Books

The Apple Orchard – Veronica Henry

In the charming town of Peasebrook, there’s a place for everyone. War vet Joe has made new friends and a new home for himself here, overlooking a beautiful apple orchard. But when tragedy strikes and Joe is left out in the cold, it will bring them all together in entirely unexpected ways.

If you have never read any Veronica Henry and perhaps you fancy having a go then do seek out this ebook exclusive which is currently on sale for £0.00 (at time of creating this post). In it you will get a lovely story from the town of Peasebrook which is where How To Find Love in a Bookshop is set. The link will take you to my review.

There is an extract from her forthcoming novel The Forever House which will be published on the 18 May and my review will be up on this blog a week before. If you cannot wait that long and follow me on Goodreads then you will find it there already.

Books

The Kicking the Bucket List – Cathy Hopkins

Iris has created a kicking the bucket list – but the list ironically is not for her to complete before she dies.

It is in fact for her three daughters, Rose, Dee and Fleur to complete in the space of twelve months following Iris’ death. Iris sees it as a way of bringing her daughters closer to her, despite her being gone and also to show them that whatever may be going on in their lives that they ultimately have each other. For Iris, their estrangement has gone on too long, it cannot go on past her death.

The stipulation of this list is that they cannot claim the inheritance until after the twelve months has passed and they have completed all of the tasks.

It is going to be a tough year for these three women. Rose is the eldest, controlling, critical, organised and very uptight, she is hiding something from her sisters. Dee is about to lose her home and any sort of base she has ever had, she cannot find the man to make her happy. Fleur is a flighty as her name suggests to me, although successful she is alone and without any real purpose.

Will the tasks that their late mother has left them, show them what life can really be like?

The tasks are very wide-ranging and seemingly come out of nowhere, but all of them when looked at together are there to enable them to reflect. However, despite their late mother’s hope and messages in setting all of this up, it seems as if the three sisters are never going to get on.

This is a book which has a bucketful of emotions in it. At times you are going to laugh, to cry and to stop and reflect about your own place in the world and the relationships you have within that. It also makes you realise that you really do not know what is going on in people’s lives, especially those close to you and perhaps all it will need is five minutes to reconnect.

As an only child the dynamic between the sisters is intriguing and engaging as a storyline and I have read books using a similar concept to the plot, but this one was captivating and kept me reading. Well worth a read.

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

The Kicking the Bucket List is out now. 

Books

The Bluebell Bunting Society – Poppy Dolan

If you are a fan of Cathy Bramley, Trisha Ashley, Katie Fforde to name a few of my favourites, then you will love this book.

Connie finds herself coming up to 30 having not achieved anything that she really wanted to. Life certainly has not gone the way she thought it would. She is currently the caretaker of the local village hall, aptly named Bluebell Hall taking on the mantle after her grandmother died.

It might not be what she wanted to do, but she loves Bluebell Hall and the community and it all it stands for. If the numbers using the hall do not increase then it means the hall will have to be used for another purpose – one that the residents of the community will not want. It is a common problem, small villages do not want to see part of their history taken over by a big corporate entity but they do nothing to use the existing buildings until it is almost too late. Connie has ideas to draw people into the building and increase the numbers……..

…………….. this one involves material, thread and sewing machines.

Of course disaster is waiting to happen and you can see it hanging over their head (literally as it turns out) but with the determination of Connie and the friends she has suddenly made in the village it looks like Bluebell Hall could be staying for a little bit longer.

This is a heartwarming novel, which taps into the themes of friendship, loss and community. There is a smattering of romance, but for me that did not overtake the main substance of the novel, it nicely simmered in the background. Add into that the village feel, crafts and a lovely bright cover what more could you want from a novel.

Actually I do want more – I want to go back and see how Connie is faring and the other villagers.

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

The Bluebell Bunting Society is out now. 

 

 

Books

March Roundup

2017 is marching on and it is yet time to reflect back at what I have read this month. A varied choice and one where it really reflects that I am reading as I fancy and trying not to be dictated to by deadlines. This can be a challenge when so many lovely books have been appearing on netgalley. I am determined to get that feedback ratio to a better number!

Amazingly and I noticed it – all but one of the nine books I read this month were on my kindle. How I missed holding a book, in fact I am sure I craved it at times. When I did pick up a book I went to a well trodden series and one I am enjoying James Runcie – Sidney Chambers and the Forgiveness of Sins. I would like to complete the whole collection of these in terms of reading the hardback copies which are beautiful in themselves, providing the publisher does not change the artwork near the end of the series.

I love a charming novel that you can sink your teeth into and escape for a few hours and when the novel is published as a whole it will be one I will recommend but luckily I got to finish reading Shelia Norton – The Vets at Hope Green: Too Close to Home and Shelia Norton – The Vets at Hope Green: A New Start. There will be more on this blog about the book in the weeks to come.

I noticed that Tilly Tennant had a new novel coming out and it appeared to be a follow on to one that I had on my kindle (thanks to netgalley) and I thought perhaps I had inadvertently stumbled into another series of books, published as short stories first before the final novel. However with Tilly Tennant – Rome is Where the Heart is I got a whole novel (a good 300 pages) and fell in love with Rome and the characters who now I have to go back and revisit in the next part. Luckily I have that to read and cannot wait to go back and be part of their lives again.

