#BookReview By Lou – The Arctic Curry Club By Dani Redd @dani_redd @AvonBooksUK #TheArcticCurryClub #Fiction #ContemporaryFiction #Food #Community #UpliftingFiction

The Arctic Curry Club
By Dani Redd

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Arctic Curry Club, Dani Redd, Heartwarming, Xmas Romance, Love, Contemporary Romance

One of the recent books that was gifted in in a lovely care type package with flavoured coffee that has long since gone, although a bit strong for me but loved this touch and drank it all the same, was The Arctic Curry Club. It’s different and yet uplifting and good for foodies and people exploring different settings for that Christmas, wintry feel. Find out what it’s about in the blurb and then my honest review… Please note, the opinions are my own and not influenced by anything I was gifted.

The Arctic Curry Club

‘For my whole life I had been looking for home. But why would that be in a place that I’d left? Perhaps I had to keep moving forward in order to find it…’

Soon after upending her life to accompany her boyfriend Ryan to the Arctic, Maya realises it’s not all Northern Lights and husky sleigh rides. Instead, she’s facing sub-zero temperatures, 24-hour darkness, crippling anxiety – and a distant boyfriend as a result.

In her loneliest moment, Maya opens her late mother’s recipe book and cooks Indian food for the first time. Through this, her confidence unexpectedly grows – she makes friends, secures a job as a chef, and life in the Arctic no longer freezes her with fear.

But there’s a cost: the aromatic cuisine rekindles memories of her enigmatic mother and her childhood in Bangalore. Can Maya face the past and forge a future for herself in this new town? After all, there’s now high demand for a Curry Club in the Arctic, and just one person with the know-how to run it…

A tender and uplifting story about family, community, and finding where you truly belong – guaranteed to warm your heart despite the icy setting!

The Arctic Curry Club 2

Review

The Arctic Curry Club is mosty about trying to discover your roots and where you feel like you actually belong. Maya is part English and part Indian. She has a boyfriend who is the opposite to her. He is fit and sporty, she is plump, small and also full of anxiety about so much. 

The book is set between England, India and the Arctic. Her boyfriend leads her to the Arctic where he really feels he belongs with the husky dogs and sleds etc. She is more unsure and her anxieties rise as she becomes increasingly scared of getting lost. Later they come across someone running a tour guide business, which she becomes involved in, or at least coaxed to, to cook Indian food. One issue is she doesn’t really know how to, which sends her in a different direction, to find out more about her Indian roots, which she can’t recall too much of, not since a family tragedy.

Later, she opens up her mother’s cookbook and starts to make a go of things, trying to fit in and become part of the community, who start to rally around and friendships are soon forged and her confidence grows with this and her new job as a chef. It is fun reading about how she adapts some recipes, depending on what ingredients she can get, especially from Norway, shows an element of fearlessness in the kitchen to experiment, even if it doesn’t always work out as planned first time. This is where the uplifting side of Maya’s life comes into the story, along with that friendly community feel.

At the back of the book, there is an interesting note from the author about how she spent time in both India and the Arctic Circle. The story itself shows how she became inspired by these places to write a fictional uplifting story. The settings, especially the Arctic make this book quite different for the universal themes to occur in.

#BookReview of The Call of the Penguins By Hazel Prior @HazelPriorBooks @TransworldBooks #Christmasread #CallOfThePenguins #Fiction #Wildlife #UpliftingFiction #ContemporaryFiction #GeneralFiction

The Call of the Penguins
By Hazel Prior

Rating: 4 out of 5.

From the author of Away with the Penguins - Call of the Penguins is out this Autumn

The Call of the Penguins will have you wanting to whisk yourself to them in a heartbeat!
Thanks to publisher – Transworld Books for gifting me a copy to review. Find out more in the blurb and my full review below.

Call of the PenguinsA delightfully feel-good new novel from the No. 1 bestselling author of Away With the Penguins – sure to become a firm favourite with readers!

At eighty-seven, Veronica McCreedy thinks her days of travelling the world are behind her. But when she’s invited to take part in a TV nature documentary that will take her across the globe filming her beloved penguins, she leaps at the prospect of a new adventure . . .

