Wednesday, 27 January 2021

The Things We Don't Say - Ella Carey


From top-ten bestseller Ella Carey comes a gripping, haunting and utterly captivating novel about
love, secrets and betrayal in a story that spans the most tumultuous decades of the twentieth century.

What happens when the truths you have built your life on start to crumble?

Emma Temple sits looking out of the window in her beautiful apartment in the heart of London, surrounded by memories of her younger years as one of England’s most influential artists. Nearly ninety, it would be easy to overlook her as a forgetful older lady. But Emma’s past, including her great love affair which survived two world wars, is about to come crashing into the present.

When her granddaughter Laura arrives asking questions about the portrait that hangs above her bed, Emma is transported back over sixty years. The picture was painted by the only man she ever truly loved, the one soul on earth who knew her deepest secret. But when a newspaper claims that the portrait is a fake, everything Emma believed to be true starts to collapse. Suddenly she is transported back to a sunny house in the south of France in 1923 and the moment when her life changed forever…

An incredibly emotional and totally compelling historical novel about the relationships that shape us and the secrets we never forget. Fans of My Name is Eva, Fiona Valpy and Rhys Bowen will be completely transported from the very first page.  

My Review

The Things We Don't Say is the second novel I have read by Ella Carey. Like the previous one, this story takes part both in the past and the more recent past. The story focuses on a painting, titled The Things We Don't Say. It was painted back in the '30s and is now worth a small fortune. Emma, the subject of the painting has used it as collateral for a loan for her Granddaughter, Laura's tuition at the Royal College of Music. When it's authenticity is questioned, it puts not only Laura's course at risk, but also throws into question the love that she shared with Patrick who painted it.
This was an interesting and entertaining read. I loved the way that the characters were based on the Bloomsbury Group. I also enjoyed the crossing from the 1980s to earlier. The story unfolding in the 1980s is just as interesting as the mystery of who painted the portrait and how the belief that it might be fake has occurred.
There was one little thing that I didn't quite buy into. The loan that Laura has for her study is enormous. Even today, it would cost nowhere near that much to live in London and study at the Royal College of Music. Entry there isn't restricted by cost, but by talent. Even if she had completed her undergraduate degree there, fees weren't charged for bachelor degrees until the late 1990s. Why such a huge loan is taken out is never explained. Without it though, there would be little drive for the bank to make such a fuss. I suppose we can put it down to artistic licence, it just struck me as odd.
This was a very enjoyable read. I wasn't entirely sure how it was all going to resolve itself, but was happy with the way that it all played out in the end.

Author Bio:

Ella Carey is the international bestselling author of The Things We Don’t Say, Secret Shores, From a Paris Balcony, The House by the Lake, and Paris Time Capsule. Her books have been published in over fourteen languages, in twelve countries, and have been shortlisted for ARRA awards. A Francophile who has long been fascinated by secret histories set in Europe’s entrancing past, Ella has degrees in music, nineteenth-century women’s fiction, and modern European history. She lives in Melbourne with her two children and two Italian greyhounds who are constantly mistaken for whippets.

Ella loves to connect with her readers regularly through her facebook page and on her website.

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Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Chasing Frost - Isabel Jolie

Chasing Frost
Isabel Jolie
(West Side, #5)
Publication date: January 19th 2021
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

He’s not exactly who he appears to be. But then again, neither is she…


I’ve never felt as out of my league as I did when I met Sydney Frost.

Not in the years I’ve spent starting successful companies or since. Working for a prestigious firm gives me status and power, and I’m already a master at charming my way through a crowd—or into the bedroom. One new office colleague should be a piece of cake to win over.

Ms. Frost, however, is giving my efforts a chilly reception. Time to remind her that I’m not afraid to live up to my name, either…


On the surface, it looks like I have it all: a new, influential job, a nice salary, and the hottest young executive in the company falling over himself to introduce me to the best New York City has to offer.

It’s all a lie.

My name is Sadie Keating, not Sydney Frost, and I’m an undercover agent for the FBI on a case that could make or break my career. Chase Maitlin, my sexy and persistent would-be suitor, is the prime suspect in a major cross-agency investigation.

I’m the rookie desperately trying not to fall for him.

Chasing Frost, the fifth book in the West Side series, is a steamy, enemies-to-lovers, sometimes funny, sometimes suspenseful, contemporary romance featuring a smart, dedicated heroine and the sexy bad boy who steals her heart.

