Monday 5 December 2022


Book review: The Complete Fairy Stories of Oscar Wilde [blog tour]

I love a good fairy tale; whether it's a creepy classic (Brothers Grimm, I'm looking at you), a kids-friendly Disney adaptation, a retelling challenging traditional storytelling, or a contemporary take... if there's a story of good versus evil, with some fantastical elements thrown in I'm there for it. Yet, despite Oscar Wilde being one of the most famous writers of all time, I didn't realise he had a collection of fairy tales under his belt. So I'm delighted I had the chance to discover his stories with a brand-new hardback edition published by Duckworth Books. 

Tuesday 29 November 2022


Book review: The Cornish Cream Tea Bookshop by Cressida McLaughlin [blog tour]

I've been in such a Christmas romance mood with my books lately (in fact, I've accumulated over ten new festive reads in the last month alone...) and Cressida McLaughlin's wonderful novels set in the picturesque, fictional village of Port Karadow always hit the spot for me. And none as much as the latest addition to her Cornish Cream Team series, which is all about a new book shop that has opened up in town. Combining a love of books with a festive setting, makes for the cosiest of reads to curl up with on a dark and cold afternoon (hot drink of choice optional, but very much recommended). 

Monday 28 November 2022


Theatre review: Top Hat at The Mill at Sonning

Top Hat is an iconic Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers musical from the 1930s, featuring music and lyrics by the equally iconic Irving Berlin. Yet, despite its age and recognisable musical numbers, it was only turned into a stage production about 10 years ago in the UK. And after nationwide tour, the show had a short-lived but well-loved run in the West End, before going back on the road. I saw it twice during its stint in London and am thrilled the show is now back on stage for British audiences to enjoy. This time around it's playing at the Mill at Sonning, a dinner theatre near Reading. 

Monday 21 November 2022


Book review: What's For Dessert by Claire Saffitz [blog tour]

Claire Saffitz is a prolific baker and self- proclaimed "dessert person". I first discovered her through the Gourmet Makes series on Bon Appetit's YouTube and have continued to follow her career as she launched her own very successful YouTube channel all about sweet and savoury bakes.

Monday 7 November 2022


Book review: Thirteen Ways to Smell a Tree by David George Haskell [blog tour]

Trees line even the most urbanised of streets. Yet despite having them on our doorsteps, beyond appreciating the blossoms and coloured leaves as the seasons change, many people don't take much notice of them. And that's a real shame. Trees are vital to us, working hard to give us green spaces, oxygen, and a viable ecosystem for the many big and small organisms that keep our planet alive.

Monday 24 October 2022


Book review: The Empire by Michael Ball [blog tour]

Michael Ball is a legendary British musical theatre performer. Well-known for originating the role of Marius in the London production of Les Miserables, playing the titular character in Sweeney Todd, and taking over the role of Raoul in The Phantom of the Opera, he's now turning his hand to writing. The question on everyone's mind, of course, is whether he is a quadruple threat (adding writing to his list of talents), or if he should stick to performing on a physical stage rather than creating one within the pages of his debut novel The Empire.

Tuesday 18 October 2022


Book review: Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver

I love a retelling; whether it's a feminist take on ancient Greek myths or a contemporary adaptation of a classic fairy tale. So when I heard that Demon Copperhead is a modern-day version of Charles Dickens' David Copperfield, my interest was immediately piqued. My only experience with Dickens retellings is A Christmas Carol (of which The Muppet Christmas Carol is without a doubt the superior version), which is a wildly different story although some of the same themes emerge: inequity, poverty, and resilience in the face of unimaginable hardship. 

Monday 17 October 2022


Theatre review: Agatha Christie's The Mirror Crack'd at Oxford Playhouse

Anyone who's visited this blog in recent years will know I'm a big fan of murder mysteries, especially those written by Agatha Christie. Her huge collection of works has stood the test of time for a reason, and is being adapted into brand-new cinematic and theatrical adaptations to this day. Witness for the Prosecution has been running successfully for years (as has The Mousetrap, which recently celebrated 70 years in the West End) and earlier this year I saw the excellent Murder on the Orient Express at the Chichester Festival Theatre (which also had a short stint in Bath). Now, The Mirror Crack'd is on tour across the UK and I had the pleasure of catching a performance at the Oxford Playhouse.

