Categories
Blog Tour Book Review

Book Review – A Sunset In Sydney by Sandy Barker

Book Description:

How far would you go in the name of love?

Sarah Parsons has a choice ahead of her. After the trip of a lifetime she’s somehow returned home with TWO handsome men wanting to whisk her away into the sunset.

Pulled in two directions across the globe, it’s making life trickier than it sounds. Her gorgeous American, Josh, wants to meet Sarah in Hawaii for a holiday to remember. Meanwhile silver fox, James, plans to wine and dine her in London.

It’s a lot to handle for this Aussie girl, who had totally sworn off men!

Join Sarah after her adventure in One Summer in Santorini, for the heart-warming and uplifting third novel in The Holiday Romance series.

I’m very lucky to be part of the blog tour for A sunset in Sydney.

My review:

I absolutely loved this book. A love triangle with two hot men, that leaves you wanting more. The only way to know who Sarah ends up with, is to keep turning the pages. I had to know and couldn’t put this down. Highly addictive and very romantic its a must read. What team will you be on -Team Josh or Team James?

After spending the week in Santorini where Sarah meets Josh and James. Sarah is visiting her sister in London, before she goes back home to Sydney. Charming James, wants to see her straight away and show her the sights of London. Clearly keen. Sarah and James had a spark as soon as they met and you could feel the chemistry between them. I loved how it was easy with them and how James liked to tease Sarah. Taking her to all the best places and on some amazing, romantic dates. What a catch. Just wow!    

After seeing James again. Where does this then leave her with Josh? I loved the connection between Sarah and Josh. Friendship and lust, could you get a better combination?! Cute, young and still finding his way Josh, could he match up to the silver fox?!

We then move on to part two of the book, which was just brilliant and funny. 

Sandy takes you on an emotional roller coaster throughout this part. One minute happy and excited, having so much fun. Next your left thinking what’s going to happen and then, god no, I could cry.  We also got to meet fun Siobhan.  Another friendship Sarah instantly makes. Sarah has a way of drawing people in. Men and women. She forms lovely bonds wherever she goes.  I was laughing out loud at the Hotel and bellboy scene. I won’t spoil it for you.

Sarah is such a wonderful character I loved her. She doesn’t always get it right and is a typical girl finding her way after a bad breakup. As well as romance this was also a story about self-discovery. Sarah was flawed and knew she wasn’t perfect, yet I loved that about her. I love the changes she made at home. Happiness starts from within after all.  

Sandy has a way of you warming to her characters straight away.  I loved the easy relationship between Sarah and her sister Cat, who we got to know in book two, of the series. Also the friendship between Sarah and her best friend. Full of honestly, Sarah would be lost without her and Cat. There was not one character in the whole book I didn’t like.  Did I mention I love Sarah?!

Its one of those books where you are routing for one man one minute and then left feeling no what about the other. Team Josh or Team James. Hard one.  Both are brilliant. You can feel how torn Sarah is throughout, because of this. Imagine having two different kinds of amazing men wanting your attention. How hard must that be?!

I had tears reading the ending, it was just perfect.

Were you Team James or Team Josh? Let’s discuss when you have read the book.

You could read this as a standalone as there is enough references to the first book, but I would recommend One Summer in Santorini first. Just because its absolutely brilliant and i was a big fan. With it being one of my all time favourite books. You won’t be disappointed. You get to meet all the wonderful characters and and fall in love first and then want more. Which this book gives you.

Like her previous books Sandy writes about the destinations, that makes you feel like you are there and then wanting to go see it for yourself. My bucket list is growing thanks to her books.  

Purchase Links

AmazonUK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sunset-Sydney-totally-uplifting-holiday-ebook/dp/B081MSC5S3

Google play: https://bit.ly/3dLjJxU

Waterstones: https://www.waterstones.com/book/a-sunset-in-sydney/sandy-barker/9780008390020

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/a-sunset-in-sydney-the-holiday-romance-book-3

Author Bio –

Sandy Barker is an Australian writer, traveller and hopeful romantic with a lengthy bucket list and a cheeky sense of humour. She’s also an avid reader, a film buff, a wine lover and a coffee snob.
Many of Sandy’s travel adventures have found homes in her writing, including her debut novel, a contemporary romance set in Greece, which was inspired by her true-life love story.

