The Once in a Blue Moon Guesthouse – Cressida McLaughlin

Robin has returned to Campion Bay, on the Dorset coast. She has come to seek solace in her home and grieve for a life that has changed.

Her home also happens to be a guesthouse and when her parents decide they want to retire, Robin throws herself into relaunching the guesthouse and at the same time her own life.

On her first night, an unexpected guest arrives, Will. He is the nephew of Robin’s deceased next door neighbour and he has come to sort the house out. With no choice but to put him in her best room Starcross a friendship forms which starts to tip over into something else.

However the path of true love never did run smooth and when past secrets start to appear and make there present very much felt, it seems that Robin’s idea of solace in Campion Bay is merely just a dream.

But dreams can become realities.

This is a character driven novel and one that is rich in them. No character is there just to fill in, they all have a purpose, a background and are important to the two main protagonists, Robin and Will. I loved and despised them all as I should and I was glad when Robin branched away from the guest house just to remind us and her what she did before she returned to Campion Bay.

A great read, which was previously released in four parts but it is worthy of reading as the whole novel, because you are immediately checked into the guest house, can smell the bacon cooking as you wait for your breakfast and relax into each specially selected room after the exciting day you may have experienced.

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

The Once in a Blue Moon Guesthouse is out now. 



Summer at the Little French Guesthouse – Helen Pollard

The Little French Guesthouse in question is La Cour des Roses and Emmy is still working there, with the wonderful Rupert who has become a firm friends since circumstances brought them together in the first ‘French Guesthouse’ book.

They are as busy as every and Emmy is settling very much into village life and is enjoying the guests staying and also expanding her own business as well. But most of all Emmy is enjoying being with Alain, the man she is about to marry.

Surely she can organise a wedding to the man she loves. Well she can and she could if her mother did not keep stage managing it from a distance. Emmy’s patience is tested, trying to please and placate everyone as she has to check, double-check and then check again that the flowers are right, the bridesmaid dresses match, the cake will work.

However there are somethings that are going to not run smoothly, no matter what Emmy or Emmy’s mother thinks and demands.

The past is generally never far behind and when it becomes ever-present, it means that the wedding is suddenly not the most important thing on everyone’s mind. Surely happiness is not that far away.

Helen Pollard has not lost anything in her writing and she manages to drip the sunshine into the pages and the rolling hillsides, even the delicious food prepared in the guesthouse has you salivating as you can almost taste the chilled white wine, easing away your troubles.

This is the third in the trilogy of books, which I confess to being sad about as I would love to see the guesthouse in the autumn and winter, but nonetheless, this book does bring a lot of the story to a fitting conclusion for the characters.

I have loved spending time in The Little French Guesthouse and I am sure you will too.

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for the opportunity to read this book. As well as the previous two. 

Summer at the Little French Guesthouse is out now. 

Read about the previous two books here and here.


The Bed and Breakfast on the Beach – Kat French

Winnie, Stella and Frankie, three friends in their thirties who escape for a small break on a remote Greek island.

The break is just what they all need as they soothe the wounds caused by marriage breakdowns, divorce and redundancy.

They come back with more than a tan – they come back having bought the B&B they were staying in!

Villa Valentina is now theirs and they throw themselves into making a success of it. Trouble is the Villa seems to be full of secrets and these secrets are key to making a success of their venture as well as harmony on the small island.

The three women have to contend with the resident donkey, who has decided to move to live into a neighbours field and has no intention of returning.

A distillery is hidden beneath the Villa and part of the deal is to keep producing the islands famous spirit – gin and to make sure that the island and the islanders never run out. For if it did, the consequences could be catastrophic.

Add into the mix a boy band wanting to escape from the spotlight, ghosts from the past turning up and irritatingly charming Australian neighbour it means that life at the Villa is certainly going to be interesting.

I adored this novel, it took me completely away. I could feel the sun on my skin, the warmth of the sea, the ice cracking in the glass as the gin was poured in. The romance and seduction almost crackled off the page and I was hooked into all these three women’s lives. I don’t want to say anymore I just want you to go and read the novel and experience it for yourself.

Kat French’s writing for me is improving with each book I read. This is worthy of the five stars if not more. She manages to capture something unique in her descriptions of the scenery, the atmosphere, the connection between the characters and so much more. If you want a pure escapism novel then this is the novel for you.

