Addition: Netgalley review book
Genre: Chick-lit
Rating: 4 out of 5
Synopsis:

Summer has arrived in the Cornish town of Mount Polbearne and Polly Waterford couldn’t be happier. Because Polly is in love: she’s in love with the beautiful seaside town she calls home, she’s in love with running the bakery on Beach Street, and she’s in love with her boyfriend, Huckle.

And yet there’s something unsettling about the gentle summer breeze that’s floating through town. Selina, recently widowed, hopes that moving to Mount Polbearne will ease her grief, but Polly has a secret that could destroy her friend’s fragile recovery. Responsibilities that Huckle thought he’d left behind are back and Polly finds it hard to cope with his increasingly long periods of absence.

Polly sifts flour, kneads dough and bakes bread, but nothing can calm the storm she knows is coming: is Polly about to lose everything she loves?

I received this book from Netgalley to give an honest review.

This is the second book from Jenny Colgan which is set in Mount Polbearne and follows the life of Polly. I loved the first book, The Little Beach Street Bakery so had high hopes for this book. And it did not disappoint!

We return to Polly, who has been in Mount Polbearne around 2 years. She is running the bakery successfully, owns and lives in the lighthouse, and is in love with Huckle her boyfriend, and Neil her puffin. All is going well until Mrs Manse, who owns the two bakeries, dies. Her family inherit them, and this starts a hard season for Polly.

I was immediately sucked into this book. Every spare moment I had, I was reading this book. I found myself trying to work out what was going to happen, as if this book is a thriller! I did ultimately guess the ending, but I didn’t guess how we would get there. Often chick-lit books can be really predictable, you can guess everything that is going to happen in them. This novel was not like that. I was kept on my toes the whole way through.

I like Polly. I liked her in the last novel too. A downside for me in this book is she is a little moan-y. Things do get tough for her, but it did seem like we had a few chapters of her just being miserable. My favourite characters were Reuben – the loud American, and Jayden, the local boy who works for Polly. Reuben is just so funny, he says whatever he wants, in the most brazen manner, and just generally entertained me the whole way through the novel. I liked Jayden, he was quite shy, but loyal to Polly and seemed like a lovely guy.

There is a lot in this novel. As I said, there are a few moan-y chapters, but that doesn’t spoil the book. There is friendship – Polly befriends Selina, a lonely widow on the island; there is love – Polly and Huckle have to work on their relationship, particularly when Huckle is again in America; and there is action. I don’t want to give too much away, but the sea and a massive storm do play a role in this book. There were times when I felt like second novel was similar to the first, yet I enjoyed them both, so I didn’t mind that.

The downsides for me were few. There seemed to be a lot of bad language, which I don’t like reading. This is a personal preference and won’t bother many people. There were a few parts of the story that were a little unrealistic – perhaps particularly the storyline involving Neil the pet puffin! There are some very British references in this book too – to things such as Lidl, a popular supermarket in Britain, which readers outside of the UK might not understand. Other than that – this is a great book.

And I must make special mention of Neil the puffin. I just loved him! I read the whole novel wishing he was my pet. What a great addition to this book!

I am rating this book 4 out of 5. It was so readable. I was gripped from the beginning. This book has it all – adventure, bravery, love and friendship. I really enjoyed this book. Jenny Colgan has not let me down! Thank you Netgalley for letting me review this book, I loved it!

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2015 Reading: Book 4 – Summer at Little Beach Bakery

Synopsis:

Summer has arrived in the Cornish town of Mount Polbearne and Polly Waterford couldn’t be happier. Because Polly is in love: she’s in love with the beautiful seaside town she calls home, she’s in love with running the bakery on Beach Street, and she’s in love with her boyfriend, Huckle.

And yet there’s something unsettling about the gentle summer breeze that’s floating through town. Selina, recently widowed, hopes that moving to Mount Polbearne will ease her grief, but Polly has a secret that could destroy her friend’s fragile recovery. Responsibilities that Huckle thought he’d left behind are back and Polly finds it hard to cope with his increasingly long periods of absence.

Polly sifts flour, kneads dough and bakes bread, but nothing can calm the storm she knows is coming: is Polly about to lose everything she loves?

Quick Thoughts:
I received this from Netgalley to give an honest review.

