Jera’s Jamboree review : Kiera’s Quest ~ Choices by Kristy Brown

Kiera's Quest ChoicesFormat: Kindle Edition

File Size: 3533 KB

Print Length: 176 pages

Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited

Publisher: MuseItUp Publishing (16 April 2014)

ASIN: B00JRGJSY2

 

Feeling desperately confused and betrayed by the people she trusted the most, Kiera chose to jump through the disappearing vortex. Did she make it over to Zakk’s kingdom or was she pushed back to Earth? Would she even survive this time?

The next four years are long and heartbreaking for both worlds. As the darkness spreads throughout the lands, will Zakk’s army be able to stop it reaching Earth? Will Tom’s small band of rebels on earth stand a fighting chance?

At the time of the final battle will the Chosen One have the power to stop the oncoming evil or will it be too late?

|  Amazon Kindle  |  Goodreads  |

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Kiera’s Quest, as a whole for me, has become one of those series that started well and got better and better with each part.

Zakk has been searching for Kiera for over a year and while key people think it’s time he gave up, he wants to give it one more try.  Hayley (Nurse Bell) is in the cells.  She surprised me twice in Choices!  I love it when a character does this.  My opinion of her changed completely and I loved her for what she did.

With her memory lost, Keira has been healed and taken into the community of the Ovads.  Nova is the leader of this peaceful race and tries to find out more about which race Kiera is and where she has come from.

On Earth, Kiera’s friends and family are devastated.  They are setting up their own army to be ready for when the vortex opens.  Maddison and Chloe are in conflict which adds tension to this already fraught group.

More excellent world-building with the Ovads. Alongside the Ovads, the races we’ve met before have an integral part to play as the conflict all comes together and Keira comes into her power.

Keira is strong in Choices (but she still has her caring nature).  I loved her disobeying Zakk.  Mason (one of the Hershen’s) takes on more than the role of training her.  Instead of making Keira weak, I felt it made her even stronger and allowed her to tap into her power.

What an awesome final battle! So fast paced.  I just couldn’t put my Kindle down.

Lots of resolutions in Choices and even though this is the last book in the series, I still think there’s an opening for more (disappointed not to be attending the wedding in six months time!) I would love to see more action with Kiera’s power as I feel she is only just beginning to explore what she can do.  What happens in Zakk’s kingdom? What about his future children? What will happen to Zantar? How about those taken away to be healed? Will they live or are their injuries fatal? You see how much I’ve become involved with this series 🙂

I know Kristy is working on her next novel which is a YA.  I can’t wait to see where she will take her readers next!

You can read my reviews of Awakenings, Sacrifices and Perceptions here.

This series is targeted at a tween audience but if you love magic and fantasy, I highly recommend, no matter your age.

4 owl rating

I would like to thank the author for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Kiera’s Quest has a Facebook page.  The author tweets @kierasquest and you can connect with Kristy Brown on her Facebook author page

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Jera’s Jamboree review : Dancing in the Rain by Amanda James

dancing in the rainFormat: Kindle Edition

File Size: 1032 KB

Print Length: 301 pages

Publisher: Choc Lit Lite (5 Mar 2014)

ASIN: B00IU0TGDO

 

What if the responsibility for preventing a major disaster lay with you?
Jacob Weston has felt like he doesn’t belong for as long as he can remember and the strangely vivid dreams he experiences only serve to make him feel more alone …
But when his job in research science takes him thousands of miles away from what he thought of as home, Jacob finds the mystery of his past begin to unravel. A trip to the breathtaking Monument Valley and an extraordinary encounter with a Navajo guide seem to hold the key to who Jacob really is.
After meeting the beautiful Rosenya Neboyia, Jacob feels he may have found what he’d been searching for. But with this meeting is the discovery that his dreams come with a responsibility, and that responsibility is bigger and scarier than he could have ever imagined …

Amazon Kindle  |  Goodreads  |

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In April 1977 we find out how Jacob came to be in the care of Aggie and Ernest Weston.  After 4 stillbirths and at the age of 44, Aggie sees her act as a rescue.

