All About Evie by Cathy Lamb


by Cathy Lamb (Goodreads Author)
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice* Jones’s reviewNov 10, 2019 · edit
really liked it
bookshelves: 2019, netgalley-arc, 4-star, chic-lit, contemporary-fiction, mystery, romance, women-s-fiction

EXCERPT:The house is tucked back in the trees, in the middle of a field, a little ways out of town. The wildflowers and feverfew and irises would bloom soon, an old willow to one side, a gnarled oak tree in the front. Weeds had overtaken much of the yard.

It used to be charming, a bright yellow home with white trim and a green door. Now it wasn’t. I had many memories that were stuck behind the dirty, ragged white picket fence and in the backyard, by the pond. There were memories at the end of a rope swing hanging from the willow tree, in the highest branches of the oak tree, and in a fort that had since fallen down behind the house.

Inside the house, too, were memories. In the kitchen with hand-painted yellow tiles. In a back bedroom painted a cheerful pink.

The pink bedroom didn’t match with the blood in the kitchen.

I sniffled as my eyes filled with tears.

What had happened there was my fault and I have never forgotten it, never forgiven myself. I had been young, yes, but I had known better.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: As a child, Evie Lindsay was unnerved by her premonitions. As an adult, they have become a simple fact of life—sometimes disruptive but also inescapable, much like her quirky, loveable family. Evie’s mother, Poppy, and her aunts, Camellia and Iris, are well known on San Orcanita island for their free-spirited ways and elaborately decorated hats. Their floral shop and Evie’s bookstore draw streams of visitors all summer long. This season promises to be extra busy: Evie’s sister, Jules, is getting married on the island.

As Jules plans her unconventional wedding, she arranges to do a DNA test with her mother, sister, and aunts, to see how much accepted lore about their heritage holds true. The results blow apart everything Evie has grown up believing about herself and her family. Spurred on by the revelations, Evie uncovers the real story of her past. But beyond her feelings of shock and betrayal, there are unexpected opportunities—to come to terms with a gift that has sometimes felt like a curse, to understand the secrets that surrounded her childhood, and to embrace the surprising new life that is waiting for her . . .

MY THOUGHTS: Anything with Cathy Lamb’s name on it is an immediate draw-card for me, whether she has written the book or is simply endorsing it. So you can understand my going into shock when, at 4%, I thought ‘I don’t like this book. I. Do. Not. Like. It.’ I sulked and wondered why she had written such a stupid book. I blamed it on my current reading slump, or book hangover, whatever you want to call it, stomped about a bit, then gave myself a mental kick in the rear, picked up All About Evie and kept reading, because I did not believe Cathy Lamb would write a book I didn’t love.

…and fell in love with Evie. I love her sense of humour, her sense of family, her stubbornness, her love of books, her love of animals, her love of food, her sass. I want her to be my sister, my BFF. I need an Evie in my life!

I laughed. I cried. I ranted – mostly at Evie because I didn’t understand why she was doing what she was doing. I wondered if she was one of those people who enjoy torturing themselves… This book was FUN.

I loved her eccentric family. And now is probably a good time to share a few of my favourite quotes from All About Evie. Picking just a few was extremely hard, but I could not limit myself to just my normal one….
‘we should have a day off each month where everyone is required to stay home and read and read and eat their favourite cake.’
‘I so hate running. It makes me breathless. Now and then I see people running or jogging, and I think, ‘My, that looks miserable.”
‘”We all have to take time each day for meditation and tranquility.” “Yes,” Aunt iris said. “And beer. Or tequila.”‘

So why not the full five stars? Because Cathy didn’t include the recipes for the cakes…..I want to eat the five layer chocolate ecstasy cake, and all the others that had me drooling as I read. Or are you planning, Cathy, to publish a separate cookbook with all the yummy recipes of the beautiful cakes and pies in this book. I hope so. And if you need a tester…..

4 five layer chocolate ecstasy stars

THE AUTHOR: Cathy Lamb was born in Newport Beach, California. As a child, she mastered the art of skateboarding, catching butterflies in bottles, and riding her bike with no hands. When she was 10, her parents moved her, two sisters, a brother, and two poorly behaved dogs to Oregon before she could fulfill her lifelong dream of becoming a surfer bum.

She then embarked on her notable academic career where she earned good grades now and then, spent a great deal of time daydreaming, ran wild with a number of friends, and landed on the newspaper staff in high school. When she saw her byline above an article about people making out in the hallways of the high school, she knew she had found her true calling.

