The Little Teashop in Tokyo by Julie Caplin


Thank you to One More Chapter for providing a digital review copy of this gorgeous book. My thoughts are my own and not influenced by the gift. Also thank you to The Book Babe for sharing your review, this encouraged me to apply for a review copy too. This is the first book I’ve read by Julie Caplin but won’t be the last (I’ve just downloaded two books to my Kindle).

Synopsis:

For travel blogger Fiona, Japan has always been top of her bucket list so when she wins an all-expenses paid trip, it looks like her dreams of the Far East are coming true.

Until she arrives in vibrant, neon-drenched Tokyo and comes face-to-face with the man who broke her heart ten years ago, gorgeous photographer Gabe.

Fiona can’t help but remember the heartache of their last meeting but it’s not long before the Japanese art of contentment and a special, traditional tea ceremony work their magic…

Amidst the temples and clouds of soft pink cherry blossoms, Fiona and Gabe start to see life – and each other – differently.

My thoughts:

I loved this book. Fiona is a great character, full of talent without realising it and full of empathy for others, usually at the cost of her own happiness, especially with her mum. Travelling to Japan on her own is a huge step out of her comfort zone and it is great to see how she deals with being in a different country, full of traditions and photographic opportunities.

Gabe is an interesting character, who finds his life changed totally when called to mentor Fiona at the last moment. Will Fiona be the catalyst he needs to shake up his life?

Haruka, Setsuko and Mayu welcome Fiona into their lives and teashop – the detail in the book about the tea shop and tea ceremonies makes it feel as if you are there (and I really wish I could visit).

This is a no spoiler review so I’m not going to comment any further on how Fiona deals with working with Gabe, the teacher she kissed 10 years ago. I recommend buying a copy to find out what happens to Fiona and to enjoy a virtual visit to Tokyo – this book could also double as a tour guide.

This is the third book I’ve read about Japan recently – check out my review for the Last Paper Crane by Kerry Dewery at https://mentoringmumof2bookreviews.home.blog/2020/05/10/the-last-paper-crane-by-kerry-drewery-bookreview/ The review for The Phone Box at the Edge of the World will be published later in June 2020.




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Book Review for Hello, Again by Isabelle Broom

Today I’m thrilled to share my review of this beautifully written book – Hello, Again by Isabelle Broom.

Synopsis:

Philippa Taylor (Pepper to her friends) has big dreams. When she closes her eyes, she can picture exactly who she ought to be. The problem is, it’s about as far away from her real life in a small coastal town in Suffolk as she can imagine. 

So when her elderly friend Josephine persuades Pepper to accompany her on a trip to Europe, she jumps at the chance to change her routine. And when Pepper bumps (literally) into the handsome Finn in Lisbon, it seems as though she might have finally found what she’s been looking for.

But Pepper know all too well things are rarely as they seem. Her own quiet life hides a dark secret from the past. And even though she and Finn may have been destined to find each other, Pepper suspects life may have other plans as to how the story should end.

My thoughts

Thank you to Hodder & Stoughton for a digital review copy via NetGalley – the comments are my unbiased opinion.

I’ve read a few books by Isabelle Broom and have enjoyed being whisked away to different countries such as Sri Lanka, Greece and New Zealand. This book offers a scenic tour of three European cities in Spain, Portugal and Germany – all of which sounded wonderful in very different ways.

The story follows Pepper as she finally starts to move forward with her life after the tragic loss of her sister many years ago. Visiting Lisbon and Barcelona with her older friend and art client Josephine inspires Pepper to seek out happiness, resolve family conflicts and find creative inspiration.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story. Beautifully written as usual, characters to care about, relationships to develop and an epilogue that made me weep. I’ve also found myself googling how to make mosaics having been inspired by the story.

The ebook publication date has been brought forward to 4th June 2020 and the paperback is due to be published on 9th July 2020 in the UK – these can be ordered from https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B083L7QWGB/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_Jf40EbD79868C

Isabelle Broom was born in Cambridge nine days before the 1980s began and studied Media Arts in London before joining the ranks at heat magazine, where she remained for 12 years. Always happiest when she off on an adventure, Isabelle now travels all over the world seeking out settings for her novels, as well as making the annual pilgrimage to her true home – the Greek island of Zakynthos. Currently based in Suffolk, where she shares a cottage with her two dogs and approximately 467 spiders, Isabelle fits her writing around a busy freelance career and trying not to be crushed to oblivion under her ever-growing pile of to-be-read books.

If you like pictures of dogs, chatter about books and very bad jokes, you can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @Isabelle_Broom or find her on Facebook under Isabelle Broom Author.







