Posted in Book Review

Sunshine at the Comfort Food Cafe – Debbie Johnson 5* Review

My name is Willow Longville. I live in a village called Budbury on the stunning Dorset coast with my mum Lynnie, who sometimes forgets who I am. I’m a waitress at the Comfort Food Café, which is really so much more than a café … it’s my home.

For Willow, the ramshackle café overlooking the beach, together with its warm-hearted community, offers friendship as a daily special and always has a hearty welcome on the menu. But when a handsome stranger blows in on a warm spring breeze, Willow soon realises that her quiet country life will be changed forever.

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Thoughts…

I read a lot of books, and most of them are good but the ‘Comfort Food Cafe series’, has a magic sparkle that makes it’s stories marvellously memorable, even when you read as much as I do.

It has a broad appeal; there’s romance, lots of laughs and heartwarming poignant moments. The whole age spectrum is covered, including various charismatic animal friends. Most readers will see a little of their own lives written into the pages of these realistic, yet wonderfully escapist stories, which means they are relevant, contemporary and worth reading.

‘Sunshine at the Comfort Food Cafe’, the fourth book in the series is Willow’s story. Willow is unique, definitely new age and the primary carer for her mother Lynnie who has dementia. The friends at the cafe support her in practical ways, which make her life easier and give her much-needed respite but she has put romance and having a family of her own out of her mind, her mother’s well being her only focus.

Willow’s meeting with Tom, echoes a vibrant childhood memory, he is intelligent, successful but a loner and quite probably Willow’s soulmate in another life. Exploring Willow’s life, the author illuminates some of the problems of living with Dementia and how it affects not only the sufferer but their carers. Willow is vibrant, eccentric and loyal and in a village full of lovely characters, she is my favourite. Her quirky sense of humour and positive outlook on life is refreshing. Willow is not a victim, she loves her mother and wants to care for her, but she deserves to have some lighter moments in such a dedicated life.

There are lots of humorous moments in this poignant story, learning to dance the ‘Strictly’ way is one of them, hilarious and the ‘ Mr Darcy scene in the pond is another. If you love animals, there is another delightful animal charmer to meet too.

It reads well as a standalone story; courtesy of Willow you get a handy ‘Game of Thrones’ style crib sheet introducing all the characters but if you get the chance read all the books because you’re in for a treat.

Perfect to read at any time, it’s as addictive as cake and coffee and just as yummy.

I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 

 

 

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Posted in Book Review

The Windmill Cafe Summer Breeze Poppy Blake 3 *Review

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The Windmill Cafe is open for business!

As Rosie Barnes serves glasses of tangy lemonade and ice-cold prosecco at her summer garden party, she couldn’t be happier. The Windmill Café, with its peppermint green sails, is a roaring success and has given Rosie a chance to escape the heartbreak of her busy life in London.

But then disaster strikes when popstar Suki Richards is taken unexpectedly ill at the party. Now all eyes are on Rosie…have her famous raspberry cupcakes poisoned her most high-profile guest? Or is someone else trying to damage Suki’s chance of stardom?

If Rosie wants to save her picture-perfect life, and the reputation of her beloved Windmill Café, she’s going to have to get to the bottom of the mystery…and fast!

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Thoughts… 

A windmill cafe is a delightfully quirky idea. Although the windmill doesn’t take centre stage in this story, the plot is also quirky, a cosy mystery mixed in with a romantic comedy.

This story lacks imagery. I want to know about the windmill and the glorious Norfolk countryside and coast but the details are sketchy, and so for me, the setting doesn’t have the impact it should.

I like cosy mysteries, lots of characters, a beautiful setting, an enigmatic detective or two and foul play. This story has all the necessary ingredients for a fun read, but they need more mixing and cooking to achieve their full potential.

The story’s protagonists are immature and naive; they remind me of the children’s characters,’The Famous Five’. They need to develop as the story does and unfortunately, they don’t, remaining two dimensional rather than complex and three dimensional.

An okay read but needs to be faster paced, with more suspense, plot twists and character development.

I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Book Review

The Little Cafe in Copenhagen – Julie Caplin – 5* Review

Welcome to the little cafe in Copenhagen where the smell of cinnamon fills the air, the hot chocolate is as smooth as silk and romance is just around the corner…

Publicist Kate Sinclair’s life in London is everything she thought she wanted: success, glamour and a charming boyfriend. Until that boyfriend goes behind her back and snatches a much sought-after promotion from her.Heartbroken and questioning everything, Kate needs to escape.