Friday 14 October 2022


Book review: The Almanac: A Seasonal Guide to 2023 by Lia Leendertz [blog tour]

In recent years, many people have been gravitating more towards nature to ground and guide them. Just look at the rising popularity of allotments, foraging, and house plants. And I fully admit, I'm one of those people. I've always loved exploring the natural world, but it's only recently I've become more aware and knowledgeable of so many things around me. As the seasons are changing and the days are getting darker, one might be mistaken to think that the time for explorations is over for the year. But that's not the case. Every season and every month has something that makes that moment in time unique and worth celebrating. And that's exactly what The Almanac shows its readers. 

Friday 23 September 2022


Book review: The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill [blog tour]

With the amount of murder mysteries that have come out lately, it feels like we're in the second golden age of detective fiction – and I am all here for it. I've found a renewed love for Agatha Christie, and I'm thrilled that more and more 'locked room' style whodunnits are being published to continue to feed my addiction. This year alone I've had the pleasure to read The Maid by Nita Prose, Miss Aldridge Regrets by Louise Hare, A Fatal Crossing by Tom Hindle, and now The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill. My interest for this book was first sparked by the striking cover and title, and after the turning the final page I am glad that I can say that the story fully lived up to my high expectations.

Thursday 15 September 2022


Book review: Cornish Clouds and Silver Lining Skies by Ali McNamara

Ali McNamara has been one of my go-to women's fiction authors ever since I read Step Back In Time in 2013 (nearly 10 years ago now, wow!). I've devoured many of her books since, such as Letters From Lighthouse Cottage and The Little Flower Shop by the Sea. And after not really picking up contemporary romance fiction for a few years, it were her novels that got me right back into them. Returning to her fictional town of St Felix in Cornish Clouds and Silver Lining Skies felt like reuniting with an old friend. 

Monday 12 September 2022


Book review: Ithaca by Claire North

A flurry of Greek retellings has been published in recent years and I absolutely love it. I've always enjoyed reading and learning about the classics, and many of the reimaginings that are released these days shine a light on the women that were so often only briefly mentioned in the heroic tales of the Greek men and gods. These new books show that these women were often just as important – if not moreso – in creating the legendary stories as we know them today. 

Wednesday 7 September 2022


Book review: Wolfsong by TJ Klune [blog tour]

At the start of this year I FINALLY joined the TJ Klune hype train. I read The House in the Cerulean Sea and Under the Whispering Door back-to-back and was instantly obsessed with the beautifully heartfelt and unique magical worlds created by Klune's imagination. Needless to say, I was thrilled to discover that one of his older series, Green Creek, is now being released in the UK so I can continue to build my collection. 

Thursday 1 September 2022


Book reviews: If the Shoe Fits by Julie Murphy & By the Book by Jasmine Guillory (Meant to Be series)

I love a good fairy tale retelling. However, the ones I've read up until this point usually fall into one of two categories: empowering a female character and making them a bad-ass hero in a fantasy world, or redeeming a villain by diving into their back story to make the reader realise that they're not evil, just misunderstood. These are great arcs, don't get me wrong, but they have started to feel a bit repetitive. The Meant to Be series by Studio Press (Bonnier Books), has taken a completely different take with their retellings: placing classic fairy tale characters in contemporary, Hallmark-like romance stories. And they absolutely smashed it.

Thursday 18 August 2022


Book review: The Twist of a Knife by Anthony Horowitz (Hawthorne Investigates #4)

The Hawthorne Investigates series is a contemporary take on Sherlock Holmes. On the one hand you have a genius, but self-centred private investigator and on the other his bumbling sidekick. The twist? In this version, the sidekick is none other author Anthony Horowitz himself. Sure, he's fictionalised in some ways, but there's also a lot of truth in the story, from publisher meetings to references of working on his other books. This approach wonderfully blends reality with fiction, adding an extra layer of enjoyment on top of what's already a fantastic book series.

Thursday 4 August 2022


Book review: The Last Party by Clare Mackintosh

I recently read Hostage, my first Clare Mackintosh novel, and I was completely gripped throughout this page-turner, not seeing some of the revelations coming at all. So I was thrilled to discover that not only do I have a fairly extensive back catalogue by the author to catch up on, a new novel was coming out just weeks after I finished the last one: The Last Party

Tuesday 19 July 2022


Book review: Time After Time by Louise Pentland [blog tour]

Louise Pentland is as a prolific British YouTuber and Instagrammer, whose online channels are homey, family-oriented, and cosy. Alongside her social media work, she has written a trio of novels about fictional character Robin Wilde, and non-fiction book, MumLife, a memoir about motherhood. As a big fan of Louise's online content – and a book blogger to boot – it's shocking I haven't read any of her books to date. So I'm very glad I've FINALLY been able to rectify this shameful fact by devouring her latest standalone novel (in a single afternoon, that's how much I got swept away by the story!). 

