Books

Lucy’s Little Village Book Club – Emma Davies

Any book that seems to be about books, book clubs, libraries or the way that others are brought together by books always seems to be a good choice to read. If like me you enjoy all these things then this is a book for you.

Lucy, temporary manager of the local library but secretly an aspiring writer thrives on the new book club that she started and the people she has grown fond of as they all arrive for different reasons at her group.

Callum, is escaping from home where he is bullied and cajoled by older brothers and lazy parents. He wants the simple things in life.

Single mum Hattie, needs some adult conversation and has her own demons she needs to work out before becoming her sister’s bridesmaid.

Widowed Oscar, is lonely and misses his wife terribly but also knows that a secret they both kept for their entire married life is about to be the cause of some heartache.

Lia is caring for her mother who has dementia and is slowly retreating into her past. A past where she danced and it seems that Lia has a passion for dancing as well.

As the book progress so do the relationships and friendships between the characters, some interesting secondary characters are introduced to add more depth to the book. There is a lot that goes on, new skills are learnt, past loves are laid to rest, newer loves are found and at the heart of it there is the strength of family and friendship in all their forms.

This is the first Emma Davies novel I have come across and I enjoyed it. I am interested to read her other novels and see is they evoke the same strength of community and friendship in a world which at the moment seems to be lacking in it.

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

Lucy’s Little Village Book Club is out now. 

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Books

Wedding Bells at The Dog & Duck – Jill Steeples

It has been a while since I have pulled up a bar stool and had a drink in The Dug & Duck in Little Leyton. So when I discovered this book available to review, the third in the series, I realised I had not even got round to the second one – Summer at The Dog & Duck. Which means for a couple of days I was immersed in Little Leyton and all its residents and caught up with what they have all been up to.

Nothing adds pressure to Christmas than hosting it for more than just your family. But that is what Ellie is doing at the pub which she runs in her home village. Add to the mix a strangers stranded in the snow and Ellie being heavily pregnant and you can probably see that this is going to be a Christmas that no one forgets.

Once the snow starts to melt and there is whiff of spring in the air, it turns to Ellie to help organize her friend Polly’s wedding. Of course the venue has to be The Dog & Duck but can Ellie really deal with all this as well as looking after a newborn, her parents returned from abroad, settling into being lady of the manor in her new home with Max as well as maintaining her independence.

It puts a lot of pressure on Ellie as if she didn’t have enough pressure when Max keeps proposing and she keeps saying ….not at the moment.

What if the moment has now suddenly passed?

Perhaps Polly’s simple wedding will make Ellie see that perhaps taking a risk at marriage is one worth taking?

Or maybe it is a risk too far?

I assume that this is the final book of the series, it has that finality to it with all the right loose ends tied up but enough to know that their lives will continue once the reader has finished reading. I maybe wrong?

This is an entertaining novel that you can while away a couple of hours.

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

All of the Dog & Duck series are out now to buy. 

 

Books · Jottings

March Roundup

I just went back and read what I wrote about in the 2017 March Roundup, this line made me smile:

…… when so many lovely books have been appearing on netgalley. I am determined to get that feedback ratio to a better number!

Ironically I am still trying to do that, and I am so conscious of what I am asking for and also whether I am reading real books i.e. in my hand and not on kindle that nothing much has changed for March 2018!

I sort of set myself a task of reading a book from netgalley that has been downloaded more than 3 months ago, then one in the current 3 months and at last read some books of my shelves. Something makes me say I haven’t achieved this!

So what did I read – well thanks to netgalley I got Jill Steeples – Wedding Bells at The Dog and Duck, the third in the series. Having yet to read the second I of course had to go back to Jill Steeples – Summer at The Dog and Duck. I am not sure as to whether I am perhaps done with The Dog and Duck?

I revisited Castle Court for the third time Holly Hepburn – Stormy Weather at Castle Court. The more I read books in this serial format, the more I dislike them and so now I am trying to be more careful when I pick them as sometimes once you are hooked you have to keep waiting – though I rather think that is the point!

I did not mind going back to the Scilly Isles with Phillipa Ashley – Spring on the Little Cornish Isles: The Flower Farm. I think it is one place I would love to go to visit. In the meantime, the books bring the place to life for me.

I revisited Cornwall to catch up with Emma Burstall – Tremarnock Summer an author I have been following and reading for a long time – so now I am set up to read her next one.

No one likes visiting the doctor unless they have to but I could not resist making another appointment with Penny Parkes – Best Practice. 

I recognised the characters in Monica McInerney – The Trip of a Lifetime and it turns out I had read about them in a previous novel, which for me was much better than this one. As it was one of the last I finished in March, I was rather disappointed.

