From the bestselling author of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Tulip Fever, a deliciously funny, poignant and wry novel, full of surprising twists and turns.
‘Unputdownable, fun and tender with characters that jump off the page. Perfection’ Marian Keyes
James is getting on a bit and needs full-time help. So Phoebe and Robert, his middle-aged offspring, employ Mandy, who seems willing to take him off their hands. But as James regales his family with tales of Mandy’s virtues, their shopping trips, and the shared pleasure of their journeys to garden centres, Phoebe and Robert sense something is amiss. Is this really their father, the distant figure who never once turned up for a sports day, now happily chortling over cuckoo clocks and television soaps?
Then something happens that throws everything into new relief, and Phoebe and Robert discover that life most definitely does not stop for the elderly. It just moves onto a very different plane – changing all the stories they thought they knew so well.
I found this to be quite a touching read telling the story of an elderly man being helped by a carer as his own 2 grown children don’t have the time, or inclination(!), to spend time with him and they become strangely jealous of Mandy the carer as they begin to see their father in a different light, and it enforces that thought that sometimes you don’t see a parent as a person in their own right until maybe sometimes it’s too late.
Phoebe and Robert are the children involved and their own lives aren’t going as smoothly as they’d both like – a loveless marriage for one, and doomed love affairs for the other -not how they’d seen themselves being in their 60’s. They still both have a lot of resentment towards their father from childhood as he always seemed to miss out on events they’d like him to be at, and now it seems they’re getting their own back by not being there when he needs them.
But with the appearance of Mandy, they see their day begin to enjoy life once more! He’s visiting different places and laughing more – the suspicions then begin to surface with Phoebe and Robert in wondering if Mandy has an ulterior motive of befriending James. The truth shocked me!
In seeing this story play out, we also get to look back at James as a younger man – newly married and with young children and a completely different side to him is revealed and I loved the alternative perspective which really brings the depth to the characters and very cleverly shifts your judgement and challenges your view of certain people.
This book really showed how the actions of others impact so deeply on others and the startling confessions revealed throughout were brilliant in taking the story in a different direction to where I thought it was all going to go! Excellent read!!
Hugely delighted to be the latest stop on the Blog Tour for MEET ME IN COCKLEBERRY BAY by NICOLA MAY. My thanks to the author, publisher and Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources for letting me be part of it all and sharing my thoughts! And to share a giveaway too!! You lucky people!!
Meet Me in Cockleberry Bay
The cast of the runaway bestseller, The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay, are back – including Rosa,Josh, Mary, Jacob, Sheila, new mum Titch and, last but by no means least, Hot, the adorable dachshund.
Newly wed, and with her inherited corner shop successfully up and running, Rosa Smith seems tohave all that anyone could wish for. But the course of true love never did run smooth and Rosa’s suspicions that her husband is having an affair have dire consequences.
Reaching rock bottom before she can climb back up to the top, fragile Rosa is forced to face her fears,addiction and jealousy head on.
With a selection of meddling locals still at large, a mystery fire and Titch’s frantic search for the real father of her sick baby, the second book in this enchanting series will take you on a further unpredictable journey of self-discovery.
Award winning author Nicola May lives in Ascot in Berkshire with her rescue cat Stanley. Her hobbies include watching films that involve a lot of swooning, crabbing in South Devon, eating flapjacks and enjoying a flutter on the horses. Inspired by her favourite authors Milly Johnson and Carole Matthews, Nicola writes what she describes as chicklit with a kick.
Rosa and her trusty canine companion, Hot, are back! And it was lovely to connect with them again along with the other inhabitants of Cockleberry Bay in this fabulous sequel.
And life should be smelling of roses as she celebrates life being married to the lovely Josh. But the reality of him working away a lot is hitting home and Rosa is finding things tough, and I really enjoyed how this author doesn’t sugar coat life! She writes it warts and all – the good, the bad and the ugly!! It makes it so much easier to connect with characters who aren’t perfect! They mess up, they make mistakes and it’s how they deal with life after those bumps in the road that really make for an enjoyable read.