We pick up with Jacob’s life in his mid-thirties.  He’s feeling dissatisfied with life and has a sense of foreboding.

Josiah’s visions of being guided to fight to contribute to the future of the Navajo nation take us back to 1940.

Narrated in alternating chapters in present day with Jacob and in the past with Josiah, we find out the task Jacob needs to undertake to prevent the major disaster.

The company that Jacob and best friend/colleague Greg works for, moves them to the US to work on a project.  Jacob’s gut feelings about the company building and Zak (who is leading the project) prove to be very accurate.  The team they’re working with provide plenty of conflict and hidden agendas. Jacob and Greg have a true friendship that shows when they’re living together in the US (who cooks and who cleans! and being able to express their grumpiness) and putting the other first when it really matters.  Greg is a fabulous character and deserves to find his own HEA.

I loved the mysticism (and the history) linked with the Navajo people and how the visions motivate Jacob, moving him in directions he would never have chosen for himself.  Got to love a hero who listens to his intuition and instincts 🙂

Meeting new people in Monument Valley and the link they have with Jacob added even more depth to the plot and with Rosenya being one of those people, alongside the attraction is more conflict.  It was fabulous to see Jacob becoming engaged with his emotions instead of shutting himself off.

The suspense leading up to the climax is really well-paced.  I felt myself tensing as the time ticked past and couldn’t see a way out hoping that no-one was going to die …

The ending was perfect.  So fitting with the spirituality of the plot.

Dancing in the Rain is such an apt title!  With the history/culture, romance, spirit and suspense, I recommend Dancing in the Rain to romance readers who are looking to be entertained and wanting a story that is  just that little bit different.

3 owl rating

I would like to thank the publishers for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Amanda’s blog – http://mandykjameswrites.blogspot.com/

Twitter – @akjames61

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/MandyJamesAuthorPage

Jera’s Jamboree review : The No-Kids Club by Talli Roland

no kids clubFormat: Kindle Edition

File Size: 3632 KB

Print Length: 253 pages

Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1477822925

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (3 Jun 2014)

ASIN: B00H8AP1VI

At almost forty, Clare Donoghue is living child-free and loving it.

Then her boyfriend says he wants kids, breaking off their promising relationship. And it’s not just boyfriends: one by one, her formerly carefree friends are swallowed up in a nonstop cycle of play dates and baby groups. So Clare decides it’s time for people who don’t have children to band together. And so the No-Kids Club is born.

As the group comes together—Anna, who’s seeking something to jumpstart a stale marriage, and Poppy, desperate for a family but unable to conceive—Clare’s hoping to make the most of the childless life with her new friends.

Will the No-Kids Club be Clare’s route to happiness, or will the single life lose its sparkle?

Amazon Paperback  |  Amazon Kindle  |  Amazon AudiobookGoodreads  |

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It’s clear how Clare feels about having children from the intimate scene with boyfriend Edward – and with best friend Ellie 7 ½ months pregnant and attending all types of clubs for pregnant mums, the idea of the No-Kids Club takes shape at Ellie’s baby shower.  She is determined to meet people without children in their lives.

Anna and Poppy are the first women to attend the meet up and for very different reasons.

Talli Roland’s writing always just flows so it was easy to become involved in our three women’s lives.  Clare thinking she knows what she wants, Anna losing herself in her relationship and Poppy obsessed to such a degree that she can’t feel/see anything else.

I have to admit squirming while Clare was on live TV talking about how she feels not wanting children … dressed from wardrobe in clothes that just weren’t her and giving the wrong idea to the viewing public.  It did give the No-Kids Club a high profile though!

I’ve enjoyed getting caught up in the character’s lives with the drama and conflict – wanting to shake Michael because he just might lose everything he takes for granted, tell Nicholas to own up, shout at Poppy that she’s going to lose everything with her lies and give Clare a hug while saying she is missing a vital link in how she feels.

The No-Kids Club tackles the subject of fertility/infertility and societal expectations brilliantly.  Talli Roland shows us those tangles of emotions and misunderstandings through our characters with such realism and sensitivity.

Another great Talli Roland novel and I recommend for all romance readers.

