Friday 12 July 2024

Joe Nuthin’s Guide to Life - Helen Fisher

About the book… 

Joe loves predictability. But his life is about to become a surprising adventure.

Joe-Nathan likes the two parts of his name separate, just like his dinner and dessert. Mean Charlie at work sometimes calls him Joe-Nuthin. But Joe is far from nothing. Joe is a good friend, he’s good at his job, good at making things and good at following the rules, and he’s learning how to do lots of things by himself.

Joe’s mother knows there are a million things in life he isn’t prepared for. While she helps guide him every day, she’s also writing notebooks full of advice about the things she hasn’t told Joe yet, things he might forget and answers to questions he hasn’t yet asked.

Following her wisdom – applying it in his own unique way – this next part of Joe’s life is more of a surprise than he expects. Because he’s about to learn that remarkable things can happen when you leave your comfort zone, and that you can do even the hardest things with a little help from your friends.

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About the author… 

Helen Fisher spent her early life in America but grew up mainly in Suffolk, England, where she now lives with her two children. She studied psychology at the University of Westminster and ergonomics at University College London and worked as a senior evaluator in research at the Royal National Institute of Blind People. She is the author ofFaye, Faraway and Space Hopper.

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My thoughts…

Where do I even begin  - Joe-Nathan is an absolute dream of a character.  From the very first moment I heard about this book I wanted to read it and when I did I was left with a glowing heart and a smile on my face.  Joe is everything we all should aspire to be - innocent, determined and resolute.  He has a strength of character that breaks your heart when other s don’t see it.

This is a book that will stay with me forever and I will read again and again - in a world where there are so many choices of books to read and not enough hours to read them it’s not often you find that book - the book that will stand the test of time and will touch your heart with every read.

Joe-Nuthin is a character that melted my heart.  He made me laugh, he made me cry - he brought out the lioness in me - he’s just perfect - straight talking, literal and direct and he definitely does not have a mean bone in his body.

It’s not just Joe though that makes this book, Joe is the beating heart that keeps you reading, but its his interactions with everyone and the growth of each and every character that makes this book extra special, as they each view their lives through Joe’s eyes and learn a little bit of acceptance and of the unexpected friendships that grow and develop as a result.

This is a book that I’ve already recommended to so many of my friends and our book group - we all need a little bit of Joe in our lives, he definitely makes the world a better place.

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Tuesday 23 April 2024

The Holiday Escape - Heidi Swain

About the book… 

Her dream holiday is his everyday life. His dream holiday is her normal life. What happens when they collide?

Ally and her dad, Geoff, run the family business, a creative retreat, from their home Hollyhock Cottage in picturesque Kittiwake Cove. They give their guests their dream break, but Ally hankers after glamourous city living, fancy restaurants and art galleries.

Ally’s survival strategy is to escape out of season, take a break abroad and pretend to be the person she always imagined she would be. She meets Logan while she’s away and he turns out to be exactly the kind of distraction she’s looking for.

With her spirits restored, Ally returns home, picks up the reins again and sets her sights on another successful season, but when Logan unexpectedly arrives on the scene, she soon realises she’s in for a summer that’s going to be far from straightforward…

A story about bringing a holiday home – and what happens when what goes on on holiday comes back to bite you…

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About the author… 

Heidi Swain is a Sunday Times Top Ten best-selling author who writes feel good fiction for Simon and Schuster. She releases two books a year (early summer and winter) and the stories all have a strong sense of community, family and friendship. She is currently writing books set in three locations - the Fenland town of Wynbridge, Nightingale Square in Norwich and Wynmouth on the Norfolk coast, as well as summer standalone titles.

Heidi lives in beautiful west Norfolk. She is passionate about gardening, the countryside, collecting vintage paraphernalia and reading. Her tbr pile is always out of control!

Contact Links: 

 Heidi loves to chat with her readers and you can get in touch via 
her website or 
Twitter @Heidi_Swain

My thoughts…

My goodness, what an absolute delight The Holiday Escape was - I loved everything about it.  
From the moment I clapped eyes on the most vibrant of covers to the characters, storyline and settings, I knew I was going to love this book.  This was just what the doctor ordered, the tonic I needed to lift me up and escape the drab, grey autumn and winter that had carried on into spring.