This book has that wonderful sense of humour that was so prevalant in the first book which makes you laugh out loud in certain cirumstances, but with this story the author manages to touch on slightly darker subjects that can affect us all which gives it a more realistic and grown up feel. With Rosa struggling it gives us the opportunity to see a character dealing with anxiety, addiction issues and jealousy, and how she deals with that and why, as humans, we all do silly things when we’re not thinking straight and our minds run away with themselves!
The community of Cockleberry Bay have their own issues that we’re introduced to and I loved the range of characters again – Jacob and Raff who run the local gastro pub face an uncertain future because of another pub having a refurb, and Titch dealing with being a new mum and dealing with the problems that causes, then there’s something for everyone going on! There never seems to be a dull moment in Cockleberry Bay, that’s for sure!!
Managed to get back to some 20 Books Of Summer reading last night, and another one from my original list so this is book 9 all done and dusted!! Yes, it’s another little one so I still have the chunkier books still to read but my brain can’t cope with a bigger book at the moment so I’m taking baby steps to achieving my target haha!
ABOUT THE BOOK
Poet, writer, and Instagram sensation Nikita Gill returns with a collection of fairytales poetically retold for a new generation of women.
Traditional fairytales are rife with cliches and gender stereotypes: beautiful, silent princesses; ugly, jealous, and bitter villainesses; girls who need rescuing; and men who take all the glory.
But in this rousing new prose and poetry collection, Nikita Gill gives Once Upon a Time a much-needed modern makeover. Through her gorgeous reimagining of fairytale classics and spellbinding original tales, she dismantles the old-fashioned tropes that have been ingrained in our minds. In this book, gone are the docile women and male saviors. Instead, lines blur between heroes and villains. You will meet fearless princesses, a new kind of wolf lurking in the concrete jungle, and an independent Gretel who can bring down monsters on her own. Complete with beautifully hand-drawn illustrations by Gill herself, Fierce Fairytales is an empowering collection of poems and stories for a new generation.
A mix of poetry and re-tellings of fairytales to empower, inspire and just make your heart glow!!
I loved this collection which may be little but is very fierce in the message it is putting across! Using a variety of well known fairy stories and characters it allows you to look at things in different ways, to imagine a different narrative for the weak or downtrodden characters, while making it more relevant for the world we live in today!
You can read about Tinkerbell, Wendy Darling, Alice, The Fairy Godmothers… they are all here but with different stories to tell. It touches on depression, self loathing, eating disorders to name but a few things but it isn’t gloomy or depressing to read. I found it to be so powerful and thought provoking – all the things you should be telling yourself every day about being strong, loving yourself, and being yourself is all in here!
It features strong women standing up for themselves and knowing their worth – they aren’t there to be rescued or pitied – and is very telling of the world we live in nowadays. We all need to hear more positive messages about not being perfect, or dealing with negative influences and I loved how this book allowed those messages through loud and clear!
Hello!! I’ve got a gorgeous cover reveal to share with you all thanks to the team at RUBY FICTION and CHRIS PENHALL so hope you’re itching to see it!!
Here’s a little bit about the book to set the scene…….
Home is where the heart is …
Alice Dorothy Matthews is sensible. Whilst her best friend Kathy is living it up in Portugal and her insufferable ex Adam is travelling the world, Alice is working hard to pay for the beloved London house she has put her heart and soul into renovating.
But then a postcard from Buenos Aires turns Alice’s life upside down. One very unsensible decision later and she is in Cascais, Portugal, and so begins her lesson in ‘going with the flow’; a lesson that sees her cat-sitting, paddle boarding, dancing on top of bars and rediscovering her artistic talents.
But perhaps the most important part of the lesson for Alice is that you don’t always need a house to be at home.
The House That Alice Built is published on 20th August by Ruby Fiction and will be available to purchase as an eBook on all platforms, as well as in audio.
Are we ready?! Here we go…..
Doesn’t it just make you want to get up and escape to Portugal right now?! Will be eagerly awaiting the 20th August to dive into this one!!
