The Cotswolds Cookery Club

The Cotswolds Cookery Club - ItalyThe Cotswolds Cookery Club – Italy by Alice Ross

…where the ingredients to happiness are found.

Connie has had enough. Enough of the city, enough of her job – and most importantly, enough of her cheating husband! So, when her best friend jets off to sunny Australia and calls on Connie to house and dog-sit, the timing couldn’t be more perfect.

When Connie arrives at the gorgeous Cotswolds getaway, she can’t resist opening the doors to the town, offering up cooking lessons – and a lot of wine! Cue the three – very different – women who respond to Connie’s cookery club advert. But it’s soon clear they will need more than a glass of wine to overcome their problems…

Can Connie conjure up the right ingredients to help her new friends? And with two gorgeous men thrown in the mix, Connie may have just ended up with a recipe for disaster!-Goodreads

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really liked this book. It was cute and charming and made me happy, but it will also make you hungry, so make sure you stock up on snacks before you start reading. You don’t want empty cupboard syndrome when you get into this one.

Whilst I enjoyed the characters in this book and got a big kick out of Connie and her internal thoughts, I did question why the fling she has in the book seemed to take precedence in the story over the potentially longer lasting and more important relationship between her and Max. Liam was more of a side fling and yet, he got more screen time, as it were, than Max did. I wanted to see more than a date between Connie and Max and know what happened with them, but the book had a rather abrupt ending.

Otherwise, I thought this was a lot of fun. It was comical and sweet and spicy enough to satisfy those looking for a steamy scene or two. The descriptions of food in the book were excellent and made me want to move to the Cotswolds and join the cookery club.

This book was light and fun and I recommend it to those looking for a good summer read.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

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The Light in Summer

The Light In SummerThe Light In Summer by Mary McNear

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Mary McNear brings you home to Butternut Lake and a novel filled with irresistible characters who you will want to call your friends.

It’s summertime on Butternut Lake, where the heat of noon is soothed by the cool breezes of the evening, where the pace grows slower, and sometimes, just sometimes, the summer light makes everything clearer…

For the lovely Billy Harper, Butternut Lake is the place she feels most at home, even though lately she feels the only one listening to her is Murphy…her faithful Labrador Retriever. Her teenage son, Luke, has gone from precious to precocious practically overnight. Her friends are wrapped up in their own lives, and Luke’s father, Wesley, disappeared before his son was even born. No wonder she prefers to spend time with a good book, especially ones where everything ends in perfection.

But Billy is about to learn that anything is possible during the heady days of summer. Coming to terms with her past—the death of her father, the arrival of Cal Cooper, a complicated man with a definite interest in Billy, even the return of Wesley, will force her to have a little bit of faith in herself and others…and realize that happiness doesn’t always mean perfection.

“Butternut Lake is so beautifully rendered, you’ll wish it was real.”—Susan Wiggs, #1 New York Times bestselling author  

“This triumphant story had me reading until the wee hours of the morning.”—#1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber on The Space Between Sisters.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I thought this was a good book. I particularly liked the descriptions of the relationship between the main character and her son. The author did an excellent job of representing the awkward relationship between a mother and her teenage son.

As for the romance, I thought it was perfect. It wasn’t so far fetched that it was impossible to believe. The characters not only seemed realistic, but had real word problems to deal with outside of their emerging relationship with one another. This novel has the perfect amount of sensuality without pushing the line into disgusting territory. I loved the way the author handled the attraction between her characters and I found myself rooting for both of them.

I love it when you can read a book and feel good about all of the characters. I liked everyone in this book equally and even now, after it has been a while since I finished it, I still think of them as if they were real people. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys beautiful scenery, family and good friends. I loved it. The Jane Austen references made it even better.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

Hum if You don’t Know the Words

Hum If You Don’t Know the WordsHum If You Don’t Know the Words by Bianca Marais

Perfect for readers of The Secret Life of Bees and The Help, a perceptive and searing look at Apartheid-era South Africa, told through one unique family brought together by tragedy.

