The Cocktail Bar – Isabella May

Well, I didn’t hesitate for a moment upon being asked to review this book, having enjoyed its predecessor, #TwinkleTwinkleLittleBar so much. I am so looking forward to this next chapter in the lovely River’s life, as I previously found him to be such a fabulously compelling character, for whom one would wish nothing but good things. I was also indelibly drawn to the front cover of the book; it looked good enough to eat?

This book was dedicated to ‘all of those in need of magic’. Well, I can attest that this book most certainly afforded me a few magical hours, getting away from it all.

I liked the way that River hinted to his customers of an aire of mystique, by refusing to serve anyone with more than two drinks on any one night; it seemed like very clever marketing to me. As the book progressed though, I felt increasingly uncertain of Georgina and her underhand ways and I looked forward to her having her comeuppance. Conversely I loved the way that River was with Alice; he was such a gentleman. I found myself just hoping that River would find his precious envelope, stolen when his bar was thrashed by thugs. I really River’s sense of loyalty and the way he genuinely looked out for his friends; this amplified my worries about anyone looking to take advantage of him.

If you share my thoughts and are as desperate as me to see River and Alice get together, then you will need to read on for yourself.

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Anything You Can Do – BR Maycock

It was with interest that I started to read this book from an author new to me.

I immediately warmed to Caroline and Noel, because they seemed to be living in an all too familiar shadow of domestic chaos! I also loved the fact that Caroline lived in tracksuit bottoms (albeit nice ones).

Caroline did have the patience of a saint when it came singlehandedly putting up with Noel’s relatives – namely Anne, Emmie, Zara and Philip and I very much looked forward to seeing how Noel put up with their attitudes and behaviours, when domestic roles changed substantially, with Caroline going out to work, while Noel worked from home (even if Noel’s change of circumstance was due to his boss’s underhand attempt to garner favour with those allocating business Family Friendly awards).

The thing that this book was not short of, was laughs. I feel compelled to clarify; when I say laughs, I am not referring to your average little laugh. Oh no. I am thinking about great big spurt out whatever is in your mouth, snot drenching, all consuming guffaws. The kind of laughs that tested my mum-bladder. Oh how I laughed, but rest assured there was no smugness in my mirth. This was the kind of empathetic merriment that could only truly be appreciated by a fellow parent. A prime example was Lucas and Babs and the case of the finger sized holes in the runaround car. Not only was their behaviour excruciating for Caroline, but the children seemed able to perform their exquisite acts at the most agonising moments, in order to deliver maximum embarrassment to poor old Mum.

Caroline certainly seemed to rule the house with her very own brand of thoroughly disorganised chaos. It seemed to me that Noel was more than a little derisive about what she did in the home and with the children – so I looked forward to seeing how the couple faired upon changing roles.

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Finding Edith Pinsent – Hazel Ward

I was so pleased to be given the opportunity to review this book, having enjoyed its predecessor immensely.

I found myself enchanted by the way that Netta was looking into her home’s previous owner’s history, by going through all the old documents left in Edith Pinsent’s former house, when many would have put it straight into a skip! i was also pleased to see the relationships with Netta and her children still going from strength to strength, after the wobbles in the previous book.

I liked the clever way that the book interchanged chapters about the present with chapters based in Edith’s heyday. In particular, Edie’s war memoirs were fascinating, although the story regarding Jimmy was heartbreaking.

I found myself curious to know what had happened to Edie’s Robert, and hoped that he had not met an untimely end and I loved the writing about Bill and Eddie; it was totally heart-rending.

Ijust hoped that by reading Edie’s diaries, Netta might be able to come to terms with her demons, having recognised the parallels in her own life.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and found it refreshingly different with its mixture of social history and the present day. I don’t want to give too much away though, so you will need to read this great book for yourself.

Wishing Under a Starlight Skye – Lisa Hobman

Someone once said to me that life is too short to spend it reading books you don’t love. I couldn’t agree more and that is why I didn’t hesitate to take the opportunity from @raresources to review Lisa Hobman’s latest novel. I was particularly thrilled to discover that this book was based in Glentorrin and revisited some places and characters from a previous novel, a case in point being the fabulous actress Ruby Locke – the thought of another story involving Ruby felt like the chance to catch up with an old friend, to me.

The prologue was one heck of an emotional start to a book, and it made me feel so sad, that someone could react to Caitlin’s news in such a barbaric, antiquated way. I think my sadness was compounded because it felt so realistic and I found myself reeling at the thought of loved ones behaving in such a barbaric, unforgivable manner. Truly terrible. Conversely what was magnificent however, was Lisa Hobman’s descriptions of 1980’s decor – absolutely on point!

I was genuinely happy to discover that Caitlin’s Mother had eventually apologised for her abhorrent behaviour, some years before her death, and had had the opportunity to meet her Granddaughter.