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Meet Me At Pebble Beach by Bella Osborne

Synopsis:

Regan is holding a winning lottery ticket.
Goodbye to the boyfriend who never had her back, and so long to the job she can’t stand!
Except it’s all a bit too good to be true…

When Regan gets pranked, she finds herself jobless, homeless and boyfriendless in one fell swoop.

Luckily her friendly seaside community provides a beacon of hope, proving to Regan that sometimes you really can rely on the kindness of others – and one local in particular, a handsome fireman called Charlie, helps Regan realise that this could be her chance for a fresh start.

Armed with a list of ways to change her life, Regan decides it’s time to step out of her comfort zone. Because – as Charlie knows all too well – life is for living . . .

My thoughts:

Thank you Avon Books, Bella Osborne and NetGalley for my digital review copy – my thoughts are my own. This is the first book I’ve read by Bella Osborne and I was thrilled to be gifted a digital review copy after seeing great reviews.

I really enjoyed this book, lots of humour but also tackling some social issues such as homelessness. The character of Regan developed nicely – the opening chapters with the lottery ticket prank made me laugh out loud. As her friendship with Charlie develops, Regan needs to find ways to follow her dream to run her own business and to find a new home.


What a conclusion! I didn’t expect the ending of the story – may have had damp eyes a couple of times. Thank you to Bella Osborne for writing such great characters and making me care about them. This has been a great escape from the global pandemic and I will be recommending it to friends/family/readers of my blog.

The Weight of Small Things by Julie Lancaster

Synopsis

Nine-year-old Frankie Appleton likes to count gates.

One day she hopes to design the perfect gate – a gate to keep the bad things out.

Little does she know that the bad things have already got in.

Now her mother is dead, and the only other person with a house key has disappeared.

Frankie thinks she knows who it is. But first she has to prove it.

A delicately brutal exploration of what lies behind closed doors, and of the secrets and lies that form the fabric of every family, The Weight of Small Things is as charming as it is chilling.

My thoughts:

Thank you to Mirror Books for inviting me to read a digital proof via NetGalley – my thoughts are my own.

This was a difficult book to read due to the subject matter. I work with young people and the story kept shouting ‘safeguarding issue’.

The positives – Frankie is determined to get on with life despite the tough start to life she has had – she is a resourceful young girl who has been surrounded by a set of adults with major issues. She is determined to prove that her mother was murdered and the story is full of twists before we find out what really happened to Peggy.

The negatives – the stories are very dark – rape, suicide, prison, murder, child abuse.

I did read the book through to the end because I wanted to know what happened to Frankie, but I found the ending to be rather abrupt – I’m not sure if the final copy would have some further information. If you enjoy crime fiction, then you may wish to read a copy of this.

The Plus One Pact by Portia MacIntosh

I’m thrilled to be joining the blog tour organised by Boldwood Books and Rachel’s Random Resources today for this gorgeous romantic comedy by Portia MacIntosh.

Synopsis

What if your plus one could be the one…?



Cara has officially run out of men. Her most recent dates have gone from bad to worse, and when her dating app informs her there is no one left in her area to choose from, she is at a dead end.

But with a summer of events ahead of her, she needs to find a solution, fast; someone to keep her company at the never-ending weddings, family gatherings and gender reveal parties that she can’t face going to alone. So when she meets handsome, confident, Millsy on a night out she may be in luck. They could not be more different in personality, but he too has a summer of events ahead and is desperate to get his family off his back about finding a ‘nice girl’. What if they made a pact to help each other out and be a plus one for the summer? Just as friends of course…?

My thoughts:

Thank you to Boldwood Books for a digital review copy via NetGalley – my thoughts are my own and not influenced by the review copy.

I discovered Portia’s books last year, starting with Honeymoon for One, and have enjoyed reading and recommending her humorous and uplifting books.

Having grown up and also attended University in Yorkshire, I thoroughly enjoyed the setting of this book – so many books seem to be set in London or at the coast. Cara and Millsy are great characters who strike up an unlikely friendship and Portia brought them to life in a book I devoured in a day.

I loved the pace of the story, the ups and downs of Cara’s summer, the awkwardness of meeting new people as a plus one, the awkwardness of her ex-boyfriend returning for her cousins wedding and the difficult relationship with her cousin and aunt. My personal favourite stories included Millsy meeting Cara’s boss at her wedding and the gender reveal party.

This is a no spoilers review so I can’t say any more about the story, except to say that in the middle of a global pandemic, it gave me the opportunity to laugh out loud on numerous occasions.

Thank you Portia for another enjoyable book – I loved the other books, but I think that this is my favourite.

Portia MacIntosh

Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/2HJQnC2  

Author Bio – Portia MacIntosh is a bestselling romantic comedy author of 12 novels, including It’s Not You, It’s Them and Honeymoon For One. Previously a music journalist, Portia writes hilarious stories, drawing on her real life experiences.

