Books

The Little Bed and Breakfast by the Sea – Jennifer Joyce

What better way to while away a few days in Clifton on Sea, a seaside town on the northwest coast of Britain. Where there is everything you want from such a place.

A pier, with the candy floss stands, and the arcade machines where you spend hours watching two pence pieces move in a machine. where getting a cuddly toy out the machine is more than luck than judgement

A fish and chip shop, where you can take the delicious food next door to the pub and enjoy a pint as you devour the salty chips.

The ice cream van which specialises in different flavours and a unique host.

The little shops where you can get something unique to remind you of your visit.

A beach, cliffs, coves and breathtaking views of the sea and the landscape.

Of course what better place to stay than at the Bed and Breakfast run by Mae. Helping to make ends meets, she has opened up two of her rooms to guests. She is pretty much booked out until the autumn until she suddenly has two cancellations.

It just so happens, that Melody is looking for some where to stay as she completes a photographic project which is very personal to her, otherwise she is just going to move on.

Willow has nowhere to stay, her house she is renovating is no longer safe for her to stay in and her husband is away and not offering much support.

Both Melody and Willow find themselves staying with Mae and a friendship forms between these women.

Mae suddenly realises that being single is perhaps not the answer for the rest of her life and she perhaps should listen to all the advice that is being given to her.

Willow is struggling to find contentment in what she has got and stop dreaming about what could be. She feels alone with no support.

Melody is running away from her past and when she befriends a local innocently, she can see that perhaps life does go on and there is a future.

As the book shifts between the three main female characters you begin to care about them, you want only the best for them and of course this is a reflection on the writing. I felt I was privileged to be allowed a snapshot into their lives.

An engaging summer read and to be honest would be an engaging read whatever the season or the weather!

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

The Bed and Breakfast by the Sea is out now. 

Books

Death Knocks Twice – Robert Thorogood

This is the third ‘Death in Paradise’ novel and this time the challenge for DI Richard Poole, stuffy english detective in his woollen suits in the Caribbean and his rather more laid back team, of Camille, Fidel and the Dwayne.

An unknown man is found dead, shot twice in an old shower room at the Beaumont’s coffee plantation. The door is locked from the inside, the window as well. He could not possibly have been murdered.

Could he?

As DI Poole employs his propensity for such unexplainable acts it seems that perhaps there is more to this unknown man than first thought. The coffee plantation, seems to be running at a loss and the Beaumont family are at odds with each other as well as what to do for best about the plantation.

Of course the truth is obvious, when you know where you are looking, but with every good detective novel there has to plenty of red herrings, plot twists and perhaps another murder. Who is telling the truth?

Of course methods of detection are notoriously slow on such a  laid back Caribbean island and DI Poole has to result in some old fashion research and plenty of patience. He knows if he was back in England, wet dreary England he would not be in this predicament.

But when the answer is revealed… it is time to gather everyone together and ‘name the murderer’!

As with the previous two novels, this encompasses the bygone era of crime writing such as Christie and simply transports it to somewhere warm and appealing. With humorous characters and someone one is never going to fit in and chooses to remain the odd one out. Of course there is another plot running through this and that is the bootleg rum which is being sold on the island, and it might even mean the grumpy english man in his woollen suit might need to go undercover as a proper islander……

A good whodunnit, taking you away to where the sun shines, the water is warm and the chance of death could be quite high!

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

Death Knocks Twice is out now. 

You can also read the first two novels A Meditation on Murder and The Killing of Polly Carter

I hope these books are successful enough to warrant more, because when the tv series is not on, these are a wonderful stop gap. 

 

 

 

Books

The Cornish Escape – Lily Graham

Having only read one book by this author before and knowing that was excellent I was more than pleased to be offered the chance to read this one. I was totally immersed in the story, the place, the characters.

Victoria has escaped London and her marriage. Which has failed. She probably knew it was going to but her job as a biographer and the immense amount of research, detail and effort she puts into her work meant she was away from home a lot. Her husband has other ideas.

Victoria has escaped to Cornwall, to little village of Tregollan, her brother lives not far from where she finds herself, there is someone near if she needs them. Out walking she stumbles across a derelict, abandoned cottage, Seafall Cottage, but some locals think it is cursed and the name has stuck as the years have passed. But the cottage gives up a secret to Victoria, a diary, written in code from the turn of the twentieth century.