 

Review

'Penguins represent bravery, determination and resilience'

Set, initially in Ayrshire on the west coast of Scotland, The Call of the Penguins has charm and warmth and that call for a new adventure for Veronica McCreedy. The book is warm but tackles worldly issues within its cosyness of the penguins. There’s a new colony of penguins being introduced as well as updates on the penguins in the Antarctic. This brings a fresh and brings a new slant to human and animal stories.

The chapters are split between Veronica, Patrick and Terry. Readers get to know their trials and tribulations of life, such as family, health, relationship issues and more… It makes for an interesting read as they take you into the heart of the animal or at least penguin kingdom, as well as their own lives that have their ups and downs as do the penguins. In saying that, it does have a feel-good factor that will give you a cuddly warming feel, without being sappy as it deals with some of what can be found in hard-hitting headlines about the environment and conservation. Veronica McCreedy, although is trying to do something good in conserving penguins, isn’t without attracting her own headlines of controversy to a point.

This is a rather enjoyable book with all the adventures you’ll go on and the characters you’ll meet along the way as you cosy up from the cold winter days.

'The perfect fireside read' Trisha Ashley, 2021

 

#BookReview By Lou – Celebrations At The Chateau By Jo Thomas @jo_thomas01 @TransworldBooks #Christmas #CelebrationsAtTheChateau

Celebrations At The Chateau
By Jo Thomas

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Celebrations at the Chateau is coming soon

A cosy feel good novel set in France, Celebrations At The Chateau is a book that entertains. Thanks to    Take a look at the blurb and then my full review below…

Celebrations at the Chateau

Blurb

'Another gem from Jo Thomas' Kate Fforde 2021A wonderfully romantic, feel-good new novel set in a French château over the most magical time of the year! From the bestselling author of Escape to the French Farmhouse.

When their grandfather dies, Fliss and her sisters are astonished to inherit a French château! Travelling to Normandy to visit the beautiful if faded house, they excitedly make plans over delicious crêpes and local cider in the town nearby.

But they soon discover the château needs major work, a huge tax bill is due . . . and there’s a sitting tenant, Madame Charlotte Cadieux, to whom they owe a monthly allowance!

Unable to sell but strapped for cash, Fliss determines to spruce up the elegant old rooms and open a B&B. But why are Jacques – Madame’s grandson and the mayor – and the other townsfolk so hostile? How did Fliss’ grandfather come to own the place anyway? And will Jacques and Fliss be able to put their differences aside to save the château?

It seems like nothing but trouble. But as the old year gives way to the new, it could be a new beginning for them all . . .

Inspired by Escape to the Chateau, this is a cosy and uplifting novel to curl up with, from the author of Escape to the French Farmhouse and Finding Love at the Christmas Market.

Review

There’s work to be done and a chateau to save in this feel-good book. Fliss and her sisters have a large task on their hands in France. They end up with a chateau that needs doing up. They also need to decide what to do about a sit-in tenant they were not expecting. It very much makes me think of channel 4 series – Escape to the Chateau in many ways in that it needs so many reparations. It’s such a huge undertaking to save it. It’s entertaining to see what unfolds, but hardship also hits them as a huge bill arrives. The locals are not pleasant and are far from welcoming to these new incomers. It shows how society can be towards new people, or at least, part of it. It’s a big undertaking and one that makes for a fun story to escape into.

It’s lovely reading about the renovations as they get underway and all the food and drinks that wash over the book, creating the cosy factor with interesting characters.

 

#Review of A Cornish Christmas By Phillipa Ashley @PhillipaAshley @AvonBooksUK #Christmas #ContemporaryFiction #Fiction

A Special Cornish Christmas
By Phillipa Ashley

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A Special Cornish Christmas, Cornwall, Cornish, Phillipa Ashley, Women's Fiction, Romance

Get into that Christmas cosiness with A Special Cornish Christmas. It has all the ingredients needed for those magical vibes. Thanks to Avon Books for gifting me a copy and check out the blurb and the rest of my review below…

A Special Cornish Christmas, Phillipa Ashley, Women's Fiction, Romance

Blurb

A Special Cornish ChristmasFor Bo Grayson, Christmas has always been the most wonderful time of the year. Well, until she had her heart broken last December…

At a local summer fete, Bo and her friends meet the mysterious fortune teller Madame Odette, and they are each given the same prediction: You will meet the love of your life by Christmas Day.

