Books

The Breakdown – B. A. Paris

Driving down a road in the middle of the storm is what Cass promised she would never do, but she will get home quicker that way.

That is until she sees a car at the side of the road. A woman is in the car.

What does Cass do? Stop and make sure she is okay? Drive by?

What if your actions, the choice you make, the guilt, then haunt you.

It is this catalyst which the rest of the story is based on and has us as readers launched head first into Cass thoughts and feelings as she begins to break down from what she knows is reality.

Strange phone calls, objects not in the right place, parcels arriving, all point Cass towards dementia, she might be too young but her mother died of it and she has never told her husband this. Her husband even starts to question her sanity. It seems Cass is very much on her own with this guilt, this belief.

As Cass life begins to unravel slowly, ironically the pace of the book picks up. It is a page turner, because whilst you feel so much sympathy for Cass, I did reach a couple of points where I thought she really did have dementia. The author could have taken the plot any number of ways and it was this that kept me reading.

The niggles about the story never went away for me and I guessed fairly early on who had to be behind it but the writing was so good that I even began to doubt the author was going to take us in that direction. Could you breakdown all actions separately and see them as isolated events, or were they all part of a very cleverly weaved plot. The only way to know was to keep on reading.

An excellent thriller, certainly nothing like her debut novel and if this is the quality of writing and work for that notorious ‘second’ novel then I cannot wait for what the author writes next.

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

The Breakdown is out now.

 

 

 

Books

Paper Hearts and Summer Kisses – Carole Matthews

I am still fairly new to Carole Matthews books and what I have read so far have been good reads. This book was no exception.

Christie Chapman, single mother who commutes two hours each way to London to work as a legal secretary is simply living but not necessarily alive. Everything she does is for her and her son Finn. She has the love and support of her parents who are near by. But life for Christie seems to be one long commute.

When not at work, thanks to her mother she has developed a rather obsessive interest in papercrafts. She makes cards and little gifts for friends and for people at work. She sometimes sells some, but she is really just a good hobbyist whose dreams of doing such a thing as a real job are firmly locked away because of the reality of the life she has.

When her mother entered her designs into a competition and she wins the chance to turn a hobby perhaps into something more. Part of the prize is to go to America to learn more about crafting.

Christie comes back from America with crafting ideas in abundance but also the possibility of love. However reality bites and her son is not very well and she needs to devote her time to him as much as she can.

Can she do this, commute, work, craft and have the possibility of romance? Surely something has to left behind?

Is the decision Christie makes the right one? Is the right decision her happy ending?

This is a joyful novel in parts and sad in others, but through that emotional depth, Carole Matthews has created a story which shows you how people support each other, stick together for a common goal and have faith that the decision you make is the right one for you. Do not let the fact that the novel is about crafting put you off, that is merely the vehicle that is used for expanding Christie’s world.  I was drawn into the story even if perhaps I knew how it was going to all turn out. But who cares! Not me!

A good read.

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

Paper Hearts and Summer Kisses is out now.

Books

The Little Teashop of Lost and Found – Trisha Ashley

Alice always knew that her parents were not her real parents, her step father said she was discovered in Haworth outside the Bronte Parsonage. The story of her discovering was added to over the years until one day her stepfather dies.

It is only then that Alice discovers that her stepmother has always loathed her and never even wanted her. Suddenly adrift and alone again Alice tries to find a place to settle and maker her home and find some identity within her self.

In Cornwall she finds friendship with Edie who takes her under a wing and provides perhaps the motherly figure she has always been missing in her life. When Edie moves to Scotland, it isn’t long before Alice thinks that she will follow, her life in Cornwall not turning out to be very much.

In Scotland she starts to settle, meets Dan and helps in a local cafe where she can perfect her baking. But then tragedy strikes and Alice is adrift yet again. Now is the time to find out where she really belongs and so she heads to Haworth.

Making an impetuous purchase on an unseen cafe in Haworth Alice takes the bit between her teeth and decides to open a teashop with the rudest waitresses in Yorkshire. She does of course have many hurdles to overcome and has many doubters along the way but Alice’s determination to do something and make a mark is strong.