From candles and cosy nights into romantic late-night walks through the beautiful cobbled streets of Copenhagen, Kate discovers how to live life ‘the Danish way’. Can the secrets of hygge and happiness lead her to her own happily-ever-after?

Amazon UK

 Amazon

My Thoughts…

This story captures the essence of Denmark, with a whistle-stop tour of the main attractions and an exploration of the Danish way of living. Kate is a publicist, who is determined to enjoy the life her mother wanted for her, but when she lands a contract, no one has time for she questions her life choices. Is she happy? Does she need to babysit her family?  Is this the life her mum wanted her to have?

Taking six journalists to Copenhagen puts Kate right out of her comfort zone, but she wants to prove herself and get the promotion that always seems just out of reach. Meeting Eva and exploring her lovely cafe and its menu, is life changing for Kate. Gradually she begins to understand the concept of Hygge and how choosing wisely in all things can lead to a fulfilling life.

Clever, pacy plotting and believable, flawed characters make this story an exciting read. There many funny and poignant moments and plenty that irritate the hell out of you, especially the way the PR agency treat Kate and some of the early antics of the journalists. The journalists are fab characters, and as Kate gets to know them, she finds that beneath their hardened, professional persona they are lovely people. 

 The Little Cafe in Copenhagen is just like one of my favourite Danish pastries; rich, sweet, often fruity, and with a lovely romantic ending, the icing on top.

I am looking forward to reading  Sophie’s story ‘The Little Brooklyn Bakery, which is previewed at the end of this story’.

I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Posted in Book Review

Rosie’s Little Cafe on the Riviera 4*Review – Jennifer Bohnet

 

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A summer of taking chances!

Rosie Hewitt’s dream of opening a little French café on the Riviera is finally coming true. She’s giving up on love and instead chasing her own perfect recipe for happiness…

Only, she never expected the oh-so-sexy, award-winning chef, Sebastian Groc, to set up a rival restaurant next door – or for his freshly-baked croissants to smell quite so delicious.

But with just a few days until she opens her doors and all her sugar-coated dreams crumbling around her, Rosie isn’t prepared to give up without a fight!

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Thoughts…

The perfect read for a rainy afternoon, the setting is vividly described and you can imagine you are sitting on the terrace of the Riviera cafe. There is an interesting mix of characters all of whom have suffered some degree of tragedy in their lives.  Their stories are separate but they connect through the cafe, which is a good focal point. 

The story’s pacing is good, with just enough detail and conflict to make the plot interesting. The focus is on the female characters, all of which are strong women, who manage to rebuild their lives out of adversity.

 A lovely, holiday story with well-written characters in a feel-good setting.

I received a copy of this book from  HQ Harper Collins via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Book Review, Sampler

The Endless Beach – Jenny Colgan – Two Chapter Sampler – 5* Review

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Amazon UK

Amazon

My Thoughts…

The first two chapters of ‘ The Endless Beach’ give the reader a taste of the island of Mure and its inhabitants, through the eyes of Flora, an Islander, who has returned to Mure after working in London. Despite the allure of the bright lights, the island called her home, and she sees it with new eyes, delighting in its natural beauty and people.

For most people, seeing a whale would be a memorable experience, and Lorna agrees but knows the island’s people are superstitious, and see a whale sighting as bad news.

This story has an air of mystery and intriguing characters.

Will Flora and Joel take the next step in their relationship? What happens on Flora’s visit to London? Does the whale signify bad luck? Is their romance on the island for Lorna?

I can’t wait to read the rest of the book to find out.

I received a two chapter sampler of this book from The Little Brown Book Company UK Sphere via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 

Posted in Book Review

Millie Vanilla’s Cupcake Cafe- #1-3 Georgia Hill – 4*Review

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Baking, broken hearts and beach weddings…it’s all happening in the gorgeous little seaside town of Berecombe this year!

Millie Vanilla’s Cupcake Café is struggling as a multi-national chain of cafés moves in on its territory. Despite baking up a storm in a bid to save it, Millie’s distracted by falling head over heels for the gorgeous, mysterious Jed.