Our lead character Ally has two personas, the one where she and her dad run a creative retreat in Kittiwake Cove, Dorset. Both of them working hard, hosting all manner of people who enrol in the many creative craft classes held by the artists in residence for that season.  Ally bends herself out of shape, going above and beyond to ensure they have the very best of times, her attention to detail ensures that they all leave, missing the place before they get to the end of the drive - all desperate to return.  When the season closes for winter Ally works hard to put in place the many improvements that have come to mind during the year to ensure the following season is even better before switching guises and heading off on holiday where she presents herself entirely differently, reinventing herself and her life that, taking on a persona that is as far from her reality as possible.

I loved that Heidi took us all on a journey with Ally as she had to face reality when coming face to face with her Spanish fling Logan.  What goes on tour, is supposed to stay on tour, I can only imagine the anguish Ally felt when her two worlds collide.  The turmoil and anguish was palpable and probably inevitable - lies and half truths tend to come back to haunt.

I loved Ally’s relationship with her dad and the retreat she ran with him, but we find out early on that Ally is putting on a facade - truly believing her heart and life is meant to be elsewhere - guilt and a sense of duty keeping her in Dorset instead of Spain where her heart and passion is truly ignited.  Not wanting to tell her dad, she puts her heart and soul into making it the best place, thinking that will make it easier for her to leave and live out her dreams abroad.

However, life has a way of working itself out.  The Holiday Escape does what it says on the tin, it was an escape and haven for its many visitors and resident artists to Hollyhock Cottage, each reluctant to leave when their break was over.  There was a multitude of secrets, gentle slow burning love, friendship and a real sense of community.  It was difficult for me to see why Ally wanted to escape from it and was delighted to be a fly on the wall as both she, her dad, best friend Flora, and foul mouthed Kasuku the resident parrot navigate a season like no other - somehow life has a way of working itself out and it was a joyful ride to be on as a reader.

Throughout I quietly cheer leaded in the corner, for Ally to see what was in front of her and to take off the emotional blinkers, sometimes we don’t realise we have everything we want and need, the grass is not always greener on the other side. I would love to move to Kittiwake Cove, I even contemplated finding some sort of crafty retreat then I remembered I’m the least crafty person I know - I’ll just come for the friendship, wine and good food - straight from Geoff’s cottage garden

As ever this was the perfect tonic, I loved every single page and was gutted when I turned the last page - Heidi Swain, once again you have brought sunshine and smiles to what is at the moment a very monochrome world - roll on blue skies and summer.
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Thursday 18 April 2024

Making Memories at the Cornish Cove - Kim Nash

About the book… 

Making Memories at the Cornish Cove

It’s never too late…

After five husbands and five broken hearts, Lydia feels like she’s always been chasing something. But now she’s found her purpose, and having moved to Driftwood Bay to spend more time with her daughter Meredith, she’s happier than ever.

But there’s still life in these old bones yet! With her newfound sense of identity, she’s keen to re-explore the things that made her happy as a younger person. Lydia’s passion was dancing – she used to compete in her younger years, and there’s no place she’s more at home than on the dancefloor.

So when widower and antiques restorer Martin tells her about a big dance competition, she’s ready and raring to bring more joy into her life. But while making memories with Martin, the more she realises that both of their hearts need restoring too...

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About the author… 

Kim Nash is an author of uplifting, funny, heartwarming, romantic, feel-good fiction and has wanted to write books since she was a little girl. The Cornish Cove series is set in the fictional seaside village of Driftwood Bay in Cornwall and is published by Boldwood Books. She lives in Staffordshire with her son Ollie and English Setter rescue dog Roni, is Digital Publicity Director for publisher Bookouture (a division of Hachette UK) and is a book blogger.

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My thoughts…

This is Kim Nash’s third book in the idyllic Cornish cove series. This is a community so lush you hanker after upping sticks and moving there. How lovely was it to be back in this beautiful community with all the fabulous characters from books 1 and 2 - I so want to move here!

Lydia and her daughter Meredith are the key characters in Making Memories at the Cornish Cove. Lydia having moved to Driftwood Bay to be closer to her daughter Meredith, who we met in book 1 when she arrived with a bang as the new owner of a run down lighthouse.