3 owl rating

I would like to thank the author for pre-approval via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Author Website

Author Blog 

Twitter @TalliRoland

Facebook Author Page

Jera’s Jamboree : Review Someone Else’s Wedding by Tamar Cohen

Someone elses weddingPaperback: 368 pages

Publisher: Black Swan (22 May 2014)

ISBN-10: 0552779326

ISBN-13: 978-0552779326

Format: Kindle Edition

ASIN: B00CJEG0J0

 

Mr & Mrs Max Irving request the company of:

Mrs Fran Friedman, mourning her empty nest, the galloping years and a disastrous haircut.

Mr Saul Friedman, runner of marathons, and increasingly distant husband.

The two Misses Friedman, Pip and Katy, one pining over the man she can’t have, the other trying to shake off the man she no longer wants.

At the marriage of their son James, forbidden object of troubling desire. For thirty-six hours of secrets and lies, painted-on-smiles and potential ruin. And drinks, plenty of drinks.

There’s nothing like a wedding for stirring up the past. As Fran negotiates her way from Saturday morning to Sunday evening she is forced to confront things she’s long thought buried, and to make decisions about the future that will have far-reaching consequences for them all.

Amazon Paperback  |  Amazon Kindle  |  Goodreads  |

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From the moment that Fran wakes alone in the hotel room to that final page, we’re taken through those hours, from 8am Saturday to 7pm Sunday with the undertow of emotions colouring interactions.

With Saul and Fran appearing to be opposites, I wondered what had first attracted them to each other.  Saul is pedantic and routine led whereas Fran seems to just flow.  When we understand Fran more from her experiences as a child and then teen, it’s obvious the pull Saul had for her.

There is one thing that obsesses Fran and the real reason why is cleverly concealed from the reader.  The emotions between two of the characters felt illicit and not quite right – this made me feel uneasy as I couldn’t work out what the undertow was about.  I love it when I can’t work it out!  When we find out it makes perfect sense to have tangled emotions…

The backstory is shared by Fran reflecting at key points in the story and one specific scene was heart breaking.  I cried so much I had to put my Kindle down …

I always think that a 1st person narrative works really well for intimacy and looking below the surface.  Fran is a master at observations, reading body language and connotations.  I always enjoy a story that exposes underlying thoughts and lays those emotions bare.  I found it really easy to identify with Fran and so thought she was a fabulous main character.

Here’s an example of Fran’s observation:

“She’s gone back to the bright, social voice I remember from yesterday’s reception, painting it on top of her real voice like varnish.”

I love Tamar Cohen’s writing style too 🙂

Fran, husband Saul and daughters Pip and Katy circle around each other with their secrets and hurts set amongst the backdrop of a British wedding (uncomfortable clothes and shoes, over-drinking, overeating and over-reacting).

Someone Else’s Wedding is an interesting and intriguing story, with past events coming to light and past emotions laid bare for healing to take place.

3 owl rating

I would like to thank the publishers for approving my request to review via Netgalley.

Twitter @MsTamarCohen

Facebook Author Page

Jera’s Jamboree review : Learning to Love by Sheryl Browne

Learning to LoveFormat: Kindle Edition

File Size: 606 KB

Print Length: 296 pages

Publisher: Safkhet Soul (18 July 2013)

ASIN: B00E1LPEVO

 

Widower, Dr David Adams, has recently moved to the village – where no one knows him, ergo there’s no fuel for neighbourhood gossip – to start afresh with his ten year old son, if only he can get to a place where his son wants to speak to him. Angry and withdrawn, Jake blames his dad for the death of his mother, and David doesn’t know how to reach him.

Andrea Kelly has too many balls in the air. With three children and a “nuts” mother to care for, her fiancé can’t fathom why she wants to throw something else into the mix and change her career. Surely she already has too much on her plate? Because her plates are skew-whiff and her balls are dropping off all over the place, Andrea points out. She needs to make changes. Still her fiancé, who has a hidden agenda, is dead-set against it.

When Andrea’s house burns mysteriously to the ground and Andrea and her entourage are forced to move in with the enigmatic Dr Adams, however, the village drums soon start beating, fuel aplenty when it turns out someone does know him – the woman carrying his baby.

