#BookReview By Lou of The Summer Fair By Heidi Swain @Heidi_Swain @simonschusterUK @harriett_col @BookMinxSJV #TeamBATC #FeelGoodFiction #ContemporaryFiction #RomanticFiction #TheSummerFair #BlogTour

The Summer Fair
By Heidi Swain

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Summer Fair is a pleasure to read and it’s great to return to Nightengale Square with it’s charm, warmth, romance and challenges to overcome.
Check out more in the blurb and my thoughts in my review below.
Firstly, thanks to the publisher – Simon and Schuster for inviting me on the blog tour to review and for gifting me a book and a cake mix to bake (still to be baked but I think it may be a sweet bit of deliciousness. Time will tell. Pics will come on Twitter in all good time).
*Please note, that my review does not reflect these gifts, lovely as they are, my review remains based on the book alone and without bias.

The Summer Fair cover

Blurb

Join Sunday Times best seller Heidi Swain back in Nightingale Square for a sunshine and celebration filled summer….

Beth loves her job working in a care home, looking after its elderly residents, but she doesn’t love the cramped and dirty house-share she currently lives in. So, when she gets the opportunity to move to Nightingale Square, sharing a house with the lovely Eli, she jumps at the chance.

The community at Nightingale Square welcomes Beth with open arms, and when she needs help to organise a fundraiser for the care home they rally round. Then she discovers The Arches, a local creative arts centre, has closed and the venture to replace it needs their help, too—but this opens old wounds and past secrets for Beth.

Music was always an important part of her life, but now she has closed the door on all that. Will her friends at the care home and the people of Nightingale Square help her find a way to learn to love it once more?

Review

It is such a delight to return to the people in the Nightengale Square community and to meet some new people along the way.

There is warmth, community spirit from people who like to help when services closedown. There is also heartache, otherwise buried by enthusiasm that not everyone gets to see. The reader however does in this book as what was secreted away comes to light.

It sounds whimsically idyllic from the title, but this book has substance and depth when you get to know the people who have experiences and feelings like anyone in the real world and not just on the written page.

Beth works for the Edith Cavell Care Home and life has been tough, with her mum dying after a stroke. The book is so eloquently written from the beginning of reminisces of music that has now also died with her…. The readers are then taken on a journey into Nightengale Square, its residents, the workplaces and Beth’s life.

Beth is a popular carer at the home and loves her job, but behind all that is sorrow and denial of the things she loved before the death of her mum, realised even more when she goes with Harold to the community garden, but she does have a houseplant called Aretha, named after Aretha Franklin as it is strong. There is a point to this plant and its character that is clever in tying in with part of Beth’s personality, which shows thoughtfulness and writing with great creativity. 

Beth is house sharing with a few people and not altogether satisfied at this position that she has found herself in, but fortunes change as she has the opportunity to move to Nightengale Square, a place which is so idyllic that I am sure many readers can imagine living there, with its caring, supportive community and Winter Gardens, featured in a previous book, but mentioned in this. This time, instead of Winterfest, the community want to host a summer fair.

This is about community coming together to create something good and inclusive, with the backdrop of people’s personal lives and stuff they’ve kept to themselves for so long, but like for Beth, certain things have impact and open old memories, widening past wounds. It’s pure escapism and romance, all with a bit of grit, showing that not everything is always idyllic as it may first seem in everyone’s lives and tumultuous moments between people; that’s what gives it a good grounding and saves it being whimsical. It’s enjoyable from start to end with hearfelt warmth.

I highly recommend The Summer Fair for a gorgeous summer read, whether you’re on holiday or in your garden, soaking up the rays of the sun and the atmosphere of the book.

The Summer Fair Blog Tour (1)

#Review By Lou of Yinka, Where Is You Huzband @DamilolaLizzie @VikingBooks #YINKA #UpliftingFiction #ContemporaryFiction #BlogTour #Romcom

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband
By Lizzie Damilola Blackburn
Rated 4 1/2 stars

Today I am excited to be on the blog tour for the highly entertaining and fun book  – Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband. I had good vibes about it just a few pages in…Thanks to Viking Books for gifting me a proof copy and for inviting me on the blog tour. Find out more below in the blurb and full review, as well as what critically acclaimed authors such as Marian Keyes and Beth O’Leary say…

Blurb

Yinka Where is Your Huzband coverYinka wants to find love. Her mum wants to find it for her.

