What I’m Kindle Reading // August 2020

September 4, 2020

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This month I seem to have found a reading pattern that works well for me. Opting to start a new book as Piglet heads to bed, especially when What The Dad Said is working a late shift. This usually gives me a good three or four hours block of reading. The time I would usually be finishing off work, watching TV or mindlessly scrolling through social media.

This is followed by an hour or two of reading in the morning when Piglet decides that anytime from 5.30am is a great time to get up for the day. Snuggling on the sofa to finish the book I’d started the night before. Whilst she colours, plays with her toys or watches children’s morning TV. Although I’d love an extra hour or two in bed, there is something peaceful about our time together waking up for the day ahead.

Having found a reading pattern plus the lazy weekend days, I have somehow managed to read XXX books this month. Whilst I’d love to brag about this accomplishment, a few of the books were only around 350 pages so nice quickish reads.

What I’ve been reading in August…

Never Say No by Elizabeth Neep

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Take a journey of self-discovery with Hailey Kidd. All her life she has been doing things for others, saying yes to being friends, a girlfriend, moving in etc. However, she has recently retrained to be a lawyer after wanting more from her life as a primary school teacher. Starting at a law firm where the inspiration for why she wanted to become a lawyer works her eyes are opened to a different world.

Is the grass greener or just different on the other side? Is her life really that boring and predictable that she needs to inject more excitement into it?

Struggled with this book, unable to find the laugh out loud moments, instead thinking how self-centred Hailey was with her relationships. Not to mention the undercurrent of normalising adultery throughout the book.

Available to buy from Amazon in Paperback and Kindle Edition.

Truly, Madly, Like Me by Jo Watson

Rating: 3 out of 5.

After losing weight, she became an Instagram influencer sharing her journey to a healthier, fitter life. Even bagging herself an influencer boyfriend too. Setting up photos, ensuring that they utilise the right hashtags etc. Sounds perfect, right? It was until she gets stuck in a lift and misses a photoshoot and gets dumped via IGTV! A barrage of comments follows alongside losing followers. She opts to run away and hide it out in a town with no phone signal or WiFi – surely she can live without her phone for a few days or a couple of weeks? Not quite as easy as it seems when your whole life is lead via various apps on your phone – from tracking calories, steps, weather, social media and good old Google.

She embarks on a life journey discovering the other side of life and questioning whether anything in her other life was real or was it all for the ‘gram? Forming friendships, relationships and discovering real-life jobs.

It took me a while to get into this story, feeling that Frankie was so self-absorbed and addicted to her phone, apps and hashtags. As she started to interact with the town she retreated to, she began to grow on me and made the story a more enjoyable read.

Available to buy from Amazon in Paperback and Kindle Edition.

Someday at Christmas by Lizzie Byron

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Larger than life Shell Smith loves her job as am ART make-up artist within Duke & Sons, it might not have been the path that she had originally hoped for but she is happy. Her love life isn’t quite as straight forward, comparing all the men that she dates to Nick Wallace (her college crush). Whilst nothing happened between them she always thought that he was the one.

Callum Duke is back in the UK to help his grandfather run Duke & Sons, with a viewpoint of taking over as CEO in the next year or so. He’s handsome, charming as well as warm and friendly to all his staff. Despite the cool, calm and collected facade that he shows to his employees he is very worried about the future of Duke & Sons.

With changes happening at Duke & Sons, everyone is wondering what the future holds. Can Callum save the store that has been in his family for generations? Can Shell find true love when Nick Wallace makes a surprise return? Or is there someone else that has captured her heart?

A feel-good Christmas themed story that could easily be made into a festive film. Showcasing relationship dynamics between friends, family and those we hold in our hearts.

Available to buy from Amazon in Paperback and Kindle Edition.

Your Perfect Year by Charlotte Lucas

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Following the story of Hannah and Jonathan who live in the same city but are worlds apart in personality. The story starts as Jonathan finds a bag containing a diary on the handlebars of his bike after a run on New Year’s Day. Each page completed with inspiration quotes, ideas on what to do that day etc. But no details as to who it belongs to.

