#BookReview The Cafe at Seashell Cove by Karen Clarke #20booksofsummer

About the book

Welcome to the Café at Seashell Cove, where you’ll find irresistible home-baked cakes, smiling friendly faces – and maybe even a second chance at love…

When Cassie Maitland needs a holiday from her glamorous but stressful job in event management, she escapes home to gorgeous Seashell Cove, where her family’s cosy café sits perched on the cliffs above sparkling waves and golden sand.

But a lot has changed while Cassie’s been away: her parents have transformed their tired café into a welcoming haven, her friends Meg and Tilly have whole new lives, and old flame Danny’s twinkling eyes and winning smile make Cassie feel even more flustered than they used to.

Keen to throw herself back into local life, Cassie starts to run themed events – including a not entirely successful cat-café day, complete with dozens of felines. Luckily Danny is always around to lend a helping hand, and Cassie soon begins to wonder if her life in London was really all she made it out to be…

Could a new start in Seashell Cove be exactly what Cassie needs?

A heart-warming and hilarious read about friendship, belonging and seaside living. Perfect for fans of Debbie Johnson, Holly Martin and Jenny Oliver.

Published by  Bookouture

Purchase Link

Amazon UK

MY REVIEW

It always helps when you find yourself laughing at the antics of the characters from page one, and that is what I found myself doing with this book as Cassie returns home to visit her parents! Her parents are so proud of the life she has found herself in – working hard as an events planner – and are always imagining her living such a glamorous lifestyle. The reality is not quite that good and Cassie has returned home as she’s been fired and now doesn’t know what she wants to do with her life.

As she returns home to her childhood home, all the feelings she had for the idyllic setting return and she starts trying to help arrange events to help raise the profile of her parents cafe – even though while she has been away, they’ve done an amazing job in redecorating and bringing the cafe into the 21st century. And her efforts don’t exactly go to plan so her confidence takes a big hit!

I loved Cassie and her family – they live life to the fullest and don’t do normal! And while she is back in Seashell Cove she starts to reconnect with old school friends, Tilly, Meg and Danny. He was her schoolgirl crush and seems to be a jack of all trades as he’s helped out her parents and is currently helping her nan with her garden. And even though Cassie has recently split from city boy Adam, she is torn between the lifestyle she had that seemed to make her parents so proud, and a lifestyle of being happy and following her passions in life.

This was such a fun, fresh read and I’ve found another fictional area that I want to move too – alongside a new fictional boyfriend in Danny! I’ve not read anything from this author before BUT that will be changing as I’m looking forward to reading more from her!

                                         ☀☀☀☀☀

Advertisements

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – Week 24 2018

Hello!! Greeted by this beauty in the garden this morning – it’s a Lily I’m helping to trial for the Richard Jackson Garden team and if you are looking for the easiest to look after plant then I’d highly recommend this Lily ‘Bright Joy’! We do like a plant that needs very little care!!

The sun continues to shine here in Essex and it seems to have helped no end with my reading and book acquiring habits!! Is that a good thing?! Yes to the first, No to the second! July definitely needs to be a more restrained month on the book buying front…… famous last words!

So this past week I’ve managed  to finish another 5 books and have acquired 8 books for the shelves! Oops! Here’s a little look at all the bookish action! Please click on the book titles for a link to their GoodReads page for more info!

BOOKS FINISHED

                  

My Mourning Year by Andrew Marshall – 4 stars

The Power of Dog by Andrew Marshall – 4 stars

Ahead of the Blog Tour for The Power of Dog I will be on in July, I read these two memoirs from Andrew Marshall and found them to be a really interesting look at grief and how to recover.

Summer at the Little Duck Pond Cafe by Rosie Green  –  4 stars

I loved revisiting this Little Duck Pond Cafe series and this is number 2 in the series! Really good read!

Call of the Curlew by Elizabeth Brooks  – 5 stars

I loved this dark, menacing read!! Watch out for a full review in July on the Blog Tour!

The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale  – 4 stars

A magical but often quite dark story! Very enjoyable and that cover is just gorgeous!!

