From bestselling and National Book Award-nominated author Tahereh Mafi comes a stunning novel about love and loneliness, navigating the hyphen of dual identity, and reclaiming your right to joy–even when you’re trapped in the amber of sorrow.

It’s 2003, several months since the US officially declared war on Iraq, and the American political world has evolved. Tensions are high, hate crimes are on the rise, FBI agents are infiltrating local mosques, and the Muslim community is harassed and targeted more than ever. Shadi, who wears hijab, keeps her head down.

She’s too busy drowning in her own troubles to find the time to deal with bigots.

Shadi is named for joy, but she’s haunted by sorrow. Her brother is dead, her father is dying, her mother is falling apart, and her best friend has mysteriously dropped out of her life. And then, of course, there’s the small matter of her heart–

It’s broken.

Shadi tries to navigate her crumbling world by soldiering through, saying nothing. She devours her own pain, each day retreating farther and farther inside herself until finally, one day, everything changes.

She explodes.

An Emotion of Great Delight is a searing look into the world of a single Muslim family in the wake of 9/11. It’s about a child of immigrants forging a blurry identity, falling in love, and finding hope–in the midst of a modern war.





This was a really powerful and emotional read that explores the angst of teenage years alongside dealing with racism, and in Shadi, the author has created a character who has dealt with so much and is struggling to find her place in a world where she still feels an outsider.

Set amongst the backdrop of the Americans invading Iraq after 9/11, Shadi and the muslim population are coping with rising tensions and she’s easy to pick out as she wears a hijab but keeps her head down and wants to be left alone -easier said than done.

She is a young girl who has had to deal with so much so is dealing with grief after losing her brother – the story of his death is drip fed into the storyline which works so well – and dealing with her parents who are also grieving his death, and the storyline flits from now to then so you get to see how things build up to this point and helps explain how events are playing out.

The sense of loss is overwhelming so you cannot help but feel for Shadi, and there’s no escape at school where she’s singled out and even loses her best friend, although you find out that’s due to other circumstances. It really shows the extremes of her life – from a happy moment where she forgets her worries, to the doom and gloom of the news or being bullied. She’s on a real emotional rollercoaster and there seems to be no end to the drama.

The author really packs a lot into each chapter and I really enjoyed seeing life from the viewpoint of Shadi – it really amplifies the problems of a teenager alongside the stark reality of racism and small minded attitudes of others whipped up by the media.



#BookReview GIRL A by ABIGAIL DEAN #GirlA


‘Girl A,’ she said. ‘The girl who escaped. If anyone was going to make it, it was going to be you.’

Lex Gracie doesn’t want to think about her family. She doesn’t want to think about growing up in her parents’ House of Horrors. And she doesn’t want to think about her identity as Girl A: the girl who escaped. When her mother dies in prison and leaves Lex and her siblings the family home, she can’t run from her past any longer. Together with her sister, Evie, Lex intends to turn the House of Horrors into a force for good. But first she must come to terms with her six siblings – and with the childhood they shared.







This was a story that was enthralling and horrific in equal measures! The narrator – Lexie – is the perfect one to tell the story of the house of horrors she grew up in. She is known as Girl A, the one who escaped, and this is her story of how she tried to turn her life around and the horrifying prospect of going back to the house after her mother dies. Can she bare to face the past?

The treatment of Lexie and her siblings will shock you to the core! The fact that her own parents saw fit to abuse them mentally and physically over a number of years is just terrifying. Did the local community know what was going on or did they choose to ignore it?

For Girl A once she escaped, her life was full of hospital stays and psychiatrists. Just how do you help someone who has been through this trauma move on with their life? It was also so fascinating to see how the events affected her siblings as they did cover a wide age range.

There are looks in the story at things that had gone on in the parents lives that may have affected their ability to show compassion and treat their children in the right way, but you’re just left feeling disgust at how they could have treated their own children in this way.

Lexie as a character had such a traumatising story to tell and I think that is what made it so fascinating. The way her treatment in the past affects the way she expects people to treat her now and it was engrossing to see her hardened outlook on life and relationships.

