Saturday, 24 March 2018

Book Review - Hetty's Farmhouse Bakery by Cathy Bramley

Amazon UK
Title: Hetty's Farmhouse Bakery
Author: Cathy Bramley
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Transworld Digital 
Publication Date: 22nd March 2018
Rating: 5 Stars

Thirty-two-year-old Hetty Greengrass is the star around which the rest of her family orbits. Marriage, motherhood and helping Dan run Sunnybank Farm have certainlykept her hands full for the last twelve years. But when her daughter Poppy has to choose her inspiration for a school project and picks her aunt, not her mum, Hetty is left full of self-doubt.

Hetty’s always been generous with her time and until now, her biggest talent – baking deliciously moreish shortcrust pastry pies – has been limited to charity work and the village fete. But taking part in a competition run by Cumbria’s Finest to find the very best produce from the region might be just the thing to make her daughter proud . . . and reclaim something for herself.

Except that life isn’t as simple as producing the perfect pie. Changing the status quo isn’t easy – and with cracks appearing in her marriage and shocking secrets coming to light, Hetty must decide where her priorities really lie . . .

I felt instantly at home reading this delightful new book by Cathy Bramley, it is a warm comforting sort of a book while at the same time inspirational that you can do more with your life, even in a small way that may make your loved ones immensely proud of you. 

Which is exactly what Hetty is trying to do, as her daughter Poppy looks up to her aunty Naomi but not her mum, so Hetty is determined to change that.  And it all comes down to pies, as that is what Hetty is good at, and the intention to try to start up a new farm to fork business. 

However not all of the family are in agreement and it does cause tensions with husband Dan, who relies on Hetty far too much for farmwork.   

There are some unexpected directions that this book goes in, which add to the readability and grippiness of the story. I loved the setting of Sunnybank Farm, and I was even happier to see spot one of Cathy Bramley's previous characters and her family making short cameos throughout the book which is a lovely gift for her fans, and if you haven't read the other book in question then it doesn't matter, as you may not even notice. 

If you like pies then you will definitely love this book, if you love strong women trying to change their life then this is the book for you, if you want a well written, thoroughly enjoyable story that features plenty of food, family and friendship then look no further - Hetty's Farmhouse Bakery has all of that and more. 

Thank you to Netgalley and Transworld for this coy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Friday, 23 March 2018

Book Review - After I've Gone by Linda Green - #HolidayReading Book 22

Book 22 of 30 that I read on my holiday to Fuerteventura in December 2017

Amazon UK
Title: After I've Gone
Author: Linda Green
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Quercus
Publication Date: 15th June 2017
Rating: 5 Stars

Status Update - You have 18 months left to live . . . 
Jess Mount goes online one wet morning in January, and discovers that her Facebook timeline appears to has skipped forward 18 months to a day when shocked family and friends are sharing heart-breaking tributes to her following her death in an accident. Jess is left scared and confused: is she the target of a cruel prank or is this a terrifying glimpse of her true fate? Amongst the posts are photos of a gorgeous baby son she has not yet conceived. But when a post from her best friend suggests her death was deliberate, Jess realises that if she changes the future to save her own life, the baby boy she has fallen in love with may never exist.

Hooked from the first few lines, I realised this was going to be a fabulous book and I wasn't in the slightest bit disappointed. 

In a rather strange turn of events, Jess discovers she can view facebook posts from the future, 18 months time to be precise, of friends and family mourning her death. 

As time goes on we see what appears to be a dual time line story as Jess struggles to work out what do do about all the future information she is seeing about herself, while at the same time, setting in motion what appears to be the same chain of events that will lead to her downfall. 

If that sounds confusing, then don't worry as it isn't and the author is far more eloquent than Iam and everything just works incredibly well. 

This was compulsive unputdownable storytelling at its finest, and a bit different to other books I've read in the genre. It isn't the first book I've read by Linda Green, but it is the first I've read since she changed genres  and thankfully she is just as good if not better with this sort of book. 

I loved every second of this story and was open mouthed in shock at the end of it.  Clearly well researched it deals with tricky topics in a sensitive manner, not overtyl shocking, but in ways that you feel a great deal of sympathy for Jess. 

