#Review By Lou of – Courage For The Cornish Girls By Betty Walker @AvonBooksUK @CornishGirls #Saga #HistoricalFiction #WW2

Courage For The Cornish Girls
By Betty Walker

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I have a review to share of war time set book – Courage For The Cornish Girls. Thanks to Avon Books for a copy and review invite. Discover more in the blurb and my thoughts in my review  below.

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Blurb

April 1942. Enemy gunfire on Penzance beach brings the Cornish Girls rushing to the rescue…

Yearning for adventure, Demelza dreams of one day joining the fire wardens. But before she can do so, gunfire during a trip to the beach provides her with an unexpected opportunity to get stuck in.

On hand to help the wounded beachgoers, Lily draws admiration with her nursing skills and is offered an exciting new position in the hospital in Penzance.

And swayed by her niece, Lily’s Aunt Violet agrees to take in three evacuees rescued on the beach, though they turn out to be more of a handful than she bargained for.

But even as the war rages around them, the biggest challenge facing each woman turns out to be one of the heart. Can the Cornish Girls help one another to open themselves up to love…?

Review

Set in 1942 in Cornwall, the bombs are dropping and war is marching ever onwards with its devastating consequences, but through the bleakness of this, life still continues through its challenges and glimmers of hope shine through here and there.

Life is on the up for these Cornish women!

Demelza, who wants ever so much to be a fire warden and works very hard to catch her dream and gets stuck into opportunities, no matter how unexpected, in an attempt to gain what she wants from life.

Lily is gaining all the attention in her nursing career, she is offered an exciting position in Penzance.

Violet doing her bit for the war effort by taking in refugees.

It’s a book that draws upon, to some extent, women just getting on with the job of attempting to do what they see is necessary to help others in the war effort, whilst also chasing their dreams, even though many challenges and potential obstacles  present themselves.
The three main characters are a heartwarming and determined set of women.

There isn’t only the obvious obstacles, such as the bombing that the women have to figure out how to work around, but also love and the obstacles of themselves, however, they try to face this too and open up to each other about this. It’s quite a multi-layered book of light, shade and darkness, yet on the whole, there is often something uplifting for readers to grasp onto and a sense of desire to cheer them on in the hope they get out of life, what they set out to do.

It’s a heartwarming book with a compelling storyline.

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#BookReview By Lou of A Spoonful of Murder By J.M. Hall #JMHall @AvonBooksUK @HarperCollinsUK #CrimeFiction #Mystery #BookRecommendation

A Spoonful of Murder
By J.M. Hall

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

A Spoonful of Murder is an engrossing, enjoyable cosy crime with an edge, full of former teachers who have started a coffee club, who become unlikely sleuths. Readers are in for a treat! Take a look at the blurb and my review. Thanks so much to Avon Books for gifting me this in a “care package” at the online Avon Books Showcase in 2021, I was kindly invited to and thoroughly enjoyed seeing what was coming in 2022.

A Spoonful of Murder

Blurb

Retirement can be murder…

A Spoonful of Murder 1Every Thursday, three retired school teachers have their ‘coffee o’clock’ sessions at the Thirsk Garden Centre café.

But one fateful week, as they are catching up with a slice of cake, they bump into their ex-colleague, Topsy.

By the next Thursday, Topsy’s dead.

The last thing Liz, Thelma and Pat imagined was that they would become involved in a murder.

But they know there’s more to Topsy’s death than meets the eye – and it’s down to them to prove it…

Sit down with a cup of tea, a slice of cake and this perfectly witty, page-turning cosy crime novel. 

Review

There is something in the air about Thursdays. It is becoming an increasingly dangerous day as the years pass by. I am now thinking I perhaps had better watch my back on Thursdays, you just never know what might occur or whether you might end the day dead or alive or involved in trying to solve a murder! First came The Thursday Murder Club and now comes a group of retired teachers in a Spoonful of Murder, and here is where any similarity (except genre of course, ceases and it comes into its own and is also a very enjoyable to read. It’s mysterious and humorous throughout its twisty and entertaining plot.

The retired teachers are an interesting bunch of characters that the more you delve in, the more you want to know about them. There is Liz, who likes David Essex and takes care of her grandson when she picks him up on Fridays Thelma who does a stint in a charity shop and Pat who does shopping on Fridays, meet every Thursday at Thirsk Garden Centre, Yorkshire, for coffee and cake as they set up a Coffee Club. There would be Monday and Tuesday free, but there’s a funny reason that seems perfectly justifiable as to why not those days… The idea of a coffee club sounds great! It is all innocent enough as they sit around talking about life and their former school, giving insights into their personalities and what they do the other days of the week as they do so. Then there is Topsy, who they go to visit, who sadly isn’t keeping so well and there are health and there are financial troubles and large sums exiting her account… and then, she is dead. Unintentionally the retired teachers are caught up in this to discover the murderer. There is also Topsy’s daughter, who Thelma almost witheringly rips through for what she was doing before her mum died and about care, or lack of. There are some poignant moments, dilemmas as well as secrets and deceptions. These unintentional sleuths probe and investigate what happened to a woman they once knew.

As the mystery continues, this becomes increasingly engrossing and enjoyable. You get to know everyone fairly fast. This, I feel, may be the beginning of what will hopefully become a series about the retired teachers and the murders they get involved in solving. It’s cosy crime with an edge to it with its insalubrious characters. It has clues abound that you will want to follow throughout to keep guessing who the killer is, through the light humour and warmth that is also sprinkled in the book. A Spoonful of Murder is good for cosying up with a cup of coffee and easing yourself into a book for an afternoon or two.

