Tag Archives: Ramblings

The book review café A final farewell

Today I have some big news to share, in many ways this post saddens me, but it’s one that I have been thinking about writing for a while now, so please excuse the ramblings.

This year has been a particularly tough year for every one including myself, who would  have thought back in December 2019 that the coming year would bring a pandemic, lockdowns, that we would be unable to hug or see vulnerable family members, hairdressers, pubs and non essential shops would be shut for business? Not me that’s for sure!

But the last few months have taken it’s toll I’m not reading as much as I would like to, reviews are becoming harder to write, (after nearly 5 years of blogging I feel I’m repeating myself time after time), I’m hardly posting anything on my blog and  I feel I am doing a disservice to authors and publishers who have put there trust in me.


The burning question I kept returning to over the last few months was  ‘do I still enjoy blogging?’ and I must admit the answer was a resounding ‘no’, blogging was beginning to feel like a chore rather than something I loved and enjoyed. So after much thought and consideration I have decided to give up blogging and this post will be final one.


I’m hoping that I will now be able to read a book because I want to, no deadlines, no writing lengthy reviews or putting posts together, if I’m honest it feels like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I’m really looking forward to reading all the books that have been sat waiting patiently on my bookshelves. 


Please don’t think I’m moaning or it’s ‘a woe is me post’ I really have loved every minute of my blogging journey, I just feel the time is right for me to hang up my blogger hat. Talking of ‘hats’ I take my hat off to all the bloggers who post every day of the week, I applaud each and everyone of you, I’m not sure people realise just how much time and effort go into running a blog, it’s a full time job in itself.     


Before I go I would like to take the opportunity to say thank you to each and everyone of my followers, believe it or not I rarely check my stats, so I was flabbergasted to see I now have over 20,000 followers, although I’m sure the only reason some people follow me is because they think I’m a real book café (sorry if you were disappointed, when you found out it was a book review site🤣🤣).

A big thank you to all my fellow bloggers you’re an amazing bunch, supportive, passionate and incredibly focused on sharing the book love, and very generous to boot.  I have lost count of the number of bloggers who attended book events and sent me copies of books that they picked up knowing they were my favourite authors a big thank you to each and everyone of you.

Thank you for all your support, shares, likes and comments, especially when I know most of you all have such busy life’s. There are so many bloggers I would like to thank individually but I’m sure I would forget someone, and it would be a hell of a long list!


A big thank you must go to all the fabulous publishers and authors out there who have given me the opportunity to read the most amazing books, a special thank you must go to Bookouture and Orenda Books, and two very special ladies Kim Nash and Karen Sullivan who have been a huge support to me over the years, and have provided me with some of the best books I’ve had the pleasure to read.

I have been incredible lucky to have become friends with some of my favourite authors and even now when I get an email or a message from them I still get really excited, and I would like to thank each and everyone of them for allowing me to read their ‘book babies’ and trusting me to write a review. 


Who knows in six months time I may regret my decision, but I know I can always return to the book review café, become a guest book blogger  or I could start up a brand new book blog (I have the perfect name on the back burner, just in case!).

I will continue to follow my favourite bloggers and hopefully keep up with all things bookish, as I need recommendations for books to buy, just because I’m giving up blogging it doesn’t mean I will give up my passion for buying and reading books (sorry Mr book review café if you thought that was case 🤣😂).

I will keep my Twitter and Instagram accounts open so hopefully I will interact with some of you on there and the FB book clubs I belong too. I will also continue to share some reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, and Instagram when the mood takes. 

So for now it’s…Farewell, keep safe and keep sharing the book love.

Lorraine x x x



**2017** Yearly wrap up post from the book review café


Today is my last day I will be posting until the new year, I can’t help wondering where 2017 has gone, it seems to have flown by, so I thought I would look back at the goals I set myself for last year on my blog.

