reviews, books, blog tour

Blog Tour: Tiding – Siân Collins

December 1962. EleanorO’Dowd, a middle-aged piano teacher, is found stabbed and bludgeoned to death. As the Great Freeze of 1963 takes hold, local vicar’s daughter Daphne Morgan finds herself forced to navigate the confusing currents of the adult world, where she must face up to her own crimes and what she knows about the murder. A novel about memory and the power of the imagination…

SiânCollins was born in Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire. An Edinburgh graduate, she taught Anglo Saxon and Medieval Literature in South Africa, worked as an assistant editor on The Lancet, and ran English and Drama departments in several well-known London secondary schools. She returned to Carmarthenshire to teach, write, and relish life in the beautiful Tywi Valley. Her debut novel, Unleaving, was published in 2019.

My thoughts: seen through the eyes of a child, following the murder of her much disliked piano teacher, this charts the life of a small Welsh town, reeling from the tragedy. The police are convinced a local man – deaf mute Johnny – is their perpetrator, and his inability to communicate makes it all too easy to point the finger at him. But Daphne knows that’s not true, she saw something, or did she?

Meanwhile she and her school friends have worries of their own, have they been cursed? Are they responsible for the village’s recent troubles?

Told with a kind tone and full of the misunderstandings and tiny concerns of children, as well as the growing awareness of the unfairness of life, this is a gentle but moving story of a place and its people.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The House That Made Us – Alice Cavanagh

One Day meets UpThe House That Made Us is a love story – and a life story – told through a series of photographs and inspired by a true story

When Mac and Marie marry and find a home of their own, Mac takes a snap of them outside their newbuild bungalow, the garden bare and the paint on the front door still wet. It becomes a tradition, this snap, and slowly the photographs build into an album of a fifty-year relationship.

Every year they take a photo and though things change around them – the garden matures, the fashions change, they grow older – the one constant is their love. Every year, come rain, come shine, from the Seventies through the decades, every photo tells the story of their love. But life never travels the path you expect it to, though they know that a life with love is a life lived to the full.

Now, in the present day, the photo album belongs to someone who doesn’t know the people in its pages. As they watch the lives from the past unfold, will the truth of their love story be told…?

A heart-breaking story about life and love for readers who love Holly Miller, Jojo Moyes and Hazel Prior.

My thoughts: this was a moving and heartfelt book about love, family and the bonds that hold us to one another. Every week our narrator visits an elderly woman and they look at a photo album, a yearly picture of a couple (and then a varying number of children and pets) each year taken in front of their house.

Who they are, and indeed who our narrator and his listener are, is slowly revealed through the pictures and the story behind them. The story of Mac and Marie, and their home.

At times very sad, and at others laugh out loud funny, the ups and downs of the couple and their extended family is a true celebration of what it is to build a life and make a house a home.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Strays – Janeen Leese-Taylor

A murder without evidence, a secret that could topple society and a cop with a bit of a coffee habit!

Three things were certain in the mind of Officer Theodore Night:
One: There’s a serial killer loose in Portstewart
Two: His new friend is a werewolf
Three: He’s in way over his head

When bloody paw prints at a crime scene leads Officer Night to consider the impossible, he must rely not only on his years of investigative experience, but on the local werewolf pack, for help.
An unlikely friendship gives Night the edge he needs to prevent an all-out war. Has Blair, the mysterious barista from Bean and Gone, caused him to bite off more than he can chew?

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Janeen is an Irish author born and raised on the scenic Causeway Coast. Curious, and with a great love for adventure, Jan spent her childhood climbing trees and talking to her imaginary friends, many of whom have now found a home in her writing.

She has a bachelor’s degree in advertising and works for gaming companies around the world. She is a lover of all things fantasy and aims to bring some magic to the places that she visits in her writing. Portstewart, Dublin and Chester City each feature prominently in both her travels and her writing, and her stories often draw from real life places that have captured her heart.

As an ultramarathon runner, Jan often writes on the go, using her trusty phone and stylus to craft scenes that come to her after hours on her feet. 