BOOKHAUL

The Rules of Seeing by Joe Heap

Publication Date – 9th August 2018

received from publisher

The Rules of Seeing follows the lives of two women whose paths cross at a time when they need each other most. Nova, an interpreter for the Metropolitan police, has been blind from birth. When she undergoes surgery to restore her sight her journey is just beginning – she now has to face a world in full colour for the first time. Kate, a successful architect and wife to Tony, is in hospital after a blow to the head. There, she meets Nova and what starts as a beautiful friendship soon turns into something more.

Ordered these from Goldsboro Books as part of the Book of the Month club so have received these signed first editions

The Map of Salt and Stars by Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar

The Puppet Show by M.W.Craven

The Baltimore Boys by Joel Dicker

The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim

This is the latest addition to my Alma Classics collection courtesy of their Year of Reading Classics club

The Gallows Pole by Benjamin Myers

Recent winner of the 2018 Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction and it has been on my radar for a while so I treated myself!

The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter

I couldn’t resist the gorgeous cover this was reissued with for the Virago Modern Classics collection!

Mary Ann Sate, Imbecile by Alice Jolly

An Unbound release that has caught my eye as it just sounds so fascinating!

CURRENTLY READING

3 on the go at the mo!

The Cafe at Seashell Cove by Karen Clarke

The House with Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson

The Death of Mrs Westaway via The Pigeonhole app

🌻🌻🌻🌻🌻

Hope your week has been as good?! Any recommendations or thoughts on this batch of books?! Would love to hear from you!

#BookReview The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale #20booksofsummer

About the book

Do you remember when you believed in magic?

The Emporium opens with the first frost of winter. It is the same every year. Across the city, when children wake to see ferns of white stretched across their windows, or walk to school to hear ice crackling underfoot, the whispers begin: the Emporium is open! 

It is 1917, and London has spent years in the shadow of the First World War. In the heart of Mayfair, though, there is a place of hope. A place where children’s dreams can come true, where the impossible becomes possible – that place is Papa Jack’s Toy Emporium.

For years Papa Jack has created and sold his famous magical toys: hobby horses, patchwork dogs and bears that seem alive, toy boxes bigger on the inside than out, ‘instant trees’ that sprout from boxes, tin soldiers that can fight battles on their own. Now his sons, Kaspar and Emil, are just old enough to join the family trade. Into this family comes a young Cathy Wray – homeless and vulnerable. The Emporium takes her in, makes her one of its own. But Cathy is about to discover that while all toy shops are places of wonder, only one is truly magical…

Published by Del Ray

Purchase Links

Amazon UK

Hive.co.uk

Book Depository

MY REVIEW

A very original, magical and dark story!! And a gorgeous cover!! I started off reading this completely lost in a magical world in Papa Jacks’ Emporium full of the most wonderful toys – toy soldiers that fight their own battles, instant trees and animals who appear that they are alive – but behind the toys is a family fighting their own battles, and a girl who is running away.

Cathy is a young girl who is pregnant and has brought shame on her family so they are ready to send her away, but she takes matters into her own hands and boards the train from Leigh On Sea to London where she goes for a job interview at the Emporium – it has a way of taking in waifs and strays so she is the perfect employee for them. You just have to not stop remembering what it is like to be a child and see the magic in everything. She loves her new life there and is taken to the heart of the family very quickly.

Brothers Emil and Kaspar both work for their father at the Emporium and are always trying to outdo one another with creating the most wonderful new toy. But Kaspar soon has to go off to War while Emil stays behind to help run the business and life soon takes a darker twist for them all.

I loved the magical elements to this story and wasn’t really prepared for the darker sides to the story which did feel a little out of place at times as they were quite serious issues. Seeing someone dealing with PTSD – as we now know it – was a little heartbreaking to read and the effect it had on those around him.  Because of this I’m finding this book difficult to sum up adequately as it often felt like 2 separate stories that shouldn’t really have worked together – but for the  most part it does work and adds a different element to the reading experience you have with this book.  And maybe that was the point! On one hand you have a true fantastical element in the Emporium and all it stands for and how it wants to see the use of toys as a wondrous thing, and that is up against the harshness and brutality of the real world – somewhere we all like to escape from every now and then.