Read some books from my TBR pile, which I’m desperate to get through…… I did manage to read some of the books off my own TBR pile so ✔️

cut down on blog tours, as there’s too much pressure to read a book in a limited time…..I smashed this one I’ve cut right back on doing blog tours and although I enjoy doing them, I much prefer to read and review books in my own time so it’s a 💯✔️

Only request one book at a time on NetGalley (this ones going to be hard)…..what can I say an epic fail to this one, although I have cut right back on the requests and my book shelf of TBR books is in single figures

If I’m not enjoying a book, I DON’T have to finish it, after all there are far too many amazing books out there to waste time on a duff one! as I only accept books I know I think I’m going to love I don’t normally have this problem anymore so it’s a ✔️

Learn to say “no” it’s ok NOT to agree to read and review every book that comes my way (my new mantra😂)… I have definitely stuck by this I have so many book requests  (despite my blog being closed to new reviews, work that one out?) I couldn’t possible review them all. I still feel really bad about turning authors down but I’m working on that! ✔️

Read more books by authors that are new to me, I’ve already got a couple lined up…..so watch this space! Yes I managed to read a lot of new authors this year, although still room for improvement 60% ✔️

I also beat my Goodreads challenge, considering the year I have had on a personal level I’m really pleased with the number of books I read, no where near the number some bloggers have read, but hey ho I’m “me” and proud of my little achievement. If you’re interested in the books I have read this year you can find them here ⬇️

Goodreads the book review café

After much thought I’m not going to set myself any goals for 2018,  I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing reviewing and sharing my love all things books.


Although I have yet to make it to any events I have had some really special moments in my year of blogging including……

The very generous Robert Bryndza offering a giveaway for my second Blogiversary the “full series” of the Detective Erika Foster books 🙈

Having my review for The Cosy Canal Boat Dream by Christie Barlow featured in Mamalifemagazine

Having a character named after me in the up and coming Silent Victim by the awesome Caroline Mitchell.

Having parts of my quotes used on the covers for The Girl In The Ice by Robert Bryndza and The Sister by Louise Jensen. 

Numerous acknowledments from authors in their books.

Being nominated for the best overall book blog 2017, ok I never won but did you see who I was up against? some of the  best book bloggers out there, I was just thrilled to be nominated honestly! But I did get a mention in the top 100 book bloggers on the planet😊😀

All the fabulous books I’ve had the honour to read.

Hitting over 11,000 followers on my blog which I find amazing, and I’m more than a little shell shocked by the huge number of people who follow my little blog, and I’m not even sure how I’ve gained so many followers 🙈😂





My most visited posts of 2017

**Author Interview** Behind Closed Doors by B. A. Paris

International #Giveaway with Robert Bryndza @RobertBryndza

He Said She Said by Erin Kelly #BookReview

**Author Interview** Between You And Me by Lisa Hall **No Spoilers**

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney #BookReview @alicewriterland @HQstories

**Author interview** With Robert Bryndza #TheGirlInTheIce @RobertBryndza @TheCrimeVault


The book review café will be taking a break over Christmas and new year, so I would just like to wish my followers, fellow book bloggers, authors and publishers a very merry Christmas and best wishes for the new year.🎄🎁🎄🎁😘😘


**Blog Tour** The Perfect Neighbours by Rachel Sargeant @KillerReads @RachelSargeant3 #GuestPost #Review


Today I’m thrilled to be hosting The Perfect Neighbours by Rachel Sargeant blog tour. The Perfect Neighbours is a gripping psychological thriller that was published on the 15th of December by Harper CollinsKiller Reads, so just one “click” and it’s yours. I do have a review for The Perfect Neighbours which you can read further down this post.

To celebrate my stop on the blog tour Rachel Sargeant has written A day in the life of author…… post especially for the book review café, I hope you enjoy reading it as much as did.


First of all I’d like to thank Lorraine for hosting my blog tour today. I’m so grateful for her interest in my new book The Perfect Neighbours and for letting it appear here.

My writing day begins at about 4pm after I’ve finished my day job. (I’m a school librarian.) After work I go for a swim. Although I walk the length and breadth of the school most days, my job is still fairly sedentary so it’s good to get in a hundred lengths at least three times a week. That isn’t as impressive as it sounds; it’s a small pool. I wrote my love of swimming into The Perfect Neighbours by making it my character Helen’s favourite hobby.


