Books · Witterings

November Roundup

You know that feeling when the end is in sight but you just can’t get there. I thought I might be able to reach the 100 I set myself as I did last year in November, but I am still a couple of books to go. I may well have done it, but reading seems to have taken a bit of a slump despite some cracking good books read in the month.

Christmas reading continued apace with Liz Eeles – A Christmas Wish and a Cranberry Kiss at the Cosy Kettle. The final part of this trilogy saw Christmas full of hot coffee and mince pies. Delicious.

Then it was a return to the Doctors with Penny Parkes – Snowed in at The Practice, this series of books is a joy to read and they really go into some interesting depth about the survival of GP practices and what affects the medical profession countrywide.

There is nothing like one of the worst periods of history to bring you back down with a bump and a reality check from all the lovely warm Christmas wishes. There is certainly no warmth in the setting of Lily Graham – The Child of Auschwitz. However the author deals with such a moving piece of history well and with such thoughtfulness that I was immediately drawn into the story, the characters and the outcome.

More history, even further back with Julian Fellowes – Belgravia. On the eve of the Battle of Waterloo events change the shape of two families lives forever. Think Downton Abbey, Upstairs Downstairs and add in the fact that it is to be on the TV in the new year and you have yourself a real Sunday Night Drama. The book was an interesting read of class, of status, money and love.

Another book full of love was Sara Cox – Till the Cows Come Home. I admit to being a bit of a fan girl with Sara Cox. I enjoyed her standing in for the Breakfast Show on BBC Radio 2 and I am delighted to catch her on the Drivetime show now. Her book is a love letter to her family and to how she was brought up and the experiences that have clearly shaped her and made her into the chatterbox of delights. I would love to listen to the audio book of this.

And finally a bit of cosy murder mystery, in what has been a mix of reading themes this month. Helena Dixon – Murder at the Dolphin Hotel, set in Devon after the First World War, you could almost Poirot to appear or Miss Marple as the body count rises and the red herrings are aplenty. I look forward to more from this author.

So that was November – and the trouble I am having at the moment is choosing the next book to read. I have some on my shelf waiting to be read and I am waiting until I get the time off work (only 3 weeks left to go) to really get stuck into the god stuff.

In the meantime I end November reading a book that I want to know the secrets behind two of the main characters but I am a bit loathe to be reading the rest of it to get there. I should quit but I am ultimately nosey and so need to know! And now probably you all want to know the book too!

On with December…..

Books

Snowed in at The Practice – Penny Parkes

Time for another appointment with the Doctors at the Larkford Surgery.

Whilst Dr Holly Graham is on maternity leave and struggling to make everyone else understand that is she just not simply the mother of two sets of twins, she is also a wife, a friend and a doctor. There must be a better way to transition back to working than everyone seems to be suggesting at the moment.

Perhaps talking to her patients on a normal level and with no pressure is the only way to go, but when an offer of an feature on a radio show and also a fixture at the Rugby Club, it seems that Holly’s options are even greater than she first thought.

Dr Alice Walker and her amazing dog Coco are still working their magic but it seems that Alice has also brought a fellow doctor and friend Dr Tilly Grainger along who is struggling to fit in not just in the village of Larkford where hearts are being broken by the day, but as a doctor in something other than the war zones she had been used to. Is there a project that Tilly can call her own and something where she feels she is making a difference?

Dr Dan Carter and Practice Manager Grace are facing some difficult decisions and it seems that their future is decided for them when someone captures Dan’s heart.

Along with this we have all the other wonderful characters which have featured in previous Larkford novels, the wonder that is Elsie, hellbent on being the centre of attention wherever she may go and of course Holly’s friend Lizzie and former rock star Connor whose life is about to be changed once again.

This book like the previous three is a complete joy to read. You are completely immersed in the world of Larkford and the residents and of course the patients as well as the doctors at the surgery. There are some real tough topics dealt with in this book. You might need to harden your heart or just let the tears flow as I did. Nothing is off limits. It is both joyous and sad in equal measure.

What makes this series if books stand out is the clear detail that the author has gone into to understand the workings of a local GP practice, a practice which I am sure like many around the country is suffering from an overload of paperwork, government targets and cut backs on the things that really matter like time with the patients. I don’t know how Penny Parkes does it but she has brought a ‘hot topic’ into fiction and added a dose of characters and created a series which I think could run and run.

I prescribe this series of books to everyone.

Thank you to the publisher via netgalley for the opportunity to read this book. 

Snowed in at the Practice is out now. 

 

 

Books

Snowdrops on Rosemary Lane – Ellen Berry

 

Lucy fell in love with Rosemary Cottage when she was a girl, plundering berries from the garden in fear of the owner catching her and her friends. It was her dream home.

Years later when her life takes an unexpected path, Lucy can buy her dream home and embrace life with her children and husband in the countryside and run a B & B. However, when a tragic accident leads to a completely path again it seems that there is only one more year left at Rosemary Cottage and life in Burley Bridge.

James is back in Burley Bridge as it appears his father needs some care as he has exhibited some rather worrying behaviour. James also recalls playing in the garden of Rosemary Cottage as a child and playing with Lucy so he is shocked to see her again.

James patience and kindness though is what Lucy needs right now as she tries to decide whether she should really leave her dream, Rosemary Cottage and go back to a world that seems to have left her behind.

This is a welcome return to Ellen Berry’s series of books featuring the village of Burley Bridge, but you do not have to visited before to get a feel for the place. Familiar faces soon become your friends and the author draws you right into how a village can help a newcomer as well as a stalwart resident.

A nice comfortable read which is not full on Christmas but is more to do with love and sorrow, grief and happiness.