After two years of partying at the University of Oregon, she settled down for the next three years and earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education, and became a fourth grade teacher. It was difficult for her to become proper and conservative but she threw out her red cowboy boots and persevered. She had no choice. She had to eat, and health insurance is expensive.

She met her husband on a blind date. A mutual friend who was an undercover vice cop busting drug dealers set them up. It was love at third sight.

Teaching children about the Oregon Trail and multiplication facts amused her until she became so gigantically pregnant with twins she looked like a small cow and could barely walk. With a three year old at home, she decided it was time to make a graceful exit and waddle on out. She left school one day and never went back. She likes to think her students missed her.

When Cathy was no longer smothered in diapers and pacifiers, she took a turn onto the hazardous road of freelance writing and wrote almost 200 articles on homes, home décor, people and fashion for a local newspaper. As she is not fashionable and can hardly stand to shop, it was an eye opener for her to find that some women actually do obsess about what to wear. She also learned it would probably be more relaxing to slam a hammer against one’s forehead than engage in a large and costly home remodeling project.

Cathy suffers from, “I Would Rather Play Than Work Disease” which prevents her from getting much work done unless she has a threatening deadline. She likes to hang with family and friends, walk, eat chocolate, camp, travel, and is slightly obsessive about the types of books she reads. She also likes to be left alone a lot so she can hear all the odd characters in her head talk to each other and then transfer that oddness to paper. The characters usually don’t start to talk until 10:00 at night, however, so she is often up ‘til 2:00 in the morning with them. That is her excuse for being cranky.

She adores her children and husband, except when he refuses to take his dirty shoes off and walks on the carpet. She will ski because her children insist, but she secretly doesn’t like it at all. Too cold and she falls all the time.

She is currently working on her next book and isn’t sleeping much.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Kensington Books via NetGalley for providing a digital ARC of All About Evie by Cathy Lamb for review. All opinions expressed in this review are my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system, please refer to my profile on or the about page on

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon and

Watching What I’m Reading…

I woke this morning to heavy rain on the roof and pelting against the windows. The wind was swirling through the trees, whistling under the eaves and screaming around the corners of the house. I lay in bed and thought what a wonderful day it was to stay in bed and read. Then came the dawning realisation that I had to work today…

Tonight I will finish reading


This week I plan on reading


Just when she’d sworn off men for good, Sarah Evans met Eddie. Sarah was a magazine editor, living in Manhattan, and loving her life—except for the heartbreaks. A successful real estate developer, Eddie was a breath of fresh air, a meeting of minds—and bodies. Soon came wedded bliss, baby number one—and the proverbial move to the suburbs . . .

You just sit there like a slob while I do all the work. Nine years later, this is increasingly what goes through Sarah’s mind when she looks at Evan, propped in front of the TV with a beer, ignoring their two children. The truth is, she misses her old life. She misses the old Eddie. She can’t help wondering if she’d be happier alone . . .

When Eddie’s job sends him to Chicago indefinitely, Sarah shocks him by suggesting a trial separation. But she knows it’s just a precursor to divorce—even if Eddie chooses to think of it as a “vacation.” Yet a lot can change—on both sides—as time goes by. And once Christmas arrives, Sarah and Eddie might re-discover gifts they’d forgotten they had . . .


Discredited British Army officer Jack Elliot is a man with nothing left to lose—or to live for. For him, life is cheap and death expensive: He kills now for money. So when Ang Yuon, a wealthy Cambodian refugee, asks him to cross Thailand to rescue his wife and children from the Khmer Rouge, Elliot demands a large price. This time he expects, even hopes, to die. But two things curse him with a reason to live—the enormous suffering of the Cambodian people and the appearance of his estranged daughter, Lisa. On the day of her mother’s death, Lisa learns that there is more to her father’s past than the picture of the heroic soldier killed in battle her mother had painted for her. So Lisa sets out in search of Elliot and follows him as far as Bangkok, where she falls foul of his Thai associates, Tuk Than and “La Mère Grace,” ruthless people whose business interests encompass girls as well as guns. From the fetid jungles of Cambodia to the sleazy back streets of Bangkok, The Noble Path is a hard-hitting tale of suspense and intrigue.

Only 2 ARCs from Netgalley this week. Didn’t I do well achieving my target for the first time in who knows how long!



Happy reading my friends.