Amazon Kindle  |  Goodreads  |

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We’re introduced to David and son Jake on their first night together.  Their relationship needs re-building and he realises he doesn’t know his son at all.  This is a fresh start for them.

Andrea lives opposite and we’re introduced to her chaotic family life as she is arguing with fiancée Jonathan.  They arrange to meet that night but Andrea is left waiting as he doesn’t arrive.  Approaching home she realises it’s her house on fire and is gripped with utter terror and panic.  This is so vivid I felt the despair and could almost smell the smoke!  With no sign of Jonathan, David steps up and offers his home as a sanctuary.

I love it when a character changes from that first impression.  It didn’t take me too long to start to change my mind about Jonathan … Sheryl Browne plants that seed of doubt.  The more I got to know Jonathan, the more I was sure about my suspicions.

The teenagers were brilliantly portrayed with their angst and their slang language.  It was great to see the positive effect the families had on each other after David took Andrea and her brood in. I particularly loved how Ryan affected Jake and how that impacted on his relationship with his dad.

The confrontation itself was very tense (it’s not a romantic confrontation).  I wasn’t sure which way things were going to go.  I loved that I wasn’t sure of the outcome!  As my heart was pounding I was thinking … would there be a death?  Would there be more hearbreak?

Grief and the emptiness of loss is explored sensitively and with realism both for GP David and his son Jake but also with Andrea’s friend Sally.  I really felt their emotions and could understand why they chose the actions they did.

The romance also brought a conflict of emotions. The children’s well-being was put first and I loved these characters for doing this.

Learning to Love is fast paced and engaging.  Not only does the romance sizzle but we see family life in all its shades of grey sprinkled with humour and sadness … and there is an element of suspense and fear.  What a combination!

3 owl rating

I would like to thank the author for providing an ecopy in exchange for an honest review.

Website

Twitter @SherylBrowne

Author Facebook Page

Jera’s Jamboree review : The Alone Alternative by Linda MacDonald

the alone alternativePaperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Matador (28 Jun 2014)
ISBN-10: 1783064331
ISBN-13: 978-1783064335

Former classmates Edward and Marianne, now fifty-five, have experienced a turbulent few years having lost contact with each other and suffered painful disruption to their home lives. Reunited again, this time through Twitter, they set about a search for personal fulfilment, but once again there are obstacles in the way – not least in the form of twice-widowed Jessica, Edward’s neighbour, who threatens to destroy their pursuit of happiness and whose behaviour has alarming consequences. The extraordinary weather conditions prompt Edward and a former colleague to resurrect an idea for a documentary series that sets to challenge consumerist lifestyles. The Isles of Scilly become a model for sustainability and a filming trip to the islands provides an idyllic backdrop to the unfolding romantic tensions. Set in 2012, the year of the London Olympics, the action alternates between Broadclyst and Beckenham and examines the difficult issues faced in committing to a new relationship in midlife. Could being alone be a preferable alternative? Continuing themes of psychology, relationships and environmental sustainability, The Alone Alternative is the sequel to A Meeting of a Different Kind and the third and final part of the ‘Lydia’ series. Written from both male and female perspectives, it also stands alone as a fascinating read for both men and women who enjoy thought-provoking fiction, keeping readers guessing until the very end.

|  Amazon Paperback  |

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Meeting Lydia (2011) and A Meeting of a Different Kind (2012) were ‘keepers’ for me so of course, when I was offered the chance to read The Alone Alternative I jumped at the chance!

Although each novel can be read as a stand-alone, I would suggest starting with Meeting Lydia as I have become invested emotionally with the characters through each stage – especially Marianne!

As the title suggests, for different reasons, Edward and Marianne find themselves without their partners.  I felt Marianne’s pain in my bones and Edward, well Edward follows through with his academia type personality and although he isn’t totally alone as daughter Harriet is still with him,   he is stunned.  His closest widowed neighbour Jessica (and a friend of Felicity’s) takes an interest in him.  Edward, naïve and not one for confrontations, doesn’t see the possibility of what may happen.  One particular conflict had me in tears.