With just a few months until the festive season, they dismiss the predictions out of hand. Bo’s attentions are focused on creating the best seasonal menu for her Boatyard Café, and her rock and roll dance group – the Falford Flingers – who are hard at work getting ready for their Christmas Spectacular show.

The last thing she imagines is that she’ll be ready to open her heart again. But will fate – and perhaps a sprinkle of Christmas magic – change her mind?

Review

Christmas, it can either be fabulous or can have a pang of sadness, if someone has broken your heart and that’s what happens to Bo. She vows never to fall in love again. This, however is a sparkly feel-good book, so it doesn’t end there. There’s food to feast your eyes on at her Boatyard Cafe and music from her band, which brings a bit of Christmas cheer and the atmosphere, despite of that, is divine. There’s some seasonal eccentricity with Madame Odette telling her fortunes, although they are met by some cynicism by Bo and her friends. Romance is also of course in the air and the setting in Cornwall is beautiful, in this story, which has all the magical Christmas ingredients stirred together and baked just right. It’s a bit Christmas movie like in many ways. It is cosy and lovely for pure escapism as you prepare for Christmas.

#BookReview – Looking for the Durrells By Melanie Hewitt @MelanieHewitt61 @HarperInspire #Fiction #Bookboost #LookingForTheDurrells

Looking for the Durrells
By Melanie Hewitt

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Today I am excited to reveal my review for Looking For the Durrells By Melanie Hewitt. The Durrell’s are fascinating and that tv drama was wonderfully done. This book takes you to Corfu as you meet Penny on her travels to find what remains from this family, mixing fact and fiction to create an absorbing book. Thanks to Melanie Hewitt for gifting me a signed copy of the book. Opinions are my own and not influenced by this.
Find out more in the blurb and my full review below.

Looking for the Durrells: A heartwarming, feel-good and uplifting novel bringing the Durrells back to life

Blurb

Looking For the Durrells 1Fiancés, friends, and other animals…

After a year that sees a broken-off engagement and the death of her beloved father, Penny is desperate to get away.

Fulfilling a childhood dream, she sets off on a month-long pilgrimage to Corfu – an island idyll she knows only through the pages of Gerald Durrell’s My Family and Other Animals.

On the island, Penny quickly finds herself drawn into the lives of a tight-knit circle of strangers. Exploring – searching for the places the Durrells knew decades before – she makes unexpected discoveries about the hopes, fears, and secrets of the people living there today.

And as strangers start to be friends, lives past and present become entwined in ways none of them could have predicted…

Review

Looking For the Durrells 2Penny is so enthused by The Durrells and has a passion for Gerald Durrell’s book – My Family and Other Animals, has read this and the whole trilogy So Many Times! Enthusiam and energy breaths through each page and there is suddenly, after a life event, adventure in the air and what an adventure she is going to have as she heads to Corfu on her own to discover more about the Durrells and Corfu and what it is like, what has changed or whether it even smells like it did in the 1930’s when the family were there. This is a sparky book and you can’t help but feel the energy and curiosity encapsulating, wrapping round like a hug as there’s such warmth.

When she arrives in Corfu you start to get a sense of the place, including the apartment and its surrounding area. There are quite a few people to meet, a few familiar names (familiar if you’ve read Gerald’s stories or watched the recent drama – The Durrells, or indeed know the families), such as the Ioannidis family, Spiro, Tess and Theo Stephanides – 3 people, 3 generations. There are people who Eve meets who knew the Durrell’s family friend, Spiro Americano. It’s an interesting and yet nice touch that the author has decided to use this as well as the fact he was also known by Spiro Halikiopoulos. There’s also an interesting revelation there that takes this family right up to present day with an amusing anecdote.

As well as discovering The Durrells (as well as a little snippet of what happened to them) and what survives of when they lived in Corfu, Penny is also discovering whether its a place she wants to be to start a new life. She meets many people, including Nicolas Constantine (Nic), a professor of marine biology and Dimitris.