Social Media Links –

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sandybarker

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sandybarkerauthor/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sandybarkerauthor/

Blog: https://sandybarker.com/

Categories
Book Review

Book Review – One Summer In Santorini by Sandy Barker

I cannot rave enough about this book. It’s definitely gone in my top books of all time. I love travelling, Greek food and romance so it’s no wonder I loved it so much. 

Sarah recently single and loves to travel, goes on a sailing trip around the Greek islands. Sworn off men, after an awful ex, she just wants to enjoy what the trip has to offer. Little does she know, fate has other ideas for her. A handsome American man and a silver fox both wanting her attention. 

I loved the whole story behind this. Sandy pulled me right in and I was hooked and fell in love from the beginning. I felt like I was there with Sarah on her journey. (If only) I wanted to shake her at her at times for her decisions (we all have been there) Yet other times totally on her side and loved how girlie she was. What a fab, endearing character, I just loved her. I loved the friendships she formed with Marie and Hannah. Josh  was great too and funny. Oh boy did he say and get things wrong at times. But what a dish of a character, definitely up there with feta. The silver fox was charming, rich and promising to give Sarah the world. Someone you don’t often get to meet. All the other characters were great too. What a wonderful sailing family Sarah had. 

Santorini and the Greek islands, Naxos, Syros, Ios, Mykonos is on my to do list and even more so after reading this book. As soon as I finished this book I was researching the islands and sailing trips. 

Let’s talk about the food- god Sandy didn’t disappoint, told it just how it is. I’ve lived in Cyprus before and so am very much in love with the food. Delicious and out of this world. You can’t beat a Greek salad and crappy greek wine 😂 

I loved the acknowledgements in this and where the idea for the story come about. Just wonderfully romantic. It really was a nice end to this brilliant story. 

Did I mention I loved this book? 

Categories
Book Review

Book Review – The Recovery of Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel

This wasn’t a book originally on my radar to read. So, when the girls in my book club said about it, I checked it and it sounded good. I was intrigued.

Rose gold believed she was sick for 18 years. She thought she needed the feeding tube, the doctor visits and the wheelchair. Turns out her mother Patty was a good liar. Fast forward to five years. Patty is being released from prison and Rose Gold now has a little boy. Wanting to make things right, Patty asks to move in with Rose Gold. Of course, no matter what her mum did to her as a child, she relents and lets her. Is she mad?…..

The story is told from both characters points of views. First off both characters really annoyed me. They weren’t two of the strongest characters in a story, but I think that was the whole point. I then got to warm to Rose, even though I did question a lot of her behaviour. I just felt for her and wanted her to feel loved and accepted. Without giving too much away, I did at first think where was her real dad?! Why didn’t he stick around?, so I was glad when we found out and what happened after that (sorry no spoilers here) . However I really didn’t like Patty. At first I couldn’t work out why she would do that to her own child. Also when she moved in with Rose, I just couldn’t trust her.

I found the story disturbing too. Which is probably why it took me a little while to get into it .… .


However, I did like the way the story jumped back and forward between each character leaving you wanting to know what was going to happen next. Each chapter, kept me wanting more, which is what a book is about after all.

It was slow but done in a way that kept you wanting answers to the questions going around in your head. When I hit the 60% mark, I was completely hooked. The story sped up. Things slowing started to unravel and everything become clear. I loved the twists in it too. It was brilliant!

I’m really glad I branched out and read this.

If you have read this, did you enjoy it? If you haven’t read, give it a go and let me know your thoughts please.

Categories
Book Review

Book Review: A Walk In Wildflower Park by Bella Osborne

Imagine you have found the one, with a year to go until the big day. Life is pretty good. Then our of the blue he dumps you.

Focusing on her career that is going well, Anna moves to a new house near her best friend Sophie. Not really looking for love she concentrates on herself….You then have not one, not two but three men all fighting for her affections. What a nightmare?! Said no girl ever!

This was another book from my mother in law. She never disappoints me 😊 It was absolutely fabulous!  Funny, heart-warming and romantic. Also, just the right amount of twists to keep you intrigued (no spoilers here) I also loved where some of the story was set (again no spoilers).