Fantastic book that i would happily recommend to anyone that is even slightly intrigued by the blurb. 

Thank you to Quercus and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Book Review - The Fear by C. L. Taylor

Amazon UK
Title: The Fear
Author: C. L  Taylor
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: 22nd March 2018
Rating: 4.5 Stars

Sometimes your first love won’t let you go…

When Lou Wandsworth ran away to France with her teacher Mike Hughes, she thought he was the love of her life. But Mike wasn’t what he seemed and he left her life in pieces.

Now 32, Lou discovers that he is involved with teenager Chloe Meadows. Determined to make sure history doesn’t repeat itself, she returns home to confront him for the damage he’s caused.

But Mike is a predator of the worst kind, and as Lou tries to bring him to justice, it’s clear that she could once again become his prey…

There is a lot of fear in this book, and the majority of it all stems from the fear of one person, some is decades old, and some is fresh, but what it all has in common is that it is entirely justified.  Oddly enough though I didn't feel any fear myself while reading this! 

The Fear is a gripping look which deals with an uncomfortable subject matter, dealt with in a sensitive manner.  The story is told from the view points of three ladies all which have the same man in common. 

For Lou, they ran away together to France when she was just 14,  Chloe appears to be seeing him currently and she is only 13, and then there is Wendy who I never really took to, and stuck me as a bit odd, up until I realised how she fitted into the story at which point she becomes far more interesting. 

There are some twists and turns that although I wasn't gasping at, I didn't see coming, and they came at just the right pace to keep you on the edge of your seat as you were reading this. 

The Fear had a different feel to it the authors previous books, it didn't quite get under my skin in the same way but the writing was still fabulous, and the story was certainly different to other books in the genre. I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Fear and found myself completely absorbed by the story. 

Thank you to Netgalley and Avon for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Book Review - 13 Dates by Matt Dunn - #HolidayReading Book 21

Book 21 of 30 that I read on my holiday to Fuerteventura in December 2017

Amazon UK
Title: 13 Dates
Author: Matt Dunn
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Publication Date: 15th August 2017
Rating: 5 Stars

When Noah Wilson first encounters the quirky, opinionated and very beautiful Angel Fallon, his world is turned upside down. It’s clear she’s not his normal type, but Noah can’t stop thinking about her—which doesn’t bode well for the blind date he’s already late for.

Convinced by his friend (and self-professed dating expert) Marlon that thirteen dates is all you need to fall in love, Noah decides to give it a try with Angel. They should be incompatible: she’s impulsive and he’s a planner; he wants to settle down and she doesn’t ‘do’ relationships—or anything, for that matter—the way Noah is used to. But there’s something about Angel, and Noah can’t shake the idea that all they need is twelve more dates.

Despite some near-disasters involving rock climbing, saddle sores and jellied eels, it seems his plan may actually work. But even if they do reach the magic number, can that really mean they’ll just fall into their happily-ever-after?

13 Dates is apparently the number needed to make a couple fall in love. So its on that reasoning that Noah tries to keep persuading Angel to go out with him, as he has fallen in love at first site with her.

Of course nothing is ever easy and wow is there a good reason for Angel not really wanting a relationship, and with it is the storyline that gives the whole book an added layer of depth, complexity and emotion that I wasn't expecting at all. 

I was expecting and received plenty of light hearted moments, funny bits, and and rather different ideas for dates. 

What Matt Dunn does so well is create realistic characters that are likeable and easy to relate to and with Noah and Angel you have just that. I was willing them to be happy, but at the same time there was a certain unpredictability that you don't normally find in rom-coms, and I genuinely thought at one point there could be  a major change of direction.

Easily one of the author's best books to date, it has everything you want from a romantic comedy, and its all written from the male perspective which I am always a fan of, after all any insight into what makes a man tick is always useful to know!!

Thank you to Netgalley and Lake Union Publishing for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Book Review - Million Love Songs by Carole Matthews

Amazon UK
Title: Million Love Songs
Author: Carole Matthews
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Sphere
Publication Date: 22nd March 2018
Rating: 5 Stars

After splitting up with her cheating ex, Ruby Brown is ready for a change. She's single again for the first time in years and she's going to dive into this brave new world with a smile on her face and a spring in her step. The last thing she's looking for is a serious relationship.