Penny really embraces the Durrells, even donning the types of clothes Margo would have worn and what draws her to not just the Durrells as a whole family, but Margo, inparticular.
There are also travels to discover the family’s first and last houses they lived in whilst in Corfu. As well as looking around the island discovering what it holds, there is also room for romance and to uncover some of the secrets some of its present day residents keep. The connections to the island and how people are connected adds to the life of Corfu. The book is very much in the present, with references back to the Durrell’s and Corfu’s past. It is all rather a lovely, uplifting, cosy story.

Melanie Hewitt really draws you into this adventure and into the sights, temperatures, aromas, atmosphere and sounds of Corfu. It isn’t about the Durrells in the way a non-fiction book would document their lives or like the books that they wrote, it is very much a story in its own right and is akin to being on holiday on a tour finding out the places they went to and the people. It also, in a way, makes me think of travel programmes where the presenter meets others who know an area and meet people, since Penny gets lucky to meet people who knew or has connections to The Durrells, so alongside Penny’s life and adventure is some fact about the family and the Greek island. This is actually quite nice and works well as it makes it a story of its own and puts a different slant on things that is really rather accessible for everyone and gives it a holiday vibe. I love that there has been correspondence between Melanie Hewitt and Lee Durrell – Gerald Durrell’s wife and the book has been shared with her. This, I find very respectful and makes the book alright to come into being, by my reckoning, since it includes mentions of her family. It makes it a more comfortable, relaxing and enjoyable read than it may well have done otherwise.

 

Conspiracy of Cats By B.C. Harris @BCHarris64 #CrimeFiction #SupernaturalCrimeFiction #MurderMystery

 Conspiracy of Cats
By B.C. Harris

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I am pleased to bring a review of The Conspiracy of Cats – an involving, chilling murder mystery with a difference that makes it fairly unique. Thanks to Ian Harris for getting in touch and for gifting me a copy of the book in exchange of an honest review.
Take a look at the blurb and review below to find out more.

Conspiracy of Cats

Blurb

Conspiracy of CatsCONSPIRACY OF CATS… a supernatural murder mystery.
An apprehensive Jos Ferguson travels from Edinburgh to northern Tanzania to visit the house her Uncle Peter built before he died. But Peter isn’t as dead as he should be… he was murdered, and he wants his niece to help him exact revenge upon his killer. With a little Maasai magic and a conspiracy of cats, Jos sets out to do exactly that.
A beautiful house. A horrible death. A brilliant revenge.
Who knew death could be so lively?

Review

Meet Jos Ferguson, who’s life is between Scotland, where she is originally from, Tanzania and England. It gets off to an immense start that grips. Readers learn of freak accidents and a murder, so the book isn’t an average journey or holiday and life poses much heartache and challenge.

Meet Jude (Judith Johnstone) is Jos’s aunt who lives in Edinburgh and is most definitely a “cat lady” with no less than 7 cats. There are some heartfelt scenes as she sees Jos off to Africa. She wasn’t always in Edinburgh. It’s interesting reading about her life in the 1970’s when she travelled, rather stylishly for the times, to Bristol in her teenage years, plus attending a party that was so on-trend in Bath, where she met Peter…

The Conspiracy of Cats is immersive, being made up of descriptions and getting to know the people, especially the Maasai Beola and the cats within it. It’s texturised in words and feels rich and all beautifully written. There’s a great house and spacious, beautiful garden, full of nature, created by Jos’s Uncle Peter, where she stays when in Tanzania. It all pulls you almost into a comfortable idyll, rather like being in your own garden whatever the size, if you have one. 

A strange sighting of Peter makes your spine tingle and suddenly a whole new question is posed about his death or if he is really dead and throws Jos into some disarray, this also has an effect on Jude. The book takes a bit of an eerie turn and Jos feels the need to investigate further… There’s a little bit of a supternatural and magical bent that makes this an untypical mystery. This isn’t full on fantasy though, it is a fairly unique crime fictional book that doesn’t have a police detective’s life within it or police stations.

Readers get to know a bit about the Massai culture, which is interesting to read about.

The book certainly takes readers on their “armchair travels” as they see where the characters go and have been in past and present times. 

When the big cats are met, they are keenly described and this gives them real character and have lovely names. They are very much with Jos to set out revenge.

As the investigation continues, there’s an unexpected dark truth that begins to emerge as the sharp edges to the bit of cosyness and humour, gets even edgier and sharper that becomes more chilling than first thought, in this very involving and consuming story.