What I’m Kindle Reading // July 2020

August 7, 2020

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When I think back to the beginning of the year and my hopes to read 20 books for 2020. I had thought that was quite an optimistic goal, with a little over one book a month to be read in order to cross this resolution off my list. However, July saw me reading 20 books in just one month! Taking my current yearly total up to 79 books. I’m really quite proud of myself.

Finding time first thing in the morning to enjoy a couple of chapters. As well as opting to switch the TV off on an evening, especially if What The Dad Said is working a late shift and picking up my Kindle Paperwhite to lose myself in the unfolding storyline.

What I’ve been reading in July…

The Bad Mother’s Virus by Suzy K. Quinn

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Just when Juliette thought that things were moving in the right direction. Engaged to the lovely Alex Dalton and plans to move into his amazing house with her daughter Daisy. It all starts to go wrong with the help from her ex Nick (Daisy’s father) and his custody battle. If solicitors, home visits and assessments weren’t bad enough. Coronavirus starts to make an impact on the world around her. From her nana on a cruise ship, her fiancee stuck in Italy, the UK is about to go into lockdown.

A diary-style book, journalling you through several months of Juliette’s life as the pandemic takes hold and she has to deal with the unprecedented times.

Available to buy from Amazon in Kindle Edition

You Are Positively Awesome by Stacie Swift

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A beautifully presented insight into the workings of our wellbeing. Helping us understand that the feelings we find ourselves feeling are perfectly acceptable. Giving hints and tips on how to look at situations and giving a positive outcome on things.

I’d recommend getting this in the print version as the Kindle version doesn’t work quite as well. As the print copy enables you to draw and get involved with the activities within the book.

Available to buy from Amazon in Hardback edition

Love at First Like by Hannah Orenstein

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Eliza is living her dream of running her own jewellery store wuth her sister. Managing the instagram for the store she showcases the items they have mixed in with a slice of her own life. After seeing her on-again/off-again ex get engaged she consoles herself in the backroom with a bottle of whiskey. Taking a snapshot of herself wearing an engagement ring, which instead of saving as a draft is posted publicly.

Overnight her life changes. The stores instagram is going crazy, they have online orders coming through and everyone wants to know who the lucky guy is. Except there isn’t one. Her friend Carmen arranges for a fun casting call for a potential fake fiancée.

What follows is her attempting to get a new relationship that’s not perfect down the aisle in six months after being offered a free wedding. Can you really fake it until you make it?

I didn’t really click with Eliza or intentions throughout the book. Whilst she was attempting to save her business, I’m not sure that the process worked for me. Little chemistry between the main characters, all a little forced.

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

The Twelve Dates of Christmas by Jenny Bayliss

Rating: 4 out of 5.

There has always been something not quite right with Kate’s love life. Whilst she’s managed to have a few serious relationships in the past, she always manages to nitpick and find flaws in them. Finding herself back in the village that she grew up in after travelling the world and living in London. Country life is going well in the few years that she has been back. Managing to continue to work freelance for Liberty’s as well as supplement her income with some baking for the local cafe.

Matt runs the local cafe and has known Kate since they were kids. Growing up together alongside Laura and Ben. Going their separate ways at university following a big fall out that saw them not on speaking terms for ten years. Thankfully they have put that all behind them and they are able to bicker and swap banter with each other at any given moment.

With Kate’s love life not going anywhere, her friend Laura talks her into signing up for the ‘Twelve Dates of Christmas’ dating course. Something that Kate really isn’t sure about but agrees that her love life needs a little rescuing. Matt thinks its both hilarious and dangerous for her to be heading out on twelve dates with strangers. The course of true love never did run smoothly as Kate finds out over the course of her December dates. Can she discover the love within her heart?

An interesting read that makes you want to find out what happens on the next date, with the undercurrent storyline between the friends making you want to knock their heads together to figure out what is happening in front of their eyes.