What I was not disappointed with was Ruth Jones – Never Greener. A real page turner, and I was always dubious about so-called ‘celebrities’ writing fiction. No need to be dubious on this occasion as it was excellent.

I have had Hazel Gaynor – A Memory of Violets on my shelf for a long while and decided I wanted something a bit more less contemporary and more historical. This book satisfied all this and I have discovered an author who I would like to read more of. Handy as I know I have one of her books on my netgalley to read list!

Something completely different was Rachel Dove – The Long Walk Back in a change from perhaps more women’s fiction that she is known for – this was a hard-hitting book, about war and the aftermath that it can create for those who are all affected by it.

Of course writing fiction about another fictional character seems rather absurd, but for some reason in Laurie R King – The Beekeeper’s Apprentice it works. This is the first in a series of books which feature Mary Russell and her tutor, a man you may have heard of: Sherlock Holmes. Not sure whether I will go back and read anymore but I know they will be enjoyable reads.

Lynne Truss – A Shot in the Dark was a good murder mystery somewhere in between the pages. A great sense of humour and irony in there somewhere, but it was not for me. It might be for you though.

And I ended the month, with a book that I have read before. Looking back I haven’t reread any books in over ten years or more. Notwithstanding revisiting childhood books. But I wanted to reread this one Mary Ann Shaffer – The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society. The film is due out in April and I wanted to refresh myself with the story. I am so glad I did, I laughed, cried and gasped in all the same places and had forgotten what a wonderful way letters can be in telling a story.

I read the book, long before this blog was created but I did review it for Amazon so look out for the review at some point in the coming weeks. I will endeavour to write about the film adaptation too.

So that’s it for March – more of the same for April I think.

Books

Tremarnock Summer – Emma Burstall

I noticed that another book from Emma Burstall about Tremarnock was out soon and it prompted me to get ahead of the game or catch up – whichever way you want to look at it by reading the third novel in this superb series.

Having not visited since last year, I soon caught up with all the regular characters, Liz and her daughter Rosie. Rosie is growing up and realising that perhaps she will always be different from others. She seeks an unlikely friendship with Rafael who arrives in the village and seems to be the cause of a lot of problems.

But could he simply just be an outsider being blamed for all the strange goings on? Quite possibly.

Two new outsiders to the village come in Bramble and Katie. Bramble unexpectedly inherits Polgarry Manor from her grandfather. A man she was told was miserable, unpleasant and treated his family poorly. Not it seems if Bramble inherits this old, tumbling down manor house and the resident, housekeeper, Maria who has a touch of the Mrs Danvers about her. It seems Bramble has a lot to learn about the house, the village, its residents and her grandfather.

She sets about to see if perhaps she wants to stay this far away from London and make something of her life. But it is not going to be easy and alienating some of the locals is perhaps not the way to go about it.

Of course the book is touched with humour and romance. However there was some sadness and it showed me how invested in the characters, the book and the author I have become since reading the first in the series: Tremarnock

You do not have to have read the previous two novels in this series to enjoy this book, however why deny yourself two very good reads before you get to this one!

I was interested to see the outcome for Bramble, it was not what I thought, I had her going down a completely different path! I was a little bit frustrated that perhaps some people did not get their comeuppance and am still worrying about some who are still in need of their happy ending. Of course that could all be in book four and so I am ready to read it..though I have a few months to wait.

The first 3 books in the Tremarnock Series are out now. 

 

Books

Hetty’s Farmhouse Bakery – Cathy Bramley

Hetty has reached a point in her life when she thinks she might want more.

She still wants what she has, Dan her hardworking farmer husband, Poppy her bright and energetic daughter, her best friend Anna there to listen to all of her woes as well as all the people she bakes pies for. But Hetty feels that she has not made an impact on the world – just on her little inner circle and doubt has set in as to whether she has actually achieved anything as Hetty Greengrass and not as a mother, wife or friend.

Hetty has done nothing other than work at the sheep farm, apart from a short sojourn of working in a Cornish pasty shop when her life suddenly changed for a while, meant she learnt the art of pastry but brought back to Cumbria to the man she loves, she simply continued that by baking the best pies – or so everyone says,

When she gets the chance to enter one of these pies into a local competition it throws Hetty into the spotlight and all of a sudden those around her are left in the background. Poppy is thrilled for her mother, but Dan does not understand why Hetty cannot be fulfilled with what she has.

Throwing caution to the wind, Hetty goes forth with her pies and faces from the past suddenly appear and questions that need answering. However tragedy strikes at home and everything pie related is but on hold as the tragedy starts a chain of events which changes lives.

