Books · Jottings

Summer Holidays

In a bid to work my way through a number of books languishing on my kindle thanks to the wonder that is netgalley and also the ones residing on my shelves I thought I would set myself a little task and that was to go on a summer holiday via the medium of books.

So allow this post to take you to lots of different places, to stay in some rather interesting accommodation and perhaps have a summer holiday vicariously. Hopefully some of the links are not too tenuous!

So browse this brochure and tell me perhaps where you fancy going?

The Place – Elba, an island in Tuscany, Italy.

The Book – The Thousand Lights Hotel – Emylia Hall

……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…….

The Place – A fictional island, Greece

The Book – The Bed and Breakfast on the Beach – Kat French

…..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……

The Place – Loire Valley, France

The Book – Summer at the Little French Guesthouse – Helen Pollard

…..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……..

The Place – Dorset, UK

The Book – The Once in a Blue Moon Guesthouse – Cressida McLaughlin

….. 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…..

The Place – Cornwall, UK

The Book – Summer at Seafall Cottage – Lily Graham

…..find my own cottage and just experience the simple view, ever-changing through the windows that look out across the sea. I want to be able to read in comfort a book such as this as the weather does its worst. Knowing that tomorrow is a new day and something else may be discovered…….

The Place – A Fictional Island, Caribbean

The Book – Death Knocks Twice – Robert Thorogood

….taking you away to where the sun shines, the water is warm and the chance of death could be quite high!…..

The Place – Fictional Seaside Town, North West Coast, UK

The Book – The Little Bed and Breakfast by the Sea – Jennifer Joyce

….A pier…arcade machines…A fish and chip shop…devour the salty chips…ice cream van which specialises in different flavours…A beach, cliffs, coves and breathtaking views of the sea and the landscape.

The Place – Fictional Island, Scilly Isles, UK

The Book – Spring at Blueberry Bay – Holly Martin

…The book completely took me away to Hope Island, and its scenery and residents, and the wonder that is Holly Martin’s writing….

The Book – Summer at Buttercup Beach – Holly Martin

…A book for the perfect escape, along with the wonderful setting and the beauty that can be seen not just in love but also in the surroundings and the art that can be created through the medium of glass……

The Place – Devon Coastline, UK

The Book – Summer at Coastguard Cottages – Jennifer Bohnet

….where you can enjoy coming together with a community who do not judge your choice, your life and you can enjoy a glass of something chilled and toast the day as the flag shifts and the sun sets over the sea……

Thank you for stepping into the pages of my brochure and as for my real summer holiday, it is now over and I am back at work, counting the days to my next break.

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Books

Summer at Coastguard Cottages – Jennifer Bohnet

I know you should not judge a book by its cover but who cannot help love this one? It was a bonus that the story contained within it was just as lovely.

Along a part of the Devon coastline is the Coastguard cottages, where for roughly eight weeks in the summer are full of people, life, laughter, love, friendship and food. It is of course the same faces, the same people, but this summer it seems that it is all about to change.

Bruce is at his cottage, for the first time without his beloved wife, Gabby. He has some decisions to make about his and the cottages future, but when an unexpected visitor or two turns up it seems that perhaps the future is not going to be as predictable as he first thought.

Karen, mum to two children, who are now making their own way in the world is simply left with her husband, Derek. Is her marriage finished, could she manage without him especially as the cottage she has is simply hers and hers alone? The break at this cottage is the test they both need.

Guy, is borrowing his friend’s cottage, he realises he has been here before and he may still know some of the more regulars. Guy needs to escape and heal from what he has seen in the last twelve months. But he also has to face up to his marriage – divorce has to be the answer but is it one his wife will accept.

Carrie, is left a legacy, one she would never have even believed. It means she can settle with little financial worries for the foreseeable future. But it has come from a man she has never met and it is finding out about him, that leads her to one particular coastguard cottage during the summer. Will she find the answers to the many questions she has?

As these main characters and a few secondary ones, who you soon learn how they all fit in together at the cottages, the books travels along nicely and the story winds and weaves along.

A real heart warming story and one where you can enjoy coming together with a community who do not judge your choice, your life and you can enjoy a glass of something chilled and toast the day as the flag shifts and the sun sets over the sea.

I really enjoyed the setting, the place and whilst I would love to go back to these coastguard cottages, possibly even stay in one, the story was brought to its rightful conclusion and the characters live on after the book has been finished – a sign of a well written book in my simple opinion.

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

Summer at Coastguard Cottages is out now on ebook

 

Books

Summer at Buttercup Beach – Holly Martin

Back at Hope Island, which I first visited in Spring at Blueberry Bay, we are now familiar with the surroundings and some of the characters.

This time the story focuses on Rome Lancaster – having lost what he thought was his true love at an early age, grief is still running through his veins and he throws himself into his work and women.

Freya Greene found solace in Hope Island when she escaped from an unhappy relationship. Finding that Hope Island was the place she wanted to be, she became friends with Eden and her brother Rome, as well as Bella and Isaac the principal characters from the first novel.