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

The Bed and Breakfast on the Beach is out now. 



The Gin Shack on the Beach – Catherine Miller

Olive knows that the time has come for her to go into a retirement home. She does not need full-time care, but it would be nice if she no longer had to worry about cooking and washing up.

Going into the home though means she does not want to give up her independence which is why she is very reluctant to let her lovely beach hut and all her friends there go.

Her son, Richard though has other ideas.

As does the Matron, who sees Olive as nothing but trouble.

But how can Olive and her new friends, Randy and Veronica be trouble they are elderly and in a home?

Oh they can and when it involves planning escapes, hiding in cleaning cupboards, trips in police cars and lashings of Gin then you can be sure that Matron is certainly not going to approve.

This is a joyous fun book to read. It will make you laugh, when you imagine, skinny dipping gin swilling octogenarians challenging a stuck up matron (Hattie Jacques sprang to mind instantly) that life certainly does not stop when you live in a care home. It will also make you cry and show you how friendships can be formed at any time in life and that also filling your life with all sorts of people certainly makes it an entertaining one!

This has practically everything you want in a book to keep you entertained – you have to supply the gin yourself though!

Make mine a double!

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

The Gin Shack on the Beach is out now. 



Six in Six – 2017 My Choices

Hello everyone, I hope you are enjoying the Sixth edition of Six in Six and if you haven’t joined in there is still time, pop along here to find out what you need to know. I look forward to reading yours and getting lots of new books added on my to read list.

  • Six books I have enjoyed the most
  1. Jennifer Ryan – The Chilbury Ladies Choir
  2. Andrew Wilson – A Talent for Murder
  3. Liz Fenwick – The Returning Tide
  4. Laura Madeleine – Where Wild Cherries Grow
  5. Trisha Ashley – The Little Teashop of Lost and Found
  6. Emylia Hall – The Thousand Lights Hotel
  • Six books that are related to The Great War or Second World War
  1. Nancy Revell – The Shipyard Girls
  2. Nancy Revell – Shipyard Girls at War
  3. Lissa Evans – Their Finest Hour and a Half
  4. Audrey Reimann – Flora’s War
  5. Jennifer Ryan – The Chilbury Ladies Choir
  6. Deborah Burrows – Ambulance Girls
  • Six books I have read but not reviewed
  1. Mary Gibson – Jam and Roses
  2. Agatha Christie – The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
  3. Fern Britton – A Good Catch
  4. M.C. Beaton – Agatha Raisin and a Spoonful of Poison
  5. James Runcie – Sidney Chambers and the Forgiveness of Sins
  6. Kate Morton – The Lake House
  • Six physical books I have read
  1. Deborah Burrows – Ambulance Girls
  2. Essie Fox – The Somnambulist
  3. James Runcie – Sidney Chambers and the Forgiveness of Sins
  4. Kate Morton – The Lake House
  5. Lissa Evans – Their Finest Hour and a Half
  6. Mary Gibson – Jam and Roses
  • Six book covers I love

  • Six books I must get round to reading this year 
  1. Lucinda Riley – The Angel Tree
  2. Lucinda Riley – The Shadow Sister
  3. Cathy Bramley – The Lemon Tree Cafe
  4. Rachel Joyce – The Music Shop
  5. Lily Graham – The Cornish Escape
  6. Agatha Christie – The Mysterious Affair at Styles

So that is my Six in Six – and halfway through the reading year and only one book short of being halfway through my reading challenge –  all is well. There are so many books I want to be reading, I better get get on and read them!

I look forward to reading all of your Six in Six and I will do a round-up post of everyone that has joined in.


The Choir on Hope Street – Annie Lyons

One street – Hope Street.

Two residents – Nat and Caroline.

Two different houses – Nat and Caroline.

Two different lives – Nat and Caroline.

One choir – everyone’s.

Nat lives in the less desirable end of Hope Street, she is an author of children’s books with one child herself. She thinks that everything is okay in her marriage until the day her husband says he doesn’t love her anymore.

Caroline lives in the more desirable end of Hope Street.  A stay at home mother, on all the committees and associations there is, supporting her husband in his career and maintaining a facade to everyone. Until no care home will take her mother and she has to look after in her perfect home.

