Books

Sunshine and Sweet Peas in Nightingale Square – Heidi Swain

Having found a little hideaway in a lovely cottage in Nightingale Square Kate thinks she may be able to escape not just her family who live in Wynbridge (featured in Heidi Swain’s other books) but also her soon to be ex-husband David. His indiscretions can no longer be ignored.

However hiding away is not what the locals have in mind for Kate. When the whirlwind that is Lisa arrives, with her children in tow as well as Heather and her new perfect baby, Kate is thrust into community life and has to face perhaps some of the baggage she has been holding onto.

But it is not just the cottage that interests Kate but also the big house that dominates the square – Prosperous Place.

When Prosperous Place is sold, the community fears that it may be developed and the feel of the square will change. But the new owner, Luke has some link to the house and wants to bring it back to what it was and when he lets the community use the gardens for a community allotment he gets a lot more than extra vegetables. He starts to make friends……….

Kate’s background in history and antiques means that she is in an ideal position to help Luke but when the past no longer remains history and comes screaming back into the present it looks like Nightingale Square could well change forever.

I thought I was going to get another story from Wynbridge, as I have grown to love that place and all its characters. Whilst this book is connected (Kate is Jemma’s (Cherry Tree Cafe) sister-in-law) it firmly takes place in the square. It has a mystery from the past, a sense of community, great characters and some well written annoying ones who could get under your skin within a couple of sentences.

All signs of a great read and one you will not want to put down, in fact I would have happily packed my bags and gone and lived there. There is a skill to writing books which drag you not just into the story but also to care about all the characters, no matter how much of a role they play. This and any of Heidi Swain’s novels meet that requirement.

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

Sunshine and Sweet Peas in Nightingale Square is out now. 

 

Advertisements
Books

A Year at Hotel Gondola – Nicky Pellegrino

The beauty of books means that you can be transported away to other places, times and foreign lands without as much as going to an airport or spending any money.

It is very much so with any book you pick up by Nicky Pellegrino. Some of them are better than others and I was a bit disappointed with this one I have to say.

Kat is a food writer, adventurer and television star. Not one to stay in any place for too long, she travels the world. At 50 with her mother’s words of ‘probably got twenty good years left’ ringing her ears, she thinks perhaps putting down some roots and grounding herself for a whole year might be the answer.

With the fall back of writing a book rather than a television programme, Kat discovers Venice, Hotel Gondola and a wonderful man, the deal is they see what happens in the year – it is Kat’s get out clause clearly.

Venice gets under Kat’s skin as she starts to feel more like a local, knowing the places to go for the best food,the best views, the shortcuts through the maze of streets. As Spring turns to Summer, it is not going smoothly for Kat and the year she thought she was going to have starts to turn out very differently.

The setting and the atmosphere of Venice is brought alive from the page and you can see the impact that the tourists have on a city which cannot redevelop because of where it is but yet the tourists keep flocking. You become immersed on the culture, the place and the food.

However, I disliked Kat from the very beginning and as the book progressed I became more irritated by her, not because that was her character but I felt she was not fully formed enough to be taking part in the story, there perhaps needed to be more ‘flesh to her bones for the story’ to have worked. Kat didn’t have that certain something that made that book as good as some of the previous ones.

Despite this minor problem, the book is enjoyable and a perfect read if you want to be transported away for a while.

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

A Year at Hotel Gondola is out now. 

 

 

Books

A Home at Honeysuckle Farm – Christie Barlow

Ten year old Alice loves living at Honeysuckle Farm in Brook Bridge, but after an argument between her mother and grandfather she leaves the farm and has no more contact.

They end up in New York.

She doesn’t know why they left, what the argument was about and why New York?

Thirteen years later, Alice is finding New York, expensive, lonely and a difficult place to find work in. When she learns of her grandfathers failing health – she decides to return.

Alice wants to heal the family rift but she also needs to heal herself as well. Honeysuckle Farm and home is the place she knows she can do it in.

Back in Brook Bridge, Alice is reunited with her grandfather, her friends from the past and the odd heart-throb. In such a small village it is impossible to understand all that has been going on since Alice left and what long-held feuds existed before that point.

Wanting to get to the bottom of the family rift, Alice stumbles across some of the past and realises when she gets swept into community life – that is the key to her future and she is going to have to work hard at it.

This book captures so much; secrets, love, community and dancing! There are a few emotional roller coasters along the way not just with Alice but with the supporting characters to. They are all well-developed and play a part in the storyline which shows the strength of the writing.

A warm fuzzy novel that leaves you wanting more and as Christie Barlow writes more her storylines go from strength to strength. You will not be disappointed.

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

A Home at Honeysuckle Farm is out now. 

Books

The Wedding that Changed Everything – Jennifer Joyce

As a child Emily believed in fairy tales – but then her childhood changed and her belief in such things disappeared, consigned to the bin or the fire.

As an adult Emily still doesn’t believe in fairy tales and is taken a hiatus on finding Mr Perfect, she is having to wade through a lot of Mr Not Much Good and it is getting to her.