All of the contemporary romance novels in the West Side Series are standalone and can be read in any order.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play

Author Bio:

Isabel Jolie, or Izzy to her friends, is an Amazon bestselling indie author with an unquenchable thirst for a good, sexy love story. Izzy’s heart pumps faster for stories with strong heroines, down-to-earth realism, and an unexpected twist.

When she’s not writing or reading, she can often be found with a glass of wine in hand relaxing with her husband, daughters, and good friends lakeside.

Izzy fills her Instagram feed with funnies, inspirational “brain candy”, and anything that meshes with her mood of the day. #mood.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

My Review

Chasing Frost is an enemy to lovers romance. Although, for Chase at least, it's not apparent that they are enemies. Sydney (her undercover name) is with the FBI and is investigating Chase and the company he works for. While Chase starts as the number one suspect, and a completely different type of man to what she would normally go for, the more that Sydney gets to know him and the more time they spent together, the more that she starts to like him.
This was a fun and enjoyable romance. Not only was there the growing romance between our two main characters, but we also had a suspense element to the storyline. I found that I didn't want to put the book down until I'd found out what was going to happen. This is a gripping read.
while this is the fifth (and final) book in the Westside series, you don't need to have read the others (I haven't). I think that it might be fun to go back and give them a go if and when I get a chance though.

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Tuesday, 19 January 2021

Forgiven - Garrett Leigh

 High school sweethearts Mia and Luke get a second chance at love in this brand-new contemporary
romance from award-winning author Garrett Leigh. 

When Mia Amour returns to England to open a florist shop, all she wants to do is put her lousy ex behind her and never look back. But getting a fresh start is easier said than done when her first love, the boy who once broke her teenage heart, strolls back into her life. He’s every bit as sexy as she remembers, and the urge to melt back into his arms almost makes her forget how devastated she was when he took off without a word. Almost. 

Left with no choice, Luke Daley did what he had to do, leaving town to earn enough money to save his broken family, though it just about broke him, too. But now he’s back, running his uncle’s business and trying desperately to forget about Mia, the girl he left behind all those years ago. When he runs into her in town, the shock of seeing her again brings an intense rush of emotions: love, guilt…and an overwhelming urge to find out if it’s still as amazing between them as it used to be.

It doesn’t take either of them long to give in to desire and discover the fiery passion they once shared burns hotter than ever. With each new touch, each moment of forgiveness, old hurts heal and the future they’d hoped for ten years ago becomes possible again. But their fragile connection is tested by a threat neither of them saw coming—a threat that could end their second chance before it even gets started.

My Review

When they are done well, second chance romances can be really good. They are difficult to get right, as you need to have a good reason for the couple to have broken up in the first place, without it being anything that stops them from getting together now. In the case of Forgiven, I think that both of those were covered well and the story worked really well.
Although Mia and Luke have a history and have never got over one another, their reasons for breaking up in the first place make sense. Even though Mia was incredibly hurt by Luke leaving they were both very young and he had good reasons for wanting and needing to leave the area.
I enjoyed seeing the push and pull between Mia and Luke as they tried to stay apart, but can't resist being together. This book isn't just about their relationship though. With an ex-husband hanging around in the background and someone causing problems for Mia's new business, it's clear that sorting out her feelings for Luke isn't going to be the only thing that Mia has to deal with.
I really enjoyed this second chance romance. I loved reading about Mia and Luke as they came to terms with what they mean to each other. I'm also interested to see what might be in store for Mia's brother Gus in the next book.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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About Garrett Leigh

Garrett Leigh is an award-winning British writer and book designer.

Garrett's debut novel, Slide, won Best Bisexual Debut at the 2014 Rainbow Book Awards, and her polyamorous novel, Misfits was a finalist in the 2016 LAMBDA awards.

When not writing, Garrett can generally be found procrastinating on Twitter, cooking up a storm, or sitting on her behind doing as little as possible, all the while shouting at her menagerie of children and animals and attempting to tame her unruly and wonderful FOX.

Garrett is also an award-winning cover artist, taking the silver medal at the Benjamin Franklin Book Awards in 2016. She designs for various publishing houses and independent authors at, and co-owns the specialist stock site with photographer Dan Burgess

Connect with Garrett Leigh