A Perfect Cornish Summer by Phillipa Ashley / Blog Tour

A Perfect Cornish Summer by Phillipa Ashley

 

41716141Publisher: Avon

Publishing Date: 25th April  2019

Series: Porthmellow Harbour #1

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

Number of pages: 400

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback (out on 16.05.2019)

 

Synopsis:

The first in a gorgeous new series from the author of Summer at the Cornish Cafe.
Summer is on the horizon, and the people of Porthmellow are eagerly awaiting the annual food festival. At least, most of them are…
For Sam Lovell, organising the summer festival in her hometown is one of the highlights of her year. It’s not always smooth sailing, but she loves to see Porthmellow’s harbour packed with happy visitors, and being on the committee has provided a much-needed distraction from the drama in her family life (and the distinct lack of it in her love life).
When their star guest pulls out with only a few weeks to go, everyone’s delighted when a London chef who grew up locally steps in at the last minute. But Gabe Matthias is the last person Sam was expecting to see, and his return to Porthmellow will change her quiet coastal life for ever.
Curl up with this gorgeous novel and savour the world of Porthmellow Harbour.

 

my-review

 

Sam Lovell owns a Catering Company and organises the yearly local food festival. This year, however, there is a major incident, as the guest celebrity chef pulls out at the last minute. Sam’s friend Chloe manages to organize a replacement but when Sam learns who it is, she’s not too happy – Gabe Matthias, TV chef, who’s local and has history with Sam, history that she’d rather forget, and there is a serious reason why she feels like this. But not only Sam, also part of the town as well. Will Gabe be able to get them all on side again? Is it at all possible that the food festival make it to another year, and more?

There were plenty of characters in this novel, and every single one of them with their own story, so in the end there are many threads running through the novel. It wasn’t the easiest to keep them all on track and I often felt confused at who, why and what, and where shall I pay attention? But of course those storylines are much relevant and they tie well with one another, and I’m guessing we needed them in this book as a kind of introduction for the next books in the series that will for sure focus on different characters. Nevertheless, I had a feeling that simply too much is going on in this book.

My biggest problem with this novel was the fact that there was actually nothing that has surprised me. All the time I had a feeling “I’ve been there, I’ve seen this” and this is probably why it couldn’t keep my attention. There was all you could wish for in that kind of a book: friendship, community, romance, good food etc, and it’s great, please don’t get me wrong, but it simply felt too flat and too repetitive. And the names Samphire and Zennor, well, at the beginning I’ve though that must have been a spelling error but it turned out they weren’t. I couldn’t get used to them till the very end of the book, to be honest. And why was their brother called Ryan then? In for a penny, in for a pound, right?

As much as the circumstances of bringing Sam and Gabe back together were really nice, I still had a feeling that there is not enough interaction between them, that there is not enough chemistry, and so this relationship left me feeling a bit lukewarm. Also, huge parts of the book are dedicated to the festival, and of course it was absolutely all right, and I enjoyed them, but somehow, Gabe and Sam simply went astray in all those descriptions of the events, all the organizational issues.

Phillipa Ashley’s writing style is lovely, sunny and bright. She must be one of the best when it comes to the settings of her novels, because they are always picturesque, exceptionally beautiful and effortlessly brought to life. She easily transports you to the place she’s writing about. And altogether, !A Perfect Cornish Summer” was a light – hearted, warm story about second chances, community spirit, friendship and family, and it had this brilliant Food Festival in it as well – though I’d love more of it itself than the build up towards it, more lush descriptions of food. An uplifting tale about working together, sticking together and helping one another to succeed.

 

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Confetti at the Cornish Cafe by Phillipa Ashley / Blog Tour + Extract

Hi guys, hope you all have a pleasant and relaxing Sunday and that the weather is spoiling you, just like it’s spoiling us here. Today I have something that will help you to enjoy your weekend even more – as a part of Phillipa Ashley’s blog tour celebrating the third part in the Cornish Cafe series, “Confetti at the Cornish Cafe”, I have a little extract from the novel. Put your feet high and enjoy!

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Yes, I know Demelza’s is my cafe but even after six months, I always think walking inside is like stepping into a cosy, delicious haven. We’ve pulled out the stops to make it welcoming this cold spring morning, arranging early narcissi in stone jars on the window ledges to add a pop of yellow sunshine. Confetti-coloured freesias have been placed on every table and we’ve laid the two tables closest to the window with the vintage china I found at Kilhallon House last summer. Lily and Ben should be able to enjoy the view over the sea from there. The coffee machine is already burbling and the room is filled with the smell of freshly baked pastries. In the background, Cornish folk songs are playing softly. Mentally, I cross my fingers and hope they like the fresh and welcoming atmosphere we’ve tried to create.

