Forget My Name by J.S. Monroe / Blog Tour

Forget My Name by J.S. Monroe

 

46257056._sy475_Publisher: Head of Zeus

Publishing Date: 19th July 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 496

Genre: Thriller, Mystery

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

How do you know who to trust…
…when you don’t even know who you are?

You are outside your front door.
There are strangers in your house.
Then you realise. You can’t remember your name.

She arrived at the train station after a difficult week at work. Her bag had been stolen, and with it, her identity. Her whole life was in there – passport, wallet, house key. When she tried to report the theft, she couldn’t remember her own name. All she knew was her own address.

Now she’s outside Tony and Laura’s front door. She says she lives in their home. They say they have never met her before.

One of them is lying.

my-review

 

The first line in “Forget My Name” is “I can’t remember my own name” – a chilling opening to a story. The woman who arrives at Laura and Tony’s house can’t remember her own name but is convinced that this is where she lives. Her bag was stolen at the airport, she has no wallet, no passport, nothing, except for a train ticket to the village. Laura and Tony invite her – she can identify the layout of the house! As she needs a name, Tony decides on Jemma. Jemma with a “J”.
Soon the rumours start that she’s Jemma Huish that was sentenced for killing her best friend. Is she? Or is she a total innocent woman? Who is lying and why?

Jemma, not knowing her identity, nothing about herself, looks desperate to piece her life together. In this process she must rely on the kindness of other people, who either choose to help her or immediately decide that she’s the wrong one – it was really thought – provoking, forcing me to think what would I do in this situation? Let her in? Let her sleep in my house? Isn’t it too dangerous? I liked to see the different reactions of people reacting to Jemma’s story, and how helping/not helping her affected them. And what if you would be in Jemma’s situation? No memory, no identification, relying on the help of strangers?

The chapters switch perspectives between several characters, quite many of them. But each of the characters add a deeper layer to the whole puzzle, and in the end I was left really not knowing who tells the truth. There were many theories and many options, some of them rather ridiculous but well, actually maybe possible, and I liked this fact. It was, however, hard to engage with the characters, to warm to them, and the only one whose reactions were believable was Laura. Altogether, it was hard to believe any of them, so they for sure didn’t pull the rug out from under me.

The pace in this story was only right. There came a moment later on when it suddenly started to feel a bit flat and slow but in the next second everything was right again, as if the author has spotted it as well and brought back the pace. There were also some situation that were too far – fetched for my liking, things happening at the right moment, very convenient for the characters, and the fact that the similar – looking women were popping up like mushrooms was rather disturbing, stretching the credibility to a breaking point, I would say. But, in this book, it didn’t turn me off, they were easy to overlook and so I really enjoyed the story.

There were some twists and turns on the way, that’s for sure. Perhaps I didn’t feel tension as I’d like to feel, and the big revelation came really at the very end, but I still enjoyed this read – it was light and easy actually and even though it didn’t keep me on my tenterhooks, and probably lacked a bit in the execution, I was engrossed and involved in the story and it kept me curious and intrigued throughout the journey. However, one thing I could determine very quickly, was the character that I simply despised, not knowing their motives but sensing falsehood and bed intentions.

I love when there are short, really dynamic chapters in the books, and it was the case here – it made the reading much quicker and it was hard to put it down. The writing is so engaging, it simply draws you in, so clear and concise. And I didn’t guess the end – again. I suspected the “who” but didn’t know how and why, so that’s for sure a huge bonus point for the book.

 

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I Invited Her In by Adele Parks

I Invited Her In by Adele Parks

 

 

39084613Publisher: HQ

Publishing Date: 20th September 2018

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 384

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

Synopsis:

A gripping story of friendship and betrayal from international best-selling author Adele Parks

‘I invited her in… and she took everything.’

When Mel hears from a long-lost friend in need of help, she doesn’t hesitate to invite her to stay. Mel and Abi were best friends back in the day, sharing the highs and lows of student life, until Mel’s unplanned pregnancy made her drop out of her studies.

Now, seventeen years later, Mel and Abi’s lives couldn’t be more different. Mel is happily married, having raised her son on her own before meeting her husband, Ben. Now they share gorgeous girls and have a chaotic but happy family home, with three children.

