Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Sisley Beauty Subscription: June - Caribbean Escape

This is now my fourth month of the Sisley Beauty Subscription (I signed up for 6 months, £35 including p&p). This month the theme is Caribbean Escape. Every month you get a branded zipped bag (which is great to use for samples/weekends away) and the samples are packaged in a letterbox friendly black box.

So what's inside..

Mattifying Moisturizing Skincare with Tropical Resins 10ml - which is great for combination/oily skins. It will hydrate, balance, mattify and purify the skin. Looking forward to trying this out.

All Day All Year Essential Anti-Ageing Day Care 10ml - is a daytime anti-ageing treatment which protects the skin for external aggressors, free radicals and oxidative stress. Skin is hydrated, lines and wrinkles reduced and the complexion is more luminous.

Supremya At Night 5ml - which is a totally luxurious night time treat which regenerates and rejuvenates the skin. Totally gorgeous! A real treat to try as full size 50ml retails at £475!!

Phyto-Touche Sun Glow Gel (Mat) 1.5ml - a matte tinted gel which gives the skin a natural even glow. Can be used all over the face or just on the cheekbones.
Eau Tropicale Moisturizing Perfumed Body Lotion 8ml - a creamy milk which hydrates and nourishes the skin. Hibiscus and Jioh extracts leave the skin feeling soft and supple. Skin is left scented with the floral and exotic notes of l'Eau Tropicale.

Next month the theme is On the Hot Sand.

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Love Lula Beauty Box: My Top Picks - January-June 2018

These are my top picks from the Love Lula Beauty Box* January to June (and ones which I would buy again):

In January (link) my favourite item was a much-loved favourite MOA Fortifying Green Bath Potion* - I simply love this stuff! See my review HERE.

Coming into February (link) my favourite product was Ooh! Oils of Heaven Avocado Hydrating Face Oil* - I'm a huge, huge fan of this good quality and excellent value range - see my Spotlight HERE (there have been new ones added since I wrote this post). The Avocado oil does have an acquired scent - it's very green and earthy! The oil deeply nourishes and protects the skin.

In March (link) we received Elsa's Organic Skin Food Deodorant in Ocean* (which I've still to try) but love their Dew* variety so know I'll love it. See my review HERE.

April's box (link) saw me fall for two items - Dr Botanicals Kale Superfood Nourishing Day Moisturiser* and Balm Balm's Little Miracle Rosehip Balm* - the day moisturiser is light and absorbs easily leaving my combination skin nourished and comfortable and the rosehip balm is an absolute delight! Multi-use - use it on your face as a moisturiser and on dry patches of skin on the body. It smells glorious (frankincense, rose geranium, palmarosa, juniper and mandarin).

Coming into May (link) again two products stole my heart - Alteya Organics Certified Organic Bulgarian Rose Water Spray* and Lyonsleaf Calendula & Marshmallow Balm* - I'd recently tried and loved Alteya Organics's Certified Organic White Rose Water Spray* (REVIEW) so knew I'd love the Bulgarian Rose one. My second top pick is the lovely rich and nourishing Lyonsleaf balm which softens and repairs dry or damaged skin from head-to-toe.  Use it on dry and cracked skin all over the body to nourish and protect.

Finally, this month (link) I've totally fallen for the gorgeous new perfume oil See the Moonlight by Walden Natural Perfumes* which has notes of bergamot, jasmine, rose, sandalwood and ambrette seed.

Do we share any favourites/buy agains?

*the Love Lula Beauty Box is sent to me as part of the Love Lula Accredited Blogger Program, all thoughts are genuine and my post contains affiliate links

Monday, 18 June 2018

Botanico Vida Omega Oil

I've been trying Award Winning Botanico Vida Omega Oil (50ml - £11.50)* and I can really say it's fantastic! The brand was founded by Kirsty Cimesa of Elemental Herbology and her friend Hannah Becker.

The blend is 100% natural and a mixture of oils rich in Omegas 3, 6 and 9. Formulated with Sacha Inchi Seed Oil which is a plant sourced Omega Oil and is obtained from an Omega Project in Peru which helps support 8,000 jobs and contributes to the reforestation of up to 20k hectares of land. The formula also includes Rosehip, Argan, Avocado, Olive, Sunflower, Coconut and Calendula oils and scented with Mandarin and Grapefruit essential oils.