Caitlin is looking to expand upon her non existent love life and her nearest and dearest are not reticent in handing out advice! I did think that having a varied love life on a tiny Scottish island was a bit of a tall ask, but I did think that Cora’s Dad, Lyle, sounded most promising! I did feel for Caitlin when she made a but of an entrance at the local singles night, especially given the close-knit community that she lived in!

Yet again I loved the descriptive language in this book and I felt that I was being familiarised with Glentorrin. When I closed my eyes I almost felt as though I were actually there, soaking up the sights, smells and sounds.

I enjoyed debating Caitlin’s love life with myself, but wasn’t overly impressed with the candidacy that was Archie and Lyle. I felt as though Caitlin shared my doubts. Archie it seems was auto-dismissed due to their past youthful past, but it was almost as though this past was auto-affecting any future that the love-seeking couple could potentially have. Lyle seemed perfect, but I did start to wonder about him and his right wing views and whether these would prove one step too far in the ladder that is romance for Caitlin.

One thing I was confident in was that Caitlin would find herself a suitable mate, after going without for so long, so why not join me in Caitlin’s journey, where one thing for certain outshines all else – Caitlin’s unrequited love for Grace.







A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow – Jessica Redland

I am so excited – I am finding it hard to articulate how excited I am at the idea of reviewing the latest book in the fabulous Hedgehog Hollow series. I am a huge fan of Jessica Redland’s outstanding books; I cannot begin to imagine how she manages to write so many spectacular stories.

I was particularly excited by this book, due to the way that the previous book in the series ended, with the shadow of financial irregularities looming over Samantha and her hedgehog sanctuary. Fear not though, if you haven’t read any of the previous books yet, as this book very handily starts with a bit of a recap and a handy list of who is who. I can guarantee though, that if this is your first read in the series, once you have read this one, you will be hooked and you will want to catchup with the rest of the series.

I love Samantha, especially the way that her interactions with humans seem to reflect her hog rescue work. She seems to collect waifs and strays – evidenced by the loyal rescue volunteers and by the houseful at the farm on Christmas day and afterwards. Samantha is also an expert in forgiveness, for example her interactions with Chloe and with her Mother, as well as the way she sorted out Rosemary.

I found myself vehemently hoping that Phoebe wasn’t behind the missing rescue centre money; she seemed like a victim herself – a kind of modern day Cinderella.

Jessica Redland is a gifted author, time after time providing us, the readers, with a period of unparalleled escapism. Her characters are wonderful and I can’t help thinking that if we were all a little bit like Samantha, the world would be a better place.

Heartcross Castle – Christie Barlow

I loved this book from the beginning, with its beautiful cover and the handy Heartcross map, but then I was anticipating loving it, having enjoyed the previous instalments in the lives of the Heartcross folk.

I had mixed feelings about Grace going back to Heartcross; it felt like the right thing to do, but I couldn’t help but feel sad at the combination of circumstances that led to her returning, especially with three young children in tow. I was however left in no doubt, as to her love for her children. I just hoped with all my might, that their Father would stay away.

I loved Grace from the very start and had the utmost respect for the love she had for her children; she seemed to have a knack for making the best out of a trying situation. It was heartwarming, the way that her old friends welcomed her home and rallied around her.

I loved Grace’s honesty and I thought she brought out the very best in Andrew.

I adored this visit to Heartcross; it was the very best antidote to a miserable January. It filled my heart with a special kind of unbridled joy. I cannot wait for the next book in the series!

A Spring Surprise for the Cornish Midwife – Jo Bartlett

What better way to brighten up a dank, dark, gloomy day, than to revisit the Cornish Midwives. What a treat, to be able to both catch up with some old friends, and meet some new, invariably delightful characters.

I was delighted to see that we are hearing more of Jess’s story; I know its only a story, but I feel so engaged with the existing characters like Jess, that I find myself completely caught up in the events of her laugh, longing for her adoption to actually gain wheels and take place.

Once again, I find myself bewitched by the descriptions in the book and I frequently feel as though I am transported to Cornwall, when I close my eyes. I am once again holidaying in Cornwall vicariously, through this series of books.

Jess is a thoroughly selfless character – someone we should all aspire to be like, putting everyone and everything ahead of herself. I did feel however that sometimes she should put herself and her life first, but ai think she would struggle with that concept! Jess’s reaction to the ‘surprise’ left on her doorstep was exemplary, although a tad poignant, as I was reminded of Jess’s inability to have children.

I thought that Jess was presented with the most awful, heart-breaking dilemma, and I struggled to think what I would do, given her circumstance. True to form however, Jess consistently puts the needs of others above her own, such is her personality.

This book had me on tenterhooks from the very beginning. I so wanted things to work out for Jess, although I was desperate for her not to go back to her stinking worm of a Husband!

To find out what happens for yourself – whether Jess gets what she wants – you will need to read this great book for yourself, and like me, cross all your fingers and toes!

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