Hello! We meet again!! And a new month for us all to enjoy…. and the countdown to Christmas gets ever closer……aarrrggghhhh!!
A pretty good bookish week has been had here so hope the same has happened to you! Managed to finish 4 books, got seduced by Netgalley twice (oops!) and a few newbies have appeared on my bookshelves so here’s a quick look back!
A stunning Christmas romance for fans of Josie Silver and Jojo Moyes
From the moment they meet one December day there’s something between Charlotte Taylor and her brother’s best friend, Tom Farley. But Tom’s already taken and Charlie has to let him go…
It’s another five years before their paths cross again only a secret from the past forces Charlie to make a choice. She promises herself she’ll never look back… The years pass and Charlie moves on with her life but she can never forget Tom. He’s always there whispering ‘What if?’. Can Charlie leave the life she has built for one last chance with Tom? Or is the one that got away not really the one at all…?
THE HELPLINE by Katherine Collette
Office life can be a minefield …
Germaine Johnson likes suduko, biscuits, maths and Chinese food. She’s less sure about the complexities of social interaction and her tendency to just say what she thinks often lands her in hot water. Unfortunately, after ‘the incident’ at Wallace Insurance, she finds herself unemployed.
When her cousin suggests a job at the local council, manning the Senior Citizens Helpline, Germaine really doesn’t have any other option than to say yes. It’s still social interaction, but at a safe distance. However, it turns out Mayor Verity Bainbridgehas something more interesting in mind for her. A secret project to stop ‘the troublemakers’ at the senior citizens centre and their feud with the golf club next door. Germaine believes she is the no-nonsense woman for the job – until when she’s forced to get to know the troublemakers and things get more complicated.
Witty, big-hearted and hugely enjoyable, The Helpline is what you might get if you crossed The Rosie Project with Parks and Recreation. If you have ever wrestled with the world of office politics, this charming debut novel is for you.
THE WAREHOUSE by ROB HART
Fab blogger pack ahead of the blog tour!
Cloud isn’t just a place to work. It’s a place to live. And when you’re here, you’ll never want to leave.
“On the surface, The Warehouse is a thrilling story of corporate espionage at the highest level, but dig a little deeper and you’ll find a terrifying cautionary tale of the nightmare world we are making for ourselves.”—Blake Crouch, New York Timesbestselling author of Dark Matter
Paxton never thought he’d be working for Cloud, the giant tech company that’s eaten much of the American economy. Much less that he’d be moving into one of the company’s sprawling live-work facilities.
But compared to what’s left outside, Cloud’s bland chainstore life of gleaming entertainment halls, open-plan offices, and vast warehouses…well, it doesn’t seem so bad. It’s more than anyone else is offering.
Zinnia never thought she’d be infiltrating Cloud. But now she’s undercover, inside the walls, risking it all to ferret out the company’s darkest secrets. And Paxton, with his ordinary little hopes and fears? He just might make the perfect pawn. If she can bear to sacrifice him.
As the truth about Cloud unfolds, Zinnia must gamble everything on a desperate scheme—one that risks both their lives, even as it forces Paxton to question everything about the world he’s so carefully assembled here.
Together, they’ll learn just how far the company will go…to make the world a better place.
Set in the confines of a corporate panopticon that’s at once brilliantly imagined and terrifyingly real, The Warehouse is a near-future thriller about what happens when Big Brother meets Big Business–and who will pay the ultimate price
THE WARLOW EXPERIMENT by ALIX NATHAN
a treat from me to me from Waterstones! The most gorgeous end papers!!
The year is 1792 and Herbert Powyss is set on making his name as a scientist. He is determined to study the effects of prolonged solitude on another human being, though before now Powyss’s sole subjects have been the plants in his greenhouse. He fills three rooms beneath Moreham House with books, paintings and even a pianoforte, then puts out an advertisement, hoping for a gentleman recluse to claim the substantial reward.