Once I get home, I check social media to see whether authors I know have a new book out. Some I buy for my Kindle or order from the local library, and others – the ones I think I’ll want to keep – I buy from the town bookshop. I post reviews of books I’ve enjoyed on my blog and on the main social media sites. I keep telling myself that I should put down a couple of hours writing before I hit the book blogs but it’s like an itch; if I don’t scratch it I can’t settle to work.

An hour later I get down to business and commence editing a chapter of my current draft. If I’m editing on screen, I’ll be upstairs in the study, listening to the Ken Bruce show on iPlayer. If I’m editing a printout, it’s Smooth Radio in the lounge. I edit far more on the screen than I used to but find I still need to see the words on a piece of paper to capture all the changes.


For most of the year I’m editing and barely write anything new. What works for me is to use the long school holidays for writing the first draft. The Perfect Neighbours started life as one of my summer projects even though a large part of the novel takes place in winter. For years, I had no idea what my daily word count was, just that I ended up with between sixty and eighty thousand words by September. This year I recorded my hours and word count in a lovely diary, a gift from my agent, Marilia Savvides at Peters, Fraser and Dunlop. It turns out I produce an average of two thousand words a day, five days a week, and this can take me anywhere from five to eight hours a day. But I only keep this up for a maximum of eight weeks.

After dinner I may have some drafts from my writing buddies to read. I met some wonderful writers on my MA course and we continue to provide feedback on each other’s work. The Perfect Neighbours is dedicated to them for their endless encouragement and astute advice on many, many redrafts.

If there’s a decent crime drama on, I’ll round off the evening with an hour’s telly. I’m fond of re-runs of the very early Taggart. Writer Glen Chandler plotted the episodes brilliantly. Even though I go to bed far too late, I still read for at least half an hour. No day can end without a decent book.

About the book

Published: 15th December 2017 (HarperCollins Killer Reads)

‘Builds from a creeping sense of unease to a jaw-dropping climax and a denouement I defy anyone to see coming.’ Chris Curran, author of Her Deadly Secret

The perfect neighbours tell the perfect lies… When Helen moves to Germany with her loving husband Gary, she can’t wait to join the expat community of teachers from the local International School. But her new start is about to become her worst nightmare.

Behind the shutters lies a devastating secret… As soon as the charming family across the way welcome Helen into their home, she begins to suspect that all is not as it seems. Then Gary starts to behave strangely and a child goes missing, vanished without a trace.
When violence and tragedy strike, cracks appear in the neighbourhood, and Helen realises her perfect neighbours are capable of almost anything.

Available from Amazon: Amazon UK 🇬🇧


There seems to be an influx of psychological thrillers that have the theme of neighbours at its core, and if I’m honest I’ve read a fair few that I have found a mediocre read so I did approach The Perfect Neighbours with some trepidation. From the off this book felt very claustrophobic, it’s bad enough having one difficult neighbour, but imagine have a street full of them! Within hours of moving into her new home, a street that houses fellow expat teachers from the local International School Helen soon realises her neighbours may appear “perfect” but something isn’t quite right.

As the reader is introduced to the assortment of neighbours I couldn’t help but feel disconcerted, in my opinion when people appear “too good to be true” they usually are. When I first began reading this book I immediately thought of The Stepford Wives as the woman of the neighbourhood play the part of the perfect housewife, doting on their far too perfect partners, it felt creepy and contrived. There are an array of characters in this book and it did take me a while to get a grips with them all and their back story’s. I must admit on the whole I found it difficult to relate to any of the characters, in fact they are the sort of neighbours I would definitely avoid at all costs, their arrogant, and controlling but there’s was a small part of me that was deeply intrigued by this bunch of misfits.

