I am really excited to share my review for Something to Live For by Richard Roper which I read at the beginning of the year @richardroper @orionbooks #netgalley

I love finding new authors and Something to Live For is a heartwarming and thought provoking book that will take you on a journey with Andrew.

Andrew lives an insular life and mainly interacts with his friends online who he has found through his love of trains. Throughout this book you are trying to piece together why Andrew has created a fictional family and gone to such lengths to maintain the pretence.

Andrew works for the council in a role that I had never even stop to consider and whilst reading this book it made me reflect on people who live alone and hoping that someone kind hearted like Andrew does exist for ensuring they receive the send off they deserve.

Andrew is a really complex character and I really enjoyed this brilliant and memorable book, it is heartwarming whilst heartbreaking and it makes you reflect and fall in love with Andrew.

Book Blurb

Sometimes you have to risk everything to find your something…

Andrew works with death for a living. Searching for people’s next of kin and attending the funerals if they don’t have anyone, he’s desperate to avoid the same fate for himself. Which is fine, because he has the perfect wife and 2.4 children waiting at home for him after a long day. At least, that’s what he’s told people.

The truth is, his life isn’t exactly as people think and the little white lie he once told is about to catch up with him.

Because in all Andrew’s efforts to fit in, he’s forgotten one important thing: how to really live. And maybe, it’s about time for him to start.

Available to pre order on Amazon

Hard Pushed: A Midwife’s Story by Leah Hazard #hardpushed #leahhazard #midwife #NHS @hazard_leah

OMG what a superb and memorable book, I requested this on Netgalley as I loved This Is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay and after reading Hard Pushed it leaves you in no doubt just how hard the Midwife’s in hospitals work and the pressure that sits firmly on their shoulders when bringing new lives into the world.

I loved the honesty and compassion in this book, being a Midwife is a massively important role and those of us who have had children will know the true magnitude they play when you are in labour and how they work tirelessly to ensure the safe arrival of your baby with as little intervention and dramatics as possible.

I loved this book and will be recommending it to everyone as it left me in absolute awe of the brilliant work Midwife’s do and how Leah even when pushed to her upmost limits is still 100% dedicated to providing the best care and experience she possibly can for all mothers.

Thank you so much for sharing your story with us Leah and for continuing to help bring new lives into the world.

Book Blurb

No sleep for twenty hours. No food for ten. And a ward full of soon-to-be mothers… Welcome to the life of a midwife. 

Life on the NHS front line, working within a system at breaking point, is more extreme than you could ever imagine. From the bloody to the beautiful, from moments of utter vulnerability to remarkable displays of strength, from camaraderie to raw desperation, from heart-wrenching grief to the pure, perfect joy of a new-born baby, midwife Leah Hazard has seen it all.

Through her eyes, we meet Eleanor, whose wife is a walking miracle of modern medicine, their baby a feat of reproductive science; Crystal, pregnant at just fifteen, the precarious, flickering life within her threatening to come far too soon; Star, birthing in a room heady with essential oils and love until an enemy intrudes and Pei Hsuan, who has carried her tale of exploitation and endurance thousands of miles to somehow find herself at the open door of Leah’s ward.

 

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Available to pre order on Amazon

 

About the Author

Leah Hazard is a serving NHS midwife in Scotland. Having studied at Harvard, she left a career in television to pursue her lifelong interest in women’s health after the birth of her first daughter in 2003. She soon began working as a doula, supporting women in pregnancy and attending numerous births in homes and hospitals across the country. The birth of Leah’s second daughter in 2006 prompted Leah to make the leap into midwifery. Since qualifying, she has worked in a variety of clinical areas within the NHS maternity services, including antenatal clinics, triage units and labour wards.

The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker by Jenni Keer

The beautiful cover of this book caught my eye and I love trying a new author so I grabbed a copy of The Hope and Dreams of Lucy Baker and got comfortable.

Lucy Baker is a kind and giving character who always shies away from the lime light and leaves her best friend Jess and her sister Emily to bask in the attention. I loved the character of Lucy and how with her lovely friend Brenda’s guidance she starts to think outside her current constraints and put herself out into the big wide world a bit more.