The only man desperate enough to apply is John Warlow, a semi-literate farm labourer who needs to support his wife Hannah and their six children. Cut off from nature and the turning of the seasons, Warlow soon begins losing his grip on sanity. Above ground, Powyss finds yet another distraction from his greenhouse in the form of Hannah, with whom he rapidly becomes obsessed. Does she return his feelings, or is she just afraid of his power over her family’s lives?
Meanwhile, the servants are brewing up a rebellion inspired by recent news from across the Channel. Powyss may have set events in motion, but he is powerless to prevent their explosive and devastating conclusion.
Elegantly told and utterly transporting, The Warlow Experiment is an outstanding literary novel that announces a major new voice in British fiction.
BLACK SUMMER by M.W.CRAVEN
signed first edition from Goldsboro Books
After The Puppet Show, a new storm is coming . . .
Jared Keaton, chef to the stars. Charming. Charismatic. Psychopath . . . He’s currently serving a life sentence for the brutal murder of his daughter, Elizabeth. Her body was never found and Keaton was convicted largely on the testimony of Detective Sergeant Washington Poe.
So when a young woman staggers into a remote police station with irrefutable evidence that she is Elizabeth Keaton, Poe finds himself on the wrong end of an investigation, one that could cost him much more than his career.
Helped by the only person he trusts, the brilliant but socially awkward Tilly Bradshaw, Poe races to answer the only question that matters: how can someone be both dead and alive at the same time?
And then Elizabeth goes missing again – and all paths of investigation lead back to Poe.
Fall head-over-heels in love with the beautiful new novel from bestselling author Holly Martin and let The Little Village of Happiness warm your heart and make your spirits soar.
Willow McKay needs a fresh start. Her recent break-up may not have left her heartbroken but it’s certainly wounded her pride. Desperate to escape the whispers and stares of her town’s gossips, an advert offering homes in a picturesque village in the grounds of a majestic castle on the Cornish coast sounds like just what she needs. Without thinking twice Willow applies for a cottage and packs up her life for the village of Happiness.
But when Willow arrives she finds a crumbling ruin and ramshackle cottages, nothing like the pretty picture the advert had boasted. It seems Happiness was too good to be true. That is until she meets the incredibly handsome estate manager Andrew Harrington…
His passion for restoring the village to its former glory is contagious and soon they are working together to bring happiness back to Happiness. And as sparks fly between them Willow can feel herself falling. But Andrew is holding something back.
Can Willow risk her heart again? And will they succeed in transforming the old village to its original beauty before it’s too late?
Get swept away to the sun-kissed Cornish coast with this gorgeous love story, perfect for fans of Jill Mansell, Miranda Dickinson and Lucy Diamond.
Just blooming delightful!! One of those books that you totally lose yourself in and a book set in Happiness that just brings oodles of happiness to the reader!!
Willow is in need of a new start in life! So when she sees an advert for a rent free cottage in an idyllic location,she can’t say no! The village (Happiness) is trying to revive itself so are giving people the opportunity to live there and hopefully like what they see! She’s a bit shocked on first appearances as all doesn’t seem to what it is meant to and she soon wonders what she’s let herself in for! But she’s a positive kind of soul and soon throws herself into village life and ends up being a great help to the estate manager, Andrew, who she gets on with well from the start!
He shares her positive outlook on life and it’s no wonder they click! I love them together and they bring out the best in one another, and the best in others! There’s great touches of humour between them and he soon finds himself opening up to Willow about things he normally doesn’t like to share.
The sense of community is second to none in this book. As they try and revive the fortunes of the village it gets everyone of all ages pulling together and I loved the extra effort that Willow and Andrew put in to the whole project. They realise it’s the little things that matter to people and just putting a smile on their faces becomes a big fun project!
Willow is a force to be reckoned with and just doesn’t seem to run out of ideas for getting things moving and although there are a few spanners thrown in the works at times, she always has that optimism that everything will work out for the best.
Loved it!! Hope there’ll be a return visit to Happiness soon!!
From the writer of Seeking Eden, Eden Interrupted is another sizzling slice-of-life drama – with sprinkles.
