#Review By Lou – Lost Property @drhelenparis @HJ_Barnes @TransworldBooks @RandomTTours 5 stars #Fiction #BlogTour

Lost Property
By Helen Paris

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Lost Property is set to be a major book title that many publishers wanted and Transworld got, and I can see why it is so hotly anticipated, with its wonderful characters, heartwarming and uplifting storyline, even through some sadness and the intrigue of all that Lost Property, which isn’t always what you might expect!
This is an absolute Must Read for anyone and I feel very lucky to be able to read and review it!
This is a book to grab and clutch onto tightly, and you won’t want to let it go too easily.
Read on to find out more about this beauty of a book in the blurb, the rest of my review and what the author had to say about her book. For a debut novel, Lost Property makes Helen Paris an author to watch for more…

Lost Property Graphic 2

Blurb

A moving and life-affirming debut novel from an exciting new voice in Book Club fiction. For fans of Saving
Missy and The Authenticity Project, with themes of loss, hope, forgiveness and kindness.

Everything that’s lost belongs somewhere. Dot Watson just needs to be found.
Dot Watson’s life is stuck. She wasn’t meant to be single at this point, or still working in a temporary job she
started ten years ago. She was supposed to be in Paris, falling madly in love, building an exciting career.
Instead, every day in Baker Street’s Lost Property office, she diligently catalogues hundreds of lost
umbrellas, lone gloves and an alarming number of shoes.
There’s a comfort in her routine that Dot has become quite attached to. But then Mr Appleby arrives at her
work asking for help to find his late wife’s purse.
Dot recognises his desperation and grief – and they stir something unexpected in her: determination. As she
resolves to help Mr Appleby, what else might she find along the way?

Review

Lost Property GraphicLost Property is just lovely and absolutely splendid from the start, as it tells the story of Dot, Phillipa and their parents. Most of us at some point has either seen a Lost Property box or department or lost something before and this book immerses readers into this curious world of other people’s belongings. I just love the attention to detail and creativity with the luggage tags at the beginning of each chapter, stating what was lost and where. The places and items (sometimes human), is diverse from an Oyster Card to briefcases to a purchase at Selfridges. It is heartwarming when owner and lost item are reunited. It is fun meeting the items, the members of the public and the employees of the Lost Property department. There are times when it isn’t an item as such that is missing, which brings a different slant to the story at times. Sometimes it is something very human that is lost.

There is intrigue and mystery surrounding the Mr Appleby as suddenly he doesn’t seem to exist on the system anymore and yet his missing holdall has turned up. It isn’t just a holdall, it has particular significance, which is tender and of sentimental value.

There is also the shake-up of new policies from a new boss and all proves quite unpopular and as a reader, makes me more onside with the employees under her.

There is terrific lightness and humour mixed with intrigue about the lost property items and who they belong to, as well as  poignancy and sadness as Dot and Phillipa’s mum has dementia. It is heartwarming that their mum has a routine and can attend a specialised excursion club, but it is Dot and Phillippa, with the help of some nurses and carers take care of her. 

This is a book with a lot of heart and soul to it, that captures certain parts of life, just beautifully, even the parts of dementia and pretty accurately.
I wholeheartedly recommend it and it will fill your heart with warmth.

About the Author

Lost Property Helen Paris Author PicHelen Paris worked in the performing arts for two decades, touring internationally with her London-based
theatre company Curious. After several years living in San Francisco and working as a theatre professor at
Stanford University, she returned to the UK to focus on writing fiction. As part of her research for a performance called ‘Lost & Found’, Paris shadowed employees in the Baker Street Lost Property office for a week, an experience that sparked her imagination and inspired this novel.
Lost Property is her first novel.

A note from Helen:
“Although entirely a work of fiction Lost Property was influenced by the short time I spent in Lost Property,
Baker Street shadowing different employees as research for a performance. Whether it’s a designer bag left
in the back of a black cab or a woolly scarf forgotten on the number 44 bus, loss touches all of us. It is
pervasive, and it never ends – as Dot Watson might say, ‘It’s reliable like that.’
I have always been fascinated by the memories that objects hold, how even the most every day object – a pipe,
a bag, a small purse – can help us recall a place or a person or a particular time in life. Objects can be totemic,
portals to the past. Tactile memory – the memories triggered by holding familiar objects – can be profound.
Some objects almost let us time-travel back to the places we yearn to be, to the people no longer with us, and
linger there, if only for a moment.”