I was instantly dragged into their relationship, which was tentative and built on uneven footings to say the least. Lydia having left the upbringing of Meredith to her mother, Merediths grandmother, whilst she moved away, living her life from a distance, and getting through husbands at a rate of knots - five in total- that was some going!

Surprisingly, considering the character that Lydia was in the life before we meet her in Driftwood Bay, I really liked her from the off.  Having reached her 70’s and determined to right past wrongs and make it up to Meredith, we the reader walk the tentative path with her as she gets to know the absolutely gorgeous character that Meredith is. They respectfully danced around each other as they got to know the things about each other, the things that others take for granted having learnt them over a lifetime.

As with books 1 and 2, book 3 is all about friendship, kindness and a community that comes together to hold each other up when needed. The supporting cast of characters in this story are just as delightful. In this story Kim Nash touched a few raw nerves for me, I could have been reading about myself when reading about the things Meredith was feeling and suffering with on her own, I’m sure there other women of a certain age out there who will have felt the same. Both Clem and her mum proving to be the rock she needed, supporting her and being there at just the right time, whilst keeping a respectful distance too.

The pages of this delightful story are filled with sadness and heartache but as ever peppered with humour and kindness, as well as what you always find in a Kim Nash book, a hearty helping of truth and reality. I absolutely loved it. I particularly loved the friendship that grew between Martin, Clems widowed dad and Lydia as they become tentative dance partners after entering a competition. It really was an uplifting read.

I have loved all of Kim’s books but this one is definitely her best yet. I said that last time when I read book 2 but this one really is the best yet!!!! This was a truly, touching story that spanned the ages and was a joy to read. Through Meredith and Lydia, Kim shows that it’s never too late to build bridges and mend fractured relationships with love, kindness and an open heart. This was a positive feel good book that I’m glad I had the opportunity to read, in a busy world this was a perfect little bit of escapism with more than a touch of reality.

Thank you too Boldwood Books and Rachel’s Random Resources for letting me join the blog tour.

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Wednesday 17 January 2024

The Happiest Ever After - Milly Johnson

About the book… 

Polly Potter is surviving, not thriving. She used to love her job – until her mentor died and her new boss decided to make her life hell. She used to love her partner Chris – until he cheated on her, and now she can’t forget. The only place where her life is working is on the pages of the novel she is writing – there she can create a feistier, bolder, more successful version of herself – as the ­fictional Sabrina Anderson.

But what if it was possible to start over again? To leave everything behind, forget all that went before, and live the life you’d always dreamed of?

After a set of unforeseen circumstances, Polly ends up believing she really IS Sabrina, living at the heart of a noisy Italian family restaurant by the sea. Run by Teddy, the son of her new landlady Marielle, it’s a much-loved place, facing threat of closure as a rival restaurant moves in next door. Sabrina can’t remember her life as Polly, but she knows she is living a different life from the one she used to have.

But what if this new life could belong to her after all?

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About the author… 

Milly Johnson was born, raised and still lives in Barnsley, South Yorkshire. A Sunday Times bestseller, she is one of the Top 10 Female Fiction authors in the UK, and has sold millions of copies of her books sold across the world. The Happiest Ever After is her twenty-first novel. Milly's writing highlights the importance of community spirit and the magic of kindness. Her books inspire and uplift but she packs a punch and never shies away from the hard realities of life and the complexities of relationships in her stories. Her books champion women, their strength and resilience, and celebrate love, friendship and the possibility and joy of second chances and renaissances.

Contact Links: 

Milly's website: 
Twitter: @millyjohnson
Instagram: @themillyjohnson
TikTok: @millyjohnsonauthor 
Facebook: @MillyJohnsonAuthor

My thoughts…

Where do I begin, another Milly Johnson hug on a page! Milly Johnson has crafted her story telling to perfection. She tempers real life scenarios and characters with her dry northern wit - this time through a series of Daily ~Trumpet newspaper articles that are toe curlingly funny, the very perfect antidote to this story as we meet and get to know the character and life of Polly. Polly is without a doubt an absolute diamond of a woman that has become invisible - everyone walks all over her, her friends, her partner Chris, his family and new boss Jeremy. People talk at her, and she does their bidding, she really doesn’t have a voice.

