Posted in **** rating 4/5

Rise – How A House Built a Family by Cara Brookins

Inspirational. Emotional. This is a powerful 4 star read!

Truly inspirational book which tells of the power of love between a mother and her children.

Reading this you soon realise that Cara Brookins accomplished something so incredible following years of abuse. I found myself laughing, crying and at times biting my nails in horror at each inspiration chapter of this amazing family rise from their ruined old lives.

Thanks to NetGalley and St Martin’s Press for the advanced copy of this book.


After escaping an abusive marriage, Cara Brookins had four children to provide for and no one to turn to but herself. In desperate need of a home but without the means to buy one, she did something incredible.

Equipped only with YouTube instructional videos, a small bank loan, a mile-wide stubborn streak, Cara built her own house from the foundation up with a work crew made up of her four children.

It would be the hardest thing she had ever done. With no experience nailing together anything bigger than a bookshelf, she and her kids poured concrete, framed the walls and laid bricks for their two story, five bedroom house. She had convinced herself that if they could build a house, they could rebuild their broken family.

This must-read memoir traces one family’s rise from battered victims to stronger, better versions of themselves, all through one extraordinary do-it-yourself project.

AUTHOR Cara Brookins
BOOK TITLE Rise: How a House Built a Family
PUBLISHER St Martin’s Press
PRINT LENGTH 320 pages
ISBN 9781250095671





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Posted in ***** rating 5/5

The Gift by Louise Jensen

MoMo Book Diary highly recommends this gripping psychological thriller. It is much more than a 5 star read and will be recommending this novel to EVERYONE!

I knew I would love this book from the minute I saw the cover… and was lucky enough to be given an advanced copy to read and review prior to publication.

Once I started reading I didn’t want to put it down – it got under my skin. I finally slept when the kindle needed charging. Whilst reading I had an idea of the way the story was heading, but I was wrong more than once.

This book has you gripped from page one and doesn’t let you go until the final page.

Louise Jensen had me completely absorbed in this story with characters that you can’t help but feel real empathy for – at times I felt an irrational fear for Jenna’s safety. I have never found myself worrying over a character as much as I did for her.

More than once I had to stop reading for a moment to calm down… its gripping beyond belief.

Whilst this is an addictive psychological thriller I was fascinated by the authors use of cellular memory theory as a topic. I will be reading more on this subject. Something I have never read anywhere else – well done Louise Jensen for bringing such a new, and thought provoking twist to your readers.

Sincere thanks to Louise Jensen, Bookouture and NetGalley for the chance to read and review this book prior to publication. This review is completely my own unbiased and voluntary opinion.


The perfect daughter. The perfect girlfriend. The perfect murder?

Jenna is given another shot at life when she receives a donor heart from a girl called Callie. Eternally grateful to Callie and her family, Jenna gets closer to them, but she soon discovers that Callie’s perfect family is hiding some very dark secrets …

Callie’s parents are grieving, yet Jenna knows they’re only telling her half the story. Where is Callie’s sister Sophie? She’s been ‘abroad’ since her sister’s death but something about her absence doesn’t add up. And when Jenna meets Callie’s boyfriend Nathan, she makes a shocking discovery.

Jenna knows that Callie didn’t die in an accident. But how did she die? Jenna is determined to discover the truth but it could cost her everything; her loved ones, her sanity, even her life.

AUTHOR Louise Jensen
PUBLISHER Bookouture
PRINT LENGTH 352 pages
ISBN 9781786810960







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Posted in ***** rating 5/5

Secrets and Fries at the Starlight Diner by Helen Cox

MoMo’s Book Diary recommends this as a witty 5 star read.                  

This is the second book in Helen Cox’s Starlight Diner series.  I have not yet read the first book but have purchased it to read now so I can catch up with the story of Esther.

This second book revolves around the character Bonnie who didn’t feature in the first book so you will miss nothing by reading them out of order – like me!

The intriguing characters are friendly and welcoming. I very quickly related to Bonnie and cared about her and her situation. The story is well paced, and had me reading a page or two at every opportunity.

The author brilliantly entertains us with a touch of everything – romance, humour, mystery, and suspense – and I am looking forward to reading more of this series.

Thank you to Avon and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review this book prior to publication.


