#20BooksOfSummer2021 A SECRET SCOTTISH ESCAPE by JULIE SHACKMAN #BookReview

This is book 17 of my 20 Books of Summer 2021 

ABOUT THE BOOK


When Scotland’s sleepiest hamlet becomes the centre of hot gossip, Layla Devlin finds herself caught in a mystery…

When Layla’s fiancée has an unexpected heart attack and dies – in another woman’s arms, no less – Layla is determined to pack up and leave Loch Harris, the village she’s always called home. But an unexpected inheritance and love for her quiet corner of Scotland send her down a new path.

Now Layla finds herself facing a whole new kind of drama. Rumours swirl that a celebrity has moved into Coorie Cottage and Layla is determined to have him headline her opening night at local music venue The Conch Club. But the reclusive star is equally determined to thwart Layla’s efforts. Rafe Buchanan is in hiding for a reason, and soon his past comes to Loch Harris to haunt him…


PUBLISHED BY ONE MORE CHAPTER

MY REVIEW

This was a totally captivating story, following the story of Layla who is dealt a devastating blow when her fiancee dies and discovers a secret about him that crushes her. She had been so settled in the area, but all her thoughts now are about running away and starting again elsewhere as she’s feeling so let down.

The local community are very supportive to her, and she has such a wonderful relationship with her Dad that doubts start to creep into her mind about leaving, and she starts to get excited about creating a new local music venue. Music has always played a big part of her life and she wants to find a way to attract new tourists to the area.

Layla is one of those characters who can’t NOT get involved in things, despite her best efforts! She feels like she wants to help everybody, and there are plenty of people to help in this book as she reaches out to a reclusive musician who lives in the area – his story intrigues her, as does he as a person, and she finds she becomes more involved with wanting to know more. He’s a very jekyll/hyde personality with her so she knows he’s hiding something….her journalistic skills come in very handy trying to get to the bottom of it all!

I loved the setting and the sense of community in this book. There are many secrets that come to light that threaten to darken her light but you can’t do anything but admire her determination to see a project through!


★★★★

#BookReview OLD ENOUGH TO KNOW BETTER by JANE WENHAM-JONES #20BooksOfSummer21



Book 2 of my 20 Books of Summer 2021


OLD ENOUGH TO KNOW BETTER by JANE WENHAM-JONES

ABOUT THE BOOK


When her daughter, Ellie, brings home a new boyfriend, Clare can’t put her finger on why she feels troubled by it. Is it because he’s attractive and closer to her in age? Or maybe she’s just jealous because all of her own husband’s passion seems to go into maintaining his wine cellar.

Ellie’s colleague, Anna, is feeling restless too. She’s much younger than her husband and is still in her prime, and definitely isn’t ready for crosswords and comfy slippers. When a new colleague starts to show a great deal of interest in her, it ignites a spark of attraction that feels impossible to ignore.

They say age isn’t everything – can the women focus on what really matters and live life, and love, to the full?


PUBLISHED BY ONE MORE CHAPTER

MY REVIEW

This was an entertaining and often thought provoking read, looking at life through the eyes of women who are dealing with the realities of life and the paths they have chosen.

Ellie is one character who is starting out in life and is super excited to be engaged to Tom. He’s 19 years older – she doesn’t see this as an issue but some around her, including her mum, are keen to warn her that this could be a problem. Her mum knows only too well, as she married someone older so Ellie just sees her being hypocritical – instead of heeding the advice given.

Anna works with Ellie, and is at the point in her life when she’s feeling lonely. Her son and his family live a distance away, and life just isn’t making her excited anymore.

There are lots of fun, silly moments but there is also a deeper look at women coming to terms with where they are in life, wanting different things in relationships and wondering whether to ‘stick or twist’ so to speak. With Ellie, she is just swept up in the romance of it all and sees her other half can do no wrong!

I liked that this book is mainly aimed at an older audience – people who’ve maybe been through the same thing or approaching that stage of life, when you’re not impressed by flashy behaviour and just want something different from life and a little bit more substantial and to feel fulfilled.

★★★

#BookReview THE LITTLE TEASHOP IN TOKYO by JULIE CAPLIN

ABOUT THE BOOK

Grab your passport and escape to the land of dazzling skycrapers, steaming bowls of comforting noodles, and a page-turning love story that will make you swoon!