Abi, meanwhile, followed her lover to LA for a glamorous life of parties, celebrity and indulgence. Everything was perfect, until she discovered her partner had been cheating on her. Seventeen years wasted, and nothing to show for it. So what Abi needs now is a true friend to lean on, to share her grief over a glass of wine, and to have some time to heal. And what better place than Mel’s house, with her lovely kids, and supportive husband…

This dark, unsettling tale of the reunion of long-lost friends is thoroughly gripping exploration of wanting what you can’t have, jealousy and revenge from Sunday Times bestseller Adele Parks.

Rating: three-half-stars

Mel and Abi used to be best friends but then Mel dropped out of university due to her unplanned pregnancy. They haven’t seen each other for over 17 years – Mel has given birth to a son, Liam, is now married to Ben and they have two daughters together. Abi has done well in her job – she’s been living a celebrity lifestyle in LA with her husband Rob. However, she’s now divorcing him, after finding him in bed with another woman. This is when Mel receives an unexpected email from her former friend and immediately invites her over, opening the doors of her home and her own heart. But – did Abi get in touch because she really needed her friend, or is there more to this than meets the eye?

This book is full of sharp observations and it brilliantly captures different kinds of relationships. What I enjoyed probably most was the fact that the author presents us both sides of the story – I must admit, it takes a lot of time to learn what Abi’s hidden agenda was but I simply guessed it in the meantime, and well, yes, it may change your mind a little about her character. The alternating perspectives of not only Mel and Abi, but Mel’s husband, son and his girlfriend provided much deeper account of what’s happening and what the characters really think and feel, and you really start to think who is the real victim in this story – because there are always two sides to each story.  It was the moment that I started to feel very sorry for her. The next strong point of this book is of course Adele Park’s writing style. She writes with ease and in interesting way.

However, the characters lacked depth, I expected them to be much more three – dimensional and relatable. I didn’t care for them and I was not as invested in their lives as I’d like to. Yes, some of their decisions made me feel real desperation but I wasn’t emotionally connected to them. 

The problem is, when the book is so strongly advertised and it gets brilliant quotes that you start reading it with incredibly high expectations – especially when it’s written by such a fantastic author like Adele Parks. I read this book at the same time as I was reading another novel with exactly the same subject matter – old friends coming back into your life and turning into a very challenging one to say the least – sadly, any of those book was this what I was hoping for. Last year I read Claudia Carroll’s “Our Little Secret”, a book with the same keynote, and I can still remember how much tension there was in her novel, how much I hated the antagonist, how much I vibrated and felt all kinds of emotions – this is what I so missed in “I Invited Her In”. In my opinion, the idea was here but it lacked in development. Somehow, I just couldn’t fall for Mel, I couldn’t sympathise with her, the story itself was too predictable for my liking and to be honest, there was not any twist that would make me go “wow”. The end also seemed too rushed and just too happy – endish. I’m sorry, I really hoped I’m going to love this story. don’t get me wrong, it was not a bad book, it’s far away from it, it’s probably my expectations being set really high. It was maybe because the “thing” happening was not SO very controversial, at least not for me, that it left me a little lukewarm.

“I Invited Her In” was an interesting story about friendship and boundaries, about revenge, secrets, lies, jealousy and forgiving and it’s to my regret that I’m not in the minority that raves about it. However, it was a satisfying read that I’m sure the hard – core fans of Adele Parks will love. It was well written, I really liked the writing style and the author has a great way with words and altogether, I was intrigued to see how it was all going to play out.

The House of Hopes and Dreams by Trisha Ashley / #BlogTour

The House of Hopes and Dreams by Trisha Ashley

 

37823355Publisher: Bantam Press

Publishing Date: 8th March 2018

Source:  Received from the publisher in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 309

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback (out on 31.05.2018)

 

 

 

Synopsis:

This novel from the Sunday Times bestselling Trisha Ashley will more than satisfy romantic comedy fans. And it also contains recipes!