The smart second novel in the Starlight Diner series

What brings Bonnie Brooks to The Starlight Diner? And why is she on the run?

As the front-woman in a band, Bonnie is used to being in the spotlight, but now she must hide in the shadows.

Bonnie only has one person who she can turn to: her friend Esther Knight, who waitresses at the Fifties-themed diner. There, retro songs play on the jukebox as fries and sundaes are served to satisfied customers. But where has Esther gone?

Alone in New York City, Bonnie breaks down in front of arrogant news reporter, and diner regular, Jimmy Boyle. Jimmy offers to help her. Can she trust him?

When the kindly owner of the Starlight Diner offers Bonnie work, and she meets charming security officer Nick Moloney, she dares to hope that her luck has changed. Is there a blossoming romance on the cards? And can Bonnie rebuild her life with the help of her Starlight Diner friends?

AUTHOR Helen Cox
BOOK TITLE Secrets and Fries at the Starlight Diner
SERIES Starlight Diner #2
PUBLISHER Harper Collins UK/ Avon
PRINT LENGTH 270 pages
ISBN 9780008197018






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Posted in ***** rating 5/5

Candlelight at Christmas by Katie Fforde

MoMo’s Book Diary recommends this as a fun 5 star read.                        

Katie Fforde brings us a perfectly sentimental Christmas novella.  This novella, released as a digital short story, is a festive stand-alone book featuring characters from a previous novel, Recipe for Love, published in 2012.

Rupert and Fenella Gainsborough have planned an idyllic family Christmas at Somerby House. Things don’t go to plan and they welcome some unexpected guests. Fenella’s caring nature shines as she makes sure everyone in the house has a fabulous Christmas. There were twists, turns and a few surprises making Candlelight at Christmas a gorgeous Christmas read.

Thank you to Cornerstone Digital and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read and review this novella.

The perfect short story to warm your heart and put you in the festive mood.


Fenella and Rupert are organising the perfect Christmas, surrounded by their friends in their beautiful Somerby house.

Until Fenella gets a phone call from her ghastly parents-in-law asking if they can join them for the holiday. Fenella couldn’t possibly refuse and besides, it could be worse.

But when they arrive and the house is suddenly plunged in darkness thanks to a power cut, Fenella knows she has her work cut out to keep everyone happy and pull off the perfect Christmas feast.

AUTHOR Katie Fforde
BOOK TITLE Candlelight at Christmas (the most romantic short story you’ll read this Christmas)
PUBLISHER Random House UK, Cornerstone / Cornerstone Digital





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Posted in *** rating 3/5

Between Hope & the Highway by Charissa Stastny

The title and cover of this book caught my attention – I just love those boots!

The story is well structured and it was a nice clean-ish romance but it just didn’t grab my full attention.  The style of writing is not a style I enjoy reading – but that’s just my opinion – if you enjoy a slow moving Christian romance then this is just the book for you as it has the basic elements of a good romance.

This story is told from the point of view of three characters, Bentley, Liz and Rawson which was a good way of telling the story and helped to understand the characters better and follow their development but I didn’t feel about any of the characters warmly – Liz wasn’t a nice character, Rawson was crude and Bentley wasn’t a strong enough character.

I was surprised at the amount of swearing and sexual tension/innuendo throughout the book given that the book was marketed as a “clean Christian romance”. I felt it was unnecessary and spoiled the story.

Thank you to ebooksforreview for the opportunity to read and review this novel.


After losing her fiancé in an auto accident, Liz Ruthersford flees her home and her parents’ pity to seek refuge on a remote ranch in Montana where no one knows about her tragic past. But her safe haven seems to hold troubles of its own. When she quite literally runs into Rawson Law, the son of her new boss, and has the scare of her life, she wonders if she might have to flee again. The cocky cowboy seems to have it out for her, and when they are paired together to work with the new horses, he undermines her in every way. But Liz cowgirls up and refuses to be intimidated by the handsome man who both annoys her and makes her heart pound every time he glances her way.

Rawson Law appears like he has it all, yet he’d gladly give it all up for the chance to change one foolish decision five years ago that left one brother dead, another broken, and his best friend spiraling down a path of self-destruction. When he returns home to find a strange girl has taken over not only his coveted job with the yearlings, but his position as ‘favorite’ with his family as well, he determines to push her out of the picture and reclaim his life. He’s not about to get shafted by a woman again, even if she appears innocent and sweet.