From the very first pages I was cheering for the under-dog, Polly’s only escape from her life was her writing class, something she kept to herself, for herself and it’s this that is her saviour, an escape from the reality of her life. A personality test at work and the subsequent meeting with her boss sees us watch Polly finally explode, fighting back and spewing the truth. As a reader you could feel the steam rising within her, once released it was unable to stop boiling over until she eventually deflated like a balloon.

She decides she’s has to escape, to get away from her life and everyone in it. Packing her bags she heads for the seaside only for a series of unfortunate events to occur that see her sink even lower, not knowing who or where she is. I loved how she found herself hiding in plain sight behind a character that was just like Polly but with far more sass and confidence. I loved watching her blossom and grow through the guise of Sabrina. Reality and fiction merging on the page.

I particularly loved how Milly set the tone and pace of the Happiest Ever After, it ebbed and flowed as we interacted with the plethora of supporting characters and particularly as Polly grew in confidence and stature. The pacing and tone depicting the emotions and feelings that Polly felt as she reclaimed her self confidence and voice. Though, I found myself gritting my teeth and wanting to spit as I read her partner Chris’s take on how and why she’d disappeared and how she would return with her tail between her legs. I’ve lost tooth enamel from gritting my teeth!! Thank goodness Milly Johnson likes to see the good and down trodden triumph and those that need bringing down a peg or two knocked cleanly off their pedestal.

This was a truly heartfelt, emotive read that was both sad and hopeful and uplifting at the same time.  With light shining on the dark moments, as Polly found her voice and grew in stature. I loved how the Happiest Ever After was tastefully scattered with a liberal amount of very tongue in cheek humour told through the Daily Trumpet articles, which served its purpose of softening the edges perfectly.  Thank you Milly Johnson for yet another beautiful story about relationships, family dynamics, love, friendship and self confidence and self growth delivered in your usual open, honest, straight -forward northern style - it was just perfect.

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Thursday 4 January 2024

Return to Half Moon Farm - Holly Hepburn

About the book… 

When Daisy’s mother falls ill she is forced to return home. With her twin sons in tow, she moves back to Half Moon Farm, her family’s ancient hop farm.

But a new life in the Kent countryside isn’t necessarily as idyllic as it might seem. Daisy’s relationship with her mother is complicated and the tumbledown farm isn’t the only thing that needs rebuilding. Daisy and her sons must adjust to life with estranged family, a leaking roof, and no WiFi.

Luckily for Daisy, she might yet find some distraction in silver fox farmer, Drew, or in the haughty heir to the nearby estate, Kit, who she can’t seem to avoid.

Daisy must learn to juggle her new life, the boys, and the daunting task of updating the farm. But there are secrets lurking in her family’s past that might throw everything into further disarray…

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About the author… 

I’ve wanted to write books for adults for as long as I can remember but I was too scared to try. One day I decided to be brave and dipped a toe into the bubble bath of romantic comedy with my first novella, Cupidity, and I’ve never looked back. I often try to be funny to be funny, except for when faced with traffic wardens and border control staff. My favourite thing is making people smile.
I’ve tried many jobs over the years, from barmaid to market researcher and I even had a brief flirtation with modelling. These days I am mostly found writing.

I live near London with my grey tabby cat, Portia. We both have an unhealthy obsession with Marmite.

Contact Links: 

Twitter: @HollyH_Author

My thoughts…

Memories flash across Daisy’s eyes as she finds herself going back in time to a place she loved but hasn’t been back to for a very long time. Everything’s changed, but nothings changed. We join Daisy as she is temporarily moving back to Mistlethorpe and Half Moon Farm with her two sons Finn and Campbell to care for her estranged mum.

The emotions Daisy felt arriving back at the farm that she had loved visiting as a child, but hadn’t been back to since losing her beloved grand-parents was palpable. As a reader I could feel her trepidation and that heart sinking dullness as she saw pictures in her mind of a time gone by that didn’t resemble the reality of the farm house now - add to it, that she was there out of a sense of duty, not love - to say she had a difficult relationship with her mother would be an understatement.

Return to Half Moon Farm had it all for me relationships and conflict both old and new, of both the two and four legged kind - dodging and side stepping to change Initial impressions. A bump in her car and an encounter with the rudest man ever goes a long way to setting the tone for the first section of the book but as the story progresses we witness the growth of both Daisy and her boys as they settled into their current new life.