Going back to authors you know is always comforting and reassuring especially when you know what you’re going to get. Going to Dinah Jefferies – Before the Rains meant that not only was I going to get an excellent story I was going to learn something at the same time. This time I was transported to India, a time which was changing as British Rule was coming to its end. A fascinating tale.

I do love my history and I suppose with Andrew Wilson – A Talent for Murder I was getting some more that. Except this book which I think you are going to see a lot when it is published in May. It’s main character is Agatha Christie herself – bet that got your attention! I say no more at this time.

Of course going back to what you know and love is always good, but finding something new to read is just as! This is why I have discovered the wonderful tale of Jennifer Bohnet – Rosie’s Little Cafe on the Riviera. 

A perfect read when on holiday or a read when you want to escape from the dull greyness and want some bright sunshine and good story.

All books are an escape perhaps some more than others, lots make you think when you least expect it. Cathy Hopkins – The Kicking the Bucket List is an example of that.

This is a book which has a bucketful of emotions in it. At times you are going to laugh, to cry and to stop and reflect about your own place in the world and the relationships you have within that.

Then there is the sheer joy that books can bring, just simply by the story they tell and the feeling you get when you have read it, knowing that behind the bright colourful cover there was something to be found. The cover of Poppy Dolan – The Bluebell Bunting Society made me smile before I had even read it.

As March ends I am in fact in the middle of reading three books which is very unlike me. Luckily they are all different, in different eras that I have been able to achieve this without my brain going into a complete meltdown. What I do need to do though is to start finishing them (if you excuse the oxymoron) there are plenty of books waiting in the wings.

You may have noticed a slight difference in blog layout and colours, I hope it is not too offensive on the eye, but felt like a fresh change. It is Spring after all.

 

Books

Rome is Where the Heart is – Tilly Tennant

Kate is married to Matt, they were childhood sweethearts who made the next step.

The next step probably should have been children. But for Matt it was separation.

The next step for Kate is unknown. She is in a dead-end job, which she tolerates, just and her love is for dressmaking.

At the chance to change her life, she books herself a holiday to Rome, on her own. It is time she did something with her life.

At the airport she meets Jamie, who helps guide her through a city so she can see just as much of the tourist attractions as she does of the real Rome. However, Jamie has problems of his own and it is when he leaves Kate alone she finds herself on the Spanish Steps.

That is where Alessandro finds her.

Kate had not gone to Rome to find love,but something has captured her love, for the place, the buildings, the way of life, the food, the people and Alessandro is determined to make an impact on her life and a dent in her heart in the time she is there.

Trouble is Alessandro has five sisters, a strong matriarch family head and a rather jealous ex. It is never going to go well for Kate, especially as tragic events back in England means she has to go back home.

Will Alessandro just be a past ghost or will Kate be able to maintain the dream of Rome, of Love whilst back in Manchester.

The book did start off a bit slowly for me, but it picked up pace once Kate was in Rome and I flew through the pages and the story as if I was a tourist in Rome itself. Tennant has brought the characters to life very well, I could almost sense the expectation in Alessandro’s home when Kate first goes there. Just as much as I could feel the despair and desolation when Kate returns home to finalise some issues and put a closure on one part of her life. I was most annoyed at her elder sister Anna, who seemed to be ready to take over Kate’s life, her constant interference whilst well-meant was positively irritating. But for me those feelings and emotions are the sign of a writer who has created a story which gets under your skin and characters who you actually care about.

Another book to escape on holiday with, without even having to get out of your pajamas for.

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

Rome is Where the Heart is out now. 

The second A Wedding in Italy is out soon and I am looking forward to catching up on the characters lives!

 

Books

Rosie’s Little Cafe on the Riviera – Jennifer Bohnet

Rosie has had this dream of running her own cafe and she gets the chance to make that a reality when she decides she has had enough of being a slave for someone else to earn the credit and the money and sets out on her own to revamp and relaunch Cafe Fleur on the French Riviera. However a famous chef has taken over the hotel next door and is relaunching that, it seems that Rosie’s dreams are dashed before they even become a reality.

Despite Rosie being the main protagonist in this novel, as the title suggests. There are in fact other women struggling with their own dreams. Erika dreamt of love ever after with Pascal and their daughter, running her own small business to appeal to an eclectic sort of shopper. However, it seems fate had other ideas and now Erika has to make some decisions about how she is going to spend her life and how it is going to affect her daughter.

GeGe is struggling to make ends meet. As an estate agent, she never knows when the next sale is going to be and  with the rent on her desk going up, she needs to break out on her own. With some part-time work offered through a friend, GeGe hits upon an idea.

If these three women did not have enough to contend with, there is the added complication of old love wanting another chance and new love being rather circumspect in their actions. Add in a mother with a toy boy and a mother in law who thinks she should have more say and you have a novel that is full of character and a story which keeps you reading. My only criticism of the novel, is that I did not know how all these English people happened to be in the Riviera, more because I am nosy and want to know how they ended up there. It does not in any way detract from the plot.

The escapism of this novel is simple in its idea. The blue sky and sea of the Riviera, the walking along the shore line as the waves gently move in and out. The warmth of the sun that lasts well into the evening as it sets creating a  backdrop for anyone with a view to envy. The descriptions of the food as the cafe makes it mark as tourists and locals, sit,sip coffee, eat croque monsieur and watch the world go by,

A perfect read when on holiday or a read when you want to escape from the dull greyness and want some bright sunshine and good story.

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

Rosie’s Little Cafe on the Riviera 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.