For travel blogger Fiona, Japan has always been top of her bucket list so when she wins an all-expenses paid trip, it looks like her dreams of the Far East are coming true.


Until she arrives in vibrant, neon-drenched Tokyo and comes face-to-face with the man who broke her heart ten years ago, gorgeous photographer Gabe.


Fiona can’t help but remember the heartache of their last meeting but it’s not long before the Japanese art of contentment and a special, traditional tea ceremony work their magic…


Amidst the temples and clouds of soft pink cherry blossoms, Fiona and Gabe start to see life – and each other – differently.

PUBLISHED BY ONE MORE CHAPTER

PURCHASE LINK

Amazon

MY REVIEW

The gorgeous cover drew me in and I’m so glad it did! I loved the story, the characters, the setting and am very glad to have discovered a new author to me! Time now to devour her other books!!


Fiona is the centre of this story as she wins a trip to Tokyo to learn from a top photographer, ahead of her exhibition in London. She’s is totally out of her comfort zone so this is a big step for her, but she knows how important this could be for her photography so she sets off and stays with a lovely family who run a teashop in Tokyo, which gives her the perfect opportunity to learn more about the Japanese culture and indulge her love of tea!!
There is a switch in her mentor though, and it’s someone from her past so that brings new pressures to her trip. Will he remember her? Luckily for her, Gabe seems a little pre-occupied with his own personal issues – not so good for her being mentored to the best of his ability though!


What I loved about Fiona and Gabe, is how they work so well off one another, especially when they’re out and about taking photos. They seem to inspire one another to look at things from a different perspective! This starts to rub off into their own lives as well and allows them to change old routines and take control of their own lives, instead of being dictated to by others. There’s also a little edge to their ‘banter’


This is a book that teaches you about ‘being you’ and the setting of Tokyo was just perfect to help explore the ways of the Japanese and how they find beauty in the simplest of things. It is the perfect escapism read and I loved it!


★★★★★

#BookReview FINDING HENRY APPLEBEE by CELIA REYNOLDS

ABOUT THE BOOK

Here Henry was, once again in a bustling train station, ready to resume where he had left off all those years ago…

Finding Henry Applebee is a charming, tender and uplifting story about unlikely friendships, the power of love – and how it’s never too late to change your life. Perfect for fans of The Single Ladies of the Jacaranda Retirement Village and The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.

Eighty-five-year-old Henry Arthur Applebee has had a pretty good life. But one regret has haunted him for the last sixty-five years.

And so, on an ordinary December morning, he boards a train from London to Edinburgh. His goal is simple: to find the woman who disappeared from his life decades earlier. But Henry isn’t the only person on a mission. Also bound for Edinburgh is troubled teen, Ariel. And when the two strangers collide, what began as one humble journey will catapult them both into a whole new world… 

PUBLISHED BY ONE MORE CHAPTER

PURCHASE LINK

Amazon UK

MY REVIEW

This was a sweet and charming read, following the story of the loveable Henry Applebee as he sets out on a journey looking to find ghosts from his past, and wondering if the path he’s chosen to take is the right one! And this story really does show you how fate is destined to play a part – the world really does move in mysterious ways!

Henry and his dog Banjo lead a very simple life – he’s 85 and has led a good life but has regrets and they seem to be playing on his mind now more than ever. For him it’s now or never to find the answer to his questions so he sets out on a trip to Scotland, after his niece tracked down someone for him. She was supposed to go with him but had to cancel last minute, and at the train station a good samaritan, Ariel, helps him out when it looks like his journey might be over before it’s even started!

Ariel is also on her own personal journey with a mission to deliver an envelope personally to someone in Scotland. She’s just lost her mother and it was so important to her to pass this message on that she must get this done. Ariel is a real sweetheart and I really enjoyed seeing how her character dealt with all that life threw her way. When she and Henry end up travelling together they’re also introduced to Travis, an american musician, and the 3 of them make for an interesting combination as they share stories on the journey up.

The fascinating pasts of all the characters really help you as a reader gain an interest and connection with them all. They all seem a little unsure of whether the path they’ve chosen to take is the right one. The more you learn about them, the more you start to sense a connection between them as people. I also really enjoyed the way the story went back in time so that we could see Henry as a younger man, a soldier, who finds love in the Tower ballroom and the story of his romance with Francine is very sweet and touching.

A really enjoyable adventure!

★★★