Saturday, 30 May 2020

The Cornish Cream Tea Summer by Cressida McLaughlin

Charlie has a new helper on her bus, her free-spirited and loveable cousin, Delilah, who’s paid a visit to the charming Cornish village of Porthgolow and is helping out on Charlie’s adorable cream tea bus.
When the director of a new TV series filming further along the coast tells Delilah that the bus would be the perfect addition to their onsite catering, she takes him a bit too literally. Charlie and Delilah find themselves caught up in the filming of a lavish period drama and it isn’t long before Delilah finds herself drawn to the handsome male lead.
But Delilah has made a habit of making rash decisions and it’s one of the reasons she’s hiding out in Cornwall. Could this be one impulsive step too far, or is a change of direction the start of something quite unexpected…

When my copy of The Cornish Cream Tea Summer pinged it’s way onto my kindle I had a grin like a Cheshire Cat on my face at the thought of returning to Gertie and her delights in the luring setting of Porthgolow

Lila has caused a whirlwind of disaster with nothing keeping her in London her mum suggests she takes some time out and goes to spend some time with her cousin Charlie in Porthgolo
Not one to sit around Lila gets involved ( maybe a little too involved) in helping Charlie on the unique bus of delights and lands Gertie a new job on a production set.

Oh this novel was all I hoped for and more. It was like revisiting a much loved holiday destination and reuniting with friends rather than looking back at a novel. There is something about that Cream Tea Bus that has just got me hook, line and sinker! I loved that Charlie and Gertie were still a big part of this storyline rather than just a mere glimpse at how they are doing, as well as many of the memorable locals like lovable little Jonah making an appearance. Lila was a flawed character who unintentionally seemed to cause problems but yet I loved her character and at times I just wanted to shake her.

I’m not one who enjoys novels set around actors, actresses and film sets as I don’t find the razzmatazz of it all enjoyable to read but I have to say this storyline worked well, it is helped by the fact all the actors seemed down to Earth with not all the diva attitude going on. 

This book needs to come with a big red warning, because not only are the mouthwatering cream teas going to get you drooling but there are so many other delicious delights to tease us from raspberry doughnuts to passion fruit cheese cakes and all washed down with an array of signature coffees I think I consumed a years worth of calories just through touching the pages! 

I can not recommend this book enough if you are looking for an upbeat cheery read of new beginnings, romance and diet sabotage! I really hope we will be revisiting the Cream Tea Bus in another book because it has become my new addiction.

Thursday, 28 May 2020

Five Hundred Miles From You by Jenny Colgan

Lissa loves her job as a nurse, but recently she's been doing a better job of looking after other people than looking after herself. After a traumatic incident at work leaves her feeling overwhelmed, she agrees to swap lives with someone in a quiet village in Scotland.
Cormac is restless. Just out of the army, he's desperately in need of distraction, and there's precious little of it in Kirrinfief. Maybe three months in London is just what he needs.
As Lissa and Cormac warm to their new lives, emailing back and forth about anything and everything, finally things seem to be falling into place. But each of them feel there's still a piece missing. What - or who - could it be?

Jenny Colgan has always been one of my go to authors since she blew me away with one of my all time favourite books Meet me at the Cupcake Café and I trust in her writing so much that I jump at each new release of hers and dive into her books without even reading the synopsis.

Jenny Colgan’s new release Five Hundred Miles from You is another great read that follows two lead characters Lissa and Cormac who are both Nurse Practitioner Liaisons but work at opposite ends of the country. When Lissa witnessed a hit and run that had a drastic and traumatic effect on her it was put in place that the pair would job swap for three months giving Lissa the chance to work in a slower and calmer environment whilst allowing Cormac to challenge his skills in the hectic surroundings and sights of London.

We are reconnected with some much loved characters from The Bookshop on the Shore, Zoe and her family and the loveable Nina and her book van which was a lovely touch to be able to catch back up with these characters to see how their lives are progressing and they are definitely the kind of women Lissa needed around her at this difficult time in her life. Don’t be put off by reading this book if you haven’t read The Bookshop on the Shore as it is a complete stand alone, the author often weaves characters from previous novels into her storyline as her characters are so engaging, they are hard to just leave behind.

The storyline does touch on the importance of transplants and the thoughts behind them from both sides from making that decision to donate your loved one’s organs to the desperate hope on the other side of awaiting for a donor to come up to save a loved one.

