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!

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

The Cotswolds Cookery Club: A Taste of Spain

 

35704716Publisher: HQ Digital

Publishing Date: 18th August 2017

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

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

Number of pages: 180

Genre:   Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Life begins at forty…

Trish Ford always dreamed of living in a little chocolate box village like Cornfield – but she never expected to be starting over at forty! Joining the Cotswolds Cookery Club seems like the perfect recipe for finding happiness again, along with her new friends Connie, Melody and Kate.

From mouth-watering paella to sweet, honey-drenched pestinos, Trish finds a delicious distraction in the Spanish cuisine whilst doing her best to deal with her stroppy teenage daughter and her cheating ex-husband and his pregnant girlfriend.

But it will take all of Trish’s new-found confidence – and maybe a helping of her irresistible leche frita – to risk her heart on hunk single dad Steve…

Fans of Milly Johnson, Caroline Roberts and Jill Mansell will love this heartwarming read!

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

Rating: four-stars

 

After reading the first book in the series, “A Taste of Italy”, I knew that this is going to be series that I won’t want to miss, so as soon as I spotted “A Taste of Spain” on NetGalley, I immediately downloaded it, and guys, I was not disappointed. This second novella is even better than the first one, and it left me glowing in its warmth, sincerity and down – to – earthness. It was really lovely, quick read and I am already looking towards book 3.

I was almost certain that all of the books will focus on the characters already introduced to us in “Italy”, so it was a kind of surprise to see that Trish is a brand new character, who – at the beginning – has nothing to do with the Cookery Club. Gah. There was a moment that I was sure that I am reading a wrong book somehow but fortunately, quickly, Connie entered the scenes and I felt home again. Saying it, I don’t mean that I don’t like Trish or something, because on the opposite, I loved her.
Connie is working at the village shop, blogging and writing articles for a very popular magazine, Melody is soon to be a mum and Kate is still overwhelmed with her family. Trish comes with a very moody teenager, an ex – husband and all the problems it involves. I really, really liked how Trish was growing, how strong she was, even despite the problems with Amber, and how she stood her ground, especially when it came to her husband suggesting she should tell Amber she’s going to have a step – sibling.

Of course, there are again some mouth – watering descriptions of food. Don’t read this book when you’re hungry. Or on diet. Really. Only a good advice. Then there is this lovely, warm overwhelming feeling of friendship, acceptation, support – the girls welcomed Trish to their circle so quickly and easily. All the characters were so true to life and relatable, with all their problems, troubles and moments of happiness.

It is a heart – warming story about friendship, re – building relationships, finding the courage. It is filled with all the ups and downs of usual, everyday life but this only makes it much more forthcoming, realistic and genuine. Written in a very vivid way, this story delivers on each level, and I am sure everyone is going to find something they can relate to. Truly recommended!

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

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

35525872Publisher: HQ Digital

Publishing Date: 21st July 2017

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

Number of pages: 115

Genre:  Romance,  Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle

 

 

 

Synopsis:

…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!

Rating: four-stars

Having read and enjoyed Alice Ross’s some previous books, I didn’t hesitate to request “The Cotswolds Cookery Club: A Taste of Italy”. I can’t seem to have enough books about cooking, and lately also set in Cotswolds, and those two together do sound promising, no?

The story introduces us basically to Connie, who right now is at the crossroads with her life, and so when her friend is off to Australia for six months and asks Connie if she’d like to look after her house in this time, Connie jumps at the chance. She has no problems to settle in the gorgeous Cotswolds, in the lovely house and quickly she reawakens her passion of cooking. And this is when the idea of the Cotswolds Cookery Club is born, and Connie sets her mind on Italian cuisine this time. But club wouldn’t exist without its members, right, so there are some other characters who take it in turns to cook delicious, mouth – watering Italian dishes – and when I say delicious, I really mean delicious, guys! There is Eleanor, who runs the local newsagent, Melody, who’s also new to the area and Kate, a local vet with three children, husband and an au – pair.

So when the girls chop, stir, taste, cook and bake, they also share their stories, and so we relatively quickly get to know their background and what makes them tick. They were all relatable, believable characters, they had their problems and I quickly felt a part of their group. It was lovely to see how quickly their friendship was growing and how they all were starting to gain confidence.

Altogether, it was a light – hearted, very easy read. What bothered me personally was the end – it seemed so very abrupt and rushed, and I had a feeling that the story was chopped in the middle. It was a promising end, sure, but just too rushed and it put me off stride a little. But really, it was a lovely, cute story with mouth – watering descriptions of food, down – to – earth characters and brilliant romance – and not only human one! The author has spot on caught Connie’s passion to food and cooking and brought it to the pages and really, it made me want more, so it’s a pure luck that this novella is the first part in the series. Already looking towards the next one! Recommended!