From the opening chapter the reader knows something bad has happened to Helen, but as to the why Rachel Sargeant entices the reader by slowly and deftly scratching away at the surface until the neighbours dark and deadly secrets are revealed in all there ugly glory. At times I would say the plot seemed a little far fetched but I’m of the opinion if you pick up a fiction book then it’s possible a books going to push the boundaries, and that’s fine with me as long as there are credible elements within the read. All in all I enjoyed The Perfect Neighbours and I would recommend it to those looking for a psychological thriller that’s very much character driven

 About the author

Rachel Sargeant grew up in Lincolnshire. She is a previous winner of Writing Magazine’s Crime Short Story competition and has been placed or shortlisted in various competitions, including the Bristol Short Story Prize. Her stories have appeared in My Weekly and the Accent Press Saucy Shorts series. Rachel has a degree in German and Librarianship from Aberystwyth University and a Masters in Creative Writing from Lancaster University. She spent several years living in Germany where she taught English and she now lives in Gloucestershire with her husband and children. To learn more about the author and her writing, please visit her website: www.rachelsargeant.co.ukhttps://twitter.com/RachelSargeant3https://www.facebook.com/rachelsargeantauthor/


Perfect gift ideas for a #Bookworm


I decided with Christmas not too far away eeek!  I would do a post on gift ideas for a #Bookworm. I love receiving book vouchers, who wouldn’t eh? but if you are looking for something different then there are loads of book gifts out there that will make the perfect present for any bookworm all year round, and guess what? I would love to receive everyone of these gifts, so Mr book review café if you happen to be reading this, well here’s my Christmas list😂🎄🎄🎄

I would just like to point out although I’ve included links to the items I’ve mentioned, I did not receive any kind of payment for the products in this post. 

Personalised book cover for kindles and ereaders



Create a beautiful penguin classic themed hardback book cover for kindle and most e-book reader or tablets with a 6 or 7 inch screen.

Create a classic Penguin themed cover from a range of colours and patterns for the perfect gift for book lovers.

A premium quality product handmade in England by experienced bookbinders using traditional tools and techniques.


Book lovers soy candle


Subtly sweet with hints of crayon and paper, this crisp apple scent is perfect for the back-to-school season. This bookish candle makes a great gift for your favorite teacher, student, or bibliophile. But first, push up those nerd glasses and take whiff of this delicious scent–you might just want to keep it for yourself!

Etsy book candle

Tote Bag


This tote is wonderfully sized for any household shopping trips that your gentleman’s gentleman might need to undertake. The classic orange Penguin design.
Large canvas shopping bag with long handles.
Measures 34 x 40 x 5 cm plus shoulder length handles.


Book T-shirt


The classic first edition cover of Charlotte’s Web is printed on this gorgeous t-shirt. The printing has a lovely softened distressed feel to it. Fitted shape; comes in a choice of 4 sizes.

Care: machine wash warm. Tumble dry medium. Do not iron text/images.

60% cotton 40% polyester.
Heather Grey with colour screen-printing.

Book journal


This gorgeous journal features book spines on its cover, and gilded page edges.

160 lined pages.
Gilded page edges with elastic closure.
Measures 13 x 18cm.

Book journal

Book Locket


A beautiful book locket, personalised with an initial charm, and presented on a postcard print of Louisa May Alcott’s famous book lover quote.

This book locket is an unusual and thoughtful personalised gift for a book lover.

The necklace is made using a silver plated book locket and a tiny initial charm of your choice. The locket opens right up for you to hide a photo or keepsake. The spaces inside the locket measure 1.5 x 1cm. Please note the initial charms are lowercase letters.

This locket is presented on a postcard print of Louisa May Alcott’s famous quote which reads:

‘She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain.’

Book locket

Book umbrella

IMG_2976Learn to love the rain and step out onto the moors! Umbrella featuring the cover of Bronte’s passionate novel.


100% polyester with a metal frame and cord carry handle
Matching polyester sleeve included, and packaged in a polybag
Wipe clean only
Measurements closed: approx 240mm x 50mm cylinder
Measurements open: approx 580mm high x 940mm diameter


Blind date with a book


A blind date with a book gift set makes the perfect treat for that person who loves nothing more than to immerse themselves in a good book. Take the hassle out of choosing the ‘right’ book and surprise yourself or a friend with a blind book date!

Each mystery book comes with a letter explaining the concept
The set contains a brand new book, mug, hot drink, sweet treat and a handmade and engraved spoon book mark
Choose your genre, why not choose one you would not normally read for a real adventure?
The Book will be described using just four words which are printed on the front using a Retro Dymo Embosser label maker.
Beautifully wrapped in paper & ribbon or other decorative items, ready for giving (or keeping!)