Hannah’s story starts a few months before the New Year with her opening up her own daycare centre with her friend. Sharing details of her relationship with Simon and how he becomes ill. Making the diary as a way to encourage him throughout the year ahead. However, when she wakes on New Year’s Day Simon has gone and left her a note.

The story flits back and forth between Jonathan and Hannah as they navigate through the new year and missed opportunities to meet and discover who the other one is.

An easy read that doesn’t really come to anything, there is no spark, build up or excitement.

Available to buy from Amazon in Paperback, Kindle Edition and Audio CD.

Oh Crumbs by Kathryn Freeman

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Life hasn’t quite turned out the way Abby (Abigail) hoped, with her mum dying from cancer when she was thirteen years old. Suddenly finding herself in the role of substitute mum to her four younger sisters and running the house whilst her dad works long hours at his garage. Pushing aside her desire for a chance to escape to university she studies at home after work and completing household chores. Finally landing an interview for a Personal Assistant role for Crumb the local biscuit company.

Doug has been left in the lurch by his old PA who has upped and moved to Australia, whilst he has a temp in place he needs a replacement as soon as possible. That’s when Abby stumbles into his life, three minutes late, falling over her bag, so talkative and the opposite of what he wants in his life. But somehow he opts to hire her and they embark on a path of discovering the real versions of themselves.

Why is Doug so closed off, unable to let anyone close to him? Can Abby ever have a life of her own or will she be looking after her family forever? A laugh out loud journey as they attempt to fight the chemistry that is obviously sparking between them.

Available to buy from Amazon in Paperback and Kindle Edition.

Sweet Home Montana by Shann McPherson

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Ten years ago Quinn decided that she couldn’t forget her dreams and stay in her hometown and marry her high school sweetheart Colt. Leaving him at the alter was hard but leaving her father behind was harder as she headed off to New York – never to return.

Working hard Quinn has made a naje for herself in the city that never sleeps. However, a call from her older brother telling her that her father has died sends her world into a spin. Not only did she not get to say goodbye to her dad but she now has to return to Montana the place she has been avoiding for the last ten years.

Going home isn’t easy, especially when live has moved on without her. Yet she sees Colt and starts to realise what she left behind and questions whether she made the right decision.

An emotional read full of regrets and questioning decisions.

Available to buy from Amazon in Paperback and Kindle Edition.

The Best Next Thing by Natasha Anders

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Miles Hollingsworth doesn’t know what downtime is, he works hard to provide the life for his family. This has paid off for him in many ways with success and money. However, after an illness that landed him in hospital, he is forced to slow down and recuperate. Heading to his holiday home in South Africa he arrives with forewarning his housekeeper Mrs Cole.

Charity Cole has been Miles’ live-in housekeeper for three years. Keeping herself to herself she is efficient and second-guesses everything that the Hollingsworth family needs during their stays at the house. With everything prepared for arrivals etc. until Mr Hollingsworth arrives one evening without notice.

Catching her out of her usual Mrs Cole facade Miles is shocked to discover his housekeeper looking very different to the person who has been at his beck and call during his stays. Something about her long legs that he can’t quite forget. They both have secrets that they hiding from each other, but in a house together there is only so much time that they can avoid each other and keep their interactions professional.

** Tigger warning – descriptive domestic abuse discussed within the story **

A touching, heartbreaking yet funny novel. Tissues at the ready for some difficult moments.

Available to buy from Amazon in Kindle Edition.

Half Truths by Rachael Brownell

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Alex is looking out for his little sister. Sure he has technically kidnapped her and admitted her to a rehab centre – which she only go into because he metaphorically killed off his parents (who are worse than useless, so wrapped up in their own lives). Whilst checking her into rehab he finds himself staring at some beautiful ebony hair followed by a perk ass. Problem being that ass belongs to his sister’s new counsellor so off bounds.