It's perfect for all members of the family and great to use on your bump if pregnant.  To use: massage onto the face and body, especially on any dry patches. You'll find it absorbs instantly and has a light citrus scent.

Free from petrochemicals, SLS, parabens, PEGS, mineral oils. It's hypoallergenic and certified Leaping Bunny and with the Vegan Society. EcoCert and Fair Trade ingredients are used and the oil is UK made. Clinically proven to help stretch marks, uneven skin tone and dehydrated skin.

Pick yours up DIRECT or at Love Lula.


Sunday, 17 June 2018

Love Lula Beauty Box: June 2018

June's Love Lula Beauty Box* is absolutely fantastic! It's worth £67 this month and includes a new brand to Love Lula and a new product in the Walden Perfumes range.

So what's inside: the first thing to jump out at me was Walden Perfume's latest launch See the Moonlight Rollerball Natural Perfume Oil (10ml which is worth £17). Its a stunning blend of bergamot, jasmine, rose, sandalwood and ambrette seed. It was inspired by the Henry David Thoreau quote "I did not wish to take a cabin passage, but rather to go before the mast and on the deck of the world, for there I could best see the moonlight amidst the mountains". See my review of Two Eternities* HERE.

New brand at Love Lula is L’ODAÏTÈS and inside is a full size product worth £39Gentle Polyphenol Exfoliator (60ml) is made with dates and other skin loving ingredients. It's best applied to a cleansed face. Leave on a few moments before gently massaging and rinsing. Looking forward to testing this out.

From JOIK we have their Refreshing Facial Toner with Aloe & Sea Buckthorn Oil (100ml - £10) which I've reviewed previous. See HERE and a sachet of their Sweet Orange & Mint Body Butter.

The final item is a trial size of REN's & Now to Sleep Pillow Spray (10ml) which is a nice additional lifestyle item. I'm always happy to try out new sleep aids!

As always, there is a coupon code for 20% off the brands in the box - which is a lovely added extra.

What do you think of the contents this month?

*sent to me as part of the Love Lula Accredited Blogger Program. All thoughts are genuine and my post contains a few affiliate links

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Love Lula: Antipodes Hallelujah Lime & Patchouli Organic Cleanser

And yes....the blogger made me buy (pick) it. Sasha, at Balanced Beauty Bristol raved about this Antipodes cleanser* recently and I knew I had to try it and I'm so, so glad I did! It takes cleansing to a whole new level - a ritual to be enjoyed at sunrise and sunset.

The Antipodes Hallelujah Lime & Patchouli Organic Cleanser* (£21.99 - 200ml) is housed in a recyclable glass bottle with pump and will remove impurities, daily grime and make up with ease. The scent of the cleanser is really beautiful - uplifting and zesty with spicy earthy notes.

Organic Avocado oil gently cleanses while Carrot Seed oil and promotes skin which glows with health and Jojoba oil protects and conditions. The cleanser really takes caring for your skin to another level. The rich cream absorbs quickly making it easy to massage onto the face and neck.

To use: apply a small amount to the skin, massaging it in (including the eye area) before rinsing or removing any excess with a warmed, damp muslin cloth. The skin is left feeling comfortable, clean and nourished and I absolutely love it!

Use code BRIGHT for 25% off anything from the Skin Brightening range until 30 June 2018 (see the Skin Brightening range HERE)

See my other Antipodes reviews:

Pampering with Antipodes* HERE
Heavenly Body Oil & Deliverance Kowhai Flower Hand Cream HERE
My Antipodes Collection HERE
Antipodes Delight Hand & Body Cream HERE

What's your favourite Antipodes product?

*sent to me as part of the Love Lula Accredited Blogger Program. My post contains one affiliate links

Friday, 15 June 2018

Letterbox Gifts: The Rose Box

Thank you Letterbox Gifts for the lovely treat! I blogged about Letterbox Gifts way back in December 2015 when I quickly snapped up a box. See my review HERE. I also couldn't resist The Christmas Box that same month see HERE. In January 2017 The Pamper Gift Set also became mine see HERE. I've also gifted lots of boxes over the years. 

The packaging has become slightly more streamlined (and is still recyclable) as well as being letterbox friendly and the contents as gorgeous as ever. See what's currently available in the shop HERE.