She lives with her husband, Liam, their Border Collie-Cross, Zarya, and their Guinea Pig, (Peek-A) Boo, who they all fear will one day take over the world!

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My thoughts: when a series of brutal family killings has PSNI stumped, with the strange wolf prints (in a country where wolves have long been wiped out) that no one can identify, Officer Theo Night, K9 trainer and owner of 7 dogs (I love that a corgi cross called Flump is the pack leader) discovers that well, werewolves are real, living in Northern Ireland (and elsewhere) and yes, their killer may well be one.

Teaming up with reluctant lycanthrope and barista Blair to investigate the killings, Theo gets a crash course in werewolf history and politics, going toe to toe with Alphas, determined to find the killer and his pack, and put a stop to the reign of terror.

This was a lot of fun, and I want more. Ireland has a hugely rich mythology, with creatures found nowhere else and a lot of them are pretty scary. I have a book of Irish fairy tales and some are nightmare inducing. I’d love Blair and Theo to become like The X-Files or Wellington Paranormal of Northern Ireland. That would be great. The ending hints at such a possibility, so fingers crossed.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Woodborn – Heather Nix

Woodborn by Heather Nix is finally on tour and we’re thrilled to share it today! Read on for details and be sure to enter the giveaway at the end – A book box containing the book and other bookish goodies!


Woodborn (Song of Gods #1)

Expected Publication Date: January 21, 2023

Genre: Sapphic Fantasy/ High Fantasy

“I do not know how I lived in darkness for so many years with this bright world just waiting for me to grasp it.”

Maelwen is a young witch trapped in a harsh and unforgiving life. Friendless and alone, she endures terrible abuse in order to survive in the desolate land of Iowain.

Across the continent, Cicerine, a virtuous young faun, lives in the idyllic glade of Kanitosh Woods. Alongside her mother and closest friend, she is raised with dutiful reverence for the god, Idyth—led by the mysterious Father Farragen.

After escaping her tormentor and seeking a new life of her own, Maelwen finds a fresh start in the seedy trade city of Konidas. Meanwhile, a terrible tragedy befalls the glade, and Cicerine must flee to the same seaside town, leaving behind all she has ever known.

As a dark and menacing force spreads across Idythia, can Maelwen’s gifts and Cicerine’s developing power stand against the threat which faces them all? Alongside found family, new friends, and a crew of sapphic pirates, the line between good and evil is tested as the continent prepares for an epic battle.

CW: This is a sapphic fantasy novel, featuring a great deal of blood. Full list here

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My bare feet pad along the floor of my small apartment as I head toward the bedroom. The desolate and stark journey from Iowain to Konidas took three days’ time, and I arrived two months ago today. I slept on the open ground, wrapped in my cloak beneath the wide sky, full of stars. I did not encounter a single living creature as I flew. The nights were silent but for the whistle of the wind and the soft rustle of my cloak, becoming as familiar to me as a part of my ‌body. Tiny pinprick scars now run along my arms and back from wrist to wrist, where it stitches to my skin for flight, looking like a seam pulled undone. They are the only wounds which my body has not healed. It feels odd, like finding something I did not know belonged to me. The cloak currently lies draped over a chair in my sitting room, humming softly to me as I sit on my bed. Months ago, I only dreamed of freedom. Now, I have it.

This apartment sits over a tavern in Konidas. The owners are human, plump, and kind-hearted. The night I arrived here, the tavern was the first open business I found, and I shook off the chill at a barstool with a tankard of frothy ale. The barkeep made small talk, and after the ale loosened my tongue, I let slip that I had just arrived and had made no arrangements for housing. I had planned on renting a room at the inn by the docks, despite the cost—rooms were rented by the day or the hour, not monthly. Without renting one of the rickety, dilapidated homes in town or an apartment above one of the small businesses, the cost of living in a transient city like Konidas is high. However, by the end of the night, I had made my first friend, the barkeep, Shell. She is the daughter of the tavern owners who coincidentally, and conveniently, had an empty apartment upstairs. I can’t help but feel like this is all too easy, too good. I have never had a home or a friend, and this comfort is unnerving. Some god or goddess must have been on my shoulder, guiding me toward complete strangers who somehow trusted me enough to offer up an apartment within hours of my arrival. I would say thanks if we still recalled the names of the gods. I paid them upfront for three months, a show of good faith that I can at least be counted on in that regard. I am not a friendly face, but money is just as good when it comes to trust. For the second time today, I pull out my sack of coin from beneath my mattress and count it. Jarrus’s savings and my meager hoard made a fair sum, and I have a decent amount left, but soon I will need to come up with a way to make more. I slide beneath my blankets and with a small smile allow myself to drift to sleep—almost happy for the first time in my life.