Rome even offers her work at his workshop and the flat above as well. It seems that Freya has found a base at last, there is only one problem – she is in love with Rome.

Working together and laughing together are not enough for Freya, she wants more. And as Rome’s behaviour changes towards her, is she perhaps reading far too much into innocent remarks, touches and looks?

Only Rome knows the truth and when he wants to resolve one problem between them, he seems to open up another lot of problems that they have to somehow solve.

Freya has the answer – leave the island and hope that her heart can forget Rome.

Rome has other ideas.

I thoroughly enjoyed going back to Hope Island and seeing how the relationship was forming between these two characters. I had my doubts, thinking it would simply be a carbon copy of the first book. Whilst of course, two people coming together and the setting is the same – the way they get there provided me with heart stopping moments, tears of joy and a lot of laughter too.

A book for the perfect escape, along with the wonderful setting and the beauty that can be seen not just in love but also in the surroundings and the art that can be created through the medium of glass. What a simple idea but sometimes I am sure the heat that is created in the book – could have melted more than just glass!

I look forward to the third novel and finding out all about Eden and Dougie and of course revisiting Hope Island at a very different time of year.

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

The Summer at Buttercup Beach is out now. 

 

 

Books

The Little Bed and Breakfast by the Sea – Jennifer Joyce

What better way to while away a few days in Clifton on Sea, a seaside town on the northwest coast of Britain. Where there is everything you want from such a place.

A pier, with the candy floss stands, and the arcade machines where you spend hours watching two pence pieces move in a machine. where getting a cuddly toy out the machine is more than luck than judgement

A fish and chip shop, where you can take the delicious food next door to the pub and enjoy a pint as you devour the salty chips.

The ice cream van which specialises in different flavours and a unique host.

The little shops where you can get something unique to remind you of your visit.

A beach, cliffs, coves and breathtaking views of the sea and the landscape.

Of course what better place to stay than at the Bed and Breakfast run by Mae. Helping to make ends meets, she has opened up two of her rooms to guests. She is pretty much booked out until the autumn until she suddenly has two cancellations.

It just so happens, that Melody is looking for some where to stay as she completes a photographic project which is very personal to her, otherwise she is just going to move on.

Willow has nowhere to stay, her house she is renovating is no longer safe for her to stay in and her husband is away and not offering much support.

Both Melody and Willow find themselves staying with Mae and a friendship forms between these women.

Mae suddenly realises that being single is perhaps not the answer for the rest of her life and she perhaps should listen to all the advice that is being given to her.

Willow is struggling to find contentment in what she has got and stop dreaming about what could be. She feels alone with no support.

Melody is running away from her past and when she befriends a local innocently, she can see that perhaps life does go on and there is a future.

As the book shifts between the three main female characters you begin to care about them, you want only the best for them and of course this is a reflection on the writing. I felt I was privileged to be allowed a snapshot into their lives.

An engaging summer read and to be honest would be an engaging read whatever the season or the weather!

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

The Bed and Breakfast by the Sea is out now. 

Books

Spring at Blueberry Bay – Holly Martin

I am relatively new to Holly Martin’s novels as I only discovered her towards the end of last year. And I am pleased to be back with her and the characters she writes about and the places she sets her novels.

Novels often can be described as transporting you to another place, Holly Martin’s novels should be at the very top of this category.

Bella lives on Hope Island, an island which is part of the Scilly Isles and it is a place where everyone knows your business, whether you try to hide it or not. In the case of Bella, everyone knows she lived with her aunt and uncle because her mother abandoned her and she was unintentionally caught up in a fraud case in her previous work.

Bella trusts few people despite her seemingly happy outgoing look on life. She really is only close to the family that she grew up with, including Rome and Eden her brother and sister. She cannot let anyone in.

Down on her luck and having to live on porridge, she still finds time to help a homeless man, she finds on her doorstep. Blunt with him as she literally has no money, she offers the next best thing, a bowl of porridge and her sofa for the night. Trouble is Isaac is not who he says he is and it turns out that helping someone can lead to all sorts of problems and some rather interesting situations.

Isaac is back home, he wants to come back to where people like him for who he is and not because he has money and can perhaps help them further their careers. Bella does not know who he is now and they clearly have some sort of chemistry growing between them but Isaac needs to tell her the truth before she make a complete fool of herself.

Something that Bella does a lot as the book goes on, but actually it is not making a fool of herself, it is so sweetly endearing and lovely that you cannot help but smile, because somehow she picks herself up and turns the whole situation around. Not to say that I didn’t smile to myself as our feisty Bella sitting in a job interview in a green bridesmaid dress with her assets on show!

Bella manages to pick Isaac up when tragedy strikes and she shows him that you perhaps need very little in life to survive. Isaac shows her what love can and should be like. Bella is trying to resist but misunderstandings continue through the novel and you wonder if perhaps Isaac just hasn’t got the strength to fight against Bella’s determination not to fall in love and break down the walls.

