Thursday, 30 June 2016

Florence Grace by Tracy Rees

Florrie Buckley is an orphan, living on the wind-blasted moors of Cornwall. It's a hard existence but Florrie is content; she runs wild in the mysterious landscape. She thinks her destiny is set in stone. But when Florrie is fifteen, she inherits a never-imagined secret. She is related to a wealthy and notorious London family, the Graces. Overnight, Florrie's life changes and she moves from country to city, from poverty to wealth. Cut off from everyone she has ever known, Florrie struggles to learn the rules of this strange new world. And then she must try to fathom her destructive pull towards the enigmatic and troubled Turlington Grace, a man with many dark secrets of his own.

Selecting which books to take away with me on my break to Cornwall was a hard one but with Florence Grace by Tracy Rees set on the Cornich Moors it was a no brainer that this one had to come with me.

Florence Grace or Florrie Buckley as she was known when we were first introduced to her, is a fiesty free spirited young girl who has grown up on the Cornish Moors, she was a gifted child and I was fascinated by her character right from the opening chapter.
Florrie's life took a drastic change after her nan died and her mother's wealthy family, the Grace Family, claimed her and took her away to London to live a completely different life. But is it a life that Florence can adjust to or does her heart still belong to the moors?

The authors vivid writing style brought the setting in both London and the Cornish Moors to life. Tracy Rees has managed to allow the reader to see how claustrophobic and suffocating London felt to Florence compared to the welcoming expanse of land that allowed her to feel free.

The storyline felt very realistic and never far fetched so I found that I enjoyed the book all the more for this. Each of the characters were extremely well developed some I loved others I loathed but they all were an integral part of the book. Turlington was a highly developed and complex character who managed to keep me on my toes the whole way through and I was unsure on what would become of his character in the end and I must say I was surprised with direction his character took at the end.

I loved the mystery that surrounded Old Rilla and I would have loved to have seen her character pop up more in the book. Of course our main character Florence Grace was my favourite character she was a strong minded and determined character who didn't give up easily and wasn't afraid to speak her mind! As we watch Florence try to adapt to her new life in London over the years we wait to see if the life of riches and love is enough to make her stay in London.

The storyline has a troubled and forbidden romance that had me constantly swaying as to whether or not the relationship could develop or not. My only little problem with the book was the last third of the book felt a little drawn out and my attention had began to waver but luckily the author pulled it back with a great ending that tied everything up not leaving us on a cliff hanger.

Having enjoyed Florence Grace and finding it a beautifully written and captivating read I look forward to now going back and reading her debut Amy Snow.

Paperback              Kindle


Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Watching Edie by Camilla Way


BEFORE Edie is the friend that Heather has always craved. But one night, it goes terrifyingly wrong. And what started as an innocent friendship ends in two lives being destroyed. 

AFTER Sixteen years later, Edie is still rebuilding her life. But Heather isn’t ready to let her forget so easily. It’s no coincidence that she shows up when Edie needs her most. 

NOW Edie or Heather? 
Heather or Edie? 
Someone has to pay for what happened, but who will it be?

Watching Edie is one of those books that once you have finished reading you can’t help but sit there in utter disbelief. It was a sick and disturbing storyline but my curiosity made me keep turning the pages and although I knew something sinister lay ahead it still shocked me when the events were revealed.

The storyline alternates between Before which is told from Heather’s point of view and After which is told from Edie’s point of view which was a first for me but I think it worked really well in keeping the suspense and suspicion throughout the storyline as well as allowing us to build a picture of each of the girls from their own telling as well as through the eyes of each other.

In the BEFORE chapters we are taken back to when Edie and Heather first became friends when Edie starts at Heather’s school in Fremton. Edie is a natural beauty whereas Heather is one of those girls who never quite fit in anywhere but the pair strike up an unlikely friendship. Trouble begins when Edie meets Conner and falls head over heels for him but Heather is not happy about the new relationship.

In the AFTER chapters we fast forward sixteen years and after the girls having no contact Heather turns up on Edie’s doorstep but her arrival isn’t a welcome one as it brings back awful memories to the tragic event that happened all those years ago, but what does Heather want from her all these years later?

I was totally absorbed by the storyline and I ended up reading the whole book in one sitting having not been able to find a safe place to put the book down. It was one of those books that you just had to read one more chapter which soon lead to another and another as I desperately wanted to uncover what had happened between the girls to have kept such close friends apart all those years. Although it was quite obvious that something awful had happened it was in no way predictable what had actually occurred had me feeling equally shocked and disturbed. 

The author has such a clever way of creating characters who are very intriguing but also very callous even if I didn't realise the characters awful traits from the off. It seems wrong for me to say I enjoyed this book because I don’t think anyone could say they enjoyed such a sinister, dark and twisted storyline but yet it was thoroughly addictive and compelling almost like driving past a crash not wanting to look but being unable to stop yourself.

