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Love At Cafe Lompar By Anna and Jacqui Burns

Love At Cafe Lompar‘Love At Cafe Lompar’ is by mother and daughter writing duo Anna and Jacqui Burns.

Grace believed she had the ideal marriage, but after Dan dies, she finds proof he had another family. Kat can’t admit that her father was less than perfect. Mother and daughter go to Montenegro to find out the truth. But when they track down Rosa and her son, while Grace is heart-broken, Kat can’t help being thrilled to have a brother. Kat starts helping out ‘just for a few days’ at Rosa’s restaurant, the Café Lompar. Soon both women are torn between their old and new lives, facing impossible choices.

If you’re looking for a summer read then look no further as this sunny and heartwarming story is the perfect poolside story.

It’s written through the narrative of mother and daughter Grace and Kat who after grieving the loss of Dan, leaving the trio now a duo. One day Grace stumbles upon a photograph and she discovers that Dan had another family in Montenegro. Heartbroken, her and Kat decide to meet Dan’s other partner Rosa and son Luka.

This is a beautifully written story and it’s vivid, warm and filled with delicious food that made for mouth watering reading. The story is written through alternating chapters between Grace and Kat and it’s interesting to read how the news effects them both in different ways.

They are both angry at Dan’s deceit but they are also curious about Rosa and Luka and as the four of them meet, they become friends who are there for each other during the difficult times.

Kat is a crossroad in her life, unhappy in her relationship and unsatisfied with her job, she seizes the opportunity to work in Rosa’s cafe and learns the local cuisine as well as inject some of her own style into it. It’s lovely to see her blossoming in confidence and also see her relationship with Luka grow. Although Luka is 19 and Kat is 24, they form an instant bond becoming firm friends.

As Grace ventures out on dates, we see her question herself after being so badly let down by Dan, but on reflection she learns that he wasn’t quite the man she thought he was and never made her completely happy with his selfish and stubborn ways.

I loved the dual narrative to the story as well as the mother/daughter team writing the book and I did wonder how the book was written and who was each character.

A glorious story filled with rustic charm, delicious food and new beginnings that made ‘Love At Cafe Lompar’ the perfect book to curl up with.

You can buy ‘Love At Cafe Lompar’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

False Witness By Karin Slaughter

False Witness‘False Witness’ is the latest book by Karin Slaughter.

Leigh and her sister Callie are not bad people – but one night, more than two decades ago, they did something terrible. And the result was a childhood tarnished by secrets, broken by betrayal, devastated by violence. Years later, Leigh has pushed that night from her mind and become a successful lawyer – but when she is forced to take on a new client against her will, her world begins to spiral out of control. Because the client knows the truth about what happened twenty-three years ago. He knows what Leigh and Callie did. And unless they stop him, he’s going to tear their lives apart.

Today I spent my day with my head in Karin’s latest book, a gruesome and gripping story about revenge, absolution and survival.

The story is seen through the narrative of sisters Leigh and Callie who’s lives change for the worst one evening and one day many years later, it comes back to haunt them when Leigh now a successful lawyer has to represent a man accused of rape. A man called Andrew Tenant specifically asked for Leigh’s representation bringing up old ghosts that Leigh and Callie had hidden.

I love crime thrillers and I’ve actually not read many by Karin, so when I was given the opportunity for this tour, I jumped at this.

The story is set during the pandemic and is not for the faint hearted. Leigh has to defend Andrew and she fears that he’s not quite the wholesome man that he leads people to believe. From a wealthy background, people find it hard to believe that he’s committed gruesome sexual assaults and the scenes are quite upsetting and hard to read.

Her younger sister Callie has never properly recovered from that particular night and has since developed a drug addiction that helps numb the pain of the past. I loved Callie, for all her issues and problems, she was a breath of fresh air to read with her wit and warmth. Her mother Phil was also entertaining, a hard woman who’s heart only softened for animals. Whilst Leigh, the eldest of the two is extremely protective of her sister and her family.

Karin’s books are not for the timid and focus on hard hitting issues such as child abuse, drug addiction and sexual assault and there were times in the story, when I had to physically put the book down as it got a bit too much at times. The story is current and is set during the pandemic which adds a time stamp to the story.

Cleverly written with compelling characters that made for gripping reading and with twists and shocks that keeps the reader on their toes, ‘False Witness’ is an intense story of sibling love, protection and made a for a rollercoaster of a thriller.

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

This Shining Life By Harriet Kline

This Shining Life‘This Shining Life’ is the latest book by Harriet Kline.

When Rich dies, he leaves behind a family without a father, a husband, a son and a best friend. His wife, Ruth, can’t imagine living without him and finds herself faced with a grief she’s not sure she can find her way through. At the same time, their young son Ollie becomes intent on working out the meaning of life. Because everything happens for a reason. Doesn’t it? But when they discover a mismatched collection of presents left by Rich for his loved ones, it provides a puzzle for them to solve, one that will help Ruth navigate her sorrow and help Ollie come to terms with what’s happened. Together, they will learn to lay the ghosts of the past to rest, and treasure the true gift that Rich has left them: the ability to embrace life and love every moment.

This book is seen the perspective of a family as they deal with grief and loss.

Outspoken and fun Rich has been diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour and wants to make the most of his last days. He puts together a gift list for his nearest and dearest, only for it to get messed up leaving his wife, son and best friend with a puzzle to solve after his death.