When Carey Revell unexpectedly becomes the heir to Mossby, his family’s ancestral home, it’s rather a mixed blessing. The house is large but rundown and comes with a pair of resentful relatives who can’t be asked to leave.
Still, newly dumped by his girlfriend and also from his job as a TV interior designer, Carey needs somewhere to lick his wounds. And Mossby would be perfect for a renovation show. He already knows someone who could restore the stained glass windows in the older part of the house…

Angel Arrowsmith has spent the last ten years happily working and living with her artist mentor and partner. But suddenly bereaved, she finds herself heartbroken, without a home or a livelihood. Life will never be the same again – until old friend Carey Revell comes to the rescue.

They move in to Mossby with high hopes. But the house has a secret at its heart: an old legend concerning one of the famous windows. Will all their dreams for happiness be shattered? Or can Carey and Angel find a way to make this house a home?

Heart-warming, witty and quirkily original, Trisha Ashley’s THE HOUSE OF HOPES AND DREAMS will delight both old fans and new readers alike.

mythoughts

Trisha Ashley always takes us on brilliant, bumpy rides in her books and this time, in her newest offer, “The House of Hopes and Dreams”, it’s not different, as the main character tries to overcome a personal tragedy. This story is very artistic and there is a wonderful, creative side to it. This book has also one of the most gorgeous and inviting covers ever – it’s simply beautiful and I could look at it all the time. Hell, I’ll probably enlarge it and hang it on the wall, so magnificent is this.

“The House of Hopes and Dreams” follows two main characters, Carey and Angel. Carey is just recovering from a bike accident when he finds out that he’s just inherited a house from his uncle. It’s just in time, as he’s only lost his job as a house renovation program’s TV presenter.
Angel has just lost everything, literally. Her partner has died and she’s left with no house and no job, as he’s never managed to write his will and everything is inherited by his son who hates Angel. Both Carey and Angel are looking for a fresh start and as they’re old friends, Carey offers Angel a place to live and work, a use of the workshop on the property and to turn the house into a lovely place. The house, however, is a venue full of its own secrets, and it also comes with a bad – tempered housekeeper and a gardener. Will Carey and Angel be able to find out the residence’s past and move to a better future?

Trisha Ashley always creates unique and eclectic characters. I really like characters like Angel and Carey – creative and full of ideas. Also, they were likeable and believable. At the beginning I felt really sorry for Angel, then I felt somehow annoyed by her but altogether she was a woman who could stand for herself and take matters in her own hands. At the beginning, Angel just didn’t put a fight and let the things just happen, and it took a lot of time before she turned into the feisty, quirky typical Trisha Ashley’s heroine. Yes, it exasperated me but I think that what mostly made me so angry was the fact that she actually couldn’t put any fight because she was hard done by others and by circumstances, and probably it was this powerlessness that annoyed me so much.
Carey was easygoing and uncomplicated and it really made a difference to have such a character for once.

The narration in this story changes between present and past. We get to know the history of Mossby, the house that’s recently been inherited by Carey (and his story as well), in the brilliant area of Lancashire, told through the diary entries from over 100 years ago – this was a diary of a famous stained glass artist Jessie Kaye, who lived in Mossby this many years ago. They were a great, albeit brief, glimpses into her life, full of surprises and secrets and I liked them very much – and the story of Angelica, who’s suddenly found herself homeless and jobless after her partner’s death.

The stained glass thread was also very unique and you could see how many research has gone into bringing it to life so well but it was just too much for me, I really don’t need so many detailed info about stained glass, especially in such a story. There was something that I can’t put my finger on that didn’t work for me in this book. It was a feel – good novel and theoretically it had all the elements of a brilliant chick – lit with a twist and depth, but practically it didn’t deliver for me. Probably it was the case of “it’s not you, it’s me”, so please do not feel put out by my words and just read this book for yourself. There was really nothing wrong with it, it was a lovely, warm story, only for me “The House of Hopes and Dreams” was a book with stronger and weaker moments. and also the book had moments that it just dragged on and on, and also felt slightly repetitive. The parts about Carey’s plans, about Angel setting up to her new life and chances, they were lovely, but also they dragged and they weren’t as suspenseful. But also, there were many fascinating secrets, it was rich in adorable descriptions and it was complex, multi – layered tale and with a mystery running through it. I can only highly recommend this book to Trisha Ashley’s fans.