The characters were all well put together in their development and it was interesting to see they dynamic between them all, especially towards the end.

I did enjoy reading this overall but would have loved more of the magical elements for more of an escapist read!

 

                                         💂💂💂💂💂

Would love to hear your thoughts if you’ve read this book!

#BookReview One Summer Weekend by Juliet Archer #PublicationDay

About the book

For fans of Kathryn Freeman, Jenny Colgan and Sue Moorcroft. A heart-warming fun read, perfect for the holidays from this award-winning author! 


One summer weekend can change everything …
Alicia Marlowe’s life as an executive coach is well under control – until she meets her new client, Jack Smith. Jack’s reputation precedes him and Alicia knows immediately that he spells trouble. Not least because he reminds her of someone else – a man who broke her heart and made her resolve never to lower her guard again.

Taking Jack on as a client is a risk, but one that Alicia decides to take for the good of her career. As long as she keeps him in his place, she might just make it through unscathed. But Jack has other ideas – including a ‘business’ trip to the Lake District. One summer weekend with him is all it takes to put Alicia’s carefully organised world in a spin …

Publisher Ruby Fiction

Purchase Links

Ruby Fiction

Amazon UK

MY REVIEW

I found myself totally swept along with the characters in this fabulous story! I do love a slightly damaged cast, and this book has 2 such creatures!  Alicia Marlowe is an executive coach so should be one of those people whose lives are perfect and ordered in every sense.  In her work life that is true, but her personal life is very different and is a much happier soul when she’s working than at weekends when she’s left to her own devices.  

And then there’s Jack! Very well known in the tabloid press for his love of the ladies, he finds himself working for a company who has just expanded which means more work heading his way and his boss thinks his business approach could do with some coaching to make him work smarter… and that’s how Alicia meets Jack!

I loved these characters! Both are very wary of one another when they first meet, for very different reasons and when Jack suggests they spend time together over a weekend to impress some old friends of him she is very reluctant. But seeing it as work she goes along, and that is when you wonder who is coaching who!

Jack and his past is never too far away and it is fascinating to see how Alicia deals with that when it is clear her feelings towards Jack are beginning to change.  The more time she spends with him, then the more she sees her initial opinion is way off from how he really is!

I raced through this charming story and highly recommend it!!

                                                🌻🌻🌻🌻🌻

#BookReview Us Against You by Fredrik Backman

About the book

After everything that the citizens of Beartown have gone through, they are struck yet another blow when they hear that their beloved local hockey team will soon be disbanded. What makes it worse is the obvious satisfaction that all the former Beartown players, who now play for a rival team in Hed, take in that fact. Amidst the mounting tension between the two rivals, a surprising newcomer is handpicked to be Beartown’s new hockey coach.

Soon a new team starts to take shape around Amat, the fastest player you’ll ever see; Benji, the intense lone wolf; and Vidar, a born-to-be-bad troublemaker. But bringing this team together proves to be a challenge as old bonds are broken, new ones are formed, and the enmity with Hed grows more and more acute.

As the big match approaches, the not-so-innocent pranks and incidents between the communities pile up and their mutual contempt grows deeper. By the time the last game is finally played, a resident of Beartown will be dead, and the people of both towns will be forced to wonder if, after all they’ve been through, the game they love can ever return to something simple and innocent.

Published by Atria Books

Purchase Links

Amazon UK

Hive.co.uk

Book Depository

MY REVIEW

Where to even begin with sharing my love for this book??!! Even if it did leave me a complete emotional mess, and even writing this review a day after I finished it, the thoughts and feelings I have towards the inhabitants of Beartown are as strong as ever and it is fair to say this is going straight in my list of 2018 favourite books – as Beartown did in 2017.

I’d highly recommend reading Beartown, if you haven’t already, before picking up this book. The emotions and connections you make towards so many characters begin in book one, and just makes the impact of this follow up more hard hitting, more heartbreaking and more heartwarming.