I wake with the dawn, the pale pink light of sunrise filtering through my small window. There is a marked quiet to the morning and my brow furrows as I look around. My cloak has gone quiet. The persistent hum has stopped, and my senses feel dulled. I am tired, despite my night of sleep, and my body aches. Hunger grabs onto the pit of my stomach with a twisting cramp and I stand, unsteady on my feet. I dress in a pair of charcoal gray pants and a silk blouse, and I pull my long hair back into a leather tie. The staircase down to the tavern seems to shift beneath my feet, and I grip the railing to keep from falling. Shell is busy wiping down the bar, and I can smell something cooking in the kitchen, but it makes my stomach turn. Nearly gagging, I push my way through the door and out into the morning bustle.

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*Cover Art by Anna Doušová

About the Author


Heather Nix is the debut author of Woodborn, the first book in the Song of Gods series. Born and raised in sunny San Diego, CA she longs to return to the forests of the Pacific Northwest. She is the mother of two human and three cat children, and enjoys tattoos, tabletop RPGs, and creating feminist art in her limited spare time. Heather is passionate about writing queer fantasy and strives to create nuanced characters who resonate with underserved communities.

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My thoughts: you know when you’re really enjoying a book and then it ends and you’re annoyed? This book did that. I need book 2 now, I need to know my weird gang of lesbians (who are variously a witch, a faun, a nereid and pirates) are all ok, and the rest of the crew too! Is Shell’s tavern in one piece? Did the cat make it?

This starts off with each of the key characters separate but slowly brings them together as they learn who and what they are, what powers they possess, oh and get sexy too!

If the rest of the series is this good, I will be unavailable for the foreseeable as I’ll be busy reading it.

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Book Tour Schedule

January 16th

R&R Book Tours (Kick-Off)

@afantaseaofbooks (Review)

@gwendalyn_books_ (Review)

Gwendalyn’s Books –

@books.and.salt (Spotlight)

Books Blog (Spotlight)

January 17th

@fantastic__fiction (Review)

@boundbymischief (Review)

I Love Books & Stuff (Spotlight)

@better_0ff_read (Spotlight)

Stine Writing (Spotlight)

January 18th

@amber.bunch_author (Review)

@margiebythebookcase (Review)

Bunny’s Reviews (Review)

The Faerie Review (Review)

Lady Hawkeye (Spotlight)

@kellyatx (Spotlight)

January 19th

@crazybookloverz (Review)

@laras.litreads (Review)

@littlebonelibrary (Review)

@r.c.thomson (Review)

@vinamkent_author (Review)

January 20th

@thelibrocubicularista (Review)

@mels_booksandhooks (Review)

Rambling Mads (Review)

@elinasbookstagram (Review)

@booksdogsandcoffee (Review)

@the_princess_library (Review)

Book Tour Organized By:

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Blog Tour: Death at Crookham Hall – Michelle Salter

A fatal jump. A missing suffragette. An inexplicable murder.
London, 1920. When she catches news of a big story, reporter Iris Woodmore rushes to the House of Commons. But it’s a place that holds painful memories. In 1914, her mother died there when she fell into the River Thames during a daring suffragette protest. But in the shadow of Big Ben, a waterman tells Iris her mother didn’t fall – she jumped.
Iris discovers that the suffragette with her mother that fateful day has been missing for years, disappearing just after the protest. Desperate to know the truth behind the fatal jump, Iris’s investigation leads her to Crookham Hall, an ancestral home where secrets and lies lead to murder…

Michelle Salter is a historical crime fiction writer based in northeast Hampshire. Many local locations appear in her mystery novels. She’s also a copywriter and has written features for national
magazines. When she’s not writing, Michelle can be found knee-deep in mud at her local nature reserve. She enjoys working with a team of volunteers undertaking conservation activities.