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That Girl by Kate Kerrigan / #BlogTour

So guys, after the Christmas and New year break I am baaaaack! And with the second blog tour of this year, and I am really excited to be a part of this one as I am a great and devoted fan of Kate Kerrigan. Have you read “The Dress” yet? If not, do not hesitate, it was a brilliant, brilliant read! But yes, she’s back with a new novel of hers, this lovely author, and this time she takes us to the London’s swinging sixties! If you follow the blog tour you can read some extracts from this novel and today I am sharing my review of this thought – provoking story.

That Girl by Kate Kerrigan

35678135Publisher: Head of Zeus

Publishing Date: 1st January 2018

Source:  Received from publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 400

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover (out on 08.02.2018)

 

 

Synopsis:

You can escape a place. But you can’t escape yourself.

Hanna flees the scene of a terrible crime in her native Sligo. If she can just vanish, re-invent herself under a new name, perhaps the police won’t catch up with her. London seems the perfect place to disappear.

Lara has always loved Matthew and imagined happy married life in Dublin. Then comes the bombshell – Matthew says he wants to join the priesthood. Humiliated and broken-hearted, Lara heads to the most godless place she can find, King’s Road, Chelsea.

Matthew’s twin sister, Noreen, could not be more different from her brother. She does love fiance John, but she also craves sex, parties and fun. Swinging London has it all, but without John, Noreen is about to get way out of her depth.

All three girls find themselves working for Bobby Chevron – one of London’s most feared gangland bosses – and it’s not long before their new lives start to unravel.

 
Rating: three-half-stars

The story follows three young women from Ireland that more or less suddenly find themselves in the London’s swinging 60’s. It is my second book lately that was set in this time in London and I must admit that “That Girl” was much better than the other one – it was fast – paced and, above all, the characters felt realistic, they were so vivid and so easily brought to life by the author. So back to our main characters – they are very different but there is one thing that they have in common – they all run away from something. Hanna’s was probably the most shocking story and I so incredibly fell for her – after her mother has died, her step – father started to abuse her and she lived her life as his prisoner. She could do nothing about it – let’s not forget, it was Ireland and he was a very respected local doctor – until one day, when after coming to her limits Hanna leaves for London, trying to cover her tracks…

Lara is in love with Matthew, she’s always has been, and already envisions them married. However, one day, just out of the blue, Matthew tells her something that shatters Lara’s whole world. To flee the humiliation, Lara decides to leave for London to start a new life there. She quickly finds herself in the big city and I probably liked her most out of the three girls.

Noreen was the one that I liked the least. She was this kind of  person that would elbow her way to the top and it’s not my favourite kind of person. She’s Matthew’s twin sister and Lara’s best friend. She can’t believe what her brother has done to her friend, however after seeing them both, Matthew and Lara, leaving the little town in Ireland to follow their dreams, she gets itchy feet as well and she decides that while she loves her fiancée John very much, she first wants to see and try different life, to taste the freedom – and so she goes to London as well.

All the three girls end up living together in one apartment above the gangster’s nightclub, and initially also working together but then their lives take different paths.

 There were plenty of moments that took me absolutely by surprise and I would never in a million years guess that the story is going to take such turns! It starts telling Hanna’s story and then introducing us to the other girls, and it was so fast – paced that I didn’t have time to think what the three girls can have in common. I think Hanna’s story was the most shocking one, and I liked this girl, I simply liked her and I wished all best for her. Also Lara was my kind of person, she was not afraid to follow her dreams and to try. She wanted people to think she’s a tough cookie but there was also this vulnerable side to her. And as I have already mentioned, Noreen was my least favourite character, while you can admire her chutzpah and determination, especially in the 60’s Ireland, she was too egoistic for me, thinking only about herself and not respecting other people and their wishes.

 It was different to what I was expecting but of course it’s not the book’s fault but I just had a feeling it’s too much of everything. It often felt too far – fetched and the ending felt much too rushed and somehow unrealistic. Everything fell always so neatly in the right places and you just knew that no matter what and how, everything is going to turn OK. I was expecting more depth from this author, and while this book was really great to read I had a feeling that there was tons of potential that was not made use of. It was as if there was an idea but the delivery and conclusion of it was missing.

