Netgalley #booktag

This was copied from “Destiny at Howling libraries” and her post on the subject. Like her, I haven’t been tagged for this post, but thought it would be something to post on, especially since so many of my books come from Netgalley.


Who’s one author whose books you automatically want to read, regardless of what they’re about?

I’m auto-approved for Erica Ridley as an author and have read many of her Romance novels as a result. I’m also auto approved for Tule Publishing and was approved for Le French Book, before they left Netgalley

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Book Review: Christmas on the Little Cornish Isles: the Driftwood Inn by Phillipa Ashley

Christmas has arrived on the Cornish Isles of Scilly, bringing mistletoe, surprises and more than a sprinkle of romance . . . Fans of Poldark and Carole Matthews will love this brand-new festive read from the author of the bestselling Cornish Café series.  For Maisie Samson, this Christmas is going to be different. After years working in a busy Cornish pub, she’s moved back to quiet Gull Island where she grew up, to help her parents run the family inn. But even though she can’t wait for the festive season to arrive, Maisie cannot shake the memories of what happened to her last Christmas – the day she lost everything. She keeps herself busy, setting up the tree and hanging mistletoe ready for her first proper family Christmas in years.

Until a new arrival to the island walks into her bar and changes everything. Australian backpacker Patrick is looking for a job for the low season. When Maisie takes him on, she doesn’t expect him to last the week, but to her surprise Patrick is the perfect fit. Charming and handsome, could Maisie allow herself to hope that she and Patrick could be more than just colleagues?

As Christmas approaches, Maisie finds herself dreading the spring, when Patrick is due to leave. With the help of a little Christmas magic, can Maisie get the happily ever after she always dreamed of?


From the Publishers, via Netgalley in exchange for a review.

This is the first book I’ve read this year with “Christmas” in the title, and I promptly got told off by someone for starting Christmas early (it is September after all).  I tried to explain about lead times, and sales etc, but to no avail.

This is the first in a new series by this author (I have read Christmas at the Cornish Cafe before, from the same author) and is set on the Scilly Isles, and Gull Island in particular.  Whilst Gull Island is small with a smattering of businesses, the book has been set up with enough secondary characters split across a number of islands to allow for books to be added to the series.

This is the first Christmas and New Year that Maisie has spent on her home island in more years than she cares to admit. Her previous job – running a successful pub “on the mainland” – stopped the previous Christmas due to personal reasons. Her parents run the Driftwood Inn, and have semi-retired now that that Maisie is running the joint.  She has an immediate attraction to “The Blond” (who she finds out later is called Patrick), an Australian who has come to the UK because of a promise made to a recently deceased friend.

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Book Review: A Chieftain’s Wife by Leigh Ann Edwards

As Alainn and Killian O’Brien begin their married life together, Alainn encounters many new and unexpected challenges. Stricken by the disturbing, reoccurring vision of Killian’s death, she desperately seeks a way to prevent it from happening. In hope of providing a normal life for their unborn child Alainn turns from her own magical abilities, but soon realizes that doing so may endanger everyone she cares for. 

Set in 16th century Ireland, A Chieftain’s Wife continues the captivating story of Alainn and Killian’s passionate love. Past indiscretions, deep jealousy, a vindictive witch, and tragic hardships all threaten to disrupt Killian and Alainn’s happiness and future together.

From Netgalley in exchange for a review.

This is the 4th in the series, the 1st I have read, and unfortunately it suffers from what I hate the most about series books – the “here’s what happened in previous books” info dump, especially in the first few chapters. It does get a little better later on in the book – the curse on Killian’s family regarding the birth of healthy children was alluded to well enough to make me consider going back to perhaps reading previous books. Unfortunately, the damage had already been done – why read a previous book, if you’ve already told me everything I need to know in this book?