This time I chose The Rose Box* which contains a beautiful selection of rose scented treats all of which are handmade in Britain. Oh it makes my heart sing! Look how beautiful it is.

And for a closer look..

WOW it's exquisite! Inside is:

Petals English Rose & Green Tea 20g
Nathalie Bond Organics Rose Mist Flower Water 30ml
Handmade Rose Gold Plated Beaded Bracelet
The Natural Candle Company Rose Geranium 8hr glass tealights x 3
Wild Raspberry & Rose Lollipop

Thanks so much Letterbox Gifts - I'm really going to enjoy this lovely box. 

See the shop HERE and find out more about subscriptions HERE.


Thursday, 14 June 2018

Blog Tour: Her Mother's Secret by Rosanna Ley

Today I'm on the Blog Tour for the fabulous Her Mother's Secret by Rosanna Ley*. I was lucky enough to receive an advanced proof copy.

For many years Colette has avoided returning to her homeland - the magical island of Belle-Île-en-Mer in Southern Brittany - afraid to confront the painful memories she left behind. She is living on the Cornish coast when she hears about her mother Thea's failing health and realises that the time has come for her to go home. But can Colette ever forgive Thea for what she has done?
Despite Colette's wariness, romantic Belle-Île still fascinates her. She takes on the running of her mother's flower shop and makes friends with Élodie from the Old Lighthouse where Thea once worked as a nanny and with the enigmatic Étienne who shares Colette's mixed feelings about the island. As Thea opens up to her for the first time, Colette finds herself softening and being drawn back into the landscape of her past. But can Belle-Île also be a part of her future?
The ghosts of that past still linger. What happened all those years ago and how did it cause the rift between mother and daughter? It becomes clear that the beauty of Belle-Île hides a devastating family secret - one that Colette is determined to unravel at any cost.

My thoughts?

I simply loved un-put-downable read. Colette returns to her childhood home in Southern Brittany to look after her mother in her dying days. Will they be able to reconcile? And will her mother Thea tell her the secrets of the past?

Under her mother's wishes she re-opens the flower shop and re-discovers her love of flowers and that she hasn't forgotten how to create beautiful bouquets despite now living in Cornwall. 

She meets up with Élodie with whom her mother has a special bond having cared for her as an au pair shortly after she arrived on the island. She makes friends with author, Étienne who is over on the island to clear his mother's house and put it up for sale. He's still hurting over something which happened in the past which he can't seem to let go of.

The story is total escapism I felt I was truly there on the island. When Colette's mother's diary is returned to her will Colette be able to truly discover what happened in the past... 

A brilliant read which I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend.

*complimentary copy from the publisher

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Jan De Vries Health Food Store: A.Vogel Echinaforce Echinacea Drops

A. Vogel's Echinaforce Echinacea Drops* are your best friend during the cold winter months (and for summertime colds) as they help to combat viral infections like cold or flu and are a great immune booster. Formulated with freshly harvested Echinacea Purpurea which contain 3x more active substances than those obtained from dried herbs. 

They help the body fight the symptoms of cold and flu maintaining resistance to the lurgy! And the tincture really works.

To use (adults, elderly and children over 12): 15 drops (0.6ml) in a small amount of water 2 to 3 times a day.

I use them when I get the first sign of a cold (winter and summer) as the drops help fight infections better and boost the immune system.  What's your to-go-to herbal remedy?

15ml - £4.15
50ml - £9.75
100ml - £16.99

Pick yours up HERE.


Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Rook Perfumes: Discovery Set

I love discovering new products, especially new perfumes so was delighted when founder of Rook Perfumes, Nadeem Crowe followed me on Twitter. I instantly went to investigate and purchased the Discovery Set (which includes all the perfumes 1ml x 6 EdP) and costs £9 plus P&P.

Nadeem, is a Medical Doctor by trade, a West End Actor and now can add Perfumer to his bow! He's spent a lot of time researching and experimenting to create and formulate "scents which conjour emotions and memories". The perfumes are created with essential oils, aroma chemicals and perfumers alcohol, reaching perfect harmony seven days after mixing.

He used Kickstarter to obtain funds to send his formulations off to a cosmetic chemist for safety tests and to make sure his creations met all IFRA standards.

The vials are presented in a little brown envelope with "Rook Perfumes Discovery" stamped on it. I've been testing them out over a week and a half and have some firm favourites..