Victoria is intrigued about this diary and its previous owner Tilly Asprey, who lived in the big house all them years ago. The locals know something but they are reluctant to tell Victoria anything and when she goes to Adam, the lawyer managing the sale of the cottage she has one of her many questions answered.

Trouble is Adam gives her even more questions and some of them are nothing to do with her recent purchase.

As Victoria throws herself into the cottage, she embarks on finding out about Tilly Asprey and exactly why she was writing a diary and letters in code.

What for me was an added bonus, was the fact that we got read Tilly’s story, we got to find out about the person that Victoria ended up researching. There were connections to the present day, but I could not see how the jigsaw was going to fit together. Of course it did, with the help of Adam and the lovely people who Victoria had managed to surround herself with. Gone was the anonymity of living in London, being in Tregollan has been the perfect remedy to heal a broken heart and a life spent looking for something.

The author brings to life Cornwall, I want to go and find my own cottage and just experience the simple view, ever-changing through the windows that look out across the sea. I want to be able to read in comfort a book such as this as the weather does its worst. Knowing that tomorrow is a new day and something else may be discovered.

The book is full of characters who all interact perfectly, whether it is with Tilly and her pompous sister and mother or Victoria and her new-found friendship with Angie who just happens to run a floating bookshop! The mix is vast and the characters various and there is I know so many more stories that could be told by them all. But of course this book is Victoria’s story and the telling of Tilly’s.

For me it is the sign of a good book when you are disappointed when you finish, but you know that perhaps those characters are still living on long after you’ve stopped reading. Sometimes a sequel is not what is required just simply the starting point of an author and their story and then the reader’s imagination.

An excellent read and one you can escape into whether your holiday be in Cornwall or Corfu!

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

The Cornish Escape has been renamed as Summer at Seafall Cottage and is out now.

 

Books

Summer at Bluebell Bank – Jen Mouat

Going back to the past is perhaps not always a good idea.

Kate returns to Wigtown, Scotland when her friend from childhood, Emily asks for help. Kate leaves everything behind of new life and goes back to Wigtown, to Bluebell Bank and Emily and her family as that is where she has always felt at home and loved.

But everything has changed.

Emily is very fragile and refuses to talk about the choices she has made and what led her to be back at Bluebell Bank caring for her grandmother, Lena.

Lena is changing by the day as dementia starts to take away the Lena, Kate knew who was able to bring all the family together.

Emily’s brothers, are scattered near and far and an undercurrent is running between them all.

This is not the place Kate thought it was going to be when she returned. Especially when she bumps into Luke, her first love.

This is a book which at first glance you think is going to be a light read, but it isn’t. Aside from dealing with deterioration and care of someone with dementia. We see how alcohol can have an overwhelming effect on family. How paths chosen when it comes to love are not necessarily the right ones and that secrets can lay buried, deep but are there to remind us of our guilt.

It has a strong storyline, but for me there was something missing, I just could not relate to the characters in any way. I was frustrated by them and the buildup to the history between Kate and Emily was rather a let down. The setting was magnificent and I was drawn to the place and the landscape but sadly not the story.

That does not mean this book is not for you – it could well be.

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

Summer at Bluebell Bank is out now in e-book. 

 

Books

The Dry – Jane Harper

A working farm will see plenty of death. But for this death the farm has never seen anything like it before.

Billy, six years old  – shot.

Karen his mother – shot.

Luke her husband – shot.

Baby Charlotte ? – alive.

It all points towards Luke, a common enough incident, man kills wife and children and then in a fit of remorse kills himself.

Except one child survives.

So who really did kill the Hadler family?

Aaron Falk returns for the Hadler funeral, returning back to a community he left some twenty years previously and has never been back since. Due to events all those years ago his presence now is not going to be welcome at all.

When asked by Luke’s parents to look into the death of their son, something makes him stay and he teams up with the new local sergeant Greg. Between them they come across anomalies which begin to point everything in a completely different direction.

Interspersed throughout the novel is the events which caused Aaron Falk to leave the small country community. Are the events of then a symptom or cause of the present events.