Edward and Marianne had lost contact.  Through the use of social media they slowly re-build their friendship.  Mari is so very vulnerable and insecure.

One song played on repeat in my mind that I think is relevant:

With Marianne on the verge or retiring, she becomes involved in Edward’s sustainability project that has been revived.  Once again, it is obvious that MacDonald knows her topic about ecology and economy.  Some emotional scenes are played out on the Isles of Scilly where filming takes place …

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MacDonald tackles another social issue in The Alone Alternative and uses the AS level students in Mari’s psychology class to ‘show the reader’.  I love how she uses this in connection to the incidents.

Ironically, Taryn has a role assigned to her in the story that surprised me but I have to say I loved this!

Mari is true to form with her over-analysing although we do see a change and see her becoming more relaxed and accepting of situations.

How does it end?  You’ll have to read it to find out …

The Alone Alternative for me is about two people in their mid-50’s who have to make changes in their lives due to circumstances beyond their control.  It’s about the vulnerability and insecurity of how and when to make those changes needed … dealing with thoughts and emotions on how, at this stage in your life, you can still make a contribution to the world, to your own personal sphere AND be effective.  MacDonald portrays all of these emotions with realism and sincerity.  I shall miss Mari!

Buy it but be loathe to share your copy ... it's a keeper!

Buy it but be loathe to share your copy … it’s a keeper!

 

I would like to thank the author for organising a proof copy in exchange for an honest review.

Twitter @LindaMac1

Lydia’s Facebook Page

Jera’s Jamboree review : The Travelling Tea Shop by Belinda Jones

the travelling tea shopPublisher: Hodder (22 May 2014)

ISBN-10: 0340994479

ISBN-13: 978-0340994474

 

A delectable tale of love, friendship and cake…

Laurie loves a challenge. Especially if it involves tea-time and travel. So when British baking treasure Pamela Lambert-Leigh needs a guide on a research trip for her new cookbook, she jumps at the chance.

The brief:

Laurie and Pamela – along with Pamela’s sassy mother and stroppy daughter – will board a vintage London bus for a deliciously unusual tour of the USA’s East Coast, cruising from New York to Vermont.

Their mission:

To trade recipes for home-grown classics like Victoria Sponge and Battenburg for American favourites like Red Velvet Cake and Whoopie Pie.

All the women have their secrets and heartaches to heal. As well cupcakes galore, there’s also the chance for romance…

But will making Whoopie lead to love?

|  Amazon Paperback  |  Amazon Kindle  |  Goodreads  |

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We meet Laurie as she is waiting for an interview with England’s most-beloved baker, Pamela Lambert-Leigh.  The brief for the project will bring both of her passions together … travel and cake!

When Laurie meets Pamela she’s not looking her usual self which gives us a clue that something is going on in her life too.

Laurie obviously gets the job but is feeling daunted that Pamela’s mother will be driving the bus (who Laurie works out must be in her 70’s or 80’s).  I loved the comparison between the first time we meet Gracie at the airport to the next day!

We’re introduced to a family conflict for Laurie and find out there is an issue with her sister Jessica and we find out where she is emotionally with relationships.

There is so much to enjoy in this story!  As they’re travelling around, I felt as if I was with them, experiencing all that they did.  I enjoyed finding out the history of the places as well as the mouth-watering recipes.  I loved watching the women getting to know each other as they travel around and the impact they have on each other. The realisations and coming to terms that the woman make are life-changing.

Gracie is certainly someone who I would aspire to be.  She is just fabulous!  I loved the way Laurie responded to Pamela’s obnoxious daughter Ravenna.  She knew just the right way to play it.  When the romance element is introduced, there’s a twist (which doesn’t make for smooth family relationships or for Laurie).

The Travelling Tea Shop is fast paced and engaging.  Besides the humour and romance, Belinda Jones writes sensitively about darker elements of drug addiction and manipulation.  I felt a whole range of emotions through the characters and also feel as if I have been on road trip!  Pure escapism for me.

If you’re a romance reader, The Travelling Tea Shop is definitely one that should be on your list.