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Book Review: One Summer in Tuscany by Domenica De Rosa

High on a hill in the Tuscan countryside stands a castle of golden stone, home to Patricia O’Hara’s writers’ retreat – a serene hideaway where you can polish your prose by the pool, gain inspiration from your peers and eat the best melanzane in Italy, courtesy of chef Aldo. But, while the splendour of their surroundings never fails to wow the guests, huge maintenance bills and bad news from the bank threaten to close Patricia down. It’s make or break time for the Castello de Luna.

This August each of her seven aspiring authors arrives with emotional baggage alongside their manuscripts. But something is different. It may be just the prosecco, but soon lifelong spinster Mary is riding on the back of Aldo’s Vespa, and smouldering odd-job man Fabio has set more than one heart racing.

As temperatures rise, the writers gossip, flirt and gently polish their prose by the pool. But with some unexpected visitors to contend with, one thing’s for sure: neither the Castello, nor Patricia, has ever seen a summer like this. 

From Netgalley in exchange for a review

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#booktag – Reader Problems

I’ve dipped in and out of #BookTag the last few years, but have recently found some posts with questions, so thought I’d join in!

  • Q1: You have 20,000 books on your TBR. How in the world do you decide what to read next?
  • A1: In reality my bookshelves are fairly full and rather messy. I tend to look at which area I think needs tidying up the most, do a shuffle round, see if I’m in the mood to read the book that’s in my hand right now and go with that.  Or I look at my netgalley list and guilt about how low my review ratio is right now, and see what I should be reading right now.

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Genres I don’t read

Thanks to Boats against the Current who helped out with some blogging prompts! I’m going to try out a couple of these suggestions and see where they take me.

open book

This time, I will talk about the Genres I don’t read. Hopefully you’ll know I have a review policy, which has been built up over the time I’ve been blogging. I know it looks pretty big and scary but it’s been built on, often as a reaction to a review pitch where my instinctive response has first been “no!” and then “err, why?”.

Christian Fiction

I am not a fan of Christian (or generally religious) Fiction.  I have read enough of them to know to avoid. One or two have almost changed my mind, but they are outweighed by the ones that have put me off.  I don’t like it for the same reason I avoid evangelical Christians……simply far far too earnest and desperate to make me exactly the same as them (or that i’m somehow inferior/unworthy if I resist). There are a couple of books where I’ve come away feeling hit around the head with a brick.  “I am going to tell you why my life is better than yours, why I am a better person than you and all you have to do is exactly what I tell you too, and then you will feel exactly the same way I do”. I am a practical person, and much prefer the “show, don’t tell” way of things: TELLING me means nothing – SHOW me how good a person your religion has made you in both thought and deed; what joy, compassion and goodwill your religion has brought and how, when the going gets tough, your religion brings you peace and strength. Problems with organised religion much? moi? haha!

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WIP update on Jeanne Reis Sampler

Just thought i’d give you an update on how my current Cross Stitch Work In Progress (Wip) is coming along. To the left is a close up of the lower right hand panel. As you can see there’s quite a few trailing threads and some of the items are currently only half, rather than full cross stitch.  There is method in my madness, honest!  I’ve done quite a few large pieces over the years, and have been caught out several times by spending hours or days on a section, only to find out that I’m a couple of stitches out either way. It’s meant much time is spent frogging, and having to restitch. Therefore I half-stitch, make sure things line up appropriately and then fill the rest in.


The picture on the right gives an indication not only of the size of the piece (it’s not going to be much longer), but also the section that I’m working on right now.   It will have at least one wash between now and when it gets completed, then ironed and at some point I will also have it framed.  I will then have to consider where I will hang it up in my apartment! (it has been known that I finish and frame a piece of a similar size, only to have someone drop unsubtle hints about how they expect to get it as a birthday present).


this picture is just to show some of the things I use whilst doing a piece. The plastic folder keeps everything together so I don’t keep losing things. It primarily contains the pattern I’m working on, needles, threads and scissors. If I’m travelling then the WIP itself also goes in there. Also included in the picture are needles (some of which are threaded and ready to go, along with a pin cushion. That weird looking metal thing? It’s a light, same as a personal book light, that can be clipped to the frame and allows for up close and targeted additional light to the piece.