Wednesday, 1 April 2020

New Beginnings at Glendale Hall by Victoria Walters

Emily Prescott’s life isn’t going to plan. Her dreams of starting a family with fireman boyfriend Greg and opening up her own bakery in London feel like they will never come true. So when a wedding
invite arrives from her oldest friend, Beth Williams, Emily is thrilled. Not only will she get to return to her childhood home in Scotland, but best of all – Beth wants her to bake the wedding cake!

However, her excitement is cut short when she discovers that Greg has cheated on her. Devastated by his betrayal, Emily flees to Glendale Hall, Beth’s grand estate in the Highlands, and tries to distracts herself with helping with the wedding plans, but that’s not easy when Greg keeps hounding her to forgive him. Then she’s introduced to Glendale’s new young and handsome vicar Brodie, and things become even more complicated.
When Emily discovers that Greg’s betrayal runs deeper than she imagined, she finds herself with a whole host of decisions to make, especially when she discovers her long awaited dream is finally being fulfilled – at exactly at the wrong time…

I have been out of the loop recently with latest book releases but after finally stepping back into the world of books after finding my love of reading slowly returning I noticed one of my favourite new authors, Victoria Walters had a new book out titled New Beginnings at Glendale Hall and I immediately downloaded it to read. Like I say I have been out of the loop with releases so I read this book without actually realising that there had been an earlier release called Coming Home to Glendale Hall but I still managed to read this book as a stand alone novel with no issues and after meeting the characters I now can not wait to go back and read the first book in the series.

Emily is a baking goddess and is due to set off to Glendale Hall ahead of her best friend Beth’s upcoming wedding where she will be making her friends Wedding cake. At a time when she should be surrounded by love and positivity her world comes crashing down around her and leaves her heartbroken and craving the comfort and support of those at the Hall sooner than planned. Spending so much time with friends and loved ones is just what she needs especially when she has important decisions to make but will she be lead by her head or her heart?

Emily was such a selfless character who lacked confidence and has had more than her fair share of life struggles. Greg was a character who I quickly took a dislike to due to his actions but as the storyline progressed and we find out a little more about him I found myself becoming a little more understanding but not accepting of his actions and I still wanted a positive outcome for him. I loved Emily’s best friend Beth and I can’t wait to read about her character more when I get my hands on the previous book in the series which I am lead to believes centres more on her and her partner.

The storyline does cover a number of delicate issues that many face in the real world from fertility to mental health issues and each of these topics were weaved into the storyline perfectly highlighting and bringing awareness without bringing the uplifting feel of the storyline down at the same time giving depth to the storyline.

Victoria Walters has such a n easy flow to her writing style that picks you up and sweeps you away from the first chapter and will take you on an emotional journey having you laughing one moment and bringing a lump to your throat in the next. One thing that is always strong in this authors novels is the feeling of love, support and kindness along with community spirit and this was all plentiful in this book leaving me with a warm cosy feeling as I close the last page.

I loved this storyline and the characters, I am pleased that I am not leaving the characters behind now that I can be reunited with them in the other book in the series.


Sunday, 29 March 2020

A Patchwork Family by Cathy Bramley

Gina has been going with the flow for years - she'd rather have an easy life than face any conflict. She runs her childminding business from her cottage at the edge of The Evergreens, a charming Victorian house and home to three octogenarians who have far too much fun for their age.
But when The Evergreens is put up for sale, Gina and the other residents face losing their home. To protect her business and save her elderly friends from eviction, Gina must make a stand and fight for the first time in her life.
As Gina's ideas for saving The Evergreens get bigger and bolder, she starts to believe it might just be possible. The only thing is, does she believe in herself?

It has been a long time since I have been on here to share a review with you and that is because I lost my husband last year and at your time of need you would think your love of reading would be there to help but unfortunately for me the complete opposite happened and I lost my joy of reading. 
When I got my hands on a copy of The Patchwork Family by Cathy Bramley, an author I absolutely love and tie that with a little weekend break with my sister I was hopeful that I would find my love of reading hidden in the pages of this book.