Ben plonks himself down at a table and picks up a teacup as if he’s never seen one before. Lily lingers in the middle of the room. She pulls off her hood and a mane of glossy red hair falls down her back. Although she wears very little make-up, and is swamped by the shiny coat, she’s still stunning. Not like a real human, but a fairy in a children’s storybook. She turns around slowly, and lifts her arms, as if the cafe might revolve around her if she so wills.

I hold my breath. She could quite easily turn round this second and head out of Kilhallon and that would be that. Because we’re not glamorous, though we’ll bust a gut to be our very best. At the end of the day, we’re only a cosy little place in a wild and beautiful corner of Cornwall.

Lily sighs deeply as if she’s just finished a particularly hard yoga session. My heart thumps madly. I avoid a strong urge to wipe my palms on my jeans, waiting for this big star’s verdict on my little Cornish cafe.

Lily stares straight at me, a sad but sweet smile on her face.

‘This place is very … soothing. Like being wrapped in a big squishy duvet. It’s very authentic. Yes, I like it. I like it a lot.’

It’s hard not to let out a huge sigh of relief, even if part of me already wishes that Lily, Ben and Harry would get straight back into their ‘actor mobile’ and drive out of Kilhallon. Yes, it’s exciting to have them here and it would be amazing publicity for the park and cafe but I already can’t stand the tension of trying to live up to their expectations. Calm down, Cal would say, just be yourself.

But he’s not here, is he?

Lily perches on one of our old oak settles next to Ben. She picks up one of the vintage tapestry cushions I ‘recycled’ from the farmhouse and hugs it. Ben is on his phone. Harry is sitting at a nearby table with his arms folded. He makes the chair look an infant’s school chair.

‘What can we get you all, then, before we discuss menus and food? I thought we’d warm up in here before we take a tour of the rest of the park and the wedding …’

‘Handfasting,’ Ben mutters without glancing up from his phone. ‘We’re going to do the legal bit at the register office near our house a few weeks later. No one will be looking for that once we’ve had the ceremony here.’

‘Isla said you want a simple ceremony in a natural setting?’ I say.

‘Oh yes, we don’t want a fuss, do we, Ben? I can’t stand all those weddings with zillions of people where the bride and groom sit on thrones and everyone arrives by helicopter.’

‘Is there a helipad?’ Ben chimes in.

‘Sorry, no. There’s a field behind us that the emergency services could use at a push but no helipad.’

‘Oh.’ He goes back to his phone.

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Christmas at the Cornish Cafe by Phillipa Ashley

Christmas at the Cornish Cafe by Phillipa Ashley

 

30361314Publisher: Avon

Publishing Date: 13th October 2016

Series: The Penwith Trilogy #2 (read my review of #1 here)

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

Number of pages: 287

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

 Buy the Book: Kindle

 

Synopsis:

The festive, feel-good follow-up to Summer at the Cornish Cafe.

Christmas will be slightly less turbulent than summer, won’t it? Demi certainly hopes so.

She and Cal are keeping their fledgling relationship under wraps for now. But then Kit Bannen, a hunky, blond – and somewhat mysterious – writer arrives at Kilhallon Resort, and not everyone is charmed. Cal is sure that Kit is hiding something. But is he the only one guarding a secret?

Demi is busy baking festive treats for the newly opened Demelza’s cafe, but when Cal’s ex Isla arrives to shoot scenes for her new drama, Demi can’t help but worry that things aren’t quite over between them. Kit flirts with both women, fuelling Cal’s suspicions that Kit has hidden motives for staying on at Kilhallon. Then Cal has to go to London, leaving Demi and Kit to decorate the cafe for Christmas . . . all by themselves.

A storm is brewing in more ways than one. As surprises unfold and truths are uncovered, can Demi and Cal finally open up to each other about their feelings?

This second novel in the bestselling Cornish Cafe series is the perfect book to curl up with this Christmas.

Rating: 2/5

I’m so surprised that this book didn’t work for me at all, especially as I think back to the first novel in the series that I rated with 4 stars. Here everything just dragged on, it was full of things – but things that for me were totally insignificant, and so on the other hand I think you must be a VERY talented author (and I mean it seriously!) to be able to write a book about those things. I must admit, I couldn’t wait for the words “The End”. It may sound harsh, but this is the way I felt when reading this story. All seemed so far – fetched there and there was not a single thing that took me by surprise or that I felt was new and fresh. I am really sorry. Really. I want all books to work for me. But here everything was just so slow and to be honest, if I read this part without reading the first one, I’d think, who the hell are the characters? So whingey and unhappy and creating problems where there weren’t any – and it really surprised me, because I enjoyed the first part! I only hope that it was an slip and am looking forward towards “Confetti at the Cornish Cafe” – though it’s a long wait, as it’s out in May!