Though Rawson and Liz fight their attraction, embers of hope flicker to life as their hearts tangle and they discover what it means to truly love. Can forgiveness really allow new beginnings, or will secrets from the past keep them from embracing the present?

AUTHOR Charissa Stastny
BOOK TITLE Between Hope & the Highway
PUBLISHER Amazon Digital Services LLC
PRINT LENGTH 468 pages
OBTAINED: ebooksforreview




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Posted in ***** rating 5/5

The Night Before Christmas by Rose Collins

MoMo’s Book Diary loved the trip down memory lane while reviewing this new children’s story book for Christmas.  Beautifully illustrated – an exciting 5 star read.                   

Rose Collins, with NurseryBox Books, brings us a modern storybook for youngsters featuring the much loved Christmas poem by Clement Clarke Moore. In my mind, this poem is as much a part of Christmas as the tree and decorations.

I think this is just the perfect book to enjoy with young children in the weeks before Christmas. Rose Collins has given this a real feeling of animation and fun by using cute, cuddly family of bears to tell the story.

Many thanks to NurseryBox Books for giving me the opportunity to review this book.


It was the night before Christmas and all through the house not a creature was stirring, Not even a … BEAR ?

Clement Clarke Moore’s much loved poem is brought beautifully to life in this gorgeous picture book with a twist- as Santa visits a family of bears on Christmas Eve.

Share the Christmas magic and experience a whole new retelling of the timeless Christmas classic.

With beautifully illustrated pages, The Night Before Christmas is the perfect gift for any child.

AUTHOR Rose Collins
BOOK TITLE The Night Before Christmas
PUBLISHER NurseryBox Books
OBTAINED: NurseryBox Books




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Posted in ***** rating 5/5

Finding Claire by Pamela Humphrey

MoMo’s Book Diary highly recommends this thrilling novel as a spellbinding 5 star read.                      

I loved this book. I knew I would as soon as I read the synopsis.  I have a big to-be-read stack and this book didn’t sit well at the bottom so jumped to the top very quickly – even more so as the publication date was fast approaching.

I found it to be a gripping tale that had me repeatedly saying “one more chapter” and ended with another day of no housework and little sleep!

The author has given us two powerful lead characters and I felt a bond with both.  I found myself rooting for them to find their way to happiness.  It is a love story with a suspenseful mystery throughout.

Thank you to the author, Pamela Humphrey, for contacting me through my blog page and for providing me with a copy of this book prior to its publication date.


A woman wakes up in the back of a cargo van, is driven to a house in the middle of nowhere, and is forced into a closet. After more than a day, she manages to escape. 

Injured and afraid—with no recollection of who she is—she stumbles through the Texas Hill Country with a photo labeled Claire. Seeking safety, she knocks at Alex Ramirez’s cabin door. He protects her, even though she stirs up memories that haunt him. 

She wants her life back. He wants to ease his guilt and will protect her even if it means risking his own life. Together they search, hoping questions will be answered by Finding Claire.

AUTHOR Pamela Humphrey
BOOK TITLE Finding Claire
SERIES Hill Country Secrets #1
PRINT LENGTH 280 pages
ISBN 9780996877053
OBTAINED: Author contact via




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Pamela Humphrey was inspired to write after researching her genealogy. Intending to create a booklet for her mom and immediate family, she set about gathering stories and pictures of the Ramirez family. She ended up writing her first book, Researching Ramirez: On the Trail of the Jesus Ramirez Family, a family history of her great great grandfather’s family. During that research, she found a christening record that ignited her imagination. Using the documentation she’d found as a backbone for the story, she imagined what life was like for her ancestors and wrote The Blue Rebozo, a fictional account of her great grand aunt’s life.

On a road trip, when driving through the Texas Hill Country, the landscape sparked the idea for her latest book. Weaving mystery, genealogy, and romance, she wrote Finding Claire. She is currently writing the next book in the Hill Country Secrets series.

She is a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom who enjoys many creative outlets: sewing, paper-crafting, jewelry-making, practicing her bass guitar, reading, and conversing with imaginary characters (writing). She lives in San Antonio, Texas, with her husband, sons, black cats, and leopard gecko.