A brutal and emotional read, with many twists and turns to take your breath away! 


My thanks to the team at Harpercollins for the advanced reading copy in return for a fair and honest review.



This is the story of Ella.
And Robert.
And of all the things they should have said, but never did.

Through seven key moments and seven key people their journey intertwines.

From the streets of Glasgow during WW2 to the sex, drugs and rock n’ roll of London in the 60s and beyond, this is a story of love and near misses. Of those who come in to our lives and leave it too soon. And of those who stay with you forever…






This was such a unique and touching story, that I’m still thinking of Ella and her life right now, many days after I’d finished the book! I loved the distinctive way in which the story is told and how it helps you connect with Ella and the experiences she had in her lifetime.

From the traumatic opening, the story never lets up on emotion and drama. You get the frustrations and despair that Ella is feeling now in her current situation where she is on a boat which is starting to sink, and has to look our for her grandchild, the grandchild she can’t remember the name of because she is showing signs of dementia. In her toughest times she is ‘visited’ by the memories of those in her past that meant so much to her and shaped her life from childhood to adulthood.

As she looks back, she is reminded of those who had such an impact on her life and these flashbacks to key moments in her life just went to show how different events changed the course of her life. The ‘what if’ moments, the missed opportunites, the quirks of fate that drew different people into her life at testing times. Something we all experience but it’s not often til later in life that we truly see how important, or not!, an encounter or experience is.

I loved how it really showed that just when you think life is going to go one way, then there’s often a curveball to change the trajectory of things. As she moves away and moves to London to become a session musician, then her life sees her making some bad choices and you fear the worst for her, but the world works in mysterious ways and the past always finds a way of reminding her of what is important to her.

Her life is full of many highs, and many lows and it was such an emotional experience to relive crucial moments and episodes in her life, added to the drama of what she is experiencing in the present and I have to admit, there were tears! Many tears!! It’s a story you just get so involved in and seems to remind you to take note of those people who keep appearing in your own story at difficult times.

A staggeringly inventive and emotional read!




The debut novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author, Emma Gannon.

Knows her own mind.

OLIVE is many things, and it’s ok that she’s still figuring it all out, navigating her world without a compass. But life comes with expectations, there are choices to be made, boxes to tick and – sometimes – stereotypes to fulfil. And when her best friends’ lives start to branch away towards marriage and motherhood, leaving the path they’ve always followed together, Olive starts to question her choices – because life according to Olive looks a little bit different.

Moving, memorable and a mirror for every woman at a crossroads, OLIVE has a little bit of all of us. Told with great warmth and nostalgia, this is a modern tale about the obstacle course of adulthood, milestone decisions and the ‘taboo’ about choosing not to have children.



This was a refreshing read as it features a character who has chosen not to have children, and they seem very rare in a lot of fiction nowadays! It centres around her and her group of friends who have been together since Uni and the ups and downs that follow the lives of the women as they follow different paths.

Olive has a really great career as a journalist and you get the impression she always has her writer head on all the time as she does tend to over analyze every situation she finds herself on – my only gripe about the character! – and those thoughts then plague her response as she lets them fester.

As her friends around her begin to get married and have kids, she finds herself becoming an ‘outsider’ to their conversations and I can totally relate to her on that account! When she is suffering personally she doesn’t find it easy to share what she is going through as there’s always something else going on in their lives so she tends to keep things to herself and try to work through them, but does find salvation in the form of her elderly neighbour Dorothy and that was a really touching aspect of the book.

Her ex is still on the scene as they obviously still care for each other, it was just the issue of babies that split them. He wanted them, she didn’t. And it really captured the battle of emotions – the little comments of ‘you’ll change your mind’ to name but one! – that she faces over ‘her choice’! This book really does explore the judgement of others over a choice made by an individual that doesn’t fit the social norm! Why should young girls just grow up wanting to get married and have babies?! And why are those who choose not to do those things judged so much by others?

Olive gets to see that the life choices of her friends who she thinks have it all together, aren’t quite as great as she imagined and I think that helps show the balance between women on either side of the debate! As she investigates the ‘child free’ lifestyle for part of the article she is writing she meets a variety of people who think the same way as her, and those who offer therapy for women to change their mind.