Thursday 14 July 2022


Theatre review: Disney's Beauty and the Beast at The London Palladium

My first "big" theatre experience was Disney's Beauty and the Beast on Broadway back in 2006. As a big fan of the movie, and it being my first Broadway show, it didn't take much to impress me. And impress me it did. From the lavish musical numbers through to Donny Osmond's surprising comic turn as Gaston, the more-muscles-than-brains bully wanting to marry Belle. Fast-forward 16 years and the Disney classic has made a return to London's West End, for a short stint as part of a wider UK tour. Is the show still impressive, or has some of the glitz and glamour worn off? I had the chance to find out earlier this week.

Monday 4 July 2022


Book review: The Cornish Cream Tea Holiday by Cressida McLaughlin [blog tour]

For years I read little besides contemporary women's fiction novels. The cute and cosy kind, set in the idyllic English countryside with a woman looking for a drastic change in her life and moving next-door to a gruff but dashing man. Hilarity – and romance – ensued. But over time my reading tastes changed (perhaps a case of too much of a good thing). Thankfully, after a break of a few years, the romcom bug has finally hit me again. I've been on the look-out for the perfect read and Cressida McLaughlin managed to fill that hole in my life (and then some) with her latest Cornish adventure.

Wednesday 15 June 2022


Book review: One of the Girls by Lucy Clarke [blog tour]

There are few authors whose books I instantly move to the top of my to-be-read list when a new one is released, but Lucy Clarke is one of them. Ever since I read her debut The Sea Sisters back in 2013 (nearly 10 years ago now, wow!) I've been a big fan of her writing. She perfectly blends atmospheric travel writing with mystery and intrigue; transporting the reader to an exotic location while keeping them on the edge of their seat.

Monday 16 May 2022


Theatre review: Ilan Eshkeri's Space Station Earth at the Royal Albert Hall

Ilan Eshkeri is a British composer well-known for his sweeping film scores (two of my favs are Stardust and Kick-Ass). Together with astronauts from the European Space Agency he has brought his iconic style of music together with unique footage from out of space to create an immersive theatrical experience. It shows us the beauty that space has to offer – and how tiny we are in the grand scheme of things. It's both magnificent and humbling. 

Friday 6 May 2022


Book review: The Agathas by Kathleen Glasgow and Liz Lawson [blog tour]

With the comeback of golden age murder mysteries, it was only a matter of time before a novel would emerge in the young adult genre reminiscent of these old school detective stories. And while The Agathas by co-authors Kathleen Glasgow and Liz Lawson may not be the first one to be released (or it might be!), it is the first one that I've picked up. The title refers to the novel's protagonist, who is a big fan of Agatha Christie (hard relate) and, coincidentally, gets embroiled into a real-life murder mystery. Dun, dun, dun...

Tuesday 26 April 2022


Book review: Miss Aldridge Regrets by Louise Hare [blog tour]

Miss Aldridge Regrets by Louise Hare is not the first historical murder mystery I've come across that's set on a cruise ship. In fact, it's not even the first one I've read this year, as I also devoured A Fatal Crossing by Tom Hindle a few months ago (it must be the Death on the Nile effect). But that doesn't mean I enjoyed it any less. The setting creates the perfect backdrop for a "locked room" mystery; where readers get to intimately know all the key players one by one until they start becoming either a victim or suspect in a murderous game of cat and mouse. And, of course, there are plenty of clever red herrings interspersed into the story to throw both te characters – and the reader – off the scent of the killer.

Thursday 17 March 2022


Book review: Moonlight and the Pearler's Daughter by Lizzie Pook [blog tour]

It's 1896 when Eliza Brightwell's father goes missing one night from his boat, disappearing without a trace. He's a beloved pearler in the town of Bannin Bay in Western Australia; his supposed murder causing speculation amidst the townspeople, and an innocent man is soon hunted for the deed, pursuit and blamed just because of the colour of his skin. When Eliza's brother disappears to settle the family affairs, she's left alone with the unrest brewing in Bannin Bay. Convinced her father is still alive, and the jailed Balarri is an innocent man, she realises that the only way to get to the bottom of the truth is if she'd seek it out herself. 