I loved Anna.  At first, she reminded me of me – she was a bit clumsy and a bit of a miss muddle. When she first met Hudson, it was hilarious I was proper laughing out loud but cringing for her at the same time. You could tell she had a hidden past and sadness about her. It made you warm to her even more and wish for her to find the one and be happy. Even though she seemed fairly content and happy at times, she really deserved more.

I loved Hudson. He was cool, calm and very appealing. I imagined him to be like Mr Big in Sex and the City.

I really did not like Connor from the offset.  There was something about him that I just didn’t couldn’t warm too. I felt he had nothing to offer Anna and I really wanted him out of the picture. I found him annoying and like a fly that just wouldn’t go away. There was a bit when I thought what was he playing at, why lie. It had me sending him evils through the pages. It all soon become clear.

As well as the story being focused around Anna, there was also her best friend Sophie. Sophie was going through a bit of a rough patch. I really enjoyed the easy-going friendship between Anna and Sophie. Also the support and love they showed each other. It really made me miss my best friend during lock down and wish I was just around the corner from her.

The location of the story felt and sounded amazing. Its described exactly like the front cover. Imagine a park on your doorstep that only the residents have access too. like a secret garden. Bliss!

I work an office (pre-lockdown) so really liked that some of the plot was based around the work place.I loved the competitiveness of both Hudson and Anna. You could tell as much as they both were against each other they had a soft spot for each other. The work politics is really like that in offices. The work trip… well both of them! How fun!  

Talking of lockdown. I am currently working from home (I know I have been very lucky) and as much as I miss the office environment and people. I am loving the work life balance. Being able to go for runs in the morning. Spending more time with my other half. Being able to sit outside at lunch and read, whilst getting some vitamin D. Having no traffic stress to contend with. Just blissful. I will go back to the office eventually but for now, home is where the heart is 😊 How is everyone else finding the work life balance?

I hope you are all coping OK and are ready to adapt to what will be the new norm.

Have a good Friday and a lovely sunny weekend.

Categories
Books General Update

This busy week

Apart from my full time job, which I am lucky to be able to work from home. Its been a busy week for me. I thought I would share what I have been doing.

Creative Writing

I am back at college studying Creative Writing. Attending the Improvers course. I did the beginners course at the beginning of the year and had to write a short story of 1000 words. I loved it so much I signed up to the next stage. I do this every Wednesday night and it should be in the class room, however due to Covid 19 we are doing it online. Its still really good and we get homework to do. My homework this week is to write a beginning of a story. My deadline is Wednesday. Eek. Lucky I am off work this week and can dedicate 100% into this. I currently have a few ideas in my head and need to put these to paper.

Running – Couch to 5k

I am also in week four of Couch to 5k. I hadn’t run in ages, I am talking years! I thought I cant run 5k no way, but wanted to get out of the house during lock down and lose my belly! Its the best thing I have done. I brought all new sports gear. Think along the lines of – all the gear and no idea!! Now week four I am loving it. I tend to go first thing in the morning as I find it suits me best. Its lovely and fresh out there. Before I have even logged on for work I have done nearly 5000 steps. I feel great, positive and can focus on work for the rest of the day.

Busy Book Week

Its also been a busy week in the world of books. When isn’t it ! Just this week seemed even more busier. Several of my favourite authors have had new books out and cover reveals. Eek!

Publications

Paige Toon – The Minute I Saw You This is my current read and had me up until 1 am last night reading it. Review will be posted when I have finished. I am loving it so far, as you would expect from any of Paige’s books.

Description: When Hannah meets Sonny, she’s irresistibly drawn to him: he’s sexy and confident, but only in town on holiday. That’s fine with Hannah – she doesn’t do long-term relationships. And luckily for her, neither does Sonny. But before they can even so much as kiss, Sonny receives some shocking news and commits to making serious life changes – ones that can’t and won’t include romance.

With even a short fling now off the cards, Hannah and Sonny settle for being friends. But as summer hots up and their chemistry shows no signs of cooling, they start to question their reasons for shutting each other out.

Are they both too broken to find love? And if they tear down the walls between them, will they still like what’s on the other side?

Adele Parks – Just my Luck What a beautiful cover this. I cannot wait to start this. It sounds fab! I love of all Adele’s book and cannot believe this is her 20th Book. Just wow ! What an achievement. A massive well done.

Description: It’s the stuff dreams are made of – a lottery win so big, it changes everything.