Mason represents everything Ruby wants right now: he's charming, smooth and perfect for some no-strings-attached fun, and yet Ruby can't help feel that something is missing. Joe on the other hand is kind and attentive, but he comes with the sort of baggage Ruby wants to avoid: an annoyingly attractive ex-wife and two teenage children.

And though Ruby thinks she knows what she wants, is it what she needs to be truly happy? It's about to get emotional in Million Love Songs.

I only have one regret from having read this book, I feel like my enjoyment would have been heightened had I had Take That on a loop in the background. I say this as Ruby's best friend, Charlie was my favourite character of the whole book. 

And Charlie is a massive Thatter and even has a life size cardboard cutout of Gary Barlow in her house.  In fact she is devoting her life to Gary Barlow,  I regard myself as a huge Take That fan, or at least I did until I read about Charlie and her antics, and the sheer amount of other events going on around the country for fans, in addition to chasing down potential sightings.  

Obviously Charlie was the character I connected with most, but what of Ruby our main character? Well I enjoy reading all of Ruby's antics and there are some very memorable scenes including some in Paris, a birthday party, and another moment of potential bonding with one of her prospects teenage children. 

Ruby for most of the book seemed to be bouncing back and forth between two men,  Mason who is a known womaniser and Joe who is a diving instructor when he can spare the time.  They are completely different in all aspects of life and Ruby seems to gain different things from each of them. 

I really enjoyed reading Million Love Songs, and despite needing Patience with Ruby's male dilema, I did have to Pray that Charlie may get a man for herself.  Sure there were some highs and lows, especially since Mason seemed to want to Rule the World at private member club ownership, and there were many Promises being made by both the men to Ruby. 

This is a book which I took a real Shine to, and it seemed like The Flood of Take That references would make it so that you could Never Forget just who it was Charlie loved. Being a massive fan of Carole Matthews, it always is the Greatest Day when a new book from her is announced. Just How Deep Is Your Love going to be for this marvellous book?

Thank you to Sphere and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Monday, 19 March 2018

Book Review - The Whitstable High Tide Swimming Club by Katie May - Rachel Reads Randomly Book #90

Amazon UK
Title: The Whitstable High Tide Swimming Club
Author: Katie May
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Trapeze
Publication Date: 8th February 2018
Rating: 4 Stars

Dive into The Whitstable High Tide Swimming Club - the uplifting novel about friendship, community spirit and how ordinary people protect what they love.

When Deb (ageing bikini, sunglasses) and Maisie (black wetsuit, swimming shoes, goggles) keep meeting on Reeves Beach, they strike up an unlikely friendship based on their love of swimming and their recent divorces. Soon, they are joined by other high tide swimmers, each with a crisis of their own to weather. Ann, a bossy organiser, is caring for her elderly mother at home; Julie has somehow (although she's not quite sure how) managed to produce three children under school age; and Chloe, a bright, brittle girl of fifteen, finds calmness in the water, and Quiet, anxious Bill is soon welcomed into the heart of the club. When the swimmers discover plans for their beach to be paved over for a leisure complex, together they are determined to make a stand, and to prove that the beach is more than just a place to swim - it is the heart of the community.

Brace yourself for a group of people who are happy to swim in the English sea once or twice a day when it is high tide, sometimes in the early hours of the morning.  As someone that recalls paddling in English seaside resorts as a child all I can say is these characters must be just slightly bonkers as the water is always freezing, that and its been snowing while I have been reading this. 

As it so happens the characters you meet in this book are all just ordinary people, especially Deb and Maisie the main protagonists, who are the first two women we meet that happen to be there every day swimming when its high tide.  

Whether they like it or not when they meet Anne, suddenly a club is being formed and soon there are a whole host of them that meet on a regular basis to swim and become friends.  Maisie and Deb are in the prime of their lives,  and you have a complete mix of people who enjoy swimming from the teenage, you busy mothers, to the elderly. 

