Books

April Roundup

Well that was April, it seemed long and no doubt many people felt the same way. But enough about that what about the books. I did think I had lost my reading momentum and that having a sudden abundance of time to read I wasn’t going to but I think that was a mere blip and I simply chose the right books for reading.

Which is why this month was lucky enough to feature some of my favourite authors. Veronica Henry – A Wedding at the Beach Hut is to be published in May and was a wonderful read which took me to the beach and gave a big dollop of love and laughter. A real soothing balm of a book. All of her beach hut series work is standalone so you need no prior knowledge of anything and this a great book to get to know the author.

Another given with a good story is Katie Fforde – A Country Escape, pure escape and again left with that warm fuzzy feeling which was just what the doctor ordered! This book had been on the shelf for a while and it felt even better reading an actual book and being lost in it as it did, reading on my kindle.

As had Cathy Bramley – A Match Made in Devon, escaping again to Devon and the coast, where I would love to have stayed and experienced and watched all the comings and goings of a coastal village.

Going a bit further west and you reach Cornwall with Phillipa Ashley – A Perfect Cornish Escape, so many people have escaped Porthmellow or escaped too Porthmellow it is all bound to come to a head at some point. And it does in a real interesting way.

You could say these four authors write similar fiction, and they do of course. However there writing is so good that they all stand out and do not merge into one which can happen when you read similar authors all the time.

That is unless the author takes a different path. I picked up Adele Parks – Just My Luck with slight anticipation as it was a number of years since I had read one of her books and they were my first foray into more adult women’s fiction than the family sagas I used to read. I was not disappointed this book was ‘edge of your seat’ stuff and had me guessing to the end and was one of those books that left you with the question – what would you do?

I have never read any of Sophie Hannah’s normal books for want of better way of putting it, but I have devoured her Poirot ones and so to catch up again with what I had on my shelf I picked up Sophie Hannah – The Mystery of the Three Quarters. Of course no one writes like Christie but this pretty damn close and a really good mystery to get into – red herrings and all!

Liking a mystery and having seen the BBC adaptation repeated over Christmas (I think) and also been to see a theatre production of a radio play of it. I thought it was about time I picked up and read John Buchan – The Thirty Nine Steps, it really has a pace to it and I felt I was being pursued as Hannay was in the book, I admit to being a bit confused with the who was who and what was what and the book could probably do with a rereading in years to come, but this is definitely one of those books I think everyone should read and see how thrillers have moved on since this was written over 100 years ago!

In a more sedate manner it is has been a joy to discover this series of books and a joy to pick up Robin Stevens – Jolly Foul Play, back at school and Daisy and Hazel seem to be discovering more bodies, this time the head girl. It does sound like jolly foul play to me but then no one liked the head girl apparently.

Recently having discovered Erica James books I was given the chance to read Erica James – Letters from the Past and whilst it featured characters from a previous unread novel, it was a great family story which was full and swept you away. I am definitely wanting to read more Erica James.

And only one new author to me this month – Jane Johnson – The Sea Gate again I was taken to Cornwall with this dual time narrative. A big house, a mystery and a war but is that in the past or in the present and it seems there is only some distant relative to uncover the truth.

Not a bad month, all things considered. I have found a rhythm of having a current or upcoming book on my kindle and one from my shelves as a physical copy so I can flick between the two. They need to be fairly different though as I can get muddled especially if they are set in similar plcs – Cornwall being a prime example.

So how has your reading faired? More or less? Or just the same?

 

 

Books

Sunrise over Sapphire Bay – Holly Martin

The cover invites you into this story and is almost like a holiday poster wanting to whisk you far away from everything. And so this story does.

Aria has lived on Jewel Island all her life and she can’t think of anywhere else she would rather be. Even  with her twin sisters in different parts of the world, she would still rather be working in the family hotel with their father.

The hotel is not really doing very well and Aria is trying to do the best she can amongst the challenges of not changing anything and remaining fiercely loyal to everyone who works there and everyone who supplies the hotel

But it is all about to change with the arrival of Noah he brings a different perspective to everything but when that perspective is suddenly taken away and Aria is left heart broken it seems throwing herself into the hotel is all she can do. That is until tragedy strikes.

Aria and her sisters, Skye and Clover are all reunited back on Jewel Island. The sisters have been left the money from their father, Aria a stake in the hotel, the remaining stake belongs to Noah. The man who stole Aria’s heart and broke the previous year.

Can Aria cope with the changes to the hotel and having Noah back in her life?

Will Noah tell her the real reason he left so abruptly the year before?

This is another excellent Holly Martin novel which draws you straight into not just the plot,but the place as well. Like with previous novels I could easily imagine myself visiting Jewel Island, staying at the hotel and exploring all the wonderfully names places. Of course the characters I will meet mean it is an ever better place to visit and it is not just the main ones of Aria,Skye, Clover and Noah. The wonderful receptionist Tilly about to have a baby, Angel the man who can cope with everything and seems to deal with anything Noah throws at him, Zoe the receptionist there to spy on the staff as well as godmothers, busybody councillors and porn watching vicars wives!