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My thoughts: this was a very enjoyable historical crime thriller. Iris is trying to cover a story but the one she really wants answers to is that of her mother’s terrible death, falling into the Thames. But now she has new evidence from a witness – her mother jumped, but why? And where did the other woman, a fellow suffragette, disappear to? Iris is determined to get answers, even if they’re painful to hear.

Two women are contesting an MP’s seat, for the first time and one of them knew her mother. But there’s a lot more going on in this electoral race. Digging into a complicated nest of secrets gives Iris the truth and plenty to cover too. A great start to a new series.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Blog Tour: Dirt – Sarah Sultoon


1996. Northern Israel. Lola leaves an unhappy home life in England for the fabled utopian life of a kibbutz, but this heavily guarded farming community on the Arab-Israeli border isn’t the idyll it seems, and tensions are festering.

Hundreds of miles away, in the Jerusalem offices of the International Tribune newspaper, all eyes are on Israel’s response to a spate of rocket attacks from Lebanon, until cub reporter Jonny Murphy gets a tip from a mysterious source that sends him straight into the danger zone.

When the body of an Arab worker is discovered in the dirt of the kibbutz chicken house, it triggers a series of events that puts Lola and the whole community in jeopardy, and Jonny begins to uncover a series of secrets that put everything at risk, as he starts to realise just how far some people will go to belong…

Sarah Sultoon is a journalist and writer, whose work as an international news executive at CNN has taken her all over the world, from the seats of power in both Westminster and Washington to the frontlines of Iraq and Afghanistan. Of Jewish and Indian descent, she has extensive experience in conflict zones, winning three Peabody awards for her work on the war in Syria, an Emmy for her contribution to the coverage of Europe’s migrant crisis in 2015, and a number of Royal Television Society gongs. When not reading or writing she can usually be found somewhere outside, either running, swimming or throwing a ball for her three children and dog while she imagines what might happen if… Her debut thriller The Source is currently in production with Lime Pictures, was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger, won the Crime Fiction Lover Debut Thriller Award, was a Capital Crime Book Club pick and a number-one bestseller on Kindle.

My thoughts: my mum stayed on a kibbutz many years ago (she was a teenager) with her Israeli friend and the most outrageous thing was the fact that a man called Jesus used to do the washing up in the nude! She worked in the kitchens and claims the worst bit was the early mornings. No terrible murders there.

But the kibbutz at the heart of the cracking read is riddled with secrets, lies and death. Not exactly the utopia community that the media tries to portray them as to lure in volunteers. Lola is a Londoner, a gentile, the ultimate outsider here, but she has secrets too and they might just be dangerous. Johnny Murphy’s mother was Israeli, his father Irish, and they met on the kibbutz. But a chance to blow open the murder in the International Tribune and stake his journalistic career means he’s there too, trying to find out what’s going on.

The closed community, the claustrophobia of sharing living spaces with strangers, the isolation of this particular kibbutz, the proximity of the border with Lebanon, all serve to heighten the tension as events spiral and paranoia grows. Really, really good stuff.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Village Vicar – Julie Houston

Fans of Katie Fforde, Phillipa Ashley and The Vicar of Dibley will love this heartwarming and witty new novel from Julie Houston.

Three devoted sisters… One complicated family.
When Rosa Quinn left her childhood home in Westenbury, she never expected to return over a decade later as the village vicar. But after a health scare and catching her boyfriend cheating, Rosa jumps at the chance to start over and live closer to her triplet sisters Eva and Hannah.
But Rosa’s isn’t the only old face in the village, and when her role in the parish throws her into the path of her ex, she begins to wonder if she’s made a terrible mistake. Meanwhile, Eva and Hannah
face their own troubles, as secrets about their family threaten to emerge.
Can Rosa make a life for herself in Westenbury? Or will the sisters discover you can’t run away from the past?

