Title: The Test

Author: Mark Haysom

Pages: 42 Pages

Publisher: Piatkus Books

The Blurb

For the ‘back to school’ crowd, this is a touching and poignant short story about triumph over adversity in regards to the ‘system’, and a celebration of first love.

The Test is perfect tie-in to some of the themes explored in Mark Haysom’s new novel Imagine.

The Review

Well, The Test is just an adorable story.

The Test by Mark Haysom is the love story that never was. It is a charming tale of two people who keep missing the chance to be together but can’t seem to get out of each other’s lives.

It is also a story of circumstance and how people of working class status were screwed over by the system.

For a short story, Mark Haysom really did put a lot into the story of Charlotte and Tom. It makes me excited to read Imagine which is on my TBR pile.

The Test by Mark Haysom is available now.

For more information regarding Mark Haysom (@markhaysomuk) please visit www.mark-haysom.co.uk.

For more information regarding Piatkus Books (@PiatkusBooks) please visit www.piatkusbooks.net.

35 Stars

The Story of Our LivesTitle: The Story of Our Lives

Author: Helen Warner

Pages: 400 Pages

Publisher: Harlequin Books

The Blurb

They think nothing can tear their bond apart, until a long-buried secret threatens to destroy everything.

Every year they have met up for a vacation, but their time away is much more than just a bit of fun. Over time, it has become a lifesaver, as each of them struggles with life’s triumphs and tragedies.

Sophie, Emily, Amy and Melissa have been best friends since they were girls. They have seen each other through everything—from Sophie’s private fear that she doesn’t actually want to be a mother despite having two kids, to Amy’s perfect-on-the-outside marriage that starts to reveal troubling warning signs, to Melissa’s spiralling alcoholism, to questions that are suddenly bubbling up around the paternity of Emily’s son. But could a lie that spans just as long as their friendship be the thing that tears them apart?

The Review

One of my favourite genres of fiction is one that is focused on friendship groups. I love the love of romantic fiction but there is something special about the friendship between women. It can be both a curse and a cause for celebration and that is exactly what Helen Warner examines in her novel The Story of Our Lives.

The Story of Our Lives focuses on the friendship group Sophie, Emily, Amy and Melissa and how their friendship group grows, alters, falls apart and falls back together again over the course of a few decades. Warner throws massive curve balls at her readers throughout the novel and pulls the rug from under your feet far too many times. With several ‘shocked face’ moments and me screaming at the book several times I can honestly say that The Story of Our Lives put me through the emotional ringer.

The Story of Our Lives by Helen Warner is available now.

4 Stars


Fairvale Ladies Book ClubTitle: The Inaugural Meeting of the Fairvale Ladies Book Club

Author: Sophie Green

Pages: 417 Pages

Publisher: Little Brown Book Group

The Blurb

In 1978 the Northern Territory in Australia has begun to self-govern and telephones are not yet a common fixture. Life is hard and people are isolated, but these five women find a way to connect.

Sybil, the matriarch of Fairvale Station, misses her eldest son and is looking for a distraction.

Kate, Sybil’s daughter-in-law, is thousands of miles away from home and finding it difficult to adjust to life at Fairvale.

Sallyanne, mother of three, dreams of a life far removed from the dusty town where she lives with her difficult husband.

Rita, Sybil’s oldest friend, is living far away in Alice Springs and working for the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

And Della, who left Texas for Australia looking for adventure and work on the land, needs some purpose in her life.

Sybil comes up with a way to give them all companionship: they all love to read, and she forms a book club. As these five women bond over their love of books, they form friendships that will last a lifetime.

Warm-hearted, comforting and richly told, this is the perfect feel-good read for book lovers everywhere.

The Review

I have always wanted to be part of a book club. I have read many stories with a book club at the heart of them and it just makes me yearn to be a part of one. At the moment, I wish I had a time machine so I could go back to the late 70s/early 80s and join the Fairvale Ladies Book Club.

Sophie Green’s sweeping story of the lives of five women in the Podunk pockets of Australia is truly fascinating. Their removal from the everyday conveniences that we take for granted is a brilliant backdrop to honour the resilience and power enriched in the lives of these five characters. Not only did it provide an amazing setting but it made me, the reader, feel the complete claustrophobia that the wide open plains gave some of its characters.

Often, the ladies of the book club (Sybil, Rita, Della, Kate and Sallyanne) are seen as complete opposites of each other. It is a wonder how they all come together and help fix each other but their differences hold their power. It is amazing to watch them grow, learn and live with all the trials and tribulations of life going on around them. It is even more heartening to see them bond through a mutual love of books.

I didn’t expect to love The Inaugural Meeting of the Fairvale Ladies Book Club as much as I did but it really was a story that took me on an emotional journey.

The Inaugural Meeting of the Fairvale Ladies Book Club by Sophie Green is available from March 1st 2018.

For more information regarding Little Brown Book Group (@LittleBrownUK) please visit www.littlebrown.co.uk.

4 Stars

Hello bookish folks,

So it is February. The Beast from the East has arrived and my little corner of the world is blanketed in snow. It is the perfect weather to wrap up, drink tea, eat biscuits and read books which is exactly what I am doing because I am a bit poorly sick. I have the lurgy: cold that is affecting my colitis. Sad times. Ah well.

So February has been good to me bookwise. I read an awful lot.

So here are the books that I have read.

  • Almost Midnight by Rainbow Rowell (Two Short Stories)
  • The Midnight Dance by Nikki Katz
  • The Summer of Crud by Jonathan LaPoma (NetGalley Copy)
  • A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks (Re-read)
  • The Last Laugh by Tracy Bloom (NetGalley Copy)
  • Parsnips, Buttered: How to Win at Modern Life, One Email at a Time by Joe Lycett
  • The Story of Our Lives by Helen Warner (NetGalley Copy)
  • Goodbye, Perfect by Sara Barnard (NetGalley Copy)
  • The Phantom’s Apprentice by Heather Webb (NetGalley Copy)
  • The Inaugural Meeting of the Fairvale Ladies Book Club by Sophie Green (Physical Review Copy)
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  • The White Rose by Satyam Singh Tomar (Short Story)
  • Rebel Bitch by Sylph Plato (Short Story)
  • Between a Rockstar and a Hard Place by Portia Macintosh (Short Story)
  • Mind the Gap by Phil Earle (Short Story)
  • Valentine’s Day at the Café at the End of the Pier by Helen Rolfe (Short Story)
  • Saving Miranda: A Love…Maybe eshort by Catherine Ferguson (Short Story)
  • The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert (NetGalley Copy)

So 18 books read is pretty impressive but seven of those were short stories so I can’t get too smug about this. I think my favourite book of the month has to be The Last Laugh by Tracy Bloom. If you want a funny, heartbreaking but overall beautiful read then this has to be your next read. Coming a close second was Goodbye, Perfect by Sara Barnard. It is such a great read. You need to read it.

I am currently reading Marilyn Monroe by Barbara Leaming and The Wicked Cometh by Laura Carlin. Both are quite good. I don’t think I will have them finished before tomorrow. Who knows? I may do.

Oooh in other good news I have managed to increase my NetGalley percentage from 36% to 37%. It is slowly crawling upwards. Woohoo!

Anywho, my bookish lovelies, I hope you have a great March filled with great stories and lots of chocolate.

Much love,

L x