SUEDE (my fav) with a top note of Suede, a heart of Tobacco Leaf and a base of Leather. I love its smokey notes and is unlike anything in my collection. My second favourite is FOREST which is fresh, green and earthy and has notes of Pine, Cypress, Cannabis, Incense, Cedar and White Musk.

Most unusual of the selection is UNDERGROWTH (which smells like real earth!) it's fresh and sparkly with an actual soil note! It opens with Mint and Mandarin, has a heart of Vetiver and Soil Tincture with a base of White Musk. 

AMBER also has a smokey but sweet note and is formulated with a top note of Saffron, a heart of Smoke and Amber and a base of Resins and Black Musk.

The final two are sparkling & bright NEROLI which has top notes of Neroli and Orange Blossom, a heart of White Narcissus and woods with a base of Vetiver and Musk. This is lovely but has a slight powdery note which I'm not so keen on. THURIBLE (great name!) has top notes of Clove and Ash, a heart of Labdanum and Incense with a base of Leather and Ambergris.

I've loved trying them all and may have a wee purchase before 24 June (pick up a full size bottle for half price) (£24.75). See HERE.

Have you tried Rook Perfumes? If so, what are your favourites?

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Skin Alchemists Apothecary: The Gorgeous Soldier Nourishing Body Exfoliate

From March's amazing Natural Beauty Box which was entitled... Almost Good Enough to Eat.. came this beautiful The Gorgeous Solider Nourishing Body Exfoliate from Skin Alchemists Apothecary. The scrub is 100ml and worth £34.

It is infact almost edible (and mouthwatering!) Handcrafted in small batches with love, care and attention to detail (I love the gorgeous packaging's the little things). 

Formulated with no parabens, propylene glycol, petroleum, sulphates, PEGs, TEA, DEA, phthalates, silicones, artificial dyes and fragrances. The products are carefully made and each ingredient is thoroughly researched before selection.

The freshest and most nutrient rich ingredients are selected. For this exfoliator plant oils, cocoa butter, ground coconut shell, red algae sea salt, volcanic clay and raw cacao (which gives the exfoliator is delicious chocolate scent) are chosen.

To use: massage a generous amount on dry skin, rubbing in circular motions before rinsing. Skin's left soft, smooth and delicately scented.

Have you used any products in the range?

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Glow Organic: Sample Service

One of the girls on one of the beauty groups on Facebook flagged up that Glow Organic has a sampling service which is great for colour matching or trying before buying full size. Samples are available alone in quantities of 5. Up to 5 can be ordered if you are buying a full size product. With the samples you get a voucher code for 20% off a subsequent full size product (the samples range in price from £1.20 - £4.50).

I picked up two foundation samples. The Ere Perez Quinoa Water Foundation in Haze is slightly too pale for me so I'll stick with the one I originally selected and I love the Zao Makeup Silk Foundation. I chose 713 Fair Beige which seems nearly spot on.

My other three samples are skincare from new to me brand Luxe Botanics. I chose from their CAMU Brightening Range and instantly fell for the Brightening Cleanser (I'd buy this full size!), I wasn't so keen on the serum but liked the moisturiser - that's why samples are so good!

Pick yours up HERE.

Friday, 8 June 2018

Tropic Skincare: Hair Care Discovery + Scalp Massager

As you'll know every Tropic Skincare product I try I love. I've been testing their fabulous new hair care range.

Their Hair Care Discovery Set+Scalp Massager (£20)* is a great introduction to the range as it lets you try everything small size before buying full sizes or is great for weekends away and holidays (the scalp massager is full size).

Inside the set is:

Mini Hair Feast (50ml)
Mini Hair Smooth (10ml)
Mini Clarifying Hair Wash (50ml)
Mini Nourishing Hair Cleanser (50ml)
Scalp Massager

As you will see my hair is loving the Nourishing Hair Cleanser (pick up full size 250ml - £18). The whole range has deliciously mouthwatering almost edible scents.

The Nourishing Hair Cleanser is a rich blend of hair loving ingredients including Macadamia oil which reconstructs and repairs. Arginine shields hair from the damaging effects of colouring and bleaching and helps to prolong your colour while Pro-Vitamin B5 nourishes and adds shine.