This is a remarkable story of how Lucy is gifted a locket from her elderly friend with instructions to do as the locket says. Following this you are then taken on a whirlwind journey where Lucy gains a new friend due to a magical black cat that turns up and takes residence with the sneezing George.

I loved this book it is the perfect feel good read with a touch of magic and mystery thrown in. I felt like the characters were my neighbours and I wanted to keep reading to see what happens to Lucy next and whether she finally starts to believe in herself. This is a heart warming debut novel and I look forward to seeing what gems Jenni Keer has in store for us in the future.

Book Blurb

Meet Lucy, aged 25, and Brenda, aged 79. Neighbours, and unlikely friends.

Lucy Baker is not your usual 25-year-old. She is more at home reading and knitting in her cluttered little flat than going out partying and socialising.

79-year-old Brenda is full of wise and wonderful advice, but when she’s diagnosed with dementia her life begins to change. Before her memories slip away for ever, Brenda is desperate to fulfil one last wish – to see Lucy happy.

Gifting Lucy the locket that helped Brenda find her own true love, she hopes to push her reticent neighbour in the right direction. But is Lucy Baker ready for the opportunities and heartbreaks of the real world? It’s about time she put her knitting needles aside and found out…

A bit about the Author

Jenni Keer is a history graduate who embarked on a career in contract flooring before settling in the middle of the Suffolk countryside with her antique furniture restorer husband. She has valiantly attempted to master the ancient art of housework but with four teenage boys in the house it remains a mystery. Instead, she spends her time at the keyboard writing women’s fiction to combat the testosterone-fuelled atmosphere with her number one fan #Blindcat by her side. Much younger in her head than she is on paper, she adores any excuse for fancy-dress and is part of a disco formation dance team.

The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker is her first book, it is being published by Avon Books UK and will be available in January 2019

           "The most heart-warming book you’ll read this year" 

2018 – A Small Chink out of my TBR Pile!

I have had an absolutely amazing year for reading, I have smashed my target of 100 books which I thought was optimistic when I set it and have been lucky enough to read some truly amazing and memorable reads that have stayed with me.
I have been trying to think about my Top 5-10 books for the year and it is so hard to decide and so I am still debating if I can actually condense it down into a few books that are my absolute favourites.
So far as of mid December I have read 109 books which translates to a massive 31892 pages! This is a number that will continue to increase as I am planning on some major reading sessions over the Christmas holidays as that is my favourite way to relax.
Here is a visual summary of the books I have read so far in 2018, this is a mixture of authors I have read before and loved, some cherry pop reads and some debut releases!
If you are looking for a read over the festive season I can promise that all of the books featured above are all fantastic reads with a bit of something for everyone and I am really excited to see what new releases 2019 will have to offer!

Day 13 – How to Bake a New Beginning by Lucy Knott

I absolutely loved this book and find it hard to believe this was a debut novel as she had pulled me in from the first few pages!

The story is based around the sisters, food and their Italian heritage. I loved Amanda’s love of cooking and how important good homemade food was for these sisters. This story oozed love and the importance of family from the very first page and highlights just how vital these relationships can be, making you long to be surrounded by your family and tucking into Christmas dinner together.

A brilliant story that I absolutely loved and has made me want to bake and nibble on Italian treats. How to Bake a New Beginning is the perfect book to curl up with on a chilly evening in the lead up to Christmas and has made me really look forward to the upcoming festivities with my family. I look forward to seeing what Lucy Knott releases next, definitely an author that I will be looking out for!

 

Book Blurb

Three sisters. One trip to Italy. The chance to change their lives.

Amanda has always taken the role of big sister seriously. She has her life in order; a fantastic job in a great restaurant, a wonderful house and a best friend who’s a Rockstar. But, Amanda’s beginning to realise that her life is missing one monumental piece…

Sabrina is living the high life in LA. Her Instagram is full of lavish parties, her tweets are brimming with celebrity names, but in reality she’s stuck behind a desk working for a boss who is determined to make her suffer. Is it time for her to stand up and take charge of her life?