This was a really well written twisted psychological thriller that will have you sitting there with questions rolling around in your mind afterwards, I think this one will play on my mind for a while and will certainly get book groups something to talk about.

Hardback                    Kindle

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Thursday, 16 June 2016

How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry

Today it is my stop on the Blog Tour for How to Find Love in a Book Shop by Veronica Henry. As soon as I heard the title of this book I was eager to get my hands on a copy and then when I first see the cover I was in love before I even started the story!

Nightingale Books, nestled on the high street in the idyllic Cotswold town of Peasebrook, is a dream come true for booklovers. 
 But owner Emilia Nightingale is struggling to keep the shop open. The temptation to sell up is proving enormous - but what about the promise she made to her father? Not to mention the loyalty she owes to her customers. Sarah Basildon, owner of stately pile Peasebrook Manor, has used the book shop as an escape from all her problems in the past few years. But is there more to her visits than meets the eye?
 Since messing up his marriage, Jackson asks Emilia for advice on books to read to the son he misses so much. But Jackson has a secret, and is not all he seems... And there's Thomasina, painfully shy, who runs a pop-up restaurant from her tiny cottage. She has a huge crush on a man she met and then lost in the cookery section, somewhere between Auguste Escoffier and Marco Pierre White.
 Can she find the courage to admit her true feelings?

How to Find Love in a Bookshop is the second book I have read by Veronica Henry, as soon as I saw the cover and read the title I knew this was going to be a perfect book for me. The book is set in the town of Peasebrook and at the heart of the storyline is a welcoming independent bookshop called Nightingale Books and this bookshop links the vast amount of characters in this book. After her father died the running of the shop has fallen into his daughter Emilia’s hands but will she keep the bookshop running or was that just her father’s dream?

 There are a lot of characters to get to know in this book with introductions still being made at the half way point which I found strange having already met so many characters I didn’t feel the need to meet anymore especially so far into the book but each of the individual storylines helped to bring more depth to the storyline although personally I didn’t feel like Thomasina’s storyline was needed and unfortunately I think her character won’t be one that I will remember and I wish the time was used more on Emilia and the bookshop which was the part of the storyline that really held my interest.

Romance, friendship and community spirit bring an uplifting feel to what started off as a poignant read with the characters being struck with grief after the loss of the much loved and respected Julius.

We never like to come to the close of a book and leave the characters behind but Veronica Henry has rounded off each of the characters storylines perfectly not leaving us hanging. I really enjoyed this book because Emilia has the job that all us bookworms could only wish for so it was a treat to watch her show her passion for books and then day to day running of a bookshop.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Out of Practice by Penny Parkes

Meet married mum of two and successful GP Holly Graham as she relocates her family to join the team at The Practice at Beckerford, hoping to find the peaceful life she craves, despite the chaos that comes with her two year old twins and the troublesome state of her marriage. It will certainly be a challenge to keep her private and professional lives separate in such a tight-knit community. Her colleagues have their own issues to contend with. 

The gorgeous Dr Dan Carter is struggling with to focus on work and the last thing he needs is any more stress; having his ambitious ex-girlfriend Dr Julia Channing working alongside him isn't really helping. Thankfully, the rather delectable Dr Taffy Jones is on hand to distract Holly from the escalating situation at home. 

Feisty octogenarian and resident celebrity, Elsie Townsend, is Holly's favourite patient and saving grace. Elsie's inspirational Life Lessons come at the perfect moment, as The Practice is suddenly under threat of imminent closure and Holly rediscovers her voice and her priorities just in time …

Out of Practice is Penny Parkes debut novel and if dishy doctors make you go weak at the knees then this book will be right up your street.

Holly Graham has relocated to Larkford with her adorable little twin boys and husband Milo. Hoping for a fresh start Holly is thrilled to be close to her best friend Lizzie and is looking forward to starting her new job as a GP at The Practice but the new life that Holly envisioned soon starts to show signs of trouble.

The book gets off to a welcoming start with a touch of humour and it soon becomes clear that the author has a wonderful writing style that manages to pull you into the storyline from the first chapter and hold your attention the whole way through.

There is such a likeable group of characters in this book alongside our main character and the community spirit is buzzing through the pages. Elsie Townsend was a wise and wonderful character who has lived a fulfilled life and she takes an instant shine to Holly and I constantly found myself looking forward to her popping up during the book. We watch Elsie encourage Holly to find her true self rather than being a people pleaser and this is where Holly’s character really develops as she learns that it is ok to say no and put yourself first and do what you want to do rather than what you feel you should do.

I was really hoping all the way through that Holly would walk away from her husband Milo, he was such a controlling and egotistical character who I could not stand and I didn’t want someone as vibrant and loving as Holly to waste her life with a man like that. I was hoping she would fall in to the arms of one of the dishy doctors but one minute I wanted her to fall for Dan and the next moment I wanted her to fall for Taffy but ever way I was happy to take whoever didn’t tickle her fancy!