As the seasons change in Berecombe, the loveable, quirky locals rally round Millie, and in return find their own happy ever afters. Millie’s delighted for her friends, but when she discovers Jed’s been keeping secrets, she faces a new dilemma – is it finally time to hang up her apron and start an exciting life somewhere new? Or is everything she’s ever wanted right under her nose, just waiting for her to reach out and take it?

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Thoughts…

This is a compilation of all the Millie Vanilla stories and is a lovely holiday read, for all those who love stories full of romance, conflict and delicious cakes. The story covers, Spring, Summer and Christmas and is a lovely, heartwarming read.

Spring Beginnings…

Cafe stories are prevalent at the moment, but this one is a little different. It has an old-fashioned quality, which fits in perfectly with the setting in an old-style English seaside town. The characters are varied and accurately reflect the clientele in most seaside cafes. There is a lovely community feel to this story which contrasts vividly with the underhand behaviour Millie is forced to confront when her business is threatened, by a corporate rival cafe.

Romance has been in short supply for Millie who has worked through her grief by fulfilling her parents’ dream. Jed is not her usual type of customer, but the attraction is instant and powerful and makes for some sizzling scenes, that push the boundaries of this sweet romance.

The plot is simple but effective, and this is a pleasant read.

Summer Loves…

Millie is on her own again after her Spring romance with rich boy Jed, but her cafe is surviving and so is she, especially when her school best friend returns to Berecombe unexpectedly.

Dora, a successful actress, returns home and finds Millie’s love life in tatters. Determined to see her friend happy she doesn’t
expect her own heart to be threatened when someone from her past returns to challenge and allure her.

Dora and Mike’s love story is poignant and steamy in equal measures and mirrors the theatre production they both find themselves involved with. Millie and Jed’s path to true love is equally frustrating and seems unlikely to have a happy ending until Millie can trust Jed again.

The older generation is determined not to be outdone in the romance stakes and provide much of the humour in this story, which seesaws between laughter and tears.

Christmas Weddings…

Millie returns from her travels abroad, hoping to complete the sale of her cafe.  Part of her wants to see Jed, but she sent him away, so there is no chance of that?

Another romance dominates this story apart from the loved-up couple who Millie is arranging the wedding for at the cafe. Ri and Alex are an unlikely couple, but their’s proves to be an engaging story, with a mystical slant that I always enjoy.

This is a  gentle, romantic story, which incorporates the festive element beautifully. The ending is charming and full of vivid imagery, which makes it easy to imagine being one of the wedding guests. Thankfully everyone has a happy ending. What more could you ask for?

I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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Millie Vanilla’s Cupcake Cafe – Spring Beginnings, Summer Loves, Christmas Weddings.

Posted in Book Review, Christmas Read, Festive Read

Christmas Read: Millie Vanilla’s CupCake Cafe – Christmas Weddings – Georgia Hill 4* Review

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Winter wedding bells are ringing at the Cupcake Café!

It’s winter in Berecombe and Millie’s café is up for sale. Her final task as its owner is to host her friends’ Christmas wedding on the beach, only she’s feeling anything but festive! Putting her ex, Jed, firmly out of her mind is proving impossible now he’s back working for her biggest rival.

What on earth is Jed up to? Telling her he still loves her is all very well, but if her café goes out of business, no-one will buy it. Christmas might be the season of goodwill towards men – but can Millie trust this particular man with her heart again?

Amazon UK

Amazon

 

My Thoughts…

I ‘ve enjoyed reading the first two books in this series, so I’m pleased the final book has a festive flavour. Like all of these Cupcake Cafe books, they can be read as standalone but I recommend reading the whole series, which is a lovely quick read, to appreciate the character development and the overall plot.

Millie returns from her travels abroad, hoping to complete the sale of her cafe.  part of her wants to see Jed but she sent him away so there is no chance of that?

Another romance dominates this story apart from the loved-up couple who Millie is arranging the wedding for at the cafe. Ri and Alex are an unlikely couple but their’s proves to be an engaging story, with a mystical slant that I always enjoy.

This is a  gentle, romantic story, which incorporates the festive element beautifully. The ending is charming and full of vivid imagery, which makes it easy to imagine being one of the wedding guests. Thankfully everyone has a happy ending. What more could you ask for in a festive read?