As the drought seems to grip Australia and in particular the town of Kiewarra is the lack of rain making everyone’s judgement is important.

This is a debut novel from an author who clearly has experienced the extreme weather of Australia. As I sit in my home in England, the weather changing throughout the day, and all references to long hot summers and droughts refer back to 1976. This book took me right into the arid landscape, where it was so hot to be unbearable and that no one could possibly be able to survive if the rain didn’t come at some point soon. Is it this which make people accept the death of the Hadler family?

The atmosphere of the book and the well drawn characters make for a book which I could not put down. There is something chilling about the intense heat and the dry landscape that makes this a story that has to be read. It will certainly be one of the books I will remember of 2017.

The Dry is out now.

It seems that we are going to see more of Aaron Falk in the next novel out on kindle in September 2017 and in printed versions 2018. 

 

 

 

Books · Jottings

July Roundup

First of all I must say thank you to the select few people who kindly joined in my meme Six in Six. There will be a roundup post following in the coming days and I hope I have captured everyone that has taken part.

As for my reading, well it has been varied and thoroughly enjoyable in July. Plenty of books that if I had read them in the first 6 months of the year would have featured on one of my lists!

Looking back July’s reading has been a way of making a dent in the many lists of books to be read. Mainly from my netgalley shelves as well as my venture into reading more Christie.

Annie Lyons – The Choir on Hope Street a pleasant read that passed the time, but not one I would say you HAD to go and read. Not like Kat French – The Bed and Breakfast on the Beach, her books keep getting better and better and this is her latest and well worth the read.

Summer being a theme (and there is a post coming up about that as well at some point) I also decamped to France to finish the trilogy (of which I am disappointed there will not be any more) of Helen Pollard – Summer at the Little French Guesthouse. I look forward to seeing what Helen Pollard will write next if it is as good as these books have been.

I caught up with another book which was previously released as parts Cressida McLaughlin – The Once in a Blue Moon Guesthouse, this was a book worth waiting to read as a whole.

I have read few thriller type novels this year, mainly because I think my brain has not wanted to cope with such things but I did pick up Jane Harper – The Dry. Debut novelist who has created an interesting detective and set him in a barren landscape.

Kathleen McGurl – The Daughters of Red Hill Hall, this book had been languishing on my kindle for a while and I wanted to make a dent in some of those books too, I chose this one to read. A dual narrative novel, which I do enjoy and was an interesting read which drew away from the sunnier books I had been reading!

Finally the month was complete with Agatha Christie – The Mysterious Affair at Styles. The first Christie Novel, the first Hercule Poirot. As part of my aim to have read all of her books by some point – I went to this one next. The edition I read (as pictured) had an introduction by John Curran and contained information regarding a rewritten chapter which in some ways set in stone the denouement of many murder stories for years to come.

I am back experiencing a new author as the month closes and I have also gone back to one of my favourite authors to immerse myself in one of her novels.

Here is to more lovely reading in August.

Books

The Once in a Blue Moon Guesthouse – Cressida McLaughlin

Robin has returned to Campion Bay, on the Dorset coast. She has come to seek solace in her home and grieve for a life that has changed.

Her home also happens to be a guesthouse and when her parents decide they want to retire, Robin throws herself into relaunching the guesthouse and at the same time her own life.

On her first night, an unexpected guest arrives, Will. He is the nephew of Robin’s deceased next door neighbour and he has come to sort the house out. With no choice but to put him in her best room Starcross a friendship forms which starts to tip over into something else.

However the path of true love never did run smooth and when past secrets start to appear and make there present very much felt, it seems that Robin’s idea of solace in Campion Bay is merely just a dream.

But dreams can become realities.

This is a character driven novel and one that is rich in them. No character is there just to fill in, they all have a purpose, a background and are important to the two main protagonists, Robin and Will. I loved and despised them all as I should and I was glad when Robin branched away from the guest house just to remind us and her what she did before she returned to Campion Bay.

A great read, which was previously released in four parts but it is worthy of reading as the whole novel, because you are immediately checked into the guest house, can smell the bacon cooking as you wait for your breakfast and relax into each specially selected room after the exciting day you may have experienced.

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

The Once in a Blue Moon Guesthouse is out now.