Emily’s friend Alice has other ideas. As she is now in love thanks to Emily, Alice feels that she should return the favour. And what better place to find that person that at a wedding.

Alice’s sister is getting married, in the family castle and the celebrations are running for a week and Alice has decided that Emily is going to be her plus one.

Emily is not so keen, but there is mystery to this castle and the relationship between Alice, her sister and two other friends, Tom and Archie who were all once close but have now drifted apart. While trying to avoid everyone she is paired up with, she keeps bumping into Tom. Which isn’t always a bad thing, especially when you get lost in the grounds.

As the past comes to the present and the truth about soured friendships is brought out in the open, perhaps Emily can see that love is quite attainable if you perhaps don’t try so much!

This is a lovely escapist read, what more do you want than a wedding, a castle, old feuds, a wicked stepmother and a gorgeous gardener?

I was not sure how this book was going to pan out, it took a while to get going and the prospect of being emerged in wedding preparations for a week did seem a tad odd. But it works well and had me laughing out loud as well as booing and hissing the baddies as if I was almost at a summer pantomime!

A good read in wedding season!

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

The Wedding that Changed Everything is out now. 

 

 

Books

Confessions of a First Time Mum – Poppy Dolan

Stevie is the First Time Mum in this new book for Poppy Dolan. She has a beautiful bouncy baby called Cherry who has arrived in her and Ted, her husband’s life – like a force of nature.

But Stevie now feels lost – all she seems to do is deal with baby sick, stinking nappies and a few hours sleep. To vent her frustration she has started a blog and reaches out to other people who may be struggling like her in the wee small hours between night feeds.

In reality though, Stevie struggles to deal with everyday activities like taking Cherry to the health clinic for her checkup or trying to get a cup of coffee in a cafe. She meets Nelle who is struggling in her own way for the third rather surprising time with her baby Joe and Will who is father to twins, who have one speed – fast.

A friendship forms and whilst this helps Stevie and she starts to feel she might have a purpose in life and be worth something, her marriage with Ted seems to be slipping away from her. Of course to vent her frustration on her anonymous blog is a way to deal with it…..

….until being anonymous stops….. and the whole world wants to know who you really are and what gives you the right to make any sort of comment or judgment on families and parenthood.

I wasn’t sure about this book, as I did not think I would be able to relate to any of it, as I am not a mum but Poppy Dolan gives it such depth and wonderfully funny laugh out loud moments that really this book is about how you need to talk about what is going on and that hiding behind something is not always the right thing to do. The use of parenthood is the vehicle for it all.

What a wonderful account of what can happen when the media turns and it becomes news, and sad we live in a world where some publications in print or online thrive on such material.

The structure of the book was great, blog posts, emails, texts and was very ‘current’ and ‘on topic;, a book of its time probably and that is why it will resonate with lots of readers. You don’t have to be a mum to read it but if you are I am sure this book will strike a chord with you all.

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

Confessions of a First Time Mum is out now.

Books · Witterings

Roundup – Six in Six 2018

First of all a very big THANK YOU to everyone who joined in. We might be a select bunch but I hope those that have just read our posts are inspired by some more in their reading, to all the new blog followers, watchers and readers it has been great to discover your little piece of the internet.

Here is a list of everyone that joined in this year. If I have missed you off or you know someone who took part but failed to link back to me, then let me know and I can add. We might be a small bunch but it is slowly growing but one thing is for sure – we certainly like to read! It is always great to see some of the same books come up as well, it means they might be worth a try!

Happy reading and discovering folks!

She Reads Novels

Books Please

Beyond Eden Rock

The Bookworm Chronicles

Cleopatra Loves Books

Secret Library

Superfluous Reading

Everywhere and Nowhere

FictionFan’s Book Reviews

Grab the Lapels

A Darn Good Read

I know some of you like to reuse this meme at the end of the year for the last 6 months of 2018 reading, please feel free but I would be grateful for a link back.

Happy reading for the next 6 months.

 

Books

Take A Chance on Me – Carol Wyer

Charlie’s life is going nowhere – she might have a lovely job baking cakes for the local cafe and volunteering at the local hospital radio. But that is all that is in her life, with her ex husband remarried and about to be a father again, Charlie thinks that she is missing out on life.

Mercedes, doesn’t let her horse riding accident stop her doing anything. Of course there are some things she cannot do so she comes up with an idea that Charlie needs to complete Mercedes Bucket List and in return she will complete Charlie’s.

But the bucket lists are very different and cover belly dancing (which sounded like great fun!), swimming with sharks, zip wiring, knitting, bungee jumping, appearing on television and that life is for living and also for loving.

Add into the mix, Jake a local journalist who seems to keep turning up when Charlie is not at her best and old boyfriend who has his own agenda and the plot moves from humorous and touching to quite thrilling.

The storyline kept me reading, but the book for me only had moments that captured my attention and I was absorbed in the story. I was left disappointed by this, because I felt I was reading pages that added nothing to the story. It perhaps needed to be a bit stronger in plot and character to keep me hooked from beginning to end.

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

Take A Chance on Me is out now and has previously been published as Three Little Birds.