Daisy finds herself peeling back the life of her grandmother and a mystery suitor in the war through a series of letters Daisy unearthed was tantalising and annoying at the same time - I was impatient to know what each one said and piece together a story previously unknown but Daisy was careful to read and absorb each one individually - pondering and absorbing the contents. Daisy finds herself unwittingly walking into a long standing family feud.

This has got to be one of the best feel good books I've read in a long time. A perfect first read for 2024. It was colourful, with vibrant characters that played off each other. Each and every chapter is filled with humour, fun and laughter alongside mystery with a difference, a hefty dose of reality and more than a little bit of romance thrown in for good measure. Daisy might just have two suitors - two very different characters, one obvious and smooth, one more of a slow burn. Sparring in each corner my vote swayed throughout but the best man wins the day I think!! 

An absolutely wonderful read, that is uplifting, heart warming and hopeful. The past hurt, intrigue and romance is heartfelt, the friendships strong and watching Daisy and her boys settle and grow was just lovely.

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Friday 27 October 2023

The Perfect Christmas Village - Bella Osborne

About the book… 

When Christmas-hating Sam moves to Holly Cross, he thinks he's found the perfect home, until he discovers that, each year, Holly Cross transforms into the most Christmassy village in the whole country...

Blythe is just one sale away from being Real Estate Agent of the Month, so she twists the truth to sell a home to city boy Sam, who is looking for the perfect house in the perfect location. Little does he know he's just bought a cottage in the middle of the most Christmassy village in the country. And if there's one thing Sam loathes, it's Christmas.

Sam's arrival puts Holly Cross's chance to win the title of Britain's Most Perfect Christmas Village now in jeopardy, and the villagers are soon up in arms. Meanwhile, Sam is in his own personal hell surrounded by fairy lights and everyone is looking to Blythe to fix things.

But as the festive season looms, maybe there's more than just Christmas in Holly Cross for Sam to fall in love with...

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About the author… 

Bella has been jotting down stories as far back as she can remember but decided that 2013 would be the year that she finished a full length novel. Since then she’s written nine best-selling romantic comedies, two best-selling bookclub reads and won the RNA Romantic Comedy Novel of the Year Award.

Bella's stories are about friendship, love and coping with what life throws at you. She lives in Warwickshire, UK with her husband, daughter and a cat who thinks she’s a dog. When not writing Bella is usually eating custard creams and planning holidays.

For more about Bella, visit her website at or follow her on social media.

Contact Links: 

My thoughts…

The Perfect Christmas Village is exactly what it says on the cover - PERFECT!!! 

With the Summer we haven’t had and the wet dreary weather I was ready for a cheery read. The setting was PERFECT, Holly Cross and its inhabitants are Christmas mad.  Think of the most magical Christmassy setting you can and dial it up ten notches.

Imagine someone moving into the village who doesn’t ‘DO’ Christmas in any way shape or form - meet Sam, who bought a cottage from Blythe who works at Happy Homes Estate Agents.  

Blythe was on track to have secured the most sales month on month in the company’s 34 year history, a title she was desperate to win that was until the final month when her colleague Amir went ahead of her by one sale! Everything was on the line, Blythe was determined to win, for reasons we don’t find out about until later in the story.  

This was an absolute delight of a book.  From the get go we had sweet, gorgeous Blythe in one corner facing off with Amir in the other.  I knew which opponent I was backing.  If only that wasn’t her only sparring partner - in her quest for the ‘sales’ title she finds herself at odds with friends, family, newcomer Sam and the inevitable Leonora of chair of the Holly Cross Christmas Committee.

There are several mysteries and half told stories wrapped around both Blythe and newcomer Sam and as a reader it was funny, sad, endearing and frustrating watching their encounters unfold in equal measures.  They say opposite attract and in this case they definitely did. Blythe loved Christmas and everything about it, Sam hated it and everything about it.  The more Blythe pried and questioned, the more closed up and moody Sam got.  Yet still they were drawn to each other, in madcap situations that inevitably ended up with one of them combusting and them going their separate ways again until one of them needed rescuing. 