For fifteen years, Lexi and Jake have played the same six numbers with their friends, the Pearsons and the Heathcotes. Over dinner parties, fish & chip suppers and summer barbecues, they’ve discussed the important stuff – the kids, marriages, jobs and houses – and they’ve laughed off their disappointment when they failed to win anything more than a tenner.

But then, one Saturday night, the unthinkable happens. There’s a rift in the group. Someone doesn’t tell the truth. And soon after, six numbers come up which change everything forever.

Lexi and Jake have a ticket worth £18 million. And their friends are determined to claim a share of it

Melissa Hill – The Summer Villa  This sounds brilliant. I cannot wait to be taken to Italy and devour this. Such a pretty summer cover too. 

Description: Three women. One summer reunion. Secrets will be revealed…Villa Dolce Vita, a rambling stone house on the Amalfi Coast, sits high above the Gulf of Naples amidst dappled lemon groves and the fragrant, tumbling bougainvillea. Kim, Colette and Annie all came to the villa in need of escape and in the process forged an unlikely friendship.

Now, years later, Kim has transformed the crumbling house into a luxury retreat and has invited her friends back for the summer to celebrate.

But as friendships are rekindled under the Italian sun, secrets buried in the past will come to light, and not everyone is happy that the three friends are reuniting… Each woman will have things to face up to if they are all to find true happiness and fully embrace the sweet life.

Cover Reveals

As well as publication dates we have had cover reveals for two lovely authors.

Heidi Swain – The Winter Garden I am a massive fan of Heidi’s books and was super excited to see the new cover reveal yesterday, Friday 15th. It looks the perfect winter book to curl up with. Out October 1st. I cannot wait.

Olivia Spring – The Middle Aged Virgin In Italy I was part of the cover reveal for Olivia’s book on Friday. Again I love Olivia’s books, as they are always fun, girlie and really relatable. This is the sequel to the Middle-Aged Virgin.
What a beautiful cover. Italy is one of my favourite countries along with the food 🤤 After having been to Tuscany last year, it really is the most amazing place. I fell in love with the beauty of it, and cannot wait to read this.

Saturday = Quiz night

Tonight I will be having a few gins and joining a couples quiz. Standard Saturday night. We are hosting this week. We had four rounds to sort, so me and my boyfriend have done two rounds each. I have put together a landmark picture round, which I have really enjoyed doing. It did make me wish I was on holiday exploring, but hey ho! I then did an 80’s quiz.

I hope you have all had a nice week as you can in lock down. Enjoy your weekend

Categories
Book Review

Book review: Lies by T.M. Logan

Joe is happily married and plodding along with his ordinary life, when a last-minute decision changes everything. Seeing his wife involved in a heated argument with family friend Ben. Joe stops at nothing to find out what’s going on. What was she doing with him? why wasn’t she picking up her phone? Why did she lie about where she was? .

My mother in law said read this, its gripping you won’t want to put it down. Well she wasn’t wrong. I read this in a few days. It was amazing. You know one of those books where you cannot stop reading as you think you are close to finding out the next piece of the puzzle… Then something else happens which throws you completely off and then you don’t want to put it down as you might miss something.


The story featured some strong characters, some were next level that you would not want as a friend or to meet down a dark alley!! It was so well written and very clever. All the detail and research that went into this, was outstanding. .

I loved the unexpected ending. You will have to read for yourself, I cannot give any spoilers out.

You won’t believe it though. If you have read it and was shocked as I was, let me know.

Categories
Book Review

Book review: The First date by Zara Stoneley

I was lucky to be approved this from Netgalley and knew it be a book I would love by the blurb. I wasn’t wrong! I read it in 2 and a half days. It was amazing. Funny, full of warmth, chemistry and two brilliant characters it’s a must read.

Meet Rosie, who has recently split up from her childhood sweetheart. Strong minded yet clueless at dating she joins a dating website. However, her first date doesn’t go to plan, with him not turning up. But fate has other ideas for her. I absolutely loved Rosie, I loved how she knew what she wanted and spoke her mind at all times. Having a tough up brining she clearly had a lot going on emotionally and just wanted to be part of a strong, trusting relationship.

