Books

Dancing Over the Hill – Cathy Hopkins

Married life for Cait and Matt has become, tea, biscuits and the latest boxset.

Gone is the romance, the love, the respect.

It is replaced with resentment, loathing and routine.

Surely after 30 years together there must be something which is holding them together.

Cait cannot see what it is and when an old flame gets in touch, everything is thrown up in the air.

Matt on the other hand discovers that being made redundant

Cait feels she is missing something and when Matt suddenly retires, he can’t find what he wants to do – let alone be.

What follows is a journey as we watch this relationship go through peaks and troughs as they recapture the past, look to the future and be ever present. The secondary characters, of Cait’s good friends, Lorna an Debs add some grounding to the storyline. But when it comes down to it, the only two people that are going to be able to do anything are Cait and Matt.

For me this book seemed to not go anywhere, we were watching the challenges of a relationship which was by no means interesting just ordinary. Perhaps that is the appeal. But I could not relate to very much in the book and I think that is why I struggled with it. From other reviews many will relate to it so don’t be put off by my perception of the book.

Not all books work for the reader.

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

 

 

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Books

Summer on the Little Cornish Isles: The Starfish Studio – Phillipa Ashley

And so ends another magical trilogy from Phillipa Ashley where we have returned to those gorgeous little isles (more commonly known as Scilly Isles) and catch up with some of the locals we have grown to love and know in the first two novels and meet some new characters too.

Poppy and her boyfriend Dan come to Cornwall on holiday, to escape the inner city life they are living they fall in love with place so much, and with the little Starfish Studio Dan makes the decision that they should have what they know behind and take it on and live there all the time.

It sounds like the perfect dream for Poppy, that is until Dan changes his mind about going and also about Poppy being his girlfriend with only days before she goes.

Poppy therefore arrives to lick her wounds, heal and make a success of this little studio. She learns to accept help from the locals – Jake the landlord’s grandson is tasked to make sure she settles in well but he is very distracted as well as being ruggedly handsome too!

Poppy does everything she can to get the studio to open to catch at least some of the summer season – despite leaks, territorial cats and obnoxious artists she manages to open and then Dan suddenly reappears…….just when she thought her emotions were more stable.

Like the previous two novels I was immediately transported to these little Isles and could see myself calling in at the Starfish Studio to purchase a piece of unique artwork to remind me of the journey I had taken. Of course I can’t, I have been reading a book and that is the skill of the author I was drawn right in. I wanted to know why Jake is distracted by his past, why Leo is flitting from one to another and how can I possible wipe the smug look of Minty’s face?

This and all the other prvious novels will take you away to a wonderful place and give you a great story at the same time.

I wait with anticipation to see what Phillipa is going to write next and where she is going to take us.

 

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

Summer on the Little Cornish Isles: The Starfish Studio is out now.

 

Books · Jottings

July Roundup

As with the weather my reading has continued to heat up and with not being able to knit and nothing on the television I have been motoring along.

I gave up with one book because it was not working as I knew I had plenty more to be reading, especially to make a dent in my netgalley shelf.

It has been a month of catching up with favourite authors and interesting characters and returning to lovely places.

The first book finished in July was Jenny Colgan – Endless Beach which carried on a story which I started in June and I get to go back there towards the end of the year when the next part is out. I am fairly new to Colgan’s work but loving the stories.

Cornwall is a big draw for many people and many authors to set their books. I went back to the Scilly Isles with Phillipa Ashley – Summer on the Little Cornish Isles and completed the tale. I rediscovered characters from a while back when I was with Ali McNamara – Daisy’s Vintage Cornish Camper Van.

As summer holidays start around the country it is always lovely to escape into reading and getting some sunshine in Holly Martin – The Cottage on Sunshine Beach or perhaps smelling the lavender that is billowing in the fields in Sarah Bennett – Summer at Lavender Bay. Although these books are of a similar ilk which I do not deny, they are such joyus books to read and provide laughter, tears and pure escapism.

A canal boat holiday is something that I have never partook in but has always intrigued me and I had Christie Barlow – The Cosy Canal Boat Dream sitting waiting to be read for over a year. What a great story which had so much, canal boats, cinemas and cake!