It follows on story in a way I didn’t think it would be able to manage! After book one the town of Beartown is completely divided after the shocking events witnessed by some, disbelieved by many. A lot of the hockey players have switched to the rival team at Hed, and the story follows Beartown trying to get back its’ team, its’ pride and its’ community. The hatred felt between Beartown and Hed has gone on for years, but this year it is ramped up to a level like no other and the levels that some – on both sides – go to in their pursuit of making others suffer is often staggering.

It was fascinating to see how the main characters from Beartown evolved in this book – how they dealt with the brutal aspects of the events of the first book, how it affected everyone and the ripple effect that the one incident caused.

I’m still at a loss to explain why this book affected me so much! The way the author gets under the skin of so many different characters is astonishing, and the situations he puts them in is perfectly judged to add to the drama that envelops the community. He has an amazing connection with all the characters and they all seem to get equal billing in their struggles and the way the story flows from one to the other seamlessly makes you feel part of the community – a very messed up community! I felt emotionally drained with the pace of it all as it never let up from page to page and I couldn’t put the book down for too long before I was desparate to get back into that world, no matter what sickening twist would be next for me to face!

This isn’t a sports novel as I have seen some mention this and why it puts them off reading it. It’s a book with a sport at the heart of it but it focuses more on the impact that the team brings on the inhabitants – how it connects a community, and how it can split it apart. The author does a great job of conveying through certain characters of how much the team means to them and why they put themselves through so much just to benefit the team.

I found this to be a truly astonishing read and the quality of writing was staggering. I was very wary before picking this book of how the story could be added to after book one, but this was the perfect sequel. It was more than hockey, it was more than outrage, it was community, it was fighting on and showing strength and weaknesses.

It was all encompassing, shocking, inspiring, heartbreaking – thank you Mr Backman for such an amazing cast and story!

I’m often asked why I love reading…… books like this are why!!!!

💙💙💙💙💙

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – Week 23 2018

Happy Saturday to you!  Hope the world has been treating you well! Things have been pretty peaceful and calm here for most of the week –  I’ve even been baking scones this afternoon! I am a true domestic goddess!! Sampling the scones is definitely my favourite part of the process though….

On to books!! There has been lots!! Both in terms of books finished – 6 wahoo – and in adding them to the overstocked shelves!  7 I have bought myself – despite my best efforts to not buy more! – and 1 was kindly sent by the author!  July is definitely going to be the month I stick myself on a book buying ban…… didn’t I say that at the start of June?! oops!!

So here’s a quick round up of all that I’ve read these past 7 days – please click on the title for a link to the GoodReads page for more info! I’ve fallen behind on reviews again so that is hopefully what my Sunday will be spent doing!!

BOOKS FINISHED

Whistle In The Dark by Emma Healey  –  3 stars

Another fascinating book from this author – I loved Elizabeth is Missing  – but this just fell a little flat for me.

The Story Collector by Evie Gaughan  –  5 stars

Loved this magical tale of The Good People and the effect they played on the inhabitants of a town in Ireland. 

Us Against You (Beartown #2) by Fredrik Backman  – 5 stars

Wow!! I’m still an emotional mess after finishing this yesterday.  If you are worried it won’t be as good as Beartown – as I was – then worry not!! Absolutely blooming amazing and I haven’t stopped thinking about it!! Prepare for a review soon that will gush even more over it! One of my books of 2018! 

Arlette’s Story by Angela Barton  –  4 stars

A stunning and emotional read about how life was for a French family during the War. 

Life in the Garden by Penelope Lively  –  4 stars

A wonderful look at the world of gardening from literary links to personal recollections from the author. Really enjoyed it!

One Summer Weekend by Juliet Archer   – 4 stars

A wonderful romance!

BOOK HAUL

Was lucky to receive this from the author during the week and it just sounds like my kind of read!

Eleanor’s Secret by Caroline Beecham

Can Eleanor follow her heart in troubled times?Eleanor Roy is determined to do her bit for the war effort after being recruited by the War Artist Advisory Committee. When she meets handsome artist Jack Valante, her dreams seem to be finally coming true when Jack promises to help her pursue her ambition of becoming an artist. But after a whirlwind romance, Eleanor is devastated when Jack is posted overseas.When Eleanor receives some unexpected news she desperately tries to find Jack. But with the young couple torn apart by war, will they be reunited and find happiness at last?