Lost Property 3

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Lillian White’s Journey by Karen Kelly @karenlindakelly #Fiction #Romcom #Uplit

Lillian White’s Journey
By Karen Kelly
Rated: 4 stars ****

Be prepared for humour in Lillian White’s Journey. It’s bursting full of fun, heartwarming entertainment. It is brimming full of life and there’s a wedding which may or may not go ahead….
Find out more in the blurb and my review below.
Thanks to the author Karen Kelly, who kindly got in touch with a request to review her book and to send me a copy.

Lillian White's Journey pic

Blurb

On the morning of her wedding, Lillian White awakes with a hangover from hell, a naked stranger and no recollection of the previous night. As her eyes become focused the panic sets in as the once intimate, romantic Bridal Suite resembles the aftermath of a wild, drunken party. Unread messages flood her inbox from her soon Husband-to-be but with only hours to spare, can she still go through with the wedding?

Lillian White's Journey pic

Review

Right from the prologue, I had a good vibe about this book. Readers meet the main protagonist, Lillian White on the morning of her wedding to Robert Lomax, who sounds very handsome and the man of her dreams. The book gets off to a flying start, not by its humour, but also the intrigue as to who exactly was in bed with her. Then comes a bit of back story that will be relatable to many singletons to some extent or another. Lillian has been on some pretty funny dates and some right disaterous ones.

Tom and Jess are in a relationship and they are friends with Sam, Sally and Lou, who know secrets about Tom’s lovelife, that soon comes out to Jess with a revelation from Tom.The friendship between them and Lillian is heartwarming and absolutely lovely.

As one romance ends, there’s sizzling intrigue to see if another begins… It turns out jogging has its hazards, but then again, the paramedic who comes to the rescue, resembles the man of a lot of women’s dreams!

The book is set in Sedley, Cheshire and sounds idyllic, with the sound of a woodpecker for an alarm clock, which knows no bounds and will have the tendency to hammer away, even when on holiday time, as Lillian is, from her family’s business – The Whyte Shed. Readers can then travel with her in her snazzy new job as an Air-hostess and those first day nerves of training, which would be familiar to many people. There’s plenty that pregnant women and women who have had babies, will recongnise and it is written with good wit, as much as, at the same time readers will be able to empathise and sympathise with Lillian. It’s what makes this book so good and so easy to get caught up in. The book moves at quite a pace and once again, Lillian is off to work for a bit, leaving baby Freddie and an excellently stocked goody cupboard and fridge behind, with Sam, so he can be looked after. Later she and Freddie land in Florida and the situations they get into adds further humour. Lillian’s relationships with men are complicated though, as is the wedding day.

The book is as down-to-earth as you can get and is highly entertaining, addictive and engaging. It’s perfect for these brighter days with the promise of more warmth. It would make a lovely relaxed few days to read with a glass of wine, or whatever beverege, in the garden or lounging on a sofa.

#Review of the delightful – The Garden of Forgotten Wishes by Trisha Ashley @trishaashley @TransworldBooks @RandomTTours #Fiction #SummerReading #NewBook #SundayTimesBestSeller

The Garden of Forgotten Wishes
By Trisha Ashley
Rated: 5 stars *****

Today is my stop on the blog tour for the very delightful summer read that is The Garden of Forgotten Wishes. It whisks you away to a beautiful garden and interesting, characters with their uplifting community spirit, sometimes complicated lives and a bit of romance.
Discover the author, blurb, review and the social media links below.
I thank Haley Barnes at TransworldBooks for sending me a copy of the book and to be invited by Anne to review.

About the Author

Trisha Ashley Author pIc


Trisha Ashley’s Sunday Times bestselling novels have twice been shortlisted for the Melissa Nathan Award for Comedy Romance, and Every Woman for Herself was nominated by readers as one of the top three romantic novels of the last fifty years.

Trisha lives in North Wales.

Blurb

The brand new novel from Sunday Times Top Five bestselling author Trisha Ashley – the perfect Summer read!

All Marnie wants is somewhere to call home. Mourning lost years spent in a marriage that has finally come to an end, she needs a fresh start and time to heal. Things she hopes to find in the rural west Lancashire village her mother always told her about.
With nothing but her two green thumbs, Marnie takes a job as a gardener, which comes with a little cottage to make her own. The garden is beautiful – filled with roses, lavender and honeysuckle – and only a little rough around the edges. Which is more than can be said for her next-door-neighbour, Ned Mars.
Marnie remembers Ned from her school days but he’s far from the untroubled man she once knew. A recent relationship has left him with a heart as bruised as her own.
Can a summer spent gardening help them heal and recapture the forgotten dreams they’ve let get away?