Available to buy from Amazon in Paperback and Kindle Edition

The Longest Holiday by Paige Toon

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Laura is heading to Florida on what you can mistakingly think is a girls holiday. Well it was, until her best friend Marty invited Laura along to put some distance between herself and her husband Matthew. Who had a one-night stand with someone on his stag night and managed to get the girl pregnant! Yep!

Unsure whether she can move on and forgive Matthew she decides that this holiday is a great way to take time away. Then she meets Leo who takes her breath away from the moment she first sees him. He’s aware that she’s married and is a gentleman in that respect.

Finding out that the baby has been born, and that Matthew is definitely the father. Laura realises that actually she doesn’t want to go home. A last-minute decision at the airport sees her staying as her friends head back to the UK. Turning back to Leo she finally manages to see what’s she’s been missing and without realising has fallen in love.

Does Leo love her? Or is this just a holiday romance?

The Plus One by Sophia Money-Coutts

Rating: 3 out of 5.

At the grand age if thirty, Polly’s love life isn’t hitting the high notes. Her friends around her are finding love and her best friend is getting married. Invitations to functions arrive addressed to Polly, not Polly plus one because she simply never has a plus one to take and everyone knows it.

An assignment for Posh! the magazine she works for sees her heading to Yorkshire to interview a Duke whose love life is often found splashed across the newspapers. Jasper turns out to be not quite the playboy that she imagined and an unlikely romance starts. Not that her friends think that this is a good thing or something that will last. Is Jasper really not a playboy? Are all her friends acting out of friendship?

The storyline worked so far into the book, however, the ending didn’t feel as though it had the build up I would have expected.

Beach Read by Emily Henry

Rating: 5 out of 5.

January Andrews fell in love with romance stories back when her mum was first diagnosed with cancer. Picking up a dog-eyed book in the waiting room, she found herself lost in the magic of romance. Alongside seeing her parents romance she set about writing her own romance novels, with four successful publications. Then her dad died suddenly, leaving behind the sadness of his death but also a bucket load of secrets that January was only just finding out.

Still spinning from the new revelations in her life, her long-term boyfriend dumping her and the need for getting a fifth novel written. She heads to the beach house that her dad has left to her. How can she write about love and happily ever afters when she’s not sure that they really exist? Her neighbour next door makes a bad impression on her, however, she soon discovers that she knows him from college. Somewhat of a frienemy, they have digs at each others style of books and make a bet to write about each others genre to see who can get published first.

What follows is a journey through researching books, discovering the secrets from their past and learning how to move on with their lives. A rollercoaster of emotions that will have you laughing, crying and feeling all the lust.

Just Saying by Sophie Ranald

Rating: 3 out of 5.

A scandal at work involving her future boss leaves Alice without a job to go to once her training is over. It appears that Gordon has been sexually harassing female staff members and is currently under investigation. **Trigger warning for sexual assault references and the #MeToo movement**. Alice leaves after a meeting with HR to discuss her future which leaves her feeling shocked and overwhelmed. A passerby comes to her aid as she makes her way home and takes her for a sweet sherry. She ends up staying all afternoon and helping out behind the bar.

Whilst bar work might not have been what she had in her life plan, she is finding it more fulfilling than her time training to be a solicitor. With a drop in income, Joe suggests that they get a lodger to cover her share whilst she thinks about what she would like to do in the future. One problem, a big problem actually… It’s Joe’s ex-girlfriend from Uni, someone that he once loved – would he fall back in love with her whilst they are under the same roof.

I liked that the book touched on Alice having problems in most areas of her life, just like the rest of us. Although, whilst it was an easy-ish story to follow, I wasn’t enthralled enough to want to see what happened next.

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

Don’t You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlane

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Imagine losing your terrible job and your boyfriend all in one night. That’s what happens to Georgina when she relays the comments from the chef at ‘That’s Amore’ to a ciste(who happens to be a restaurant critic from the newspaper). The chef sacks her on the spot to make an example of her to the critic. Annoyed about losing her job and therefore has no money to pay her rent she opts to go to see her boyfriend. Who she catches in with his PA.