The storyline highlights the different pace of life, the pros and cons between country and city life and we watch Lissa begin to unwind and see the beauty of living in the country but never quite sure if the appeal of the city will pull her back in.

I loved watching the connection between Lissa and Cormac grow and having the added little illustrations was a great touch provided by Cormac! My only little frustration in this novel was that we had a Lissa and a Larissa in this novel and it could be that I have only just got back into reading again recently but I found myself a couple of times confused thinking it was the same person.

This was a wonderful light read with short sharp chapters and a storyline that gripped me and characters that I found engaging.

Kindle                      Hardback

Thursday, 21 May 2020

Like A House on Fire by Caroline Hulse

Things Stella and George have had blazing rows about:
- Misquoting Jurassic Park.
- Leaving a Coke can on the side of the bath.
- Fitting car seats for their hypothetical kids.
In other news, they're getting divorced.
But first, Stella's mum is throwing a murder mystery party and - with her dad losing his job, her mum's recent diagnosis, and some very odd behaviour from her sister - now is not the time to tell everyone.
All Stella and George have to do is make it through the day without their break-up being discovered - though it will soon turn out that having secrets runs in the family...

Like A House on Fire is the first novel I have read by author Caroline Hulse but when I read the synopsis the whole idea of having the storyline weaved around a murder mystery party is a new one for me and I was looking forward reading something completely original to me.

Stella and George have recently separated but there is a problem, Stella hasn’t told her family and with an important murder mystery anniversary party coming up for her parents she wants this day to be perfect for her mum so convinces George to come along! The family all come together but it soon becomes clear that each of the family members are currently battling through their own issues in their lives and surely this is going to have a dramatic impact on the party.

Caroline Hulse has a writing style that packs a lot into her storyline leaving no slow points in the novel there is always something going on which made this such a fast pace storyline that I finished in no time at all. Straight from the first couple of chapters the author had my attention I could already tell that this author was going to have a slight wit about her writing from the coke can reference and the comments made during the counselling sessions!

Although each of the characters were all facing desperate and heart-breaking times I didn’t actually find this an emotional read which I was surprised about when we look at all of the issues they are all facing, I think that could be because I never quite connected to any of the characters because no one really took a leading roll we jump back and forth between all of the characters so we don’t get time to get to know the characters on a deeper level.

The author certainly creates a believable relationship between the family with its cracks and flaws, showing how day to day life and a difference of personalities can get in the way of bringing a close bond between siblings. The murder mystery theme I actually found brought a little light hearted humour to the storyline with its continual disturbances!

I would definitely pick up another book by this author as she definitely manages to keep me intrigued and her pace of storyline is perfect for holiday reading I would just like to see her focus more on one or two characters to allow me to engage more with them so the book would leave a lasting impression.

Hardback                 Kindle

Friday, 15 May 2020

Where We Belong by Anstey Harris

Cate Morris and her son, Leo, are homeless, adrift. They’ve packed up the boxes from their London home, said goodbye to friends and colleagues, and now they are on their way to ‘Hatters Museum of the Wide Wide World – to stay just for the summer. Cate doesn’t want to be there, in Richard’s family home without Richard to guide her any more. And she knows for sure that Araminta, the retainer of the collection of dusty objects and stuffed animals, has taken against them. But they have nowhere else to go. They have to make the best of it.

But Richard hasn’t told Cate the truth about his family’s history. And something about the house starts to work its way under her skin.
Can she really walk away, once she knows the truth?

Anstey Harris’s debut novel The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton was so well received last year so the pressure is on for her next novel Where We Belong.

Cate having lost her husband her home and her job is in desperate need to provide some security and a roof over son Leo’s head and her only option is to move into her late husbands childhood home combined into their eccentric Hatters museum, but their arrival isn’t one initially welcomed with open arms. With the museum failing how long can Leo and Cate rely on this being their home and will they love it enough to be able to make a difference.

This novel was so beautifully written and the descriptive writing made everything come to life and so easy to visualise. Although I live in Kent I had never actually heard of the Powell-Cotton Museum that this novel is loosely based on but having read this novel I feel like Anstey Harris has given me a tour through her words.

