Posted in Book Review, Friendship, Literary Fiction

The Woman Who Wanted More – 5*#Review – Vicky Zimmerman @ZaffreBooks @VickyZimmerman_ @stellanewman @bonnierbooks_uk #LiteraryFiction

Two lonely women.

An unlikely friendship.

And one big life lesson: never be ashamed to ask for more . . .

After a major life upheaval on the eve of her 40th birthday, a reluctant Kate Parker finds herself volunteering at Lauderdale House for Exceptional Ladies. There she meets 97-year-old Cecily Finn. Cecily’s tongue is as sharp as her mind but she has lost her spark, simply resigning herself to the Imminent End.

Having no patience with Kate’s plight, Cecily prescribes her a self-help book with a difference – it’s a 1957 cookery manual, featuring menus for anything life can throw at ‘the easily dismayed’. Will Kate find a menu to help her recover from her broken heart? If Kate moves forward, might Cecily too?

The cookbook holds the secrets of Cecily’s own remarkable past, and the story of the love of her life. It will certainly teach Kate a thing or two.

So begins an unlikely friendship between two lonely and stubborn souls – one at the end of her life, one stuck in the middle – who come to show each other that food is for feasting, life is for living and the way to a man’s heart is . . . irrelevant!

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The story of a lovely, yet unusual friendship between two women, one at the latter years of her life, the other at a crossroads, both are lonely, vulnerable and unhappy. Cecily the feisty ninety-seven years old deals with her unhappiness by withdrawing or criticising those around her, just for a reaction. Kate blames her own supposed inadequacies on herself, and accommodates the needs of others, at the expense of her own wellbeing.

Kate is dreading being forty. When Kate’s carefully nurtured, relationship with Nick and her job are threatened she falls apart spectacularly, blaming herself, and living on a diet of cigarettes, coffee and social alcohol to get her through the day. Volunteering brings her into Cecily’s realm, they are so different yet both at a time of their lives where nothing is as they want it. Kate’s dilemma gives Cecily a purpose.

Cecily gives Kate a cookery book, with pertinent life messages, it becomes the focus of their relationship, and the start of positive change for both of them.

The first few chapters of this story are so negative, you want to shake Kate out of her self-destructive cycle. I almost stopped reading, but when she meets Cecily the story’s positivity explodes and you are glad you persevered.

Well- written honest characters, a varied plot, especially with the flashbacks to Cecily’s life and a lovely balance of humour, poignancy and wit, making this a lovely reading experience.

Posted in Book Review, Cozy Mystery, Magic, Romantic Comedy

A Slice of Magic – 4* #Review – A. G. Mayes @HarperImpulse @AG_Mayes

A plea she can’t ignore, a town of secrets and a magical recipe for love – or disaster…

Susanna Daniels has spent over twenty years wondering why her beloved Aunt Erma disappeared from her life. When Aunt Erma leaves a voicemail asking for help at her pie shop, Susanna thinks she’s finally going to get the answers she’s been waiting for. But when Susanna arrives in the small town of Hocus Hills, Aunt Erma is gone, leaving only a short note, her mischievous dog, Mitzy, and a pie shop with a mind of its own to run…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

There’s some lovely world building in this quirky cozy mystery. If you accept the fantasy, then this is good escapist read, full of unique characters, magic and romance.

Susanna has a lot to contend with in Hocus Hills, first she’s in charge of a pie shop and she can’t cook. She needs to solve the mystery of her aunt’s disappearance, and then there are the strange goings on in the town and the pie shop.

A magical mystery to solve, lots of characters to hold your interest, and a blooming romance, what more could you ask for? Oh, I forgot there’s pie too, so be prepared.

Posted in Book Review

Real Food Kids Will Love – Annabel Karmel – 4* Review

Annabel Karmel brings you a mouth-watering batch of never before seen recipes featuring delicious ingredients with serious nutritional credentials. With beautiful photographs and fresh design, this is an essential book for every modern parent. Chapters range from Fifteen Minute Meals to Healthy ‘Fast Food’, via Holiday Cooking with Kids and Lunchbox Snacks, and fresh, easy and modern dishes include Quinoa Chicken Fingers, Crispy Baked Cod, The Best Buttermilk Pancakes and Carrot Cake Balls. The chapters are designed to make choosing a fuss-free dish simple. Many recipes include swap-outs to cater for those with food allergies, intolerances or particularly fussy eaters! There is a huge range of meat-free and vegan meal options as well as recipes including meat and fish. Real Food Kids Will Love offers everything today’s parents are looking for once their babies are ready to start joining in with family mealtimes. Each dish is designed to be enjoyed by the whole family, while remaining simple, healthy, and not too salty or sugary for young children.

Amazon UK 

Amazon

My Thoughts…

Full of interesting modern recipes that are designed to appeal to children, but will be enjoyed by the entire family. The recipes use everyday, reasonably priced ingredients and the preparation method are easy to follow.

 There’s nothing inherently new in this cookery book, but the information on portions sizes, ways of getting children to eat the food that’s good for them is useful.

Aimed at children of toddler age and above, older children can help make some of the recipes, so they understand what goes into a healthy meal.

Always on the lookout for new recipes and things that my grandson will eat, I’m going to enjoy recreating the recipes in this book.

I received a copy of this book from Pan Macmillan- Bluebird via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Posted in Book Review

The Little Cornish Kitchen – Jane Linfoot – 5* Review

Can you leave behind Paris if your heart belongs in Cornwall?

With a gorgeous new life in vibrant Paris, Clemmie isn’t looking forward to heading home to the picturesque but sleepy village of St Aidan, Cornwall. However, when she discovers that her cosy apartment by the sea, which her beloved grandmother left to her, is under threat from super-hot but ruthless property mogul, Charlie Hobson, Clemmie realises she can’t abandon her home in its time of need.

With her childhood friends encouraging her, Clemmie decides to turn the apartment into The Little Cornish Kitchen – a boutique pop up supper club raising money for the repairs to the building in an effort to stop Charlie once and for all. But when Charlie and his easy charm won’t seem to go away, everything soon becomes even messier than the state of Clemmie’s Cornish kitchen…

Amazon UK 

Amazon

My Thoughts…

Clemmie finds adjusting to life in Cornwall after the buzz of Paris difficult but feels she has no choice; she has to protect her legacy, against a ruthless property developer. Charlie’s emotional baggage and problems make him prickly, but he mellows even though Clemmie seems determined to be his number one difficulty. Conflict, personality clashes and past hurts challenge their relationship, but there’s something there that they can’t ignore.

The friends that support Clemmie through her life-changing events are supportive and driven. They’re not put off by Clemmie’s hostility. The Cornish Kitchen is an inspired idea. There is a lovely medley of laughs and poignancy which bring the characters to life. The coastal setting is pure seaside and makes you long for ice cream, cake and paddling in the sea.

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