Of course you can’t beat a summer wedding and in Jennifer Joyce – The Wedding that changed Everything the wedding is a week long in a castle! With treasure hunts, quizzes and cocktails what more could you ask, but when families get together tensions run high.

Adding something different into the mix, meant I picked up Rachel Brimble – The Mistress of Pennington’s set in the Edwardian times, it reminded me of one of those sunday night tv dramas brought to life on the page. I have read better and it was a bit long and drawn out but could have been much stronger.

Another book which did not quite live up to what I was expecting was Cathy Hopkins – Dancing over the Hill, the previous novel I had read was good – this did not really live up to it and I felt quite flat by the end of it, perhaps because I could not relate to some of the plot?

I definitely could not relate to Poppy Dolan – Confessions of a First Time Mum, but no matter as this was laugh out loud funny and written so well there was something for everyone, mum or otherwise in the book.

I am wanting to work my way through the works of the great Agatha Christie and spurred on my recent repeats of Poirot on ITV3 I started Agatha Christie – The Clocks. Poirot comes late into the story as opposed to the TV adaptation but nonetheless I think was a well written book which had the red herrings and got the little grey cells working. Another one off the list.

Finally for this month I would like to thank everyone who has taken part in Six in Six. If you have and not let me know then please leave a link so I can make sure you are mentioned in the round up post which will feature soon.

On with more reading….how was your July?

Books

The Cottage on Sunshine Beach – Holly Martin

It is only a few months since I was in Sandcastle Bay catching up with Tori who had arrived to see her friends Melody and Isla and nurse a broken heart. Little did she know she would be staying and as we obviously catch up with all that is happening to her this story is very much focused on Melody.

Melody is a jewellery maker with her own little shop. She loves being in Sandcastle Bay near her friend Tori and of course her sister Isla but it also has lovely but sad memories of their brother Matthew who was killed.

Opposite Melody’s shop is that of Jamie Jackson, a local artist and sculptor. Everyday he meets Melody and the both walk to their respective shops with their new bouncing puppies in tow.

As their friendship deepens, they start to date – well try. Trouble is Melody is a bit clumsy and accident prone, so knocking drinks over, ruining sand castles and giving your potential new beau food poisoning. Perhaps not the auspicious start that either of them wanted.

Carrying demons from the past means they seem to be treading on eggshells round each other. Whilst the dates are a bit of a disaster when the romance hots up Melody knows she has found the man she wants to spend the rest of her life with. But has Jamie found that in Melody?

Of course being in a small town and a close-knit community means that everyone wants to know what is going on and has an opinion which doesn’t always help. After a few misunderstandings…..

Well if you want to know you are going to have to read the book of course!

I loved Melody and her endearing clumsiness and I could relate to that feeling of not being good enough because you were not what everyone expected. Jamie’s tenderness was lovely and left you with a warm fuzzy feeling that there is hope.

It was of course lovely to catch up with Isla and Tori and they played in some cases starring roles within the plot! I hope there will be a book three because Isla needs to settle down and realise what she has is not going anywhere. If she doesn’t then I am off to pack my bags to Sandcastle Bay and will happily step into her shoes – in fact Melody better watch out too!

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

The Cottage on Sunshine Beach is out now.  

Books

The Cosy Canal Boat Dream – Christie Barlow

I have had this book a while and had not yet got to reading it as I had previously read some other books based on a canal boat and did not want to dilute this one. In hindsight I should have just ploughed on with it as it is totally different to the previous ones and was a wonderful story.

Nell is still grieving for Ollie, her husband who tragically died some two years previous. She has sort solace in working at her best friends deli and tends to just consumer her waking time with being busy. Nothing could possibly heal her from the heartbreak she feels.

Then in bounds Sam and knocks her flying but it is Sam’s owner, Guy that knocks her heart into gear again and they begin a friendship which looks like it might develop. But Guy is only here temporarily to help his brother, Ed and perhaps he hasn’t been truthful about his own past that he has left behind.

Add into the mix of this story, a dilapidated old cinema which needs recusing from developers, a Deli of the Year competition, Nell’s mother hiding secrets in shoeboxes and behaving oddly and a well-known actor mooring in the marina and plenty of babies.