This book has everything in equal measure and plenty more. I laughed, I cried and I even confess to dreaming about my own Isaac, sweeping me off my feet. The book completely took me away to Hope Island, and its scenery and residents, and the wonder that is Holly Martin’s writing.

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for the opportunity to read this novel. I apologise profusely for taking so long to get to it, so much so that I have read this and moved straight onto the next one in the series Summer at Buttercup Beach. 

How wonderful it is to keep reading about the same characters in the same place. Utter joy.

Spring at Blueberry Bay and Summer at Buttercup Beach are both out now.  

 

Books

Death Knocks Twice – Robert Thorogood

This is the third ‘Death in Paradise’ novel and this time the challenge for DI Richard Poole, stuffy english detective in his woollen suits in the Caribbean and his rather more laid back team, of Camille, Fidel and the Dwayne.

An unknown man is found dead, shot twice in an old shower room at the Beaumont’s coffee plantation. The door is locked from the inside, the window as well. He could not possibly have been murdered.

Could he?

As DI Poole employs his propensity for such unexplainable acts it seems that perhaps there is more to this unknown man than first thought. The coffee plantation, seems to be running at a loss and the Beaumont family are at odds with each other as well as what to do for best about the plantation.

Of course the truth is obvious, when you know where you are looking, but with every good detective novel there has to plenty of red herrings, plot twists and perhaps another murder. Who is telling the truth?

Of course methods of detection are notoriously slow on such a  laid back Caribbean island and DI Poole has to result in some old fashion research and plenty of patience. He knows if he was back in England, wet dreary England he would not be in this predicament.

But when the answer is revealed… it is time to gather everyone together and ‘name the murderer’!

As with the previous two novels, this encompasses the bygone era of crime writing such as Christie and simply transports it to somewhere warm and appealing. With humorous characters and someone one is never going to fit in and chooses to remain the odd one out. Of course there is another plot running through this and that is the bootleg rum which is being sold on the island, and it might even mean the grumpy english man in his woollen suit might need to go undercover as a proper islander……

A good whodunnit, taking you away to where the sun shines, the water is warm and the chance of death could be quite high!

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

Death Knocks Twice is out now. 

You can also read the first two novels A Meditation on Murder and The Killing of Polly Carter

I hope these books are successful enough to warrant more, because when the tv series is not on, these are a wonderful stop gap. 

 

 

 

Books

The Cornish Escape – Lily Graham

Having only read one book by this author before and knowing that was excellent I was more than pleased to be offered the chance to read this one. I was totally immersed in the story, the place, the characters.

Victoria has escaped London and her marriage. Which has failed. She probably knew it was going to but her job as a biographer and the immense amount of research, detail and effort she puts into her work meant she was away from home a lot. Her husband has other ideas.

Victoria has escaped to Cornwall, to little village of Tregollan, her brother lives not far from where she finds herself, there is someone near if she needs them. Out walking she stumbles across a derelict, abandoned cottage, Seafall Cottage, but some locals think it is cursed and the name has stuck as the years have passed. But the cottage gives up a secret to Victoria, a diary, written in code from the turn of the twentieth century.

Victoria is intrigued about this diary and its previous owner Tilly Asprey, who lived in the big house all them years ago. The locals know something but they are reluctant to tell Victoria anything and when she goes to Adam, the lawyer managing the sale of the cottage she has one of her many questions answered.

Trouble is Adam gives her even more questions and some of them are nothing to do with her recent purchase.

As Victoria throws herself into the cottage, she embarks on finding out about Tilly Asprey and exactly why she was writing a diary and letters in code.

What for me was an added bonus, was the fact that we got read Tilly’s story, we got to find out about the person that Victoria ended up researching. There were connections to the present day, but I could not see how the jigsaw was going to fit together. Of course it did, with the help of Adam and the lovely people who Victoria had managed to surround herself with. Gone was the anonymity of living in London, being in Tregollan has been the perfect remedy to heal a broken heart and a life spent looking for something.

The author brings to life Cornwall, I want to go and find my own cottage and just experience the simple view, ever-changing through the windows that look out across the sea. I want to be able to read in comfort a book such as this as the weather does its worst. Knowing that tomorrow is a new day and something else may be discovered.

The book is full of characters who all interact perfectly, whether it is with Tilly and her pompous sister and mother or Victoria and her new-found friendship with Angie who just happens to run a floating bookshop! The mix is vast and the characters various and there is I know so many more stories that could be told by them all. But of course this book is Victoria’s story and the telling of Tilly’s.

For me it is the sign of a good book when you are disappointed when you finish, but you know that perhaps those characters are still living on long after you’ve stopped reading. Sometimes a sequel is not what is required just simply the starting point of an author and their story and then the reader’s imagination.

An excellent read and one you can escape into whether your holiday be in Cornwall or Corfu!

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

The Cornish Escape has been renamed as Summer at Seafall Cottage and is out now.