Books

A Summer Escape and Strawberry Cake at the Cosy Kettle – Liz Eeles

I am back in the Cosy Kettle for another cup of tea and a piece of cake and to catch up with the villagers of Honeyford.

In this second in the series, the main storyline features Flora, the owner of the Cosy Kettle and Bookshop in Honeyford who we met in the first book and was a characters who I thought was very reserved and quiet but I wasn’t sure why.

Now having met more of her husband, Malcolm and realised what you thought about him in book one is true and when Flora discovers his infidelity she suddenly realises that perhaps something is missing in her life. She has always been under someone else’s shadow and it is time for her to step into the light.

As she does, Flora becomes even more involved in village life, but after years of knowns the unknown seems very frightening and it be easier if she slipped back into her old life.

However, Honeyford, the book ship and the cosy kettle have other ideas for Flora.

Taken in by Luna, who runs the mystical shop, Flora embraces a different way of living and also has to share the house with Luna’s widowed son Daniel and his son, Caleb.

Getting involved in summer celebrations, Flora throws herself into hosting a famous author, a baking competition as well as trying to make a decisions about her husband means that Flora has a lot goign on.

But when she returns to Luna’s home, she can see the simplicity of nature and that all around her and she perhaps needs to make a change in her life to be able to move on.

Is Flora going to make the right change?

Another satisfying read and with the right amount of well developed secondary characters, Becca the manager of the Cosy Kettle, Knackered Mary, unlikely friends Millicent and Marigold, Callie (prominent in the first book), her eccentric grandfather Stanley still making his hilarious mark as well as some sumptuous descriptions of cakes and you have all you could want from a book.

Great for a light summer read!

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

A Summer Escape and Strawberry Cake at the Cosy Kettle is published on 1 July. 

Books

The House on the Loch – Kirsty Wark

This is the first book I have read of Kirsty’s I was intrigued by what a well known journalist and broadcaster would make of being an author. I was not disappointed and it was not a story I was expecting.

This is the story of a family, a family from the past and the present and also how they are going to evolve into the future.

Walter MacMillian, falls madly in love with Jean and they marry, Patrick and Fiona are their children. Whilst there is no specific time period given you get the sense of it being the Fifties, references are made to the war and Walter witness a well known event when he was a small boy.

Living in the house by the loch is everything that Walter wants and Jean thinks it is what she needs to stabilise her own life. However, the demons are not far away and Walter begins to worry about her and the children. Has he done the right thing by bringing her to the house.

Years later, Jean is dead and Walter still lives near the house and has left a piece of land to each of his children where lodges have been built for them. Now his children, Patrick and Fiona bring their respective children, Carson, Iona and Pete to the same place they grew up as children.

The loch seems to be a draw for them all until one fateful weekend when tragedy strikes.

Told through flashbacks, which fit seamlessly into the present story of the novel, you start to unpick the real truth about this family and the events that have happened.

I was intrigued by this novel which kept me reading, it some ways slow paced as I had no idea where the story was going or if it was ever going to get there (it did). One of the major catalysts in the story was in the middle of the novel and was so heart wrenching I cried. If that was what we were building to what on earth was the rest of the book going to be like. Therefore I had to keep reading to unpick the tale and bring it all back together in some ways just like the family were doing.

A seriously addictive novel and well written which took me straight to the Scottish Highlands and into the middle of a family in crisis. Better than a soap opera any day!

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

The House on the Loch is out now. 

 

Books

Secrets and Seashells at Rainbow Bay – Ali McNamara

For single mum, Amelia and her son Charlie times are really hard. Charlie misses his old school friends when they had to move and Amelia is trying desperately to keep everything together with very little money and prospects.

That is until someone comes to tell her that Amelia and in fact Charlie are the sole descendants of the Chesterford family and they have in fact inherited a castle.

Whilst it may well be the answer to all their financial worries it isn’t going to be easy as the caveat for inheritances means you have to live and work within the castle walls and grounds to maintain it.

So for what she hopes is the final time, Amelia uproots Charlie and they go to live in Chesterford Castle on the Northumberland Coast where the beach is a stone’s throw away.

However, Chesterford CAstle seems to be lacking visitors and the exhibits aren’t exactly inspiring and so much more could be done with the place, Amelia realises she has a tough job on her hands.