To use: wet hair then apply a generous amount on scalp and roots. The lather-free formula lifts dirt and excess sebum. Use the scalp massager to stimulate blood circulation and for a therapeutic experience. It also helps your hair cleanser go further.  Leave for a few minutes before rinsing. Follow with Hair Feast Deep Conditioning Treatment.

Hair Feast Deep Conditioning Treatment (200ml - £18) is a total treat for the hair. Use on the lengths and ends for deep nourishment. Formulated with Murumura butter, plant proteins and oils this rich treat deeply nourishes and protects the hair.

To use: after shampooing apply as needed to lengths and ends leaving on for 5 minutes before rinsing. Alternatively, use as an overnight hair mask for intensive deep conditioning.

Clarifying Hair Wash (250ml - £16) is perfect to remove build up and refresh the hair. Coconut derived cleansers provide a gentle clean while Aloe Vera juice and Babassu extract replenish hydration.

To use: apply a small amount onto wet hair, gently massaging to achieve a rich lather. Rinse. Follow with Hair Feast if needed.

Hair Smooth Radiance Oil (75ml - £24) softens, hydrates and tames hair leaving it silky smooth and glossy. Abyssinian oil contains unsaturated omega fatty acids which penetrate the hair to improve manageability. Maracuja oil adds shine while Vitamin E repairs, hydrates and nourishes.

To use: as a hair treatment (apply 3-5 pumps to dry or damp hair. Leave for 20 minutes before washing hair as normal. Mix with Hair Feast and leave in overnight, Pre-cleanse smooth over dry hair before washing to help remove styling residues and nourish the hair. Pre-blow dry apply sparingly to towel dried hair before drying or work a small amount in the ends to smooth and add shine.

I've been so impressed with the whole range and will definitely be replenishing! Have you tried anything from Tropic Skincare's new hair care range?


Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Organic House Skincare: Wake Up Revitalising Room & Car Spray & Relax & Sleep Room Spray

I've been trying these two room sprays* from Organic House Skincare which are fantastic.  Wake Up Revitalising Room & Car Spray (30ml - £17)* has an uplifting zesty scent with a touch of ginger which helps to improve focus, enhance alertness and clear the mind. It will refresh the air around you - spray it in your car, while studying, at work or anywhere in the home.

The second one Relax & Sleep Room Spray (30ml - £19)* is perfect to spray before bedtime for a restful and relaxed night's sleep. It can be used to mist the bedroom before sleep or misted onto your pillows. Lavender and Vertiver calm and relax both the body and mind before sleep.

I've been really impressed with both of these sprays. Pick yours up HERE. See my review of their Clean & Calm Hot Cloth Cleanser* HERE.


Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Shopping My Stash #100

My last #ShoppingMyStash was way back in March! See HERE. I'm on a low-buy June so expect a Stash Shopping post every week. Here's what I've been reaching for lately:

From Geo Mitchell is a single use sachet of their Relax Naturally Natural Bath Salts** which were lovely to use. You can pick up a full size jar for a very reasonable £14.50 HERE.  These salts are perfect to use to relax and unwind before bed. Get 15% off your first order with SANDRA15.

I just adore anything by de Mamiel and Rosey Lip Balm was one of the first things I tried (along with the amazing seasonal oils). See my review HERE.

Esse Probiotic Skincare's Cocoa Exfoliator* is amazing and one of my favourite new tries this year. See my recent review HERE.

Organic House is a beautiful brand (I've a few of their products up for review soon). Clean & Calm Hot Cloth Cleanser** is very effective and makes cleansing into a ritual. See my review HERE.

From Love Lula I've had the pleasure of trying out Alchemy Oils Amla Hair Rescue* (30ml travel size - £9). I already love their Grapefruit Hair Remedy - see my review HERE.  This one is a combination of rich oils which treat and care for thicker coarser hair types (for me it works best as a treatment oil leaving on for 30 minutes or overnight before shampooing and conditioning).

My final pick is much loved BYBI Beauty Babe Balm which I just adore! See my review HERE.

What have you been reaching for this week?