She also has too many aunties who frequently pray for her delivery from singledom, a preference for chicken and chips over traditional Nigerian food, and a bum she’s sure is far too small as a result. Oh, and the fact that she’s a thirty-one-year-old South-Londoner who doesn’t believe in sex before marriage is a bit of an obstacle too…

When her cousin gets engaged, Yinka commences ‘Operation Find A Date for Rachel’s Wedding’. Armed with a totally flawless, incredibly specific plan, will Yinka find herself a huzband?

What if the thing she really needs to find is herself?

Review

 Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband is so relatable, especially to singletons who are asked that eternal question about a partner. Yinka has many aunties who want to know when she is going to find a man and get married, after all, she is in her 30’s and this seems important to them. It is interesting to see Yinka trying to forge her own life. She is also career driven, until one day, something happens that changes her life plans, which forces her to plan new life-goals.

I was interested to see if Yinka would find a man and there are some very funny steps that are taken in her hunt for one, but I was also engrossed in other aspects of her and the other characters lives too.

It is interesting how organised Yinka is, even in her personal life and the text shows this through well-placed tables and lists. There are also letters pertaining her employment status too. These are very well-conceived and placed and not over-done.

The book is great for cosying up to on a cold day as it is easy to get wrapped up in the story, and yet is as light as a summer breeze, where you can easily sit with it and take in the rays of the sun. It is a feel-good, highly entertaining read that is joyous and fun!

Readers who like Bridget Jones Diary and Shopaholic series in style are sure to enjoy Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband. It is just as humorous and a fun debut novel!
I highly recommend this book and would be interested to see what comes next from the author -Lizzie Damilola Blackburn.

           

 

Yinka, Where is Your Huzband Tour 6 copy (1)

 

#BookReview By Lou of One Night On The Island By Josie Silver @JosieSilver_ @penguinrandom #PenguinGeneral @PenguinUKBooks @ella_horne #OneNightOnTheIsland #BookRecommendation #Romcom #RomanticFiction #UpliftingFiction

One Night On The Island
By Josie Silver

Rating: 5 out of 5.

From the author of One Day in December comes One Night on the Island. An absolutely outstanding rom-com that is sure to have you feeling good and having a right proper laugh as romance unfurls, leaving a positive sensation and one that feeling of having been thoroughly entertained…. It is enjoyable for the beginning. Thanks to Penguin General/Penguin Random House for inviting me to review and for gifting me a proof copy of the book. Discover more in the blurb and the rest of my review below…

Blurb

FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE MAJOR BESTSELLER ONE DAY IN DECEMBER, COMES A NEW IRRESISTIBLE LOVE STORY

Cleo writes about love stories every day. She just isn’t living one of her own.

When the editor of her dating column asks her to marry herself on a remote Irish island – a sensational piece to mark Cleo’s thirtieth birthday – Cleo agrees. She’s alone but not lonely, right? She can handle a solo adventure.

Cleo arrives at her luxury cabin to find a tall, dark, stubborn American who insists it’s actually his. Mack refuses to leave, and Cleo won’t budge either. With a storm fast approaching, they reluctantly hunker down together. It’s just one night, after all . . .

But what if one night on the island is just the beginning?

Following Cleo and Mack through heartbreak, healing and the search for happiness, One Night on the Island is an uplifting and immensely moving love story for fans of The Holiday, Lucy Diamond and Jojo Moyes.

Review

One Night on the Island is billed to be for fans of The Holiday, which I found very exciting and immediately piqued my interest. I was not disappointed in what is pure warm escapism with great entertainment value radiating, cosily from it with the feel-good factor ramped up high, with a couple of deeper themes weaved in.

The characters and the humour and the premise is just so enjoyable. Even the chapter names are humorous. This book has the Feel-Good Factor right at its heart and so many giggley moments ensue. The writing is absolutely divine for slinking back and soaking it all up as romance unfurls and perfect escapsim ensues.

