Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Summer in Tintagel by Amanda James

We all have secrets……

Ambitious journalist Rosa Fernley has been asked to fulfil her grandmother Jocelyn's dying wish. Jocelyn has also passed on a secret - in the summer of 1968, fleeing from the terror of a bullying husband, she visited the mysterious Tintagel Castle. Jocelyn wasn't seeking love, but she found it on the rugged clifftops in the shape of Jory, a local man as enigmatic and alluring as the region itself. But she was already married, and knew her husband would never let her find happiness and peace in Jory's arms.

Now as her days are nearing their end, she begs Rosa to go back to Tintagel, but is unwilling, or unable, to tell her why. Rosa is reluctant - she has a job in London, a deadline that won't wait and flights of fancy are just not in her nature. Nevertheless, she realises it might be the last thing she will do for her beloved grandmother and agrees to go.

Once in Tintagel, Rosa is challenged to confront secrets of her own, as shocking events threaten to change everything she has ever believed about herself and her family. She also meets a guide to the castle, Talan, a man who bears a striking resemblance to Jory.

Will the past remain cloaked in tragedy, sadness and the pain of unrequited love? Or can Rosa find the courage and strength to embrace the secrets of the past, and give hope to the future?

Every Amanda James book is touched by a little bit of magic and this one is no different. When Rosa's grandmother Jocelyn receives messages from a long deceased secret love she has to ask for her granddaughter's help. Rosa is very skeptical but as it is Jocelyn's dying wish Rosa leaves her London job and travels to Cornwell and Tintagel Castle where her grandmother first met Rory.
Long hidden secrets and misunderstandings, regrets and recriminations, this book has them all. There could also be a love interest for Rosa in the shape of Talon the handsome castle guide.

Do you believe in messages from beyond the grave? Is there life after death? Can our deceased loved ones ask for our help to right a wrong? I asked myself all those questions while reading this book and  I have long believed the answer is yes to those questions. Rosa has to ask them of herself too but with the help of Morganna a white witch long suppressed memories come flooding back to her.

I enjoyed this book. The characters are believable from Jocelyn on her death bed wondering if she made the right decisions in her life to Rosa who unknowingly is having her life steered in a different direction. My heart went out to the spirit or ghost of Rory and I wanted the hands of time to move
backwards and change his story.
The atmospheric descriptions of Cornwall made me determined to visit one day. It seems to be such a magical and inspirational part of the country. Amanda James brings it to life through her writing. I'm now patiently waiting for her next offering...waiting for some more magic.
Amazon for paperback or kindle 

Monday, 29 August 2016

The Secret Wife by Gill Paul

Russia is on the brink of collapse, and the Romanov family faces a terrifyingly uncertain future. Grand Duchess Tatiana has fallen in love with cavalry officer Dmitri, but events take a catastrophic turn, placing their romance – and their lives – in danger . . .
Kitty Fisher escapes to her great-grandfather’s remote cabin in America, after a devastating revelation makes her flee London. There, on the shores of Lake Akanabee, she discovers the spectacular jewelled pendant that will lead her to a long-buried family secret . . .
Haunting, moving and beautifully written, The Secret Wife effortlessly crosses centuries, as past merges with present in an unforgettable story of love, loss and resilience.

 I enjoyed Gill Paul's last book,No Place For a Lady and was looking forward to this one. I have to say she didn't disappoint me.
Kitty who lives in London has been left her great grandfather's cabin in Lake Akanabee,America after a lot of searching by lawyers to find his heir. Kitty has never heard her mother speak of her great grandfather so he is a mystery to her. As she finds her husband has been cheating on her Kitty decides to book a flight and see the cabin for herself.
We then read about her great grandfather Dimitri,a Russian calvary officer in the royal army. He is injured and nursed by one of Tsar Nicholas and Alexandra's daughters Tatiana. They fall in love but the revolution takes over and shapes the rest of both of their lives.
Kitty,being a journalist tries to put together all the clues she finds of Dimitri's life story but she is not prepared for what she will discover.
I have no proper words to tell you how much I loved this book, it was so hard to put down. I have always been interested in Nicholas and Alexandra and what happened to their family ever since I saw the film of their lives when I was a young girl.
When I started reading I thought I knew what the ending would be but Gill Paul takes things to another dimension when as every good writer does she asks herself the question,"What if?" and what followed is this brilliant story and not the ending I thought it would be.
Many people do not like reading historical books but Gill Paul has the ability to mix the old with the new and make a great story.
Although this is a work of fiction all the historical facts are true and there are many I didn't know.
I was taken on such a journey with this read and I cried, of course I cried. I asked myself at the end, "Is this really fiction, maybe it could be true?"
Amazon for kindle or paperback.    If you love a good story this is the best 99p for a kindle book you will ever spend.

