#BookReview By Lou of Escape to Darling Cove By Holly Hepburn @HollyH_Hepburn @BookMinxSJV @simonschusterUK #EscapeToDarlingCove this #winter it is a #Heartwarming #SeasideRetreat #ContemporaryFiction #romfic #BlogTour

Escape To Darling Cove
By Holly Hepburn

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Picturesque settings and a lovely writing style is, in part of what you get with Escape to Darling Cove. Thanks to Sara Jade Virtue aka BookMinx at Simon and Schuster, I have a review as part of the blog tour. Paddle down to discover the blurb and review as well as a glimpse of a cover that looks good to step into.

 

Eve has always lived on Ennisfarne, an idyllic island just off the coast of Northumberland and only accessible when tides are low. There she runs a bar overlooking Darling Cove, a heavenly horseshoe-shaped beach named after her seafaring ancestors, whose links to the Farne Islands stretch back centuries.Logan is a famous photographer desperate to evade the limelight after a difficult break-up. Renting a cottage from Eve, he chooses Ennisfarne in the hope of anonymity but is immediately spellbound by its natural beauty.The pair don’t get off to the best start, butting heads over Eve’s adorable but boisterous Chocolate Labrador. But when Logan’s true identity is revealed, Eve realises her new tenant isn’t quite the man she thought he was. Is it too late to start again or will Logan’s island escape be over almost before it’s begun?
The brand new novel from Holly Hepburn, author of Coming Home to Brightwater Bay, will whisk you away to a sublime seaside retreat you’ll never want to leave. 

Picture it now, stepping into a sandy cove at Ennisfarne, Northumberland with atmospheric views that even inspired the artist, Turner to pull out his paints and easel to recreate the scenes on canvas. Holly Hepburn has pulled out her writing instruments so you can paint the scenes in your imagination. It is like a painting in words. This is of course, not a book about that great landscape artist – Turner, he just happens to get a mention; rather it is about fictional characters Logan and Eve and their lives in this part of Northumberland.

Love and breaking up is never easy. Logan has gone to Ennisfarne because he’s just split from a one time love and to escape whatever the press may have to say about it. He’s a famous photographer. Breaking up is complicated when the lady who was in his life still appears to have feelings and there’s a lot to work out. Hepburn puts a great slant on this side of life and one that’s quite different as it isn’t one of all animosity in the beginning and how everything changes in an instant as his ex girlfriend, Suki suddenly has other ideas… Being famous in the public-eye, being in love and breaking up isn’t easy once everyone gets wind of it.

Eve Darling works in a bar and doesn’t initially have warm thoughts towards Logan Silk, although she sees him as good looking, she also notes he’s arrogant with what she would term as old-style attitudes. There is actually a great humour to be found in certain situations and her thoughts that hold quick-witted quips. How will it all end in what is a well written ending?

With its scenery that is a feast for the eyes, a plot and characters that makes compulsive reading, Escape To Darling Cove is another wonderful book from Holly Hepburn that will stay in your heart and mind. It’s a must read for fans of contemporary fiction.

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#BookReview By Lou of Sunrise With The Silver SurfersBy Maddie Please @MaddiePlease1 @BoldwoodBooks #TheSilverSurfers is entertaining #Uplit with #Travel #Friendship #Romance in #ContemporaryFiction

Sunrise With The Silver Surfers
By Maddie Please 

Rating: 5 out of 5.

You’re never too old to have some fun in the sun with sea and sand in this book that will appeal to both the retired and younger readers alike. It gives hope, elements of surprise and intrigue, whilst being uplifting and adventurous in the exciting travel plans. Discover more in the blurb and my thoughts below.

The brand new novel from the #1 bestselling author of The Old Ducks’ Club!

Newly single at sixty, Elin Anderson decides it’s finally time for an adventure of her own. With her marriage to tedious Tom now officially over, Elin plans to visit the family she hasn’t seen in years. First stop: Australia!

But going home is harder than Elin thought. Everywhere she turns Elin sees brightness and colour, which only makes her own life seem even more drab and beige. How has she let herself fade away?