The book was originally published in three parts, and you can see that in the three parts the book is split into with each of part 1 and two ending on a mini cliffhanger to keep your reading.   The first part focuses on the formation of the the club and largely works as a great introduction to all the characters,  part two is about the beginnings of the fight to save the beach, and then part 3... well part 3 culminates all of this and much much more. 

Even at Deb's age of a grandma in her sixties, i would almost describe this as a coming of age story for her, as she learns to stand on her own two feet after leaving her husband, and starting to figure out just who she is as an adult.  There are some hilarious scenes early on with regards the temporary job she has taken on, and although at times I wasn't sure how much I liked Deb, but I could sympathise with her, and loved the development of her character. 

I loved the ups and downs of this community and by the end I felt as though I was part of their club. Its a great story of the underdog, touches on assorted serious topics, but also some great comedy too.  Just an all around enjoyable book. 

Thanks to Trapeze and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Thank you to everyone that voted for this this week,  I was very surprised at the start of the week that this would be the one I would be reading, but incredibly glad that in my mind the underdog won, given the book features an underdog too   So what will you all be voting for this week? Go check it out if you haven't already.

Rachel Reads Randomly - Vote #91

Thank you everyone for your input last time. The results of the last vote were:

3 Votes -  The House of Hopes and Dreams by Trisha Ashley
4 Votes - How Not To Be A Bride by Portia MacIntosh
7 Votes  - The Whitstable High Tide Swimming Club by Katie May

It is not often that a result from this takes me completely by surprise, but given I am big fans of the other two authors, I am rather pleased you voted for The Whitstable High Tide Swimming Club, as it may have been waiting for me for a lot longer to read it.  Really enjoyed it, and you can see my full review here later today. 
For the next few weeks we will be randomising from my review back log - until each book in the back log has been up for a vote I keep falling further behind this may take a while,   Also hoping it means there are books more of you have heard of and thus will be more engaged with the vote!  

Below is my initial theory for this feature, and then a bit further, what you are all waiting for... This weeks's vote! Enjoy!

I am also awful at deciding what book to read next, as I often have about 10 titles or authors jumping into my brain at any time, shouting at me to read them, and I tend to worry I have made the wrong decision while reading a perfectly good book. I am hoping this will save me having to make at least 1 choice a week, while possibly providing a review to the site of a book you all either love or are curious about yourselves. 

So what I am proposing, is my lovely loyal readers of Rachel's Random Reads, select one book for me to read a week, and I will post the review the following week. 

This week's random numbers are...

And the books these numbers correspond to are...

So the 5 choices with my gut feeling responses are:

2 - A House to Mend A Broken Heart by Alison Sherlock - I have really enjoyed books by this author in the past, and I have spotted on release schedules that there is another book in this series due out later this year, so perhaps I should catch up. 
5 - All The Stars in the Sky by Paul Curtis - I agree to review this is a moment of good will last year, and then well..evidently haven't started it yet! 
13 - Best Practice by Penny Parkes - This is the third book in this fabulous doctors surgery and makes me always remember the programme Doctors when I read them. Loving this series from the first two books. 

Hmm I know that one of these is a rather long book, one of them I should really enjoy and the third well I have no real idea but I wouldn't have agreed to read any of them if there weren't something appealing me.  So its over to you! 

And authors, if its your book up on this feature, feel free to take part, vote for yourself, or stir up excitement amongst your fans! 

Pick your favourite or the one you most want me to review, or just the one you are curious about, and leave me a comment below, before midnight on Wednesday. 

I look forward to seeing what I will be reading over the weekend, courtesy of you all. 

The explanation if you haven't seen the feature before. 

How is this going to work?

Every Monday, I am going to have a post like this, which is going to have some choices on it. I am planning on using to select 7 random numbers, to coincide with my spreadsheet of unread books.  

I will from that produce a list of hopefully 5 books, I reserve the right to veto any books, and will give reasons for them, if it occurs.

I will take screenshots and post them, of the chosen books, and also give you my instinctive reactions to the choices (without checking blurbs or any other info about them, which could be interesting as there are probably many forgotten about books on my spreadsheet!). 