What her sister is laying into her on the phone about her life choices, her husband tells her that he has a mate who needs someone behind the bar for a wake. Needing the money she says yes and heads over to a pub that has just been renovated. Working the wake she falls in love with the beauty of the pub and how wl the new owners have restored it. Offered a full time po she is thrilled until the other owner arrives.

Lucas is someone that Georgina knows from sixth form, where they dated until the leavers party. After which they never saw each other again. Until now. He doesn’t seem to recognise her but is still not thrilled that his brother has offered her a job. Thankfully she manages to keep the position and starts to work onside Lucas, stirring up all the old feelings she had never quite forgotten about.

A story of reacquainting old love, misunderstandings and discovering the truth. A descriptive account of a sexual assault is included within the book – tissues at the ready.

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

Then I Met You by Matt Dunn

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A story that follows Lisa and Simon throughout a blind date that has been arranged by their Best friends (who happen to be dating each other). Lisa has a habit of rushing into relationships with both feet, she’s not been very lucky in love. So hopes that a blind date might have a better outcome. Simon is still recovering from the loss of his girlfriend who died two years ago in an accident. Although they had only dated for six months, he can’t quite shake the feeling that she could have been his happy ever after.

Lisa understands that the blind date is part of a column in the local newspaper. Simon, however, believes he is meeting his best mate for lunch, until he gets a call five minutes beforehand. Unhappy about the set up he goes ahead with the date hoping that he can have one drink and then head off.

It’s a catalogue of disasters from before the date even starts. Despite the bickering and annoyance on both sides they manage to get through the blind date. Each one of them starting think more about the other as the day goes on and they complete the newspaper questionnaire.

A predictable ending, but still an enjoyable read.

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

Five Hundred Miles From You by Jenny Colgan

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Lissa works in London as a Nurse Practitioner Liaison, helping to prevent hospital readmissions. She sees a wide range of patients on her caseload, and as she heads back to her car after a home visit she witnesses a hit and run. Not only is the incident traumatic, she knows the boy who has been hit (and subsequently dies).

HR think it might be good for her to do an exchange with another NPL in a quieter area. A chance for her work through her anxiety and stress following the incident.

Cormac works in Scotland, some five hundred miles away from London. A chance phonecall regarding a transplant patient leads to an offer of a NPL exchange.

Lissa and Cormac swaps lives and caseloads, learning about each others lives. Can either of them adjust and learn to like a different way of life? As they swap messages they each start to think more about the person on the other side of the messages.

A good read and interesting to see the story unfold from both of their points of view. Only four stars as I felt the ending was somewhat rushed and could have done with a greater depth. 

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

I Hate You, I Love You Part 1 by Bailey b.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Danika has just moved back to her hometown after being away for three years in California. She moved so that her mom could gain cancer treatment, sadly, she passed away. So her dad has decided that they should move back. Not only is Danika the ‘kind of’ new kid at school but she has moved in next door to her old friend Logan. Although he seems to have changed quite a bit since she last saw him.

Logan has toughened up from the loner he was at middle school. Standing for no crap and gaining the attention of almost all the girls, not that he is looking for anything serious. Melody might want to call herself his girlfriend but that is in name only, she is certainly not getting any of the benefits of being his girl. Then in walks Danika, a blast from his past and decides to play it cool and pretend not to remember her.

A hate/love relationship that they each secretly want but too afraid to show the other. Somehow they manage to overcome the high school drama that seems to follow them both and they are soon no longer able to resist. But that doesn’t mean that they are now on an easy path to love – the ending is open ready for the second book!

**Trigger warning – self-harm, drug use, sexual assault and grooming references are talked about throughout the book**

Available to buy from Amazon in Paperback and Kindle Edition

Hello, Again by Isabelle Broom

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Still living in the Suffolk Coastal town that she has lived in all her life, Pepper (Phillippa) is relatively happy with her life. In some respects… Her new arts & crafts business is going well and everyone knows her around the village. She hasn’t quite nailed the happily ever after with the man of her dreams and her family life is well a different story. You see, her younger sister died (age 7) when she was a teenager and her relationship with her parents has never been the same again. With her mum stuck in grief and unable to see any light at the end of the tunnel.