Cleo works for the magazine – Women Today has an unusual job 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, not least that she is still interested in dating, and isn’t this something that celebs do? When she arrives on a remote island, she then has to share the stunning, totally remote, Otter Lodge with, who begins with, is a random American – Mack Sullivan, who is at every inch, impossible. He’s grumpy and yet good-looking. Josie Silver has the ingredients for this new romance and whisked them up to bring a lightness to touch and stirred them to create a certain depth, with themes of self-love and acceptance that cascade gently through the pages.

There’s show-biz (lots of name-dropping), adventure, romantic possibilities and new-life opportunities.
One Night On The Island is entertaining, fun and pure escapism!

#BookReview By Lou – The Impulse Purchase By Veronica Henry @veronica_henry @orionbooks @RandomTTours #TheImpulsePurchase #Fiction #FeelGoodFiction #UpliftingFiction #ContemporaryFiction #BlogTour #BookRecommendation

The Impulse Purchase
By Veronica Henry

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Impulse Graphic 5

The Impulse Purchase has the feel-good factor throughout and is a lovely escape. Find out more below…
Firstly, thanks to Orion Books and Veronica Henry for a copy of the book and for Random Things Tours for organising and inviting me to review on the blog tour.

I chose to read THE IMPULSE PURCHASE with my mum. The characters of Maggy, Cherry and Rose are inspiring multigenerational characters and the book got me thinking about the people I value in my life such as my mum, who has been through a lot and always will healthwise, since I was in my teens ( a little over 20 years ago), and I will now always be her unpaid carer, but without her in my life, I wouldn’t have become the strong, determined, resilient, independent woman I have and I wouldn’t have experienced so much or discovered so much (ie the arts, books and more…) without her. She also enabled to me to follow some dreams. She still continues to be a good mum and as still kept her sense of humour and love of going out with friends and family.
Find out more about The Impulse Purchase in the blurb and my thoughts in my review below…

Impulse Graphic 2

Blurb

The Impulse Purchase CoverWith this, Veronica’s 23rd novel, she introduces us to Cherry, Maggie and Rose – mother, daughter and granddaughter, each with their own hopes, dreams and even sorrows.

They have always been close, so when, in a moment of impulse, Cherry buys a gorgeous but
rundown pub in the village she grew up in, it soon becomes a family affair.
All three women uproot themselves and move to Rushbrook, deep in the heart of Somerset, to take over The Swan and restore it to its former glory. Cherry is at the helm, Maggie is in charge of the kitchen, and Rose tends the picturesque garden that leads down to the river.

Before long, the locals are delighted to find the beating heart of the village is back, bringing all kinds of surprises through the door. Could Cherry’s impulse purchase change all their lives – and bring everyone the happiness they’re searching for?

Impulse Graphic 1 (1)

Review

From the first pages, I have good feelings about this book, so immediately want to read on. The family has 3 main strong women within it: Cherry is the mother of Maggie and grandmother to 22 year old Rose.

Cherry is in the business of seeing properties that need renovating and flipping them into profit. She has long time partner – Mike, on the cusp of retirement.
Maggie is a successful PR woman, specialising in promoting food.
Rose is a student, also on the cusp of looking for a job as she tries to navigate life and her mental health issues and grief from losing her dad.

It starts with the organising of Mike’s retirement party as he got set to depart from his work at the university, and this is when readers first meet Cherry, who has an interesting and different outlook on such parties, but she wants it to be perfect for him. Things change however, when Anneka appears in his life…

There are many changes and challenges within the family; a family home up for sale, grief, new job, studies, moving onwards in the childcare chain. Within each challenge, there is also a certain amount of resilience, which is a joy to see. There are of course, chinks in their armour, but that’s what makes them human, but they keep trying to forge new paths ahead. It’s just what people need to be reading about today.

There’s an impulsive purchase, not a new dress or a book or anything like that. This impulse purchase is a pub called The Swan. It’s made when Cherry is selling her parents home and she recalls having many a happy time there. There’s a lot of work to be done, but nothing that this family cannot handle in what is a heartwarming story as they set off to work, calling in builders Cherry has worked with before and pulling together to do extensive work to revitalise the pub. It’s a joy to watch the idyllic scenery pass by and to see the family work together to create something great for the village.

