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Tuesday, 14 September 2021

Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop by Jessica Redland

 



When master chocolatier, Charlee, takes the leap to move to the picturesque seaside town of Whitsborough Bay, she is determined to follow in her grandfather's footsteps and set up a chocolate shop.

Luckily, she finds the perfect location for Charlee's Chocolates on beautiful Castle Street... Now she just has to refurbish it in time for Christmas!

With a useless boyfriend and countless DIY disasters, Charlee doesn't know if she'll make it in time. With no 'traditional' family to support her, she feels lost in her new surroundings and the secrets of the past are weighing her down.

But the warmth and festive spirit of the Whitsborough Bay community will surprise her, and when plumber, Matt, comes to the rescue, it might be that all of Charlee's dreams could come true this Christmas, and she could learn what family really means...


I can not resist a book that is set around a chocolate shop even if it means disaster for my diet so even though it is only September I was excite to get lost in the pages of Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop by Jessica Redland.

Our heroine is Charlee and what a little diamond she is, after her grandmother passed away she inherits her house but with no family left her partner Ricky convinces her to start a new life and move to Whitsborough Bay with him. This is a big change for Charlee and she is determined to make this next step in her life be a positive one as she embarks on opening her own chocolate shop for her to use her passion and creativity as a master chocolatier.

Finding the perfect premises on Castle Street, the home to other much loved characters of Jessica Redland that we have met in her other novels, Charlee soon finds herself engulfed in a friendly and supportive community. As everything starts looking up for her career things don’t seem so full of roses in her relationship with the less than supportive Ricky.

I loved Charlee and really wanted to see all her hard work and ambition pay off, I got wrapped up in the excitement of shop hunting and the opening of the chocolate shop and the buzz of activity around the shop at Christmas time made it all feel so exciting and left me with a warm fuzzy feeling.

I had alarm bells ringing in my head from the start of the book when it came to Ricky, he was a vile excuse of a man that did not deserve to have someone as generous, hardworking and caring as Charlee, it was plain to see he was taking advantage of her nature and at times I really wanted to shake her but as they say love is blind and it is easy to see flaws looking in on a relationship yet when you are in it you will find every excuse under the sun to excuse their behaviour.

This is a storyline that just keep giving, and just as you think things are starting to wrap up something else comes to light in the storyline to keep you addicted and not giving you a safe point to put this book down!

If you are looking for an uplifting storyline that has festive spirit, mouthwatering chocolate goodies, a rollercoaster romance and a community that will envelope you in a welcoming hug then this book will tick all the boxes.



Kindle                       Paperback

Saturday, 4 September 2021

The Memory Box by Kathryn Hughes

 



Jenny Tanner opens the box she has cherished for decades. Contained within are her most precious mementoes, amongst them a pebble, a carving and a newspaper cutting she can hardly bear to read. But Jenny knows the time is finally here. After the war, in a mountainside village in Italy, she left behind a piece of her heart. However painful, she must return to Cinque Alberi. And lay the past to rest.

After a troubled upbringing, Candice Barnes dreams of a future with the love of her life - but is he the man she believes him to be? When Candice is given the opportunity to travel to Italy with Jenny, she is unaware the trip will open her eyes to the truth she's been too afraid to face. Could a place of goodbyes help her make a brave new beginning?


Kathryn Hughes is back with a new novel, The Memory Box and it is quite simply her best book yet. Jenny and Candice are characters who will leave a lasting impression on me.  As Jenny begins to tell her carer Candice her life story she asks her to accompany her on a trip back to Italy as there is something she need to do before it is too late. Candice has a pure heart of gold and wants to help Jenny to make her last journey but her partner is less than impressed about her going.

It was such a heartwarming and gentle storyline that slowly unravelled unpredictable and shocking revelations. What Jenny experienced during her life was such a rollercoaster of highs and lows and she is very honest about her mistakes and doesn’t try to paint a perfect picture and it is from some of the experiences she has faced that she starts to see similarities in Candice’s current situation.

Candice is such a sweet natured young woman who hasn’t had the best of starts in life and my heart went out to her, she was so na├»ve and just wanted to see the best in those around her. She is such a hard worker and has ambitions in life, I was rooting for her to reach her goals but the relationship with her boyfriend had alarm bells ringing from early on I just hoped that Jenny was going to be able to make Candice see the light.

The storyline is told from both the current day and then also in the past when we travel through Jennys memories of her life growing up and I particularly liked reliving her past memoires with her and having the insight into how the young lives were affected by the war.

This was such a tender and unpredictable read that does touch on abuse and has loveable and relatable characters with all their flaws. There were a couple of moments that had me gapping like a fish when things came to light and I love it when a book can pull the wool over my eyes.

This is by far my favourite book by this author and that is saying something as each and every one of this authors books have been so beautifully written with a storyline of depth and emotion.