The author has brought the swinging London perfectly to life and I love all the descriptions of the places and clothes (but again, I had a feeling that the author started something, like That Girl, described few dresses and then it was all. A few comparisons to some models of those times and nothing more. It just often felt that some of the subplots started but weren’t finished, or ended too abruptly). The atmosphere was there on the pages and the characters were changing, turning into people they wanted to be.

 So yes, guys, this book gave me a  headache – I liked it, please don’t get me wrong, but after reading “The Dress” by the same author I was expecting something more deep and complex. “That Girl” was about friendship, about love and relationships, about hurt and betrayal. The book was good guys, it was a mix of suspense, romance, dark comedy but maybe this was my problem because it felt as if the story doesn’t know what it wants to be. However, Kate Kerrigan is a great story – teller and this was a really well written and character driven story set in the swinging sixties in London. The book has it all: fashion, drama, sex, gangsters and crime but in the foreground there are stories of three different girls, Hanna, Lara and Noreen. There is a lot happening and the author mixes perfectly humour with drama, tragedies and funny moments. The author is not afraid to write about abuse and violence but it’s such an integral part of this story, and even if there are some moments with all the gory details for you, it works in this book, and also you have a feeling that it was deserved and couldn’t be different. Recommended!

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The Cotswolds Cookery Club: A Taste of France by Alice Ross

The Cotswolds Cookery Club: A Taste of France by Alice Ross

 

35704717Publisher: HQ Digital

Publishing Date: 27th September  2017

Series: The Cotswolds Cookery Club #3 (read my review of Book 1  here and Book 2 here  )

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review!

Number of pages: 180

Genre:  Humour, Romance

 Buy the Book: Kindle

 

 

Synopsis:

Too many men spoil the broth…?

Kate Harris has enough on her plate! Life is constant juggling act between raising her three young children and running a busy Veterinary Practice in the Cotswolds. But with her passion for all things French, especially the mouth-watering cuisine, the cookery club with her three best friends, Connie, Melody and Trish is the perfect escape…

Now the foursome has been given their biggest challenge yet! Yet, with her husband Andrew’s increasingly secretive behaviour, the unexpected reappearance of her dishy ex-boyfriend, Gregg, and an unexpected culinary challenge from her daughter’s nursery, Kate decides it’s time to take charge of the disparate ingredients of her life and transform them into the perfect pot-au-feu!

Fans of Milly Johnson, Caroline Roberts and Jill Mansell will love this heart-warming read.

The Cotswolds Cookery Club is a story told in three parts. A Taste of France is part three.

Rating: three-half-stars

 

“A Taste of France” is the third and final instalment in the Cotswolds Cookery Club by Alice Ross series, though if it were for me the series could go on and on – I would love to hear what’s happening with this small but tight group of friends.

This part tells us more about Kate, the incredibly busy mum of three, and about the unfinished business of hers from the previous books. As in the previous two parts, we are treated to some incredibly delicious sounding recipes that the cookery club is making, and this time they took us on a very yummy journey to France. The descriptions of the food made not only my mouth water but only thinking about them now makes me hungry.

In this part I had a feeling it is a little too flat for my liking, with many repetitions and I felt as if we were going to in circles. It doesn’t mean it is not good, because of course it is, it is full of warmth, some hilarious situations as well but if you twisted my arm I’d have to admit that it was my last favourite part. Also, I would love to see the twins this little bit better brought up, I really felt the pain of Kate’s daughter and I myself wanted to cry, and not laugh, at their antics. They weren’t funny, they were out – of – control children.

Altogether, it was a lovely, uplifting and quick read about the power of friendship and trust. The characters were great, the way they interacted together felt honest and I really liked the fact that the women are there for each other, no matter what. All three parts were feel – good and uplifting – recommended!

The First Time Mums’ Club by Lucie Wheeler

The First Time Mums’ Club by Lucie Wheeler

 

33539601Publisher: HarperImpulse

Publishing Date: 5th May  2017

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review!