I really enjoyed the wide range of angles about the debate that this book throws up and found it a really easy read. Seeing how their lives change over the years when looking back but what counts is the friendships that endure over the years despite the hiccups along the way. A really interesting read and nice to see a character in Olive that doesn’t conform! If only we lived in a world where others respected other people’s choices!!


#BookReview SO LUCKY by DAWN O’PORTER #SoLucky

‘A total joy’ Matt Haig

‘Compulsively gripping and taps into the shame and self-hatred we *all* battle with. It is also very, very funny’ Sara Pascoe



Beth shows that women really can have it all.
Ruby lives life by her own rules.
And then there’s Lauren, living the dream.


Beth hasn’t had sex in a year.
Ruby feels like she’s failing.
Lauren’s happiness is fake news.

And it just takes one shocking event to make the truth come tumbling out…

Fearless, frank and for everyone who’s ever doubted themselves, So Lucky is the straight-talking new novel from the Sunday Times bestseller.

Actually, you’re pretty f****** lucky to be you.

Published by HarperCollins

Publication Date – 31st October 2019


Amazon UK




Forget teenage angst, there’s nothing more stressed, pissed off and downright angry than a woman and that is what this book is based around! The issues that make us grumpy, the pressures we all put ourselves under, the absurdities of life in the Instagram world we now live in – motherhood, relationships, body image, modern life – it’s all here and perfectly pitched by the author in a savage but humourous story that I thoroughly enjoyed and ended up finding really touching and poignant!

The two main characters are Ruby and Beth. Both very different women, but both struggling! Ruby is struggling with motherhood – it’s more downs than ups with her daughter Bonnie who she seems in a constant battle with! Ruby isn’t the most patient of people so she seems to spend most of her days raging at the world and getting nowhere. As you learn more about her you understand she has always had a bad relationship with her mother which hasn’t helped her confidence, and neither has a medical condition she has which means she’ always conscious of her body. You can’t help feel sorry for her and just want to give her a big hug at times to let her know she should go easier on herself! Her line of work sees her retouching photographs – very apt in the world we now live in where you can airbrush your lumps and bumps away – so the concept of body image is always playing on her mind. Is she being a good role model to her daughter or is just history repeating itself?

And Beth is a new mum to Tommy, and married to Michael who seems to have serious issues with sex (he’s a weird one!!) and being cruel towards her about her weight and coming up with reasons not to have sex with her again. Not very happily married for a woman who is a wedding planner for the rich and famous!

Her newest client is an Instagram celebrity and this brilliantly allows that whole world be dissected and analyzed – the image doesn’t always match up to the reality and I found that really fascinating to see portrayed especially as Beth starts to feel sorry for her client, Lauren, who posts amazing pictures and quotes but in reality she seems to be very unsure of herself.

As these women’s lives wobble from bad to worse, I really enjoyed seeing and hearing their thoughts on issues that affect us all, and the fact that by talking to friends or a stranger in a park allows them to confront the realities in their life and how they can go about changing things, finding good in themselves and taking back control.

There were many laugh out loud moments when things went wrong, or got a little too graphic (there’s a lot of sex talk going on!), but it was also very poignant when reality hits home for these women and I just loved how honest and frank it was. Nothing is sugarcoated!!

The story does a great job of showing just how complex life can be, especially as a woman, be it with relationships, friendships, work, and in general how we all view ourselves and how we all judge others. It’s only when we get to know the person behind the image that we begin to understand that we’re all messed up! No matter what image we try to share, there’s always something that links us and shows us that the grass isn’t always greener.

Whether it is society that makes us constantly pick holes in ourselves, or it’s just the way we are, I found this to be an engrossing read that just got better the more it went on, and found it really empowering and thought provoking!


My thanks to HarperCollins and Netgalley for the early e-copy in return for a fair and honest review.