I could see it coming and this is no reflection on Cathy Bramley’s writing or plotting. The book is well written and you could see that the author has reflected on all the characters and the effect the tragedy would have on them. This was not simply about one person’s issues and the rest of the characters faded into the background you got the full effect and you almost had to decide what you would perhaps do in that situation?

This book took me on a rollercoaster of emotions as I almost wanted to scream at Dan for his chauvinistic pig headedness and but then felt for him so much later on in the book. Poppy has so much determination it was great to see a young girl portrayed as such and not one which was simply a whiny hormonal mess – although that might be to come. I could mention more but  then that would spoil the book for you – go read it.

A book that you can curl up with and lose yourself into a throughly good read – like a pie baked to perfection!

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

Hetty’s Farmhouse Bakery is out on 22 March

 

Books

Spring at Lavender Bay – Sarah Bennett

Sarah Bennett who delighted me and many others with her Butterfly Cove series is back with Spring at Lavender Bay, the first in another trilogy.

In this first book of course we meet all the characters that we are going to grow to love and possibly hate in the coming pages and subsequent books.

Beth returns to Lavender Bay when she discovers that the woman who brought her up has in fact left her a shop – not any old shop but an Emporium. Having not really left much of a life back in London, Beth stays for a while in Lavender Bay and it brings her closer to her old friends.

Libby still helping her father in the local fish and chip shop and not having grown out her dark hair and dark clothes is glad to see Beth back as she now sees what sort of life she could have had if she had left Lavender By.

Eliza has moved away to be with her husband and she doesn’t come back home too often, but when she does all three girls get together. But it looks like Eliza is going to move even further away from Lavender Bay.

Of course this book has romance, and that is provided by Eliza’s brother Sam. A chef. And a man who has a caring streak which simply jumps off the page as you read about him. Sam is also back home, because his father is ill and needs to take things easy. He has left behind a prosperous career to come back to the pub he knows as home. Sometimes it is nice to come home but you still need aspirations and when Sam meets up again with Beth, he realises that perhaps what he can achieve is actually in Lavender Bay.

Plenty happens in this book and just when you think everything is going well, there’s a twist and it is almost like everyone has to start again.

Sarah Bennett manages to weave a story with warmth, humour, love and a sense of community and brings to life a fictitious place as if I could pop down to Lavender Bay to breathe the sea air and perhaps wander into the Emporium before popping to the local pub for a swoon over the hunky barman and chef!

I look forward to my return to Lavender Bay in the Summer.

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

Spring at Lavender Bay is out now

 

Books · Jottings

February Roundup

I don’t know about you – but I have so many books to read that sometimes I find myself just staring what I have on my actual shelves as well as on my virtual ones too and actually not getting much reading done.

When I am reading, it is a few pages at night and then my eyes close….zzzzzzz. Too much television watching I think. However some of the programmes that always race the beginning of the year are not finishing and that means I go to bed earlier, keep warm with a good book instead.

So in February I have been everywhere reading wise and the thing I can say about every book I have read is that I have enjoyed them all.

Being part of the Lynda Page – All the Fun of the Fair blog tour meant I could pick up a book by an author I have never read before and start at the beginning of a very interesting series of books about a travelling fair. This is historical saga writing at its best and a genre I love to read.

Of course I always love to read authors that I know are going to deliver on their books a simply great story and that was the case with the latest from Trisha Ashley – The House of Hopes and Dreams I am convinced her stories get better and better and I only have two of her back catalogue to catch up on now. Trouble is I will have to wait an age for a new book but in the meantime I got down to the seaside

Sarah Bennett – Spring at Lavender Bay is the first in a new trilogy and this will keep me busy throughout the year no doubt! When the weather is grey and the days short there is nothing better than reading sunshine with books like Sarah’s.

Of course in winter all you want to do is eat comfort food and what better than a homemade pie and my mouth was watering while reading Cathy Bramley – Hetty’s Farmhouse Bakery. I really enjoy Cathy’s novels but I have to read them as a whole and not in parts, as I like to immerse myself int he storyline.

I balanced out all of this nice sunshine and romantic notions with Robert Galbraith – Career of Evil, the third book in the series so far. I wanted to read it before the third television programme was broadcast. I had a week to do it and because of the excellent writing and plotting, despite the gruesomeness of the story I finished it with 48 hours to spare! I hope I do not have to wait too long before the next one is published as I love Cormoran and Robin – such a wonderful dynamic.

Short amount of books for the shortest month of the year and doing nothing to the years overall total – but I am enjoying my book choices and I hope you enjoy reading about some of them on this blog.