Books

The Break Up – Tilly Tennant


It is all over for Lara, her boyfriend tells her that it is over and that there is someone else and Lara knows exactly who it is.  Walking out of the restaurant, Lara cannot get a cab home, its raining and then she is followed home by a cat who insists on being let in and making itself at home. It seems that Fluffy which Lara calls her is the only thing she can rely on.

Trouble is Fluffy is also known as Satchmo and has ben getting regularly fed and watered at Theo’s house.

When Lara sees Theo and Fluffy/Satchmo a rather interesting dynamic develops and it seems that there is going to be a continual battle over the cat.

But as Lara is a wedding planner and Theo plays in a band – it looks like there paths are going to continue to cross and the issue about whose cat it is, is not going to go away.

It anything though the cat is bringing Lara and Theo together and no matter how hard they try, the organised Lara and laid back Theo seem the perfect fit if only they could be honest with each other.

An enchanting book which captures your heart and you can be swept along with the ‘loveliness’ of it all as the characters go through ups and downs in a “will they won’t they” between Lara, Theo and of course the cat! Add in the backdrop of weddings and you have a booked packed with romance!

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

The Break Up is published on 26 March. 

 

 

Books

Clover Cottage – Christie Barlow

This is the third book in the Love Heart Lane series and I am delighted once again to be transported North to the wonderful Scottish village of Heartcross.

Vet Rory Scott has always wanted to do something more than be the Vet at his father’s practice in Heartcross. He wanted to branch out, do something, see the world and have an impact on animals worldwide not just locally.

However feeling an obligation to his father and mother he stays in Heartcross and starts to settle with girlfriend, Allie. It all seems to be going well until…

Rory’s father rents out the house that he is currently living in and gives Clover Cottage, rundown and in need of a lot of TLC to Rory. But he is not telling Rory something and this coupled with the stubborn need not to improve or the practice frustrates Rory.

Even more so when celebrity Zach Turner and his dog Sydney turn up in the area. Whilst Rory can help Sydney the dog he has to rely on other people in another place to be able to fulfill the dream. And when Zach makes him an offer it looks like he would be foolish to refuse it.

Allie has not got the drive of her boyfriend Rory, she loves him, she loves the village and she now certainly loves Clover COttage ans she can see her future there. She has spent many years being uprooted and thinks she has now found her final place to stay but why does Rory want to go further afield?

Can these two people seemingly going in opposite directions actually get to where they are meant to be – together?

Coming back to Heartcross and all the people I have got to know is like catching up with friends, life goes on and just now and again you need to pop in and see what has been happening and I was so glad I did. Even more thrilling when you know there is another chance to catch up with them all later in the year.

For fans of good women’s fiction which is not light and fluffy but has real depth of emotion and character – read them all from the beginning of the series. You won’t regret it!

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

Clover Cottage is published on the 20 March 2020.

Books

Murder at Enderley Hall – Helena Dixon

This is the second novel from Helena Dixon and the second to also feature the delightful Kitty Underhay, You do not need to have read the first, but it does help fill in a bit of the background of Kitty and the dashing private detective Matt Bryant.

Kitty having discovered family she did not know she had and that they lived fairly close by she goes on a visit.

Having borrowed a chambermaid from the hotel she lives in with her grandmother, Kitty sets off on a new adventure to meet these relatives.

There is an Aunt and Uncle plus a cousin, as well as a few more assmeled house guests that make up such a house party. Her Uncle is obviously involved in some important government work and as tensions are growing in Europe, it is 1933 and things are changing, there is an air of mystery to the whole proceedings especially when some important papers go missing.

Then old Nanny Thoms is found dead at the bottom of the stairs.

Kitt’s friend Matt Bryant turns up and proves to be useful in getting to what is really going on at Enederly Hall.

Then another body turns up, guest are arrested and mysterious faces at the window and bodies in lakes all start to get a bit too much for Kitty.

Surely Kitty is not going to lose the family she has only just found?

This is a wonderful second novel and starts to fill in the gaps about Kitty’s family. It is a wonderful take on a the country house murder mystery and the growing friendship between Kitty and Matt is delightful. The added dimension of it being a history murder mystery is all the more interesting as you can see how in these interwar years, the First World War is still very much affecting people and the obvious growing threat in Europe is goign to have some sort of effect.

There is much to like about these two novels so far in the series I look forward to seeing what other mischief Kitty gets embroiled in. The series could potentially run for a while.

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

Murder at Enderley Hall is published on 19 March 2020.

Books

Triumph of the Shipyard Girls – Nancy Revell

Some series of books can be happily read out of order as they simply regurgitate much of previous books to pad out the new ones. Not so with Nancy Revell, I would actively encourage you to read them all in order as they follow on almost from the page of the last.

So here we are with book number eight. Polly is left behind as her husband, Tommy  goes back to fight in the war, but it seems she has a secret blossoming which means she will always have a piece of her Tommy with her at any time. More important now as they lose people very close to them.