Now meet serial dater Noah, full of confidence, funny and only after fun. Turns up at the right time, but clearly definitely the wrong guy for Rosie! Can he help Rosie with getting her dating skills up to scratch to get her the man she wants from her list? If I was single, Noah is the sort of man I would want to meet LOL! What a guy!! I love how he brought out the best of Rosie and really cared for her, whilst helping her to get dates.

Overall I loved the story it was sweet, exciting and full of many laugh out loud moments. I need to read more by Zara now. I’m a sucker for boy meets girl stories and will never get bored of them no matter how many times I’ve read them. Who else loves these?

Categories
Book Review

Book review: Very Nearly Normal by Hannah Sunderland

Firstly, I must thank my lovely friend @the.tattooed.reader for telling me how amazing this book was. Her review was fab. I was then lucky enough to be approved on @netgalley  Thank you!

Wow what a book. I absolutely loved it. It had everything you could want in a story and more. I was gripped from the first page. The emotion was up there with the best I’ve read in a long time. It made you really get to know the characters and feel what they were going through. The romance was lovely too. I do love it when there is a will, they won’t they plot. I also loved the twist. It come out of nowhere which was great.

All the characters were so heart-warming. I really enjoyed getting to know all of them. My favourite had to be Effie. Just a normal woman struggling with her mental health. Living with her parents, drinking wine every night for comfort. Apart from her job which she loves, working in a book shop. She really needed something to change.
Fate then brings Theo into her life. Could he be her chance at happiness? Or is the secret he is hiding too big.

Completely heart-breaking this is a must read. I loved the message from this book ‘keep going, even when you feel like its all too much. You really do not know, what’s around the corner’.

Make a list of your dreams, wishes too! Because who doesn’t like ticking things off. I know this book will stick in my mind for a long time. I have already wrote my list to tick off. Who else reads a book and it changes them? or how they see life?

Categories
Book Review

Book Review: The Mother-In-Law by Sally Hepworth

I had to read this first because of the title and when I read the synopsis it sounded intriguing and brilliant. It did not disappoint. If you read my Instagram page regularly Readinginlipstick you will know I am actually very fond of my mother in law. We get on great and most of my books I’m given comes from her, how could I not love her and yes I know I am very lucky.

Lucy meets Ollie and falls in love. After losing her mum years ago Lucy is looking forward to having that motherly connection again with her mother in law Diana and hopes she is the wonderful mother in law she has dreamed of. After all Ollie’s family seem perfect. Yet that doesn’t quiet go to plan. Fast forward 5 years and Diana has been found dead. A suicide note claiming she no longer wanted to live due to having cancer, yet the autopsy finds no traces of cancer. What is found is poison and suffocation. What happened? why did Diana want to kill herself?

I absolutely loved this story; it had the right amount of emotion, drama and warmth with an edge to it too. I was hooked all throughout especially with the secrets unravelling, keeping you guessing what had happened to Diana. As much as it was filled with drama it did have me laughing in places when both ladies come up against each other.

The characters were great my favourite being both Lucy and Diana. I love how the story was told from both their points of view, past and present. They were both so likeable even with their differences you could tell they loved their family and would have done anything for them.

I did keep comparing it to my own family situation and would really hate it if my mother in law didn’t approve of me. That would be the worse. As much as it was filled with drama it did have me laughing in places when both ladies come up against each other.

How many secrets can one family have…..

Categories
Book Review

Book Review: My Great Ex-Scape by Portia Macintosh

This was a fun, chick lit read with plenty of laugh out loud moments. Just what was needed after some intense books. .

Imagine being dumped live on tv and winning 50,000 at the same time…..
.
Could a bunch of flowers send you on a trip to track down all of your ex’s and end up in New York. It can if you are Rosie and are clearly not thinking straight. I really liked Rosie and think a lot of us women could relate to her. We have all been there dumped, brokenhearted and are quick to jump at a new adventure or act crazy! I was interested to know if Rosie could turn her heartbreak around after being so unlucky in love.

Without giving too much away Rosie had a right mix of ex’s ranging from the lovely one you would totally want as a best friend, the sweetheart marriage material one, to the player you would not want to go near! I really loved Rosies relationship with her parents and also the strong bond and many laugh out loud moments she had with Eli. The swimming pool chapter was hilarious! .

This was my first Portia book and I really enjoyed it so will definitely be reading more of her books. I also really want to go on a cruise now, just maybe not a silver linings one! If you read it you will get why – haha !