Our main character Gina is such a down to earth, passionate and selfless character with a pure heart of gold.  Gina is determined to make this new chapter of her life a positive and successful one in her own right. Her childminding business has the potential to blossom and as she begins to make plans for expansion the unexpected happens and throws her ideas in a grander scale which would help those around her but can she pull it off after years of being put down by her loved ones. As the storyline moves along we get to find out more about how Gina felt growing up and in her previous relationship which only made me only want her to succeed in her venture even more. 

I felt like this was a relatable storyline with characters all dealing with life’s struggles in one way or another. 
I loved the idea of bringing two different generations together to help the elderly with their loneliness and in turn the little ones learning traditional values, something that I think would benefit us all in the real world too. The storyline flowed beautifully making this such an addictive and enjoyable read that captured my heart with its hope, love and warmth. 

There was some witty moments which kept the storyline light and uplifting buffering the more tender parts of the book. The oldies are a great addition to this storyline and Bing was thoroughly charming cheeky and entertaining throughout. There is a sweet sprinkling of romance in this book but this doesn’t overtake the whole storyline. 

I was taken in by this novel and its warmth and kindness touched my heart and gave me the pure escapism I always loved in reading. This was up there with my favourite, Ivy Lane by this author and is definitely one that in these anxious and devastating times will take your mind off to a better place. I am thrilled to have loved and enjoyed this book which I will be recommending to many, lets just hope my reading mojo is back for good so I can pass more recommendations your way in this current time of distraction.

Sunday, 8 September 2019

The Cornish Cream Tea Bus by Cressida McLaughlin

Baking fanatic, Charlie Quilter, inherits a vintage bus in her late uncle’s will and is keen to give it a new lease of life. Charlie thinks it will be the perfect mobile café for afternoon tea, so she heads to the picturesque Cornish village of Porthgolow, hoping for a new start. However, Daniel Harper, the owner of the posh spa up on the hill isn’t very pleased that her bus is parked outside his lovely hotel. Has Charlie’s Cornish dream developed a soggy bottom? Or can she convince Daniel that her bus could take them somewhere wonderful?

I am a complete sucker for a book set in a bakery or café and I know I hear you all whispering not another one but I adore the comforting storylines with the little buzz of excitement they bring as we watch these determined women begin to build their businesses whilst tempting us with their mouth-watering treats. The Cornish Cream Tea Bus has all of that and more with the unique twist of setting up on an old route-master, how could I resist, the temptation was just too much.

Meet Charlie our leading lady who is ambitious, hardworking and selfless always thinking of how she can help others. As Charlie gets to work on creating her vision of running her own cream tea business onboard her treasured route-master that she has inherited she sees a chance to help the community around her at the same time but this was not going to be plain sailing. Charlie is a determined and honest woman and with every knock she takes from those around her she gets straight back up and comes back fighting strong.

The friendships and relationships between all of the characters were all a joy to read and all felt genuine. I had my reservations about the love interests Oliver and Daniel, the author cleverly pulls us in believing at different points that they could be the one before throwing in situations that then made me wary, so I was never quite sure what way the romance would go which only kept me all the more intrigued!

The temptation was too much for me when it came to the mouth-watering cakes that were continually teased with, I can’t tell you what I would have done to be able to jump on board and gorge on warm homemade scones!

I find Cressida’s writing style manages to sweep me away providing me with pure escapism and creates such an exciting and buzzing atmosphere to her storylines. This is definitely my favourite of her novels and I do hope we see these characters pop up again in future novels.

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Wednesday, 28 August 2019

If You Were Here blog tour

Today I am hosting the last stop for the If You Were Here blog tour and what a cracking final stop this will be for this corker of a book. I am going to be sharing my review with you, telling you why you need Alice Peterson's new release and to top it off the wonderful team over at Simon & Schuster have been uber generous and are offering 5 copies YES 5! for a Uk giveaway, so five of you will have your weekend sorted!

When her daughter Beth dies suddenly, Peggy Andrews is left to pick up the pieces and take care of her granddaughter Flo. But sorting through Beth’s things reveals a secret never told: Beth was sick, with the same genetic condition that claimed her father’s life, and now Peggy must decide whether to keep the secret or risk destroying her granddaughter’s world.
Five years later, Flo is engaged and moving to New York with her fiancé. Peggy never told her what she discovered, but with Flo looking towards her future, Peggy realises it’s time to come clean and reveal that her granddaughter’s life might also be at risk.
As Flo struggles to decide her own path, she is faced with the same life-altering questions her mother asked herself years before: if a test could decide your future, would you take it?

