#BookReview SNOWFLAKES OVER THE STARFISH CAFE by JESSICA REDLAND



ABOUT THE BOOK


Welcome to The Starfish Café – where you will find stunning views, delicious food and lifelong friendships.

Two broken hearts.

Since she inherited The Starfish Café, Hollie has poured her heart into the business, striving to keep her mother’s traditions and warm-hearted spirit alive. But behind closed doors Hollie is searching for true happiness as she grieves the tragic loss of her family who were once the beating heart of the café…

An unexpected meeting.

Jake lives by two rules: don’t let anyone get close and don’t talk about what happened. Little does he know that a chance meeting at The Starfish Café, facilitated by a fluffy lost dog, is about to turn his world upside down…

The chance to love again.

Can Hollie and Jake break down the barriers that have been holding them back from finding love and happiness, before Christmas comes around? After all, with courage, nothing is impossible…

Join top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland for a magical winter at the seaside, where love blossoms and lifelong friendships are made.


PUBLISHED BY BOLDWOOD BOOKS


PURCHASE LINK


Amazon

MY REVIEW

Love, Love, Love!! This is a book that has all the feels and had me totally smitten with the characters and setting from first page to last!

Hollie and Jake can’t fail to capture your hearts as they tell their stories – and the wonderful Mr Pickles plays a big part too!! These are two characters that have faced real hard times in the past and are still dealing with grief, and the story cleverly goes backwards and forwards in their timelines to give you a fuller picture of the sad times that both have faced and how that impacted on the people that they had become.

Watching their relationship develop from friendship was just so wonderful! They were so easy in the company of one another, but always wary and guarded over just how much of their past to share with one another – probably in fear of opening up too much with the possibility of having their heart broken once more.

Looking back over what happened to their lives and family was often so heartbreaking and shocking and really showed the pain and trauma that life can often throw your way, and throw you off course. You just wanted to jump into the book and give them both a big hug!!

They had wonderful people around them and I just didn’t want their story to end! They both knew that they needed to move on with their lives, but that meant confronting the past and that is never an easy process and you just wanted so bad for them to be happy as they were such good people.

It made me laugh, it made me cry and I adored every minute of it!

★★★★★

#BookReview GROWING UP FOR BEGINNERS by CLAIRE CALMAN

ABOUT THE BOOK

It’s not easy being a grown-up, but at 47, Eleanor hoped she’d be better at it by now…

But when Eleanor waves her daughter off for a gap-year trip, she finds herself stuck as a satellite wife, spinning in faithful orbit around domineering husband Roger, with only a stash of hidden books and her brilliant but judgmental father Conrad for comfort.Andrew isn’t mastering the art of growing up either. When he finds his belongings dumped on the drive, although he may not understand women very well, even he can see that this looks like some kind of hint… and so moves back in with his parents.Backing onto Andrew’s parents lives artist Cecilia, always ready to recount tales of her innumerable ex-lovers, whilst her daughters feel she’s like a misbehaving teenager.

But now four lives are drawn together by long-buried secrets of the past, and it is time for them all to grow up, before it’s too late.A desperate decision … A lost letter … A powerful secret hidden for thirty years…

Praise for Claire Calman:


‘A poignant and beautifully articulated tale of love and loss, memory and forgetting, grief and guilt, new love and letting go. I was engrossed, often tearful, and finally, uplifted.’ Isobel Wolff
‘Simply wonderful. I was totally enchanted, devoured it in a day, and have been raving about it ever since.’ Fiona Walker 


PUBLISHED BY BOLDWOOD BOOKS


PURCHASE LINK

Amazon


MY REVIEW

I found this book to be a really entertaining read, full of characters that you either find yourselves cheering for on their journey, alongside those who’d you clearly love to throttle!! The patience shown by some towards their ‘loved’ ones is worthy of a gold medal at times! But that’s like life, and I think this book captures the little moments many of us face throughout our lives – searching for meaning, looking to move on and finding the strength to break free from what we have become accustomed to.

And that applies in spades to Eleanor, one of the main characters we follow, as she has been married to Roger for 20 years! I think I’d struggle to stay married to him for 20 minutes! In his world it is his way, or no way! And Eleanor has gone along with his way of thinking to keep his moods quieter for the sake of her children, and her own sanity. But as the children fly the nest, she is facing that time in her life when she has to put herself first, follow her own passions and how difficult she finds it to think of herself for a change. He really is something else when faced with his wife wanting her own little bit of happy!!

The book goes backwards and forwards in time, surrounding Eleanor and a number of other characters – Conrad, her father, Andrew, the man who is restoring a painting for Conrad, and Cecilia and her 2 daughters who are all quite different in personalities and outlooks.

There are many aspects to this story that made it a fascinating read – the things parents do for their children throughout their lives, the sacrifices, the selfish behaviours on both sides, and how people deal with overbearing people in their lives . Maybe they mean well, but the controlling influence they inflict on their nearest and dearest can have serious consequences on the mental wellbeing of those they love.

★★★

#BookReview The Secret To Happiness by Jessica Redland

ABOUT THE BOOK

Danniella is running from her past, so when she arrives at the beautiful seaside resort of Whitsborough Bay, the last thing on her mind is making friends. After all, they might find out her secrets… Alison is fun, caring and doesn’t take herself too seriously. But beneath the front, she is a lost soul, stuck in a terrible relationship, with body confidence issues and no family to support her. All she really needs is a friend. Karen’s romance has taken a back seat to her fitness business. But she doesn’t want to give up on love quite yet. If only those mysterious texts would stop coming through… When the women meet at their local bootcamp, a deep friendship blossoms. And soon they realise that the secret to happiness is where they least expected to find it…

published by BOLDWOOD BOOKS

PURCHASE LINK

Amazon UK

MY REVIEW

How have I let this author pass me by?! My first Jessica Redland book but definitely not my last and I’m already looking forward to catching up with the others she has written if this one is anything to go by! I found myself totally swept up in the lives of these women – cheering on their achievements, despairing with them at the down moments in their lives, and just wanting to meet up with them all and sharing a drink or two!

This is a book about 3 women – Karen, Alison and Daniella – who live very different lives but are brought together as only fate can determine and soon find themselves supporting one another in more ways they can ever imagine.

Alison is feeling trapped in her life with Dave – he was there for her at the beginning when she needed him, but now he’s constantly on at her about her weight (I have to admit to wanting her to thump him on more than one occasion!!) and taking her for granted. So she comfort eats to stop feeling so bad – and so the cycle of hate and pity continues. But one day she finds herself helping a jogger who has fallen over, and this new friendship spurs her on to make changes in her life.

The jogger she helps is Daniella – a very guarded woman who is hiding something but she’s not opening up to anyone – when she does eventually find the strength to talk about her past your heart just breaks for her.

And then there’s Karen – running a PT business with her other half, Ryan – she seemingly has it all, but there are cracks beginning to show and she’s another woman with a tragic past and the support of her new friends Alison and Daniella is a great comfort to her when she seems to attract a stalker and the walls start tumbling down around her.

I loved the support network on show in this story! The way the women were all there for one another – there was no judging, they were just there to cheer one another on and to lean on when needed. I did find myself getting a little infuriated by some of the decisions the women were making , but the more you found out about their pasts then the more it became clear why they were so willing to make certain moves.

None of the women were perfect and it was good to see them in real life situations and dealing with things in ways the reader could relate to and I found myself outraged and delighted in equal measures as certain situations played out! A proper uplifting read!!

★★★★

My thanks to Boldwood Books/Netgalley for the ecopy in return for a fair and honest review.