There were some predictable parts of the book but equally the author also managed to conceal some little snippets too that came as a surprise. This was a terrific debut and I wouldn’t be surprised if we find ourselves revisiting Larkford and its loveable characters in a future book by Penny Parkes but either way I will definitely look forward to more books from this author.




Friday, 10 June 2016

Summer at Skylark Farm by Heidi Swain

Today it is my stop on the Summer at Skylark Farm tour and Heidi has got a delicious recipe for us.

Apple Crisps
 Heidi Swain 

 Hello everyone and thank you so much for joining us on this leg of the blog tour with the fabulous Rea. 

You are certainly in for a sweet treat! 
 No Summer at Skylark Farm inspired picnic would be complete without the inclusion of apples on the menu so here’s a recipe for healthy apple crisps to snack on that simply couldn’t be easier to follow. 

 You will need: Approximately one apple per person (granny smiths are ideal) 
 Cinnamon to sprinkle (but only if you like it of course) 

 What to do: Heat the oven to 140C / 120 fan Slice the apples through the core into thin slices. A mandolin is perfect for producing wafer thin slices but please watch your fingers!

 Arrange the slices in a single layer on a baking tray lined with parchment and dust lightly with cinnamon if required Cook for between 45 and 55 minutes until the apples have completely dried out and are light golden in colour. The key is not to rush them.

 Cool completely on a wire rack before storing in an airtight container ready for the picnic 

 Top Tip: You might want to prepare an extra batch just in case the first out of the oven prove too hard to resist… 
 And there you have it! 

You all know by now that I love the simple things in life and this healthy apple snack really couldn’t be any easier to make. 

Wishing you all a summer of bunting festooned, sun filled days and sumptuous Skylark Farm inspired picnics! 
 Heidi x

Thank you for this tasty recipe Heidi, I am looking forward to trying it out!


Summer at Skylark Farm is the second ebook by Heidi Swain, her debut The Cherry Tree Cafe was an enjoyable read so I was looking forward to reading her latest release to see how her writing had progressed.

Amber has reached a point in her life where her career has overtaken her life and now at the top of her game she is exhausted and on a whim decides to leave her job behind and embark on a new journey. Working on Skylark Farm was never something she envisaged doing but she is determined to work on her relationship with Jake whose heart lies with Skylark farm. 
But can the farm catch her heart too?

This storyline has a lot more depth to it and the characters were more rounded compared to the authors debut. We revisited characters from The Cherry Tree Cafe which was a lovely touch and
I loved the setting and the friendships that developed between Amber, Harriet and Jessica. 

I did find Holly's part in the book a little predictable so I would love to see the author be able to keep a little suspense in her next book.

Summer at Skylark Farm definitely surpasses Heidi Swain's debut and her writing has blossomed, I look forward to her next release and I would love to see the author write a Christmas novel maybe even with Amber and Jake making an appearance to see how things progress for them as I don't feel like their story has finished.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

The Sunshine and Biscotti Club by Jenny Oliver

The ovens are pre-heating, the Prosecco is chilling…and The Sunshine and Biscotti Club is nearly ready to open its doors. But the guests have other things on their minds… 

Libby: The Blogger Life is Instagram-perfect for food blogger Libby…until she catches her husband cheating just weeks before her Italian cooking club’s grand opening. 

Eve: The Mum Eve’s marriage isn’t working, but she’s not dared admit it until now. A trip to Italy to help Libby open The Sunshine and Biscotti Club might be the perfect escape… 

Jessica: In Love with her Best Friend Jessica has thrown herself into her work to shut out the memory of the man who never loved her back. The same man who’s just turned up in Tuscany…

Welcome to Tuscany’s newest baking school – where your biscotti is served with a side of love, laughter and ice-cold limoncello!

The cover of The Sunshine and Biscotti Club will definitely entice you in if you are looking for a vibrant Summery read and the story it hold inside is a light, easy read perfect to pick up and put down on a lazy down around the pool.

Ultimately the storyline is about a group of friends who are reunited this Summer to help Libby renovate her baking school slash hotel ready to open to visitors from all over the world but along the way we find out each of them have their own relationship problems that they need to work through.

The recipes that Libby and her friends recreate in this book are mouth-wateringly good  and I found myself wanting to bake biscotti and I am a stranger to the kitchen. This is one of those books that I feel could have benefitted from having a couple of the recipes included in the book for readers to recreate.

Relationship troubles is a big focus in this book and with each chapter alternating between Libby, Eve and Jessica we get to know each of the characters and their problems and I was hoping they would all get their happy ending but I was just so surprised that the girls didn’t come together with a sympathetic ear and wise words for each other.

The only thing missing for me was the lack of chemistry between the characters considering they are all friends that go way back and who lived together for me the connection between them all was missing.

This storyline was set in a blissful location and I enjoyed the renovation side to the storyline, Libby sure got her friends to work hard. With a gentle pace and an easy storyline this book will make great company for your holiday this year.

Paperback               Kindle


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