I LOVE Jenny Colgan! She is one of my favourite authors so I was very happy to receive this book from Netgalley. In this novel, we return to Mount Polbearne and to Polly. Things have been going well for Polly, but then Mrs Manse, the owner of the bakery dies, and this starts to cause trouble for Polly. This book has is all. There is love, friendship, the beach, money, a puffin named Neil and the beach. There is sadness and great joy. This is a great read. I really enjoyed it. I found I couldn’t put it down. I loved returning to Mount Polbearne, and am a little disappointed I have finished the book.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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Addition: Paperback
Genre: Gothic fiction
Published: 1935
Rating: 4 out of 5
Synopsis:

Her mother’s dying request takes Mary Yellan on a sad journey across the bleak moorland of Cornwall to reach Jamaica Inn, the home of her Aunt Patience. With the coachman’s warning echoing in her memory, Mary arrives at a dismal place to find Patience a changed woman, cowering from her overbearing husband, Joss Merlyn.

Affected by the Inn’s brooding power, Mary is thwarted in her attention to reform her aunt, and unwillingly drawn into the dark deeds of Joss and his accomplices. And, as she struggles with events beyond her control, Mary is further thrown by her feelings for a man she dare not trust….

This is the second Daphne du Maurier book I have read, back in 2008 I read and enjoyed Rebecca. I was inspired to read Jamaica Inn because a few months ago the BBC made it into a mini-series, and I thought I would read the book before I watched the show.

The story is based around Mary. She is sent to live with her Aunt Patience and her husband Joss Merlyn at Jamaica Inn, after the death of her mother. The inn is not at all what she expected – and neither are Patience and Joss. There are dark and mysterious goings-on at Jamaica Inn, and everyone in the surrounding area gives it a wide berth. Joss seems to be the ring leader in some awful gang, and Patience has just turned away and become fearful and weak. Mary is not like that, and her curiosity draws her into what Joss is caught up in, with potentially deadly consequences.

This book almost immediately reminded me of Wuthering Heights. Set out on the Cornish moors, there is fear and darkness. Joss is like Heathcliff, unpredictable and not particularly nice. Although written in the 1930s, this book has all the feelings of a gothic novel – death, fear, the supernatural, love and the unknown. I was drawn in immediately, and all I can say is this is a very good book!

I liked Mary. She was courageous and strong. She had a good sense of right and wrong, and I liked her adventurous spirit. She seemed fearless and I loved how much she wanted to save her Aunt. Her Aunt however did annoy me! She was so weak and pathetic. I really wanted to tell her to pull herself together. I thought Joss was very well-written. I didn’t like him, but he was a great character.

What pleased me most about this book is guessed the baddie! That never happens! I kept saying to my Mum, “I don’t trust…” She wouldn’t comment, but it was satisfying to be right! This was a great read – full of danger and suspense. I was hooked from the beginning. My only complaint was that the book didn’t read fast enough for my liking! This novel has it all – death, suspicion, fear, danger and love. The prose are wonderful, and the descriptions of the moors are beautiful.

This is a great book and if you love classics like Wuthering Heights, you will love this book. It has made me want to re-read Rebecca, and read more of du Maurier’s novels (good thing my Mum owns them!) This was a brilliant read, and I rate it 4 out of 5.

In case you are interested, the inn, Jamaica Inn, does exist! du Maurier based the novel on the place, but her story is entirely fictional. You can find out more about Jamaica Inn here.

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Addition: Netgalley review e-book
Genre: Chick-lit
Published: 2014
Rating: 4 out of 5
Synopsis:

Polly Waterford is recovering from a toxic relationship. Unable to afford their townhouse, she has to move miles away from everyone, to the sleepy little seaside resort of Polbearne, where she lives alone above an abandoned shop.

And so Polly takes out her frustrations on her favourite hobby: making bread. But what was previously a weekend diversion suddenly becomes far more important as she pours her emotions into kneading and pounding the dough, and each loaf becomes better and better. With nuts and seeds, olives and chorizo, with local honey (courtesy of local bee keeper, Huckle), and with reserves of determination and creativity Polly never knew she had, she bakes and bakes and bakes . . . And people start to hear about it.

Sometimes, bread really is life . . . And Polly is about to reclaim hers.

I received this book from Netgalley to review – thank you!

I love Jenny Colgan! Her recent novels have been brilliant. When I saw that this book was available on Netgalley I was desperate to read it. It is safe to say, she didn’t let me down with this latest novel – I loved it!

I enjoyed this book from the first page. I found that I just wanted to pass the time just sat in the armchair reading this novel! There isn’t anything unusual about the storyline. This is your typical chick-lit – girl faces disaster and break-up, girl finds new life, girl finds new love. Yet, I loved it! Colgan is so engaging in her writing. I felt like I was there with Polly. The writing was descriptive – the way she described the drive through the countryside on Huckle’s motorbike made it sound breathtaking – and Polbearne sounded beautiful. I found myself full of empathy for Polly the whole way through the novel. Colgan is a fantastic chick-lit author and this is a great read.

