Today I would like to bring you my review of Away with the Penguins by Hazel Prior.
I’m sure that like me, you have seen this novel recommended everywhere! I was therefore determined to read this novel as soon as I could, and I was not disappointed!
Veronica McCreedy is an 85 woman, who lives alone in her large house, with only her housekeeper Eileen for company. She is stubborn, and she is most definitely set in her ways! She spends her days litter picking or watching wildlife documentaries, but as the days pass her by she realises that she has a significant amount of money and no one to leave it to when she dies. As her past seems to haunt her more and more, she looks to the future – one that she would really like to have an impact on, despite her advancing age. One evening, whilst upset that her beloved Earth Matters show seems have finished, she discovers a new wildlife show, The Plight of Penguins, presented by her favourite wildlife presenter Robert Saddlebow. What follows, is a journey of epic proportions. An elderly woman with a plight, a long lost Grandson, and finally, a colony of penguins in deepest Antarctica.
Away with the Penguins is a story about love and loss, but it is so much more than that. It is a story that shows us that no matter what barriers you find in front of you, they can be overcome. Mrs McCreedy is a very wealthy woman, and as we all know, money can indeed help make life a little easier. But that money did not stop her reaching 85 years of age all alone, with no one but her housekeeper for company. However, she does not let her age hold her back in her quest to help the penguins. Instead she goes on an actual quest, across land and sea, finding out more about herself whilst also cautiously letting others into her life.
This is such a wonderful novel – it was easy to get wrapped up in Veronicas story and empathise with her. She may have been an older lady set in her ways with a grouchy nature, but as you learn more about her you realise why she has shut herself away for so long. I also really enjoyed learning more about Patrick, which added such a beautiful element to the story as it unfolded. I am more than happy to recommend this novel – if it does nothing else other than make you want to pick up the phone and call your Grandparents if you are still lucky enough to have them, then it will have been a successful read.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Away with the Penguins can be bought in all good bookshops, but if you can support a local independent bookshop then please do.
Today it is my pleasure to bring you my review of High Heels in the Highlands by Liz Hurley on day one of her amazing blog tour!
So High Heels in the Highlands is the third novel in the series about the Hiverton sisters – if you want a quick catch up them please head over to check out my reviews of the first two books in the series;
I adored the first 2 novels in this series, and High Heels in the Highlands was no exception. Lady Clementine is having a bit of a rough time in her career, and so when her older sister Ariana asks that she heads up to Scotland to check out their newly inherited Scottish castle, she is more than happy to do so. What she doesn’t anticipate though is the resident housekeeper and the local bearded young farmer. Clem is hot headed with a temper to match, but with her heart in the right place. She is fiercely loyal to her family, and will do what it takes to ensure that they are all safe and well. What she doesn’t anticipate though, particularly as a city dweller through and through, is falling in love with her castle. It ignites something in her – her passion for fashion, but it also gives her something to fight for. She finds herself working within her small community, and realising that the castle is just as important to peoples livelihoods as it is to hers. Add in a very stubborn housekeeper who hasn’t left the castle in decades and what follows is certainly not boring!
I love this series, I really do. It provides us with the familiarity of following one family, the Hiverton sisters, whilst also introducing us to a whole new story each time with a wealth of new characters. It’s the best of both worlds in terms of giving us a great standalone novel, whilst learning about a family member that you’ve already been briefly introduced to! The five sisters are all so different as well, so none of the stories can possibly be the same, even though they all experienced the same traumatic childhood following the loss of their parents at such a young age. Its like putting on your favourite comfortable cardigan but in a new colour!
I am more than happy to recommend this novel. It is a light easy that really draws you in and gets you to engage with the characters. I loved the dynamic between Clem and Otto, and I adore the fierce loyalty of the sisters to one another. If I was to have one gripe, it would be that the books haven’t been released in chronological order – it caused me a little confusion to begin with (you’ll understand if you’ve read the first two already) but if that’s the worst thing I can say then I think we are doing well! So please do go out and grab yourself a copy of this fabulous novel!
Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Thank you to Liz Hurley and Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of this wonderful blog tour, and for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.
Stormy Days on Mulberry Lane is the seventh book in this wonderful series, and once again it focuses on our heroine Peggy Ronoscki. She has finally returned to the lanes, both for herself and for the opportunities that it provides her children. She is once again surrounded by her beloved friends and family and she is content with her life. The war is over, rationing has eased and she loves to look after those that stay at her guesthouse. But when Peggy finds a collapsed girl in the marketplace, her good nature pushes her to take her in and care for her. Her son Pip is also involved in an awful car accident, leaving Peggy to hold together everything in the lanes so that her daughter and daughter-in-law can rush to be by his side. Peggy’s good nature may finally come back to bite her, as trouble starts to follow in her wake!