3 owl rating

Before my blogging days began in 2011, I did read a few of Belinda’s novels – Divas Las Vegas and I Love Capri spring to mind.  I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed her story-telling!  I must admit I purchased Winter Wonderland when it came out and it’s been out of sight on my Kindle…

 I would like to thank the publishers for approving my request via Netgalley.

Author Website

Twitter @belindatravels

Facebook

Jera’s Jamboree review : Ivy Lane : Spring by Cathy Bramley

ivy laneFormat: Kindle Edition

File Size: 927 KB

Print Length: 87 pages

Publisher: Transworld Digital (3 April 2014)

ASIN: B00IG3YQHQ

 

Friendship blossoms at Ivy Lane…
Tilly Parker needs a fresh start, fresh air and a fresh attitude if she is ever to leave the past behind and move on with her life. As she settles in to a new town seeking peace and solitude, taking on her own plot at Ivy Lane allotments seems like the perfect solution. But the vibrant, friendly Ivy Lane community has other ideas and endeavour to entice Tilly into seedling swaps and Easter egg hunts. Can Tilly let new friends into her life, or will she stay a wallflower for good?
Ivy Lane is a serialized novel told in four parts – taking you through a year in the life of Tilly Parker – beginning with Spring.


Each part of Ivy Lane is approx. 10 chapters.

Amazon Kindle  |  Goodreads  |

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We join Tilly on New Year’s Day as she is leaving her home for her first visit to the allotments.  Having chosen to isolate herself, she figures this is the perfect time – who will be around on this day of the year?

Single 35 year old Charlie is the first person she meets and she is reluctant to engage with him.  He makes an innocent remark, which Tilly can’t handle.  It takes six weeks for her to go back as she is getting used to her new job at the local school.

Tilly gets drawn into the community.  She thinks she needs isolation but the fabulous inhabitants at Ivy Lane prove otherwise as we watch Tilly slowly coming back to life as they not only give her invaluable support when she makes mistakes but also nurture her, accepting her for where she is in her life.

I loved every single character!  Neighbour Gemma provides some laugh out loud moments as well as some more tender moments.  I loved the way her mum Christine sneakily draws Tilly in to the committee.  Charlie – I’m wondering if he has a mental illness as to me, his actions came across as bi-polar.

The characters who make up the community are people we have all met before and are easy to identify with.  I can’t wait to find out more!

Most tantalising of all is the reason WHY Tilly had to move away and start a new life.  We know she is emotionally in pain and has found it hard to move on.  She is still grieving.  But we don’t know her secret and I couldn’t make up my mind out of the two things I considered it might be …

Ivy Lane is full of warmth and belonging.  It really is a vibrant community! It captured my imagination and I’m eager to see how the story unfolds in Ivy Lane : Summer.

3 owl rating

I would like to thank the publishers for approval via Netgalley.

Contact Cathy on her blog http://www.cathybramleyauthor.com/ on Twitter @cathybramley or on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/CathyBramleyAuthor

Jera’s Jamboree review : A Cornish Stranger by Liz Fenwick

cornish strangerPaperback: 304 pages

Publisher: Orion (22 May 2014)

ISBN-10: 1409148238

ISBN-13: 978-1409148234

 

There’s an old Cornish saying: ‘Save a stranger from the sea, he’ll turn your enemy…’

When her reclusive grandmother becomes too frail to live alone, Gabriella Blythe moves into the remote waterside cabin on Frenchman’s Creek which has been her grandmother’s home for decades. Once a celebrated artist, Jaunty’s days are coming to a close but she is still haunted by events in her past, particularly the sinking of Lancasteria during the war.

Everything is fine until a handsome stranger arrives in a storm, seeking help. Fin has been left a family legacy: a delicate watercolour of a cabin above the creek which leads him to this beautiful stretch of Cornish water. As Fin begins to pick at the clues of the painting, he is drawn into the lives of Gabe and Jaunty, unraveling a remarkable story of identity and betrayal…

Amazon Paperback  |  Amazon Kindle  |  Goodreads  |

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I loved Liz Fenwick’s previous novels, The Cornish House and A Cornish Affair so was excited to win a proof copy of A Cornish Stranger!

