#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)

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

The Call of the Penguins
By Hazel Prior

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

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

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

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

 

Review

'Penguins represent bravery, determination and resilience'

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

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

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

'The perfect fireside read' Trisha Ashley, 2021

 

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

Celebrations At The Chateau
By Jo Thomas

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Celebrations at the Chateau is coming soon

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

Celebrations at the Chateau

Blurb

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

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

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

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

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

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

Review

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

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

 

#BookReview by Lou of Hot Desk by Zara Stoneley @ZaraStoneley @0neMoreChapter_ @HarperCollinsUK #Romcom #Fiction #OfficeReturn #OfficeRomance #Humour #Uplifting

Hot Desk
By Zara Stoneley

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Hot Desk provides great escapism that is packed full of delightful entertainment  with really good humour and romance.

Thank you to One More Chapter (Harper Collins UK) for gifting me a copy of Hot Desk and giving me the opportunity to review.

Follow onto the blurb and my full review below.

image001 (3)

Blurb

Same desk, different days. A post-it note is just the beginning…

A must read for fans of Beth O’Leary, Mhairi McFarlane and Sophie Kinsella!

Alice loves her job and wants to keep it – whatever the price. But then she’s told the company is switching to flexible working and hot desking…Alice’s desk might look a mess, but she knows exactly where everything is. Or she did. Until she found out she’s going to share it with the most annoying guy in the office.
 
Jamie can work from anywhere. He’s quite happy to sweep his work life into a box at the end of the working day. But can sharing a desk with Alice be as much fun as teasing her in person?
 
With no option but to try it and see, will their relationship turn into open warfare or will it ever progress beyond a post-it note?

Review

Hot DeskHot Desk is set post Covid-19 and people are adjusting to being back in the office with new working practices. Something so many office workers would now be able to relate to. This reality is there, but it’s not all about Covid-19. This is about Alice and how she handles going back to the office of ‘We Got Designs’. It presents itself, even from the first page, to be a very funny book indeed. The comic-timing in the writing is divine. A little bit further in and there is the clear signs of romantic frission between her and fellow colleague – Jamie and it is so well written. It’s great that this is set out near the beginning and then to see how this progresses. It’s a bit like listening into office gossip when reading Hot Desk. It’s all rather a deliciously enticing book that is so entertaining that it compels you to read to see how it all plays out.

There are serious notes to the story too, one being the real fear of the office’s future. There is also the whole fear of hot desking looming and then becoming a reality, with all the terms and conditions attached and the emotion that goes with it. Readers will be able to relate to how things can be when a desk is no longer your own. Alice finds out she has to hot desk with Jamie, so confides in her friend Lou quite a bit.

There is a sweet growing romance that sprouts in the office and yet in a light way, also brings endangered animals and conservation into the conversation. It’s lovely to organically watch Alice and Jamie getting to know each other.

Ultimately this is a rom-com that is properly funny and properly romantic. The mix of these ingredients with the premise of returning to the office and having to share a desk works wonderfully well and makes me smile. Readers can watch this office to see if the spark of their romance grows further into a sizzle or not, even with all the new things to get to grip with, this element still lives on.
After a hard day’s work, whether you’re in an office or not, Hot Desk provides entertaining, sweet and touching escapism that hits the spot very well indeed.