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Someone I Used To Know By Paige Toon

Someone I Used To Know‘Someone I Used To Know’ is the latest book by Paige Toon.

At fifteen, George is the foster brother Leah never asked for. As the angry, troubled boy struggles to come to terms with his circumstances, Leah finds herself getting drawn closer to him. Theo’s wealthy family have mysteriously pulled him out of boarding school and he’s now enrolled at the local state school with Leah and George. When their worlds collide that summer, the three teenagers form a bond they believe will be unbreakable. But life doesn’t always go to plan. Shocking news brings Leah back to Yorkshire, baby daughter in tow. But Emilie’s father Theo isn’t with them, and George has unexpectedly returned. After half a lifetime, have they healed the scars of their pasts? Will coming back home set their hearts in a different direction?

I spent one Saturday tucked up with the latest book by Paige and it was the perfect way to spend a few hours.

The story is seen through the narrative of Leah and is written in the past and present tense. The past is when she is 15 and 2 new boys are introduced into her life. Her parents are foster parents and bring George into their home and Leah and George becomes unlikely friends and she offers a bit of stability and comfort to his life. Theo, the posh rich kid joins their school and the duo become a trio and Leah becomes conflicted as to who owns her heart. Now many years later George is back in their lives after disappearing and Leah has a little girl with Theo and is trying to deal with a new life but the same emotions.

You know when you sit down with a Paige Toon book, there are always three essentials to get you through it. Tea, chocolate and tissues because always at some point there will be some reveal that will break your heart and only these three essentials will help and ‘Someone I Used To Know’ is no different.

I loved Leah, her easy adaptation to new children coming into their lives as well as being an older sibling. She’s’ a strong woman who’s been through a lot and I really enjoyed reading her journey. Her own struggle with grief but also having two best friends that were going through stuff and she was there for both of them. I must admit I really did like George, with his kind soul and spirit. Paige has a wonderful knack of writing the ideal man in her books, deliciously handsome, charismatic and 9 times out of 10, I also fall for them!

I also admired her parents for their kindness for giving so many children a better start in life, offering them security in their unstable world.

This book is a life affirming and uplifting story that really made for tender and poignant reading and I genuinely never wanted it to end. Oozing with heart, charm and nostalgia, ‘Someone I Used To Know’ is a beautifully written and heartbreaking story about love, loss and family and is a must for read for all Paige Toon fans.

You can buy ‘Someone I Used To Know’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Ghosts By Dolly Alderton

Ghosts‘Ghosts’ is the debut novel by Dolly Alderton.

Nina Dean has arrived at her early thirties as a successful food writer with loving friends and family, plus a new home and neighbourhood. When she meets Max, a beguiling romantic hero who tells her on date one that he’s going to marry her, it feels like all is going to plan. A new relationship couldn’t have come at a better time – her thirties have not been the liberating, uncomplicated experience she was sold. Everywhere she turns, she is reminded of time passing and opportunities dwindling. Friendships are fading, ex-boyfriends are moving on and, worse, everyone’s moving to the suburbs. There’s no solace to be found in her family, with a mum who’s caught in a baffling mid-life makeover and a beloved dad who is vanishing in slow-motion into dementia.

‘Ghosts’ is Dolly’s debut novel even though she’s already published a book called ‘Everything I Know About Love’ and has a regular newspaper column.

‘Ghosts’ is seen through the narrative of Nina, who like many other females in the world is adapting to life as a singleton as everyone is pairing up around her. Her career as a food writer is going from strength from strength and just as her relationship with Max starts to develop, he disappears, ghosting her. Her father is battling dementia and disappears into his own world but already remembers Nina as his ‘Bean’.

This book is a powerful story and one that many will wholeheartedly relate to. The surprise and disappointment of online dating, finding the one only for them to let you know and to be judged on your status in life, married, children and if not, why not?

I loved Nina, I loved her independence and passion and how she was always there for others, no matter how they treated or disregarded her. I adored her best friend Lola, who was looking for happy ever after and was determined to find it, no matter how long she stayed on WhatsApp.

I loved the dynamics of the female relationships, how women behaved differently towards single women as if they were preying on their husbands and genuinely found this to be true of real life. I found the scene with Nina’s parents to be hard hitting as her mother dealt with her husband’s dementia by engaging now with friends to escape the pain, whilst Nina struggled with seeing her father become a different person. These scenes are hard hitting and emotional in parts and did make for quite tender reading.

Beautifully written and sadly relatable, ‘Ghosts’ is a poignant and bittersweet story about getting old, looking for love and finding your place in life. Filled with humour, cynicism and nostalgia for what has been, this book brought back all kinds of feelings and was truly a masterpiece of a read.

You can buy ‘Ghosts’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Idea Of You By Robinne Lee

The Idea Of You‘The Idea Of You’ is the latest book by Robinne Lee.

To the media, Hayes Campbell is the enigmatic front-man of a record-breaking boyband. To his fans, he’s the man of their dreams. To Solène Marchand, he’s just the pretty face that’s plastered over her teenage daughter’s bedroom wall. Until a chance meeting throws them together. The attraction is instant. The chemistry is electric. The affair is Solène’s secret. But how long can it stay that way?

If you like your books saucy, honest and fun then ‘The Idea Of You’ is your next summer read.

I loved this book and immediately sank into it. I received a proof of the book and the cover is a bright yellow with a warning on the front cover saying ‘This Will Keep You Up All Night’ and never was a truer word written down.

