Book Review: If You Could See Me Now.

cover117308-mediumSomething happens in this book, something completely out of the blue, which, even having read the blurb on NetGalley, I didn’t expect – and the shock of it almost made me give up.

All credit to the writing of Keris Stainton, who has a number of books, in a variety of genres, to her name, that I continued to the end because, while it wasn’t what I’d signed up for, I enjoyed this funny, heartwarming and actually rather beautiful story.

Here’s the blurb (and, just as a note, there is a different one on certain sites that gives away the surprise element so if you want to remain in the dark, stick to this one):

Izzy Harris should have it all – but her boyfriend has been ignoring her for months, she’s been overlooked for a promotion, and the owner of her local coffee shop pervs on her every time she has a craving for a salted caramel muffin.

Then her life is unexpectedly turned upside down.

Izzy dumps her oblivious boyfriend, and leaps on the chance to win a big pitch at work. Needing to work closely with gorgeous colleague Alex is an added perk…

But then her best friend has her heart broken, the pitch is way more complicated than expected, and Alex is keeping secrets. Does Izzy have what it takes to help her friend, save her career and get the guy?

There are some lovely moments in this story but while I liked the characters, I didn’t warm to them entirely. Some of the dialogue also felt a bit forced, especially the swearing. I don’t mind a bit of swearing in books – authors like Joanna Bolouri make it seem natural – but it just didn’t sit well in this one.

What I did like was the overall message. It’s not subtle by any means but it was very positive and empowering nonetheless.

If you’re looking for a quick and quirky read then this would be a great pick.

Format: Kindle.
Price: 99p.
My rating: Three and a half stars.

With thanks to Bookouture for the ARC in return for an honest review.

Book Review: Summer At Bluebell Bank.

cover115657-medium-2“…because happiness is found in a bookshop.”

Sold! How could I resist a book with a strapline like that? Impossible. Luckily, Jen Mouat’s debut novel, Summer At Bluebell Bank, didn’t disappoint.

In fact, from the cover (I know, I know, not only picking a book for its strapline but also judging it by its cover. Tut, tut) I thought it was going to be a light and breezy beach read, which would have been great, but actually it goes much deeper than that, which was even better.

The way Jen writes the emotional drama between family and friends made me invested in the story to the point I found it hard to put down.

Here’s the blurb:

Returning home is never smooth sailing…

Summoned by her childhood best friend, Kate Vincent doesn’t stop to think. Instead she books at one-way ticket from New York back to Wigtown, Scotland, leaving her glittering new life behind. Scenes of idyllic holidays at Bluebell Bank with the Cotton family dance in her mind, but not everything has stayed the way it once was… Especially when her first love, Luke, returns to town.

Emily Cotton never expected one email, sent off in a wine-fuelled daze, to bring her old friend barrelling through the front door of her dismally failing bookshop. But life for the Cottons isn’t what it once was; Emily’s brothers are hardly speaking, her beloved grandmother isn’t quite the same and Emily…well, Emily is the one most in need of Kate’s help.

Kate has given herself until the end of the summer to stay in Wigtown. Can she bring the Cottons back together, and save the family who once saved her?

Jen does a great job of weaving past and present without interrupting the flow of the story. She has a lovely way of phrasing things that had me tapping the highlighter option on the Kindle throughout.

We know early on that both Kate and Emily have their secrets (no spoilers, promise) and I really enjoyed the gentle drip of clues, building to the big reveal.

I also enjoyed learning more about Wigtown, which I’m embarrassed to say I’d never heard of before – and I call myself a book lover! Officially designated as Scotland’s national book town, Jen makes it sound like a place I MUST add to the bucket list.

On the whole this book is a thoroughly enjoyable read. It seems to me that happiness is not only found in a bookshop but in reading about them too.

Format: Kindle.

Price: £2.99.

My rating: Four and a half stars.

Thank you to HQ Digital (via NetGalley) for the ARC in return for an honest review.

My Sunday Photo – July 30th, 2017.

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We went on an adventure to the RSPB’s Buckenham Marshes, which is a new one for us – although it’s just down the road from one of my favourites, Strumpshaw Fen.

It’s a short walk to the “wildlife watchpoint” and we spent quite a while there (as we were the only ones, it didn’t matter if Freya was a bit loud). After our first visit to Strumpshaw we put together a little nature bag for her with things such as a magnifying glass, mini insect and bird guides and some children’s binoculars.

While she enjoyed using them, I was snapping away…

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This feels like ‘the one that got away’. If only it was in focus!

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To see what other people have captured for My Sunday Photo this week please click on the camera below.

Also, don’t forget you can follow me on Instagram for lots more photos.

Photalife