Kindle                  Paperback

Thursday, 2 September 2021

Ten Times Happier by Owen O'Kane

 


Modern life is a minefield for stress. Whether it’s juggling work, relationships or money, we often get stuck mindlessly obsessing about all the wrong things, not knowing what to let go of.
 
In TEN TIMES HAPPIER, Owen O’Kane reveals how to choose new, healthier perspectives and ditch harmful patterns in the 10 key areas we all overthink about or manage poorly, including:
 
• the past
• our minds
• other people
• worry
• our behaviours
• the future
 
Using the latest evidence-based tools and techniques from across a range of therapies including CBT, mindfulness and interpersonal  therapy, Owen provides empowering solutions to managing what keeps you stuck so you can move forward.
 
Want a down-to-earth guide from a professional on HOW you can become happier, minus the fairy dust?


I am always found with my head in a book craving the joy of the characters and pure escapism to whisk me away from day to day life. Today I am reviewing a completely different book which I read in the hope that rather than finding a fictional character’s happiness I may find a glimmer of my own in Ten Times Happier by Owen O’Kane.

I have read so many books in the past year on, happiness, positive thinking and self help and if I am completely honest with you I think the money back in my pocket would have been more help than the words that were inside, I found them condescending and unhelpful and a little whimsical.

When I read the blurb for Ten Times Happier it sounded promising and the mention of “ Do you want a down to earth guide from a professional  on how you can be happier minus the fairy dust?” won me over even if there was still a part of me believing that this was going to be another waste of my time.

Really I could just review this book as simply as THANK YOU to Owen O’Kane and I am not too proud to say that I had a little weep at a couple of points reading this book and a big snotty one when finishing it at then end as it felt like for the first time in two and a half years some one actually GOT me and listened to me without evening having to meet me or talk!

I lost my husband to Suicide in February 2019, we walked the river twice a day to try and find his body which prolonged the funeral and the coroners court and the grieving process, like him I also tried to seek help in my feelings later that year but there was a long waiting list and then Covid hit so I have never received help. I turned to my old faithful friend reading to try and find help amongst the pages and all the books later I finally found this book that has felt like it understood me. No it isn’t a magic cure but it is a little light that makes you see things differently and gives you ways of coping and processing different things. 

We all struggle with many different things that cause unhappiness from relationships, money, anxiety and depression, addiction, grief and so on. Some chapters you will resonate with more than others, I have a couple that literally felt like they were written for me and I was sitting there nodding away as each thing he mentioned was so true. Chapter 10 which is about being fixated on uncertainty concerning the future was one I will continually go back to. I can not tell you the last time I was truly happy and comfortable or when I last laughed properly. I find going to parties or gatherings with friends and family particularly overwhelming and it makes me fell like I don’t belong anymore and this was also something that one of his cases he mentioned felt and it was a light relief to know that it isn’t just me who feels like this. “I’m not sure I will ever laugh properly again” is what the person in question said and that hit hard as I have had this thought so often.

Another part that sticks in my mind is that of living simply and living for the day and being content with what we have as we are not in control of the future so as much as we can plan all we like things will always come up that can put the plan of course so at least if you can enjoy today you are not missing out on your future,

The way in which the author writes the book is literally like you are sitting there in a room with him speaking to you his voices flowing through the pages with just his attention and focus on you. I read this on kindle but I am that blown away by this book and have found it so helpful I am going to get the audio to listen to on my way to work in the mornings when I am having one of those I can’t face the world today moments and also a paperback to post it note all the pages that I feel help me. Chapter 11 was another chapter that resonated with me and I really wish that there was more help readily out there because talking about traumatic situations is important in the road to recovery rather than doing what myself and a lot of others do and jus have to try and pack it away in a box to try and get through a “normal” day and yet still relive the event every day as though it has only just happened. Unfortunately when a loved one dies other day to day struggles don't avoid you and the bills still come rolling in so we can't all pay for therapy so we have to just get on with it and so this little book I hope will help someone like it has felt like a listening and encouraging ear to me.

I would definitely whole heartedly recommend this book for anyone who is looking for a little down to earth honest help to find that little glisten of happiness again. I will read anything this man writes because he has made me feel like there is a small  chance of finding a little happiness once again.

 

Paperback                                         Kindle

Wednesday, 1 September 2021

I Just Haven't Met You Yet by Sophie Cousens

 


I am so excited to be on the blog tour for Just Haven't Met You Yet by Sophie Cousens, after only two books she is already fast becoming on of my favourite must read authors. 





Tell me the story of how you two met...

Laura has built a career out of interviewing people about their epic real life love stories.

When she picks up the wrong suitcase at the airport, Laura wonders if this could be the start of something that's written in the stars.