#BookReview The Cornish Cream Tea Bus by Cressida McLaughlin #publicationday #thecornishcreamteabus #bookblogger


Next stop, Cornwall! Hop on The Cornish Cream Tea Bus for a delicious, romantic adventure…

‘Captivating’ Heat Magazine ‘Beautiful… heartwarming’ Zara Stoneley ‘A wonderful ray of reading sunshine’ Heidi Swain

Baking fanatic, Charlie Quilter, is surprised when her late uncle bequeaths his vintage bus to her in his will. Keen to give the bus a new lease of life, Charlie thinks it will be the perfect mobile café for afternoon tea, and when her friend, Juliette, suggests Charlie comes to stay with her in the picturesque Cornish village of Porthgolow, she’s thrilled at the chance of a new start.
Charlie and her cute dog, Marmite, make new friends wherever their bus stops – except for the sexy but reclusive owner of the posh spa up on the hill, Daniel Harper, who isn’t very pleased that her bus is parked outside his lovely hotel.
Has Charlie’s Cornish dream developed a soggy bottom? Or can she convince Daniel that her bus could be the start of something wonderful for the little village – and for them?

published by HarperCollins


Amazon UK


This is the kind of book that just makes you want to run out, purchase a vintage bus and start your own baking business!! It’s made me want to do just that and it was a really enjoyable read that is the perfect slice of escapism!

Charlie inherits a vintage bus from her late uncle, and she wants to honour him by restoring the bus to its’ former glory but finding a way that she can use it to start her own business.  And her business is baking so she comes up with a plan to start a mobile cafe – sounds perfect to me!!

She ends up taking the bus to Cornwall to stay with a friend and to start some trial runs of how it could all work – everyone she meets is receptive to the idea apart from the owner of the local exclusive Spa, Daniel, who isn’t too keen on an old bus being parked in sight of his business so the relationship between him and Charlie doesn’t get off to the greatest start! 

But with her determination the business starts well, and maybe even Daniel can be persuaded that it’s good for the tourists visiting his spa too!  She knows how to use social media to create a buzz about her bus and it’s lovely to see how well the old and new sit alongside one another. It’s not all plain sailing though and she wonders who is out to cause trouble for her when things start going wrong.

I loved the different personalities within the pages of this book and the thought of all those cream teas on the bus just made me crave a scone or three!! The use of the bus was such a lovely idea and the character of Charlie was a joy to spend time with – very driven and focused on making the most of the opportunity given to her.  Very inspiring!!  A lovely read!!


#BookReview The Little Book of Sloth Philosopy by Jennifer McCartney

About the book

Relax, unwind and soak up the wisdom of the sloth with the slowest page turner you’ll ever read.

From tidying and Hygge, to living Lagom, the endless pressure to be happier, live better, sleep soundly, and eat mindfully can be exhausting. But this year’s lifestyle trend finally delivers the perfect antidote – welcome to the year of the sloth.

Sloths are mindfulness in action. Contemplative, deliberate, relaxed, and focused. They resist the rat race, the incessant pressures from society to be more productive, and they don’t care how many steps they’ve logged on their fitness tracker. Long-limbed, a little bit shaggy, and a lot wide-eyed, they’re wonderful creatures, not to mention completely adorable.

Here you can enjoy take-it-slow wisdom inspired by sloths; including advice on sleep (more restorative than a 6am run), eating and ‘exercise’ (sloths are the original pioneers of slow food and yoga after all), work (did you know that lazy people have higher IQs?), family life, and love.

Dispelling over-complicated myths about productivity, this brilliant book confirms that it really is OK to be a sloth. 

Published by Harper Collins

Purchase Links

hive.co.uk  £5.89

waterstones  £3.49 in their sale!


Such a perfect little book!! I think the whole world needs to embrace the Sloth Philosophy and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed an afternoon reading this and there’s so much to take away from having a different approach to the frenetic, mad world we live in nowadays.

This book has a fun look at how we can all improve our wellbeing and outlook on life if we just take a few pointers from the Sloths of the world – and it all feels achievable! Just little mind changes and activities we can do that can really help us in not feeling so down on ourselves and situations we may find ourselves in. And especially with the advent of social media where outdoing everyone else seems to be the number priority for some, this book helps you figure out that moving at your own pace and doing things you like and not copying others is what we should all be striving for. 