Whilst Stormy Days on Mulberry Lane can definitely be read as a standalone novel, I would not recommend it because you’d be missing out on the wonderful, colourful stories that bring you to this point in the lanes. Peggy Ronoscki is such a central character in the Mulberry Lane series, that it would be a shame to miss out on understanding her story and how she came to be at this point in her life. She is such a kind and caring character, who clearly suffered during WWII, but it made her stronger. Her strength of character is a delight to read, and her husband Able compliments her so beautifully that they are really a pleasure to read about. Maureen and her daughter Shirley are also favourite characters of mine, and I’ve really enjoyed watching them grow and evolve as characters throughout this series. Shirley in particular really comes into her own in this novel,.
So whilst we have left WWII behind us in this novel (and I am a big fan of fiction set during WWII, particularly when its following the strength of women), I continue to love this series as it shows us how that period in time continues to have an effect on all those who made it through. I love revisiting characters, and continuing to watch them evolve and grow, and the Mulberry Lane series is no exception to this. I am more than happy to recommend this novel to you (along with the other 6 in the series!). If you haven’t get discovered the ladies of Mulberry Lane, a snowy, lockdown day like today is the perfect opportunity! So grab yourself a hot chocolate and blanket, and curl up with the women of Mulberry Lane!
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Thank you to Rosie Clarke and Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour and for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.
Rosie Clarke is a #1 bestselling saga writer whose most recent books include The Mulberry Lane series. She has written over 100 novels under different pseudonyms and is a RNA Award winner. She lives in Cambridgeshire.
Today it is my pleasure to bring you my review of A Remedy in Time by Jennifer Macaire as part of her wonderful blog tour.
So before I even comment on the novel, I think we should all take a moment to appreciate the gorgeous cover! Wow! I really love it, it really captures the essence of the book.
This is not a novel I would ordinarily have chosen to read, but sometimes its nice to read something outside of your usual genres. A Remedy in Time centres around Robin, a woman who is highly intelligent but with a murky past. In fact, she remembers almost nothing about her childhood. In the year 3377 this makes her a dangerous woman in society, but her intelligence and subsequent work on the much needed vaccine for the fatal strain of typhus that is currently affecting the planet all work in her favour. She should never have been considered for a time travel mission, but her expertise are deemed essential in finding a cure for the disease that is destroying humanity, and halting the movement of people between Earth and Mars.
Jake is one of Robin’s closest friends, and the son of Dr Powell, Robin’s mentor. They can’t seem to stay away from each other, despite Jake being in an on/off relationship with Helen. Jake is also less than keen on Robin time travelling. Whilst time travelling is now used regularly, Robin is due to go back 12,000 years which is at the absolute limit of the time travelling capabilities.
As I’m sure you can imagine, Robin’s journey does not go smoothly. It is full of danger and mystery, as well as pre-historic beasts that Robin (and we as the reader) could only ever imagine. Pre-historic natural history is really brought to life in this novel in such a unique way, and I actually really enjoyed it! It was completely different to any novels I’ve read before, but it was really nice to escape to such a different landscape. So if you’re looking for something a bit different, this could be the book for you. There’s plenty of danger, there’s some twists and turns, and there’s a little bit of romance thrown in for good measure! So maybe go and grab yourself a copy of A Remedy in Time and immerse yourself in the pre-historic timeline!
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Thank you to Jennifer Macaire and Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be part of this blog tour, and for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.
Jennifer Macaire lives in France with her husband, three children, & various dogs & horses. She loves chocolate, biking, & reading. She grew up in upstate New York, Samoa, and the Virgin Islands. She graduated from St. Peter and Paul high school in St. Thomas and moved to NYC where she modeled for five years for Elite. She went to France and met her husband at the polo club. All that is true. But she mostly likes to make up stories.
Today it is my pleasure to bring you my review of The Little Swiss Ski Chalet by Julie Caplin as part of her fabulous blog tour.
The Little Swiss Ski Chalet follows Mina, a food technician whose job it is to design ready made meals. Her enthusiasm and passion is often ignored however, with many of her ideas being pushed to one side by her employer. When her relationship breaks down in a rather spectacular (and eventually, very public manner) she realises that she needs to get away – working alongside her ex is far too painful. With a little encouragement she finds herself packing her bags and heading off to Switzerland to visit her Godmother at her cozy Swiss ski chalet. The lure of Swiss chocolate is strong, and she finds her passion for food reignited…along with her passion for a mysterious stranger she meets on the train!