Life under Apartheid has created a secure future for Robin Conrad, a nine-year-old white girl living with her parents in 1970s Johannesburg. In the same nation but worlds apart, Beauty Mbali, a Xhosa woman in a rural village in the Bantu homeland of the Transkei, struggles to raise her children alone after her husband’s death. Both lives have been built upon the division of race, and their meeting should never have occurred . . . until the Soweto Uprising, in which a protest by black students ignites racial conflict, alters the fault lines on which their society is built, and shatters their worlds when Robin’s parents are left dead and Beauty’s daughter goes missing.

After Robin is sent to live with her loving but irresponsible aunt, Beauty is hired to care for Robin while continuing the search for her daughter. In Beauty, Robin finds the security and family that she craves, and the two forge an inextricable bond through their deep personal losses. But Robin knows that if Beauty finds her daughter, Robin could lose her new caretaker forever, so she makes a desperate decision with devastating consequences. Her quest to make amends and find redemption is a journey of self-discovery in which she learns the harsh truths of the society that once promised her protection.

Told through Beauty and Robin’s alternating perspectives, the interwoven narratives create a rich and complex tapestry of the emotions and tensions at the heart of Apartheid-era South Africa. Hum if You Don’t Know the Words is a beautifully rendered look at loss, racism, and the creation of family.–Goodreads

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

While this book is based on tragic events, the author did a good job of making it beautiful, too. The novel has more than one main story line to follow, although one is focused on more than the other. If you are familiar with any of the events that this book is centered around in South Africa, then you will probably go into this knowing that some parts of it will be difficult to read. That said, this is an engaging, interesting book with a lot to recommend it.

I felt horrible for what the characters had to go through, but the author was also good at helping the reader retain hope that something might change for them in the future. This book prompted me to learn more about the actual events the book mentions and I found there was a lot that I didn’t know. It’s great when a fiction novel can be so realistic that it makes you feel things on the deepest level, and this book certainly did that for me.

Emotionally moving and thought provoking, this is a book that will stay with you once you finish reading it. I believe this is the kind of book that you will want others to read and would be a great choice to share with reading groups and book clubs. You won’t run out of things to discuss once you finish reading this.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

The Little Cottage in the Country

The Little Cottage in the CountryThe Little Cottage in the Country by Lottie Phillips

Escape to the country!

Anna Compton thought that moving to the countryside, leaving London and her past firmly behind her was the perfect solution. Goodbye life of thirty-something, crazed single mum of two, hello country glamour queen, domestic goddess and yummy-mummy extraordinaire.

But her new life at Primrose Cottage isn’t quite what she expected! Very soon she’s chasing pork pies down hills, disguising her shop-bought cakes at the school bake sale – and trying to resist oh-so-handsome Horatio Spencerville, who just so happens to be the Lord of the Manor…

Could moving to the country be the biggest mistake she’s ever made?

A delightfully uplifting romantic comedy to get you in the mood for summer! Perfect for fans of Christie Barlow, Holly Martin and Tilly Tennant.

-from goodreads

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book started out a bit on the slow side in my opinion and I wasn’t sure what to think at first, but soon it picks up and the comedy ensues as the main character, her children and her friend try to adjust to life in the country.

I liked the boisterous characters in this book because you never really knew what to expect with them next. The main character’s internal thoughts are good for a laugh and a head nod of agreement. I think any woman that has children will be able to easily relate to the struggles depicted in this book. The romance is creative and fun and the side characters really bring the story to life.

If you are looking for a book that has a setting you can really get into where you can use your five senses to explore the worldview of the characters, this is a good book to choose.

Recommended for those who like their romances to be fun and lighthearted.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Free on Amazon – Brute by Eve Adams

Free romance novel Saturday and Sunday

Julian Froment's Blog

Eve Adams first full length Romance novel is available free on Amazon Saturday 1st July and Sunday 2nd July. This is the first book in the ‘Pine Point’ series. Also available in paperback.

Brute cover

Description:

“Brute,” by Eve Adams is the first steamy romance novel in the “Pine Point” series.

Welcome to Pine Point, North Carolina, where the summers aren’t the only thing that are too hot to handle.

Heathe Campbell is a sexy, hardworking mountain man. Good with his hands, bad with his manners—at least in the beginning.

Bianca Stone is a big city girl from Los Angeles, with a quick tongue and a no-nonsense attitude.

When she comes to Pine Point to help her very pregnant sister get ready for the baby’s arrival, she will get more than she bargained for. Surely this thing she has for Heathe is just a passing attraction, they’re like night and day. How…

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