hope your husband, family and friends, everyone you love, will stand by you.

OR:

Run

Stay silent. You didn't mean to do it. You were scared, you panicked. And no one saw. No one will ever know. If you leave now. If you keep quiet. For ever.

Which is it to be?


What would you do if you had been harassed in a bar for part of an evening, were nervy and jumpy and then expected to walk back to the station late at night by yourself? Especially if you as you are a walking hear footsteps behind you, and believe you are being followed?  

Well Joanne makes the decision to push him, and then has to make the toughest decision of her life as he lays their unmoving - to call 999 or not?

I honestly don't know what I would do in her shoes, other than potentially have called a cab and not walked back to the station.  But that is the basic premise of the book - told in alternating chapters you have two distinct time lines, two variations on what could have happened, on whether Joanne conceals or reveals the truth. 

As the chapters were titled and clearly alternated without fail it was easy enough to keep the two scenarios separate in my mind, so as not to cause confusion. I was with Joanne with every step of her life over a two year period, with the consequences of her actions. 

I found this to be a surprisingly easy book to get into, and I loved the concept of the story. I was interested in both scenarios, and found I kept returning to the book, to get more and more of it read.  I'm not really sure what I felt other than intrigue as I was reading it, but I did need to know what happened. 

It was interesting to see how the characters developed and changed in both halves of the story, and the stark realities of the impact of Joannes decisions. It is definitely a story that will make you think and one that I could fully appreciate the story and writing style of. 

Thank you to Penguin for this copy which I reviewed honestly and voluntarily.  

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Book Review - The Stepmother by Claire Seeber - #HolidayReading Book 5

Book 5 of 30 that I read on my holiday to Fuerteventura in December 2017


Amazon UK
Title: The Stepmother
Author: Claire Seeber
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Bookouture
Publication Date: 15th July 2016
Rating: 4 Stars


The perfect wife. A fairytale family. Don’t believe your eyes… 

Jeanie and Matthew are a happily married couple who both have teenage children from previous relationships.

No one said it would be easy to raise a blended family under one roof but Jeanie and Matthew are strong. They will make it work.

And whilst Jeanie’s step-daughter Scarlett rejects her, Jeanie will just have to try harder to win her over.
But Jeanie has a past. A terrible secret she thought she’d buried a long time ago. And now, it’s coming to the surface, threatening to destroy her new marriage. 

Someone is playing a terrifying game on Jeanie and she must put a stop to it once and for all. 

After all, a fairytale needs a happy ending…doesn’t it.

There was loads of twists and turns in this book, it was fabulous for keeping you guessing. I didn't see most of it coming at all. 

Really enjoyed the story at least what I could understand of it, the references periodically to fairy tales didn't really do much for me, but I could sort of understand why they were there. 

If you ever marry a man and become a stepmother - all I can say is don't marry into a family like the one the Jeannie did. Makes life a lot creepier than it needed to be.

Great story including tips on how to be a good step mother, and plenty of surprising turns and information to come out that will keep you reading until the last page. 

Thank you to Netgalley and Bookouture for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 


Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Book Review - The Daughter by Lucy Dawson

Amazon UK
Title: The Daughter
Author: Lucy Dawson
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Bookouture
Publication Date: 24th January 2018
Rating: 5 Stars


 You lost your daughter. You will never forgive yourself. Now someone's determined to make you pay… Seventeen years ago, something happened to Jess’s daughter Beth. The memory of it still makes her blood run cold. Jess has tried everything to make peace with that day, and the part she played in what happened. It was only a brief moment of desire… but she’ll pay for it with a lifetime of guilt.

To distance herself from the mistakes of the past, Jess has moved away and started over with her family. But when terrifying things begin happening in her new home, Jess knows that her past has finally caught up with her. Somebody feels Jess hasn’t paid enough, and is determined to make her suffer for the secrets she’s kept all these years.

3 hours ago I started The Daughter, and I am now sitting here gasping for breath, having not been able to move or put my kindle down or acknowledge any part of the real world for those three hours as I read this completely addictive and unputdownable book. 

The first part is very emotional, and shows just what depth Lucy Dawson has with her writing, I was almost in tears at parts of it, and then as the story moves up to to the present day, it becomes creepier and at no point are you really sure just what the cause of it all is. 

I certainly didn't expect or predict any part of the thrilling finale, which is what has left me so amazed at the story. 

I don't think I can say any more about the plot than the blurb has, as I know I would give away the wrong information. What I will say is that every book I read by Lucy Dawson is more and more impressive, and I can't believe that I read this so fast and in one sitting, when I'm fairly sure I had other things I needed to do instead!  

The Daughter will take you on a fabulous journey and make you wonder just what lengths you may be prepared to go to, to protect a loved one.  It has reached under my skin and completely unsettled me, so I am completely blaming the author if I don't sleep this evening. 

Although its probably a bit early in the year to state this, I suspect this could be one of the psychological thrillers of the year, I am that impressed by how little I was able to predict, and was just swept away in the story. In fact that first part makes me think the author could probably turn her hand to women's fiction just as well too.  

It's not necessarily your typical psychological thriller, it had quite a different feel to it initially but all the background was  very relevant and incredibly well written and was pulling me into the story, before the more unsettling behaviours were occurring. 

This is definitely a must read for fans of the genre, just wow! 

Thank you to Netgalley and Bookouture for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Monday, 22 January 2018

Book Review - Sweet home Summer by Michelle Vernal - Rachel Reads Randomly Book #83

Amazon UK
Title: Sweet Home Summer
Author: Michelle Vernal
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Harper Impulse
Publication Date: 12th January 2018
Rating: 3 Stars



Sometimes, home really is where the heart is…

Leaving behind her hi-flying career in London, Isla Brookes has had enough. Burnt out and tired of an unfulfilling profession and lousy boyfriends, it’s time for her to go home.