Does serendipity exist? Does love at first sight (or first kiss) exist? You will have to grab yourself a copy of The Little Swiss Ski Chalet to find out what happens to Mina, Luke, Amelie and Johannes!
The Little Swiss Ski Chalet is such a sweet, romantic read. Mina is a great character; she’s flawed of course, but she’s not afraid of hard work to get what she wants. She’s just spent too long not knowing what she really wanted. Escaping to Switzerland finally gives her some perspective and it enables her to explore her passions whilst reconnecting with her beloved Godmother Amelie. The Swiss setting is an added bonus – Julie Caplin really captures the landscape within her words, making it so easy as a reader to imagine Mina’s surroundings. It’s definitely made me want to visit Switzerland, and maybe even give skiing a go!
I am more than happy to recommend this novel to you all. Its a light, easy read full of romance, chocolate and good food. What more can you want?! So grab yourself a hot chocolate and settle under a blanket to read this book on this chilly, lockdown Sunday!
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Thank you to Julie Caplin and Rachel at Rachels Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour, and for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Julie Caplin, formerly a PR director, swanned around Europe for many years taking top food and drink writers on press trips (junkets) sampling the gastronomic delights of various cities in Italy, France, Belgium, Spain, Copenhagen and Switzerland. It was a tough job but someone had to do it.
These trips have provided the inspiration and settings for her Romantic Escapes series which have been translated into fifteen different languages.
The first book in the seven strong series, The Little Café in Copenhagen, was shortlisted for a Romantic Novel of the Year Award.
It is my pleasure to bring you my review for The Lake House by Christie Barlow as part of her fabulous blog tour!
I am so excited to talk to you today about the next instalment in Christie Barlow’s Love Heart Lane series, The Lake House. If you would like to re-familiarise yourself with the other novels in this series, then please check out my reviews below;
The Lake House is book 5 in this wonderful series (and I’m thrilled to say that book 6, Primrose Park is due out in April 2021 so not long to wait!)
Ella has not had a good time. After losing her parents, she thought that she had found someone who could support her through her grief. Instead he betrays her in the worst possible way. After struggling alone for 6 months, her friend Callie finally persuades her to leave her home and join her in Heartcross, offering her the love and support she so desperately needs. Heartcross offers her the new start she needs; a new home, new friends and maybe even a new romance!
I love returning to Heartcross, it is such a lovely tightknit, supportive community and it is so easy to immerse yourself in it. As our real world continues to fight the challenges thrown up by a pandemic, it is such a delight to be able to lose yourself in such a wonderful place. As I’ve said many times before, I love getting involved in a book series because I love to revisit places. I like to see characters we have met before and find out where they are now. But what makes The Lake House stand apart from rest is that this time our central character is Ella, an outsider. Having a character join the village and see it with fresh eyes really does give a new perspective. Ella’s heartbreak is very real, but it’s inspiring to watch as she attempts to rebuild her life back up with nothing but her new found community. In the times that we currently live in, there is a lot we could learn from a place like Heartcross, fictional or not.
It would be remiss of me to not mention two other characters who I feel really help the book ‘pop’. Roman is the local water taxi driver, and he is of course suitably handsome (love interest alert!!). Naturally there is some mystery surrounding him, which doesn’t always tally up with the warm, giving character that he is portrayed as. As we learn more about him though, it becomes very clear that everyone has their secrets and their struggles, even if they have a smile on their face.
Finally, I cannot end my review without mentioning Dolores…what a legend! I can only hope to have lead a life as colourful as hers when I reach her advanced years, and she just goes to prove that it’s never too late when it comes to love!
For me, the sign of a good book is one that is talked about. I introduced my two sisters to the Love Heart Lane series during lockdown number 1 (I know, I hate that the lockdown now have numbers!) and they have loved them. So much so that they have both been sat waiting for The Lake House to be released (I may or may not have mentioned to them how lucky I was to get an early copy!). If you find a book that you enjoy, then tell your friends. Now, more than ever, we all need a little lighthearted relief and books most definitely offer us that.
So, grab yourself a bar of chocolate, a glass of wine and snuggle up on your sofa with a copy of The Lake House – you won’t regret it!
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Thank you to Christie Barlow and Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of this wonderful blog tour, and for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.
Christie Barlow is the author of ten bestselling romantic comedies including A Home at Honeysuckle Farm, Love Heart Lane and Clover Cottage. She lives in a ramshackle cottage in a quaint village in the heart of Staffordshire with her four children and two dogs.
Her writing career has come as a lovely surprise when Christie decided to write a book to teach her children a valuable life lesson and show them that they are capable of achieving their dreams. Christie’s dream was to become a writer and the book she wrote to prove a point went on to become a #1 bestseller in the UK, USA, Canada and Australia.