Your task is to post a comment on this post, with the book you would like me to read this week. At midnight on Wednesday I will take a tally of the votes and the book with the most, I will read and review for the following Monday, where you will also get a new choice post. 

In the event of a tie, I will chose which one appeals most, for the Monday review, and possibly try and read and review the other to appear when I can. 

I am hoping this will provide some variety to the books appearing, and will let me potentially read or discover some great authors that I have wanted to read but not got around to yet.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Would You Rather? - Q&A with Emily Williams - Blog Tour

I am delighted to welcome Emily Williams to my blog today, and she has answer a series of fun questions all entitled - Would You Rather?

 1. Would you rather live under the sea or in space?

I would much rather live under the sea. There is something so peaceful and serene about swimming underwater. I love snorkelling on holiday amongst the rocks and marine life and think I would be completely at home in the sea. Space would terrify me!

2. Would you rather only read your genres you write in, or all other genres for the rest of your life? 

All other genres! Although, so far, I haven’t completely stuck to one genre with my writing but they both have elements of romance. I do like variety, so think I would get bored just reading one genre for the rest of my life!

3. Would you rather ride a camel or an elephant?

I’d rather ride a camel, as long as the conditions the animal were ridden in were good. There are horror stories about how elephants are trained to be ridden so I would be very cautious about riding an elephant – although I’d still love to and would find the experience amazing. The animal would have to be kept in exceptional conditions as would the camel, but I choose the camel!

4. Would you rather eat sweet or savoury food? 

Hard one! Ahhh, can I say both?! I’m not sure I can choose as it depends on my mood but overall, I’d probably pick savoury as there as so many things I’d miss if I couldn’t. I could never give up cheese for example!

5.    Would you rather pick all future books to read by their covers only, or their blurbs?

Blurbs as I am incredibly influenced by the cover, but with the blurb I can make a much better judgement as to whether I’d enjoy the book or not. It’s true a great cover does pull you in but the blurb would give me a hint of the story.

6. Would you rather go skiing or sit by a beach on holiday?

The beach. I can’t read when skiing! I love being active but not too fond of being cold. So the beach, with a beautiful sea to swim in, warm sun and a good book would be perfect.

7. Would you rather go to the cinema or the theatre?

Cinema, unless the theatre production is very good. I haven’t been to many theatre shows so couldn’t really compare, but I’d like to experience more.

8. Would you rather read ebooks, audiobooks or physical books?

I definitely would rather read physical books. There is nothing like the feel and smell of a good book. However, practicalities mean that I normally read from an eBook, sadly.

9. Would you rather be rich but unhappy or poor and happy?

Poor and happy. I value happiness above everything.

10. Would you rather play or watch sports? 

I would prefer to play, if my body allows. Sadly, I have an autoimmune condition which means my body wouldn’t cope with sports but I’d still rather play than watch! I can cope with watching the Olympics but that’s about it!

11. Would you rather always have to tell the truth, or always have to lie?

Hard one! Occasionally white lies are useful but if I had to choose, I would go for always tell the truth. Otherwise, the world would be a terrible place.

12. Would you rather only be able to whisper the whole time, or shout the whole time?

Whisper. I’m a bit noise sensitive and can’t bare shouting so would find my own voice terrible to listen to all day!

13. Would you rather always be late or always be unprepared?

Always be late, but then at least I’d be prepared and could just waltz in and complete whatever needs doing! I normally hate being late but I’d rather that that be unprepared for something.

14. Would you rather have your own luxury car, or private plane?

Neither! I’m not too bothered by luxury stuff, but I suppose a car would be more practical.

15. Would you rather be aged 10 or 30 forever?

30 forever. Thirty is a good age. You are past the horrific teenage years but still have youth on your side. I’d happily go back to be thirty again!

16. Would you rather look like a fish or smell like a fish?

Haha, I’d probably prefer to look like one?! I think I would be put off by myself if I smelt like one. As much as I love eating fish, the smell is strong!

17. Would you rather be an only child or have siblings?

I have a sister, I’m not sure it would be fair to answer this question! Only joking, from experience, I think it’s great having a sister. I’m pleased my children have each other to talk to and play with, so siblings are important.