This book has everything, it is about embracing your dreams and working hard not just for yourself but for everyone else and realising that no matter what you do or how you do it, you are making a difference to someone.

This is the beginning of a gem of a series, pure shiny gold!

 

Thank you to the author who kindly provided me with a copy of this book in return for an honest review. I have received nothing in return and the only thing I give is the recommendation to read this book. 

And you will be pleased to hear that there will be a welcome return to Jewel Island in the autumn and I cannot wait!

Books

Letters From the Past – Erica James

This is one of those books which is packed full of everything you could possible want from a story to sweep you away.

Told from the different perspectives of various different characters you are thrown into getting to know a lot of people and quickly. I did have to go back and reread who everyone was as I was a bit lost and felt as I had not read the first novel where these characters are introduced I was at a disadvantage. However once I did this I got a sense of how they were related and something about their past I was able to involve myself fully with the book.

As letters from the here and now start landing on doormats across Melstead St Mary, you almost wish that Miss Marple would appear to solve it all for these people and make her wry observations about people’s actions and reactions.

Evelyn, celebrating twenty years of marriage to Kit, is shocked to receive one which brings doubt on her actions from the past and questions about what she did during the war.

Julia, weak, feeble and under the command of her husband receives one, but she knows she has probably done something wrong anyway, she has spent all her life in repentance.

Hope, driven by her work, driven to escape when she receives a letter is driven into another state. One that everyone desires she will come out of.

Romily, the matriarch of this family. Bringing them all together, keeping them all apart where necessary and trying to live her own life.

Full of secrets, mysteries and love this really is a book which did indeed sweep me away from rural Suffolk, London, Oxford and Palm Springs. It has characters to love, loathe, trust and distrust. It made me change my mind about some and know I was completely right about others. This was a book which I invested in and it gave me an abundance of returns. Thank you Erica James, wonderful storytelling.

 

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

Letters From the Past is published on the 16th April. 

 

I am relatively new to Erica James work but if this is the standard then I am going to read more starting with Coming Home to Island House where we first get to meet these characters. 

Books · Jottings

March Roundup

I just looked back at March last year and it was a bit of a terrible month for reading and I want to say perhaps it was because it is a March thing, as this March has not been much better but for very different reasons of course.

I like a lot of people are no doubt struggling to concentrate on reading, especially when I can get locked in the vacuum of news endlessly and all theories, opinions and facts. As this strange time goes on I now consciously make more of an effort to step away from it all.

But enough of what everyone is dealing with on with the books for March.

When time are tough you can always turn to certain authors and I have used this mantra this month, especially with some of their new novels about to hit the shelves in April.

Heidi Swain – The Secret Seaside Escape it is so great to be back with Heidi and this wonderful new novel is set in Wynmouth and has the same feel good factor as all her previous ones and with a seaside to wander down through the pages of a book, when you perhaps cannot get to the real thing.

Wanting to wander in more wonderful landscape with jewelled names and descriptions then you can pick up Holly Martin – Sunrise over Sapphire Bay where the warmth of the sun as well as the story will make you want to pack your bags and go for a visit. Holly always delivers.

And if you want to escape even more as did the main character in Katie Ginger – Spring Tides at Swallowtail Bay then you are in for a treat. Just make sure you pop into the little gift shop and pick up a memento of your visit.

No doubt we will be back to visit these places later on in 2020.

Of course going away on holiday and even a cruise seems such a distant dream at the moment, but having picked up a book which had been languishing on my shelf for a while I was taken to that cruise with Rachel Rhys – Dangerous Crossing. It’s 1939, on a ship to Australia and the mix of people you are going to meet, their class, their status, their religion, their background, their past and their future is going to all be mixed up on this long voyage. It was a page turner.

In a change from her normal type of novel I approached Emma Davies – My Husband’s Lie with slight trepidation, would this work. Well it did, it was a it of a roller coaster and has some real insights into emotions throughout the book. It works and made you think that sometimes you always need to go forward, never back.

Jennifer Wells – The Lost Girls another historical fiction read for the month was very much on the theme of never going back, never staying still and always moving forward. And of course it is always those you least expect isn’t it?

When all is wrong with the world you can always rely on the known and in the case of Agatha Christie  – A Murder is Announced. I did know, I have seen the TV adaptation enough to know who the crime was committed by but probably because I thought I had read the book, I find I had not and therefore corrected that immediately. A Murder is Announced was the chosen book for Read Christie 2020 in February, I might pick up another one in the coming weeks.

So that was my March.

How was yours?

Books

Clover Cottage – Christie Barlow

This is the third book in the Love Heart Lane series and I am delighted once again to be transported North to the wonderful Scottish village of Heartcross.