Praise for Trisha Ashley:
‘One of the best writers around!’ – Katie Fforde
‘Full of down-to-earth humour’ – Sophie Kinsella
‘A warm-hearted and comforting read. Trisha at her best.’ – Carole Matthews

The Garden of Forgotten Wishes Cover

Review

Meander through the garden. It looks beautiful. Seek out the lovely plants that are listed on a key code list for what you see on the small map, and jump back with Marnie to 1993 before following her to the first chapter in 2017.

In 1993, life is bitter-sweet as Marnie (Marianne) sits with her mum after her aunt has dropped her off, reminiscing together, even though for Marnie, to bring up the good times isn’t a natural thing for a young child to do. Her mum is doing the rounds of chemotherapy.

Marnie, by 2017 was in France. To live in a chateau sounds idyllic. Like a dream!
This is a book with themes of control. It’s a timely book, since that’s finally one of the main topics up for discussion. This is also about Marnie’s escape, with Treena’s help more than what led up to her fleeing.

The book is as heartwarming and as uplifting as it is heart-wrenching. Marnie, once she has left for the UK, she has a hope to reconnect on some sort of level with the mother she lost to cancer. She also hopes to rediscover herself and some people she once knew at Jericho’s end. The Fairy Falls sound tranquil and is where the Cottingley Fairies were “filmed” and proven to be a hoax, later a film was made.  She also hopes to restore the garden at Lavander Cottage, that she once knew.

She meets Ned, who presents a tv show called  “The Small Plot.” They knew each other from their student days at horticultural college. The only issue is, intriguingly, he isn’t so pleased to see her.

There’s a lot of strength of character and courage presented within the characters in this book. I love that a lot and is, for me anyway, relatable. The characters have been through a lot and yet they still get on with life.

There’s a real passion for gardens and gardening within the book for readers to explore. It’s uplifting how people end up supporting each other to meet the same goal of having a completed garden. Watching it expand is beautiful and elegant to read about. It’s also nice that it isn’t too romanticised, in other words, you can see some of the hard-work it takes to pull something as vast off. Romance blossoms amongst the blooms of nature as the project grows.

This is a beautiful book that shows courage against adversity in so many ways. That’s what makes it a great book for this summer.

After the book, there are related recipes to some of the icecreams within the book. So you can try out making your own, lavender, ginger, minced meat, mulled wine, non-dairy coffee and choc chip icecreams.

Trisha Ashley’s Social Media Links

For more information about her please visit www.trishaashley.com , her
Facebook page www.facebook.com/TrishaAshleyBooks or follow her on
Twitter @trishaashley

Garden of Forgotten Wishes BT Poster Twitter (1)

Grown Ups by Marian Keyes – It does what it says on the cover @MarianKeyes @PenguinUKBooks #GrownUps #Review #Fiction

Grown Ups
By Marian Keyes
Rated: 4 stars ****

I thought I would check Grown Ups out via Audible. It is also available on e-book and print/physical form. So, I present my review of the book about what it means to be a grown up and what a life it can be. So, without much further ado, I introducereaders to the blurb and  my review as well as a bit about Marian Keyes. You will also find a link to her website.

About the Author

Marian Keyes is one of the most successful Irish novelists of all time. Though she was brought up in a home where a lot of oral story-telling went on, it never occurred to her that she could write.
Marian Keyes is the international bestselling author of Watermelon, Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married, Rachel’s Holiday, Last Chance Saloon, Sushi for Beginners, Angels, The Other Side of the Story, Anybody Out There, This Charming Man, The Brightest Star in the Sky , The Mystery of Mercy Close, The Woman Who Stole My Life, The Break and her latest Number One bestseller, Grown Ups. Her two collections of journalism, Making it up as I Go Along and Under the Duvet: Deluxe Edition are also available from Penguin.

Click here for her website

 

Grownups.jpg

Blurb

They’re a glamorous family, the Caseys.

Johnny Casey, his two brothers, Ed and Liam, their beautiful, talented wives and all their kids spend a lot of time together – birthday parties, anniversary celebrations, weekends away. And they’re a happy family. Johnny’s wife, Jessie – who has the most money – insists on it.

Under the surface, though, conditions are murkier. While some people clash, other people like each other far too much…

Everything stays under control until Ed’s wife, Cara, gets concussion and can’t keep her thoughts to herself. One careless remark at Johnny’s birthday party, with the entire family present, starts Cara spilling out all their secrets.

In the subsequent unravelling, every one of the adults finds themselves wondering if it’s time – finally – to grow up?