When Christie isn’t writing she enjoys playing the piano, is a keen gardener and loves to paint and upcycle furniture.
Christie is an ambassador for the @ZuriProject alongside Patron of the charity, Emmerdale’s Bhasker Patel. They raise money and awareness for communities in Uganda.
Christie loves to hear from her readers and you can get in touch via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
It’s that time of year when I am feeling all festive, so grabbing myself a Christmassy book was essential! This weeks choice was The Little Village Christmas by Sue Moorcroft.
Firstly I must confess to having owned this book for 3 years (damn you Amazon, and your ability to tell me when I purchased this novel and downloaded it my Kindle!!). In my defence I literally bought it a couple of days before Christmas, so I must have then missed my personal Christmas novel reading window! What my excuse is for the subsequent years of not reading it is, well that’s anyones guess!
Anyway, back to the book. The Little Village Christmas centres on Alexia Kennedy, a budding interior decorator who is so excited to have taken on the job of transforming an old pub in the village on Middledip into a much needed community cafe. She can’t wait to get started, she’s excited about the project but also about what it could do for her career. A project of that size really could push her up a level professionally. When disaster strikes, and every penny of the significant fundraising is stolen, Alexia finds herself at a loss, both personally and professionally.
Ben Hardaker is a new village inhabitant, and a hard man to read. Hidden away in his cabin with his rescue owl Barney, he very much keeps to himself. However when his uncles village community cafe project falls into disarray, he knows he needs to help. However with his own personal life full of secrets and mystery, he finds it difficult to connect with new people, even if Alexia, the project manager for the community cafe really needs him. They need to work together to solve the problems they are faced with, both personally and professionally.
I really loved this book! Alexia was such a great character, she’s full of drive and ambition. Despite all this though, it was almost reassuring to see just how much her confidence was knocked by what happens with her ambitious project – it made her much more realistic as a character and far more relatable. Sue Moorcroft really managed to get across Alexia’s hopes and dreams, as well as her disappointment and fears. With regards Ben, we are fed mere snippets of his life before Middledip, which adds a sense of mystery to the novel. I can honestly say that I was unsure of his whole story until it was finally revealed, and it really made his whole persona more relatable along with his fears of forming close relationships. Naturally Barney stole the whole show as our rescue owl with a good set of lungs him!
The setting of Middledip was perfect – a community coming together really does form the basis of a great, feel-good story. I think I can also guarantee that we all know a Carola, a woman set in her ways but really who just wants to feel needed.
All in all this is a fabulous Christmas novel, full of the feel-good factor. I am more than happy to recommend it to you all, so grab yourself a copy, snuggle under a warm blanket with a hot chocolate and enjoy!
Today it is my pleasure to bring you my review of Winter at Wishington Bay by Maxine Morrey as part of her fabulous blog tour!
I was so excited when I heard that Maxine Morrey was returning to Wishington Bay – I loved her first foray into the bay in Coming Home to Wishington Bay and I knew that Winter in Wishington Bay would be no different. I should however state that whilst we do revisit Wishington Bay, these are both standalone books. Whilst there is mention of previous characters, Winter in Wishington Bay is very much focussed on Sophia Jones and Nate McKinley.
Sophia and Nate have both escaped to Wishington Bay. Both are running from their marriages, attempting to rebuild themselves in the chilly but welcoming Bay. Sophia alludes to the secrets she keeps about her old life, and although we are able to make assumptions about her, the big reveal doesn’t happen early on. She is escaping a life of unhappiness with a cheating ex.
Nate’s wife has left him, and it is clear that their relationship has had a negative impact on his for quite some time. He feels worthless and certainly lacks in confidence. Despite a rocky start, Sophia’s straight talking starts to bring him back to himself, and their friendship deepens.
This is a wintery story full of second chances and I loved it. Both Sophia and Nate are definitely flawed characters, but it makes them both all the more relatable. They are keen to protect themselves from more hurt, in Sophia’s case by keeping secrets, but they are both ultimately seeking a happiness that they each once thought would not be possible. This is such a lovely novel, perfect for reading as our nights draw in. So grab yourself a hot chocolate (or glass of wine!), a cosy blanket and curl up in your armchair with a copy of Winter at Wishington Bay – you won’t regret it.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Thank you to Maxine Morrey and Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour, and for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.
Maxine Morrey is a bestselling romantic comedy author with eight books to her name including Winter’s Fairytale and the top ten hit The Christmas Project. She lives in West Sussex. Her first novel for Boldwood, #No Filter, was published in November 2019.