I’m going to snuggle up with my book now until it’s time to cook dinner. I am really enjoying All About Evie. I want her for my BFF!

Ralph’s Party by Lisa Jewell


EXCERPT: Ralph barely noticed Jem the first time he saw her. He was arguing with his girlfriend, Claudia, sitting at his desk, cradling the phone under his chin as he carelessly pulled elastic bands into tight ligatures around his wrists in an apparently subconscious attempt to cut off his blood supply and end the painful predictability of it all.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Meet the residents of the London brownstone on 31 Almanac Road who together weave a tangled web of romance. Ralph, a ne’er-do-well artist, suddenly realizes he’s head over heels in love with his new flatmate Jem, the most fun and sensible girl he’s ever encountered. Unfortunately, Ralph’s best friend, Smith, has already won Jem’s affections, although Smith has not entirely given up his passion for the femme fatale, Cheri, who lives upstairs. Across the hall, Karl and Siobhan have been happily unmarried for years, until Karl gets a smashing job as a London rush-hour DJ and momentarily gets tempted into Cheri’s cozy lair.
These six star-crossed tenants become more enamored, and more confused, as the story progresses-until their true destinies are revealed on one crucial night-the evening of the extravaganza that is . . . Ralph’s party.

MY THOUGHTS: Light, fluffy, funny but with hidden depths, Ralph’s Party is reminiscent of the Oscar Wilde classic The Importance of Being Ernest. I enjoyed this comedic romp, Lisa Jewell’s first novel which she wrote as the result of a dare. There are a few cringeworthy moments, but nothing out of character. Though I must admit that Ralph’s character could be extremely irritating at times.

Jewell’s ability to round her characters out is already in evidence here, as is her ability to think outside the box. Not everything went as I expected, she has thrown a few surprises in the mix.

I enjoyed Imogen Church’s narrative style, and I will be either reading or listening to the follow up, After the Party, which picks up the story eleven years from where Ralph’s Party ends.


DISCLOSURE: I listened to the audiobook of Ralph’s Party by Lisa Jewell, narrated by Imogen Church and published by Penguin, via Overdrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system, please refer to my profile or the about page on

This review is also published on Twitter, Amazon and

Watching what I’m reading…

At last the weather is starting to warm up. I have spent a few hours in the garden today and enjoyed the sunshine.

I am a little over half way through


and enjoying it, but so far The Rules of Magic is still my favourite by this author.

I am also a little over half way through listening to


Which is one of those books where I find myself talking to the characters 😂🤣

This week I am planning on reading


Her only daughter has just gone away to college, and Maggie O’Farrell knows she’s turning into one of those helicopter parents she used to mock. Worrying constantly, texting more than she should, even occasionally dropping by the campus “just to say hi.” But Maggie can’t shake the feeling that something terrible is about to happen to Emma. And then, just as Maggie starts to relax, her daughter disappears.

The clues are disturbing. An empty dorm room where Emma was supposedly living. A mysterious boy described as Future Husband in her phone. Dormmates who seem more sinister than friendly. As Maggie combs over the campus looking for signs of her daughter, she learns more about Emma’s life than she ever thought possible.


A married woman’s affair with her boss spirals into a dangerous game of chess with the police when she discovers he’s been murdered and she clears the crime scene of all evidence.

One little secret between a married woman, her lover, and a killer.

It should have been just a mid-life fling. A guilty indiscretion that Neve Connolly could have weathered. An escape from twenty years of routine marriage to her overworked husband, and from her increasingly distant children. But when Neve pays a morning-after visit to her lover, Saul, and finds him brutally murdered, their pied-à-terre still heady with her perfume, all the lies she has so painstakingly stitched together threaten to unravel.

After scrubbing clean every trace of her existence from Saul’s life—and death—Neve believes she can return to normal, shaken but intact. But she can’t get out of her head the one tormenting question: what was she forgetting?

An investigation into the slaying could provide the answer. It’s brought Detective Chief Inspector Alastair Hitching, and Neve’s worst fears, to her door. But with every new lie, every new misdirection to save herself, Neve descends further into the darkness of her betrayal—and into more danger than she ever imagined. Because Hitching isn’t the only one watching Neve. So is a determined killer who’s about to make the next terrifying move in a deadly affair…

This week I have had 3 new ARCs from Netgalley…




And one direct from the author


That’s my lot for the week. Enjoy your Sunday and happy reading my friends.