18. Would you rather lose your keys or forget your mobile phone?

I’m terrible at both of these! I absolutely hate losing my keys. My daughter recently put them down behind the radiator and it took days to find them! With a phone being left behind, by the end of the day I’d have it back. So I’d probably choose the phone.

19. Would you rather have free books for life or free food for life?

Probably free books, although this was a hard decision. I do love food, very much so. But with free food, I would just eat and eat and eat, which wouldn’t be very healthy. So for my health’s sake, I’d choose books.

20. Would you rather give up social media or alcohol?

Social media! I love gin and wine too much! Social media has only really become important to me since I started blogging and joined the author world and I can see how important it is. But to give up alcohol forever, hmmm I’m not sure I could! 

A word from the author…

I wrote Rafferty Lincoln Loves… as I have always wanted to write a novel involving horses. I read many pony stories as a child, but have found that there are very few to read as a young adult/adult so I wanted to fill this void. I have been around horses from a very early age and spent many years saving to afford my own horse. Sadly, due to a road accident and then a fall of a horse, I can no longer ride. However, my passion and love for equines hasn’t diminished. Due to arm injuries from the accidents, I have had to dictate the novel, Rafferty Lincoln Loves… and am donating the proceeds of the novel to the British Thoroughbred Retraining Centre – a charity I have supported since childhood.

Many thanks for supporting the novel and I do hope you enjoy it!
Emily x

Link to the novel:

Rafferty Lincoln doesn't like horses. Not one bit. But when the popular high school girl of his dreams, Liberty Ashburn, pulls him into a world of lead ropes and horse brushes, who is he to say no?

Except this isn't any old horse. This is the missing racehorse, Profits Red Ridge. The horse Rafferty and three of his friends are hiding from the world. And Liberty Ashburn isn’t just any ordinary high school girl. How far will Rafferty go to win her over?

An intense, witty and powerful coming of age story with startling consequences.

About the charity ‘The British Thoroughbred Retraining Centre’

 The proceeds from the novel ‘Rafferty Lincoln Loves…’ will be donated to The British Thoroughbred Retraining Centre.

BTRC is dedicated to improving and promoting the welfare of retired racehorses through education, retraining and suitable rehoming in order to ensure that our Thoroughbreds have a rewarding and valuable life after their racing careers have ended.

Each year thousands of horses leave racing, some because they reach the natural end of their career and others through injury or lack of ability. Established in 1991, The British Thoroughbred Retraining Centre was the UK’s first charity dedicated to ex-racehorse welfare, retraining, rehoming and protection for life.

‘It is fantastic to see a contemporary novel for young adults embracing passion and love for horses, as well as advocating for their welfare. Emily’s fast-paced novel not only explores the relationship and incredible bond between horse and rider but also delves into darker aspects relevant to today’s challenging world of growing up. Rafferty Lincoln Loves… deserves to be celebrated for bringing an important cause to the forefront of today’s young adults.’ Frankie Dettori MBE

‘I am thrilled to have written this novel for the BTRC and to be donating the proceeds to such an important and dedicated charity for the welfare of retired racehorses.’ Emily Williams 

Author Bio

Emily Williams lives by the seaside in West Sussex with her family and a menagerie of small pets, including her own horse Bella, and welsh mountain pony, Lucy. After graduating from Sussex University with a BA in Psychology, Emily trained as a primary school teacher and teaches in a local school. 

Rafferty Lincoln Loves... is her first YA novel after the success of her debut adult novel, Letters to Eloise, released in 2017.

You can follow Emily on twitter @EmilyRMWilliams
Find out more about Emily’s other books on Amazon: 
Read reviews and find out more on her blog:

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Book Review - Plan Cee by Hilary Grossman - #HolidayReading Book 20

Book 20 of 30 that I read on my holiday to Fuerteventura in December 2017

Amazon UK
Title: Plan Cee
Author: Hilary Grossman
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Author supplied copy
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: 8th March 2017
Rating: 4 Stars

Would you abandon your present for a second chance at your past?