Determined to have some fun, Elin reluctantly agrees to join The Silver Surfers – a group of seniors who travel the coast, only caring about their next big adventure. Because life’s too short to watch the ocean when you could be making waves…

There’s only one catch – her road trip companion, Kit Pascoe. Kit is a man who doesn’t know the meaning of the word fun and makes it clear to Elin that this adventure will be subject to his own strict rules.

But with every new day, Elin slowly begins to rediscover who she really is. And she’s certain that rules are meant to be broken…aren’t they?

Perfect for fans of Judy Leigh and Dee Macdonald

Review

This is perfect for sweeping winter away and escaping to the sun. This is the first book I have read by Maddie Please and I rather enjoyed it. All that promise of fun travel on holidays that beckons and companionship makes this great to sit back and for awhile, let the sea within the book wash all your cares away and bring inspiration and a warm feeling like the sun beaming down on you.

Elin was living in what sounds like a kindly neighbourhood. Her marriage hasn’t survived intact, as some don’t when life changes into a new phase. There are also changes where she lives. We meet her at Heathrow Airport waiting for her flight to Australia, where she was born. Most of us people watch and that’s what she does, she’s also a bit introspective as she looks around at her fellow passengers. She also likes some of the more lavish lifestyle and goes to town in treating herself. You can feel the relief of the divorce and see she is ready for a new adventure. She isn’t alone when she touches down in Australia, she has Rowan, Maggie and Shane to meet up with.
Then she has Kit Pascoe to meet and contend with… her main travel companion. Will they warm to each other? Will he get into the spirit of things? Where will their explorations lead them? 

As her new big adventure begins, in many ways, she gets more than she and the group get more than they bargained for. Not everything is plain-sailing. There are just a few unexpected challenges to face to say the least. Some more complicated for Elin to work out than others, including her emotions and how she’s going to be in this phase of her life, what paths, personally, to take. Then there’s home in the UK, that one way or another, isn’t ever too far away, even when she is physically thousands of miles away. There are elements here and there that are reminiscent of Shirley Valentine, in a good way. There’s part of story within this that could go either way. There are elements of the book being a page turner as curiosity as to how it all turn out firmly bites.

It’s an adventure of a lifetime and one worth joining The Silver Surfers on. I certainly wasn’t disappointed.

Thanks to Boldwood Books for the review e-book copy to review from.

#Review By Lou – New Neighbours of Coronation Close – Book 1 of a new series by Lizzie Lane – Happy Publication Day @baywriterallat1 @BoldwoodBooks #HistoricalSaga #FamilySaga

New Neighbours of Coronation Close
By Lizzie Lane

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Fans of Lizzie Lane will be delighted to know that today is the publication of book 1 of a brand new historical saga series introducing readers to the people who reside in Coronation Close, set in 1936. See the blurb below and then my review. Thanks first to Boldwood Books for the review copy.

The start of BRAND NEW SERIES from bestselling author of ‘The Tobacco Girls’ Jenny Crawford has resigned herself to a loveless marriage living hand to mouth with their two children. Like many others, husband Roy struggles to find work at the docks but a chance encounter turns the family’s fortunes around.Not only does he get regular work but they are also allocated a council house on Coronation Close on the outskirts of the city. Jenny and the children are overjoyed, this is the fresh start she could only ever dream of. But trouble feels never too far away. With Roy spending more time with Sir Oswald Molsey bullying black shirts, Jenny is left to her own devices and eager to fit in begins to make new friends.Thankful of peace, Jenny has her head turned firstly by an old love and then by her knight in shining armour.Does she allow herself to glimpse a chance of happiness?Whatever happens the consequences could be dire if Roy ever finds out. 

New Neighbours of Coronation Close is set in an interesting time in history. Set in 1936, the Molsey’s, in particular, Sir Oswald Molesy is making his mark and his views known (as is Hitler overseas, taking a firmer grip and making his views known ever more prominently); the monarchy is changing as a King is dead, which is where the book begins and the next in line is ascending onto the throne. It captures many moments of history, which puts events into context in amongst what was happening in the wider society. It’s pretty dark at times, as history shows us, but also hopeful as you root for a better life for Jenny.