Alice Peterson is my go to author who has never fell short in any of her novels.  I can always count on her giving me food for thought and a good old tug on the heart strings and this is certainly the case in her latest release If You Were Here.

We are welcomed by three generations of a humble family whose lives have been pulled apart by Huntington’s disease, Grandmother Peggy has cared for her dear husband who died from the terrible disease and if this wasn’t hard enough, she then lost her daughter Beth to the same tragedy too. Granddaughter Flo now knows the truth about her mother’s health and now faces one of the most difficult decisions of her life

This novel is definitely a thought provoking read, I couldn’t help but think what my choice would be if I was in the same position as Flo. Personally I would take the test but I can also see the valid reasons why people would rather not know.

Huntington disease wasn’t a disease I was aware of until I read a novel last year whose main character had the disease and what I think was wonderful about this novel is that although it shows you the effects and symptoms of Huntington’s which brought great awareness it actually focuses on the choice of knowing if you have the disease. I was unaware there was a test you could take to see if you have the gene so the book has definitely given me more knowledge and awareness.

My heart really went out to Flo in this novel but I also felt incredibly sorry for Peggy having gone through so many tragic years losing those closest to her and then having the responsibility of telling Flo is just unimaginable and cruel after all she has been through. I could see both Peggy and Beth’s plight in that there never seems to be a right time to tell people some things and although you with hold information to try and protect offers until the time is right this always seems to end up biting us on the bum.

I thought it was a beautiful touch in the way Beth’s character still shone through in this book through her diary entries, I looked forward to reading each entry we were treated too allowing us to hear in her own words about her decision whether to find out if she had the gene and the effects and thought process behind her actions.

As ever it is very clear to see that Alice Peterson has carried out a vast amount of in-depth research for this book and obviously feels very passionate about getting the awareness out there whilst at the same time weaving this around a beautiful poignant and captivating storyline that has a little sprinkling of romance and a bundle full of love and support too. Alice has such a beautiful writing voice which carries me away each and every time and I am always so sad to come to the end of her books and leave her loveable and lifelike characters behind.

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Thursday, 8 August 2019

The Moments by Natalie Winter

Life is made up of countless moments. Moments that make us who we are. But what if they don't unfold the way they're supposed to...?
What if you get on the wrong bus, or don't speak to the right person at a party, or stay in a job that isn't for you? Will you miss your one chance at happiness? Or will happiness find you eventually, when the moment is right?
Meet Matthew and Myrtle. They have never really felt like they fitted - in life or with anyone else. But they are meant to be together - if only they can find each other.

The Moments by Natalie Winter is a captivating, powerful and poignant read that pulls you in right from the minute Matthew and Myrtle make their way into the world. Both born on the same day we grow with both characters as each chapter alternates between them both as we follow them through their life, watching their struggles through grief, romance, friendships and every eventuality that they both face.

Every step of the way I was hoping their paths would cross but the author keeps us on edge waiting to see if the moment is ever going to come as with each challenging situation in their lives they would have been the perfect support for one another.

It is a beautiful story that has so much depth and emotion, because we follow Matthew and Myrtle through their whole lives we form such a strong bond with the characters we are desperate for them both to find happiness and comfort after all they have been through. There was a number of points in this book that really pulled at my heart strings and this made me connect so much more with both Matthew and Myrtle, they were both so strong even if they didn’t realise their own strength they never moaned they just ploughed on through.

The ending of this book is so touching and tied this emotive storyline up perfectly. I was so mesmerised by these characters and the struggles and battles they faced that I couldn’t leave them for a moment so I ended up reading this storyline in one swoop. The authors writing style is so effortless and smooth leaving no points in the book for your attention to waiver she had my attention captured the whole time with this believable storyline.

This is a definite recommendation from me and I am pleased to have found a new author whose future releases I look forward to reading in the future.

Kindle                       Hardback

Sunday, 14 July 2019

A Postcard from Italy by ALex Brown

I am thrilled to have one of my favourite authors, Alex Brown joining us back on the blog today to talk about her new release A Postcard From Italy.