A Summer of Secrets by Alice Ross

A Summer of Secrets

by Alice Ross

 

Publisher: Carina

Publishing Date: 9th May 2016

Source:  Copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley,  thank you!

Series: Countryside Dreams #2

Number of pages: 238

Genre: Women’s Literature, Contemporary

 Buy the Book: Kindle

 

 Synopsis:

A perfect, feel-good summer read about love, life and family.
One long hot summer. Secrets never stay buried for long…

Portia is determined to restore Buttersley Manor, her family’s crumbling ancestral home, to its former glory. Yet she has a feeling that there are a few forgotten skeletons in the dust-covered cupboards.

Jenny has put her life on hold for far too long. It’s time to finally start living and to dig up those hopes and dreams she’s kept hidden all these years – but is she brave enough?

Rich is happily married with a beautiful wife and lovely daughter. In fact, his world is perfect until a very unexpected consequence of his past walks through the door…

Joe would like nothing more than to travel back in time to when he and Gina were happy. But is it too late to rescue what they once had?

One thing’s for sure, nothing’s ever quite what it seems when it comes to life in the country!

Rating: 4/5

 

„A Summer of Secrets” is the second book in the Countryside Dreams series by Alice Ross and as I haven’t read the first book I was a little afraid that I may miss something. However, it can be absolutely read as a stand – alone novel and I also had a feeling that the book introduces totally new characters to us, so no problems here, guys.

The story introduces us to four different characters and this is my problem here. You know how much I like when something links the characters to each other, when their stories somehow intertwine, and here it only looked as if the place they were living in, small town of Buttersley, is the only thing that links them. Otherwise they didn’t have anything in common and I am not sure if they all even knew each other. Organizing stories this way is often really confusing for me because I am always looking forward to something happening to all of the characters, to something they have in common, and usually I end the book surprised that it ended already and what now?
So we have Portia here, who’s back to the town, having inherited her parents’ home, but she’s not sure what to do with the estate. she’s given up a job as a war correspondent and her dream now is to keep the house and make something special there. Rick, a successful entrepreneur with a lovely family consisting of clever, beautiful wife and young daughter, but suddenly his life is being turned upside down – is his marriage going to survive this shock? Jenny, already over 50, but still living with her dominating mother and letting her to organize her life. But suddenly Jenny starts to discover that there is much more to life than being under her mother’s thumb. Joe, still coming to terms with the fact that his girlfriend has broken up with him and left him, taking their baby son, but now suddenly Gina is back… For good? Or for worse?
So you see. Four people, four different stories, nothing linking them to each other. Nevertheless, I really liked the characters – they were full of life and the way they acted and reacted was realistic and seemed genuine. I can’t say that I had my favourite character, to be honest, they were all really well developed and their stories were told in a great, very accessible way, though I think that it was Jenny that stole my heart. At first I was surprised when I’ve learnt that she’s over 50 already, but when I got to know her story I really, truly fell for her, and the more I was reading about her, the more I liked her and kept my fingers crossed for her. Even though she’s been living under her mother’s thumb, she was a clever, funny woman with just the right dose of sarcasm and distance to herself and I loved the scenes with her and her rescue dog – they were absolutely great! But really, all the other characters were also brilliant, and I think it was impossible not to like them – they were fair and down – to – earth, just like I like my characters to be. Also the twists and turns that they were meeting as the story progressed were unexpected and while some of them were for my liking too far – fetched, mostly the reader could relate to them. Alice Ross has managed to write them in a way that made me feel as if I know all of them and am part of the Buttersley community.

The story is full of really funny moments but it also touches upon some serious situations and I loved how well the author has balanced them in this story. The things that happened to the characters could happen to all of us and I liked how they carried off with all the problems and ups and downs.

„A Summer of Secrets” is not a book that is going to stay with you forever but nevertheless, I enjoyed the story while reading it. It is fast – paced, have some surprises on the way and mostly the characters are really well developed, even those that are only the background to our main ones. The switching between the characters was very well done and I immediately knew who is who and who belongs to who. It is really a brilliant summer read, full of love, hope and also happily ever after – and who doesn’t like their HEA, right?

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Alice Ross used to work in the financial services industry where she wrote riveting, enthralling brochures about pensions and ISAs that everyone read avidly and no one ever put straight into the bin.

One day, when nobody was looking, she managed to escape. Dragging her personal chef (aka her husband) along with her, she headed to Spain, where she began writing witty, sexy, romps designed to amuse slightly more than pension brochures.

Missing Blighty (including the weather – but don’t tell anyone), she returned five years later and now works part-time in the tourism industry.

When not writing, she can be found scratching out a tune on her violin, walking her dog in wellies two sizes too big (don’t ask!), or standing on her head in a yoga pose.

Links: Website | Twitter