Coronation Close is where Jenny Crawford and her husband Roy move to. It’s in the suburbs and secured because of Roy’s interest in politics, not just anyone’s politics, but he gets very close to Sir Oswald Mosley’s brand of politics. Life, just because they have a better council house now, is far from cosy. Roy has a temper on him and everything changed once he stuck a ring on her finger. There were money troubles as Roy and life around the docks, searching for work was difficult, prior to him meeting Sir Oswald Mosley. Roy becomes increasingly interested in him and spends vast amounts of time with him and seemingly changing their luck around; giving Jenny time to wonder if she can changer her life from one where she feels tied to the shackles of a loveless marriage to daring to set her sights to something happier.

It gives insight into a different period of time, when things were changing politically and yet domestically, whether you were an average person or monarchy, certain things were the same in certain attitudes and ways of having to be seen as doing what was considered the respectable thing to do above all else as there are consequences, no matter who you are and not always good ones. The question is, will Jenny, upon meeting an old lover, choose to change her life and do something considered radical for the times or will she remain with Roy? What of the monarch too?

It is certainly a book worth checking out.

#BookReview By Lou of #BetweenTheCovers pick – Lessons In Chemistry By Bonnie Garmus @BonnieGarmus @alisonbarrow @TransworldBooks #LessonsInChemistry

Lessons In Chemistry
By Bonnie Garmus

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Lessons in Chemistry By Bonnie Garmus is a successful debut novel. It has made it onto Between the Covers on BBC 2, presented by Sara Cox and is a bestseller and even captured the attention of the New York Times to become on their bestselling list. It is available in hardback. Now, ahead of the paperback launch in March 2023, I have been gifted a hardback copy by Alison Barrow at the publisher- Transworld, in-exchange of an honest review. Travel back to the 1960’s, or just below to discover the blurb and my review. 

Blurb

Chemist Elizabeth Zott is not your average woman. In fact, Elizabeth Zott would be the first to point out that there is no such thing as an average woman. But it’s the early 1960s and her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute takes a very unscientific view of equality. Except for one: Calvin Evans; the lonely, brilliant, Nobel–prize nominated grudge-holder who falls in love with—of all things—her mind. True chemistry results. 

But like science, life is unpredictable. Which is why a few years later Elizabeth Zott finds herself not only a single mother, but the reluctant star of America’s most beloved cooking show Supper at Six. Elizabeth’s unusual approach to cooking (“combine one tablespoon acetic acid with a pinch of sodium chloride”) proves revolutionary. But as her following grows, not everyone is happy. Because as it turns out, Elizabeth Zott isn’t just teaching women to cook. She’s daring them to change the status quo.

Review


Be transported back to the 1950’s and 1960’s with chemist – Elizabeth Zott. It’s easy to do. The first page shows how different the world was then, even in day to day things many people possibly take for granted nowadays like seatbelts. The book shows how attitudes and how things are handled these days were better back then, but how women like Elizabeth Zott gives as a good as they get. There’s a strong thread of early feminism throughout in her beliefs, her chosen workplace, her ability to go to university, her kick-ass approach to certain situations in all areas. It’s refreshing to show that feminism is not new and has been around in some form or another for many years, even further back than the time-scale in this book to a certain extent.

Elizabeth Zott is a chemist at The Hastings Research Institute, USA; or rather, she was in the 1950’s, before she was catapulted further into the public consciousness in the 1960’s on a tv show – Supper for Six, where she became a tv cook. She met successful scientist – Calvin Evans, whilst working for the institute, after graduating at Cambridge, England. A guy with a passion for rowing and a very impressive ability to hold grudges, even more than Elizabeth. He also very much wants to love. There is much humour between him and his Cambridge rowing team-mates. There is much humour throughout the book and the reaction Elizabeth and Calvin have for each other as chemistry of the romantic kind of swirls, is even more so. It’s also tender and sweet, especially where Calvin is concerned.

There are the most unexpected twists, one in-particular comes with a hard whack and yet is perfectly done and comes just at the right time to continue this being the unexpected compelling, rather addictive read it is. 