There are also a number of very cute illustrations throughout which were just perfect and would make for some lovely t-shirts! There’s lists of books to read, songs to listen to, little quizzes to take as well and it was just a wonderful little pick me up read and the perfect gift for people you know who need to slow down and enjoy the simple things in life!

#BookReview A Gift from the Comfort Food Cafe by Debbie Johnson #bookblogger

About the book

Cosy up at the Comfort Food Cafe for a romance that isn’t just for Christmas…

‘As cosy as a buttered crumpet’ Sunday Times bestseller Milly Johnson

*Don’t miss out on the new Comfort Food Cafe novel and return to Budbury for a Christmas to remember*

Christmas has never been Katie Seddon’s favourite time of year. Whilst everyone else shares memories of families coming together and festive number ones, the soundtrack to Katie’s childhood wasn’t quite so merry.

But since she moved to the village of Budbury on the gorgeous Dorset coast, Katie and her baby son have found a new family. A family who have been brought together by life’s unexpected roads and the healing magic of a slice of cake and a cupful of kindess at the Comfort Food Café.

This year, Katie’s new friends are determined to give her a Christmas to remember, and with a gorgeous newcomer in town, Katie’s Christmas wish for a happy home for her son might just come true.

Published by HarperCollins

Purchase Links

Amazon UK


With the Comfort Food Cafe series, you know exactly what you’re going to get – and this latest addition to the series is full of the warm fuzzies that makes for such an enjoyable read!

This story features Katie who has recently moved to the area with her young son Saul. And we see her life from the age of 7 and how her perception of Christmas and family life has always been tainted by her constantly bickering parents, leading to her running away on a number of occasions. She’s been out on her own for many years and prefers it that way, and even now with young Saul – who is a total sweetheart!! – she is guarded about who she lets in to her life.

But being alone isn’t really possible in the idyllic setting of Budbury, where everyone knows everyone else and is just like one big family, always looking out for one another! And it also seems to be full of the most gorgeous and considerate blokes (where is this place?! I need to move there!!) – step forward Van, Lynnie’s son, who has struck up the cutest bond with young Saul and Katie is happy to have him around, but still wary of getting too close. Just in case it all goes wrong. And things also get a little more complicated when her mum shows up in town!

I loved being back in Budbury as it feels so familiar now, with old characters popping up to help Katie along the way. There’s lots of fun moments to enjoy throughout as well as watching the characters coming to terms with changes in their lives and trying to move on from the past.

A fabulously festive read!


My thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the e-copy in return for a fair and honest review.

#BlogTour The Rules of Seeing by Joe Heap #BookReview #TheRulesofSeeing

A huge delight to be starting off the Blog Tour today for the truly wonderful The Rules of Seeing by Joe Heap. My thanks to the author and publisher for allowing me to be part of it all!


‘An utterly compelling blend of tenderness and menace…astonishing’ Ruth Hogan, The Keeper of Lost Things 

‘Uplifting. I loved it. It’s made me see the world in a different way’ Dawn O Porter

About the book

Nova is 32 years old and she is about to see the world for the very first time.

Nova can do many things. She can speak five languages. She can always find a silver lining. And as an interpreter for the Metropolitan Police, she can tell when someone is lying just from the sound of their voice.

But there’s one thing Nova can’t do. She can’t see.

When her brother convinces her to have an operation that will restore her sight, Nova wakes up to a world she no longer understands. Until she meets Kate.

As Kate comes into focus and their unlikely friendship blossoms, Kate’s past threatens to throw them into a different kind of darkness. Can they both learn to see the world in a different way?


Everyone is talking about The Rules of Seeing:

‘An inspiring story of love, loss and friendship’ #1 bestselling author Catherine Alliott

‘It really made me re-evaluate how I see the worldoutstanding’Katy Regan, author of Big Little Man

‘A book that reveals the world in a different light and changes the way you see it…Extraordinary’ Sunday Times bestseller Miranda Dickinson

‘Startlingly, outstandingly good’ Benjamin Ludwig, author of Ginny Moon

Published by HarperCollins

Publication Date – 6th August 2018

Purchase Links

Amazon UK


Book Depository


This was a case of expecting one thing from a book and getting something completely different from it and loving it even more because of that fact!! It was so smart, intriguing, thought provoking and such a clever mix of a love story and a dark menacing thriller that had me gripped from the first page to last.