What inspired you to write the storyline for A Postcard from Italy? 
Connie’s character had been percolating away for ages, years in fact, after I bought a beautiful handmade vintage coat in a charity shop. Every time I wore the coat I imagined who its original owner had been, what was her name, what was her life like and Connie was the culmination of those thoughts. I’ve always had a fascination for women in history, ordinary women and how they lived their lives and how that compares to women’s lives today. Plus, I find storage units intriguing, what do they contain? A lifetime of memories in Connie’s case, and so the storyline developed from there.    

Can you tell us a little about the research you undertook for this novel? 
The Italian scenes were written from memory of when I visited the breathtakingly beautiful Italian Riviera over fifteen years ago. I always knew that I would write a book set there and even though my trip was in the days before Instagram, the scenes and atmosphere were as vivid today as they were back then. For the inheritance legalities, I was very lucky to be put in touch with an extremely patient solicitor who specialises in inheritance law. The very emotional scene set on VE day was written after watching old newsreel and reading accounts from people who were actually there like my nan, Edie, the nippy who works in Lyons tea house on the Strand, it was very lovely being able to immortalise her in A Postcard From Italy.     

If A Postcard from Italy was to be made into a film who could you see playing Connie and Grace? 
Obviously, A Postcard From Italy film is a fantastic idea, I can just see Grace and Ellis wandering around Portofino and then discovering Connie’s powder pink villa on the hillside bathed in the scent from the lemon and orange groves … I think Emily Blunt would make a great Connnie and for Grace, it would have to be Gemma Arterton 

I loved the cover for this book, was it all you hoped it would be and did you get much input. 
Thank you. Yes, it is all I hoped it would be … and more. I did have some input, we tweaked the font and a few other small details, but to be honest I loved it so much when I first saw it that I really didn’t need to add or change anything about it.    

Are you currently working on your next book and if so can you give us a little teaser and do you see a return to Tindledale in future novels? 
I’m just about to start writing the next book and feel very excited about it. As soon as I can say more I will, I promise. Sorry to be mysterious about it but get superstitious if I talk about it before my agent and editor have rubber stamped the idea. I’d love to return to Tindledale in future novels … Carrington’s too, perhaps, one day! I’m a great believer in that old adage of never say never. 

Thank you for taking the time to talk to us Alex, I am excited to now finally be able to share my thoughts on A Postcard from Italy with you all.

My Review

I have long been a fan of Alex Brown’s novels and I remember in October last year seeing the cover reveal for her next novel A Postcard from Italy and being totally wowed and I couldn’t wait for the book to come so I can be transported off to Italy!

Grace carries this storyline whilst we get to know her as a character and her background she is finding out about an interesting client whose valuable personal belongings have been left in the storage company where she works for years and now the unit is in arrears so she is determined to find out all about the owner Connie and make sure that the belongings are given to the rightful heir. As Grace uncovers Connie’s diary’s and some letters she finds herself becoming so invested in this woman and her heart is so touched by her story.

This was a sweet and touching storyline and I found I was equally interested in learning about Connie’s life as I was about Grace and I soon found that both women have had a strained life due to other peoples actions and I think this was one of the reasons why it was so important for Grace to find out all she could about Connie’s story as she saw a bit of herself in her. Grace was such a selfless character who despite her own struggles is always first to put others needs and wants before her own which only made me love her even more.

Not all of the book is set in Italy but when we are transported there everything was described so vividly it was easy to see in my mind the picturesque surroundings, the change of pace and I really wish I was there with the characters soaking up the atmosphere.

I am a hopeless romantic so I love the little sprinkle of romance that was weaved into the storyline which gave a lightness and uplifting feel to an otherwise moving and emotive read. I loved the mystery surrounding Connie and I enjoyed finding the next piece of the jigsaw as they were uncovered by Grace. The storyline was unpredictable and the epilogue rounded up this delightful storyline unexpectedly and perfectly. This was another flawless read by Alex Brown even if I was a little hesitant about coming away from my much loved fictional place of Tindledale ( although there is a mention here and there!) I knew I would be in safe hands with this authors skilled writing style and I wasn’t wrong.

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