Edmond and Amy Derwent are our central characters, and they are characters that we have now followed through three novels. We have followed their relationship from when it was just a fleeting glance, all the way through to their marriage and the birth of their beautiful daughter Beth. I love a book series that allow me to become invested in characters, and Rosemarie Goodacre provides us with this opportunity beautifully.
Until We Can Forgive focuses on the time following the end of WWI – most families have suffered losses, and the Spanish Flu pandemic is finally abating. War injuries are impacting many lives, but despite these many obstacles families are working hard to rebuild their lives whilst establishing their new normal.
Edmond and Amy’s friends and family have all been affected in some way by the war. Vicky, Edmonds cousin, was too young to really have had any involvement in the war effort. However, seeing her friends and family playing their part has inspired her future. Despite her privileged upbringing, she is keen to assist in the rebuilding of her country. Inspired by Amy and the hundreds of other women who assisted their injured men, both on the front and at home, she is adamant that she wants to train and work as a nurse. When she meets Maxim, a young Frenchman, she discovers a love that she could never have anticipated existing. As we all know though, the road to love is never smooth…
I have loved following Edmond, Amy, their family and friends. Larchbury was hit by much tragedy during the Great War as many small communities were, but seeing them come out of the other side has been wonderful to follow. The community spirit is so evident, and there seemed to be very much a ‘can do’ attitude. Clearly worries for the future remained, but hope is very clearly depicted in Rosemarie’s writing. I am more than happy to recommend this novel to you all (although I do recommend you reading all three novels in the series) – I love reading wartime fiction, I love the hopefulness that existed even in the face of adversity. Rosemary Goodacre has given us an excellent example of such writing.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
This is a bittersweet blog tour. Very sadly, Rosemarie Goodacre passed away a few short weeks ago. I am however honoured to have been a part of this blog tour for her final novel, and would like to thank Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources and Hera Books for inviting me to be a part of it, and for providing me with a copy of the novel. My review is all my own, honest opinions.
Rosemary Goodacre is thrilled to have a three book deal with Hera Books. Her World War I romance Until We Meet Again will be released on 31/10/19. Her heroine, Amy, faces many challenges as she works as a nurse and struggles to spend time with Edmond, her sweetheart.
Previously Rosemary has had a novella published, entitled A Fortnight is not Enough, and a science fiction story in the anthology Telescoping Time.
Rosemary has always loved languages and travel, mainly in Europe. In her spare time she enjoys country walking, bridge and classical music. She lives in Kent, England.
Today it is my pleasure to bring you my review of The Christmas Swap as part of Sandy Barker’s fabulous blog tour.
Chloe, Lucy and Jules have been best friends forever, and they don’t let a little issue like living on different continents keep them apart. They speak regularly and holiday together whenever they can.
During one of their many video calls, it becomes apparent that they are each seeking an escape from their daily lives, and that they each want to experience Christmas in a different way. After much discussion they finally agree to swap Christmases! Jules is keen to exchange the snowy backdrop of Colorado for the much sunnier Melbourne, Chloe is excited to head to England for a cosy family Christmas and Lucy can’t wait to see snow on Christmas Day in Colorado! What they don’t forsee is how one holiday apart could change each of them in such a significant way!
I really loved this novel! It is the perfect escapism from our current real life issues, and it provided me with the opportunity to travel the world without leaving my sofa (good job really, given that travelling the world is currently not an option!). Both Melbourne and Colorado feature on my own personal travel list, so getting to spend some time there with these characters was lovely! The descriptions of each of the locations were vibrant and detailed, which helps enormously when you want to imagine yourself there with these characters. Of course it also helps that each location came with its very own attractive love interest! It’s a shame that doesn’t always happen in real life!
Lucy, Chloe and Jules were all great characters to spend time with – they were all very different, but you could see why they worked as friends. Their friendship isn’t perfect, but that’s what made it more realistic – they have their problems, both individually and as a group, but they ultimately love and support one another. Swapping Christmases was their way of supporting each other, to give each of them the opportunity to escape their current lives and experience something new and different.
I am more than happy to recommend this novel to you all – it is an easy-read, filled with friendship, travel and romance. Christmas is coming (even if we don’t all want to admit it yet), so grab yourself a copy of The Christmas Swap, a glass of mulled wine and get yourself into the Christmas spirit!
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Thank you to Sandy Barker and Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour, and for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.
Sandy Barker is a writer, traveller and hopeful romantic with a lengthy bucket list. She loves exploring new places, outdoor adventures, and eating and drinking like a local when she travels, and many of her travel adventures have found homes in her novels. She’s also an avid reader, film buff, wine lover and coffee snob.