The Lemon Tree Cafe by Cathy Bramley

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When Rosie Featherstone finds herself unexpectedly jobless, the offer to help her beloved Italian grandmother out at the Lemon Tree Cafe – a little slice of Italy nestled in the rolling hills of Derbyshire – feels like the perfect way to keep busy.

Surrounded by the rich scent of espresso, delicious biscotti and juicy village gossip, Rosie soon finds herself falling for her new way of life. But she is haunted by a terrible secret, one that even the appearance of a handsome new face can’t quite help her move on from.

Then disaster looms and the cafe’s fortunes are threatened . . . and Rosie discovers that her nonna has been hiding a dark past of her own. With surprises, betrayal and more than one secret brewing, can she find a way to save the Lemon Tree Cafe and help both herself and Nonna achieve the happy endings they deserve?

My Review

Another great read from the lovely Cathy Bramley. I received this book as a Thank You for taking part in a survey panel regarding Cathy Bramley books and was thrilled to also get a beautiful card with a hand written message from Cathy, this just goes to show how lovely Cathy is, she really values her readers. Anyway back to my review. So I’ve really been struggling just recently to get into a book but I was hooked from the beginning with this one, actually no I was hooked from the cover – the cover alone is so appealing, I knew I was going to love this book.

This book follows Rosie, a strong independent woman, as she takes over her nonna’s cafe. Rosie appeared in ‘The Plumberry School Of Comfort Food’, she was Verity’s housemate, so it was a lovely surprise to read about Verity in this book and a couple of other familiar characters which I’m not telling who – you will have to read the book and see !!

This story had such a lovely, warming community spirit feeling to it, I wanted to be part of the community in Barnaby, where there never seemed to be a dull moment. I loved how there was rude humour added too – it was right on my wavelength.

I loved that I was able to travel to Italy without leaving my house, I got a real feel for the country just through this story, hopefully one day I will visit.

If you want a feel good story to brighten up miserable damp summer days, pre-order this book now !

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All That She Can See by Carrie Hope Fletcher

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Cherry has a hidden talent. She can see things other people can’t and she decided a long time ago to use this skill to help others. As far as the rest of the town is concerned she’s simply the kind-hearted young woman who runs the local bakery, but in private she uses her gift to add something special to her cakes so that after just one mouthful the townspeople start to feel better about their lives. They don’t know why they’re drawn to Cherry’s bakery – they just know that they’re safe there and that’s how Cherry likes it. She can help them in secret and no one will ever need to know the truth behind her gift.

And then Chase turns up and threatens to undo all the good Cherry has done. Because it turns out she’s not the only one who can see what she sees ….

My Review

A truly magical story – perfect for fans of Cecelia Ahern.

This story really reached out to me. I suffer with anxiety, and this story made me look at my anxiety in a different light. I once read an article about ‘making friends with anxiety’ and I remember thinking how stupid, my anxiety is my worst enemy but after reading this and how Cherry coped with her feelings, it made me see my anxiety in a different perspective, the whole ‘fight or flight’ theory became clearer to me. It made me realise my anxiety is part of me and I suppose it always will be – I just need to find a way to balance my life out.

I loved how Cherry described how emotions tasted, I thought this was very clever.

At times I felt like I was reading a grown up version of the Disney Pixar film ‘Inside Out’. I feel this story would make an excellent Netflix series that would blow ’13 Reasons Why’ and ‘Stranger Things’ out the water.

This book would suit the young adult genre, I will be recommending it to the Secondary School Library where I work.

 

 

 

Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon

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Maddy is allergic to the world; stepping outside the sterile sanctuary of her home could kill her. But then Olly moves in next door. And just like that, Maddy realizes there’s more to life than just being alive. You only get one chance at first love. And Maddy is ready to risk everything, everything to see where it leads.

My Review

A story that will teach you the meaning of life, this story is one that will stay with you forever. Perfect for fans of John Green.

My daughter and I had recently had a discussion about what it would be like to be allergic to everything, so when I saw ‘Everything Everything’ advertised in the school newsletter where I work, I knew I had to read it !

This story follows Maddy who is allergic to the outside world so she is confined to her house with only her mum and nurse Carla for company. So when Olly ‘the boy next door’ appears, life gets frustrating and complicated for Maddy.