Nova is the main character in this story and she has been blind from birth. But she has never let that hinder her and she works as an interpreter for the police. But when the chance of surgery is offered to help restore some of her sight, she is understandably torn. It’s a big decision to change the only way of life that she knows – and in the end her sight ends up making her life way more complicated than it ever was before.

When she’s at the hospital she meets Kate who is there after a domestic incident. They begin chatting and this is the start of an amazing connection between these two women. Their friendship deepens and they become inseparable and are a great support for one another through tough and changing times for them both.

I was expecting a book about a woman experiencing the world for the first time with sight but that isn’t what I got from this book! It’s a book about the things we take for granted. It gave me a whole new perspective on so many things and it transpires that Nova wasn’t the one experiencing life with her eyes shut – that’s how Kate was living her life since she got married and that aspect of the book was brilliantly explored and often very tough to read about.

An absolutely stunning read that I highly recommend to everyone. A powerful story that will stay with me for a long time!

My thanks to the author and publisher for sending me an advanced copy of the book in return for a fair and honest review.


Crazy in Love at the Lonely Hearts Bookshop by Annie Darling #BookReview


You can go crazy searching for the one…

Tattooed, pink-haired, Bettie Page lookalike Nina is addicted to bad boys. Like Heathcliff and Cathy, Nina firmly believes that true love only takes one form: wild, mad love, full of passion and fire and tempestuous arguments, and she won’t settle for anything less.

But years of swiping right has uncovered nothing but losers and flings, and Nina is no closer to finding her One True Love than she ever was. And when a man from her past walks into the shop Nina knows she has nothing to fear. The geekiest boy in her school has become a boring business analyst who’s welded to his iPad and with his navy blue suits and ginger hair, Noah has no chance of making her heart go pitter patter.

Which just shows how little Nina knows about bad boys, business analysts and her heart…

Published by HarperCollins

Date of Publication;  14th February 2018

Author on Twitter;  @_AnnieDarling


Amazon UK

Hive.co.uk – buy online and support a local bookshop

Book Depository


Previous Books in the series and my reviews of those;

The Little Bookshop of Lonely Hearts

True Love at the Lonely Hearts Bookshop


As a huge fan of the first two books in this series I have been eager to read this latest installment – and my love affair with all who work at The Lonely Hearts Bookshop continues greater than ever!! Loved every minute!

The focus of this story is Nina who lives above the bookshop with Verity, and who is a fabulous character! She’s grumpy in the morning (aren’t we all?!), doesn’t like to conform with her looks and attitudes but she still holds on to the romantic dream of finding her ‘Heathcliff’! She wants that passionate relationship but the men she’s meeting via the HookUpp App are always a disappointment.  She’s the kind of girl that comes across as confident and happy, but underneath the exterior she’s quite down on herself and wonders if she’ll ever find what she’s looking for.

When the owner of the bookshop brings in a business analyst to oversee how things are going, Nina isn’t too keen on Noah and his interfering style! She prefers a bad boy, not a nerd in a suit so doesn’t like him watching her in the shop! But the more time they spend together, the more she softens to his ways and she also gets the feeling she knows him from somewhere but just can’t place him……. yet!

As she keeps searching for love, she is also keen to take on new roles at work to try and raise the profile of the shop and it is fascinating to see a character using social media in this way! It helps make the story really relevant to the readers and also give an insight into how shops are having to change the way they sell nowadays with online shopping so prevalent.

I find this series and the characters to be so comforting, witty and warm!  It’s like a hug in book form when you’re reading as you’re so invested in their wellbeing and how the shop does! I wish there was a bookshop local to me like this one! They’d never get rid of me!!    

A fabulous read which I highly recommend! Can’t wait for the next installment!!