Her friend Josephine invites Pepper on a trip to Europe to help her relive her younger days and see the places she fell in love with. As well as the man she fell in love with many years ago. A firm believer in love at first sight. During this trip Pepper meets Finn and the sparks fly straight away. From never having been abroad, Pepper is suddenly jetting off to Lisbon, Barcelona, Hamburg and Guernsey across one summer.

Whilst this story has a love story running throughout, it is the personal relationships in Pepper’s life that are the main focus. From discovering a way to communicate with her parents, discover a lost love in her own art and find the love that is hidden in her heart underneath a mask of grief and guilt.

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

With You (Rocked in Love #1) by Jessica Marlowe

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Emily Prescott a copywriter and novelist, is just three weeks away from her wedding. With everything paid for the countdown is on for the big day. Arriving home mid-afternoon, she is looking forward to a few hours of work on her latest book before Sully comes home. However, with noises coming from their bedroom when she arrives home, she finds him in bed with someone from his office. She throws him and the girl out.

Nicki, Emily’s best friend decides that she can no longer mope about at home after a couple of weeks so persuades her to attend a concert. Tickets for Nicki’s birthday courtesy of her ex-boyfriend (who also recently cheated – men!). Although Emily is reluctant to attend she goes to support her friend for her birthday.

Jack McBride is the lead singer and guitarist of the band that they are going to see. As soon as he steps on stage he spots Emily in the crowd and his breath is taken away. She is truly stunning. Emily notices Jack too, although recently heartbroken she is happy to look from afar. That is until Jack sends a note via one of the crew and invites her backstage. She doesn’t want to go but Nicki persuades her to go.

Join the journey of the will they, won’t they story of Jack and Emily. Lots of passion, miscommunications and past history to deal with along the way. The first segment in a trilogy – originally one large 1200 page book now split over three books. Which is obvious when it comes to the end of the book as you are only just getting into their journey.

Available to buy from Amazon in Paperback and Kindle Edition

No More Yesterdays (Rocked in Love #2) by Jessica Marlowe

Rating: 4 out of 5.

It’s been a whirlwind romance for Jack and Emily after meeting at one of Jack’s concerts just a week ago. Whilst Jack has jumped off the deep end and fallen head over heels in love with Emily, she is a little more practical. How can she date a rock star? especially one who is only just started a world tour with his band.

Join them as they navigate through the early days of their relationship. From Jack wanting to include her in all areas of his life including meeting his family, scheduling time together and relocating back to New York. Whilst Emily is still overcoming past tragedies, history with her ex and learning to trust again. If that weren’t enough there is the added issue of Jack’s stalker, who has decided that she needs Jack in her life and will stop at nothing to get her way.

The second segment in a trilogy – originally one large 1200 page book now split over three books. Which is obvious when it comes to the end of the book as you are only partway into their journey.

Available to buy from Amazon in Paperback and Kindle Edition

All Your Tomorrows (Rocked in Love #3) by Jessica Marlowe

Being apart from each other isn’t working for Jack and Emily, although neither one wants to be the one to say it to the other, worried about the other feeling guilty for the distance between them due to the band’s tour schedule. Can they make it work? They need to make it work as the thought of being without each other is too much to think about.

Opting to leave her copywriting job to focus on writing novels full time she joins Jack on the road, however, she doesn’t like to fly so different travel arrangements need to be made to accommodate her. Which had already been changed to help deal with the unsolved stalker issue.

Lots of highs and lows still to worked through in their relationship, past history with their ex’s is still causing issues and could this be too much for them to deal with?

The final segment in a trilogy – originally one large 1200 page book now split over three books. I’d highly recommend reading all three books together to allow the story to flow between the segments.