Number of pages: 290

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

Meet Pippa…

After years of trying and a failed IVF attempt, Pippa is thrilled to see two little lines appear on a pregnancy test. Finally a precious baby to call her own. This is all Pippa has ever wanted…if only husband Jason could show just a little excitement.

Imogen…

A baby is the icing on the cake for Imogen and Alice – proof that their love for each other can overcome any obstacle. But when Imogen starts receiving malicious texts, it’s clear that not everyone is thrilled about the girls’ good news.

And Ellie…

A drunken one-night stand and Ellie’s life is ruined! Pregnant, jobless and the relationship with her best friend, Chris, over- forever. Because Chris just happens to be the father of Ellie’s baby…and potentially the love of her life!

For these first time mums the road to motherhood is bumpier than most!

Rating: three-half-stars

Since I’ve become a mum myself, I really like to read books with heroines that are pregnant, or are just about to get a baby, or just got the baby and have to deal with their worlds being turned upside – down. “The First Time Mums’ Club” is already the perfect, very promising title, and then you see that you’re going to get not one pregnant character but straight away three! Add to this this lovely, colourful, eye – catching cover and there was nothing holding me off from reading this debut novel from Lucie Wheeler. This is a story full of friendship, sisterhood, girls’ power and plenty of laughs, but it also touches upon many more difficult issues and deals with them in a likeable, believable way.

However, there was not so much about the pregnancies themselves, the book mostly focused on the circumstances the women got pregnant and on their private lives and problems, as there were many troubles coming for them. They are all brought together by Zoe, who runs the First Time Mums’ Club in her cafe – and no, Zoe herself is not pregnant. Ellie is Zoe’s sister, then we have Zoe’s best friend Pippa and there is also Imogen, who gets to know the girls at the cafe and they click. Pippa’s marriage is going through difficult path right now. Imogen and her partner Alice are happy to be pregnant, though there are problems with Imogen’s family accepting the fact that she’s married to a woman and the realisation that Ellie is pregnant, and who is the father, is a great shock for her system.

The characters were very well developed. I really had a feeling that I know them inside out, that I knew what drives them and what makes them tick, and why they are like this. However, there were many moments that the story just stood in place without moving and the same thing was being talked about over and over again. The Ellie and Olli situation played incredibly on my nerves, it was will they/won’t they taken on another, annoying, level. I could only roll my eyes at their banter, the way they cut in on when talking, never getting close to a conclusion or solution, even though you could see immediately how this is going to end. To be honest, I didn’t have a feeling that I should keep my fingers crossed for them or something because they just only annoyed me. So there. Even though they were – separately – sharp, witty characters and I adored Ellie’s “no shit” approach.
The stories of the three girls, or rather four, because we also got to know Zoe’s background, were interesting and believable, and also I am sure most of us will find something that can relate to, that can nod your head and state “I’ve been there, I’ve seen it”. The situations are down to earth and not too exaggerated and Lucie Wheeler shows that the story can carry on without adding unnecessary dramas, and I liked it.

We see how the girls deal with their problems and with the different emotions that their pregnancies freed in them and their closest surroundings, and we slowly observe how the meetings in the cafe become important for them, and how their friendship is building closer. They start to count on each other and support each other. The end of this story was very fairy – talish, for my liking, but oh well, it was a rom – com, right, so even if it was this tad unbelievable for me, too random, and it made me roll my eyes, I did buy it. I only couldn’t get straight into the story and warm to it just like I should, and I can’t put my finger on what has caused it, and I am really torn about this novel. I have expected something different, really rather focusing on being a mum for the first time, full of hilarious anecdotes and instead the story concentrates on the problems of the four new – made friends, and I don’t mean that it’s wrong, it is absolutely OK, however I also can’t say that it was my most favourite read that is going to stay with me forever. I do appreciate Lucie Wheeler’s writing style – it was fluent and flowing, with moments of being a little too unpolished and raw, but oh my, I can live with that, it is a debut novel. The author is a great story teller and she can for sure create her characters, so I think that my problem must be with the plotline itself. However, the book is already gaining tons of fans, which is a great thing, and if you try it you may discover you also love it. And I am already looking toward Ms Wheeler’s next novel.