*sent to me via the Love Lula Accredited Blogger Program (my post contains one affiliate link)

Monday, 4 June 2018

Ermana Natural Skincare: Fresh Wash & Fresh Lotion

I've had the real pleasure of trying out Ermana Natural Skincare's latest launch(s). Their new Organic Hand & Body Wash* (£15 - 200ml) and Organic Hand & Body Lotions* (£20 - 200ml) come in 5 scents - Fresh, Comfort, Revive, Refresh and Soothe. I chose the one which most appealed to me Fresh* with Peppermint & Patchouli.

The washes can be used on both hands and body (as like the lotions) and are formulated with plant based ingredients including Aloe Vera juice. The lotions are made from Olive, Flax and Sunflower oils as well as Shea and Cocoa butters.

Fresh is uplifing and awakens both the body and mind. The wash gently cleanses and the lotion deeply nourishes. The duo is lovely and is likely to become a permanent fixture in my bathroom! 

What's your favourite Ermana Natural Skincare Products?

See my previous review:
Fresh Foot Balm with Peppermint & Patchouli*
Mini Balms Travel Gift Set*
Cleanse Balm & Nurture Body Oil*


Sunday, 3 June 2018

Love Lula: Esse Probiotic Skincare: Cocoa Exfoliator

You'll know I'm a huge fan of Esse Probiotic Skincare having loved and reviewed their Gel Cleanser* HERE and their Probiotic Serum*, Rich Moisturiser* and Eye Contour Cream* (REVIEW). 

I've been trying their gorgeous (and mouthwateringly scented!) Cocoa Exfoliator (£30 - 50ml)*.

99% Natural, 29% Organic, 8% Fair Trade, 100% Vegan and Cruelty Free. Packaging is recyclable and community sourced ingredients are used. For example, Marula from Eudafano Women's Cooperative, Cocoa from Fair Trade Project in Madagascar and Virgin Coconut from Coconut Milk in Mozambique.

The Cocoa Exfoliator smells good enough to eat! And you get a lot of product for your money. Using once a week this product should last a good while.

To use: apply to the skin once a week with a small amount of water, massaging gently in circular motions until the tangible particles have dissolved. Rinse or remove with a warmed dampened cloth. For a deeper exfoliation (my favourite method) apply to the skin with no or very little water.

The skin is left looking glowy, radiant, soft and smooth. I'm a huge fan. What's your favourite Esse Probiotic Skincare product? Pick yours up at Love Lula.


Saturday, 2 June 2018

Naturisimo: Healing Makeup Discovery Box

You'll know I can never resist one of Naturisimo's Discovery Boxes. Their latest one is entitled "Healing Makeup" and contains 9 items - samples, trial sizes and full sizes. Costing only £17.95 (with free p&p) and worth £70. 

It's absolutely stuffed full! 

Inside is:

Odacite Black Mint Cleanser 7ml (exciting) - an ultra fresh minty gel which cleanses, eliminates excess oil and impurities. I'm looking forward to testing this out as I've not tried much by Odacite.

Pacifica Stellar Gaze Length & Strengthen Mineral Mascara 7.5ml - a full size product which I'm excited to try.

RMS Beauty 'Un' Powder 0.44g - a translucent loose powder which minimises pores and absorbs oil. Huge fan of this already and this is a handy size to carry about.

Bellapierre Mineral Blush Powder (Autumn Glow) 4g - another full size product which gives the skin a healthy glow.

REN Flash Defence Anti-Pollution Mist 9ml - a mist which shields and protects the skin from ageing effects of harmful free radicals and pollution.

Dr Hauschka Lip Gloss (Raspberry) 3ml - a rich glossy gloss with a slightly metallic raspberry sheen.

Estelle & Thild Healthy Glow Foundation (121) 2ml - lightweight wash of colour which evens out skintone and BioHydrate All-in-One Tinted Moisturiser (01) 2ml - blends onto the skin tone for an even and healthy glow. I'm always keen to try new bases.

Inika Organic Lip Tint (Candy) 3.2g (full size) - superhydrating Vegan lip tint which conditions and leaves the lips with a light colour tint (not sure this is exactly my shade).

I'm pretty pleased with this selection - what are your thoughts?

Thursday, 31 May 2018

May Book Round-Up

Here's what I've been reading in May:

Absent (DS Coupland #4) by Emma Salisbury* - I simply love the Coupland series. See my review HERE.

Snap by Belinda Bauer*** - Jack, Joy and Merry await their mum coming back from the phone box. Their car has broken down and it's a sweltering hot day in the summer of '98. They wait, and wait, and wait. Until they realise she's not coming back.

