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

Spring at Blueberry Bay – Holly Martin

I am relatively new to Holly Martin’s novels as I only discovered her towards the end of last year. And I am pleased to be back with her and the characters she writes about and the places she sets her novels.

Novels often can be described as transporting you to another place, Holly Martin’s novels should be at the very top of this category.

Bella lives on Hope Island, an island which is part of the Scilly Isles and it is a place where everyone knows your business, whether you try to hide it or not. In the case of Bella, everyone knows she lived with her aunt and uncle because her mother abandoned her and she was unintentionally caught up in a fraud case in her previous work.

Bella trusts few people despite her seemingly happy outgoing look on life. She really is only close to the family that she grew up with, including Rome and Eden her brother and sister. She cannot let anyone in.

Down on her luck and having to live on porridge, she still finds time to help a homeless man, she finds on her doorstep. Blunt with him as she literally has no money, she offers the next best thing, a bowl of porridge and her sofa for the night. Trouble is Isaac is not who he says he is and it turns out that helping someone can lead to all sorts of problems and some rather interesting situations.

Isaac is back home, he wants to come back to where people like him for who he is and not because he has money and can perhaps help them further their careers. Bella does not know who he is now and they clearly have some sort of chemistry growing between them but Isaac needs to tell her the truth before she make a complete fool of herself.

Something that Bella does a lot as the book goes on, but actually it is not making a fool of herself, it is so sweetly endearing and lovely that you cannot help but smile, because somehow she picks herself up and turns the whole situation around. Not to say that I didn’t smile to myself as our feisty Bella sitting in a job interview in a green bridesmaid dress with her assets on show!

Bella manages to pick Isaac up when tragedy strikes and she shows him that you perhaps need very little in life to survive. Isaac shows her what love can and should be like. Bella is trying to resist but misunderstandings continue through the novel and you wonder if perhaps Isaac just hasn’t got the strength to fight against Bella’s determination not to fall in love and break down the walls.

This book has everything in equal measure and plenty more. I laughed, I cried and I even confess to dreaming about my own Isaac, sweeping me off my feet. The book completely took me away to Hope Island, and its scenery and residents, and the wonder that is Holly Martin’s writing.

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for the opportunity to read this novel. I apologise profusely for taking so long to get to it, so much so that I have read this and moved straight onto the next one in the series Summer at Buttercup Beach. 

How wonderful it is to keep reading about the same characters in the same place. Utter joy.

Spring at Blueberry Bay and Summer at Buttercup Beach are both out now.  

 

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 · 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. 

 

Books

Summer at the Little French Guesthouse – Helen Pollard

The Little French Guesthouse in question is La Cour des Roses and Emmy is still working there, with the wonderful Rupert who has become a firm friends since circumstances brought them together in the first ‘French Guesthouse’ book.

They are as busy as every and Emmy is settling very much into village life and is enjoying the guests staying and also expanding her own business as well. But most of all Emmy is enjoying being with Alain, the man she is about to marry.

Surely she can organise a wedding to the man she loves. Well she can and she could if her mother did not keep stage managing it from a distance. Emmy’s patience is tested, trying to please and placate everyone as she has to check, double-check and then check again that the flowers are right, the bridesmaid dresses match, the cake will work.

However there are somethings that are going to not run smoothly, no matter what Emmy or Emmy’s mother thinks and demands.

The past is generally never far behind and when it becomes ever-present, it means that the wedding is suddenly not the most important thing on everyone’s mind. Surely happiness is not that far away.

Helen Pollard has not lost anything in her writing and she manages to drip the sunshine into the pages and the rolling hillsides, even the delicious food prepared in the guesthouse has you salivating as you can almost taste the chilled white wine, easing away your troubles.

This is the third in the trilogy of books, which I confess to being sad about as I would love to see the guesthouse in the autumn and winter, but nonetheless, this book does bring a lot of the story to a fitting conclusion for the characters.

I have loved spending time in The Little French Guesthouse and I am sure you will too.

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for the opportunity to read this book. As well as the previous two. 

Summer at the Little French Guesthouse is out now. 

Read about the previous two books here and here.

Books

The Bed and Breakfast on the Beach – Kat French

Winnie, Stella and Frankie, three friends in their thirties who escape for a small break on a remote Greek island.

The break is just what they all need as they soothe the wounds caused by marriage breakdowns, divorce and redundancy.

They come back with more than a tan – they come back having bought the B&B they were staying in!

Villa Valentina is now theirs and they throw themselves into making a success of it. Trouble is the Villa seems to be full of secrets and these secrets are key to making a success of their venture as well as harmony on the small island.

The three women have to contend with the resident donkey, who has decided to move to live into a neighbours field and has no intention of returning.

A distillery is hidden beneath the Villa and part of the deal is to keep producing the islands famous spirit – gin and to make sure that the island and the islanders never run out. For if it did, the consequences could be catastrophic.

Add into the mix a boy band wanting to escape from the spotlight, ghosts from the past turning up and irritatingly charming Australian neighbour it means that life at the Villa is certainly going to be interesting.

I adored this novel, it took me completely away. I could feel the sun on my skin, the warmth of the sea, the ice cracking in the glass as the gin was poured in. The romance and seduction almost crackled off the page and I was hooked into all these three women’s lives. I don’t want to say anymore I just want you to go and read the novel and experience it for yourself.

Kat French’s writing for me is improving with each book I read. This is worthy of the five stars if not more. She manages to capture something unique in her descriptions of the scenery, the atmosphere, the connection between the characters and so much more. If you want a pure escapism novel then this is the novel for you.

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

The Bed and Breakfast on the Beach is out now.