Helen is still battling with her mother and the hold she has over Helen and the women welders in Thompson’s yard. Secrets can make you bitter and twisted and it seems that Helen has stumbled across another one and it seems her mother knows nothing about it.

Bel is enjoying working at the shipyard but it seems her mother Pearl, is not so keen. Is Bel trying to get to the truth about her heritage and it seems that someone else is also making connections. The past is about to come into the future for Bel and Pearl.

Rosie and her younger sister Charlotte, still dominate the storyline as Charlotte grows, gets older and understands more of the world she has many questions about Rosie’s work and friendship with Lily. What she discovers raises more questions than answers and sometimes it is best that some secrets are best left untold. Interestingly, we go further back into Rosie’s past to see what led her to the place she is in now and how Charlotte end up in boarding school and Rosie at Lily’s. This is what keeps the books and the plots fresh – there is always a new element to discover.

Through all of this, the regular characters feature as does the shadow of war and relentless bombing by the luftwaffe, which makes a mark on the area once again in the novel. Home are destroyed, ship production is set back but the Shipyard Girls somehow maintain there grace and warmth to see them through.

I have said before and will no doubt say again and again – this is a wonderful series of books. Women are at the heart of these stories, their strength whether it be playing their own role in fighting Hitler, fighting their demons, keeping the strength of love going during separation, keeping secrets, missing loved ones or just trying to simply manage day to day. The books are packed with so much.

I know at some point that this series will inevitably come to a conclusion, but until it does I am to go enjoy the books and keep telling you all about them.

Thank you to the publisher via netgalley for the opportunity to read these books. 

Triumph of the Shipyard Girls is published on the 19 March. 

If you wish to read them all 

  1. The Shipyard Girls
  2. Shipyard Girls at War
  3. Secrets of the Shipyard Girls
  4. Shipyard Girls in Love
  5. Victory for the Shipyard Girls 
  6. Courage of the Shipyard Girls 
  7. Christmas with the Shipyard Girls
  8. Triumph of the Shipyard Girls 

 

Books

Starting Over at Acorn Cottage – Kate Forster

Buying a thatched cottage has always been the dream of Clara, roses around the door, children, husband and complete contentment.

However dreams are life very rarely match.

When Clara finds her boyfriend and best friend have been goign behind her back – discovered all thanks to cottage pie! Clara realises she cannot live in the shadow of their relationship and buys a thatched cottage, in Merryknowe unseen called Acorn Cottage.

So the dream suddenly becomes a reality without the roses, the children, the husband and actually not much more else than a roof over the four walls. It is not really a dream more a disaster.

Enter Henry and his daughter Pansy, in their little van. Looking for a place to stay and also Henry is looking for a place to work – what better place than Clara’s cottage.

Rachel has walked past Acorn Cottage for almost all of her life and it was her dream to be in there too. She initially resents Clara taking away that but actually Clara is the catalyst in helping Rachel follow her dream after a disastrous start in life.

Add into the mix, Joe the good looking butcher, Tassie McIver a elderly lady with a penchant for tea leaves and predicting life and the story starts weave together some magic which kept me turning the page and wanting to know if Acorn Cottage was the place for Clara to heal and start all over.

Kate Forster weaves a lovely romantic tale into the renovation of a cottage, of the start of moving on for Clara, Henry and Rachel as well as the pull of a community in difficult times. What more could you want from a book – a cottage, a village, a bakery full of cake and romance.

A lovely read and well worth losing yourself in.

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

Starting over at Acorn Cottage is published on 19 March 2020. 

Please find below links to other Kate Forster books I have read

The Perfect Retreat 

The Perfect Christmas

The Last Will & Testament of Daphne Le Marche

Books

The School of Starting Over – Lisa Swift

Nell Shackleton’s dream is to live in a cottage in the countryside and be at one with nature and the community. And in some ways the purchasing of Humblebee Farm is that – she is at one with the nature the house does not have much of a roof and she is part of the community as she is the new Reception School teacher.

It seems that Nell has it all?

Xander Scott is the temporary Headteacher at the village school and he is battling his own demons alongside trying to deal with parents, new teachers and rather irritating school governors. Xander wanted more than village life but finds himself back there and suddenly he does not want to leave.

Is it something to do with Nell?

Stevie Blake her adorable daughter Millie and a mad dog called Red are the only things she needs in life, after having give up on love when she lost her wife. But something is eating away at Stevie and it seems that perhaps love could come knocking again if only she would deal with the past.

This book starts strong and builds all the characters up, you are immediately invested in them, you care about them or are simply irritated by them as is the case of school governor Ryan who clearly has something of the school bully still left in him.

Not only is this a book with a great community spirit, what better way to bring everyone together than a village school. But it has lots of romance, it has tragedy and contemporary issues. The actions of the past, present and potentially the future of some of the main characters makes it more than a fluffy piece of romantic fiction. The cover suggests one thing – you get much more in the pages of the book inbetween.

A great read which leaves you satisfied and your heart warmed. What more could you want from a book?

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

The School of Starting Over is published on the 9th March. 