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Praise for Julie Houston:
‘A warm, funny story of sisters and the secrets they keep’ Sheila O’Flanagan
‘Warm, funny and well written, with a page turning plot, this book has everything! I loved it!’ Katie Fforde
‘Julie Houston at her best – heartfelt and hilarious’ Sandy Barker
‘Laugh-out-loud hilarious and heartwarming!’ Mandy Baggot
‘This book is an absolute gigglefest with characters you’ll fall in love with!’ Katie Ginger

Julie Houston lives in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire where her novels are set, and her only claims to fame are that she teaches part-time at ‘Bridget Jones’ author Helen Fielding’s old junior school and
her neighbour is ‘Chocolat’ author, Joanne Harris. Julie is married, with two adult children and a ridiculous Cockerpoo called Lincoln. She runs and swims because she’s been told it’s good for her, but would really prefer a glass of wine, a sun lounger and a jolly good book – preferably with Dev Patel in attendance.

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My thoughts: Westenbury sounds so delightful every time I read one of Julie Houston’s books and this is more of the same. Despite how complicated the family at the heart of this book is (and it really is!) they all love one another and Rosa and her sisters have a tight bond.

They all have their ups and downs, their struggles and tragedies and wins, just like all of us. Rosa has swapped a life of City success for a dog collar and the rambling old vicarage her grandfather once ruled, but she’s a different kind of incumbent. She enjoys a glass of wine and a gossip, and still wants to find love too. It’s not all fire and brimstone from the pulpit. Her sister Hannah has similar romantic dreams – but with complications and then there’s Freya – is her marriage really so perfect? Throw in troubled teens, exes, elderly parents, local gossips and a new dentist and well, it’s all a lot of fun.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Fallen Butterfly – Anna Nicholas

Eccentric, headstrong and engaging, Isabel Flores Montserrat is a cross between a highly charged Precious Ramotswe (The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency) & Phyrne Fisher (Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries).

With political tensions running high due to a controversial new motorway scheme, the chilling and ritualistic murder of a high-flying local government minister sends shockwaves through the island. When her home is ransacked and another brutal killing occurs, Isabel Flores Montserrat, unorthodox former detective, joins up once again with Mallorca’s police chief, Tolo Cabot, in a perilous race for answers. Meanwhile, fear and distrust grow in Isabel’s village as fake signs and cairn markers send disorientated hikers plunging off cliffs. Is this mountain mischief the work of environmentalists or is something far more sinister afoot?

ANNA NICHOLAS is of Celtic origin & has lived for 20 years in rural Mallorca. An inveterate traveller & experienced freelance journalist, she regularly participates in humanitarian aid expeditions overseas with British explorer Colonel John Blashford-Snell, CBE & is a Fellow of the RGS. She ran her own PR company in Mayfair, London, for 20 years, was a Guinness Book of Records adjudicator alongside the book’s founder, Norris McWhirter, CBE, and as a rookie press officer at charity Help the Aged, handled events for Princess Diana. She runs an international marathon annually for her favourite causes. Anna & friend, Alison, are currently scaling all of Mallorca’s 54 peaks over 1,000m. They hope to be the first women to have climbed them all by the end of 2023.

My thoughts: I want to go to Mallorca, the food alone in this book sounds amazing. But only if Isabel is around to keep it crime free!

She’s back in another puzzling murder mystery, along with her assistant Pep and trusty ferret sidekick Furo. As someone who loves animals I really enjoy the bond between woman and creature, and he’s ace at solving crimes, literally finding clues humans would miss.

The transport minister is found dead trapped in a body bag in the water, filled with dead fish and insects – namely the local yellow butterflies. Who killed him and why the additional creatures? What message is being sent?

Meanwhile another, stranger, crime is perplexing the local police – someone seems to be switching the route signs up in the mountains and hikers are having accidents. Is it a local artist or is something much more sinister going on?