Their father is distraught and disappears leaving Jack in charge. Jack turns to burglary to make ends meet, helping himself to electrical goods, food and the occasional sleep in a cozy bed where he likes to pretend he's living a normal, good, decent life.

One day on a job Jack spots the knife that killed his mother and leaves it beside the bed of the homeowner, Catherine, a young pregnant woman along with a note....DCI John Marvel is drafted in to snare "goldilocks" and stumbles upon new evidence on the murder case of their mum. A great fast paced read which I'd recommend.

Songs by Dead Girls by Lesley Kelly** - having loved the first installment of the Health of Strangers series (and the short read) I couldn't wait to read the second in the series. This story involves a missing academic, a prostitute and a drug dealer. The HET Team chase up those who have missed their health check or are in danger of missing it. 

Mona and the boss Paterson are in London trying to track down the Professor while Maitland is left in charge much to Bernard's disgust. With brilliant storylines, banter and lots of laugh out loud moments. I simply loved it.

Dying Truth (DI Kim Stone #8) by Angela Marsons*** - OMG I simply loved the latest DI Kim Stone book! Fast paced and exciting I devoured it in a few sittings.

The setting is a very expensive boarding school, Heathcrest Academy where a young girl has supposedly committed suicide. Kim's not one for shutting a case when there's a niggle in her mind. Something isn't right and she's determined to find out the truth. 

There are secret elistist clubs where the students with the right connections get asked to join. To refuse is unheard of and punishable. Kim, Bryan, Dawson and Stacey are on the case to find out who is telling the truth and who is lying.. The story has a shocking explosive ending. Highly recommend.

Her Name was Rose by Claire Allan*** - this debut novel is published in June so I'll leave my thoughts in my June round-up.

Her Secret by Kelly Forentina** - I took part in the Blog Tour for this cracking novel. See my review HERE.

Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan**** - Anna Kerrigan, is nearly twelve when she goes with her father to meet a man called Dexter Styles who Anna senses is crucial to her family's survival. His house at Manhattan Beach spellbounds her.

Her father suddenly disappears, no one knows where he's gone but Anna doesn't stop looking for him. She can't believe he'd leave her mother and disabled sister Lydia, a sister Anna adores.

The country is at war and Anna finds work at a Brooklyn naval yard doing a job a man would normally have done. She's determined to be a diver and through perseverance becomes the first woman diver repairing war ships.

Quite by chance she meets Dexter Styles again and is drawn to him. The feelings seem quite mutual until she tells him who she really is and that she's still searching for her missing father.

A stunning historical novel all about the depression, the war years, gangsters, sailors, divers, the sea, the union men and forbidden love. I loved it.

Only the Dead Know - A Daniel 'uneasy' Truce Mystery by C J Dunford*** - I really enjoyed the first in this new series. Daniel "uneasy" Truce is back in civvy street after a traumatic military tour of the Middle East.

He's got PTSD but manages to land himself a job in an investigations unit. His boss hates him and gives him the job of closing down the case of the old lady who believes she witnessed a murder. There's something about the case which niggles him and he just doesn't want to let it go. What is it that everyone else is missing? A great read. Already looking forward to book #2.

From last month:

I took part in two blog tours - A Fractured Winter by Alison Baillie* (REVIEW) and Fault Lines by Doug Johnstone** (REVIEW) and thoroughly enjoyed both.  

In March, I read the incredible Star of the North by D B John*** (it wasn't published until this month). It's a book I feel everyone should read as I found it totally fascinating.

Two teenagers are snatched on a South Korean beach never to be seen again. Jenna can't forget her sister, Soo-min and vows to find out what happened to her. She gets on with her life and becomes a Professor at a University but never stops looking for her twin.

The CIA get wind of this and she trains to become one of their operatives (which in itself makes fascinating reading). She goes on an official trip in North Korea to get a feel for it and again undercover to try and save someone's life.

There are two stories intertwined with Jenna's and Soo-min's, a North Korean woman, Ms Moon whose life changes the day she finds the balloon from the village down below and a high raking official. The story gives us glimpses into a very, very different world. Loved it.

What have you been reading this month?

*copy from the author
**copy from the publisher
***copy from the publisher via Netgalley
****copy from Love Reading