I liked all the characters in this book. I thought they were all well written and even those who perhaps weren’t the focus of the story stood out. I really liked Polly. I found myself rooting for her from the first pages – she is written in a way that makes it hard to dislike her. I did like Tarnie and Huckle too – the possible romances. Both were sweet and kind, and both looked out for Polly. However, they weren’t the stand out characters for me. I liked Jayden, the young lad who hated the sea yet was a fisherman! He was cheeky and funny, I felt his character was brilliant in the book. I also found Reuben, the rich, eccentric America very funny. The thought put into these “lesser” characters really made the book for me. I also have mention Neil the Puffin. He was amazing and I now want a puffin as a pet!

There were the inevitable twists and turns in this chick-lit novel. There are moments of such sadness – and not involving a broken heart – and moments where I laughed out loud. There is the usual confusion over love. I find myself wondering, would I prefer a novel where the lead character meets her man, goes on a few dates, makes it Facebook official that they are in a relationship, and get engaged and married after a couple of years…normality?! We never see that in a chick-lit novel but never mind! However, that random thought aside, this was a great book. It had a fantastic storyline. It is set in a beautiful location (I love the sea!) and it has some outstanding characters. This was not a let-down for me and I could have happily read it in one sitting. I have rated it 4 out of 5 because it was such a good read. Colgan is a great author and this is a must-read if you love chick-lit novels.

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The seventh book I have read in 2014 is: Michael Morpurgo’s The White Horse of Zennor. I have read a few Morpurgo books now, including War Horse, and have enjoyed them. This book is no different. I wasn’t sure I would like this book as it was short – only 150 pages, and consisted of short stories. I don’t usually like short stories, I find them hard to engage with however this was not the case with this book. It is possible that I found these easier because they are children’s stories but whatever the reason, this was a book I really enjoyed. I liked all the stories and how they were linked together at the end. It only took me a day to read this book and I found myself wanting to keep picking the book up. This was a short, fun, good read.

Addition: Paperback
Genre: Children’s fiction, short stories
Published: 1985
Rating: 4 out of 5

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THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS!
Addition:
Kindle e-book

Genre: Chick-lit

Rating: 4 out 5

Synopsis:

Sophie Apperly’s family has never taken her seriously. Fiercely academic, they see her more practical skills as frivolous whilst constantly taking advantage of her. So when her best friend Milly invites her over to New York, she jumps at the chance. It’ll do her ungrateful family good to do without her for a while. What s more, she’s on a quest America holds the key to solving her family’s financial woes, even if they don’t deserve her help.

From the moment Sophie hits the bright lights of Manhattan she’s determined to enjoy every minute of her big adventure. So when an evening at an art gallery throws her into the path of Matilda, a spirited old lady who invites her to Connecticut for Thanksgiving, Sophie willingly accepts, much to the dismay of Matilda’s grandson Luke. Undeniably attractive but infuriatingly arrogant, he is very protective of his grandmother and seems to doubt Sophie’s motives for befriending her. No match for the formidable Matilda, he eventually admits defeat, but first he has a proposal to make. He’ll help Sophie in her quest to save her family from financial ruin if she repays the favour. But just what does she have to do in return…?

I really enjoy Katie FForde books, and this one did not let me down. The story follows Sophie, a young woman who is bossed around and taken advantage of by her family. Although clever, she is the only member of her family that has not gone into further education so her family think less of her. She is expected to cook, clean and run around after them. Her family are gold-diggers, desperate to get their hands on more money. They have a rich uncle – an older man called Eric, affectionately known as “Evil Uncle Eric” to the family. They ship Sophie off to look after him in the hope to make it into his will, but when she gets there she discovers he isn’t evil at all. Before she goes makes the decision to go to New York afterwards, and while she is at Eric’s she discovers that the family might be intitled to money from drilling-rights, but that will mean she has to do some investigating in New York. When she gets to New York, she meets Matilda, an elderly lady originally from Cornwall. She befriends Matilda, who invites her to spend Thanksgiving with her and her family. The problem is her suspicious grandson Luke, who doesn’t trust Sophie as far as he can throw her. Yet Matilda has a little mission for Sophie when she gets back to England – to find a house she used to love as a child. Luke has to come across the Atlantic for some work so he helps Sophie look. sparks start to fly until Amy, Luke’s assistant turns up and whips him away with lies about Sophie’s love life. Sophie finds the house and spends several weeks emailing Matilda and trying to forget Luke, until she is summoned to Cornwall – along with him – to look at the house again. Matilda makes a surprise visit to Cornwall to ensure that her crafty plan of getting them together works!

