Books

Daisy’s Vintage Cornish Camper Van – Ali McNamara

I am back in Cornwall again with another author who has visited before, it is three years since I was in St Felix with The Little Flower Shop by the Sea which got me back reading and loving this author’s work.

This time though St Felix is welcoming Ana as she comes to claim the camper van she has been left in her will by her closest friend Daisy when she passes away.

Ana is struggling to come to terms with her friends bequest as camping and certainly being away from a city is everything that Ana is not! But it seems there are other forces at work and it is not just the sea air and the fish and chips that is going to keep Ana in St Felix.

In the process of getting Daisy renovated by the intriguing Irish man Malachi they discover a number of old postcards written by someone called Lou to a Frankie and seemingly never sent. What story are they telling of Daisy and what really happened to them. Helped by local antique shop owner Noah, Ana tries to piece together the past as she seemingly settles into the present in St Felix and starts to feel very much at home there and with Noah.

A search goes on for the mysterious Lou and Frankie, Ana’s relationship with Noah and changes and they are thrown together when they take a trip to Brighton which is in the past for both of them. Will the past be the answer to the future?

However, all Ana can see is signs and they all seem to have taken on an eighties theme – that was her favourite era of music, even though she was born towards the end of the decade and it is what drew Daisy and her together as friends. Surely these signs are pointing Ana on to her new life.

The mysterious and at some points magical moments of this novel had me hooked, even if I did work out who Malachi was, it did not spoil my enjoyment of the story, the escapism to a beautiful place in the country and perhaps the possibility that I might not be so averse to a camper van!

A lovely uplifting book to read to soothe the soul. I hope we get to return to St Felix, because there has to be more to learn about that lovely place and all its residents. But them I am a sucker for a good saga.

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

Daisy’s Vintage Cornish Camper Van is out now.

 

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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 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

May Roundup

Last May was the month of the kindle – it seems this May was too!

That is the trouble with netgalley I get over enthusiastic with all the lovely new books and authors I can read that I find I am slightly swamped. But I made a good dent into the list and have read some really lovely books.

I reached the end of Liz Eeles – Annie’s Summer by the Sea which as the trilogy progressed got better with each book. Of course this book was set in Cornwall which is a popular setting for many authors that I read and it really does add something to the story.

I also reached the last book Holly Hepburn – Starry Skies at Castle Court. I really do try not to request books on netgalley that are parts of a story – however not paying attention made me get the first of this new series. I therefore had to keep reading the others. But if you can bear to wait then you need to be looking out for a book called A Year at Castle Court. I have nearly fallen into that trap again in recent days! But I resisted and just added them to my wish list on amazon to remember for the future.

Talking about series of books and being a bit too request happy on Netgalley, ages ago I downloaded Karen Clarke – The Cafe at Seashell Cove and it sat waiting to be read and then I spotted Karen Clarke – The Bakery at Seashell Cove. Knowing that I had not read the first spurred me on and I read them back to back which meant that I was really involved in Seashell Cove for a lovely while. A place for a holiday that’s for sure.

Amongst all this new reading I do try and get to the many books sitting on my shelf. It has been a while for this one Katharine McMahon – The Woman in the Picture. This is a follow-up to The Crimson Rooms which I read eight years ago and I was immediately taken right back as if I had only just left the characters. In the centenary of women’s suffrage this was a timely book to be reading.

I love my historical fiction even if it is not necessarily considered highbrow but comes in the saga form which is how I came to pick up Elaine Roberts – The Foyle’s Bookshop Girls. I did think that maybe I would get to see a bit more of an insight into the Foyle’s bookshops than I did get. However it was great writing and yet again I will need to revisit!

I have only read a few books by this author but Emma Hannigan – The Wedding Promise was one of the last written before she sadly died recently of cancer. This was a lovely book, really heartwarming and I escaped abroad with the characters.

I have even been to Copenhagen with Julie Caplin – The Little Cafe in Copenhagen. Embracing the concept of Hygge in your life to make you stop and take stock of what is going on around you and how it is affecting you!

Gail Honeyman – Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is a title you might have seen gracing many bookshop shelves in recent months. I was aware of it but didn’t really know much else. My friend read it and lent it to me. A good read that reminded me of The Rosie Project a lot of the time and also of myself in a self reflective way.

Well that was May, I am motoring through books on my kindle and trying to make more of an effort with those on my shelf too.

I wonder where June will take me? If you are wondering about the Six in Six – it will return for 2018!

Where has May taken your reading?

 

Books

The Little Cafe in Copenhagen – Julie Caplin

Kate gets passed over for a promotion at work and all of people it goes to the man she thought she was in love with.

Wanting to prove a point she goes out on a rather conceptual pitch to Lars and his idea of brining a Hygge department store to London. No one thinks she has pulled it off – but Lars loves the idea and so Kate is now the one who has to convince some journalists, bloggers and feature editors that the Danish hygge concept works and is coming to a store near you.

What better place to be able to experience it all that in Copenhagen.

Despite having to put up with egos, drunks, accidents and everything else the journalists throw at her over the trip Kate finds something else.

She finds the way she wants to live her life.

All the journalists with her also find something else. It was lovely for the book to give to time to the supporting characters and showed that despite Kate’s main presence within the storyline the trip to Copenhagen was going to effect everyone. That was one of the reasons I enjoyed the book so much.

This really is a cosy book and probably embraces Hygge at its best. The simplicity of life, the choices we make and in this particular place the amount of Danish pastries consumed. Trying to get that promotion and the money doesn’t necessarily give you everything you need. Kate finds out how life can be lived even with a few hiccups along the way.

This book is full of humour, love and happiness and I cannot wait to see where I get to go next with Julie Caplin.

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

The Little Cafe in Copenhagen is out now.