Louisa has always been drowned out by her sister’s successes. As the university drop-out she’s always felt third best. But a chance encounter in a little Italian village may be about to change that…

When their beloved grandfather passes away these sisters are forced to take another look at their lives. These three sisters are about to embark on a journey of self-discovery that could just lead them down a road of romance (with a little help from the kitchen)!

 

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Available to purchase on Amazon

The Foyles Bookshop Girls by Elaine Roberts (The Foyles Girls Book 1)

In this story you get to know the girls and their families as World War I commences. I loved the girls in this book and how the story gave you an insight into events leading up to this story.

This story drew you in so that you felt part of the family and gave you the need to know what happened next with so much at stake for all of the families involved as their boys go off to war.

A brilliant historical fiction read based around the hardworking girls at Foyles Bookshop, this offers a heart wrenching insight into how hard life was for the women left at home and how emotions ran high as war continued. A highly recommended read that will pull at your heart strings.

Book Blurb

London, 1914: one ordinary day, three girls arrive for work at London’s renowned Foyles bookshop. But when war with Germany is declared their lives will never be the same again…

Alice has always been the ‘sensible’ one in her family – especially in comparison with her suffrage-supporting sister! But decidedly against her father’s wishes, she accepts a job at Foyles Bookshop; and for bookworm Alice it’s a dream come true.

But with the country at war, Alice’s happy world is shattered in an instant. Determined to do what she can, Alice works in the bookshop by day, and risks her own life driving an ambulance around bomb-ravaged London by night. But however busy she keeps herself, she can’t help but think of the constant danger those she loves are facing on the frontline…

Alice, Victoria and Molly couldn’t be more different and yet they share a friendship that stems back to their childhood – a friendship that provides everyday solace from the tribulations and heartbreak of war.

 

My October Reading Round Up

Over the past month I have read 16 books and in this pile there are some truly memorable books that will stay with me for a long time. The quality of the new releases recently has been amazing and there are some brilliant upcoming books due to be released including a few fantastic reads by debut authors!

Festive Reads

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I absolutely love Christmas and there are some brilliant festive reads in the pile that I have read over the past month that will definitely get you in the mood for Christmas and leave you wanting to put your decorations up and explore the festive drinks menu at your local coffee shop.

Below I have included the Christmas reads I have read in October and an extract from their reviews.

A Gift from the Comfort Food Cafe by Debbie Johnson – A fantastic addition to the Comfort Food Cafe series, I have loved snuggling down to read the story of Katie and Saul and I hope that there will be more books set in the lovely idyllic village of Budbury at the Comfort Food Cafe.

The Snowman by Michael Morpurgo – This is a beautiful story that is wonderfully interwoven with the original to ensure that the story of The Snowman released 40 years ago has not been lost. It is the perfect story to curl up with your younger children and read whilst snuggling with a Hot Chocolate and a lovely way for older children to experience the magic of Christmas.

A Miracle on Hope Street by Emma Heatherington – A Miracle on Hope Street is a beautiful story about loss, love and finding a reason to hope again. It is a story full of characters from all walks of life who have loved and lost and through being united are finding reasons to hope again.

No One Cancels Christmas by Zara Stoneley – A lovely warm fuzzy read that wraps you in a hug, Will and Sarah are characters you can empathise with and the story that pulls you in, so you keep turning the pages to find out what happens. A highly recommended read that will get you in the mood for Christmas and have you wishing for snow so you can make a snowman and snow angels.

 

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My October 5* Reads

Below I have included the 5* reads I have read in October and an extract from their reviews.

Betsy & Lilibet by Sophie Duffy – I found this story captivating and I quickly became connected to Betsy and wanted to keep reading. She was a strong female in a time where women had no choice but to be strong, these characteristics remained long after the war and paved her way through life.

The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom – The Five People you Meet in Heaven is a beautiful story that guides you through Eddie’s journey to Heaven and the five people who played a key part in his life along the way.

Will You Remember Me by Amanda Prowse – A story that takes you on the guaranteed rollercoaster of emotions that accompany any book Amanda Prowse writes. It explores relationships, family bonds, friendship and loss and leaves you feeling bereft and that you’ve lost a member of your family.

