Books

The Cornish Cream Tea Holiday – Cressida McLaughlin

Thea has come away for a long break where all she wants is to escape in a beautiful place and with as many books as possible. Books are her world, being a librarian satisfies only a small part of that, but if she could own a bookshop then that would be even better. But these are just dreams.

And when on holiday, Thea can but dream of her future.

Ensconced in the holiday cottage, she finds herself disturbed by the next door neighbour, Ben.

Ben is rather grumpy and is in the process of renovating the property next door to where Thea is staying.

When they first meet, there is something that infuriates them both about each other, and it soon seems that their paths are going to cross more than once throughout Thea’s stay. But what exactly do they both have to hide from each other? And will the dreams they have actually come true?

Part of this author’s Cornish Cream Tea series, this is book can be read as a standalone, previous characters are mentioned but they in no way distract from this current storyline. Full of what you would expect from Cressida if you gave read her previous work and the perfect escapism for an afternoon without the calories of a full cream tea!

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

The Cornish Cream Tea Holiday is out now.

Books

The New Doctor at Peony Practice – Christie Barlow

Each of the Love Heart Lane series can be read as standalone and if you come to the place via this book then you have ultimate joy of reading all previous seven novels to further fall in love with the place.

Here we are with Dr Ben Sanders, who has found his place working at Peiony Practice serving the villagers of Heartcross. But he cannot do it all himself and when they advertise for another Doctor to share the load he really doesn’t expect it to be someone he knows.

Someone who turns up when he is celebrating his birthday in the local and someone who was determined to beat him at medical school and to also beat his heart into submission as well

That someone is Dr Kate O’Neil, who firmly settles into village life and is taken into the villagers hearts as she throws herself into village life.

What better way that setting up a charity boat race with her and Ben as team captains, fuelling that rivalry started long ago in medical school.

But what are Ben and Kate hiding? Are they hiding the past from each other or are they simply hiding from each other?

Will the boat race be the final challenge for the pair?

Yet again, Christie Barlow delivers a heartfelt warm novel, featuring familiar faces but new ones as well. Of course there is an undercurrent of some serious subjects which she manages so beautifully that it brings a tear to your eyes. Reinforcing that anything can happen to anyone at any age.

A lovely novel, with the inevitable ending but boy the journey on the way was exciting! I look forward to returning to Heartcross soon with book nine.

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

The New Doctor at Peony Practice is out now.

Books

The Summer Fair – Heidi Swain

For her summer book Heidi Swain has taken us back to Nightingale Square and there is no better place to be in the summer to drink in the wonderful community and garden either.

For Beth, moving to Nightingale Square seems like a dream come true. But after her awful house share she needs to move, to have her own space and plenty of it to put all of her plants. Nightingale Square seems the perfect place and sharing with Eli also seems perfect too. Expect that Eli loves music and Beth ahs been avoiding it ever since her opportunities were taken away from her years before.

As Beth’s new job at the Care Home takes off, she cannot avoid music forever. When the community she finds herself in rally round to raise money for a local project which brings back lots of memories for Beth it seems that her love of music is going to help finally solve her broken heart. If she picks up some love for herself along the way then surely that can only be a good thing?

As with all of Heidi’s books, you are drawn right into the community, to the garden, to the lives of the locals and if there was a book I wanted to go and live in, it would be one of these. The books can be read standalone but why would you want to deprive yourself of such a joy of immersing yourself in Nightingale Square completely.

The perfect summer read

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

The Summer Fair is out now.

Books

The Café at Marigold Marina – Tilly Tennant

Following the sudden death of her husband, Rosie finds herself in sole charge of the café they bought at Marigold Marina. Far from able to open and start making money, Rosie has channelled her grief into this place to get it up and running.

She opens the doors with thanks to a wonderful assistant, Tabitha and spends all her time in the café. That is her life but she knows there is more to that and it seems there is a glimmer of something when she meets Kit, the owner of the book barge that she can see from her little café. A friendship blossoms.

But something is not quite right an Rosie learns about her husband and a lot about the relationship they had together. It was at these moments, I wanted to cower about the way Rosie was being treated, she just could not see what was happening to her and that frustrated me beyond belief and I think that might have spoiled the book for me a bit. However, her strength she had was clearly there and with the support of the new friends she made, Rosie suddenly found the answer.

The setting of the marina, made me think we were immiedaley by the sea but were in fact on the river in Stratford Upon Avon. I think that needed to be made a bit clearer, because at times throughout the book it really felt like we were by the sea and I had to keep reminding myself we weren’t which distracted me from the book a little. The cover implies you are by the sea, with cliffs and beaches.

A easy romantic read to while away the sunny days, but I have read stronger novels from this author and perhaps would not start with this one if you are new to the author.

