Book review: Home on Folly Farm by Jane Lovering

I’m a fan of Jane Lovering’s books, so when I spotted this on Netgalley, I immediately requested it.
Dora is a sheep farmer working the family farm in the North York Moors. She works hard and is scraping by. Everything changes when her spoiled sister and her equally spoiled son come to stay, bringing the son’s tutor with them. If all that weren’t enough, the tutor reminds Dora of someone she knew from her teens, where things happened that she’d really rather not remember.

There’s a lot about sheep in this story – because they occupy Dora’s thoughts a lot. The romance is slow burn and understated. The story is more like a family drama where Dora redefines her relationships with various members of her family and in doing so, finally works out her place in the family.
Nat is a nice hero, kind and dependable. The change in the relationship between the two sisters and the way the teenaged nephew changes from self obsessed YouTuber with ‘almost a thousand followers’ to a young man (and carer for two lambs) is lovely.

There’s a great car chase through the Vale of Pickering, which made me laugh a lot.

I found this book heartwarming and funny. Thanks to the publishers and Netgalley for the review copy.

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Book Review: Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

Practical Magic (Practical Magic #1)

The Owens sisters come from a long line of witches. The both try to escape their prescribed fate by rejecting it. Gillian runs away with a man. Sally takes her two daughters and leaves to forge a ‘normal’ life. But normal doesn’t last.
I felt desperately sad for Sally. In all honesty, Sally and her younger daughter were the only two characters I really liked. That isn’t to say the others weren’t compelling -they were. This is a book about families and sisters and magic.
I didn’t know what to expect when I picked up this book. I’m very glad I did.

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Book Review: The Guest List by Lucy Foley

The Guest List by Lucy Foley
The Guest List by Lucy Foley

A wedding on a remote (and pretty scarily atmospheric) island off the coast of Ireland. A murder.
The book is structured so that we don’t know who had been murdered or how at the start of the book. We see the revelation of the murder and then we see the days leading up to the murder through the eyes of various people.
It’s wonderfully done. Clues are revealed about the problems and preoccupations of the various people in the wedding party until they all coalesce at the end to reveal the victim and the murderer. I really enjoyed reading this book. Gripping.

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Book review: Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Dash & Lily's Book of DaresDash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn

I watched the Netflix show and immediately went out and got the book to read. So when I read it the characters in my head looked like the actors in the show.

This book is very Christmassy. Lily loves Christmas. Dash … does not. I loved the contrast between Lily’s upbeat and family orientated voice and Dash’s deeply cynical (snarly?) voice. When Dash finds a red notebook in his favourite bookstore he and Lily begin a correspondence that relies on notes left in the red notebook.
This is such a fun romp through Christmas-decked New York. I loved it.

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Book Review: Miracle on Christmas Street by Annie O’Neil

Miracle on Christmas StreetMiracle on Christmas Street by Annie O'Neil

Jess has left her much loved job because of a cheese-sandwich related disaster and has moved to Boughton just before Christmas. As she moves into her new house on Christmas Street, she discovers that the street has a living advent calendar – where each of the 24 houses in the close hosts one evening event in the run up to Christmas day. Everyone joins in, apart from the grumpy old man at number 24.

This is a charming story, where you get to know the residents in the street at the same time as Jess does. It’s women’s fiction rather than romance, but there is a strong romantic thread in it. The ending was just lovely.

It’s choc full of Christmassy things. I want one of Rex and Kai’s wreaths. They sound wonderful.

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Book Review: Boyfriend Material by Alexis Halls

Boyfriend MaterialBoyfriend Material by Alexis  Hall

I picked this book up because I’d seen so many people talking about it. Plus, I love the cover.

Luc needs a very respectable fake boyfriend. Oliver wants someone to accompany him to his parent’s ruby wedding anniversary. It seems like a sensible arrangement for both of them.

I loved Luc’s voice. It was funny and relatable. I thought Oliver, the perfect man with host of insecurities, was adorable. Some of the secondary characters were hilarious (Luc really dislikes Oxford grads!). The scene with Oliver’s friends was wonderful.

I really enjoyed this book. It was laugh out loud funny and incredibly touching in turns.

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Book review: Girl In The Walls by A J Gnuse

Girl in the WallsGirl in the Walls by A.J. Gnuse

I requested this on Netgalley based entirely on the title.

Elise is an orphan who lives in the walls of the house where the Eddie and Marshall live with their parents. The boys know that there’s something in the house besides their family, but their parents don’t take them seriously. Elise has managed to live there for ages, moving through the house by climbing down the spaces inside the walls. But as time goes on, the boys become more and more convinced that there’s something/someone there and Elise meets the local boy Brody, who keeps her secret and becomes her friend.
And then things start to unravel.

This book is literary in style and beautifully written. I cared so deeply about the children that I stayed up until 2am reading it, so that I knew they were safe. There are some genuinely scary bits. I absolutely adored the book.
Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the review copy.

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Book review: Crazy, Stupid Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams

Crazy Stupid Bromance (Bromance Book Club, #3)Crazy Stupid Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams

I was delighted to see there was another book in the Bromance Book Club series. This time it’s Noah (the tech guy) and Alexis (who runs the Toe Beans cafe). As with the other books in the series, Noah is a (very reluctant) recruit to the book club. As always, the scenes where the guys are together are very funny.
The emotional themes in this book run quite deep. Grief being the main one. Seeing Alexis, who is a quiet but strong person, being rent apart by grief, guilt and hope was very moving. I love Alexis.
There is a ‘big miss’in the story, but the other characters call them out on it and make them talk to each other.
I really enjoyed this book. Alexis is definitely my favourite heroine from the group.
I’m told the next book is about The Russian, who is my favourite of the guys, so I’m looking forward to that one!
I got a review copy from Netgalley. This is my honest review.

If you’re interested, the first book in the series is The Bromance Book Club.

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Book review: Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade

Spoiler AlertSpoiler Alert by Olivia Dade

I spotted this was on UK Netgalley and requested an eARC . Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for the review copy.

April Whittier is a geologist by day and fan-fic writer and cos-player in secret. She’s also fat. This is a major part of the her character (and her character arc). When she moves to a new job, she decides she’s not going to hide who she is anymore and posts a picture of herself in costume on Twitter. Predictably, the trolls come out to comment on her size rather than the costume. In response to someone being particularly mean and tagging him on the comment, Marcus Castor-Rupp – the actor who plays Anaeas in the hit TV show, asks April out. But what April doesn’t know is that best online best friend, who beta reads her fan fics, is none other than… Marcus Castor-Rupp.

Both April and Marcus are scarred and they’re both judged first by their outward appearance, and that’s not always favourable (especially for April). A lot of the conflict in the book comes from them trying to get past their instinctive or habitual responses to comments and learning to trust that they have each other’s back.

The characters feel like real people and the dialogue is delightful.
The fat rep in this book is excellent. There’s also a healthy amount of food description (I love a bit of foodieness in novels). It’s quite steamy – but that’s important to April’s insecurities. I loved the interstitial sections (especially the scripts from the really bad movies that Marcus had to do before he became famous). I also enjoyed the descriptions of fandoms and fanfic communities, especially the bit when April properly realised she’d found her tribe.

This is a great book. I had a blast reading it.

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