Friday, 26 August 2016

Cartes Postales From Greece by Victoria Hislop

Week after week, the postcards arrive, addressed to a name Ellie does not know, with no return address, each signed with an initial: A.
With their bright skies, blue seas and alluring images of Greece, these cartes postales brighten her life. After six months, to her disappointment, they cease. But the montage she has created on the wall of her flat has cast a spell. She must see this country for herself.
On the morning Ellie leaves for Athens, a notebook arrives. Its pages tell the story of a man's odyssey through Greece. Moving, surprising and sometimes dark, A's tale unfolds with the discovery not only of a culture but also of a desire to live life to the full once more.

Victoria Hislop is one of my favourite writers. I devour her books. I was really looking forward to this book I requested from Net Galley for review. When I finished it I thought it was very short and I had missed half the story. Well that's what I get for not reading that I was downloading part of the book only. I'm not the only one who made that mistake, another reviewer was sent a book in the post and it was only part of the book too. (A bit mean)
So I'll review the small part I read.
We are following a few stories in this book. Ellie is receiving postcards from Greece,not addressed to her but to the previous occupant of her apartment. She decides to go to Greece and find these places for herself. Before she leaves she receives a notebook which she takes with her. The notebook is full of stories told o its author by the people he met in Greece.
We also are told the story of the author of the postcards and notebook as he journeys through Greece.
I did enjoy the part of the book I read and it left me wanting more. (I suppose that was the idea).
I feel this book is different from the other books written by Victoria in that it contains lots of short stories. I was more interested in Ellie and A (the author of the postcards) than the short stories but I'm sure it will all come together in the rest of the book.

Cartes Postales From Greece will be released on 21st September.
Amazon for kindle or paperback 

The Bookshop on Rosemary Lane by Ellen Berry

In the beginning…
Kitty Cartwright has always solved her problems in the kitchen. Her cookbooks are her life, and there isn’t an issue that ‘Cooking with Aspic’ can’t fix. Her only wish is that she had a book entitled ‘Rustling Up Dinner When Your Husband Has Left You’.
Forty years later…
On Rosemary Lane, Della Cartwright plans to open a very special little bookshop. Not knowing what to do with the hundreds of cookbooks her mother left her, she now wants to share their recipes with the world – and no amount of aspic will stand in her way.
But with her family convinced it’s a hare-brained scheme, Della starts to wonder if she’s made a terrible decision. One thing’s for sure: she’s about to find out…

Della is dealing with two of the biggest changes in her life. Her mother Kitty has passed away and her daughter Sophie is leaving home for university life. A new chapter in Della's life with Mark her husband is about to begin, then he drops a bombshell.
Kitty's home has to be emptied and sold and the proceeds split between Della and her brother and sister. When Della finds she can't part with her mother's  hoard of cookery books she has an idea of opening a cookery book shop in Burley village where her mum lived. 
This is a cosy read. It has a feel good vibe to it even although these life changing events are happening to Della it's how she copes with them that matters. 
I did wonder how the shop would make any money with people sitting about drinking coffee and reading second hand books but then I realised this was just a story and anything can happen.
I loved the characters especially Della and Liam who is Sophie's kind of ex boyfriend he really emerges from his shell by the end of the book.
Della seems to be at everyone's beck and call I was willing her to go with her heart and do her own thing throughout the story.
 Only 99p for kindle!
Amazon for kindle or paperback. 