This story is a deep exploration of grief and how everyone reacts differently to it. Ruth never imagined a life without Rich in it and now she’s alone, she’s struggling to deal with grief as well as manage Ollie, their only son. Ollie has Autism and struggles with emotions and has outbursts as he tries to understand his father’s death. These struggles are hard as other members of the family try to understand him as well as deal with their own grief. Angran, who’s Ruth’s mother is seen as a hard woman who lives in the woods, but underneath her hard and brash exterior is a woman who cares deeply for her children and finds there is more to life than material goods. Whilst Rich is dying, his parents have to deal with his father developing dementia and having moments of clarity and other times is confused as to what is going on. And just like with Ollie, this can also make for upsetting reading.

This story is emotional reading, focusing on sensitive subjects such as grief, terminal illness as well as dementia. I particularly found the narratives from Ollie intriguing as he dealt with grief and coming to terms with loss and how he tried to rationalise life as he needs structure and order in this chaotic world.

I loved how the mishap with Rich’s gifts became a puzzle and this helped the family with their grief and unite them and helped Ollie deal with death.

This story is a sad one but Harriet has included some humour into the debut to bring a smile to the reader’s face. ‘This Shining Life’ is a skilfully written book about life, hope and loss.

You can buy ‘This Shining Life’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Mix Up By Holly McCullough

The Mix Up‘The Mix Up’ is the latest book by Holly McCullough.

Paige might bake wedding cakes for a living but that doesn’t mean she’s dreaming about her own perfect day. Far from it. Trusting people is hard after she was badly let down by her family and boyfriend just when she needed them most. And to make things worse, her ex has just walked into her bakery with his new fiancée. Needing a little no-strings-attached fun, Paige goes to a party where her friend knows just the guy – the guy in the black top. There’s just one problem. There are two men wearing black tops. Noah was meant to be her perfect distraction…instead, he wants more than just a bit of fun. But could the wrong guy turn out to be the right choice?

The story is seen solely through the narrative of Paige. An up and coming baker who’s been asked to bake a wedding cake for her ex-boyfriend and his wife to be. To help deal with this heartache, she takes her friend’s advice and decides to get back out there and meets Noah, a handsome and fun ENT who unfortunately would like something a bit more serious then what Paige was looking for.

I loved this story, it was heartwarming, funny and had such a lovely protagonist that I immediately sunk into this story.

I loved Paige, she’s a relatable character who’s been heartbroken and really doesn’t value her worth. Her best friend is constantly telling her how great she is, but Paige still doubts herself and keeps people at a distance to avoid more headache. Even though her ex Chris, treated her terribly, Paige feels his behaviour is justified and to be honest it makes for hard reading when you discover what he did. Before the big revelation, I already didn’t like Chris, so this was intensified by the end of the book. I loved Noah, he’s fun, caring and even though Paige pushes him away, he’s determined to stay.

A sweetly written story that blooms beautifully as our leading lady grows in confidence and lets people get close to her, ‘The Mix Up’ is a tender and romantic comedy about love, friendship and facing fears.

You can buy ‘The Mix Up’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Momentous Expiration of Tremmy Sinclair By Michael F. Stewart

The Momentous Expiration of Tremmy Sinclair‘The Momentous Expiration of Tremmy Sinclair’ is the latest book by Michael F. Stewart.

Seventeen years old. Rich. Hot. Captain of the Drone War team. Head prefect of a surreally elite boarding school. Tremmy is dying.His illness strips everything from him—including the support of his teachers and friends who once nurtured his bright future. Worst of all, his best friend’s meteoric rise has come at the expense of Tremmy’s spectacular fall. Far from going out with the bang he’d hoped for, Tremmy faces betrayal. But his illness has the power to expose the best as well as the worst of his school, his friends, and himself. Tremmy sets out to prove that the community he loves has to overcome its fear of death in order to truly begin to live. And Tremmy receive the momentous end he so fervently desires.

For a book that is marketed towards young adults, this book is hard hitting and reactive, so it’s good that it comes with a warning.

The story is seen through 17 year old Tremendous Sinclair, he’s got his whole life in front of him only to be diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour. Once the popular and successful boy of the school, he’s been moved to the shadows as people fear dying is catching and all Tremmy wants to do is spend his last days with his friends.

This book is quite the emotional rollercoaster. I found Tremmy to be a fascinating character, now dying he has a fascination with death and wants to able to control his remaining time. As much as he fears death, he’s frank and honest and regularly rebuffs his parents idea of miracles happening. His family are extremely rich and think they can pay for a miracle. The story is a countdown to his last days and it’s terribly to read his slow demise from an athletic prefect to a frail young boy who still wants to go to school. It’s hard hitting in parts, how people rebel and behave towards him particularly the staff who describe the school as for the living and not the dying.

The book is dark in humour in parts, as Tremmy refers to his tumour as ‘Peanut’ that brings the odd smile to the readers face. It also touches on other issues such as bullying and peer pressure, these issues featured predominantly in scenes with Tremmy’s best friend Jenkins, who was jealous of Tremmy and uses Tremmy’s demise to his own advantage. He’s overpowering jock who doesn’t realise his actions until they are almost too late and he was least likeable character in the story.

This story is a story of courage, that really connects with the reader. The lead character is just starting out in life and instead of looking forward to university, is looking for help with assisted suicide and this really is sad reading. It’s also a reflective story as Tremmy makes amends for his wrong doings and apologises for his past behaviour.

Hard hitting, honest and poignant ‘The Momentous Expiration of Tremmy Sinclair’ is a tough read about no matter the wealth or class in life, everyone has an expiration date.

You can buy ‘The Momentous Expiration of Tremmy Sinclair’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.