This is a lovely book – well written and gripping. I couldn’t put this book down, and read most of it in a day! Katie Fforde is a brilliant author – she writes characters that you enjoy reading about, or get very angry at and she writes plots that keep you gripped. This is a typical chick-lit novel – the main characters start to fall for each other, something drives them apart, and then they make up and end up together. I didn’t mind that at all – once you have read enough chick-lit books I find it stops being about the fact they will end up together, it is more about how they get to that point. I like the lead up to the conclusion and this one was full of adventure and fun characters! Sometimes chick-lit can be bland, but this one had adventure – like flash floods and getting stranded in storms – events which increased the pace of the read to keep the reader on their toes and hooked to the story.

What I especially liked about this book is that I found myself getting emotionally involved. I liked Sophie – I felt for her as she pandered to her family’s demands and felt such sympathy when they were rude and condescending towards to her. I loved Uncle Eric! What a brilliant character! He was old and not politically correct – saying some outrageous things! He also had a soft side and loved Sophie, which was lovely to read. I loved Matilda as well – a strong-willed older lady, but so affectionate. I particularly loved that she was an old lady who used email! Luke had to grow on me, but by the end I liked him too. What I particularly liked about this book is that I found myself disliking some of the characters too! I really didn’t like Amy – I so wanted to shout at her!! I enjoy a book where I find myself involved and not always liking the characters – it feels more realistic.

I really enjoyed this book. I was gripped from the beginning and read this almost in one sitting. I was satisfied with the ending and liked the twists and turns that led up to it. I was surprised that the majority of the story was based in England, I was expecting it to mostly be in New York – but I didn’t mind that. This is a well written chick-lit novel – a really good read.

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THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS!

Addition: Paperback from the library

Genre: Historal Fiction

Rating: 4 out of 5

Synopsis:

Photographer Lucy Cardwell has recently lost her troubled father, Tom. While sifting through his papers, she finds he’d been researching an uncle she never knew he’d had. Intrigued, she visits her father’s childhood home, the once beautiful Carlyon Manor. She meets an old woman named Beatrice who has an extraordinary story to tell …Growing up in the 1930s, Beatrice plays with the children of Carlyon Manor – especially pretty, blonde Angelina Wincanton, Lucy’s grandmother. Then, one summer at the age of fifteen, she falls in love with a young visitor to the town: Rafe Ashton, whom she rescues from a storm-tossed sea. But the dark clouds of war are gathering, and Beatrice, Rafe, and the Wincantons will all be swept up in the cataclysm of events that follow. Beatrice’s story is a powerful tale of courage and betrayal, spanning from Cornwall to London, and Occupied France, in which friendship and love are tested, and the ramifications reach down the generations. And, as Lucy listens to the tales of the past, she learns a secret that will change everything she has ever known…

Rachel Hore is one of my favourite authors and I was very excited to read this – and although I enjoyed it a lot, I don’t think this is her best work. The story is told from two viewpoints: Beatrice, an elderly lady with a surprising history, and Lucy, a twenty-something searching for answers. After Lucy’s grandmother died her Dad found some things about his past out and decided, without giving a reason, to divorce her Mum. After he dies, Lucy finds out he has discovered something about a man called Rafe. On a trip to Cornwall, she finds a lady who knows all about Rafe, and Lucy’s Dad Tom. Most of the book is told by Beatrice, who tells tales of her childhood spent with Lucy’s Grandmother, her adventures in the war, her history with Rafe, and ultimately about Tom.

I liked Beatrice. She is written as a warm girl, who suffers a far amount in her life. I wasn’t completely convinced by all of her story – mainly by her experiences in the war – how she happened to join the same spy group as Rafe and how she managed to escape. Lucy doesn’t feature too highly in this story, although again there were things she did I wasn’t convinced someone would do – such as going out on a boat with someone she has just met. But these things aside, this is a good read. I was gripped. I wanted to know who Rafe was, I wanted to know about Beatrice and what happened to her and I wanted to know about Angelina Wincanton – Lucy’s grandmother. By the end I had worked out who Rafe was, and who Tom was, but that didn’t spoil the story.

This is a well written book. It looks at life in the war, from two sides: the rich – Angelina going out dancing, messing with boys hearts, having coming-out parties and being spoilt; and the poor – Beatrice working hard for the war effort, falling in love and falling pregnant and the death of a fiancee. We spend time in occupied France, war-battered London and Cornwall. There were parts of the story that broke my heart and the whole thing kept me gripped.

I enjoy Rachel Hore’s books. I enjoyed this book. This is well worth reading! This is good quality historical fiction.

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