She also has to convince the incumbent staff, butler Arthur and his wife Dorothy, the Cook. Tiffany the administrator, Joey the general hand plus a few that have yet to make themselves known to Amelia.

But she tackles the castle and her future with aplomb but of course she is going to face some difficulties along the way; ghosts, diaries, ex husbands, new boyfriends, cameo brooches and a possible threat to her new found inheritance. All of it is weaved together in this wonderful book.

I have often dreamed about living in a castle and it was by reading this book my dreams were coming true. The history fascinated me as well as the present and I adored all the whimsical features of the castle as wella s the characters!

A great read and another excellent book from Ali McNamara who seems to be getting better with every book I read. Excellent storytelling and all so believable! I would love to return to the castle and see how they are getting on.

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

Secrets and Seashells at Rainbow Bay is published on 27 June.

 

Books · Jottings

Six in Six – 2019 Edition

Here it is again – I hope that the small select few of us that complete this meme can perhaps spread the word so we have a few more participants this year. However it is always great to see fellow book bloggers joining in.

When did all this begin?

I started it in 2012 on a whim and it has been going ever since!

If you want to look back at the previous six years and get a flavour then please do.

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

What is it all about?

The idea being that as the end of June approaches and we are then halfway through the year,  let us share the books we have read in those first 6 months. In fact let’s share 6 books in 6 categories, or if time is of the essence then simply share just 6 books. Whatever combination works for you as long as it involves 6 books. Of course the same book can obviously feature in more than one category.

What categories can I choose from?

  • Six new authors to me
  • Six authors I have read before
  • Six authors I am looking forward to reading more of
  • Six books I have enjoyed the most
  • Six books I was disappointed with
  • Six series of books read or started
  • Six authors I read last year – but not so far this year
  • Six books that took me on extraordinary journeys
  • Six books that took me by the hand and led me into the past
  • Six books from the past that drew me back there
  • Six books from authors I know will never let me down
  • Six books I must mention that don’t fit nicely into any category
  • Six books I started in the first six months of the year and was still caught up with in July
  • Six trips to Europe
  • Six blogging events I enjoyed
  • Six bookish things I’m looking forward to
  • Six Espionage or Historical Novels I enjoyed
  • Six Cool Classics
  • Six Non-US/Non-British Authors
  • Six From the Non-Fiction Shelf
  • Six books that didn’t live up to expectations
  • Six books that I had one or two problems with but am still glad I tried
  • Six books that are related to The Great War or Second World War
  • Six bookshops I have visited
  • Six books I’ve read in an English translation
  • Six books which are better than the film
  • Six books which are worse than the film
  • Six books that have sport as their major theme
  • Six favourite places to read
  • Six books read on kindle and then went and bought an actual copy
  • Six books I abandoned
  • Six classics I have read
  • Six books I have read on my Kindle
  • Six physical books I have read
  • Six book covers I love
  • Six book covers that bear no resemblance to the story contained within
  • Six books to read to avoid politics
  • Six books I have read but not reviewed

I have again added a few new ones this year.

Or you can come up with your own category,  (If you do: please comment and I can add them to this list for future years)

What do I need to post?

Simply choose six of the categories above and list six books under that category. Some bloggers use pictures, some put excerpts of reviews. The main thing being it is six categories and six books. Of course if you want to do a shorter version, then just post something about six books you have read in the first six months of 2018.

Please link back to this post and/or my blog and share this post so we can have lots of people joining in. All those that participate I will endeavour to collate into one post.

When do I post?

Anytime in July. We have reading days left of June and that book might well fit nicely into one of the categories.

Anything else?

Please spread the word and get people to join in and let them know that we are all halfway through our 2019 reading year!

Books

A Walk in Wildflower Park – Bella Osborne

Originally published in four individual parts, this is the novel in full and in my opinion the best way to read it.

Anna’s life takes a massive turn when she is dumped by her fiance and then moves to a house on the edge of Wildflower Park. A private park for residents and one only accessible by key and location of house.

Determined to concentrate on her career, Anna wants to put all thoughts about men out of her head. That is until she literally bumps into her new colleague and then starts getting mysterious flirty texts from a random stranger.

It seems that Anna is not going to be able to avoid men, but it also means she is going to have to face the past that she has also been avoiding.