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Milkshakes and Heartbreaks at the Starlight Diner by Helen Cox.

Esther Knight is sharp, sarcastic – and hiding something. She waitresses at The Starlight Diner: a retro eatery where Fifties tunes stream out of the jukebox long into the night, and the tastiest milkshakes in New York are served.
Nobody at the diner knows why Esther left London for America – or why she repeatedly resists the charms of their newest regular, actor Jack Faber.
Esther is desperate to start a new life in the land of the free, but despite the warm welcome from the close-knit diner crowd, something from her past is holding her back. Can she ever learn to love and live again?

Esther has a secret, something she is ashamed of which is why she fled from London to America. She loves her job in the Starlight Diner and is working with a nice friendly bunch of people but she can't help wondering if they would still be so friendly if they knew what she did.
Jack becomes a regular to the diner and he too has secrets. Esther doesn't mean to but she falls in love with Jack and he with her but will it last? Not if journalist Boyd has anything to to with it.
This was a good read. I enjoyed the atmosphere of the American diner and the descriptions made me feel I was sat there listening to what was going on. The supporting cast of Mona, Angela, Bernie and Esther's mother carry the story along. 
Half way through the book things really started to heat up for Esther and Jack and it made me fear that their lives could be in danger. I wanted everything to work out for them as I felt Esther really did deserve a happy ending. I'm not giving away any spoilers but I'm going to assume there will be a sequel to this book and I hope it's sometime soon as the ending had me on the edge of my seat wanting more.

 Only 99p for kindle download.

In fact I can tell you now that there is a sequel which is due out in December It's called Secrets and Fries at the starlight Diner and can be pre ordered  here

Monday, 1 August 2016

I'm Still Here by Clelie Avit

Elsa has been in a coma for five months. With all hope of reviving her gone, her family and doctors are having to face the devastating fact that it might be time to turn off her life support... They don't realise that in the past few weeks Elsa has regained partial consciousness; she knows where she is and can hear everyone talking around her bed, but she has no way of telling them she's there.
Thibault is in the same hospital visiting his brother, a drunk driver responsible for the deaths of two teenage girls. Thibault's emotions are in turmoil and, needing a retreat, he finds his way into Elsa's room. Seeing her lying there so peacefully, he finds it hard to believe she is not just sleeping.
Thibault begins to visit Elsa regularly. As he learns more about her through her family and friends, he begins to realise that he is developing feelings for her. And when he talks to her, he can't help feeling that she can hear his every word...
For Elsa, his visits are like a breath of fresh air. Here is finally someone who speaks to her as if she is a real life person. Who makes her laugh. And who gives her something to fight for...
And so begins a love story that might just save both their lives...

The above synopsis really says it all and I don't want to repeat it all again so I'll just tell you what I thought of it.
I think whoever reads this book will think of coma patients differently in the future. I find it hard to believe that they are practically ignored and doctors speak in front of them.
Elsa has been in a coma for five months but for the past six weeks she can hear everything. She welcomes a new voice when Thibault enters her room and they are immediaty drawn to one another. Alas Elsa can do nothing about it except listen and will her body to move. Thibault is going through a very emotional time having split from his girlfriend and distancing himself from his brother who is only a few rooms along from Elsa. He is finding it hard to come to terms with his brother having killed two teenagers while under the influence of alcohol behind the wheel of his car.
Every time he takes his mother to visit her son he spends time with Elsa, most of it asleep.
Elsa's friends agree with him visiting but Elsa's parents don't know about him yet. I did cringe at a few innapropriate moments when Thibault was visiting Elsa and I don't think her parents would have been happy either.
Once I started this book I had to find out what happened so I couldn't put it down. We can hear Elsa's thoughts and I spent the whole book willing her to move or speak. We have to wait until the last chapter before we find out what the outcome will be.
Clelie Avit is a french author who has written many books. I'm still Here is her first to be translated into English. It was translated by Lucy Foster.
 It can be found  here