A book with lots of positivity amongst all the sadness and a lot is packed into the pages, that the story skillfully takes you over a large time period in a clever way without ever feeling bogged down or dragging a plot out for the sake of it.

I hope one day we perhaps return to visit Rosemary Cottage as I feel there is more to know about Lucy and James. The ending was left very loose……

Thank you to the publisher via netgalley for the opportunity to read this book. 

Snowdrops on Rosemary Lane is out now.

Books

Winner – A Perfect Cornish Christmas

Thank you very much to everyone who entered – if you have entered more than once then I have just counted you as one entry.

So I can reveal the winner is (thanks to a random name picker site on the internet)

 

Well done!

I will be in contact so I can get the book to you, hopefully before Christmas! Happy Reading.

Thank you again to everyone who stopped by my blog and took part.

Books

A Perfect Cornish Christmas – Phillipa Ashley

We were first in Porthmellow in the Summer and now we are back for Christmas and whilst all the characters from that novel are featured in this, they are not the main principle characters. I wasn’t sure where this book would go but I did not need to worry.

The book opens at Christmas, Scarlett and her sister Ellie thought it would be great idea to find out more about their heritage. It isn’t the present that any of them were wanting. With her family fractured Scarlett runs away from the house and ends up in the local pub for the “Lunch for the Lonely”.

Ellie as been trying to hold everything together and has been staying in Portmellow since that fateful Christmas. This is not the norm for her, she is usually travelling and moving on to the next place. However Porthmellow has captured her heart and it is not just the place. Can she finally stop searching and stop and see what she really has?

Scarlett knows she was not lonely on that fateful day and now she does not know who she really is. Determined to find the truth Scarlett returns to Porthmellow and stays with her sister.

However, what she does not realise is that she will become so involved in Porthmellow, the Winter Solstice Festival and even the locals themselves. How can she possibly find out the truth when there are too many distractions?

As Christmas comes into view again can Scarlett and Ellie perhaps forget about what has happened in the previous twelve months and move forward. Or is there going to be something else hiding amongst the presents under the Christmas Tree?

The book opens with the denouement almost and you are left reeling from the after effects of it all. There are as many questions as there are answers and I was surprised by the depth of this plot line from the author. Not in a negative way but positively. How families are broken up and brought back together through actions and simple reactions the background of Christmas always seeming to exacerbate the reactions.

Of course it is wonderful to be back in Porthmellow and the sense of the Cornish harbour at Christmas. It is as if I was there amongst the festival goers and eavesdropping on what was going on. The author has a way of making you feel part of the place she describes, part of the book.

A slight change from perhaps what you might expect but for me it simply added another layer to the book. I cannot wait to see where Phillipa Ashley might take us next.

Wherever it is I will be there.

A moving read which eases you into your Christmas reading with great settings and great characters which capture your heart. A must for any fan of Ashley’s other works or discovering for the first time. A perfect read Christmas or not!

Thank you to the publisher via netgalley for the opportunity to read this book.

A Perfect Cornish Christmas is out now.

 

 

Books

Murder at the Dolphin Hotel – Helena Dixon

The first in what is obviously going to be a series of cosy mystery books, featuring Miss Underhay.

Kitty Underhay has been left in charge of her family’s hotel – the aforementioned Dolphin Hotel whilst her grandmother goes to visit a sick relative.

Her grandmother knows something is wrong as there have been some suspicious letters sent to the hotel and she fears that Kitty may be in danger so she hires a new security officer Matt Bryant whose first job is to protect Miss Kitty.

Kitty is determined that the summer season at the Dolphin Hotel is to go without a hitch, a glamourous jazz singer is due and a masked ball to end the summer season in Dartmouth must go without a hitch and prove to Kitty’s grandmother that she is more than capable of running the hotel.

Add to this some robbery, arson, a missing jewel and a few murders everything seems to be coming back to Kitty and her past. Can she possibly solve all of this before she puts herself in danger?

This is a lovely cosy mystery very much lighter than an Agatha Christie but certainly has plenty of nods to the Queen of Crime. Red herrings and twists and turns makes it an enjoyable page turner for any murder mystery fan.

Thank you to the publisher via netgalley for the opportunity to read this book. 

Murder at the Dolphin Hotel is published on 11th December. 

 

Books

A Christmas Wish and a Cranberry Kiss at the Cosy Kettle – Liz Eeles

There is nothing better than being laden down with Christmas shopping and seeking solace in a lovely festive cafe for a festive treat. Where better than to sample a latte and a mince pie than the Cosy Kettle in Honeyford.

This time at the Cosy Kettle we are concentrating on Becca who is the manager. An unlikely choice as she is running away from what she sees as a failure, a broken relationship, a failed job and not living up to the status of her twin sister who her parents seem more to praise.

Hiding in a coffee shop in a bookshop seems like the perfect place to be.

Becca’s wish is to reinvent herself and in the run up to Christmas she does.

Can she get the date with Logan, who she has had a secret crush on for months?

Can she learn to be more assertive and stand up in front of people to talk?

Can she be more like her sister Jasmine?

But ultimately this wish list is going to be the undoing of Becca.

The opportunity to impress Logan and her boss Flora with some savvy business acumen and change the Cosy kettle into something more highbrow and sophisticated for a corporate party leads to a few conflicts with regular customers.

Add into the mix her friendship with housemate Luke who always remains faithful to their friendship. A sister who appears to have everything, including it looks like the man Becca is in love with.

Will her wishes come true or will Becca remain true to herself and just simply settle into being the way she is?

This is a nice simple read to bring a trilogy of books about the Cosy Kettle to a conclusion, but for me this book was not my favourite of the three.

Thank you to the publisher via netgalley for the opportunity to read this book. 

A Christmas Wish and a Cranberry Kiss at the Cosy Kettle is out now.