Anstey Harris has once again taken a delicate subject and weaved this with care into the storyline and she does this so gracefully. I did find this a little hard to read as it is a subject extremely close to me but I found that it allowed me to understand how Cate was feeling resulting in me relating and connecting with Cate and just wanting to reach out and hug her and tell her how strong she is and how well she is doing. Cate copes incredibly well considering what she has been through and more challenges are thrown at her but she lives for her son and will keep pushing through and find her way.

One thing this author has managed to do in both her debut and this novel is to make such an impression with a secondary character. I remember reading her debut and adoring Mr Williams ( I am still missing him greatly!) and in Where We Belong Leo is such a loveable character who made such a strong impression on me, his character traits shone through and his love, care and determination is so touching.

This is a descriptive delicate storyline that holds heartache, secrets and determination at the centre. I would actually say Where We Belong has a slight edge over her debut for me and I am certainly excited to seeing what Anstey Harris has up her sleeve for us next.

Kindle                          Hardback

Thursday, 14 May 2020

Just My Luck by Adele Parks

For fifteen years, Lexi and Jake have played the same six numbers with their friends, the Pearsons and the Heathcotes. Over dinner parties, fish & chip suppers and summer barbecues, they’ve discussed the important stuff – the kids, marriages, jobs and houses – and they’ve laughed off their disappointment when they failed to win anything more than a tenner.
But then, one Saturday night, the unthinkable happens. There’s a rift in the group. Someone doesn’t tell the truth. And soon after, six numbers come up which change everything forever.
Lexi and Jake have a ticket worth £18 million. And their friends are determined to claim a share of it.

It has been a long time since I have picked up a book by Adele Parks so I was looking forward to stepping back into her literary world and getting caught up in one of her gripping storylines.
Lexi and Jake’s lives are about to change forever, no more struggling to make the bills each month, they can finally get that new sofa they need and add to that all the luxuries they can now afford! The pair have won 18 million on the lottery and life is looking bright, but things begin to cloud over when their friends are out to get a share they feel they are entitled too.
I can not tell you the last time I picked up a book and read it from start to finish without moving my butt once but I was so engrossed in this storyline I couldn’t put this book down. I thing I can safely say that for the majority of us the idea of winning the lottery is like a dream come true so this is definitely a storyline that will all get our thinking caps on working out how we would spend our winnings but I am also sure that a lot of us have only ever thought of the pro’s of winning the lottery and not taken into account the negativity which is something the author has researched for this novel and it has opened my eyes.
I found I liked Lexi from the start of this novel she was a very down to earth, caring, kind and thoughtful character and as the  storyline progressed her nature remained the same and she didn’t seem to let the huge win go to her head which can not be said of others. I found myself getting so wound up and uptight reading about the pure greed and seeing the personalities of certain characters change.
I have rewritten my review for this book a number of times because I wanted to be so careful not to give anything away because I feel that the reason this book made such an impact on me was the utter disbelief and shock that I found myself in at a certain point in this book, I actually found myself re-reading a page to make sure I had read it correctly as I felt like the wool was well and truly pulled over my eyes.
This was a thoroughly gripping read that I would definitely recommend if you are looking for something exciting, dark and unpredictable. This was full of betrayal, greed, negligence and abuse. It has definitely reminded me why I loved this authors writing all those years ago and I can not wait to go back and read some of her latest books.

 Just My Luck Is Out on Kindle and in Hardback on the 14th May.

Kindle                        Hardback

Saturday, 18 April 2020

The Secret Seaside Escape by Heidi Swain

Tess Tyler needs a break. Weighed down by her high-pressure job and her demanding father, she’s left little time to take care of herself. But after a shocking discovery sends her spiralling, she flees to Wynmouth, the seaside town she fell in love with as a child, to escape it all.

With its sandy beaches, stunning rock pools and welcoming community, Tess feels like she can finally breathe again. And as she grows ever closer to local barman Sam, she dares to dream that she might never return to her real life. But when a familiar face returns to town, Tess realises that there are secrets in Wynmouth too, and that her own past may be about to catch up with her . . .  

I have read each and every one of Heidi Swains previous novels and absolutely adore them and when I found out that her new novel was set in Wynmouth I couldn’t wait to return here and escape in her warming writing style.