Review

I thought I would listen to an audiobook whilst doing a bit of exercise and so, chose Grown Ups to see if it lived up to the hype. I pretty much does. The audiobook is actually narrated by Marian Keyes herself, which is very pleasant and actually fairly relaxing and she has narrated her story very well. It’s a book that is perhaps a little overly long, but you know what, to listen to it, the book, pretty much grabs you and I just had to find out how it all ended, even though by this time, to listen to it, it became quite a pleasant ritual and you can’t help by then, having a sense of involvement, so I’m pleased I did decide to give this a chance.

It certainly is an interesting family and is impressive in the amount of themes and different adult types it covers. Grown Ups is the perfect title for it. It does what it says on the “tin” or rather cover. I did also  wonder, in certain parts who would want to be a grown up with so much to deal with, after reading this as I decided that the cover looks somewhat appropriate.


Grown Ups covers so much of adult life and is certainly inclusive in that way, almost like no other book I’ve read or listened to. It’s quite original in that sense. It also makes you hungry to begin with, with all the food in the restaurant business. The family are far from as perfect as they seem to begin with, when it all seems like fun and romantic. Secrets just tumble out from Cara and everything starts to unravel as truths are presented.

Apart from the fun and lovely food, there are relationship troubles in every sense, there’s mental health issues in terms of bulemia mostly and therapy, it mentions the couples, the singles, business doing well and not doing so well and having to face challenges of restructuring. Even period poverty gets a mention. It did like almost every aspect of adult life was mentioned and yet it did all tie together to create a story that has some humour and some light entertainment throughout the emotions and at times is quite profound. There is also hope and light through some of the darkness presented as readers will head to the very satisfying conclusion.
The storytelling is very good and if you read it in book form, I know, from the way it was told, it would be to a very good standard too.

Escape To The French Farmhouse by Jo Thomas @jo_thomas01 @TransWorldBooks #RandomThingsTours #BlogTour #Fiction #BookReview #EscapeToTheFrenchFarmhouse

Escape To The French Farmhouse
By Jo Thomas
Rated: 4 Stars ****

Today I present my review of a book that is a treat for the senses and a great French escape that has its twists and warmth.
Thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me on the Random Things Blog Tour and publisher Transworld Books for sending me a PDF copy of the book. My review is unbiased.
The book is published 9th July 2020.

About the Author

Jo Thomas Author Pic (1)Jo Thomas worked for many years as a reporter and producer, first for BBC Radio 5, before moving on to Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour and Radio 2’s The Steve Wright Show. In 2013 Jo won the RNA Katie Fforde Bursary. Her debut novel, The Oyster Catcher, was a runaway bestseller in ebook and was awarded the 2014 RNA Joan Hessayon Award and the 2014 Festival of Romance Best Ebook Award. Jo lives in the Vale of Glamorgan with her husband and three children.

Blurb

Escape To The French Farmhouse CoverCan she find her recipe for happiness?
Del and her husband Ollie moved to a beautiful village in Provence for a fresh start after years of infertility struggles. But six weeks after they arrive, they’re packing the removal van once more. As Del watches the van leave for England, she suddenly realises exactly what will make her happier… a new life in France – without Ollie.
Now alone, all Del has is a crumbling farmhouse, a mortgage to pay and a few lavender plants. What on earth is she going to do? Discovering an old recipe book at the market run by the rather attractive Fabian, Del starts to bake. But can her new-found passion really help her let go of the past and lead to true happiness?
A heart-warming tale about reclaiming your life, set amongst the lavender fields of Provence.
Perfect escapism from the author of Late Summer in the Vineyard and The Honey Farm on the Hill.

Review

I felt to get me in the mood for my adventure to France, I would surround myself with French classical music, just for fun as I immerse myself in France amongst lovely patisseries, market places, coffee shops, lavender and the French Farmhouse, Del has escaped to. This is far from a whimsical story. It is one of courage, hope, sadness, happiness and moving onwards with life. It makes for a great escape to Provence, France. It is a very pleasant read indeed and one that I enjoyed.

Rifts appear in relationships as other things happen in life and just mount up. This is what is portrayed with great emotion and tenderness at the start of Del and Ollie’s tale. This is a tale about entering into a new era of life. For Del and Ollie it will be apart.
France however sounds idyllic with its market stalls selling anything from chandelier’s to lavender and then there are the patisseries with their lovely baking. For the bakers out there, there’s plenty of inspiration from macaroons to using lavender as a herb for tulles.
The contrast is stark between this and the other realities of life that Ollie and Del have to deal with. A place can look nice, but there can still be so much going on, including the challenges that being expats can impose and the decisions that have to be made, whether to stay or leave. It casts a story of how being an expat takes some getting used to as there is a whole new way of living with so many differences, even small ones, to get used to and it isn’t that you wake up in another country and can or should expect it to be like that one you left.