So much goes on that ties all the characters together that this a book to get completely lost in and thoroughly enjoy. Christie Barlow’s writing seems to be getting with each book I read and I think she would really be good writing a series of books where we can really get to know the characters and enjoy them and the setting – such as this marina, the canal boat, the cinema and the delicious sounding deli again!

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for the opportunity to read this book. Sorry it has taken me so long!

The Cosy Canal Boat Dream is out now. 

 

Books · Jottings

Six in Six – 2018 My Choices

 

I thought it was about time I got round to posting my own Six in Six. If you have not joined in yet then there is still a few more days left of July for you to participate. Just follow the link above to find out what it is all about.

  • Six book covers I liked

 

  • Six physical books I have read
  1. Robert Galbraith – Career of Evil
  2. Ruth Jones – Never Greener
  3. Mary Ann Shaffer – The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society
  4. Gail Honeyman – Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
  5. A.J. Pearce – Dear Mrs Bird
  6. Katharine McMahon – The Woman in the Picture
  • Six authors I have read before and know I am going to get a really good read!
  1. Trisha Ashley
  2. Cathy Bramley
  3. Emma Burstall 
  4. Sarah Bennett 
  5. Fern Britton
  6. Veronica Henry
  • Six books I have enjoyed the most
  1. Trisha Ashley – The House of Hopes and Dreams
  2. Heidi Swain – Coming Home to Cuckoo Cottage
  3. Cathy Bramley – Hetty’s Farmhouse Bakery
  4. Hazel Gaynor – A Memory of Violets
  5. A.J. Pearce – Dear Mrs Bird
  6. Jenny Colgan – The Summer Seaside Kitchen
  • Six books I was disappointed with
  1. Stuart Turton – The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle
  2. Monica McInerney – The Trip of a Lifetime
  3. Rosie Meddon – The Housekeeper’s Daughter
  4. Sophie Green – The Inaugural meeting of the Fairvale Ladies Book Club
  5. Lynne Truss – A Shot in the Dark
  6. Jill Steeples – Wedding Bells at The Dog and Duck
  • Six authors I read last year – but not so far this year
  1. Lucinda Riley
  2. Katie Fforde
  3. Rosie Goodwin
  4. Cressida McLaughlin
  5. Judith Kinghorn
  6. Kate Williams

I actually found this years quite tough – looking back I have been swept into many stories, but some critics may say that the books were all much of a muchness – all the same. Maybe so but do you know – I have thoroughly enjoyed all I have read and been honest with the ones that I haven’t enjoyed and actually given up on a couple as well. In terms of my reading, I call that progress.

Here is to the next 6 months which no doubt will have some more of the same and quite a lot new too!

Books

Summer at Lavender Bay – Sarah Bennett

It is always great to not just find an author but an author who writes series of books featured in one pace. You can go back and visit the characters that become friends and see how they are all getting on.

We first met Eliza in the first of the Lavender Bay series when she was about to go away and not be back to visit her friends Libby and Beth for a while.

Faced with her future at the airport – Eliza makes a life changing decision and heads back to Lavender Bay to stay with her parents in the local pub.

Wanting to find something for herself and establish her self-worth she decides to pursue her dream of making organic soaps and wonders whether the local lavender farm will be able to help.

However her first meeting with Jack, the farmer is not exactly friendly but there is something about him that sparks her interest. And surprisingly Jack starts to think about something other than collecting the lavender crop and being responsible for Noah, his nephew.

The course of true love never does run smooth and there are a few bumps along the way, especially when Noah gets injured and Eliza’s husband turns up.

Yet again Sarah Bennett delivers a story which has you falling in love not just with the gorgeous Jack but the setting as well. I wanted to walk along the promenade at the bay as well as delight in the smell of the lavender that I am convinced was seeping off the pages.

Whilst of course this is a romance, there were some reality moments to keep you in check. The behaviour of Eliza’s husband made me wanted to scream – a mere minor character can get under your skin, that’s how good the writing was for me. Then the subject of death and the ripple effect it has on everyone left behind, made my heart-break as time inevitably moves on.

I look forward to the third book in this trilogy when I can of course catch up with Eliza and Jack, Beth and Sam but also get to the bottom of Libby and the supposed irritation of Owen which was scattered through this book in a real taster of things to come. I hope I have guessed right.

A great read whether it is Summer or Winter.

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

Summer at Lavender Bay is out now.