Watching What I’m Reading

It is a somewhat cool and wet Sunday here in my little part of New Zealand, something my garden will be extremely grateful for.

I am currently reading

Finding Grace


A Fence Around The Cuckoo

And listening to

The Masterpiece

Which, I have to admit, I am not enjoying as much as I have her other books.

I managed to sneak in an extra book this week, due to spending two days in bed felled by a virus. I did nothing but sleep and read. I posted my review yesterday for

The Silent Patient

This week I am planning on reading

Dead Memories (D.I. Kim Stone, #10)

She ruined their lives. Now they’re going to destroy hers.

‘Someone is recreating every traumatic point in your life. They are doing this to make you suffer, to make you hurt and the only possible end game can be death. Your death.’

On the fourth floor of Chaucer House, two teenagers are found chained to a radiator. The boy is dead but the girl is alive. For Detective Kim Stone every detail of the scene mirrors her own terrifying experience with her brother Mikey, when they lived in the same tower block thirty years ago.

When the bodies of a middle-aged couple are discovered in a burnt-out car, Kim can’t ignore the chilling similarity to the deaths of Erica and Keith – the only loving parents Kim had ever known.

Faced with a killer who is recreating traumatic events from her past, Kim must face the brutal truth that someone wants to hurt her in the worst way possible. Desperate to stay on the case, she is forced to work with profiler Alison Lowe who has been called in to observe and monitor Kim’s behaviour.

Kim has spent years catching dangerous criminals and protecting the innocent. But with a killer firmly fixed on destroying Kim, can she solve this complex case and save her own life or will she become the final victim?

The Housewife

“There’s no place like home” – that’s what I tell myself as I pull another flawless meal from the oven. This perfect house on a quiet street was supposed to be my sanctuary, a place to recover. But everything changed the moment I saw that woman in the charity shop. She triggered something dark, buried deep within my memory…

Now I’ve started forgetting small things, like locking the front door.

And bigger things, like remembering to pick my little girl up from nursery.

I feel terrified every time I pass through a particular spot in our living room.

And sometimes, when I’m alone, I’m sure I can hear a baby crying…

I think the woman in the shop knows what happened to me. But if I can’t trust myself to believe she’s real, who will?

I have received two approvals from NetGalley this week

The Two Hearts of Eliza Bloom

My Daughter's Secret

I hope you have had a wonderful week of reading, and that you have another ahead of you.

Happy reading, friends 💕📚

I Invited Her In by Adele Parks

I Invited Her In

EXCERPT: Suddenly I have a better idea. Or, is it a worse one?

I could invite Abi to come and see me here in Wolvney. That way she’d meet the kids and Ben. I’ve never had the urge for her to meet my family before, quite the opposite, but now she’s made this move, and under these circumstances, it seems the right thing to do.

She probably won’t accept anyway. I can’t imagine her coming all this way out of London. Not that it’s far, but there are certain types that think anywhere out of zone three is abroad. Is she that type? I won’t know unless I invite her.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: When Mel hears from a long-lost friend in need of help, she doesn’t hesitate to invite her to stay. Mel and Abi were best friends back in the day, sharing the highs and lows of student life, until Mel’s unplanned pregnancy made her drop out of her studies.

Now, seventeen years later, Mel and Abi’s lives couldn’t be more different. Mel is happily married, having raised her son on her own before meeting her husband, Ben. Now they share gorgeous girls and have a chaotic but happy family home, with three children.

Abi, meanwhile, followed her lover to LA for a glamorous life of parties, celebrity and indulgence. Everything was perfect, until she discovered her partner had been cheating on her. Seventeen years wasted, and nothing to show for it. So what Abi needs now is a true friend to lean on, to share her grief over a glass of wine, and to have some time to heal. And what better place than Mel’s house, with her lovely kids, and supportive husband…

MY THOUGHTS: I wanted to love this book. It started out fun and gossipy. . . Old friends catching up after years apart, with a slightly darker undertone so that you just know that not everything is quite what it seems. And it isn’t. But neither did it go where I expected it to. All good. I have no issues with the plot which is devious and twisted.

The issue I have is with the verbosity of the author. This is a very long book, maybe not in actual page count, but it took an extremely long time to tell this story, and a whole six days to read it. And things were over explained. The characters motivations were gone into in such detail that, at times, I lost the thread of what was actually happening. It didn’t happen just once either, it happened repeatedly to the point where I was tempted, at times, to skip a few pages.