From piano sheet-music to a battered copy of her favourite book, Laura finds in the bag evidence of everything she could hope for in a partner.

If Laura's job has taught her anything it's that when it comes to love, you can't let opportunity pass you by. Now Laura is determined to track down the owner of the suitcase, and her own happy ending.

But what if fate has other ideas?


One of my top 5 books of the year last year was the debut novel This Time Next Year by Sophie Cousens so when I heard she had a new book coming out called I Just Haven’t Met You Yet ( yes you are going to have that song stuck in your head for hours now!) I was more than desperate to read this to see if it would be able to live up to her debut.

Laura LeQuesne is a lifestyle reporter for “Love Life “ and when her boss Suki demands that someone pulls something out the bag it falls on Laura to write the ultimate love story of “How We Met” but this isn’t any old story this is the story of how her mother and father met and will mean her heading off to Jersey where it all began.

With Laura’s love life far from booming will fate intervene when she picks up the wrong suitcase only to find the gentleman’s case she does have holds items that all spark an interest.

Sophie Cousens has pulled it out the bag again with this novel. She has such a beautifully skilled writing style that pulls you in right from that first chapter and sweeps you away wrapping you up in her fast-paced storyline. We see a more witty romance this time around and this was exactly the kind of book I needed to read at this time and it reminded me a little of Sophie Kinsella’s earlier books.

The fact that this novel is set in Jersey was a big pull for me as my Nan lived in Jersey and it is somewhere I have always been desperate to go to so it was exciting to have a little tour around the Island and visit some of the sites along with Laura.

The romance in this book is one that kept me on my toes, never quite sure which way Laura’s heart was going to turn, I had my own hope but, in all honesty, the two love interests were both great contenders which made a nice change rather than there being one perfect man and one naughty boy!

I think it is safe to say that Sophie Cousens has made her way onto my must read author list as both her books have been absolute beauties. She brings a modern vibrant feel to her books that are exciting and engaging adding to it a touch of down to earth witty humour. Reading her books I get the same fizz of energy and excitement from when I first read Sophie Kinsella and Lindsey Kelk's books so she is certainly one to watch.


OUT NOW on Kindle and you can get your hands on a paperback copy from 11th November but you can pre-order now so you don't miss out!



Kindle                     Paperback

Tuesday, 31 August 2021

The Bookshop of Second Chances by Jackie Fraser

 



Today the blog tour for The Bookshop Of Second Chances stops here on Rea Book Reviews and I am going to be sharing my thoughts on this debut novel by Jackie Fraser.


Synpsis

Thea’s having a bad month. Not only has she been made redundant, she’s also discovered her husband of nearly twenty years is sleeping with one of her friends. And he’s not sorry – he’s leaving.
 
Bewildered and lost, Thea doesn’t know what to do. But, when she learns the great-uncle she barely knew has died and left her his huge collection of second-hand books and a house in the Scottish Lowlands, she seems to have been offered a second chance.
 
Running away to a little town where no one knows her seems like exactly what Thea needs. But when she meets the aristocratic Maltravers brothers – grumpy bookshop owner Edward and his estranged brother Charles, Lord Hollinshaw – her new life quickly becomes just as complicated as the life she was running from...


Review

I am a sucker for any books that are set in a bookshop as this is my absolute dream job so The Bookshop of Second Chances sounded like just my kind of book to read on my staycation this year.

Thea has discovered that her husband has been having an affair with her friend, as begins to box up her belongings Thea has no idea what to do next with no job, no house and no relationship she is lost. A lifeline appears in news that her uncle has left his house in Scotland along with a valuable book collection to Thea and this provides her with a getaway to take time to heal and decide what she wants to do with her life next.

Thea is such a strong independent woman who picks herself up dusts herself off and is ready to start her next chapter and as she takes her time to decide what her next step is she takes a job in the local bookshop with a well known grumpy owner Edward.

This was a promising debut by Jackie Fraser, she keeps her storylines tight focusing on our two main characters rather than dancing off on various small sub plots which allows us to get to know both Thea and Andrew on a deeper level. They are down to earth flawed characters especially Andrew but they are still likeable none the less and although I had a feeling I knew where this storyline was going to take me I still enjoyed watching everything slot into places with the odd bump along the way.

My only thing I found that didn’t sit right with me was the random swearing, now I hold my hands up and say I have a filthy mouth but it took me aback each time they swore as it seemed to come from nowhere and didn’t feel like it was in context or that it was part of the characters traits.

The author does touch on the emotional vulnerabilities of dating again later in life after a long relationship breakdown, the nerves of being seen naked by someone new after so long and having to let your guard down and learn to trust and move forward again.

I loved that the bookshop really was incorporated into the storyline rather than just being a fleeting mention here and there. All in all I felt this was wonderful honest and entertaining debut and I would definitely read another book by this author.