Summer at the cornish Cafe by Phillipa Ashley

Summer at the Cornish Cafe

by Phillipa Ashley

 

Publisher: Avon (Maze)

Publishing Date: 5th May 2016

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

Number of pages: 298

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

 Buy the Book: Kindle

 

 Synopsis:

One summer can change everything . . .
Demi doesn’t expect her summer in Cornwall to hold anything out of the ordinary. As a waitress, working all hours to make ends meet, washing dishes and serving ice creams seems to be as exciting as the holiday season is about to get.
That’s until she meets Cal Penwith. An outsider, like herself, Cal is persuaded to let Demi help him renovate his holiday resort, Kilhallon Park. Set above an idyllic Cornish cove, the once popular destination for tourists has now gone to rack and ruin. During the course of the Cornish summer, Demi makes new friends – and foes – as she helps the dashing and often infuriating Cal in his quest. Working side by side, the pair grow close, but Cal has complications in his past which make Demi wonder if he could ever truly be interested in her.
Demi realises that she has finally found a place she can call home. But as the summer draws to a close, and Demi’s own reputation as an up and coming café owner starts to spread, she is faced with a tough decision . . .
A gorgeous story exploring new beginnings, new love and new opportunities, set against the stunning background of the Cornish coast. Phillipa Ashley has written a feisty, compelling heroine who leaps off the page and encourages you to live your summer to the full.
Recommended for readers who loved Summer at Shell Cottage, The Cornish House, Tremarnock and Poldark.

Rating: 4/5

 

When requesting „Summer at the Cornish Cafe” I was expecting a novel full of sunshine, romance, changes and feel – good factor – the synopsis sounded so inviting, and the cover is gorgeous, right? I haven’t read any other books by Philippa Ashley, under this or other name (yes, I know. And I am ashamed!), which only added some excitement, so full of expectations I dived into this story. A story, that is the first part in the planned Penwith Trilogy.

However the title may suggest, cafe is not exactly at the heart of this story although it plays a big part in it. Because this novel is about many different things, such as new beginnings, old love, betrayals, bullying, hope, and it is written in such down – to – earth and engaging way that I really didn’t know when this reading time passed. Even though it was a rather predictable read, and a book that won’t change the world, it was a warm, delightful read and even though I had some issues with the characters (in a moment, in a moment!), I felt a part of this novel already.

What issues again, I can hear you asking. Some issues :) As much as I liked the writing style, I couldn’t connect with the characters. They weren’t complex enough for me, and I had a feeling that we are not allowed to get to know them, that there are things at loose ends – maybe it’s because it’s the first book in the series, who knows – things that are mentioned and then forgotten or never mentioned again. Also, some of the characters were a tad too clichéd, too stereotyped for my liking, they were either very good or very bad. And I’ve never warmed to Cal, he was too moody for my liking and I didn’t like the way he treated people, so there. Yes, I totally understand where he was coming from, his background was complicated and we know that something had happened when he was abroad with his mission, but he’s bottling the things up and they’re probably going to explode one day, but nevertheless, in this novel we don’t know what happened and I just didn’t fell for Cal and his charm and, to be absolutely honest, I am still not sure if he can lay his past behind him . Demi, on the other hand, was great, I think there is much more to this girl than meet the eye and I am waiting impatiently to see if she hides any secrets, and also how the relationship is going to develop. Demi was also my favourite kind of character, the one that was developing and growing throughout the story, and I loved to see how her self – confidence is bigger with every page turned, and how inventive she is.

Also, the plot is lovely, but there is nothing that I can say I haven’t read before. We have girl – meets – boy subplot there, we have ex – lovers subplot there, we have jealous and rejected girl plotting a revenge there, and we have some pulling the rug out from under the characters’ feet, both love – and jobwise. There were moments that I was rolling my eyes, yes, I admit, but well, mostly I enjoyed reading this novel, and I liked these subplots. Especially the renovating of Kilhallon Park was a little breath of fresh air there, even though it was obvious that someone, sometime is going to try to harm Cal and Demi :) The descriptions of the setting were lovely and so very vivid, and even though they were really detailed, I didn’t have a feeling, just like it often happens, that the author tried to fill the pages or that I was reading a travel guide. Phillipa Ashley had in a very colourful way described the beach with the shops, the cove where Demi liked to spend her time and finally the Kilhallon Park itself, and it also doesn’t happen often but I’d really like to see all of these places by myself – the author brought them life and made them feel so realistic. The story alternates between Demi and Cal’s points of view which I really enjoyed, as it gave us a chance to hear both perspectives, though, because of Cal being so closed in himself and not willing to open, I have a feeling that he didn’t tell us as much about his feelings as Demi did.

I think it was this lovely writing style and the way the story was told that saved this book for me. Altogether, it was a great summer read and it brilliantly captured atmosphere of summer, even though the story doesn’t only happen in summer – but I had a feeling that the sun is all the time shining when I was reading it, even though I was already in bed. Yes, it was a tad predictable, but there were still some twists and turns and I was not always able to guess what’s going to happen. It was easy to read but it also had some more depth to it and I truly appreciate the fact that the story hints at some darker things that happened in the past but will be revealed in the next parts.