Harley is that counsellor who notices Alex checking her out at the clinic. Sure, he’s hot but he is the relative of a patient and she can’t go there. Not that she would have option but still.

Finding themselves as neighbours allows the chemistry between them grow. However, they are both hiding truths about themselves which threaten to undo their lives. Only admitting half truths to each other. Is that a basis for a friendship? Or a relationship? Surely, each one of them needs to know the who truth.

A story about the complex relationships people have with their families, no matter what their background. Discussion on drug use and adultery.

Available to buy from Amazon in Paperback and Kindle Edition.

My Christmas Boyfriend by S.J. Crabb

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Take a festive journey with Annie (Anne) and Liam, who meet on the train down to Dorset. Annie is heading home for Christmas as the bottom of her world has fallen out. Losing her job, catching her boyfriend in the act and about to be made homeless. Despite all this heading home is the last place she wants to be.

Liam is headed to his cousin’s wedding where he is the photographer. Although he doesn’t think much of the groom so isn’t exactly looking forward to it. Plus he’s family, especially his mother isn’t too happy with him at the moment.

A chance interaction on the train, a hip flask of brandy and a cunning plan has them conspiring together to get through the festive season. One to make you laugh, she’d the occasional tear and long for them to wake up to what is in front of them.

Available to buy from Amazon in Paperback and Kindle Edition.

Strictly Come Dating by Kathryn Freeman

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Settling down to watch Strictly Come Dancing with her two children, their nanny and her friends Sarah and Alice has become a Saturday night tradition. Especially since her marriage ended three years ago. Maggie loves to watch the dancing and spend time with her friends.

One Saturday, there is an interruption to their usual viewing party when Seb, Sarah and Alice’s younger brother gatecrashes. Tall, blonde, tanned and handsome, he notices Maggie straight away. Although she is 10 years older than him, there is something about her that draws him to her.

Over the weeks he joins them again and again to watch the show (spending most of his time watching Maggie). Starting dancing lessons Maggie hasn’t found a suitable dance partner when Seb volunteers. She declines, yet he turns up anyway and the chemistry starts to grow between them.

Can this really work? He’s only back in the UK to help his dad following a heart attack. She has responsibilities, not to mention the age gap. A funny and charming read, discovering that age can be just a number of you let it.

Available to buy from Amazon in Paperback, Kindle Edition and Audiobook.

Protecting His New Family by Katie Knight

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Life has turned upside down for Owen when his brother and sister-in-law are killed in a car accident. With co-parenting responsibilities for Myles left to him in their will, alongside Sam his sister-in-law’s younger sister.

Owen is leaving his job as a Navy SEAL in order to be around for Myles. Sam is a medical researcher who’s project is just coming to an end so hopes to be around more for Myles. Attempting to co-parenting together in the family home until they get settled and sort out custody arrangements. Either of them have parented before, still grieving and each harbouring feelings for the other.

If life was already chaotic, the threats, emails and notes that Sam had been receiving to stop her research. Suddenly step up as she nears the trial phase of her work. It’s a good job she has a Navy SEAL to hand.

An emotional read dealing with death, responsibility and the murking world of pharmaceutical companies.

Available to buy from Amazon in Paperback and Kindle Edition.

So True by Serena Bell

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Chiara fell in love with Jax as teenagers, however, after their first night together and making plans for prom he suddenly disappeared without a trace. Leaving with his mum and younger brother. Ghosted. Something she has never quite gotten over. Although she doesn’t hold this against his younger brother Evan who has recently moved back and opened up a games store.

With plans to land a job in Seattle, she is hoping to leave the town behind and all the memories that go with it. Until Jax suddenly appears at the games store one day asking where Evan is. As it transpires that Evan has used his college tuition money to open the store instead of enrolling as he’d told his brother.

The chill between them is obvious, but so is that familiar spark of chemistry. But no way can they put the past behind them. She is headed for Seattle and Jax will be heading home – a fling would be a recipe for disaster.

A two-sided story sharing the tension and the reasons behind Jax’s sudden departure. The second novel in this series, however, it works as a standalone read.