This should have been a suspenseful read but it well and truly missed the mark.

And I know that I said that this seemed like a long book but, at the same time, the ending felt rushed and somewhat unsatisfying. . .

This was a ☺☺.5-star read. I was going to award ☺☺☺ purely because the plot wasn’t totally predictable, but on reflection my original rating will stand.

THE AUTHOR: Adele Parks was born in Teesside, NE England. She studied English Language and Literature, at Leicester University. She published her first novel, Playing Away, in 2000; that year the Evening Standard identified Adele as one of London’s ‘Twenty Faces to Watch.’ Indeed Playing Away was the debut bestseller of 2000.
Prolific, Adele has published nine novels in nine years, including Game Over, Tell Me Something and Love Lies, all nine of her novels have been bestsellers. She’s sold over a million copies of her work in the UK but also sells throughout the world. Two of her novels (Husbands and Still Thinking of You) are currently being developed as movie scripts. Young Wives’ Tales was short listed for the Romantic Novelist Association Award 2008. She has written numerous articles and short stories for many magazines and newspapers and often appears on radio and TV talking about her work.
Since 2006 Adele has been an official spokeswoman for World Book Day and wrote a Quick Read, Happy Families as part of the celebrations of World Book Day, 2008.
Adele has spent her adult life in Italy, Botswana and London, up until two years ago when she moved to Guildford, where she now lives with her husband and son.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Harlequin Mira (US & Canada) via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of I Invited Her In by Adele Parks for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my profile page or the about page on for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my page

A Village Affair by Julie Houston

A Village Affair by Julie Houston

EXCERPT: The banishing of my husband bit hadn’t been quite as calm and stiff-upper-lip as I might pretend. There was no scenario such as you might find in a 1920s silent movie, where the heroine (me) holds one hand to a pale forehead and points to the door with the other while the baddie (Mark) falls to his knees, wringing his hands and pleading forgiveness, while the other baddie (bloody Tina) slinks off into the night like the she-snake she had suddenly become. Au contraire. In reality, it was like something off The Jeremy Kyle Show.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Cassie Beresford has recently landed her dream job as deputy head at her local, idyllic village primary school, Little Acorns. So, the last thing she needs is her husband of twenty years being ‘outed’ at a village charity auction – he has been having an affair with one of her closest friends.

As if that weren’t enough to cope with, Cassie suddenly finds herself catapulted into the head teacher position, and at the forefront of a fight to ward off developers determined to concrete over the beautiful landscape.

But through it all, the irresistible joy of her pupils, the reality of keeping her teenage children on the straight and narrow, her irrepressible family and friends, and the possibility of new love, mean what could have been the worst year ever, actually might be the best yet…

MY THOUGHTS: I read the majority of A Village Affair with ‘a ridiculous grin’ on my face, much like the one Cassie has on her face when. . . but no, I can’t tell you that. It is addictive reading. It is ‘splutter into your coffee/wine’ funny – I did both – it is light, and amusing, not at all predictable, and I want more from this author.

Every time I thought I knew where the story was going, it very cleverly changed direction, and 75% through there is a delicious OMG! moment that caused my stomach to churn, my heart to plummet. I was screaming ‘No, no, no!’ in my mind, my mouth hanging open, my eyes popping. I was in the hairdressers at the time, otherwise the ‘No, no, no!’ would have been out loud.

This is the second book I have read and loved by this author. Julie Houston is firmly on my ‘must read’ list!

A Village Affair is due for publication by Aria November 6th 2018.

THE AUTHOR: Julie Houston’s first three novels GOODNESS, GRACE AND ME, THE ONE SAVING GRACE and LOOKING FOR LUCY are all Amazon Humour #1 best sellers both here in the UK and Australia. LOOKING FOR LUCY hit the #1 best seller overall in Australia. Her new novel, A VILLAGE AFFAIR will be published in November 2018 and HOLLY CLOSE FARM in February 2019.