Arriving back in cosy Bibury to stay with her grandmother, Bridget, everything is charmingly familiar. Even her childhood sweetheart, Ben, is as handsome as she remembered…

And when she discovers a stack of long-forgotten Valentine’s Day cards, Isla, with the help of Ben, begins to realise exactly what is most important in life.

I can't put my finger on it, but I just didn't gel with this book at all. I found it took over half the story before I actually started enjoying it, and from there on was where for me it became a good story.  

I think part of it is there are a lot of characters, as there is a focus on Isla and her friends, Bridget her grandmother and her friends, and also the flash backs to Bridgets past with even more characters introduced, plus of course the rest of their family too. 

So the elements of the story I did enjoy I can't really specify as they are far enough in that it would be considered spoilers, but I did like the various relationships and the potential relationships that were in the small town of Bibury. 

The story that Bridget tells about her past is ultimately tragic but still shocks too, and I did feel for her a bit. 

For me though the best character was Carl who just added an extra dimension to any chapter he was in, His friendship with Isla and Annie meant there was a friendship group of six that had a great dynamic to it, and I enjoyed that element of the story. 

I really had no idea what to expect from this story, and I can see that there are plenty of people that will love this, especially the look at small town life in New Zealand in the 1950s, with the mining communities , but I think I just read this over a few days where I perhaps was in the mood for something different. 

Thank you to Netgalley and Harper Impulse for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Thanks to everyone who voted for this book. It was a tie but given I had DNF a book by the other author I thought I would give this one a go.  Wonder if I will like this week's choice any better.

Rachel Reads Randomly - Vote #84


 
Thank you everyone for your input last time. The results of the last vote were:

1 Votes -  Calling Romeo by Alexandra Potter
1 Votes - Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
2 Votes  - A Year at Meadowbrook Manor by Faith Bleasdale
4 Votes - The Expats by Chris Pavone
4 Votes - Sweet Home Summer by Michelle Vernal

It was a tie, and I went for Sweet Home Summer mainly because it was a review book too, so killing two birds with one stone always appeals. However lets just say you guys have picked better in the past, and I hope you will do again this week. 

So this year I've decided instead of changing what part of the TBR I randomise each week, I'm going with at least until I get bored books released in the current month - so for the next few weeks all the options will be books released in January - that is January from whatever year they were published! (At least based on the publication date I put on my master spreadsheet). Should give all books a few chances to get picked over a year and be slightly quicker for me to set up!  

Below is my initial theory for this feature, and then a bit further, what you are all waiting for... This weeks's vote! Enjoy!

I am also awful at deciding what book to read next, as I often have about 10 titles or authors jumping into my brain at any time, shouting at me to read them, and I tend to worry I have made the wrong decision while reading a perfectly good book. I am hoping this will save me having to make at least 1 choice a week, while possibly providing a review to the site of a book you all either love or are curious about yourselves. 

So what I am proposing, is my lovely loyal readers of Rachel's Random Reads, select one book for me to read a week, and I will post the review the following week. 

This week's random numbers are...


And the books these numbers correspond to are...

So the 5 choices with my gut feeling responses are:

18 - The Widow by Fiona Barton - I've heard such good things about this book, but still not read it myself. I did get given a copy of her second book by someone on holiday which I hope to read at some point too! 
21 - The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World's Happiest Country by Helen Russell - I have a copy of her new book Gone Viking on my review shelf for April and looking forward to it but would be very interested in this first book by the author and to hear more about Denmark. 
27 - All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven - I recall seeing this on every blog and all over twitter when it was first released. I then won a copy but not got as far as reading it yet. 
41 - The Secret Life of Lucy Lovecake by Pippa James - Loved the look of this while I saw it around the blog-osphere last year that I had to buy it! I know this one involves baking so should make me hungry. 
42 - The Real Lady Detective Agency: A True Story by Rebecca Jane - This is the one I can't place in my mind, but was almost certainly bought in a sale with good intentions! 

I have never read anything by any of these authors which makes this a potentially very interesting vote to watch from my point of view. I know that some of these books have been seen on blogs before so hopefully you may have heard of them, or read them. At this point in time I'm pretty confident I should enjoy all 5 of them which makes me very excited to hand them over to you all! 

And authors, if its your book up on this feature, feel free to take part, vote for yourself, or stir up excitement amongst your fans! 

Pick your favourite or the one you most want me to review, or just the one you are curious about, and leave me a comment below, before midnight on Wednesday. 

I look forward to seeing what I will be reading over the weekend, courtesy of you all. 

The explanation if you haven't seen the feature before. 

How is this going to work?

Every Monday, I am going to have a post like this, which is going to have some choices on it. I am planning on using random.org to select 7 random numbers, to coincide with my spreadsheet of unread books.  

I will from that produce a list of hopefully 5 books, I reserve the right to veto any books, and will give reasons for them, if it occurs.

I will take screenshots and post them, of the chosen books, and also give you my instinctive reactions to the choices (without checking blurbs or any other info about them, which could be interesting as there are probably many forgotten about books on my spreadsheet!). 

Your task is to post a comment on this post, with the book you would like me to read this week. At midnight on Wednesday I will take a tally of the votes and the book with the most, I will read and review for the following Monday, where you will also get a new choice post. 

In the event of a tie, I will chose which one appeals most, for the Monday review, and possibly try and read and review the other to appear when I can. 

I am hoping this will provide some variety to the books appearing, and will let me potentially read or discover some great authors that I have wanted to read but not got around to yet.
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