Hoping that she may well also discover the truth about her birth, as well as pursue a part-time career in writing fairy stories with a twist, Alice discovers that not all fairy tales are straightforward and they don not all have a happy ending.

As with any Trisha Ashley novel, this is well written, the characters fully formed and developed and there is always more than one plot line weaving its way through the book. In fact with this book you could almost say you were getting three stories for the price of one! I loved so much about this book because I cared so much for the main protagonists, I want to eat in the teashop and stay at the lovely Bed and Breakfast where Alice is made to feel at home. The short vignettes of one of the stories are no more than a paragraph and in that short space of time, I took a complete dislike to a character – that is the charm of Trisha Ashley’s novels and especially this one. There is so much packed into the pages.

One of my favourite reads of 2017 and of Trisha Ashley novels. Go buy and read it, you will not be disappointed and like me you will not want it to end.

The Little Teashop of Lost and Found is put now in hardback.

Thank you to the publisher for the opportunity to read this book and of course to the wonderful Trisha Ashley for writing it. 

Books

The Vets at Hope Green – Part 3

Getting involved with a serialised novel can be a blessing and a curse, especially when the story is strong and you want to keep reading.That is the case with The Vets at Hope Green – I first talked about the book here when the second part was due out.

Thanks to the publisher and netgalley the third part was sent to me

Sam is settling into life and her unexpected pregnancy, but she is trying her hardest to hide it from her crotchety boss, Joe.

Joe seems to be hiding something and when a chance encounter at some stables, Sam begins to see a different side to this man, but his secrets still remain hidden. It begins to remind Sam of something she is trying to forget, another secret no one knows about.

Sam might well be able to hide some secrets, but her past she left behind in London, returns with some rather unwelcome news.

As this part closes, there is a shock and it seems that everything at Hope Green is going to change.

I am looking forward to reading the final part.

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for allowing me the opportunity to continue to read this story. 

The Vets at Hope Green: Part Three is out on 16th March on kindle. The final part in April and the full novel (the best way to read this story) is out in June. 

 

Books

The Riviera Express – T.P. Fielden

Old fashioned, golden age murder mysteries are one of my favourite genres and when I got the chance to pick this book up and read it I thought it would tick all the boxes for me. I am not sure it did?

I love the cover, it has an almost 1930s style to it, which is in contradiction to the setting of the book which is late 1950s in the South West.

When the premise gives you lines such as ” Murdered on the 4.30 from Paddington” you can almost hear Miss Marple drop her knitting needles and come scurrying. Of course it was not going to be her, but in fact Miss Judy Dimont, “corkscrewed hair reporter for the local rag, The Riviera Express.”

The irony was not lost on me, dead body on the train dubbed The Riviera Express and the reporter turned investigator working on the local paper The Riviera Express.

Gerald Hennessey is the dead body. He is a famous film actor.

But why exactly was he on a train to Temple Regis? And what relevance is the three letters in written on the window of the train carriage?

This gives enough for Miss Judy Dimont to think about when another body turns up, then someone goes missing and it seems that Miss Dimont is convinced that there is a connection between these three people.

Trouble is she needs to do all this investigating without letting her editor, Rudyard Rhys know. And there is a past hinted at there which adds to Miss Dimont’s difficulties.

All of this makes for an interesting read and as I got through the book, I had to finish it because I wanted to know who the murderer was and why. I didn’t work it out, either because the clues missed me completely by or they were too far hidden in the rather odd way of writing. From the offset it was very disjointed and did not flow easily from paragraph to paragraph and plot line to plot line. There was definite breaks and that almost jarred my reading of it all.

My focus was broken on this book and I was left rather disappointed. The book should have been a lot better as the premise, setting and some of the characters within the novel had a lot of potential. I think the writing let it down.

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

The Riviera Express is out now.

I would love to know your thoughts if you pick up this book to try. I am in two minds as to whether I would pick up the second book. 