Julie lives in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire where her novels are set, and her only claims to fame are that she teaches part-time at ‘Bridget Jones’ author Helen Fielding’s old junior school and her neighbour is ‘Chocolat’ author, Joanne Harris. After University, where she studied Education and English Literature, she taught for many years as a junior school teacher. As a newly qualified teacher, broke and paying off her first mortgage, she would spend every long summer holiday working on different Kibbutzim in Israel. After teaching for a few years she decided to go to New Zealand to work and taught in Auckland for a year before coming back to this country. She now teaches just two days a week, and still loves the buzz of teaching junior-aged children. She has been a magistrate for the past nineteen years, and, when not distracted by Ebay, Twitter and Ancestry, spends much of her time writing. Julie is married, has a twenty-four-year-old son and twenty-one-year-old daughter and a ridiculous Cockerpoo called Lincoln. She runs and swims because she’s been told it’s good for her, but would really prefer a glass of wine, a sun lounger and a jolly good book – preferably with Matthew Mcconaughay in attendance.

She hates skiing, gets sick on boats and wouldn’t go pot-holing or paddy diving if her life depended on it.

She is published by HeadOfZeus/Aria and represented by Anne Williams at KHLA Literary agency.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to author Julie Houston for providing a digital ARC of A Village Affair for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my profile page or the about page on for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my page

Watching what I’m reading

Another slow week of reading. I admit to feeling absolutely exhausted, and then have been hit by a rather nasty stomach bug that is currently doing the rounds. So instead of visiting my grandson today, I have spent most of the day in bed.

I am a little over half way through

The Wife Before Me

And I am quite enjoying this read.

This week I am planning on reading

Sold on a Monday

From New York Times bestselling author Kristina McMorris comes another unforgettable novel inspired by a stunning piece of history.


The sign is a last resort. It sits on a farmhouse porch in 1931, but could be found anywhere in an era of breadlines, bank runs, and broken dreams. It could have been written by any mother facing impossible choices.

For struggling reporter Ellis Reed, the gut-wrenching scene evokes memories of his family’s dark past. He snaps a photograph of the children, not meant for publication. But when it leads to his big break, the consequences are more devastating than he ever imagined.

At the paper, Lillian Palmer is haunted by her role in all that happened. She is far too familiar with the heartbreak of children deemed unwanted. As the bonds of motherhood are tested, she and Ellis must decide how much they are willing to risk to mend a fractured family.

Inspired by an actual newspaper photograph that stunned the nation, Sold on a Monday is a powerful novel of love, redemption, and the unexpected paths that bring us home.

Better Than This

Sometimes the most enviable life is really a private hell.

On the surface, Sarah Jenkins appears to have it all: a handsome, wealthy and successful husband, a precocious five-year-old daughter, and a beautiful home in an affluent Seattle neighborhood. Her quirky best friend and fellow high school teacher, Maggie, marvels at her luck—and envies her happiness.

But Sarah is far from happy. She feels empty and on edge, harangued by a critical inner voice—and as the truth about her marriage and details of her past emerge, her “perfect” life begins to crumble. But just when it seems all is lost, a long forgotten, unopened letter changes everything, and with the support of friends, Sarah begins to rebuild her life. Can she quiet the critical voice in her head and learn to value herself instead?

I received 6 ARCs from NetGalley this week

Secrets of the Last Castle

What Happened to Us?: A feelgood story of love, loss and new beginnings...

No Way Out (DI Adam Fawley, #3)

Ruth Robinson's Year of Miracles: An uplifting summer read

Women Behaving Badly

In Harm's Way

This time next week, I will be ensconced with my grandsons being a full time Nana for ten days. I can’t wait! They are both bookworms, with sixteen month old Luke having very definite ideas on what he likes to read, and eleven year old Kayden likes finding books for me that I would not otherwise read. He hasn’t made a bad selection for me yet.

Although we are now officially in Spring, our weather is still  distinctly wintery. It’s cold with heavy rain 😩 The only time I have been warm today is when I have been snuggled up in bed . Speaking of which, I am heading back there now.

Happy reading my friends.

Watermelon by Marian Keyes

Watermelon by Marian Keyes

EXCERPT: February fifteenth is a very special day for me. It is the day I gave birth to my first child. It is also the day my husband left me. As he was present at the birth, I can only assume the two events weren’t entirely unrelated.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Claire has everything she ever wanted: a husband she adores, a great apartment, a good job. Then, on the day she gives birth to their first baby, James informs her that he’s leaving her. Claire is left with a newborn daughter, a broken heart, and a postpartum body that she can hardly bear to look at.

She decides to go home to Dublin. And there, sheltered by the love of a quirky family, she gets better. So much so, in fact, that when James slithers back into her life, he’s in for a bit of a surprise.