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

The Café at Marigold Marina is out now.

Looking back on reviews of other books by this author I have had a real hit and miss experience. I have another book thanks to netgalley to read, but I think perhaps my time is done with this author if that does not hit the spot. Trouble is I am not sure I can tell you what the spot is the book has to hit!

Books

A Wedding in Provence – Katie Fforde

Young, free and full of life Alexandra has everything ahead of her, however it is the mid 1960s and her family guardians are not quite sure about the life she has been leading, so it is time for finishing school and settling down. On her way to a Swiss finishing school, she stops in Paris and ends up taking a job as a nanny in a chateau in Provence.

Three children await her, who need a lot more than a nanny, they need a stable home, schooling and a lot of love. Alexandra draws on her own experiences of having various nanny’s and boarding schools to give these three children the best start in life.

Bringing what she knows from London food and all things English as well as her friend David, Alexandra starts to see these three children start to flourish. What Alexandra didn’t bank on was the flourishing romance with the father of the children.

Can she stay true to herself? Will the love of the area, the children as well as their father be enough to keep Alexandra in Provence? Or will the ex-wife and mother in law prove to much to cope with?

Following on from characters met in A Wedding in the Country, this was a great escapist novel from this author. The warmth and humour just sing from the page and I simply could devour all her books. I hope we go back to these characters in future novels.

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

A Wedding in Provence is out now.

Books

April Roundup


And there goes April……I normally have a lot of time to read in April due to holiday, but this year was very different. Less holiday due to work computer systems, personnel changes and the like means that I have had the bare minimum to catch up. It has slightly annoyed me really as has the lack of doing what I like doing. However I have read some books and some cracking ones at that.

The Second World War seems to have been a theme when I look back on the books I have read. I was delighted and also saddened to finally reach the end of this series with Nancy Revell – Three Cheers for the Shipyard Girls. I am now on the look out for another saga series to get immersed in, so if you have any recommendations then please comment and let me know.

From the Shipyards of the War and staying very much on the home front I ended up in a cooking competition on rations with Jennifer Ryan – The Kitchen Front. Whilst perhaps some of the ingredients leave a lot to be desired this strong story of friendship and what you can achieve with every little is excellent. It was lovely to see a book which concentrated on a different part of the war. Jennifer Ryan has a knack of doing that with her story telling.

You never think of what happened to libraries during the War. Kate Thompson – The Little Wartime Library shines a light on such a place, deep underground at Bethnal Green. Synonymous with a tragedy of its own. This was a delightful, heart-breaking book which tells you the power of friendship and strength through books.

More libraries featured this month by pure accident and that was with the latest Katie Ginger – The Little Library on Cherry Lane. A library threatened from something different but nonetheless showing such an important place that libraries can be. Makes me feel so guilty that I do not use mine as often as I should.

Female friendships is a theme in many books I read and they can cross generations as they do in Joanna Nell – The Tea Ladies of St Jude’s Hospital. An author I have read before who can capture the wonder of the elderly in such a comic way that her books have a great sense of fun about them.

Cathy Bramley – The Summer That Changed Us is the latest in this author’s work and I think I have pretty much read all of them. This one was different, it spoke to me in a completely different way. I adored it from beginning to end, it dealt with some real tough subject matter but not in a frivolous way but in something more realistic akin to real life. Cathy’s work keeps getting better and better.

Reading brings me such joy an contentment but I always like to be challenged sometimes by what I pick up. The final two books I want to talk about this month do that. Clare Chambers – Small Pleasures was on my shelf for a while after seeing it being raved about on Between the Covers a relatively new book programme on BBC2. Wow! A gentle book with an interesting themes to make it not so gentle and a bit more powerful.

Thrillers always have that way of being powerful, if they have the right hook to draw you in, the hours whizz by and you suddenly find it is way past your bedtime! Lucy Foley – The Paris Apartment was no exception. Whilst Lucy has moved away from the almost ‘locked room’ mystery this had a lot of a similar elements and branched out a little bit more. I was hooked, I was drawn in and I had to keep turning the page. A little bit slow in parts and not my favourite of hers but still a great thriller to escape with.

So that was my April, I am trying to erode the huge list of books to read on my shelf, on my kindle and on my want to buy list! Then of course I need to be writing about the books too, which seems to be harder and harder at the moment. A few more hours in the day, a few more days in the week and all we be fine!

Books

Cover Reveal – The Wisteria Tree of Love

Any regular followers to this blog will know that I enjoy Holly Martin’s novels and that I have been lucky in the past to read some pre-publication and taken part in blog tours. Here I am with a cover reveal of her next novel – The Wisteria Tree of Love.

Get you preorders in here

You can start the adventure of the first in this series of books here while you wait for the Wisteria to blossom and the book to be released.