 

Debut Books

I have had the delight recently of reading a few debut novels that are due to be released!

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How to Bake a New Beginning by Lucy Knott – released in September published by HQ Digital

The cover of this book caught my eye and I am so pleased I picked it up. A brilliant story that I absolutely loved and has made me want to nibble on Italian treats. The characters are memorable and it was set in a beautiful location, the perfect book to curl up with on a chilly evening. I look forward to seeing what Lucy Knott releases next definitely an author to look out for!

 

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The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker by Jenni Keer – due to be released in January published by Avon Books

I loved this book it is the perfect feel good read with a touch of magic and mystery thrown in. I felt like the characters were my neighbours and I wanted to keep reading to see what happens to Lucy next and whether she finally starts to believe in herself. This is a heart warming debut novel and I look forward to seeing what gems Jenni Keer has in store for us in the future.

 

If you wish to read the full reviews for any of the above books please visit http://www.lovethesmellofabook.com.

All of the above books are available to purchase or pre order at most major book retailers or available on kindle from Amazon 

 

 

 

Debut Novel – How to Bake a New Beginning by Lucy Knott

I absolutely loved this book and find it hard to believe this was a debut novel!

The whole story is based around the sisters, food and their Italian heritage. I loved Amanda’s love of cooking and how important good homemade food was for these sisters.

A brilliant story that I absolutely loved and has made me want to nibble on Italian treats. How to Bake a New Beginning is the perfect book to curl up with on a chilly evening and I look forward to seeing what Lucy Knott releases next definitely an author to look out for!

 

Book Blurb

Three sisters. One trip to Italy. The chance to change their lives.

Amanda has always taken the role of big sister seriously. She has her life in order; a fantastic job in a great restaurant, a wonderful house and a best friend who’s a Rockstar. But, Amanda’s beginning to realise that her life is missing one monumental piece…

Sabrina is living the high life in LA. Her Instagram is full of lavish parties, her tweets are brimming with celebrity names, but in reality she’s stuck behind a desk working for a boss who is determined to make her suffer. Is it time for her to stand up and take charge of her life?

Louisa has always been drowned out by her sister’s successes. As the university drop-out she’s always felt third best. But a chance encounter in a little Italian village may be about to change that…

When their beloved grandfather passes away these sisters are forced to take another look at their lives. These three sisters are about to embark on a journey of self-discovery that could just lead them down a road of romance (with a little help from the kitchen)!

The Law of Attraction by Roxie Cooper

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“Well, it’s fair to say your background isn’t conventional in terms of the average barrister…” Dolus points out. “Well that depends on your definition of conventional and who wants to be average anyway?”

Northern girl Amanda Bentley isn’t your average lawyer.

She spent her teenage years in the Working Men’s club and hanging out in the park to avoid going home. Fresh out of law school she lands pupillage at a top set of Chambers and is catapulted into a world completely alien to her own, fighting prejudice and snobbery at every turn.

Piling on the pressure, this year it is announced two candidates have been accepted but there’s only one job at the end of it. And her competition? Marty, her smarmy law school nemesis.

Throw into the mix an ill-advised romance with the staggeringly sexy Sid Ryder and Amanda quickly realises winning pupillage isn’t just about how good a lawyer you are.

But even if she does come out on top, all of it could be for nothing if her colleagues ever discover who she really is and one very dark secret.

My 4* Review

Amanda takes you on her unconventional journey as she enlists on her pupillage with a point to prove. She is sassy, feisty and doesn’t want to conform, I fell in love with her straight away as she is a girl after my own heart and she isn’t afraid to say what she thinks regardless of whether her actions help achieve her end goal.

I love nothing more than being able to curl up with a book and being compelled to keep turning the pages to find out what happens to the characters that have been bought to life. Roxie Cooper accomplished all of this in her 1st novel, I really enjoyed this book for all of those reasons. It was a lovely refreshing read and I was drawn in and wanted to find out what would be thrown Amanda’s way next and how she would deal with it.