There is strength of character depicted through Del, it’s realistically written though, from the heartache and difficult decisions to make, to the moving onwards with her life. She does however make a friend in Carine and her dog – Ralph as you follow their lives and follow the scent of lavender throughout.

Taking second chances and giving second chances also features as does romance and emotional challenges to overcome when people move on. There are however some really nice feel-good factors and warmth to be found throughout this book.

Although occasionally rushed near the beginning, the book is a very good read and I recommend it. So, escape to the French Farmhouse and explore a new life in this vibrantly bound book.

Escape to French Farmhouse BT Poster

 

#Review of Summer on a Sunny Island by Sue Moorcroft @SueMoorcroft @AvonBooksUK #BookReview #Uplit #Fiction #feelgood #RomanticFiction

Summer on a Sunny Island
By Sue Moorcroft
Rated: *****

I’ve come to really enjoy Sue Moorcroft’s books, so I was so happy to see that I was approved for reviewing Summer on a Sunny Island by Avon. This book was worth the wait.
It is perfect for some escapism at Summer Cottage. There’s sun, sea, sand, a harbour, food and characters with their reasons on why they are on such an otherwise, idyllic, beautiful island. It’s enough to sweep you away in an imaginary holiday of your very own, from the comfort of your own home.

Summer on a Sunny Island cover

Blurb

The #1 bestseller is back with your perfect holiday read!

When Rosa Hammond splits up from her partner Marcus after his gambling problem becomes too much to handle, she decides to take up her mum Dora’s offer of a summer in Malta. Not one to sit back and watch her daughter be unhappy, Dora introduces Rosa to Zach, in the hope that sparks will fly under the summer sun. But Rosa’s determined not to be swayed by a handsome man – she’s in Malta to work and that needs to be her focus.

Zach, meanwhile, is a magnet for trouble and is dealing with a fair few problems of his own. Neither Rosa or Zach are ready for a romance – but does fate have other ideas? And after a summer in paradise, will Rosa ever want to leave?

A heartwarming, escapist book to lose yourself in this summer from bestselling author Sue Moorcroft, perfect for fans of Katie Fforde and Cathy Bramley.

Review

The book is set on a Maltese island, where the main characters, Yorkshire girl Rosa and Cornish guy Zach, who she is seeing on a date that isn’t really a date.
Rosa and Marcus have split and she is escaping it all in Malta, except  her mother would really like for her to have a summer romance and is trying to play cupid and has set her up with a date, in this idyllic setting with sun, coastlines and harbour and other gorgeous views. It’s almost dreamy and is very easy to slip into and escape the outside world for a bit. We may but not be able to physically go on holiday, but with this book, we certainly can in our imaginations and still return with a positive effect. The book does however carry substance. Sue Moorcroft balances it out divinely.
Zach has secrets from Rosa about not talking to his father and his grandad having dementia, who his nanna cared for.
On the night out readers meet Elsa from Edinburgh and Luccio who Zach met whilst during volunteer work for a youth organisation and has been lured into hanging out with a not so pleasant crowd.
Dory is an interesting character who is a food writer. The mediterranean food sounds delightful. This is a book that could truly make you hungry. Over delicious sounding food and wine, Rosa’s mother possibly taints the relaxed atmosphere a little by probing into the date that wasn’t a date, or as Rosa will stand firm about in her belief.
It’s interesting to read about Marci and Zach’s parents and Rosa’s parents with connections to the army and with how Dory became famous and has a bestselling Sunday Times book. It’s also interesting to read the grittier, not so wonderful parts too with Luccio heading towards trouble and with Dory’s publication issues. Elsewhere there are relationship anxieties and a disclosure of a miscarriage. It’s all sensitively written and doesn’t go too heavily into details. The book never loses that totally relaxing feel.

It’s fun seeing the relationships between the characters and seeing them develop, seeing the moving on process and romance develop and the interactions.

About the Author

Award winning author Sue Moorcroft writes contemporary women’s fiction with occasionally unexpected themes. The Wedding ProposalDream a Little Dream and Is This Love? were all nominated for Readers’ Best Romantic Read Awards. Love & Freedom won the Best Romantic Read Award 2011 and Dream a Little Dream was nominated for a RoNA in 2013. Sue’s a Katie Fforde Bursary Award winner, a past vice chair of the RNA and editor of its two anthologies.

The Christmas Promise was a Kindle No.1 Best Seller and held the No.1 slot at Christmas!

Sue also writes short stories, serials, articles, writing ‘how to’ and is a creative writing tutor.

You can follow Sue on Twitter @SueMoorcroft, find her on Facebook and visit her website.