MY THOUGHTS: This was the first book by Marian Keyes that I ever read. I read it quite some time after she had made a name for herself with Rachel’s Holiday. The first time I read Watermelon, and there have been several readings over the years, I was enamoured by Keyes’ writing. Warm and witty, it was like sitting down and having a good gossip session with your best friend and a bottle of wine. . . ‘And did you hear about Claire?….No? Well, James has only gone and left her, and with a brand new baby. . . And you’ll never guess who he left her for. . .’

I haven’t always liked all of Keyes’ books (Rachel’s Holiday being one in particular), but Watermelon? I loved it.

THE AUTHOR: Marian Keyes (born 10 September 1963) is an Irish novelist and non-fiction writer, best known for her work in women’s literature. She is an Irish Book Awards winner. Over 22 million copies of her novels have been sold worldwide and her books have been translated into 32 languages. She became known worldwide for Watermelon, Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married, and This Charming Man, with themes including domestic violence and alcoholism.

DISCLOSURE: I own my copy of Watermelon by Marian Keyes. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my profile page or the ‘about’ page on for an explanation of my rating system.

This review and others are also published on my page

The Summerhouse by the Sea by Jenny Oliver

Give me the words ‘summer’ and ‘sea’ in a title, and I can’t resist! Especially when I am mired in the depths of winter here. I have to have my sunshine fix. 😎

This one is especially for you SusanDyer1962 of SusanLovesBooks, who says my covers are always creepy and wonders how I sleep at night. . .

The Summer House by the Sea by Jenny Oliver

EXCERPT: Ava was standing at the crossing when her phone beeped. She took it from her pocket at the same time as glancing left for traffic.

Instead of looking right, Ava opened the WatsApp message from her brother, Rory: Gran in hospital, it read. She frowned down at her phone and wondered how Rory could ever think that was enough information. But then the horn of the 281 bus stopped all other conscious thought.

The shriek of the brakes filled the air as she saw the huge windscreen, the wipers. The face of the driver in slow motion, mouth open. Her whole body tensed. She felt her hand drop the phone. Time paused.

There was a fleeting thought that this was actually really embarrassing.

And then – smack – she didn’t think anything else. Just felt the hard pain in her hip, then the thwack of her head as she was thrown down on to the tarmac, and an overriding sense of unfairness as she wasn’t yet ready to die.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: A brand new summery story about returning to your past and finding a new beginning from bestselling author Jenny Oliver!

Nestled on the Spanish coast, bustling café Estrella features in every one of Ava Brown’s happiest memories. It’s where she tasted her first delectably-chocolatey churros, fell head-over-heels for her first crush – where she has been her happiest. So the chance to spend one last summer in her grandmother’s house, is one Ava can’t refuse.

Once the heart of the sleepy seaside village, the café now feels more ramshackle than rustic. It’s time to bring back the lethally strong sangria and mouth-wateringly delicious tapas – and before Ava knows it, she’s thrown herself into bringing the café back to life – a summer project her grandmother would be proud of!

But once summer is over, can Ava really say goodbye to Spanish seaside life? Or could this be the new beginning Ava didn’t realise she needed…

MY THOUGHTS: Okay, so it’s predictable. . . but it’s fun and beautifully written. And it’s not a straight out romance, there is a little drama surrounding Ava and Rory’s mother, there is a café that needs rescuing, and lots of summery atmosphere. I almost felt like I got a good dose of vitamin D just listening to The Summerhouse.

This is light and amusing, a great beach read.


THE AUTHOR: Jenny Oliver is the bestselling author of The Summerhouse by the Sea – the PERFECT book for your summer reading! Out May 18th.
Her book The Sunshine and Biscotti Club, set in sunny Tuscany, was nominated for the Best Contemporary Romantic Novel at the RONA awards.
Jenny wrote her first book on holiday when she was ten years old. Illustrated with cut-out supermodels from her sister’s Vogue, it was an epic, sweeping love story not so loosely based Dynasty.
Since then Jenny has gone on to get an English degree and a job in publishing that’s taught her what it takes to write a novel (without the help of the supermodels). She wrote her first book The Parisian Christmas Bake Off on the beach in a notebook that would end up covered in sand each afternoon and damp from the sea. Nowadays her inspiration comes from her love of all things vintage, a fascination with other people’s relationships and an unwavering belief in happy ever after!

DISCLOSURE: I listened to The Summerhouse by Jenny Oliver, beautifully narrated by Camilla Rockley and published by HarperCollins, via OverDrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

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