Available to buy from Amazon in Paperback and Kindle Edition

Mr Malcolm’s List by Suzanne Allain

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Julia Thistlewaite had set her sights on Mr Malcolm, one accompaniment to the opera and she was sure that this was heading to courtship and marriage. However, after not hearing from him for a week she enlists her cousin Mr Cassidy (Cassie) to find out what is going on.

Mr Malcolm is a weathly son of an Earl, who has his fair share of interested ladies. However, none of them seem to meet the standard he has set on his list. Something he shares with Cassie when he is asked about Julia.

After hearing about his list Julia invites a friend, Selina Dalton, she knew at school to London on an attempt to gain payback on Mr Malcolm. Selina is reluctant to get involved after hearing the plan after her arrival in lon but goes ahead with it as she feels Mr Malcolm would never fall in love with her.

A brief meeting in a darkened library Mr Malcolm and Selina make quite the impression on each other before they are formally introduced. What follows is a series of miscommunications, silly schemes and a big dose of pride.

A light, comic dose of Jane Austen style romance – although with the odd embrace and kiss threw in for good measure.

Available to buy from Amazon in Paperback and Kindle Edition

Up Close and Personal by Kathryn Freeman

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Zac Edwards is an actor on the rise, so much so that he has managed to get himself a stalker. Not that he is taking it all that serious, probably just a female fan who has taken things a little too far.

Kat Parker is to be Zac’s bodyguard, not that Zac knows this when she bumps (quite literally) into him at a function spilling champaign down him. Not that she seems to mind as he finds himself drawn to her immediately. Kat knows who he is that that she cannot return his flirting – but she really wants to.

The following day formal introductions are made and Zac isn’t too sure about the need for a bodyguard or a bodyguard that is Kat. However, he agrees to it and soon they are spending a lot of time together. Something Zac is very happy about although the sexual tension is killing him.

A twist on the traditional bodyguard stories with a gender role reversal. Lots of laugh out loud moments, coupled with heartbreaking past tragedies.

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

Thirteen Weddings by Paige Toon

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Bronte has come over to the UK from Australia for her old friend’s (Polly) wedding. Despite the fact that she doesn’t believe in marriage and it’s part of the wedding party. However, it was a chance to visit the UK. During the hen night, she spots Alex leaning against a pillar in the club playing on his phone. On her way to the bar, she grabs his phone as a bit of fun. Looking up the sparks fly immediately.

Fresh out of a relationship Bronte is newly single although hasn’t confided that fact to her friend yet. Whilst Alex is ‘on a break’ from his long term girlfriend Zara – her decision not his. At the end of the night, he walks her back to her hotel and they spend the night together. With Alex getting a message from Zara and Bronte heading back to Australia, it was just a one night fling… wasn’t it?

Returning to the UK 18 months later for a job, Bronte is confronted by the man she hasn’t stopped thinking about – Alex. Whilst working at the magazine during the week, Bronte has started helping out photographing weddings on the weekends as a favour to a friend of a friend. Over the course of the book, she completes thirteen weddings (the clue is in the title). With her life interweaving with Alex, Lachie (the wedding singer) and dealing with problems from her past.

It didn’t end how I thought it would, whilst it still works as an ending, I just pictured it a different way – hence why I could only give this one 4 stars.

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

A Christmas Wedding by Paige Toon

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Three and a half years after we left Bronte behind back in Australia. Still living in Manly with Lachie she is still working for the magazine, although has opted to leave wedding photography behind. Never quite getting over the last wedding she completed – Alex and Zara’s wedding.

Receiving an email from Alex telling her that he’ll be in Sydney for three weeks in October her world is once again put into a spin. Not that she has ever forgotten (or moved on??) from Alex. Suddenly she is questioning life around her, from her career to her desire to have children.

Featuring several of the characters from Paige Toon’s novels this short ebook offers the chance to revisit the love triangle of Bronte/Alex/Lachie as well as tie-up loose ends from other characters. I’m so pleased that Paige Toon opted to update the story as I feel it offered the ending that I’d originally hoped for, however, although drawn out it does work much better than if it had happened straight away.

Available to buy from Amazon in Kindle Edition only

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