Maddy’s condition made me feel grateful of the life I have – yet in another way I felt envious of how simple her life was. She didn’t have to go to school/work, she didn’t have to worry about making sure her hair and make-up was perfect, she could sit at home all day, everyday and read (my idea of bliss) ! I am a real home bird- like Dorothy once said “there’s no place like home”.

I loved the illustrations, they made the story a lot clearer by enabling me to see how Maddy saw things. I did predict the ending but I still absolutely loved the whole story – it was like putting a jigsaw together you know what the end picture will look like but you still enjoy completing it.

 

Perfect by Cecelia Ahern

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Celestine North lives in a society that demands perfection. After she was branded Flawed by a morality court, Celestine’s life has completely fractured – all her freedoms gone.

Since Judge Crevan has declared her the number one threat to the public, she has been a ghost, on the run with the complicated, powerfully attractive Carrick, the only person she can trust. But Celestine has a secret – one that could bring the entire Flawed system crumbling to the ground.

Judge Crevan is gaining the upper hand, and time is running out for Celestine. With tensions building, Celestine must make a choice: save only herself, or risk her life to save all the Flawed. And, most important of all, can she prove that to be human in itself is to be Flawed…?

My Review 

The title of this sequel describes the book to a tee – it really is perfect. It’s full of suspense, loyalty and betrayal. It had my pulse racing. When I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about it.

I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to get into this long awaited sequel as I have read so may books after ‘Flawed’ , yet it was written with lots of recaps from ‘Flawed’ that it all fell into place of and I easily picked up where ‘Flawed’ left off.

As well as being reunited with familiar characters, new characters were introduced who all felt like old friends. The descriptions of the settings and characters were so in depth, I felt like I was part of the story.

This story will make you look at your own flaws in a different light – a negative can easily be a positive. I would love to see both books turned into films, I think they would put ‘The Hunger Games’ films to shame !!

Thanks to Eleanor Brampton at Harper Collins for sending me the ARC.

The Summer Seaside Kitchen by Jenny Colgan

Flora is definitely, absolutely sure that escaping from the quiet Scottish island where she grew up to the noise and hustle of the big city was the right choice. What was there for her on Mure? It’s a place where everyone has known her all her life, and no one will let her forget the past. In the city, she can be anonymous, ambitious and indulge herself in her hopeless crush on her gorgeous boss, Joel.

When a new client demands Flora’s presence back on Mure, she’s suddenly swept back into life with her brothers (all strapping, loud and seemingly incapable of basic housework) and her father. As Flora indulges her new-found love of cooking and breathes life into the dusty little pink-fronted shop on the harbour, she’s also going to have to come to terms with past mistakes – and work out exactly where her future lies…

My Review

Reading a Jenny Colgan book is like meeting up with a friend you have not seen for a while and feeling like nothing has changed !

A feel good story that oozes with community spirit, family bonds and traditional hearty recipes,  it made me want to move to Mure, everyone seems so friendly there. This story really promotes how important it is to buy from local businesses.

I loved the different setting of Scotland, even though I’ve only been to Gretna Green, I had a clear picture in my mind of what Mure looked like. This whole story had my imagination ticking over, I imagined Flora to be ‘Anne Hathaway’ , Joel ‘Jamie Dorman’ and Charlie ‘Gerard Butler’.

Initially Flora came across as a bit of a whittler, yet when she returned to Mure, the real Flora shone through and she was so much more confident, the transformation was amazing. Mure seemed like a magical place that chilled everyone out.

I hope this isn’t the last we hear from Mure.

Sharks In The Runway : A Seaplane Pilot’s Fifty-Year Journey Through Bahamian Times by Paul W.J.Harding – Blog Tour

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Captain Paul Harding moved with his family to the Bahamas when he was just twelve. He fell in love with his exotic new home immediately and this epic memoir pays tribute to his passion for island life, his ecclectic friends and family, and the extraordinary career he has forged from the sea and the skies.

Paul became a qualified Charter Boat Captain and Open Water Scuba Instructor, founding the award winning day-trip diving company Diving Safaris, Ltd in 1976. In 1989 he followed this success by ordering a seaplane and learning how to fly; Safari Seaplanes has since become the stuff of Bahamian legend, flying people from all walks of life to sundrenched locations, including politicians and even superstars like Johnny Depp, who Paul counts as a close friend.