The story is seen through the narrative of Solene who falls for Hayes Campbell, star of boyband August Moon and almost half her age. The pair have a passionate and turbulent relationship much to Hayes fans disgust including Selene’s daughter, Isabelle and focuses on the struggle of a high profile relationship and the age difference. I really enjoyed Selene, she’s vibrant and outspoken character, who unfortunately has to make some harsh decisions in her life due to her love interest.

This is Robinne’s debut novel and to be honest, it’s great. Right from the first page, we are treated to a story that is vividly written with witty and engaging dialogue and a love story that’s far from perfect.

A page turner from the first page, this book encapsulates the ultimate fantasy of falling for a rock star and is delivered with humour and warmth. ‘The Idea Of You’ takes you on an emotional journey and tears you apart at the final page.

You can buy ‘The Idea Of You’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Songs In Ursa Major By Emma Brodie

Songs In Ursa MajorWith a beautiful and vibrant cover ‘Songs In Ursa Major’ is the debut novel by Emma Brodie.

From the moment Jane Quinn steps barefoot onto the main stage at Island Folk festival, her golden hair glinting, her voice soaring into the summer dusk, a star is born – and so is a passionate love story. Jane’s band hits the road with none other than Jesse Reid, the musician whose bright blue eyes are setting hearts alight everywhere. And as the summer streaks by in a haze of crowds, wild nights and magenta sunsets, Jane is pulled into the orbit of Jesse’s star. But Jesse’s rise could mean Jane’s fall. And when she discovers a dark secret beneath his music, she picks up her guitar and writes her heartache into the album that could make or break her: Songs in Ursa Major.

Set in the folk/rock music scene of the 1960/70’s, this story is loosely based on the great love affair between Joni Mitchell and James Taylor. Jane Quinn is the face of the Breakers, a musician who can sing as well as play instruments, she catches the eye of rockstar Jesse Reid when her band ends up playing his set. The pair share a mutual bond for music and begin an affair whilst touring together and Jane’s becomes more successful and recognised for her performing and songwriting skills.

The story is well written and feels very authentic of this era and it’s obvious that Emma is a huge music fan with the level of the knowledge that is applied to the story. The story not only focuses on the rise of Jane’s stardom, her relationship with Jesse but also the music industry and how it’s perceived to a female artist, the misogyny and the sexism. I loved the characters in the story, both Jane and Jesse are battling their own personal demons and this is probably what makes them such accomplished writers and why their connection is so strong. Jane has never fully recovered from her mother leaving her family and she also was a songwriter but Jane is a strong woman raised in a family of strong women who do not marry, nor do they rely on men. The book focuses on the mental health and substance abuse attached to the rock and roll lifestyle of this time and parts of this makes for sad reading as people battled addictions.

For music lovers, this book is a must read, hazy, romantic and full of sass, ‘Songs In Ursa Major’ is an accomplished debut that made for intoxicating reading from the first page.

You can buy ‘Songs In Ursa Major’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Geraldine Verne’s Red Suitcase By Jane Riley

Geraldine Verne’s Red Suitcase‘Geraldine Verne’s Red Suitcase’ is the latest book by Jane Riley.

Jack had two dying wishes: that his wife scatter his ashes somewhere ‘exotic’, and that she not give up on life once he was gone. He intended to spur her on to new adventures, but despite clinging to her red suitcase, Geraldine Verne hasn’t left the house for three months. It takes an accident for Geri to accept help from her friends, but when Meals on Wheels arrive she is mortified. Yet heartbroken volunteer Lottie brings with her more than cottage pie and custard. Like Geri, she too is struggling to cut loose. As a gloriously unlikely friendship blossoms, Geraldine begins to feel a long-lost spark of life and a newfound confidence. Perhaps what both women needed most, after all, was each other.

Although this book is a story of loss and grief, it’s delivered in such a upbeat and quirky style that I was immediately absorbed in this story.

The story is seen through the narrative of young at heart Geraldine Verne, who’s struggling with the loss of her husband. So much so that keeps his possessions and ashes in a red suitcase that she wheels around with her. A once vibrant character, she’s become reclusive and avoids company until one day after having an accident, her friend called Len Goodman sets her up with Meals on Wheels so she can be looked after whilst he’s away on a cruise. Geraldine becomes friends with Lottie, one of the meal delivery ladies and although there’s over 30 years of difference in age between the 2, they become friends and share a mutual share of grief. As Lottie deals with a relationship breakup and Geraldine deals with no longer having Jack in her life.

I loved this story, it’s warm-hearted, funny and tender and made for really sweet reading. Geraldine is a great character, she’s eccentric and vibrant and as much as loves company finds it hard to talk to people without Jack no longer being at her side. It’s lovely to read her and Lottie’s interactions, as Lottie gently coaxes her into getting back into the world and help Geraldine rediscover her lust for life. To help her deal with her grief, Jack leaves a puzzle for Geraldine to solve and this makes her feel that he’s still with her and this makes for sweet reading as she discovers letters and clues from her true love. One addition that made for interesting reading was Jack’s passion with butterflies and it made for fascinating reading at the variation of the species.

‘Geraldine Verne’s Red Suitcase’ is a poignant and fun story about love, loss and letting go.

You can buy ‘Geraldine Verne’s Red Suitcase’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.