Monday 14 March 2022


Book review: The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd [blog tour]

Who doesn't love a good map? Even in the age of sat nav and mobile phones giving us very precise directions about which turns to take, there is still a place for physical maps in the world. The average person may not be using them frequently in their everyday lives anymore, but folding out a map and physically tracing directions has a certain kind of transportive magic to it, doesn't it? That's the premise of The Cartographers, sort of. 

Friday 11 March 2022


Book review: The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake [blog tour]

Imagine that the Library of Alexandria still existed; within its walls housing the original texts and scriptures that were thought to be lost forever. It would hold an endless amount of knowledge beyond our wildest imaginations, from the original musings from Roman philosophers through to the seemingly impossible, teetering on the edge of myths and magic. And now imagine that the library forms the heart of a secret society that binds together some of the most powerful and influential people in the world – and you're tapped to join. An invitation like that sounds pretty irresistible doesn't it? It certainly does to the six people who are chosen for this decade's initiation class into the society...

Friday 4 March 2022


Book review: The Embroidered Book by Kate Heartfield [blog tour]

I love a good historical fiction read with a fantastical element. So when I first heard about The Embroidered Book by Kate Heartfield – a story about Marie Antoinette and magic – I was immediately intrigued. And it didn't disappoint. The novel details a rich and complex part of European history and deftly intersperses it with layers of magic and illusion unlike anything else I've ever read.  

Tuesday 1 March 2022


Book review: Reputation by Sarah Vaughan [blog tour]

If I see a new book coming out by author Sarah Vaughan, I'm instantly interested – no matter what it's about. I already thoroughly enjoyed her women's fiction novel The Art of Baking Blind (and even interviewed her about it), but was absolutely blown-away by political courtroom thriller Anatomy of a Scandal (for which I interviewed her again) – which is launching as a TV-series on Netflix next month. Yes, it's that good that even Netflix wants in on it. Needless to say, I am thrilled to be a part of the blog tour for her latest novel: Reputation, which is coming out on Thursday. 

Wednesday 16 February 2022


Book review: The Staycation by Cressida McLaughlin [blog tour]

Who would've thought just a few years ago that 'staycation' would become such a normal part of our everyday vocabulary? With lockdowns, continuously changing travel restrictions, and uncertainties, it's been a lifeline for many to still get that holiday feeling amidst all the pandemic craziness. Personally, I love a staycation – always have. I'm usually super busy with work and life, so getting to relish some downtime in my own space, is something I treasure a lot. But what if the 'staycation' is a forced one in a hotel overseas, because you're recovering from an accident? Or what if it's the only way to go on holiday because you're afraid of travelling? That's the premise of this new romantic comedy by Cressida McLaughlin

Monday 7 February 2022


Book review: The Language of Food by Annabel Abbs [blog tour]

You know when you read a book (in one sitting) that is so good that you immediately have to message everyone you know who has ever picked up a book in their life that they immediately need to read it? That's The Language of Food by Annabel Abbs for me. I was mildly interested in it because of that stunning cover and the fact that it's a historical fiction with a foodie twist, but never did I think I would fall in love with it as much as I did. But I have, and I will warn you now that I will continue banging on about how amazing this novel is for the remainder of 2022. 

Monday 31 January 2022


3 new must-read murder mystery books for Agatha Christie fans

I'm not sure why there is a bumper of new book releases on the third Thursday in January. Perhaps the publishers have unanimously decided we all needed a pick-me-up during this dreary time (and they're not wrong). Either way, earlier this month more than a dozen new books were published that have been on my much-anticipated list of new releases for 2022 – and three of those were murder mysteries that are perfect reads for fans of classic Agatha Christie whodunnits. 

Monday 24 January 2022


Book review: The Maid by Nita Prose [blog tour]

Happy New Year! I took a break on here during the holidays as I was with my family in the Netherlands for over a month, away from all my books, but I'm back now and ready to get stuck in. I've only been in the U.K. for two weeks but I was so excited about all the new books that were waiting for me (both upcoming releases and those I bought online in the end of year sales) that I've already raced through four incredible new reads, including The Maid. In 2021, I got really into murder mystery reads, and while they were mostly of the classic Agatha Christie style variety, Nita Prose how done a fantastic job creating a compelling contemporary story with this 'cosy crime' vibe.