I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 

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Read my reviews of the first two books in the series

Spring Beginnings

Summer Loves

 

 

Posted in Book Review

Millie Vanilla’s CupCake Cafe – Summer Loves – Georgia Hill 4 * Review

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Summer lovin’ never happened so fast…but will it last?

Heartbroken after breaking up with her gorgeous boyfriend, Jed, even baking in her beloved Cupcake Café while the summer sun’s shining on Berecombe Beach can’t cheer Millie up! So it’s time to bring in the big guns – her best friend, Dora.

But when Dora arrives, it’s clear she’s busy licking her own wounds and Millie can only watch as her friend falls head over heels for an old flame. With everyone around her finding love, should Millie give Jed the second chance he’s been asking for or has the time come for a fresh start away from Berecombe?

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Thoughts

After being introduced to the Cupcake Cafe, I was intrigued to see what would happen in the summer. Millie is on her own again after her Spring romance with rich boy Jed, but her cafe is surviving and so is she, especially when her school best friend returns to Berecombe unexpectedly.

Dora, a successful actress returns home and finds Millie’s love life in tatters. Determined to see her friend happy she doesn’t
expect her own heart to be threatened when someone from her past returns to challenge and allure her.

Dora and Mike’s love story is poignant and steamy in equal measures and mirrors the theatre production they both find themselves involved with. Millie and Jed’s path to true love is equally frustrating and seems unlikely to have a happy ending until Millie can trust Jed again.

The older generation is determined not to be outdone in the romance stakes and provide much of the humour in this story, which seesaws between laughter and tears.

Another cliffhanger ending makes reading the festive chapter of this story a must.

I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Posted in Book Review

Millie Vanilla’s Cupcake Cafe – Spring Beginnings – Georgia Hill 4* Review

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Is this the start of something wonderful?

Millie’s working all hours to make her seaside café a success, so when a rival multi-national café chain opens its latest branch just around the corner, stealing away her customers, it means WAR!

Millie’s remaining loyal customers step up – and a new arrival in town, the gorgeous, enigmatic Jed Henville, is also keen on helping Millie solve her business crisis. But it’s only after Jed sweeps her off her feet that Millie suddenly realises how little she knows about him…

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Thoughts …

Cafe stories are really popular at the moment but this one is a little different. It has an old-fashioned quality, which fits in perfectly with the setting in an old-style English seaside town. The characters are varied and accurately reflect the clientele in most seaside cafes. There is a lovely community feel to this story which contrasts vividly with the underhand behaviour Millie is forced to confront when her business is threatened, by  a corporate rival cafe.

Romance has been in short supply for Millie who has worked through her grief by fulfilling her parents’ dream. Jed is not her usual type of customer but the attraction is instant and powerful and makes for some sizzling scenes, that push the boundaries of this sweet romance.

The plot is simple but effective and this is a pleasant read. It ends on an emotional cliffhanger that ensures you will pick up Summer Loves the second book in this series.

I received a copy of this story from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Posted in Book Review, Festive Read

Christmas at the Cornish Cafe – The Penwith Trilogy #2 – Phillipa Ashley- 5*Review

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blurb-winter

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?

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Amazon UK

Amazon

my-review-winter

Christmas at the Cornish Café (The Penwith Trilogy, Book 2)

A festive, gentle romantic story with complex characters and an interesting plot. The story concentrates on opening the café and there are lots of new characters. One threatens Cal’s new found happiness with Demi.
A lot happens in this story. Demi achieves her potential by leading the café project. She carries more than her share of emotional baggage and this influences how she perceives her relationship with Cal. Cal continues to battle his own secret demons, leaving him moody and unapproachable. He’s a good guy at heart and you want him to overcome the horrors of his past.
There are some unexpected plot twists and surprising character developments, which illustrate the village’s comaradie and the overriding spirit of the novel. A good mix of questions answered and new ones posed make reading the last book in the series essential. There is no cliff-hanger ending but it is hopeful, just as a festive read should be. I can’t help thinking the problems for Cal, Demi and their friends may not be over yet.
Cal and Demi are the contemporary counterparts of Poldark and Demelza and Cornwall steals the show in this novel too.
I received a copy of this book from Avon UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Christmas at the Cornish Café by Phillipa Ashley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Christmas at the Cornish Café (The Penwith Trilogy, Book 2) by Phillipa Ashley

Phillipa Ashley

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