Alice In Wonderland Diary


Don’t be late! Time is everything in this Limited Edition Alice in Wonderland Weekly Notebook Diary/Planner, which features original illustrations on its tactile canvas cover.

Formatted to show the week’s appointments on the left and a ruled page for notes and timekeeping ideas on the right, this large planner has plenty of space for your weekly plans.

Hard Cover with Alice in Wonderland Limited Edition Theme
18 Months Weekly Planer
Rounded corners
Elastic closure with Moleskine Ivory Paper and a matching bookmark ribbon
208 pages: 70 gsm, acid-free, ivory, lined
Expandable inner pocket in the back
Useful tools: planning, time zones, international measurements, dialling codes and flight duration
Dimensions 9 X 14 CM / 3.5 X 5.5 IN


Book print


“A room without books is like a body without a soul” Cicero

Never a truer word printed! Printed onto a a lovely antique dictionary page. Makes a truly original gift for your book loving friend.

Features unique ‘Bookishly’ hand drawn font
Not one print is the same as any other, because the original book pages make each one absolutely unique!
Includes chunky black wooden frame, made from sustainably managed forests.
The quote print is framed without glass so you can feel the beautiful old paper.
Hang on the wall or it will also stand up by itself – will look very at home on the bookshelf.
Handmade in Northamptonshire, UK
Perfect gift – if you can bear to part with it – wrapped in a gorgeous classic road map.
The page measures approximately 14x20cms (approximately 5.5 inches x 8 inches).
There is 0.3cm of black frame showing around the page, which is 3cm deep.


Personalised book mug


Blue Personalised Classic Vintage Book Mug – Custom author / name and book title book cover unique vintage book lover gift.

Choose a famous novel or somebody’s favourite book, or make your own title up! (4 Colours to choose from.)

Personalised book mug

Book brooch


Handmade book brooch. Perfect for book lovers and fans of the white rabbit in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland

Handmade from offcuts of wood and MDF board and covered with an original book page taken from a rescued copy of Alice in Wonderland
The text will differ from those shown and the bunny may face the other direction
Every one is completely unique and very special!
Varnished so it is water resistant and completely practical
Presented on an attractive backing card
1 inch steel brooch fastening firmly glued onto the back.
Measures approximately 7.5 x 5 cm / 3 x 2 inches
Handmade in the UK

Book brooch

Personalised library kit


For a bibliophile, there’s no greater pleasure than sharing beloved books, but no crueller pain than losing them for good–until the Personal Library Kit! Revive old-fashioned library circulation techniques for fun and book retention with our classic bestseller.

Personalised library kit

Alice In Wonderland book scarf



Spend every day in Wonderland, wrapped up in your favourite novel with this Storiarts Book Scarf™

The original, and the best! Patent protected book scarf
Striking and stylish black ink on cream parchment print
Hand printed, therefore each is unique!
Made from top quality super soft 100% cotton jersey knit
This is an infinity / round / circle scarf. The ends are connected
The fabric has been doubled over and sewn along the edge and at the centre so the scarf is thick, chunky and easy to style
The ink has a very slight texture, and the scarf has a matte finish and is not shiny
Care instructions included, the ink is set so it it is safe to wash and iron
Measures about 63″ in circumference and 12″ wide
Beautifully packaged, ready for giving (or keeping!)




Give your book a cuddle! Handmade book & e-reader covers in linens & heavy cottons, padded with a foam stabiliser to keep your books getting marked and the pages bent after throwing them in your handbag. There are so many gorgeous ones to choose from you will be spoilt for choice

**Please note materials shown in photos are subject to availability at time of ordering **


I hope this post has given you some inspiration for presents or for your own “wish list”





**It’s the book reviews café’s second Blogiversary** ramblings & #Giveaway 


Two years ago I published my first review on my blog the book review café, never in a million years when I published my first post did I think two years later I would have over 10,000 followers, get approached by authors and publishers asking me to review their books on MY blog. The sad thing is I’m inundated with requests these days and unfortunately most of them I have to decline. My TBR pile which I’m sure every book blogger on the planet can relate to is way out of control. I hate saying “no” but I’ve learnt it’s better to be honest from the start rather than agreeing to read and review a book you probably aren’t going to find the time to get to anytime soon.