Even with the twists, some which are dark, the humour and the pushing of boundaries continues and evolves to her child, Madeline (Mad) and also onto the TV set. Through the anger, some that’s perfectly reasonable, especially the way women are put into boxes (still happens today, but with everyone) and more… but sometimes a bit silly, such as over school assignments… Surprisingly, it has a nice sentimentality, such as over a dog called Thirty Six. Readers will find out why that name during the book.

This is a book I very much recommend. It has something for everyone in what is a strong debut.
Lessons In Chemistry is available in hardback now and in spring this year, it will be published in paperback.

#HappyNewYear #2023. Here are a number of #Fiction and #NonFiction Books in many genres I highly #Recommend from #2022 #BookRecommendations #BookReviews #BookWrap

I have reviewed many books in 2022 and what a privilege it has been too. Here are some that I highly recommend out of the many books I have reviewed in 2022. I also have included links to my full no spoiler reviews where you’ll also find the blurbs. The mix of crime fiction, contemporary fiction, historical fiction, non-fiction, memoirs are in no particular order. Please also feel free to explore my blog for other great book reviews, author interviews and talks and theatre reviews.

The Little Shop of Hidden Treasures By Holly Hepburn – An antique shop, antiques, a mysterious puzzle box, a trip to Egypt, a mention of the Canarvon Family (think the real Downton Abbey), all wrapped up in a wonderful book full of splendid characters.
Holly Hepburn has a new book coming this year that I will also be reviewing.

Check out the blurb and my review in the link: The Little Shop of Hidden Treasures

Suicide Thursday By Will Carver explores this and the darker corners of society. It’s a compulsive read with intriguing characters – Mike, Jackie and Eli. Will Eli leave a hated job and get past writing chapter 1 of a novel? What is written in texts? Find out the answers to these and more in Suicide Thursday.

Link to blurb and review –Suicide Thursday

All About Evie By Matson Taylor is a humorous second book to the much talked about The Miseducation of Evie Epworth that was a Radio 2 book club pick. There’s much humour mixed with poignancy and sadness. Find out what happens at a sound check at Broadcasting House, her friend, Caroline and life’s mishaps and incidents. It’s highly engaging. Find the blurb and review in the link: All About Evie

Yes, I Killed Her By Harry Fisher s full of chilling suspense. The question isn’t who, but it is how. How did a murderer commit such a calculated crime. Is it as perfect as he thinks? Here is a link to the blurb and full review. Remember, I’m not going to disclose the answers to those questions. That’s for you to discover yourselves: Yes, I Killed Her

Verity Vanishes By A.B. Morgan is book 3 of The Quirk Files. The books can be read as part of the series or as standalone as the cases each complete by the end of the book. The Quirks are quirky private investigators.

There are secrets to uncover, including who was Verity, why has she vanished and why is a tv station so interested in this particular case? It’s intriguing with wit. See blurb and review in the link –Verity Vanishes

Touching, haunting and a darn good unputdownable read. It takes place between Glasgow and H.M. Polmont Prison in Central Scotland. It’s gripping getting to know about what revelations unfold in Ginger and Wendy’s personalities and what happens to them. It’s a book of obsession and friendship and more in this contemporary fictional book… Find out more in the link to the blurb and my full review: Ginger And Me

The Homes By J.B. Mylet is set in an orphanage village in Scotland. Follow the lives of Lesley, Jonesy and Eadie, all from their points of views. How safe is The Homes? Murder strikes and everything changes in this fast-paced, immersive page-turner. It’s fiction based on a true story. Find out more in the link: The Homes

Remember Me by Charity Norman is gripping and addictive as the layers build up to discover what has happened to Leah, who has disappeared.

The book also follows Felix, who has Alzheimer’s. It’s authentically and sensitively written. Discover the blurb and the rest of my thoughts in the link: Remember Me

Should I Tell You By Jill Mansell is enthralling in both setting and the relationships between all the characters. Meet Lachlan, a chef in high demand and Peggy, a formidable, yet fun woman who puts up a credible argument as to why he should follow her to Cornwall to cook his amazing food. Also meet Amber, Lachlan, Rafaelle and Vee as you step into idyllic scenery. Is all well though? What would you make of the mysterious letter? Find out more in my link about this beautiful, compelling book that perfectly captures the lives of its characters, who are concealing truths. Should I Tell You