Rocker Ben Wilde and his bride Lisa return from honeymoon to find a cuckoo in the nest and a surprise European tour in the diary. With the honeymoon cut short, at least they can rely on good neighbors, new arrivals Nigel and Rosemary Bradshaw…can’t they? But next door, the Bradshaws harbor their own secrets; will Rosemary’s grim suspicions be confirmed?
At the other end of Eden Hill, Jan and Martin Bevan move into their new home following a devastating fire, but an altercation with the local dog fraternity leaves them wondering if they’ve made a huge mistake. Meanwhile, Eden Hill’s coffee shop is under new management, when Chloe, divorced mum of teenage Jake, fulfils her long-term dream. But serving flat-whites all day leaves Chloe feeling…well, flat…until she meets gorgeous Caleb, the father of her son’s girlfriend, who’s guaranteed to tip her angst-ridden son over the edge.
Suburbia: dull and ordinary? In Eden Hill, there’s no such thing
The residents of Eden Hill are back, and there’s newbies moving into the neighbourhood too which means more drama and more to enjoy as a reader – having loved the first in this series – Seeking Eden – I couldn’t wait to get back for more curtain twitching and absolutely loved being back amongst this community to reconnect with some familiar faces and also getting to know the new kids on the block!
Set in the suburbs this book is a delicious slice of a life we can all relate to – it almost feels like you’re one of the neighbourhood as you watch over the comings and goings of everyone as they deal with daily life and the stresses and strains it puts on everyone, alongside the lighter moments and it’s funny when you can recognise characters from your own neighbourhood.. no names mentioned!!
Ben and Lisa are back from their honeymoon and the rockstar life has gone very quiet for Ben so he’s wondering with what to do with his life now, while Martin and Jan who run the local carpet shop are having to deal with major life changes at a later stage in their lives and it’s not plain sailing!
The new characters really add to the story too – Chloe is a single mum, running the local cafe and dealing with the issues that having a teenage son bring her way! Jake, her son, is also not dealing too well with life as a teenage boy full of angst, and it’s fascinating to see life from both of their perspectives. And the Bradshaws seemingly have the perfect life, with their daughter Iris going to private school. All I can say is that Rosemary is a blooming saint for putting up with all the s*** her husband Nigel puts her through!!
With a wide range of characters it means that this book can touch on a variety of subjects – depression, teenage issues, dementia, parenting issues,moving to a new area and trying to fit in ..just to name a few – and that is this books strength I think! We can all relate to something that is featured and being part of a neighbourhood and the gossip and speculation of what goes on behind others’ closed doors is always at the forefront. But having that sense of community where people help one another out in times of need is also very touching.
I absolutely loved being back in the Eden Hill neighbourhood again and hope there maybe room to revisit the characters again in the future!
My thanks to the author for the copy in return for a fair and honest review.
Hugely delighted to be kicking things off for the IN YOUR SILENCE blog tour today! My thanks to the author and publisher for the copy of the book and letting me be part of it all!
ABOUT THE BOOK
‘A compelling, suspenseful, and hauntingly atmospheric read’ – Lynne Shelby, author of There She Goes
‘A beautiful garden, flawed leads and twisted obsession combine in this erotic romance’ – Laura Wilkinson, author of Skin Deep
Still reeling from a sudden and very one-sided break-up, Liam throws himself into his work and gets commissioned to restore the neglected grounds of a mansion, Wildham Hall, for its owner Gregory Sinclair.
It is there that Liam meets Melody, who is mute.
Liam has always suppressed the darkest side of himself, but as his clandestine liaison with Melody develops, she tests him and his deepest desires are dragged to the surface.
With a background in art, prop-making and garden design, Grace has always been creative – but she is a romantic at heart and writing was, and is, her first love. An avid reader of fiction she prefers coffee and a sinister undercurrent over tea and chick lit, and has a soft spot for grumpy ginger tomcats. When not making prop costumes or hanging out with her favourite nephews, she continues to write women’s fiction and romance novels from her Hertfordshire home.
Another sizzler from Grace which brilliantly captures the passion of a relationship alongside an intriguing storyline that left me shocked at the twists and turns by the end!