Cecelia Reynolds has spent most of her life trying to forget the commitment-phobic man who broke her heart. It wasn’t easy, but eventually she did it, or so she thought…

As Cecelia and her husband gather for a friend’s wedding, her perfect world is thrown into complete turmoil. Even though it’s been twenty years since she last laid eyes on Keith Emerson, all it takes is one glance for her to feel emotions she thought were long gone. When Keith ends up officiating the ceremony, she quickly realizes his message of love is directed at her, not the happy couple. But can she believe him?

We live our entire lives thinking we know ourselves. But do we ever really?

As secrets and lies cause Cecelia’s world to spin completely out of control, she is forced to seek advice from the most unlikely ally. In the process, she must confront the demons of her past and the events that shaped her into the woman she is now. Will she finally learn the real meaning of love, friendship, and family?

While this book is a sequel to Plan Bea, it also reads as a standalone.

Book that had me interested from the first few pages, I just had to find out more about Cecelia and Keith.

Just what was Keith all about and why did his presence at Beatrice's wedding cause Cee so many problems?

As the story progressed, I struggled to have much sympathy at times with Cee, its not that she is a bad person, just seemed to struggle to make good decisions.

Then again I wasn't overly enamoured by Keith either. In fact the characters I liked the best were Bryce, Cee's husband, and Walter, Beatrice's husband. 

This is the sequel to Plan Bea, and although you don't need to have read the first book to know what is going on in this one, it does give a better foundation for your knowledge of some of the characters. 

I enjoyed the writing, and the story is a reasonably quick one to read.  I was though surprised by the rather abrupt ending, especially as the book finished at 89% which I found slightly off putting. 

Overall I have enjoyed the second book that I have read by the author and I will be curious to see what the next one will be. 

Thank you to Hilary Grossman for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Friday, 16 March 2018

Book Review - The Cafe at Seashell Cove by Karen Clarke - Blog Tour

Amazon UK
Title: The Cafe at Seashell Cove
Author: Karen Clarke
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Bookouture
Publication Date: 15th March 2018
Rating: 5 Stars

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?

What a refreshing change for a book that feature the word Cafe in the title to not be completely about food and life in the cafe!  The book is really about Cassie who has returned to her home town after working in London for years, to try to set up her own events planning business, and intending to run a series of events at her parent's cafe to build up local contacts. 

Given she had been working as an event planner in London, a fact her parents continually boast about, should mean that things go according to plan for Cassie but as you may have guessed from the start of that sentence, things aren't quite that simple. 

I absolutely loved the variety of ideas that Cassie came up with for the cafe, and the events certainly sounded a lot of fun. Cassie is able to re-connect with old friends and feel closer to her family too, but is she truly happy? Well you will need to read to see exactly what is is Cassie should be doing with her life. 

One of my favourite scenes involved a comedy night, the one liners from the comedian were perfectly pitched both for the audience he was performing to, and also for my sense  of humour. They were clever but groan worthy at the same time, I loved them. 

The writing is fabulous and with ever book I read of Karen Clarke's she is becoming a firm favourite of mine. The setting of Seashell Cove sounded divine and I would have loved to visit for myself.  This is a warm hearted, uplifting story of family, romance, and of being true to yourself and I would recommend it to anyone. 

Just don't expect lashings of gorgeous cake descriptions, as although there is small bit of food, as I said at the start this is not a typical cafe story, and shouldn't be read with that expectation. The cafe does have a place to play but more of as a hub for where Cassie tries out some of her ideas. 

Thanks to Netgalley and Bookouture for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Author Bio:
Karen Clarke writes romantic comedy novels. Her BEACHSIDE series is set in the fictional seaside town of Shipley and features recurring characters, but each book can be read as a standalone. She is currently working on a new, three-book series set in Devon- the first, The Café at Seashell Cove is out March 15th 2018. 

Karen has also written three romcoms with a paranormal twist, all available to download

When she's not working on her novels, Karen writes short stories for women's magazines and has had over three hundred published globally. Some of them can be read in her short story collection 'BEHIND CLOSED DOORS...and other Tales with a Twist' 

Karen lives in Buckinghamshire with her husband and three grown-up children.

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