So being a two year old book blogger I still consider myself to be a “newbie” I worry about every post I write, will people hate it? Is it too short or too long (usually too long in my case😂) will people actually read my reviews? I have loads of moments of self doubt, but then I think “it’s my blog I will post what, when and how I like”. Along the way there have been something’s I wish I had known before I started blogging some more serious than others, so I thought I would share them.

  • It’s ok to say “no” don’t agree to read every book you are offered when you start blogging or you will soon become inundated with books you will never get round to reading.
  • Make sure you live central (I’m half joking here, but it’s true) so you can attend all the fabulous events, author events, book events, blogging events there are so many, and if like me you live in Bristol and work full time it’s difficult to fit in and get to any of the events.
  • Be prepared to lose part of your day to social media, I spend far too long reading bloggers reviews, sharing posts and participating in blogger chats on FB, by the time I’ve finished I could have read a book or two😂😂
  • Make sure you are on good terms with your postman, mine is always delivering me ARC’s and books I’ve bought,  he even leaves them in a special place if no ones at home so they don’t get ruined if it rains and yes I do give him a tip at Christmas.
  • If blogging becomes a chore or you feel overwhelmed (it happens to all of us). Take a break, recharge your batteries, it works every time for me.
  • Blog tours are fabulous and a great way to get your blog noticed, but BEWARE of  how many you agree to. One month I agreed to 12, which meant reading blog books back to back. I hardly do any now I much prefer to read my books “as and when I like”, and I know this a problem for lots of bloggers trying to fit in blog tour books when they already have a busy schedule it then becomes a chore rather than a hobby (a lesson I learnt the hard way, too many days spent stressing about getting all those books read and reviews written)
  • Invest in a bigger bookcase as once you start following other book blogs you will find you end up with a zillion more books on your TBR pile.
  • Your bank balance will never be the same again, I kid you not Amazon is my best friend I’m always buying new books thanks to fellow book bloggers recommendations.

I haven’t been able to attend any events so I haven’t had the chance to meet any authors I still have had many highs over the two years I’ve been blogging so here they are….

  • Although I haven’t met any of my fellow bloggers, many of them feel like old friends, they have always been supportive of my blog sharing, liking and commenting on my posts and without them I’m sure my blog wouldn’t have as many followers or visitors
  • I had my first review published in a magazine
  • I’ve been included in the author acknowledgements of some of my favourite books
  • My review quotes have been included in books and on the covers, including the Turkish and Spanish copies of The Girl In The Ice by Robert Bryndza (just had to get that in, as he’s one of my favourite authors on the planet, just in case you didn’t know😂🙈)
  • I never considered the thought that I would actually become friends with some of the authors whose books I’ve read, but I have and they are very supportive of my blog which is unbelievable and very humbling.
  • I have been included in the best 100 book blogs, the best 30 book blogs and nominated for the best book review blog, and although I never won (did you see the awesome bloggers I was up against?) I do feel my  little blog has made an impact and hopefully encouraged people to pick up a book.
  • I feel very fortunate that I’m given the opportunity  to review books that are maybe months away from publication, and I still get a “buzz” when I’m asked to review a book or take part in a blog tour because the authors asked for me to be included.
  • I have my own book blog mug (thanks to Mr book review café)


So before I get to the Giveway I would just like to say…..


Thank you….to every single follower of my blog I appreciate every one of you, to the book bloggers who constantly share, like and comment on my posts, to the publishers and authors who trust me to read and review their books (also for the Arc’s and physical books) and most importantly to my ever suffering husband who reads my posts, checks them and also for being the biggest supporter of my blog (apologise if this reads like an Oscar speech, 😂 😂) and finally it’s ………..


To celebrate my blog turning two I’m giving away a £10.00 Amazon voucher (which will be sent via email) and a Large 8″ x 10″ Softback Reading journal (which I will post to the winner). Sorry this competition is open to UK residents only, but I’m hoping to run an international one soon. Competition ends midnight the 6th of October. 

The winner  will be notified 24 hours after the competition ends.


You can enter giveaway here……..