All in all this is a joyful, funny, festive read, that has several tender heartfelt storylines running below the surface that gave the characters depth and a more than an edge of realism. I loved it and Holy Cross brought back memories of visiting a village fairly local to me where all the houses decorate and light up their houses at Christmas too.  Add to that a blossoming romance that was funny and endearing - what’s not to love about this book, it was an utter joy to read that had me drooling after mince pies, mulled wine and hot chocolate. 

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Thursday 5 October 2023

Finding Family at the Cornish Cove - Kim Nash

About the book… 

Family is everything…

In the years since her death, Gemma has been running her late mother’s café with devotion, and when an opportunity comes to buy out her next-door neighbour and expand, she jumps at the chance.

She knows she will do her mother proud – keep her legacy going strong – but deep down she knows there’s still something missing. With her mum in her mind more than ever, and the knowledge that she may never start a family of her own, she can’t stop thinking about what life has in store for her.

But sometimes family are those you choose, or those who choose you! And with a growing community of supporters cheering Gemma on – including some new faces at her blossoming bistro – and maybe one in particular, will she really spend the rest of her life alone?

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About the author… 

Kim Nash is an author of uplifting, romantic, feel-good fiction, having wanted to write books since she was a little girl. She works as both Digital Publicity Director for publisher Bookouture and a book blogger at She lives in Staffordshire with her son Ollie and English Setter rescue dog Roni. When she's not working or writing, Kim can be found walking her dog and reading, as well as running a book club in Staffordshire and organising local and national reader/author events.

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My thoughts…

This is Kim Nash’s second book set in an idyllic Cornish cove, with a community so lush you hanker after upping sticks and moving there, just as Meredith did when she bought a lighthouse to live in, in the first book Hopeful Hearts at the Cornish Cove.

Imagine how delighted I was to be taking a trip back there with Gemma as the central character this time. Gemma is running the local cafe with plans to expand into the building next door.  She wants to build upon the legacy left by her mum who ran the cafe at the heart of community and make her proud. Her mum managed the business as well as bringing up Gemma and her sister Lucy single handed and had made the cafe a haven for people of all ages, everyone welcome as she dished out comfort in the form of food and a listening ear.  Gemma is quite anxious about living up to her mums legacy, she’s anxious about changing things and hasn’t really changed anything up to now, not wanting to let go of what her mum created. 

The gorgeous Clem who we met in the first book in this series renovated the lighthouse and is now in a relationship with its owner Meredith, is doing the building works, sharing his vision and guiding Gemma through the inevitable disruption, doing the work in an order that the disruption is minimised until the very last moment. Bringing in firefighter Jude to inspect and an advise on fire safety, sets off a few sparks. 

Gemma knows she is going to need more help in the cafe in readiness for the expansion and that comes in the form of Occy who literally crashed through the door.  This was a delightful relationship that as a reader was a joy to read,  It turns out Occy is Judes daughter and has an almost Jekyll and Hyde appearance - sweetness and light with Gemma but obnoxious and rude with her dad.  Gemma finds herself becoming the shoulder to lean on for Occy just as her mum had been for many others.

Gemma and Lucy share a close bond, each of them there for each other, I’d have loved to have had a sister, the depth of their bond was a delight to read. Lucy is there for Gemma whenever she needs her but Gemma is conscious of the fact her sister has enough to do with the bed and breakfast she runs as well as being heavily present. 

The pages of this delightful story are peppered with emotion, anxiety, sadness, humour, love and hope  - as well as what you always find in a Kim Nash book, a hearty helping of truth and reality.  I absolutely loved it.  Strong friendships both old and new are formed. Kim Nash always weaves characters in her books in such a way that you can’t help but form an instant bond and sit quietly in the corner sending good vibes and wishes for the inevitable romance.  This book has a depth that is greater than a fledgling romance, it digs deep into relationships both past and present and seeing the main cast of this story Gemma, Occy and Jude grow and develop was very moving, each having their own back story and all supported by the cast of the community.  What’s presented on the outside isn’t always what it seems, each of them had built protective shells that were peeled away as the pages were turned.

I have loved all of Kim’s books but this one is another level, I said her last book, the first in the series, was her best yet but this is another level!!  It is her BEST YET and I can’t wait for the next one. This was a truly, heart warming story, Kim Nash has nailed it as a Romance author, having got the cocktail of reality and dreams just right.

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