Books

Love Blooms at Mermaids Point – Sarah Bennett

Following a series means that you can get really involved in the characters lives as you see them pop in and out of the differing books. Last time I met Alex he was helping his brother, Tom the new Doctor at Mermaids Point settle in. He was at a crossroads in his life and could see that this little gem on the coast had healing properties. Even more so when he meets and flirts unashamedly with Ivy.

Ivy is having a tough time and her immediate future is all she can care about.

Time has moved on, Alex has made the decision to move to Mermaids Point and restart his life away from the city, away from the rash decision to publish a book under a pseudonym and also from his ex wife Jo. Buying a rundown bookshop seems like the perfect choice for Alex, it seems that rash decisions follow him everywhere.

Ivy is coming to terms with the death of her mother and the massive hole caring for her that has left. Now she can start to focus on herself. What she doesn’t realise is that the home, the life she has known is suddenly upended and she finds herself looking for everything home, job but most definitely not love.

However love has a funny way of finding you and that comes in the form of Alex, who can provide everything Ivy needs. Trouble is Ivy needs to see it first and Alex perhaps needs to be truthful about who he really is.

Being back in Mermaid’s Point is like returning home. The Morgan’s who feature strongly in the first couple of books are of course quite present in this novel, but it is very much the story of Alex and Ivy. You are on their side from the beginning and if I could have stepped into the book I would have certainly have shook both of them at some points, where the misunderstandings were just that.

Of course the path of true love never runs smooth and this relationship whilst off to a fast and fantastic start has to face some stumbling blocks. Some people don’t like this genre of fiction because it is making life to be too perfect, this is not true here. The author shows us life in all it’s ups and downs and realities most importantly and where doubts about people and trust issues can be affected by ones past. Both Alex and Ivy have that in abundance to resolve for them to be able to move on together of course.

Another strong read to this series of books and I highly recommend. Now if I could find my own Alex………

Love Blooms at Mermaids Point is out today.

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

Books

The Blossom Tree of Dreams – Holly Martin

Wishing Wood seems almost Enid Blytonesque and that I am going to be transported to different lands through that magical tree and meet all sorts of different characters. Of course this books content is far from what happens in The Faraway Tree, but it had the magical quality about it of escapism to a different place, a different time and where there will always be a happy ending.

Indigo Bloom, had one magical night and now she is off to tell the owner of Wishing Wood, River Brookfield the news of that fateful night. What she doesn’t realise that she is going to land head long into his family and his life and it might not necessarily be what she or River wants.

There is also another problem – it appears that River, doesn’t remember her.

Hurt but in need of a job and somewhere to live, Indigo keeps her secret. However there is something magical about the place, the treehouses all tell a story and one in particular is exactly as she once described to River.

Add into the mix River’s daughter and a past hurt that has seem him completely abandon all hope of his own happy ending. With two brothers all with a family history of not perhaps the ideal upbringing who all cling to that idea of a happy family, a happy ever after can Indigo break through all the barriers and make River finally see what has been under his nose all along.

This is a wonderful, escapist novel and just what you would expect from the pen of Holly Martin. It was great to see the male character just as dominant as all the female ones, including River’s delightful daughter all playing an equal part in the story. There was something so inclusive, so well rounded and thought out with this book that it made my heart just sing.

Now whilst I wait for the next in her series I am off to investigate treehouses and wishing woods and my own happy ending.

Thank you to Holly Martin for an advance copy of this book in return for an honest review.

The Blossom Tree of Dreams is out now.

Books

The Staycation – Cressida McLaughlin

You can be a travel agent without ever going abroad – can’t you?

For Hester Monday this is something she has been doing for over a year and no one has yet rumbled her. She has not set foot on a plane since she was a young girl, something happened then, it has scarred her and she cannot move forward.

Enter Jake Oakenfield, not allowed to travel back to New York on a plane because of an heroic deed which has left him with injuries and holed up in a luxury hotel in London.

Can Hester take him holiday to faraway places without leaving the hotel room? Of course she can. But can she do it all without revealing how she hasn’t been tp any of the places she is talking about?

The most important question for Hester is can you have a holiday romance when you are not even on holiday?

The sparks between Jake and Hester are clearly there, but some honesty and facing fears for both of them are the only things that are going to move them beyond the sparks which were flying off the page in places, into something much more solid.

I would say for me, this is a move from the author’s normal books and I was not disappointed but it didn’t have for me that something her other books have. I so wish I could name what that ‘thing’ was, maybe it didn’t give me enough of a pull to want to go back and revisit the characters.

However if you are missing travel across the globe or even the luxury places around the UK, then this book will whisk you away with a big dollop of romance thrown in for good measure.

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

The Staycation is out now.