Available to buy from Amazon in Paperback and Kindle Edition.

Hold On Tight by Serena Bell

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Eight years ago Mira met Jake in a bowling alley in Seattle. He was home on leave before deployment, what should have been a one night fling turned into a week of fooling around. Understanding that this was her first time, they waited until Mira felt ready. Putting on a condom at the last minute wasn’t soon enough to land her pregnant.

Not that Jake knew this. Whilst Mira attempted to find him she wasn’t able to trace his unit with the various Army bases she had tried. Bumping into him in the PT office with her sone Sam, Mira tells Jake that he is his father. Wounded from the war Jake has a chip on his shoulder and at first, doesn’t think it is possible. However, looking at Sam through the window he can see the resemblance.

What follows is a journey of being introduced, firstly as a babysitter, to his son as he and Mira navigate the feelings they have for each other than never really went away. However, Jake is not in a place for living, still holding on to guilt, regrets and the feeling that his life is over. Can they help each other to become a family?

The chemistry between Jake and Mira is raw, each with their own baggage. A good read, although a little overthinking at times disrupting the flow of the story.

Available to buy from Amazon in Paperback and Kindle Edition.

The Sun in Her Eyes by Paige Toon

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The journey starts with Amber having a bad day, from finding her husband on the sofa (and vomit), being made redundant to finding out her dad has had a stroke back in Australia. She heads home a couple of days later leaving Ned in the UK (and his boss Zara).

Reconnecting with her old friends and life, Amber is splitting her time between caring for her dad and having fun. Ethan the boy from her childhood who she has loved since she was eight-years-old is back on the scene and their friendship heads for a new level after some drunken confessions.

I’m not sure how I feel about this story. Whether it’s the hypocrisy of Amber being jealous if Ned’s boss when she is flirting etc with Ethan. Or her ability to forget her life on the UK for the chance of following up what never happened as a teenager. Ends better than I expected but not my favourite read from Paige Toon.

Available to buy from Amazon in Paperback, Kindle Edition and Audiobook.

One in A Million by Lindsey Kelk

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Annie has a competitive streak a mile wide, always pushing for the next thing and aiming high. Something that has led to her starting her own Digital Marketing business with her best friend. It’s going well, or it would be if clients paid their invoices on time!

Her personal life is filled with friendships and more work, with her love life in the gutter. Especially when she sees her ex proposing to his new girlfriend before the England football match on TV. But she’s fine, totally fine about it, honestly! A bit of work banter with Charlie (they work in the same building) goes a little too far after he mocks her business. So they come up with a bet to get the next person who walks through the door 20k followers on Instagram in a month.

Dr Samuel Page doesn’t know what has hit him when his usual, quiet life is interrupted by Annie. Offering to help him win back his ex-girlfriend with help and advice, whilst she makes him social media famous. Sam doesn’t do social media, they have different opinions about many things – yet somehow they manage to spend an awful lot of time together.

A slowish start, with Annie coming across as a bull in a china shop, but once you see her with her family and friends she grew on me. A classic tale of not seeing what is in front of your face until it is possibly too late.

Available to buy from Amazon in Paperback, Kindle Edition and Audiobook.

Stuck On You by Portia MacIntosh

Rating: 5 out of 5.

When Sadie took the position of personal assistant to Damien Banks (a top portrait photographer) she didn’t think that is meant being his ‘personal’ assistant. Managing his day to day life from dumping girlfriends, getting his dry cleaning and waiting for deliveries. She’d hoped it was going to be so much more. Working for Damien can be demanding, to say the least, the phone calls and ridiculous demands – that leave her looking for prostitutes to a potential serial killer.

On her first day, she found a post-it note in her desk from Adam (her job share) telling her that the boss was a nightmare. From that first post-it note, they conversed back and forth. Sharing jokes and updates, slowly she found herself looking forward to the notes and dreaming of running off into the sunset with Adam. However, after telling Adam that she has a new job and that she’d like to meet, he ghosts her. Good job that Damien has practically invited himself for Christmas at her parents’ house to keep her mind occupied.