 

Books · Jottings · Witterings

Ten Years of Lists and Reviews – 2011

This is the second in a reflective post of ten years of blogging and also to mark the new decade as well. Reflecting back I have rediscovered books and authors I have read and promised myself I would read more, but never getting round to it. I have also seen how much my blogging has perhaps changed, developed and hopefully improved – even if some of it does make me cringe!

So here I am back in 2011, the first full year of blogging.

I was still talking about my crafts – looking back at the pictures it seems that 2011 was a bit of a turning point where I started to branch out with more than one thing on the go (no different to now really)

2011 was the year that I discovered Lucinda Riley with Hothouse Flower 

This is a strong book, with a fairly complex plot and a number of characters but Lucinda Riley weaves a tale that makes it easy to follow and completely absorbing. I found myself wanting to read it any spare minute I had, just to get to the next bit.

I was hooked with this writer and anyone who has been reading this blog for as long as I have been wittering on, will know that I have read many of her novels. I love the current Seven Sisters series but I still think if I had to choose it would be The Girl on the Cliff.

Another author I have read no more of since 2011 is Nicola Upson, I know I did try one of her later ones but at the time did not get on with it. I probably subconsciously gave up with them at the point. Rereading the review for Two For Sorrow, led me to find two other reviews not featured on the blog and to looking out for one of her other books.

2011 was the year that a kindle came into my life. I am now on my second one as the original developed lines and made it difficult to read the screen. I was very dubious at first and am passionate about ‘real’ books, still am. However I then went the other way and started trying out lots of books, because I could and seeing if I wanted to read any of them.

It became a little project which sort of died a death really as some blogging projects do sometimes. I got simply bogged down in looking up and trying out books – I ended up not really reading many of them.

I think when you start a new blog you spend a lot of time trying out what works or doesn’t work for you and sometime you simply need ideas for blog posts. Some work, some don’t and some like this one from Simon at Stuck in A Book I only did once here when it was first brought out and then again for a second time here and for a bit of nostalgia look out for another one of these in the coming weeks and with all credit to Simon.

I look back at the books mentioned and find that some authors I have never ventured back to, others have stuck. How reading changes and introduces you to new things.

One of those new things was Persephone Books- this was my first time in participating a reading challenge and a read along. The book I chose was The Home-Maker. Ironically it is the only Persephone book I still have read and probably all these years later I should perhaps tackle another one.

I did go back and revisit some wonderful childhood books which I have carried on doing over the last ten years or so but may not have written about them. Of course my childhood was dominated by Enid Blyton but sadly many of the books I have read have been given away and the only versions I could find were of the ‘newer’ variety

Yes but there is a problem, I can only download a newer version of her novel. All updated to fit in with the politically correct brigade that seem to lurk around. Oh well, lets just try a sample without having to part with any money and see how we get on? They cannot have changed that much can they? Oh, they have!

Here where I have revisited Five on Treasure Island I go into some of the comparisons. If you ever go back and read them – find the originals not the ‘correct’ versions.

However I did find a copy of the Malory Towers book I read as a child many times and that was a sheer delight. Definitely the place I get my love of school stories from.

The term goes on with the trials and tribulations. Tricks are made with pretend deafness, spiders and spilt ink. Courage and cowardice are fought and lost. Work is hard and positions are important. Tempers are lost and regained and new friendships are formed. I do not need to go into detail of all the events, as they just fit in so seamlessly and that although they are short they are dealt with effectively and efficiently. Good and bad, rights and wrongs corrected. The right sort of justice is dispatched to the right people with no comeback. Rereading as an adult I wonder if perhaps Blyton was using some sort of moral tale with these stories. That thought passes very quickly and I have just enjoyed the book for what it is pure pleasure.

Going back to my childhood took me back to the Mobile Library that visited and also libraries in general. I should use them far more and I don’t and I feel totally ashamed by that. I know I should do more, reflecting back on this post and the last ten years has really made me think. Perhaps I need to redress the balance in 2020. I make no rash promises because I know that life has a funny way of interfering.

There are many things that interfere in life and looking back in 2011 I was busily losing weight – I got to my target, I was more than please but life got in the way the following year. The losing weight ceased and I think I need say no more for the moment. Now is not the time to share about it. But what looking back at 2011 showed me was I shared a lot about food and cooking.

Cakes are a popular bake in my household, carrott, chocolate and cookies. Of course living on your own means you have to adapt and change things around and challenge yourself which I did when I made some Scotch eggs. I don’t think I have made any since – and I know I could quite easily as I have all the ingredients at home.

2011 for blogging was what I call a real mixed bag and I posted about lots of different things as you can see from this post. That has certainly changed as I look back at the blog in the last twelve months. It is all evolving and what I do wonder is what people want when they pop by and read my blog. Do they want to see what else has been going on? Do they want to understand the person behind the book reviews? Only you reading this know that!

So in conclusion from looking back at 2011 I need to find some Nicola Upson books, Persephone books, libraries and Scotch Eggs! I wonder if I will?