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Thursday, 31 March 2022

Book Review: Wild and Wicked Things by Francesca May

Wild and Wicked Things by Francesca May book cover

AD* | On Crow Island, people whisper, real magic lurks just below the surface.

Neither real magic nor faux magic interests Annie Mason. Not after it stole her future. She’s only on the island to settle her late father’s estate and, hopefully, reconnect with her long-absent best friend, Beatrice, who fled their dreary lives for a more glamorous one.

Yet Crow Island is brimming with temptation, and the biggest one may be her enigmatic new neighbour.

Mysterious and alluring, Emmeline Delacroix is a figure shadowed by rumours of witchcraft. And when Annie witnesses a confrontation between Bea and Emmeline at one of the island's extravagant parties, she is drawn into a glittering, haunted world. A world where the boundaries of wickedness are tested, and the cost of illicit magic might be death.

Friday, 25 March 2022

Book Review: The House at Greenacres by Darcie Boleyn

The House at Greenacres by Darcie Boleyn book cover

AD* | All roads lead home...

When Holly Morton fled Penhallow Sands nearly a year ago she was determined to put the past - and Rich Turner - behind her. But now an unexpected loss and financial trouble have led her back to the family vineyard and it's time to tell Rich the truth - he's a father.

Surrounded by the memories of what they once shared Holly's anger fades in the glow of Rich's undeniable love for their son and the way he selflessly steps in to help the vineyard out of trouble. As Holly watches Rich flourish in his new role as father to baby Luke, she realises that though they can't change the past, the future is still theirs to write...

Monday, 21 March 2022

Book Review: The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison

The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison book cover

Near an isolated mansion lies a beautiful garden.

In this garden grow luscious flowers, shady trees... and a collection of precious “butterflies” - young women who have been kidnapped and intricately tattooed to resemble their namesakes. Overseeing it all is the Gardener, a brutal, twisted man obsessed with capturing and preserving his lovely specimens.

When the garden is discovered, a survivor is brought in for questioning. FBI agents Victor Hanoverian and Brandon Eddison are tasked with piecing together one of the most stomach-churning cases of their careers. But the girl, known only as Maya, proves to be a puzzle herself.

As her story twists and turns, slowly shedding light on life in the Butterfly Garden, Maya reveals old grudges, new saviours, and horrific tales of a man who’d go to any length to hold beauty captive. But the more she shares, the more the agents have to wonder what she’s still hiding...

Friday, 18 March 2022

Coming to Terms With Losing My Maiden Name

Let's talk about names graphic

Let's talk about names. Do you like yours? 

My wedding day is getting closer and closer, and as the months slip by, I've found myself reflecting on my name. Specifically, changing my surname to my fiancĂ©'s when we marry, and coming to terms with losing my maiden name. 

Book Review: The Sweetheart Locket by Jen Gilroy

The Sweetheart Locket by Jen Gilroy book cover

AD* | What if the key to your present lies in the past?

London, 1939

On the eve of the Second World War, Canadian Maggie Wyndham defies her family and stays in England to do her bit for the war effort. Torn between two countries, two men and living a life of lies working for the Special Operations Executive (SOE), Maggie's RAF sweetheart locket is part of who she is...and who she isn't.

San Francisco, 2019

Over twenty years after Maggie's death, her daughter Millie and granddaughter Willow take a DNA test that's supposed to be a bit of fun but instead yields unexpected results. Willow has always treasured her grandmother's sweetheart locket, both family heirloom and a symbol of her grandparents' love story. But now she doesn't know what to believe. She embarks on a search for the truth, one she doesn't know will reveal far more about herself...

Thursday, 17 March 2022

Book Review: Lulu and Milagro's Search for Clarity by Angela Velez

Lulu and Milagro's Search for Clarity by Angela Velez book cover

AD* | Overachiever Luz “Lulu” Zavala has straight As, perfect attendance, and a solid ten-year plan. First up: nail her interview for a dream internship at Stanford, the last stop on her school’s cross-country college road trip. The only flaw in her plan is Clara, her oldest sister, who went off to college and sparked a massive fight with their overprotective Peruvian mom, who is now convinced that out-of-state college will destroy their family. If Lulu can’t fix whatever went wrong between them, the whole trip - and her future - will be a waste.

Middle sister Milagro wants nothing to do with college or a nerdy class field trip. Then a spot opens up on the trip just as her own Spring Break plans (Operation: Lose Your Virginity) are thwarted, and she hops on the bus with her glittery lipsticks, more concerned about getting back at her ex than she is about schools or any family drama. But the trip opens her eyes to possibilities she’d never imagined for herself. Maybe she is more than the boy-crazy girl everyone seems to think she is.

On a journey from Baltimore all the way to San Francisco, Lulu and Milagro will become begrudging partners as they unpack weighty family expectations, uncover Clara’s secrets, and maybe even discover the true meaning of sisterhood.

Monday, 14 March 2022

Book Review: Lady of Hay by Barbara Erskine

Lady of Hay book cover

A story spanning centuries. A long-awaited revenge.

In London, journalist Jo Clifford plans to debunk the belief in past lives in a hard-hitting magazine piece. But her scepticism is shaken when a hypnotist forces her to relive the experiences of Matilda, Lady of Hay, a noblewoman during the reign of King John.

She learns of Matilda's unhappy marriage, her love for the handsome Richard de Clare, and the brutal death threats handed out by King John before it becomes clear that Jo’s past and present are inevitably entwined. She realises that eight hundred years on, Matilda’s story of secret passion and unspeakable treachery is about to repeat itself...

Tuesday, 8 March 2022

Book Review: Wakenhyrst by Michelle Paver

Wakenhyrst by Michelle Paver book cover

1906: A large manor house, Wake's End, sits on the edge of a bleak Fen, just outside the town of Wakenhyrst. It is the home of Edmund Stearn and his family – a historian, scholar and land-owner, he's an upstanding member of the local community. But all is not well at Wake's End. Edmund dominates his family tyrannically, in particular daughter Maud. When Maud's mother dies in childbirth and she's left alone with her strict, disciplinarian father, Maud's isolation drives her to her father's study, where she happens upon his diary.

During a walk through the local churchyard, Edmund spots an eye in the undergrowth. His terror is only briefly abated when he discovers it's actually a painting, a 'doom', taken from the church. It's horrifying in its depiction of hell, and Edmund wants nothing more to do with it despite his historical significance. But the doom keeps returning to his mind. The stench of the Fen permeates the house, even with the windows closed. And when he lies awake at night, he hears a scratching sound – like claws on the wooden floor...

Tuesday, 1 March 2022

Book Review: By Any Other Name by Lauren Kate

By Any Other Name by Lauren Kate book cover

AD* | What she doesn’t know about love could fill a book.

With a successful career as a romance editor and an engagement to a man who checks off all ninety-nine boxes on her carefully curated list, Lanie’s more than good. She’s killing it. Then she’s given the opportunity of a lifetime: to work with world-renowned author and her biggest inspiration in love and life - the Noa Callaway. All Lanie has to do is cure Noa’s writer’s block and she’ll get the promotion she’s always dreamed of. Simple, right?

But there’s a reason no one has ever seen or spoken to the mysterious Noa Calloway. And that reason will rock Lanie’s world. It will call into question everything she thought she knew. When she finally tosses her ninety-nine expectations to the wind, Lanie may just discover that love By Any Other Name can still be as sweet.