Interweaved amongst the main family story are other characters, such as Chloe, where the pub gives her new hope in life and Winnie who the pub gives new work prospects to and a future in the pub’s kitchen.

There’s good food, cast of characters, wildlife and so much more. This book most definitely has the feel-good factor. It’s lovely to escape into and is joyous to read.

About the Author

Veronica Henry Author Pic

Veronica Henry has worked as a scriptwriter for The Archers, Heartbeat and Holby City amongst many others, before turning to fiction. She won the 2014 RNA Novel of the Year Award for A Night on the Orient Express and is a Sunday Times bestselling author of over twenty books.
Veronica lives with her family in a village in north Devon and can often be found cooking up the perfect seaside feast.

#BookReview By Lou – The Little Shop of Hidden Treasures By Holly Hepburn @HollyH_Author @TeamBATC @harriet_col #simonschusterUK #TheLittleShopOfHiddenTreasures

The Little Shop of Hidden Treasures
By Holly Hepburn

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Today I am excited to present my review of The Little Shop of Hidden Treasures. It has layers of history, romance, poignancy and chips away at you to make you curious amongst the cosyness.
Check out the blurb and my full review below. Thanks to Simon and Schuster for gifting me a physical copy of The Little Shop of Hidden Treasures and for inviting me onto the blog tour.

The Little Shop of Hidden Treasures cover pic

Blurb

**The brand new novel from Holly Hepburn, perfect for fans of Cathy Bramley and Katie Fforde.**
Originally published in four parts this is the full story in one package. 

When Hope loses her husband, she fears her happiest days are behind her. With her only connection to London broken, she moves home to York to be near her family and to begin to build a new life.  

Taking a job at the antique shop she has always admired, she finds herself crossing paths with two very different men. Will, who has recently become the guardian to his niece after the tragic death of her parents. And Ciaran, who she enlists to help solve the mystery of an Egyptian antique. Two men who represent two different happy endings.

But can she trust herself to choose the right man? And will that bring her everything she really needs?

The brand new novel from Holly Hepburn, author of Coming Home to Brightwater Bay

Review

The Little Shop of Hidden Treasures cover picHope Henderson is into antiques and needs a job. What can be more perfect than a vacancy at The Ever After Emporium – Purveyors of Treasure Great and Small in York. Her love of antiques started at Portabello Market in London, but then she moved to York where she finds the antique shop founded in 1902 where the proprieter is James T. Young Esq. What makes it seem all the more perfect is the post is part-time and no experience is required.

Charlotte is Hope’s sister, grappling motherhood with her daughter, Amber who is of a young age that she keeps growing out of things, something many parents with toddlers (and older kids), will be able to relate to. 

There’s an interesting Egyptian puzzle box that belonged to Will’s mother in the emporium that piques at the curiousity of Hope and will readers alike. This is where the plot begins to thicken, now it’s already captured my attention by its relative cosyness, which I am sure many readers will be able to feel and be reeled in even further between the past and present, linked with a letter written around an exhibition to Egypt in the early 1920’s. This note, secretly hidden away, sends Hope on an adventure of investigative research into Tutenkhamun, Lord Canarvon and the exhibitions. So, although this is a fictional story, it does mention real people and real excavations. The author intertwines fact and fiction well and holds interest. This book, what with all the interest in the Canarvon Family due to the location of Downton Abbey, may then find you wanting to investigate these exhibitions yourself too and that’s where good writing comes in, to pique interest that much.

On-top of the mysterious letter and the history is also deep poignancy about grief. What is said is incredibly truthful and wise words indeed within this book that has certain interesting nuances within it.

There’s also quite the love story to follow through this book too that keeps you guessing what the ending is going to be and what choices are going to be made. There’s also some great humour with certain film references and more general humour, between Hope and her sister Charlotte, creating some great sisterly fun. There’s also some really heartwarming moments among other characters too.

This is ulitmately a lovely book that is heartwarming and a joy to read.

The Little Shop of Hidden Treasures BTG (1)

 

#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.