A minor incident brings these two unlikely women together. Nat envies Caroline’s perfect life but from a materialistic point whilst Caroline envies Nat’s outspokenness and ability to give to everyone.

When the local community hall is threatened with closure, these two women are thrown together to do something to save it.

A choir seems a good way to bring everyone together.

It enables Caroline to focus on her skills from various committees and it means that Nat can forget the mess that is her marriage. Through a common goal Nat and Caroline form a friendship which helps them both to see what life can be like if you have hope.

This is not a light fluffy book, though it does have some humorous moments. It deals with some real issues but in a considered and measured way. I was not gripped by the book enough to make me keep turning the pages long after I should have put the book down, but it was a pleasant read.

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

The Choir on Hope Street is out now. 


The Thousand Lights Hotel – Emylia Hall

Kit has lost her mother. She was the only person Kit had in the whole world, she was the focus of everything and it was always them against the world.

With this tragedy still very much in her mind, Kit suddenly decides that she wants to find out more about where her mother came from and more importantly who her father was or is.

This sudden need to hold onto something and ground Kit has brought her to the island of Elba and The Thousand Light Hotel, so-called because of a local legend which is celebrated in the year. It is this which gives Kit, a travel writer the opportunity to actually have a valid reason to be there and not to be just looking for something she has lost.

I was transported to Elba, to the beautiful hotel, the intense heat and warmth of the sun. The sea as it was calm in the morning as Kit went to break the surface, to wake herself up, to find what she was looking for. Even down to food and the welcome that hotel gives. It was liking reading a holiday brochure but one with depth, feeling and so much of a back  story. That is the beauty of the author’s writing, you are immediately transported to wherever she chooses to take you and she weaves a story that I knew was going to capture me just as the heat of the island itself.

This is a book which is gentle, meandering if you will, in the heat of the day as you cool off in the pool, enjoy aperitif before dinner and beautiful fresh food to round your lazy day off.  However it delivered some unforeseen twists and turns which is why I kept reading the novel, I knew that this could not possibly be the end of the story for Kit.

A lovely read which transports you and also one that made me go and read more about a place. If there was ever a book that seriously made me want to go and visit a place, this was it.

Interestingly enough, I have covered very little about the plot in this review. I think that is because you need to know that Kit goes to Elba, to find out about her father, if I say any more I feel that the prior knowledge you have will impact your actually enjoyment of the book. Like an unknown destination when you go on holiday, I think this is a book where you need to discover as you turn the page with nothing to influence you.

Enjoy as I did.

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

A Thousand Lights Hotel is out now on e-book and 13 July in paperback.


The Summer of Serendipity – Ali McNamara

Back almost five years ago I picked up Breakfast at Darcy’s by this author and I have to confess that whilst I enjoyed

“the descriptions of the scenery, the weather how it changes so suddenly and how it impacts on them all and the local folklore” (Taken from my own review)

I was rather disappointed with the overall plot. Subsequent books I have read by this author have not been poor in the plot department and I was in no doubt I was going  to get a good story when I picked up this one.

We are back in Ireland (where Breakfast at Darcy’s was based and is referred to in this book) this time with Serendipity, Ren to her friends and her rather kooky and ditsy work colleague Kiki.

Ren is a property seeker – she will find the home of your dreams that ticks all of the boxes and get the right price for it, even if said house is not even for sale. This is what brings her to Ballykilltara.

She does in fact find the perfect house for her client.

The house appears to survive on local legend. It is a house that welcomes anyone at any point in their journey and provides them with shelter. That is why it is called The Welcome House.

Trouble is no one knows who owns the house?

No one knows who maintains the house?

Ren discovers much about local legends and history as she decides to find out for herself about this house. Ren becomes so immersed in the mystery it becomes a personal crusade and not just simply to seal the deal for her client. The house keeps bringing more questions than answers to Ren and if she was not being distracted by the rather dishy hotel manager of where she is staying perhaps she will be able to find out the truth quicker.

This is a book rich in scenery and place. The author conveys that you could quite easily find yourself in the luxury of the hotel where Ren is staying as well as the simplicity of The Welcome House. Add to that the humour of Mrs Malaprop –  Kiki and the subtle undertones of romance, plus the mystery and you will find like me, drawn right into the book.

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

The Summer of Serendipity is out on 13 July. 