Sophie, Anna’s neighbour, colleague and closest friend is frustrated with being a mum and a wife and no one is treating her as Sophie. Pregnant with her third and dealing with all sorts of problems, Sophie makes some radical choices and tries to show how much she does.

I was unsure of where this story could go and whether it would take the all too  familiar path and whilst you could say on the surface it does. Bella Osborne makes her characters face their fears. She handles the sensitive issues with tact and confidence and you feel time and thought has gone into the portrayal and how the characters and ultimately the readers will react.

This is a really strong book with characters who are relatable, humourous and who you can not just sympathises but also empathise with.

A story of the strength of friendship and how no matter how wild life gets – your friend will be the flower you always rely on to keep blooming.

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

A Walk in Wildflower Park is published on 27 Jun

Books

The Bookshop on the Shore – Jenny Colgan

Zoe is a professional child carer as well as mum to Hari. However struggling to afford to live in London when the father of your child tries to make it as a DJ around the country and abroad and rarely pays any attention or money Zoe is starting to struggle.

When an opportunity to escape all of this for a fresh start, Zoe jumps at the chance to take herself and Hari away from it all. Away from it all though happens to be Scotland.

As an au pair to three rather difficult and challenging children – Zoe is going to be ‘Nanny Seven’. Six have gone before and not conquered the problem will Zoe be able to?

With Hari in tow she makes the move.

But has Zoe made a mistake and taken on more than she could possibly deal with?

Not only is she trying to culture a nice environment for these three children and she does work wonders with some really obvious and simple methods. She has also offered to help run the little bookshop in a van whilst the current owner Nina has a baby.

Zoe does not have the knack of Nina in matching books to customer but she has an eye for other books when it comes to her customers as well as the three children.

She starts to make an impact on everyone in the house, in the van and in the community.

When events mean that it looks like Zoe is going to have to move on, it can only possibly take something monumental to change her mind.

But will it happen in time?

This is a great read which took me to the ever changing weather and landscapes of the Highlands of Scotland. Whilst characters first appeared in an earlier novel by Colgan which I had not read, there was enough background to see me through as this book is very much focussed on Zoe and Hari as well as the three children she comes to care for.

Subtly done, some rather difficult situations are encountered, selective mutism, mental health issues in youngsters as well as romance and friendships, the book has so much to give and was one of my favourite reads of 2019 so far.

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

The Bookshop on the Shore is published on 13 June. 

I am going to catch up with Nina, one of the charters in this book in The Little Shop of Happy Ever After so I can experience more wonderful Scottish landscapes and great stories!

Books · Jottings

Parish Notices

Just in case you have missed a few delightful books that I heartily recommend I thought I would just drop you all a note so you can catch up.

The Path to the Sea was published this week and if you like all things Cornwall then this is the book for you

The Path to the Sea works on so many levels and is a book to escape right into and immerse yourself in secrets of history, of life, of family and of love.

My full review can be found here. And if you want to find out more about the author and the choices she amde for this book then please pop across to The Book Trail for a wonderful insight and interview.

I do wax lyrical about Heidi Swain on this blog but her latest book Poppy’s Recipe for Life was published on 30 May.

Something about Heidi’s novels makes me want to move straight in and become involved and if I could meet my own Mr Grumpy and drink elderflower cordial then I think life would be complete. In fact life is complete with any of Heidi Swain’s novels and this latest one is no exception.

And excitingly the Christmas book looks like I could just jump straight in too – but will have to wait until October.

I am not just excited about this book but also this one as well:

The new Emma Davies book which takes us back to some of the characters we met in The House at Hope Corner. Looking for a new author to read and devour then I recommend Emma Davies.

There is of course other series you could be getting stuck into and if you like strong women, plenty of social history and a murder or two then I suggest the Mirabelle Bevan series. The latest book is out now

It is 1957, and the heat of the summer has yet to dissipate in Brighton.

Mirabelle is intrigued by a little girl sat on a bench just near her apartment, this girl is from London but she is recovering at a convalescent home for children so they can benefit from the sea air. The little girl keeps running away from this home and it appears she may be being bullied.

Indian Summer is book number seven but my review will link you to all the series so far, if you want to get a taste of them.

What has been happening around your parish? Anything of note?

* I have received no incentive in promoting these books other than the wish to tell more people about them.