Tess works for her father at his company and she has always been such a dedicated hard worker but she has reached the point where she has physically and emotionally burnt out. After the loss of her mum and the discovery of a diary amongst her belongings Tess yearns for the comfort of her childhood haven where she spent so many happy years with her parents as a child, Wynmouth is calling her and she wastes no time in setting off for an extended break. Away from technology and being uncontactable allows Tess to switch off but as she begins to read the diary she found she begins to uncover painful secrets, but the folk of Wynmouth are soon on hand to bring a little light back into her life and distract her.

One thing Heidi always manages to do is create an idyllic setting with such a strong community spirit and characters who I become so fond of I just want to fall into the pages and live my life amongst them and this is exactly how I felt reading this book, I would love to have been enveloped in Sophie’s love and care and looking out at the wonderful views and tasting her delicious delights!

There is a higgledy piggledy hint of romance flowing through the storyline that although was a little predictable I still felt myself longing for certain couples to come together. There was a little lol point in this book which I though my attention was slowly drifting but there was then a couple of revelations that were revealed that I did not see coming at all and left me completely surprised and I actually think having my attention wavering slightly made these revelations more of an impact and had me hooked back in and greedily turning the pages to find out what was going to happen next.

The supporting characters were all loveable, friendly and supportive and it was great to see them all taking Tess under their wings and her being able to help them and their businesses in return.
This was another enjoyable and uplifting read by Heidi Swain, the perfect book to escape from the madness in our world right now.

Thursday, 16 April 2020

The Switch by Beth O'Leary

When overachiever Leena Cotton is ordered to take a two-month sabbatical after blowing a big presentation at work, she escapes to her grandmother Eileen's house for some overdue rest. Eileen is newly single and about to turn eighty. She'd like a second chance at love, but her tiny Yorkshire village doesn't offer many eligible gentlemen.
Once Leena learns of Eileen's romantic predicament, she proposes a solution: a two-month swap. Eileen can live in London and look for love. Meanwhile Leena will look after everything in rural Yorkshire. But with gossiping neighbours and difficult family dynamics to navigate up north, and trendy London flatmates and online dating to contend with in the city, stepping into one another's shoes proves more difficult than either of them expected.
Leena learns that a long-distance relationship isn't as romantic as she hoped it would be, and then there is the annoyingly perfect - and distractingly handsome - school teacher, who keeps showing up to outdo her efforts to impress the local villagers. Back in London, Eileen is a huge hit with her new neighbours, but is her perfect match nearer home than she first thought?

One of the my most memorable books last year was The Flatshare by debut author Beth O’leary, it really was a remarkable debut with such skill and an original concept that worked perfectly. I was looking forward to see what this author would have in store for us with book number two and having now read The Switch I can confirm that this is definitely a talented author who just keeps giving!

The Switch follows Eileen and Leena, a Grandmother and Granddaughter who make a drastic decision to swap lives, Eileen is heading of to live the London life as a singleton jumping into the world of online dating whilst Leena is taking over her Grandmothers day to day roles whilst giving her time away from work and to take time to heal after grieving for her sister was masked by just throwing herself into work.

I have recently found it hard to find novels that have a genuine, easy humour weaved into the storyline and this is something that I think we could all do with at the moment to give us pure escapism from what is going on around us so it was a breath of fresh air to find that the wit that this author had in her debut book flows through in this book. It was lovely to find myself chuckling at the small mishaps that happened to the ladies in this book.

It was great to see what both generations managed to bring to the other, Eileen took Leena’s friends under her wing and got them to actually open their eyes and put down the phone and start enjoying life and look at those around them. The younger generation have lost their way and struggle to communicate away from technology and I blind to those living around them. Whereas we see technology is not all bad when Eileen realises that there are ways to meet people whose paths would never usually cross, and at a time when you are lonely or unable to go out it is a wonderful aid to be able to talk online and purchase online too.

As I mentioned there is a touch of humour and also a light enjoyable feel to the storyline but there are a couple of more sensitive topics that are covered in this novel too which the author tackles with such care whilst bringing awareness too and this added more depth and emotion to the storyline.

I absolutely love Beth O’Leary’s writing style and she is definitely an author to watch and it is great to see her brining something completely new to our bookshelves as I would not be able to recommend another author similar to her. I am excited to see what this author comes up with for her next release but one thing I can guarantee is that as soon as it is ready to pre-order I will be the first one there.

Kindle                        Hardback