Thankfully Isabel is on the case, as wellas running her holiday lets business and being on the planning committee for the local fiesta. She’s a busy woman!

Lots of fun and a spot of romance with Tolo too. Just don’t read it when you’re in bed, I couldn’t put it down!

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Daisy Does It Herself – Gracie Player

Sometimes, the Last Place You Intended to Go is Exactly Where You Need to Be.

When 26-year-old Daisy’s life in London comes crashing down around her, the only thing she canthink of is getting away – far away. That’s how she found herself stumbling off a train in England’s
picturesque Peak District – 150 miles from home, with no idea why she’d gone there and even less idea how she intended to get home.
As Daisy explores the gorgeous village of Upper Finlay, she glimpses the possibility of a different life.
The Derbyshire Dales offer up new friends, new opportunities, and a distractingly dishy object of attraction in the form of local bookstore owner Alex (and his bumbling Great Dane.) When Daisy
discovers Alex’s business is in trouble she steps in to save the day.
But London’s Calling – literally. The life Daisy ran away from is calling her back. Why then, is she so reluctant to heed its call?
Daisy’s got a decision to make: Will she play it safe, and return to what she knew? Or is she brave enough to take a leap of faith and create a bold, new life for herself in the last place she’d ever expected?
Daisy Does it Herself is a sweet, uplifting romantic comedy about the power of self-confidence, friendship and of course love! Fans of warm and witty romantic comedies with a guaranteed
happily-ever-after will be entranced.

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Gracie is the author of the romantic fiction novel Daisy Does it Herself.
Gracie loves to create strong, quirky heroines and hopes to introduce you to your latest book-boyfriend crush.
She makes her home in the stunning Peak District in Derbyshire. Where she lives with her partner — amid ongoing negotiations over the size of her book collection and whose job it is to take out the bins!

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My thoughts: this was a lot of fun and I really liked Daisy. She loses her job, her (actually quite awful) boyfriend all in the same day and finds herself in Derbyshire after falling asleep on the train.

A bookshop offers her shelter and there she meets Wolf the dog and Alex the bookshop owner. Offering to stay for a month for room and board in exchange for helping out in the shop, designing a website and generally avoiding the mess of her London life, Daisy stays put. And has a wonderful, happy month. And even comes up with a way to save the bookshop for closing. She’s basically awesome. And her stupid boyfriend who belittles her belongs in the bin.

Luckily she realises that she doesn’t want her old life when she can make herself a new, happier one with new friends and perhaps a new love in Upper Finlay. Thank goodness. Honestly if she’d gone back to stupid Phil I’d have been cross. Daisy feels like someone I’d want to be friends with, a fellow bookworm and a fun person. More Daisy please!

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: My (extra) Ordinary Life – Rebecca Ryan

Have you ever wondered how normal you are? 
What if you were perfectly average? 
More than anyone else. 

For Emily – it’s true. When she watches a documentary on the average human she sees her life. Her job, her hair, her favourite food. All of her – plainly, horrifically average. Even her blood group. Right there and then, she decides she wants more

She’ll travel the world (i.e. venture out of her hometown)

She’ll become a vegan (it’s interesting to hate cheese, right?) 

She’ll do something daring (As long as it’s safety tested) 

Nothing will stand in the way of Emily living her best life. Not even Josh and his dimples. Because she absolutely can’t fall in love… that would be too ordinary. 

And from now on, Emily is going to be extraordinary. 

My thoughts: Emily is stuck in a rut, and grieving a terrible loss she won’t discuss, even with best friend Kaz. She thinks she’s too ordinary, and now she’s planning on shaking things up and becoming extraordinary.

I’ve been there, Emily is very relatable, I’m sure we’ve all had days, weeks, months, years, where we struggle to work out who we are and what we want from life.

Not all of us are dealing with the kind of loss Emily is, but the rest of her misadventures, from somehow surviving a Tough Mudder (I’d be dead about 2 minutes in) to not falling in love because that’s so ordinary, she’s going to become something better, something extraordinary. Or maybe discover she’s been that all along.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.