A laugh out loud rom-com with a feel of The Flatshare and Johnny Be Good, plus the added bonus of a big dollop of Christmas festivities too.

Available to buy from Amazon in Kindle Edition and Audiobook.

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Feeling the added pressure from her parents (her mother mostly) about settling down and having children. Stella worries that this might never happen for her as she finds intimacy too overwhelming for her. Her day-to-day life is managed with routines and analyzing data, her Asperger’s is something that she is embarrassed about and fears that others will treat her differently.

A comment from a co-worker (and the man that her mother would like her to date) about how she should get herself some practical practice if she wants to be successful in relationships leads her to look for a teacher. A teacher that will show her how to manage all the physical aspects of a relationship so that when she does get a date she won’t freeze up or not enjoy the experience.

Step in Michael as a male escort that Stella hires, he is patient and kind to her and despite his usual practices agrees to three additional repeat appointments so that he can guide her through emotions and physical contact.

They are both hiding secrets as well as feelings that go beyond client relations – can they overcome all the obstacles in their way? A story highlighting the issues faced by those with high-functioning autism as well as the responsibility and pressure that family can come with.

Available to buy from Amazon in Paperback, Kindle Edition and Audiobook.

Accidentally in Love by Belinda Missen

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Katharine on the surface is content with her life. She is working in a London art gallery, hoping for promotion, her best friend is getting married and her love life is, well, complicated. However, things suddenly change when she is passed over for promotion again, her best friend only wants to talk about her problems and her love life revolves around a man who she only sees on his terms.

Changing her life, she heads home to Sheffield to open her own gallery and meets a local artist Kit (Christopher) who infuriates her on their first meeting – but there is a fine line between love and hate. Attempting to get her life back on track, her past comes back to complicate things.

An easy read which makes you think about how much bending and flexing you do for the people in your life and whether they would do they same for you in return.

Available to buy from Amazon in Paperback and Kindle Edition.

I Temporarily Do (Cordially Invited #1) by Ellie Cahill

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Emmy has had a bad day, the worst day in fact. Just days before heading to grad school she has been a victim of fraud via her new roommate. Leaving her with no money and nowhere to live when she gets to Middlesex University.

Beckett is also having a bad day, his girlfriend Emily since high school has not only decided that she won’t be attending Middlesex University with him but that she doesn’t want to get married either. Which means that he isn’t going to be able to move into his married student accommodation.

Having been roommates for two years with four other students, Emmy and Beckett opt for an unlikely solution to their problems. They will get married! – Emmy is actually an Emily, so the housing office won’t know any different and she’ll be able to stay until she gets her money back from the bank and finds a new roommate.

Sounds straightforward, right? As good friends already they are used to being around each other, however, their new friends at Middlesex University believe they are married so they need to act as though they are in love, kissing, hand-holding and showing affection.

An easy read, filled with banter, will-they / won’t-they moments and a few tears too.

Available to buy from Amazon in Paperback and Kindle Edition.

The Roommate by Rosie Danan

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Clara has packed her life up for the summer and headed to LA to stay with her longtime friend Everett. Friends for 14 years she has always held a torch for him and she is hoping that this summer will make him realise that they could be more than friends. However, he bails on her the moment he drops her off at his house in favour of a last-minute tour with his band. But she won’t be alone, he has let his room out to Josh.

Josh is hoping that his new living arrangement will be a short term thing. Just enough time for his ex-girlfriend to cool off and for them to get back together. Meeting Clara, she is nothing like he has known before and they opt to come up with roommate guidelines in order for a harmonious living arrangement. All was going well until Clara found out what Josh does for a living and things suddenly change.

Although there had been sparks of chemistry beforehand, suddenly the air is palpable. Are they ready to blur the lines between roommate, lover and partnership? A hot read and one that will have you thinking about the voyage of discovery between two people.

Available to buy from Amazon in Paperback and Kindle Edition.

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