The prologue sets the theme of the story with the reader finding out about Jaunty (92 years old) and her need to write down the truth as she’s nearing the end of her life.

Granddaughter Gabe has decided to move in with Jaunty – on the surface to look after her.  She used to perform on stage as an opera singer but left four years ago … why?

Fin arrives in the creek – then the storm happens.  The scene with Gabe rescuing him was full of tension and made me hold my breath!

Jaunty is only able to write her letters for a short length of time and these are so well paced and share just enough information that the intrigue is kept alive.  You think you know what the secrets are but then there’s another twist to her past.  The writing in the letters is so vivid that I really felt as if I was back in that time during the war.

Alongside Jaunty’s secrets, Gabe has one of her own.  Hiding in the cabin with Jaunty doesn’t go to plan with the arrival of Fin and being pulled into the rehearsals with the villagers.   Her pain was palpable and is obvious in her interactions and body language.

I didn’t know what to make of Fin.  Was he genuine?  Was he acting on Jaunty’s instructions?  Was he out to sell a story?  This is so cleverly written that it took me a long time to make up my mind!

The isolation of the cabin and the creek is the perfect environment for the secrets and the healing to take place.  Some fantastic scenes play out here.

It was fabulous to see previous characters too – Mark Trigg, Justin, Tamsin and Hannah play a part in A Cornish Stranger. The community feeling is alive and well when they reach out to protect their own.

Intrigue, suspense, tension, conflict, romance and community. This is a perfect combination and one that kept me hooked throughout.

4 owl rating

You can find Liz Fenwick on her websitetweet with her @liz_fenwick and find her author page on Facebook.

Jera’s Jamboree review : The Food of Love Cookery School by Nicky Pellegrino

food of love cookery schoolPaperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Orion
ISBN-10: 1409136132
ISBN-13: 978-1409136132

In a remote Sicilian mountain town, four women arrive at a cookery school, each at a turning point in their lives.

Moll is a foodie and an exhausted working mum on the holiday of a lifetime. Tricia, a top London lawyer is taking a break from the demands of her job and her family. Valerie, consumed by grief following the death of her partner, is trying to figure out how to live a life without him. And recently divorced Poppy has come to Sicily to learn about the place that her grandfather was born before emigrating to Australia.

Luca Amore runs the school, using the recipes passed down to him by generations of Amore women. He expects this course to be much like all the others – but as sparks fly, friendships are made and secrets are shared. And for each of them nothing will ever be the same.

Amazon Kindle  |  Goodreads  |

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The Food of Love Cookery School is narrated by each of our four women with a 3rd person narrative from Luca himself interspersed throughout.  I loved this format as we get to know Poppy, Tricia, Valerie and Moll as the days of the cookery course progress.

Luca is an enigma.  There is more underneath his distant exterior self and the more we get to know him the further removed he is from that young man who isn’t proud of the thing that happened.  This was a great way of showing how decisions we make when younger often change as our values change with age.

Conflict comes from the daughter of the local chocolatier whose family is close to the Amore family and there is also conflict between two members in the group.

For me, the romance was secondary to the food and the friendships 🙂

I think that readers will identify with the women who are learning to cope with the lives they find themselves either moving towards or away from and the strategies they employ so that their lives are successful on the surface.  A reminder of how the judgements we make are based on what we see … on our own experiences and perceptions.  When I look back at my notes I can see how cleverly the author first introduces us to the women so that we do make those judgments.

I really enjoyed being with this group, not only as they learnt to cook but visiting each venue and becoming a part of the town.  The writing pulled me in totally and their experiences became my own.   I felt as if I had been on holiday!

At the end of my proof copy are some Food of Love recipes.

History, heritage, culture, the real meaning of food, romance and friendships are all a part of The Food of Love Cookery School.  What’s not to like?  If you haven’t read it already, add it to your summer reading list.

Buy it and spread the word

Buy it and spread the word

I won my proof copy last year from Sarah at Today I’m Reading.  Thank you Sarah!

Author Website

Twitter @nickypellegrino