White Christmas on Winter Street has all the festive feel-good vibes you can want. Unearth the treasures in Corner House in Middledip. It’s a rather moving book as Heather returns to discover new friends and old. Find out more in the link: White Christmas on Winter Street

The Little Wartime Library By Kate Thompson is about a courageous librarian who took Bethnal Green Library underground during World War 2. It is fascinating and is fiction based on fact. Lots of research was done, including asking librarians, including me, many questions that then formed the basis of the central character. The Little Wartime Library

The Locked Away Life by Drew Davies is about 2 people who are seemingly poles apart. 1 is becoming practically a recluse and increasingly elderly, the other, much younger in need of a job, which is how they meet. Little do they know they need each other more than they thought they would. It’s a heartwarming story. Find out more in the link: The Locked AwayLife

Love Untold by Ruth Jones is uplifting, emotional and endearing, It crosses the generations from a teenager right up to a 90 year old. It’s well observed in all the complexities of life and interactions.
Discover more such as the blurb and my review in the link. Love Untold

The Cliff House by Chris Brookmyre puts readers on an island. There’s a hen party set on a Scottish island. In some ways it’s a bit like And Then There We’re None by Agatha Christie, but there are also many differences.

There are frictions amongst the guests and things take a sinister turn. It’s a well-observed book in the way relationships are between the characters and what happens when people are on a remote island. Everyone has a secret and no one is safe. Find out more in the blurb and the rest of my thoughts in the review: The Cliff House

Cat Lady By Dawn O’Porter is very humorous but also very poignant and thought provoking. Within the book, wrapped in the cuteness of a cat, there is a great human story too and both together makes this quite different and compelling. There are 5 parts to Cat Lady – Mother, Career Woman, Animal, Wife, Cat Lady. Follow Mia and Tristan through the ups and downs of life. Mia is especially more than you would perhaps assume she is… Here is the link to the blurb and full review: Cat Lady

Thrown is a debut novel by Sara Cox. It’s heartwarming and uplifting at a pottery class. It’s about community pulling together and friendships forming. There are elements that may well tug at your heartstrings. Here is the link to the blurb and review: Thrown

The Cruise by Catherine Cooper takes place on the most luxurious cruise-liner. The type that would be a holiday of a lifetime. Something mysterious happens and it is compelling to travel around to try to fit together all the pieces to discover how they all fit together and some truths. Here is the link to the blurb and full review. The Cruise

Keeping A Christmas Promise By Jo Thomas is about 4 friends who have known each other for 25 years. Tragedy happens to one of them, meaning it is up to 3 of them to keep their bucketlist promise- to see the northern lights at Christmas. With themes of friendship, mortality and strength to carry on in the face of adversity and community, it’s an entertaining, heartwarming book. Here is the link to the blurb and full review. Keeping A Christmas Promise

The Echoes of Love By Jenny Ashcroft transports readers to the 1930’s to the 1940’s and then to 1970’s. It takes readers into the depths of love and war and how it reverberates years later. The book is set between Portsmouth in the UK and Crete. It is a story of war and love. A story unfolding at the BBC Broadcasting House. It is fascinating, poignant and beautifully written. Here is the link to my original review and the blurb. The Echoes of Love

Cooking the Book by various authors published by Hobeck Books also raised money for the Trussell Trust. It’s various short stories, each taking on a different sub-genres of crime fiction. Each also has a recipe you can create by each author. Here is the link to all the details Cooking The Books

The Language of Food is fiction based on fact. It takes reader into the life of a little known woman, by many, called Eliza Acton. She changed the course of cookery forever and when today’s cooks come across her, they are inspired by her story and style and have been influenced greatly by her. Annabel Abbs now opens up her life in this very interesting book. Here is the link to discover more: The Language of Food

Create Your Own Indoor Green by Joe Swift who is also an expert gardener on Gardeners World and various other programmes. The book is an easy step by step guide to indoor plants. It quite literally has everything you need to know, whether you’re getting started or already have indoor plants as there’s always more knowledge to be gained. There are handy hints and tips as well as growing and caring for them. I actually bought this for a friend after reviewing it and she is delighted. Find out the blurb and review in the link: Joe’s Create Your Own Indoor Green

