Hello Lovelies! Please excuse our dust while we do a bit of construction on the blog. We will still be posting exciting reviews, brilliant guest posts, and exciting giveaways but we are in the process of transforming the blog and adding new content and features for you to enjoy.

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Review: The Bookshop by the Loch

Title: The Bookshop by the Loch

Author: Julie Shackman

Publisher: 31st January 2024 by HarperCollins UK, One More Chapter

Pages: 362 pages

Genre: General Fiction (Adult) | Romance | Women's Fiction

Rating: 4 crowns


The brand new Scottish spring escape from bestselling author, Julie ShackmanLexie Dunbar is a book lover. And her favourite place in the world is her local bookstore, Book Ends. So when she hears that it’s going to be sold, Lexie decides she needs to do something to help.

Lexie’s plan to save the ailing shop is fully underway until gorgeous-but-grouchy artist Tobias Black arrives on the scene determined to turn the bookstore into an art gallery. Lexie is horrified, the last thing the quaint town of Bracken Way needs is a pretentious artist, even if he does seem to charm everyone but her.

Tensions continue to rise until Tobias discovers a shocking secret that shows they might have more in common than they realise. As sparks fly, can Lexie and Tobias work together, or will opposing ideas get in the way of them finding their very own happy ever after…

My Thoughts

I am always up for a book about books and especially one set in a bookshop, so Julie’s latest was always going to be on my radar. This is the sixth book in the Scottish Escapes series, I have not read previous ones but can confirm that this is easily read as a standalone. 

“You know what books mean to me. I don’t have to tell you how important I think reading is … At Book Ends, I hope I can encourage people who’ve never picked up a book before, to give reading a try.”

I thought this was going to be light and romantic - which in some aspects it was - but there was much more to this read than that. It definitely starts off that way and the enemies to lovers trope was ringing out strongly. However, the further along you read it becomes very clear there are multiple threads to this story. Julie has a few pokers in this fire and does a good job interweaving them and ultimately tying them all together. To be honest, I felt there were a few too many complications and removing one of them would have added to the overall credibility of the story. 

If I had to make a decision on the theme, I would suggest that this is a book primarily about families and the many dramas and complications that often come with that. Under this heading topics of illness, separation, grief, adoption are some of the stronger themes rather than the romance which takes a back seat. 

‘You grab happiness with both hands when it comes along - and never let go.’

If family dramas are something you enjoy reading about and how life presents opportunities for starting over, then The Bookshop by the Loch in the beautiful Scottish Highlands is calling your name. 

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This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.

Monday, February 12, 2024

Review: The Uncharted Flight of Olivia West

Title: The Uncharted Flight of Olivia West

Author: Sara Ackerman

Publisher: 7th February 2024 by Harlequin Australia & Mira

Pages: 384 pages

Genre: historical fiction, women’s fiction 

Rating: 4 cups


An extraordinary story, inspired by real events, of a female aviator who defies the odds to embark on a daring air race across the Pacific, perfect for fans of Great Circle and Her Last Flight.

1927. Olivia "Livy" West is a fearless young pilot with a love of adventure. She yearns to cross oceans and travel the skies. When she learns of the Dole Air Race––a high-stakes contest to be the first to make the 2,400 mile Pacific crossing from the West Coast to Hawai'i—she sets her sights on qualifying. But it soon becomes clear that only men will make the cut. In a last-ditch effort to take part, Livy manages to be picked as a navigator for one of the pilots, before setting out on a harrowing journey that some will not survive.

1987. Wren Summers is down to her last dime when she learns she has inherited a remote piece of land on the Big Island with nothing on it but a dilapidated barn and an overgrown mac nut grove. She plans on selling it and using the money to live on, but she is drawn in by the mysterious objects kept in the barn by her late great-uncle––clues to a tragic piece of aviation history lost to time. Determined to find out what really happened all those years ago, Wren enlists the help of residents at a nearby retirement home to uncover Olivia’s story piece by piece. What she discovers is more earth-shattering, and closer to home, than she could have ever imagined.

My Thoughts

The Unchartered Flight of Olivia West is a superb read. Inspired by real events with a dual time narrative that is sure to both engage and thrill readers. In the historical timeline of 1927 is Olivia ‘Livy’ West who defies the odds to become one of the first female aviators embarking on a race across the Pacific Ocean. The more contemporary timeline of 1987 sees Wren who is down on her luck but finds she has inherited a remote piece of land in the Hawaiian islands. How the two timelines come together is well worth the read. 

‘The whole world narrowed down to a pinhead, the words thundering in her ears. If there was one thing Olivia West knew about herself, it was this: tell her she couldn't do something and she would prove you wrong, whatever the cost.’

Stories of remarkable women from history are always gratifying and this one is no exception. Banned as a pilot but gaining a spot on 1927 aircraft to be navigator for the dangerous Dole Derby Race from San Francisco to Hawaii, Livy proves herself time and again. This is a story that is full of action, adventure, determination, strength and survival. Wren’s story from 1987, though not as strong, still proves to be the perfect addition for events to unfold. 

‘… when they banked again and began another nosedive. That was when Livy understood that they only had one shot at making it out alive - she had to get herself into the pilot seat.’

This tale has it all - action, adventure and romance. If this plot and period appeals, you are sure not to be disappointed. Through the tears and triumphs, through the race and romance, The Uncharted Flight of Olivia West is sure to win many fans the world over. 

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.