Wedding Bells at Butterfly Cove – Sarah Bennett

I was thrilled to be able to go back and visit Butterfly Cove, I was so engrossed with the place, the characters of Mia and Daniel to be able to go back and see how everything is progressing is a delight.

Sometimes with a second book there can be a lot of rehashing of the first so anyone picking it up can feel that they are not missing anything by not having read the first. I am afraid to say you are. If you want to realise how Mia and Daniel got to where they are and the strength they clearly have in this book then you need to go and read the first.

Of course though, there are more people to get to know and this book is centred very much on Kiki, Mia’s sister. She makes the momentous decision to change her life and leave her husband.

Taking her two children she arrives on Mia’s doorstep at Butterfly Cove and she is struggling to see any worth in anything. Her life has not been easy even when she was a child and the decisions she has made as an adult have probably been the result of it. Her relationship with her sister is still rather fraught at times but perhaps now she has made one momentous decision the next few will be a lot easier to handle.

Aaron, let his friend Daniel down when he needed him the most, but has since been making up for that by helping Daniel with his latest project. Having seen the draw to a place such as Butterfly Cove he has settled himself down there and is reflecting on how he has never found where he belongs in life, especially when it seems others have been conspiring against him for some unknown reason. Aaron has a lot of love to give and it seems he cannot find the right person to give it to.

Can Kiki see her worth and can Aaron share his love?

Just like the first book there is a lot of depth to all the characters, fully formed and still with strong storylines this is not one of those books which you can skim read and still get the impact that the author is after. The book is totalling absorbing and kept me hooked. This author can and should be easily found with the likes of Carol Matthews and Katie Fforde. I cannot wait for the third book, so I can visit the healing place that has certainly become Butterfly Cove.

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

Wedding Bells at Butterfly Cove is out now.





Books · Jottings

June Roundup

Another six months done, halfway through 2017 and just one book short of being halfway through my yearly target of 100 – not bad say I.

Of course I have been compiling my Six in Six post, to be featured on this blog soon and I am looking forward to reading all of yours. It has meant I have gone back and reflected on what I have been reading and I have to confess it is certainly seems to be predominantly womens fiction, not perhaps as literary as some years but do you know what I have enjoyed the books and just simply enjoying reading.

There is a lot of going back to authors that I love and genres that I love. Which is why I was delighted to read Sarah Bennett – Wedding Bells at Butterfly Cove, having read her first at the beginning of the year and I see that there will be another by the end of the year.

Again another author I read at the beginning of the year led me to her next novel Karen Clarke – The Beachside Flower Stall. I am hoping that there will also be another one by the end of the year, no doubt Christmas dominated!

Whilst I spend my own time dealing with the vagaries of the NHS, I caught up with more doctors in Penny Parkes – Practice Makes Perfect and a lovely short story Penny Parkes – Swept Away. Again it looks like I can continue with this author and storyline in the future too.

I suppose it is almost of a soap opera quality (though far better I hasten to add) that you can continue these stories with characters and places that you grow to love.

Ali McNamara – The Summer of Serendipity, took be back to a place I had visited before and reminded me that authors can get better.

Another of my favourite things is dual narratives, where it feels like you are reading two stories that are clearly interlinked but you have no idea how, why or where. Laura Madeleine – Where Wild Cherries Grow is a fine example of this book and also one, where actually both narratives can be set in the past, in this case 1919 and 1969. It works and works wonderfully well.

A Gin and Tonic always works well for me, and over the last twelve months I have certainly investigated more of the different gins as opposed to the run of mill ones. Therefore Catherine Miller – The Gin Shack on the Beach appealed to me. With some feisty elderly folk and a matron that could quite easily have stepped out of a Carry On film this book was an easy fun read.

I do love my saga type novels and therefore I picked up Mary Gibson – Jam and Roses, probably because of the cover. For a change in setting, this one was between the wars and around the time of the General Strike, so it was great not to have war as the overarching the whole novel. A really good read and author I am now going to read more especially when one of the books is titled Bourbon Creams and Tattered Dreams.

A book rightly placed in the setting of the World War Two, Audrey Reimann – Flora’s War shows how some people go to extreme measures to get what they want, even if there is a war on and they should be helping others.

Here is to another month of reading what I enjoy the most.