I also would love to know who T.P Fielden is? Goodreads- ” leading author, broadcaster and journalist”. Which makes me think that they are more well-known under another name? 

Books

February Roundup

It being a short month, February I have been reading shorter stories. Mainly because they have been available for me to read through netgalley and I have to confess to being rather requesting happy and now I need do some serious reading in the coming months.

I caught up with Shelia Norton – The Vets at Hope Green: Follow Your Heart which was part two of this serialised novel. Because I have started the novel this way, I will finish it this way.

Same applies to Bella Osborne – A Spring Affair: Willow Cottage this was the third part, so there is only one more to go before I have finished this story.

Obviously I prefer reading full novels and when I was given the opportunity to read Trisha Ashley – The Little Teashop of Lost and Found. I think it is the longest novel by far that she has written and it is definitely one of my favourite of the year and one of my favourite’s of hers. This is a book which you can disappear into and not come out of for ages!

Another of my favourite books so far this year is Jennifer Ryan – The Chilbury Ladies Choir, beautifully told through letters, notices and diary entries about the Second World War. This is an excellent debut novel and I thoroughly recommend it.

Of course when you choose books from netgalley, you are not always sure what you are getting and whether it will be a good book or not. I thought T.P. Fielden – The Riviera Express was going to be in the vain of a golden-age murder mystery story. But it did not work for me at all, I think it was the prose that jarred when reading it. Shame and the reason I finished it was I had to know who the perpetrator was.

Kellie Hailes – The Cosy Coffee Shop of Promises was a passable diversion but not a very strong example of women’s fiction. Predictable but the characters were not very well-formed and I could not connect with them. There are better novels out there.

An example of a better novel is Sarah Bennett – The Sunrise at Butterfly Cove. I was hooked immediately, I cared about the characters, I shed tears and wished for a happy ending. And it is great that I can go back to these characters and the setting as this is the first in a trilogy. Whilst it was a relatively short read, there is much packed into the pages it felt much longer.

I end the month with two books on the go, catching up with another one from netgalley as well as continuing the wonderful stories of Sidney Chambers.

Books

Apple Tree Yard – Louise Doughty

I am late to the party in reading this book, I knew it was maknig a splash in the thirller genre when it was first published, but I simply passed it over. My only reason for picking it up now to read was because it was about to be broadcast on the BBC on a Sunday Night. And the reasoning, logical part of me likes to make comparisons.

For those who do not know the premise:

Yvonne Carmichael sits in the witness box. The charge is murder. Before all of this, she was happily married, a successful scientist, a mother of two. Now she’s a suspect, squirming under fluorescent lights and the penetrating gaze of the alleged accomplice who’s sitting across from her, watching: a man who’s also her lover. As Yvonne faces hostile questioning, she must piece together the story of her affair with this unnamed figure who has charmed and haunted her. This is a tale of sexual intrigue, ruthless urges, and danger, which has blindsided her from a seemingly innocuous angle. Here in the courtroom, everything hinges on one night in a dark alley called Apple Tree Yard.

Instantly you want to know what has happened, who are these people that you have let into your life and why are their actions as addicative as you are in reading this book.

But not everything is as it seems.

The story is pieced together, the parts revealed at different points, the reasons behind the actions are not necessarily in the order that you would expect. You have to keep reading to understand.

The actions of one will affect so many.

It is for the court to decide, it is for us as the reader to decide what we think Yvonne has done, we do not know for a long time, and for me the television adaptation successfully kept this element of the book in the first epsiode certainly.

The book is not for the feint-hearted, it is much stronger in description of some of the scenes depicted. It all adds to the plot, nothing in this book is put there just because the author can. It is there for a reason, to aid the story, to move it forward and to make us the reader question every action.

As the end comes closer, we learn more and it was here I felt that I had missed a vital part. What was the reasoning in Yvonne’s accomplice’s actions. It was never explained, we never got into their head. Does that leave me feeling disappoined or more intrigued. I guess that is why the book has hooked so many.

Have you read the book?

Have you seen the adaptation?

What do you think of the choice of actors?