The story centres around Liam and Melody. He’s a gardener who has just split with a long time girlfriend, and is drawn to an advert for a gardener needed at Wildham Hall.
Wildham Hall is home to Gregory and Melody – he wants the grounds restored which is music to Liam’s ears as he loves looking into the history of the house and gardens and wants to bring it all back to life, despite the huge undertaking ahead of him.
Melody is the mystery character of the book! She is a proofreader and spends most of her hours in the house, with Gregory being very overprotective towards her and seemingly keeping her ‘safe’ at home for her own protection. She’s always used to being different as she’s mute – something that puzzles Liam when he starts spotting her watching him from windows or hanging around in the garden. They both seem intrigued by one another! He because she is totally different from anyone he has ever met before, and she because Liam is patient with her, he doesn’t ask too many questions and she feels she can trust him.
The more time they spend together, the more their passion grows and it’s soon clear they have a much deeper connection to one another – not that everybody approves!!
I loved the mystery in this story! So many question you find yourself asking throughout, and then I found myself totally shocked when finding out the answers!! Melody seems to be a quiet soul, often cruelly treated by the housekeeper, but Liam seems to bring out another side to her and she soon craves more of the outside world rather than the lonely existence she’d had up until now.
Their relationship is often hot and steamy, but there’s a real tenderness there too but there’s more to this story than their romance, and I loved the tension as secrets from the past finally get revealed! Prepare to be shocked!!
Delighted to be the stop today for the DEATH ON THE OCEAN blog tour! My thanks to the author, publisher and Bookollective for letting me be part of it all!
ABOUT THE BOOK
A story where romance meets crime. Amanda Lipton leads a fairly uneventful life as a teacher. The most she has to worry about is staff room politics and petty quarrels among pupils and colleagues. But everything changes as she wins a million in a TV show!
To escape the stuffy atmosphere at school, Amanda decides to change her life and take a luxury cruise, no expense spared. Expecting a life of luxury aboard the Belgravia, she is dismayed to find events rapidly spiraling out of control. Her fellow passengers are not as they seem and eventually she’s drawn to two men – but can she trust them? And… whom to choose?
When she witnesses what looks like a cold blooded murder, Amanda realises that her own life could be in danger.
A delightful romantic comedy with a twist of suspense and murder to it.
This was a fun read for me – real escapism and a nice cosy mystery added to the mix along with the romance side of things, so there was always that element of what was going to happen next, and wondering just who to trust! Just like the main character, Amanda, who found herself getting paranoid about people while she was supposed to be having the time of her life!
Amanda has a normal life as a teacher, dealing with the politics of school life, but when she finds herself winning a million on a TV quiz show, she soon finds life changing around her but not for the best! People she thought were her friends are soon after her money, so she decides to throw caution to the wind and get away from it all by going on a luxury cruise! Surely life will be happier and simpler on holiday?! Wrong!!!
On the cruise she finds a variety of people from different walks of life, even a Nobel Prize Winner, but things start to get very wrong quite soon when she appears to witness someone being thrown overboard – or did she?! Maybe the victim had been drinking and fallen – the whispers amongst the other passengers and the theories start to stack up as to what did happen that night.
She seems the type of person not to let things lie so sets out to find out more about people – but someone doesn’t like her interfering as she gets a threatening message under her door. And then there’s another victim….
This had lots to keep you guessing and loved how she also managed to attract romantic attention while getting to know more of the passengers! You really don’t know who to trust amongst the characters involved as there’s definitely more to some than meets the eye and I had great fun trying to work out who was most likely to be the killer!!
Another list for me to ignore and disregard as we go through the month then!! Or maybe this will be the month that I’ll stick to it rigidly…. nope, I don’t think that’s possible!
There are 3 I definitely need to read for Blog Tours, plus I really need to make a dent on some of the Netgalley shelved books, plus the #20booksofsummer list (that I also seem to be ignoring and reading different books!) needs to be attacked…. so we will see how it all goes!! Wish me luck!!
Click on the heading to take you to the Goodreads page for more about each book if you’re interested!