Monday 10 October 2022

Review Catch Up! Mystery, escapism, hockey and romance!


It's no secret that I've been, more or less, awol from book blogging for about 18 months... I had my battles to fight and one of the things I fought hard for was to read and enjoy books again! And even though I'm not reading at the rate I used to read, I am reading again and it's grand. 
However, I've not been writing reviews for anything... In fact, the last review I published on the blog was for The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo back in November 2021! 😱
So I have some catching up to do... I'm not going to review everything I've read over 2021/2022 but I'm going to share what I thought on some of them in batches like this in the hope that the short, snappy, format of the "reviews" help me to get back into the swing of sharing my thoughts on books!


Stalking Jack The Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

Presented by James Patterson's new children's imprint, this deliciously creepy horror novel has a storyline inspired by the Ripper murders and an unexpected, blood-chilling conclusion...

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord's daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father's wishes and society's expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle's laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

The story's shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling, #1 New York Times bestselling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.

This book seems to be rabidly popular but, I'm not going to lie, I was underwhelmed. 
I love history and I really love the history of medicine and medical science so there were elements of this book that were right up my street! When you combine them with an unconventional girl, a flirty boy who supports her instead of trying to tame her, and an interesting plot line I should have loved it but the pacing was awful! Sometimes gripping, sometimes so slow I was tempted to DNF... Add to it that I guessed who the Ripper was long before the end and it was firmly in meh territory.

I may be tempted to continue reading the next book - and see if the series improves - but only because I got the four books in an ebook boxset... Bonus in that it was on sale! I definitely wouldn't continue the series otherwise. 

The Chateau of Happily Ever Afters by Jaimie Admans

Escape to beautiful France this summer with this uplifting romantic comedy.

Where dreams come true…?
Wendy Clayton stopped believing in fairy tales a long time ago. Instead, she has a ‘nice’ life. Nice job. Nice flat. Absolutely no men. Until her life is turned upside-down when her elderly neighbour, Eulalie, passes away and leaves her the Château of Happily Ever Afters!
But there’s a catch: she must share the sprawling French castle with Eulalie’s long-lost nephew, Julian. And no matter how gorgeous he is, or how easily she finds herself falling head over heels, Wendy needs to find a way to get rid of him…

Because surely happily ever afters don’t happen in real life?

This book provided a wonderful escape from reality alongside a lovely slow burn romance.
Elements annoyed me - mainly Wendy's distrust of Julian... I didn't blame her at first - heck I was distrustful too! - but as time wore on her distrust felt so wedged in and forced it really grated on my nerves... But apart from that the book really was a treat. It was warm and hopeful and made me want to run away to an old Chateau, eat pastries, and not come back to reality. 

Always Only You by Chloe Liese

Get ready for an emotional ride filled with laughter, longing, and a sweet slow-burn in this sports romance about love’s power not in spite of difference, but because of it.


The moment I met her, I knew Frankie Zeferino was someone worth waiting for. Deadpan delivery, secret heart of gold, and a rare one-dimpled smile that makes my knees weak, Frankie has been forbidden since the day she and I became coworkers, meaning waiting has been the name of my game—besides, hockey, that is.

I’m a player on the team, she’s on staff, and as long as we work together, dating is off-limits. But patience has always been my virtue. Frankie won’t be here forever—she’s headed for bigger, better things. I just hope that when she leaves the team and I tell her how I feel, she won’t want to leave me behind, too.


I’ve had a problem at work since the day Ren Bergman joined the team: a six foot three hunk of happy with a sunshine smile. I’m a grumbly grump and his ridiculously good nature drives me nuts, but even I can’t entirely ignore that hot tamale of a ginger with icy eyes, the perfect playoff beard, and a body built for sin that he’s annoyingly modest about.

Before I got wise, I would have tripped over myself to get a guy like Ren, but with my diagnosis, I’ve learned what I am to most people in my life—a problem, not a person. Now, opening my heart to anyone, no matter how sweet, is the last thing I’m prepared to do.

​Always Only You is an opposites-attract, forbidden love sports romance about a nerdy, late-blooming hockey star, and his tough cookie coworker who keeps both her soft side and her autism diagnosis to herself. Complete with a meddling secretary, tantric yoga torture, and a scorching slow burn, this standalone is the second in a series of novels about a Swedish-American family of five brothers, two sisters, and their wild adventures as they each find happily ever after.

This was a wonderful grumpy/sunshine romance against a backdrop of ice-hockey... I don't know what else I could have wanted! Ren Bergman is an absolute cinnamon roll hunk of a book boyfriend and I loved him. Frankie was harder to like as I found her a little abrasive but I liked the realism portrayed by the author in relation to her autism and mobility issues, I loved her with Ren (all the banter!), and I liked the Bergman clan. The story was easy to inhale over a long cosy reading session and left me happy and smiling so it's two enthusiastic thumbs up from me!

Bull by Deborah Bladon

My jerk of a boss is getting married today.
Imagine my surprise when I found out that the bride-to-be is me.
Graham Locke is cocky, condescending, and looks sinfully sexy wrapped in a thousand dollar suit.
He’s also a nightmare to work for.
When he sends me a text message asking me to meet him because he’s getting married, I laugh out loud.
Who would marry him?
It turns out I do. I literally marry my boss.
It’s not for love. I can’t say it’s entirely for money, but that does factor into my decision to become Mrs. Locke for ninety days.
Three months will fly by, right?
Within twenty four hours, I’m counting the seconds until I can go back to being Trina Shaw.
I persevere because I’m not one to give up even though I seriously consider it.
It doesn’t take long before I discover that my husband isn’t the man I thought he was.
The secrets he keeps hidden close to his heart may end up breaking mine.

Bull was a pretty standard Billionaire-type romance... Super rich guy, not rich girl, marriage of convenience that becomes more... Misunderstandings and alpha growling abound... It fits safely in the mold and didn't wow me in the slightest but it was enjoyable enough to read and passed the time quite nicely.


1 comment

  1. Over the span of four books I learned that Chloe Liese is very hit or miss with me and there are certain formulas she uses that I don't jibe with. But I will say that out of the four I read, Always Only You was my favorite by far. Ren was an absolute sweetheart and (like you) once I warmed to Frankie I was all on board. :)


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