A diver, pilot, captain, husband, father and friend; Paul Harding is a superb storyteller whose tales of island adventures are sure to capture the imagination.

Thanks to Rachel Gilbey @ Authoright Marketing & Publicity for sending me this ARC and allowing me to be part of the blog tour.

I found this book very interesting and well written. For my part of the blog tour I am going to share an extract.

‘With a seaplane rating added to my pilot’s license I returned to Nassau in early December to restart the boat charter business in time for the holiday season. We were in the cold front passages once again during the winter months so days had to be well chosen for running the trip to Rose Island; I was planning to leave one business for another where, like it or not, weather always ruled. As captains and owners of charter companies one had to be very savvy about forecasting weather. Knowing what would be approaching, how fast a particular system was traveling and the effects it would bring to our region quite vital, in this career it became part of who we were, and fast learning the uncanny knack of prediction. Simply stepping outside and observing sky and trees gave clue what the day would bring. Over a month’s flying had spoilt me, giving taste of what the future could hold and less enthusiastic preparing that boat for a long day’s work. Gary returned to his job at the Wulfe Road lumber company, having thoroughly enjoying himself with time on the water making good income as bonus. He had experienced a taste of what he might have done having the imagination and fortitude to create his own product. For me it was back to the madness of fighting tour desk operators who ‘lost’ our brochures and continued delaying payments. The inclement weather patterns making Bill’s house in Lower Harbour a Godsend location during rougher days of northerly winds. The boat business was getting old after sticking with it for near seventeen years compared to being airborne. Besides damned hard work, long hours and constant maintenance with Hartley, recent years were taking an emotional toll. I was torn between calling it quits or maintaining responsibility of a family to house, feed and educate played heavily on my shoulders. Pulling the plug now would be a risky move but risk was nothing new in my life.
The wind was gentle out of the east one morning with the day trip underway during a clear blue day. The boat was full of guests with a couple of repeat clients sitting alongside me on the bridge while I drove the Bertram toward Rose Island. Passing the golf course on Paradise Island the lady next to me started the conversation with a surprise statement, ‘I guess next year we will be going with Gary and his wife?’
‘No, I’ll still be here!’ I replied in ignorance, a little startled at her opening remark. Plans to run the seaplane commercially were definitely on the table as well as keeping the ‘Out-Island Safari’ alive with Steve as captain.
‘I don’t think you know what I mean,’ the lady interjected. ‘Gary has started his own day-trip business called “The Rose Island Adventure”!’ There was a noticeable silence as my mind grasped what she had said.
I was floored and couldn’t find words fast enough to reply.
‘Oh dear,’ she hesitated to continue. ‘I see you didn’t know.’ A strange feeling of dismay came over me. Driving that wonderful boat over these blue waters on a fabulous day only saw the joy drain out of my body. How the hell could a close friend be so sneaky having trusted in him with my livelihood? The day couldn’t go fast enough and the emotion of betrayal grew by the minute. By days’ end I was furious.
I drive that evening around the hotels to see for myself if this rumour is true. Sure enough there were new brochures on every tour desk. My friends had been very busy while I was away. The photographs and text were almost exact copies of my literature right down to the rear panel pictures of ‘Your Hosts’ showing the two of them as I had done with Bill Pemberton and myself. I saw red that night and demanded an immediate explanation. Taking a new brochure I arrived at their house to confront them with the betrayal. I banged aggressively on the front door. The son opened and I pushed past him in dismissal slapping their advertisement down on their dining table.’

My June reads

WOW I can’t believe we are in July already !! 3 more weeks then I get 6 weeks off (perk of working in a school). Hopefully I will get loads read in between entertaining my 2 children.

So these are the books I read in June;

These were all very different stories, especially ‘Dear You’ by Tessa Broad, which was a true account of Tessa’s life without children.

A friend of mine lent me ‘The Couple Next Door’ but the rest were ARCs either from Netgalley or the publishers themselves, so thank you to you all for making June so entertaining for me with a great selection of books.

I have to say though, ‘The Food Of Love’ by Amanda Prowse was my top read of June because I really related to the story and it reminded me how lucky I am. The other books were all fantastic though.

Happy July Reading people.