Vet Rory Scott has always wanted to do something more than be the Vet at his father’s practice in Heartcross. He wanted to branch out, do something, see the world and have an impact on animals worldwide not just locally.

However feeling an obligation to his father and mother he stays in Heartcross and starts to settle with girlfriend, Allie. It all seems to be going well until…

Rory’s father rents out the house that he is currently living in and gives Clover Cottage, rundown and in need of a lot of TLC to Rory. But he is not telling Rory something and this coupled with the stubborn need not to improve or the practice frustrates Rory.

Even more so when celebrity Zach Turner and his dog Sydney turn up in the area. Whilst Rory can help Sydney the dog he has to rely on other people in another place to be able to fulfill the dream. And when Zach makes him an offer it looks like he would be foolish to refuse it.

Allie has not got the drive of her boyfriend Rory, she loves him, she loves the village and she now certainly loves Clover COttage ans she can see her future there. She has spent many years being uprooted and thinks she has now found her final place to stay but why does Rory want to go further afield?

Can these two people seemingly going in opposite directions actually get to where they are meant to be – together?

Coming back to Heartcross and all the people I have got to know is like catching up with friends, life goes on and just now and again you need to pop in and see what has been happening and I was so glad I did. Even more thrilling when you know there is another chance to catch up with them all later in the year.

For fans of good women’s fiction which is not light and fluffy but has real depth of emotion and character – read them all from the beginning of the series. You won’t regret it!

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

Clover Cottage is published on the 20 March 2020.

Books

Spring Tides at Swallowtail Bay – Katie Ginger

This is the start of a series of books by Katie Ginger, set in the glorious Swallowtail Bay.

Here in the first, Stella recently divorced puts all her money into a gift shop with some questionable gifts in it and two holiday lets in Swallowtail Bay. She has nothing to lose apart from all her money, but she has escaped what she knows and this is her chance to start again.

With only her dg Frank for company, Stella throws herself into the gift shop and starts to make a small success of it, even if some of the locals are slightly perturbed that it was her who managed t purchase the shop.

Miles had his eye on the shop as he is fed up with travelling and wants to put some roots down in the only place he has known as home – Swallowtail Bay. The gift shop seemed ideal until Stella came along.

Stella starts to fit in and make friends, single mum Lexi is trying to make ends meet by working in one of the local cafes next door and her friendship grows with Stella. As it does with some of the more older residents of the seaside town.

But even if Stella seems to be making a success of the little gift shop that you could spend a lot of time browsing in, her holiday lets are going to test her even further. You never know who you are going to get rent them. It proves for some interesting actions and reactions.

Some of the local residents seem to have a lot to say about Stella and when she is then invited to her ex husbands wedding she wonders whether it was all worth it and she is going to fail.

This really is a book full of warmth. Friendships forged and never forgotten. The cross generational divide which brings communities together works in Lexi’s favour and her passion for all things vintage I am sure would make a book on its own. Of course there is a romantic element within the book and whilst of course these things don’t always run smoothly sometimes the best things for people are simply staring them in the face!

A great book to escape to on a wet day or a hot day. Swallowtail Bay is a place you will want to visit again and again.

 

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

Spring Tides at Swallowtail Bay is published on 18 March. 

 

Books

Starting Over at Acorn Cottage – Kate Forster

Buying a thatched cottage has always been the dream of Clara, roses around the door, children, husband and complete contentment.

However dreams are life very rarely match.

When Clara finds her boyfriend and best friend have been goign behind her back – discovered all thanks to cottage pie! Clara realises she cannot live in the shadow of their relationship and buys a thatched cottage, in Merryknowe unseen called Acorn Cottage.

So the dream suddenly becomes a reality without the roses, the children, the husband and actually not much more else than a roof over the four walls. It is not really a dream more a disaster.

Enter Henry and his daughter Pansy, in their little van. Looking for a place to stay and also Henry is looking for a place to work – what better place than Clara’s cottage.

Rachel has walked past Acorn Cottage for almost all of her life and it was her dream to be in there too. She initially resents Clara taking away that but actually Clara is the catalyst in helping Rachel follow her dream after a disastrous start in life.

Add into the mix, Joe the good looking butcher, Tassie McIver a elderly lady with a penchant for tea leaves and predicting life and the story starts weave together some magic which kept me turning the page and wanting to know if Acorn Cottage was the place for Clara to heal and start all over.

Kate Forster weaves a lovely romantic tale into the renovation of a cottage, of the start of moving on for Clara, Henry and Rachel as well as the pull of a community in difficult times. What more could you want from a book – a cottage, a village, a bakery full of cake and romance.

A lovely read and well worth losing yourself in.

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

Starting over at Acorn Cottage is published on 19 March 2020. 

Please find below links to other Kate Forster books I have read

The Perfect Retreat 

The Perfect Christmas

The Last Will & Testament of Daphne Le Marche