Friday, 29 May 2015

Recipes for Melissa- Teresa Driscoll

Melissa is handed a journal on her 25th birthday. She lost her mum when she was 8 and before she died she had started a journal to pass on some treasured memories and family recipes. She really struggled with the loss of her mum as a child and just tried to block it out and avoid mention of her. As she reads through the pages and looks at the old photos certain little glimpses into her childhood come back to her.

She is in a relationship but is scared to take the next step- losing her mum at such a young age has made her wary of trying to love a child or giving her whole heart to her partner. When he discovers she's had the journal- whilst they are on holiday, he seems to understand her a little more.

You can feel the mum's pain and anguish, full of love for her daughter as she writes her journal entries for her daughter to read when she is old enough to take in the words.

The book weaves skillfully back to memories of her childhood through the journal, her dad's reluctance to have a new relationship and how protective he still feels over his daughter and her relationship.

Such a moving book- full of love for her child and her husband. What a treasure for Melissa.

Many thanks to the publisher Bookoutre and Net Galley for the chance to read this one. Bookoutre never fail to deliver a brilliant read.

The Art of Baking Blind- Sarah Vaughan

Eaden and Sons are running a baking competition to find the new face for their baking campaigns. Mrs Eadon wrote The Art of Baking in the 1960's and the book is still very popular. The new campaign will use many of her recipes.

Five contestants are chosen and they travel down to the family home every weekend to take part in a baking competition where the winners release a clip on YouTube. Jenny is an older lady and her children are leading their own lives and her husband has just started training for a marathon and is making disparaging remarks about her love of baking and her weight. You really feel for her. Claire has a little girl and has put her dreams on hold to look after her. Vikki has given up her job to be with her young son- but does she crave more from life? Karen presents a very polished exterior and has a very rich husband- but what secrets is she hiding to the outside world? Mike is looking after his children after losing his wife.

Although this is a competition there is no elimination process and the contestants get to know each other and feel protective about each other. They are all juggling problems at home and wondering whether they should continue with the competition but all have reasons for wanting to win!

I loved the relationships- both at home and between the contestants. You felt a part of the whole competition and readers will probably have their own favourite for the winner.

Highly recommend this one and send many thanks to the publisher and Net Galley for the chance to read this one.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Raving about Rhys- Jessica Ryland

Callie is a young girl who works at Bay View Care Home. She enjoys her job and loves chatting to the residents. But she often falls foul of her boss who is not very tolerant with her.

She met her older boyfriend when he came round to assess the care home for his employer. But life with him means stopping in when girls her age are going out having fun.

Her favourite resident Ruby has a grandson that everyone presumes is a figment of her imagination as he never seems to visit.

I loved the scenes where Callie took the residents out - her sense of responsibility for them. She's capable of taking charge and I loved the ending.

This was a short novella- but it has made me go straight into reading her book Searching for Steven. A new author for me- but I can see me following her work! I wanted Callie's life to improve and was rooting for her!

With many thanks to the publisher- So Vain books and Net Galley for a copy of this book.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Evil Games- Angela Marsons

Silent Scream was already in my top five reads of the year so far- and I was so excited to get approved to read the new one. Angela Marsons has joined my top list of authors and I can't wait for the next one! I enjoyed this one as much - if not more than Silent Scream.

I loved everything about Evil Games- I couldn't wait to read more. I had 25 minutes left on the kindle this morning and I only get a 20 minute lunch break. I was distraught! I had to dig it out of my bag as soon as I left work to get the final few minutes read- I left it on a real cliff hanger!

I loved the character of Kim again- she has a great working relationship with her team. They accept her approach and there were some very touching exchanges between her and her partner. I think we were exposed to a couple of chinks in her armour in Evil Games. I loved the fact that she had to take the dog home and the way he helped her. Who can ignore the healing qualities that a dog can offer! Even a hint of a possible romance to come.

I loved the investigations and characters involved. I held my breath at one point. There truly were Evil Games running through the pages- very clever.

With many thanks to the publisher and Net Galley for a copy of this book.

I would highly recommend this one.

Friday, 15 May 2015

Paperback summer

I've signed up for this challenge to read some paperbacks off the shelf this summer. I went a bit mad requesting NetGalley review books- but do need to tackle some of those loyal paperbacks on the shelf.

I had set myself a target of 30 books off my bookshelf this year - as I am mainly a kindle reader lately. But I think I'm going to set myself a target of 12 REAL books! I have so many lovely books waiting for me!

Sunday, 10 May 2015

We are all made of Stars- Rowan Coleman

What a wonderful book- it had me drawn in from page one and I really couldn't put it down. I have to buy a paper copy for my 'favourites' bookshelf.

A cast of characters centre around the Marie Francis hospice and Stella is the connection to the main stories in the book. She works nights at the hospice, spending time with the patients and their families to avoid being home at the same time as her husband. He suffered horrific injuries in Afghanistan and hasn't been the same man since he returned. They feel their relationship is in trouble and are dealing with it by avoiding each other.

Stella talks to the patients and helps them write letters to their loved ones, to be delivered after their death to hopefully bring some comfort and something to hold on to in the midst of grief. Some will their loved ones on to look forward and move on.

One day she's asked to write a letter that tears her apart- should she go with her heart or her head and what consequences will there be?

Hope is a young girl who is recovering at the hospice after suffering a particularly severe infection. She has a lovely male friend who brightens up the evenings at the hospice for most who come into contact with him. She has plans and wishes and hopes her friend will help her enable them. I loved the scenes between them.

This book really has everything, hope, heartbreak, relationships in peril, new relationships, a cat who is all things to all men and loves to visit the hospice to bring comfort for those feeling low. I kept turning the pages hoping to find that certain stories were resolved and willing others on to achieve their hopes and wishes. Every character pulled at the heartstrings and drew you into their circumstances leaving you completely involved with their lives.

I adored The Memory Book and We are all made of stars joins my list of favourites. 

With many thanks to the publishers and Net Galley for the chance to read this wonderful book ahead of the publication date.

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Coming Up Roses- Rachel Lucas

When her parents decide to go on a gap year in their retirement years they ask her to look after the house and get the garden in shape. After a traumatic break up- she relishes the chance to hide away in the little village. But eventually she realises that she needs friends around her. An unlikely friend comes in the form of the old gardener who looked after many of the village gardens.

She also makes 2 friends, Jo and Elaine. Elaine is the headmasters wife and Jo is a counsellor at the school. They are all looking for friends - so their friendship blossoms.

As she gets to grips with the garden she settles well into village life, even agreeing to go to local meetings and judging at the annual village show.

Are her friends as happy as they seem, is her new 'beau' everything he seems to be?

This was such a lovely read- you felt a part of the village and got to know all the locals. The characters are so well drawn, you can really imagine sitting down with a drink in the local 0r popping round for Coffee in Elaine's beautiful house and Martha Stewart lifestyle.