Social Media Links – 

Newsletter sign up: http://bit.ly/PortiaMacIntoshNewsletter

https://portiamacintosh.com/

http://facebook.com/portia.macintosh.3

http://instagram.com/portiamacintoshauthor

http://bookbub.com/authors/portia-macintosh





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A PERFECT CORNISH ESCAPE by PHILLIPA ASHLEY

Thrilled to share my review for this lovely book on my blog today. Originally it was going to be shared next month as the main publication date is 11th June – however I heard yesterday that special advance copies are now in Tesco – time to add a copy to your ‘essential’ shopping basket in person or online.

Synopsis:

Summer in Cornwall is the perfect time for a fresh start…
Seven years ago, Marina Hudson’s husband was lost at sea. She vowed to love him for the rest of her life – but when kind-hearted Lachlan arrives in Porthmellow, should she deny herself another chance at happiness?

Tiff Trescott was living life to the full as a journalist in London – until her boyfriend’s betrayal brought it all crashing down. Fleeing to her cousin Marina’s cottage, Tiff feels like a fish-out-of-water. And when brooding local Dirk wins a day with her in a charity auction, she’s thrown headfirst into Cornish life.

This summer promises new beginnings for both Tiff and Marina. But are they too good to be true?

My thoughts:

Thank you to Avon Books/Harper Collins for gifting a digital advanced review copy of this book to me via NetGalley – my thoughts are my own. This was an Easter 2020 read for me and I enjoyed my first ever visit to Porthmellow – this was the perfect way to visit Cornwall during Lockdown.

I have seen great reviews for Phillipa’s books and I have now be added her previous books to my wish list.

This book follows Marina and Tiff, cousins who have led very different lives since they used to spend summer holidays together in Cornwall as children. Both have to deal with the baggage from their past and to move forward with their lives.

The stories evolved well as we joined Marina and Tiff on their year of making new friendships – I loved how kindness and community were central to the story, as was the local lifeboat and volunteers.

Hopefully by the time this book is published, the Lockdown will be easing, but I recommend this book for a relaxing read anytime of the year – maybe with a glass of Pimms and a plate of seafood or a Cornish pasty.



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An Almost Perfect Holiday by Lucy Diamond

As we head into the summer of 2020, many of us have already waved goodbye to our plans for a summer holiday – I know that I won’t be relaxing by a pool in Spain or fossil hunting in Lyme Regis anytime soon. However we can still enjoy a virtual visit to Cornwall with this fabulous novel by Lucy Diamond, published in paperback in the UK today. I’m looking forward to picking up a paperback copy to add to my Lucy Diamond collection.

Synopsis:

Summer is here, and down in Cornwall Lorna’s holiday cottages are fully booked. The sun loungers are lined up beside the swimming pool, the sky is blue and a new set of arrivals are on their way…

Em’s planned the perfect break with her teenagers plus her new boyfriend, George… but now his difficult six-year-old is coming too. Will their romance survive the realities of parenthood?

Maggie’s hoping a seaside holiday will bring her and her daughter closer together, but when her ex makes a surprise reappearance, it changes everything. Can she trust the man who broke her heart?

Olivia has escaped the domestic grind, only for the past to catch up with her. Maybe the time has come to confess all – if she can find the courage…

Meanwhile, the teenagers are running wild and love is in the air. With friendship, heartache and secrets in the mix, will this holiday turn out to be a scorcher – or simply too hot to handle?

My thoughts:

I have read the majority of the Lucy Diamond novels (I usually take the latest paperback on holiday) and this is one of my favourites. It is a well written book with characters brought to life in such a way that you feel as if you know them personally.

The four main female characters all have various forms of ‘baggage’ – loss of loved ones, ex husbands, new relationships, extreme tiredness etc. They spend a week in Cornwall at Lorna’s holiday cottages and their lives will never be the same again. I loved the way the individual stories evolved and became woven together.

Thanks to Pan Macmillan for a digital proof copy via NetGalley – my thoughts are my own.

Lucy Diamond (from Amazon.com)

Lucy Diamond grew up in Nottingham and went to university in Leeds where she studied English Literature. After graduating, she worked in publishing and at the BBC, and in her spare time she began writing children’s books under a number of different pen names. 

Two small children later, an evening class in creative writing motivated her to try a longer piece of fiction and explore some of her own feelings about motherhood. This eventually became a novel, Any Way You Want Me, and she was thrilled when Pan Macmillan made her an offer of publication.

Now the author of fourteen novels and a Sunday Times bestselling author, Lucy writes with warmth and honesty about the joy and surprises, as well as the complications, that love, family and friendships can bring.

Lucy now lives in Bath with her husband and three children and writes full-time.  


Her website is http://www.lucydiamond.co.uk

She is on Twitter @LDiamondAuthor, and has a Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/LucyDiamondAuthor.