Kindle                  Paperback

Sunday, 29 August 2021

Frontline by Dr Hilary Jones

 



Grace is the daughter of landed gentry, volunteering as a nurse on the Western Front.

Will is the son of a dockworker, driven to enlist by patriotism and the thrill of adventure.

When their lives collide in a field hospital in France, an instant connection is forged admist the chaos and blood of the battlefront.

But as rumours of an armistice begin to circulate, so does a mysterious virus, carrying with it an unimaginable death toll across the globe...


When I read the synopsis for Frontline it really appealed to me, I do not often read books set during the war and yet every one I have read have all left a lasting impression on me so I was looking forward to reading the first book in Dr Hilary Jones new historical series.

The storyline is set during the World War I where Grace and Will have both volunteered and yet their lives couldn’t be further apart they both share the determination and drive to help those who have fought for their country putting themselves in harms way to try to save as many lives as possible.

When Grace and Will meet in a field hospital in France there is an instant spark between them but can love blossom in such treacherous conditions and after news of their friends and loved ones losing their life is there any hope of a life after the war?

This is the first book I have read that is set during the War but is told from the medical volunteers’ points of view, it captured the harrowing moments when they would put their lives in danger to remove those injured on the frontline, describes the vast amount of different injuries that were witnessed and treated reminding us all of what our ancestors went through for their country.

I did worry in the beginning if the explanations of wounds and treatments were going to be a little bit to heavy in this book as they were extremely well detailed and went over my head a little bit but I can understand why with the authors career meaning that his knowledge was going to be poured into this novel but as the book progressed the details became less indepth and was more in keeping with the storyline rather than feeling like a medical journal. It was eyeopening to see the kind of wounds and ailments that our troops were affected by and how much pressure was put on the medics with the limited capabilities they had to contend with.

This book was a good read but I do think it could have been a great read if the storyline had just been a little tighter and stripped back and focused more on just Will and Grace, at times it felt like the book was being written as a tv series in mind where it kept jumping around so many different less significant characters and I do not feel that we needed more characters introduced so late on in the book. Will and Grace’s storyline was strong enough to be the focus of this book, I found my attention wavering each time we veered off from our two main characters and I was desperate to get back to them and the situations they were dealing with and the relationship blossoming between them in such turbulent conditions. Will and Grace were both admirable characters with such caring natures and traditional values who everyone’s hearts will warm to reading this book.

I would be interested to read the next book in the series to see where Will and Graces journey takes them next.

 

Kindle                             Hardback

Thursday, 19 August 2021

The Seaside Cocktail Campervan by Caroline Roberts

 



When Lucy isn’t in her cosy cottage by the sea, she’s winding through the Northumberland coast with her loveable Dachsund Daisy, cooking up a storm at the local village celebrations. Inspired by her Italian Poppa, Lucy’s chasing a new dream with her pizza van business. And at one particular party she meets Jack, the brooding but gorgeous owner of the Cocktail Campervan.

Wary of repeating mistakes of the past, Lucy and Jack keep it strictly business. But as the summer drifts by in a swirl of garden parties, fun and fizz, laughs and celebrations, and as the cocktail campervan creates the community they so desperately need, romance starts to blossom – one stop at a time…



After reading a lot of deep and thrilling storylines recently, I was struggling to settle in to any of the books I picked up to read. I decided to try something a little more Summery and light reading which is when I cam across The Seaside Cocktail Campervan by Caroline Roberts, an author whose books I have enjoyed previously.

This was the perfect book at just the right time, a light and uplifting romance that slowly lured me in and introduced me to our two main characters Jack and Lucy who both have quirky catering event businesses in the form of a cocktail campervan and a pizzeria horsebox. They find themselves continually bumping into each other at the same events and before long a little sparkle of attraction begins to twinkle but should they mix business with pleasure or will hearts get broken?

Romance is always my go to books to read especially when I am in need of complete escapism and that is what this book provided me with. Although the storyline was quite a simple flowing one that may not leave a lasting memory on me it was still none the less a very enjoyable read which was helped by the fact that I adore books that feature a new business venture that shows the difficulties in starting up and becoming established which was what we see Lucy trying to do as she found her feet with her pizza business, her passion for her work was shining through but she needed the bookings to increase if she was going to be able to make this business work.

I loved how the storyline alternated between both characters so we could get a true feel for each of them rather than just getting an insight through one’s eyes and the little chapters that started with the invitations to which ever event they were booked into next was also a great little touch too.

The romance was a little predictable but the ups and downs along the way still made this romance exciting to watch blossom. I think this is a wonderful light summery romance which is perfect reading to keep you company on your staycation this year. The authors easy flowing writing style will keep you intrigued the whole way through making this a fast paced novel that you will read in no time at all.


Kindle 

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