Sunshine and Sweet Peas in Nightingale Square by Heidi Swain

Summer at Skylark Farm  by Heidi Swain

2 books for £4?! What was I supposed to do?!! Exactly!!

Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively

Elmet by Fiona Mozley

The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan

More bargains! My niece is looking for Agatha Christie books so I have been searching local charity shops and library sales – have found 2 for her so far but they seem a scarcity! – but that obviously means I tend to end up finding books that have been on my radar for a while!

Ice by Anna Kavan

A book I’ve heard good things about it so had to snap it up secondhand when I found a copy!

Mariana by Monica Dickens

Any excuse to add to the Persephone Collection! Found this online on AbeBooks and looking forward to starting it soon!

CURRENTLY READING

Call of the Curlew by Elizabeth Brooks

Virginia Wrathmell has always known she will meet her death on the marsh in reparation for the mistakes of her childhood.

On New Year’s Eve, at the age of eighty-six, Virginia feels the time has finally come.

In 1939, Virginia is ten, an orphan arriving to meet her new adoptive parents, Clem and Lorna Wrathmell, at their mysterious house, Salt Winds. The house sits right on the edge of a vast marsh, a beautiful but dangerous place. It’s the start of a new life for Virginia, but she quickly senses that all is not right between Clem and Lorna – in particular, the presence of their wealthy neighbour Max Deering, who takes an unhealthy interest in the family. When a German fighter plane crashes into the marsh, Clem ventures onto the deadly sands to rescue the airman. And that is when things really begin to go wrong…

The War of the Worlds by H.G.Wells – via the Serial Reader App

With H.G. Wells’ other novels, The War of the Worlds was one of the first and greatest works of science fiction ever to be written. Even long before man had learned to fly, H.G. Wells wrote this story of the Martian attack on England. These unearthly creatures arrive in huge cylinders, from which they escape as soon as the metal is cool. The first falls near Woking and is regarded as a curiosity rather than a danger until the Martians climb out of it and kill many of the gaping crowd with a Heat-Ray. These unearthly creatures have heads four feet in diameter and colossal round bodies, and by manipulating two terrifying machines – the Handling Machine and the Fighting Machine – they are as versatile as humans and at the same time insuperable. They cause boundless destruction. The inhabitants of the Earth are powerless against them, and it looks as if the end of the World has come. But there is one factor which the Martians, in spite of their superior intelligence, have not reckoned on. It is this which brings about a miraculous conclusion to this famous work of the imagination. 

👽👽👽👽👽

Phew!! I need a lie down after that little lot!

HAPPY READING!!

#BookReview Life in the Garden by Penelope Lively

About the book..

Penelope Lively has always been a keen gardener. This book is partly a memoir of her own life in gardens: the large garden at home in Cairo where she spent most of her childhood, her grandmother’s garden in a sloping Somerset field, then two successive Oxfordshire gardens of her own, and the smaller urban garden in the North London home she lives in today.
It is also a wise, engaging and far-ranging exploration of gardens in literature, from Paradise Lost to Alice in Wonderland, and of writers and their gardens, from Virginia Woolf to Philip Larkin.

Published by Fig Tree Books

Purchase Links

Amazon UK

Hive.co.uk

Book Depository

MY REVIEW

An absolute delight to read! From the stunning front cover to the beautifully simple illustrations inside, this is the book that is perfect for all gardening addicts, like myself! It was fascinating to read the authors take on how the ways of gardening is portrayed in books through the eyes of many different authors, alongside her own recollections of her time spent gardening in a variety of countries in plots of varying sizes.

It is always nice to read a book by an author who understands the subject and it is clear in reading this, that the author ‘gets’ the pleasure that gardening brings, alongside its’ many quirky elements, favourite plants etc, and I found myself nodding along in agreement and chuckling at many of her observations. She discusses a variety of gardening subjects such as how fashion dictates what we plant, the differences between town and country gardens and how the gardener is able to appreciate the simpler things in life. 

Wonderful!

                                                                             💮💮💮💮💮