 

#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.

#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.

#Review By Lou – The Daughter’s Choice @SDRauthor @AvonBooksUK @rararesources #Fiction

The Daughter’s Choice
By S.D. Robertson

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The Daughters Choice

Captivating drama is what is within the pages of The Daughter’s Choice. Thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources and Avon Books for the blog tour invite and a copy of the book.

Blurb

The Daughters Choice coverIs her whole life built on a lie?

Rose has always been close to her father. Her mother died soon after she was born, so it’s been just the two of them for as long as she can remember.

But a chance encounter days before she’s due to get married leaves Rose questioning everything she has ever known.

The man she trusts most in the world has been keeping a secret from her.

And the truth will leave her with an impossible choice…

Review

There is more than 1 person’s story to tell here. There is Rosie’s, Cassie’s, Dave’s and then there’s also the truthh to come out as to what really went on.

Dave is Rosie’s dad. He has taken on both parental roles, since Rosie’s mother died and his whole life practically revolves around her. I felt a bit sorry for that, but in saying that, it is lovely how strong this father, daughter bond is. There is even a treat in store a week before her wedding day – a spa day. The atmosphere is joyous, giggly and all as it should be.

All the stories as they unfold are interesting and run through a whole gambit of emotions, like heartbreak, happiness and anger (not necessarily in that order).

An encounter with Cassie and Rosie’s world is changed… Cassie has an agenda and is pretty masterful at being able to manipulate situations.

Betrayal, secrets and lies are discovered by the reader as their stories go on that turn Rosie’s world upside down and there are suddenly choices to be made, which make this book fairly gripping.

It may not always keep you guessing, but on the whole that’s alright. The book is full of well executed drama that explores themes of family, betrayal, love and choices and it is these that are interesting to see unfold.

SDRobertsonAbout the Author

Former journalist S.D. Robertson quit his role as a local newspaper editor to pursue a lifelong ambition of becoming a novelist. He lives in a village near Manchester with his wife and daughter and now writes full-time – and it’s safe to say the career move paid off! Stuart is a USA Today and Kindle Top 100 bestseller.

#Review Wartime With The Cornish Girls by Betty Walker @AvonBooksUK #BookReview #FamilySaga #WartimeSaga

Wartime With The Cornish Girls
By Betty Walker

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Tense and atmospheric, with sinister moments of unease, this deals with the hardships of motherhood and a burgeoning romance that may be the start of a new life for Hazel, away from her home situation as she takes on a top secret job. It uplifting as well as being an all encompassing, excellent read. Find out more in the blurb and full review and where you can buy it.

I thank Avon Books for gifting me the book.

Blurb

Wartime With The Cornish Girls1941. The Blitz rages over London.
And even in Cornwall, the war is being fought…

When Violet loses her sister in the Blitz, she must take her nieces to safety in Cornwall. On the coast, she meets carefree chorus girl Eva, who is also running from the dangers of London.

But Porthcurno hides a secret military base, and soon Violet and Eva realise there’s a battle to fight in Cornwall, too.

Together with local Hazel, who works on the base, they must come together to help the war effort. But will their friendship be enough to keep them safe?

Wartime With The Cornish Girls

Review

Set in Dagenham, East London, readers first meet Violet and it has a sinister start with Violet, a cafe worker, being followed. It immediately sets an unease, with the way it is written. There is also Fred, who is vying for her attention. There is some dialect such as “meself”, which really places her. It’s not strong and is easy to figure out.

Betsy had married Ernst and it caused quite a stir and now feelings are bubbling to the surface again as he is a German. The story centres a good mix of characters from across the UK and an American.

The plot does move to Cornwall, somewhere near Porthcurno in the south, where there is a hidden army base. It is also where a stubborn teenage boy, Charlie lives there with his parents, Hazel and Bertie, who are married out of convenience. It also demonstrates how unhappy some of those marriages were. It doesn’t shy away from the hardships of motherhood and the challenges some people faced, shown through the eyes of Hazel. Charlie, being a teen also goes to show that even as the decades pass in real life, some things never change or evolve and parents and teachers will certainly be able to relate to his mannerisms and attitude.

The changing scenery when the war began is quite a feature as does the change in life and the meaning of signing an official secrets act as Hazel takes on a top secret job. There is a sense of urgency and upmost responsibility and beyond that spikes through the pages with these top secret job involving codes and so much more and the threat of what could happen if anyone divulges the secrets. It gives a harsh reality.

It’ll take readers on an interesting, windy path with a tense, serious atmosphere of duty and family as the war closes in and the realities emerge and are pretty hard-hitting, cut by the friendship of the women that smudges through, bringing a bit of light relief and a sense them being in it together.
It certainly isn’t a cosy book, but one of a believable plotline that doesn’t sugar-coat anything, and instead, shows anguish and the sacrifices people made, including in their daily lives and how they had a certain resilience and also got on with the job. There is also a touch of romance in the air as well as a bit of desperation for a different life, away from domestic violence, portrayed in Hazel, but also a panic that is captured so well, in what the consequences of the betrayal of her husband and what her son will say and do, which adds to the intensity that grows throughout.

The second book will be coming soon – Christmas With The Cornish Girls.

Wartime With The Cornish Girls

Purchase Links

Waterstones

Bookshop.org 

Amazon