The Bluebell Bunting Society by Poppy Dolan

The Bluebell Bunting Society by Poppy Dolan

 

34450248Publisher: Canelo

Publishing Date: 27th March  2017

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review!

Number of pages: 198

Genre: Women’s Fiction, General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle

 

Synopsis:

Welcome to Bluebell Hall. Pull up a wonky chair, grab a cream bun and settle into a story about a little village, a determined caretaker – and bunting.

At twenty-nine, Connie isn’t quite where she thought she’d be. When her beloved gran died Connie returned to Hazelhurst, the village she grew up in, and took over her gran’s old job as caretaker at the village hall. It might not be the stuff of dreams, but Connie loves working at Bluebell Hall – the heart of the community fuelled by copious cups of tea.

So when Bluebell Hall is threatened with closure, Connie is determined not to let greedy property developers get their hands on it. She hatches a plan bonkers enough that it just might work. All it takes is a needle and thread, scraps of old material and willing hands.

Can Connie convince the people of Hazelhurst that their village hall is worth saving? And will she save herself in the process…?

A heartwarming novel about friendship, community and being brave enough to fight for what you believe in, The Bluebell Bunting Society is perfect for fans of Milly Johnson, Tilly Tennant and Cathy Bramley.

Rating: 3.5/5

Oh joy! The new Poppy Dolan’s book! Guys, you’ve no idea how much I’ve waited for this novel. I’ve read all Poppy’s previous books and they were all just SO right up to my street – the brilliant writing, my kind of humour, lovely characters and the stories flowing so effortlessly and seamlessly. I can’t believe – or no, I take it back, I CAN believe that it’s already four years since Poppy’s last book, it is really SO long. When I’ve heard the news “The Bluebell Bunting Society” is up for request on NetGalley it has really made my day, even more so when I was accepted to read it – which I almost immediately did, needless to say. Judging the book on its cover and its title you can think that it’s going to be an inviting, warm, funny, light read – and it’s true!
As I have two left hands when it comes to sewing, bunting and so on I always do love a read about people who can do such things. It’s real magic, no, to put together two things and produce a patchwork blanket, right? I can truly understand all the fuss, really.

There are many threads in this story, guys! It is multi – layered, just like a flower, and here unpeeling the layers makes you laugh and the story is sweet. The chapters are short and they really cover many issues, so that the story felt really dynamic. There is some drama, there is a romance, there is a lovely community. However – and I am incredibly sad that there is “however”, because I wanted to love this book so desperately! However, the story felt too flat for me. It was not as sparkly and fresh as Poppy’s previous books. There were moments it dragged too much for my liking and there was nothing that I could say wow, I haven’t read it or I haven’t seen it coming. It’s just Poppy Dolan has already shown me she can much, much more and I have expected much, much more from this book. Somehow, I just couldn’t get into the heart of this story – which probably is my own fault, and it makes me furious with myself.

Connie was lovely! I loved her passion and desperation to keep the Hall going. It was palpable that she has fond memories of it, especially as she has spent her best times there, together with her Grandmother, and she now enjoys her role as Bloom Mistress, preparing a dance or two with her charges. But Connie is torn – there is this side to her that want to satisfy tradition, keep the hall and run it just like her Gran did, and the other side, where Connie is not sure what it is she want to do, if she wants to stay in Hazelhurst for ever or do something different, somewhere else?

The cast of supporting characters is as bunt as the title itself. The author lets them all to have their own say, to shine through the pages. We have Lucy’s best friend Steve and his wife Lucy and they all want to support Lucy in so many ways! The community spirit in this book is brilliantly captured, it was just my favourite kind of a small, lovely village with people who know everything about each other and when it comes to a crisis they stand up for each other and do whatever they can to help. The duo of Dominic and Polly, father and daughter, has added so much poignancy to this story, the emotions there were so raw and so genuine, and Polly was so incredibly talented and creative, it was a real joy to read about her ideas.

Altogether, “The Bluebell Bunting Society” was a cute, warm, inviting read. It is this kind of read when you know what’s going to happen but it doesn’t bother you and it only makes you feel better. The characters are so lovely that you can’t help but fall for them all, and keep your fingers crossed for them. A heart – warming, uplifting read with a feel – good factor – recommended!