Women Like Us By Amanda Prowse, is a memoir where she sheds light and insight into her life, which many women will be able to relate to or understand, perhaps more than they may first expect. It’s a highly interesting read.
Women Like Us

One Night on The Island introduces readers to Cleo. She works for the magazine – Women Today and has an unusual assignment to do. Directed by her boss, Ali, the assignment is to marry herself (or self-coupling or sologamy) on a remote island. She has a few reservations to say the least. It’s an entertaining story with lots of heart and warmth. One Night On the Island

Mothers and Daughters By Erica James is a compelling story of family life and revelations. Families can be more complex than what they may first appear to be in this sweeping family drama. Mothers and Daughters

Marion Crawford, a bright, ambitious young teacher, is ready to make her mark on the world. Until a twist of fate changes the course of her life forever…
This mixes fact and fiction with Marion and the UK Royal Family in a fascinating way, about a woman not everyone knows much about. The Good Servant

Wolf Pack By Will Dean is a Scandi-Noir.

Tuva Moodyson has a case on her hands to solve with Thord and Chief Björn.
Elsa Nyberg is reported as being missing and chillingly, Rose Farm has quite the history of deadly things happening there, involving a family. It’s a gripping page-turner. Here is the link to the full review and blurb. Wolf Pack

The Empire By Michael Ball is exquisitely theatrical, after all, that is his background. It takes readers back in time to the glitz and glamour of 1922, where you’ll meet Jack Tredwell and a whole host of other cast. There are secrets and the future of the theatre itself is in jeopardy. It’s a page turner! Here’s my link to the blurb and rest of the review The Empire

#Review By Lou of Keeping A Christmas Promise By Jo Thomas @Jo_Thomas01 @TransWorldBooks #Christmas #RomanticFiction #ContemporaryFiction @alisonbarrow #KirstyDunseath

Keeping A Christmas Promise
By Jo Thomas

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Keeping A Christmas Promise is the latest festive offering by Jo Thomas to whisk readers off on an adventure of a lifetime with lifelong friends to keep a very important promise. This is one of the best books I’ve read by Jo Thomas yet! Discover the blurb and my review below, thanks to Alison Barrow and Kirsty Dunseath at Transworld Books.

                                                                             Blurb

A Christmas to remember for a friend they’ll never forget

Four friends
Twenty-five years ago, Freya and her three best friends created a bucket list. The future seemed bright, full of hope and most importantly guaranteed . . .

One promise
Now they are travelling to Iceland in memory of the friend they’ve lost, determined to fulfil her dream of seeing the Northern Lights at Christmas.

A life-changing adventure
They didn’t count on an avalanche leaving them stranded! Handsome local, Pétur, comes to the rescue, showing them how the community survives the hard winter. With Christmas approaching, Freya and her friends throw themselves into the festivities, decorating and cooking for the villagers using delicious local ingredients.

But will the Northern Lights appear so they can honour their friend’s wish? And can Freya’s own dreams come true, this Christmas?

‘A deliciously festive treat bursting with Icelandic flavour, adventure and romance’ RUTH JONES

‘Sparkling, romantic, magical – and delicious’ MILLY JOHNSON

‘Heart-warming, moving and romantic, with a beautiful setting – what could be better?’ KATIE FFORDE

Review

Bucketlists, they make us think of our mortality, what’s important to us and what new experiences we should try in our lives. They make us get out there and instead of only existing, they can turn life into a rich tapestry of adventure that also brings excitement and an air of optimism.

4 friends created a bucket list 25 years ago. Their friendship stood the test of time and they still have that zest for adventure. There’s poignancy, which really comes across as one of the friends has died, so they are now living out her wish – to see the Northern Lights in Iceland at Christmas time. I loved that real care and loyalty to their now dead friend, to carry out her wish in her memory. It oozes warmth amongst heartbreak and the genuine determination they have to do this.

There is a lot of Christmas fun to be had with spreading a bit of joy and mucking in with an Icelandic community to ensure this, after some rather serious danger due to an avalanche, putting everyone and everything at risk.

It’s a very endearing book that will warm anyone’s heart and soul and show the way of true and everlasting friendship and some romance along the way.