Books/book review/fiction/Romance

Cornwall in the sun?

The Postcard Book Cover The Postcard
Fern Britton
women's fiction, family saga
Harper Collins
June 29, 2017

The new witty and warm novel from the Sunday Times best-selling author and TV presenter, Fern Britton. Secrets. Sisters. The summer that changed everything . . . Life in the Cornish village of Pendruggan isn't always picture perfect. Penny Leighton has never told anyone why she's estranged from her mother and sister. For years she's kept her family secrets locked away in her heart, but they've been quietly eating away at her. When an unwelcome visitor blows in, Penny is brought face to face with the past. And a postcard, tucked away in a long-hidden case, holds the truth that could change everything. Young Ella has come back to the place where she spent a happy childhood with her grandmother. Now she's here to search for everything missing in her life. Taken under Penny's broken wing for the summer, the safe haven of Pendruggan feels like the place for a fresh start. Soon, however, Ella starts to wonder if perhaps her real legacy doesn't lie in the past at all.

This is a story very much in the tradition of family sagas set in the West Country. Indeed, this is set in a fictional Cornwall. One I do not recognise. Where the sun shines (see the usual amount of rain for Western England:; and locals embrace newcomers and welcome them.

But this is feel-good summer holiday reading where the title promises a Postcard of Importance, but fails to deliver.

Clearly intended as the first of a family saga from the final paragraph.


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Books/book review/fiction/Romance

When money is not enough

The Italian Billionaire's Scandalous Marriage: An Italian Billionaire Romance Book Cover The Italian Billionaire's Scandalous Marriage: An Italian Billionaire Romance
Italian Billionaire Christmas Brides Book 2
Mollie Mathews
romance, contemporary, women's fiction
Blue Orchid Publishing
(30 Nov. 2016)

Three women. Three lives. And the lies that bind them. Why is everyone afraid of the truth?

When a lonely young American woman inherits a painting she discovers her whole life was a lie. Desperate for the truth, she goes in search of her true identity. The painting is her only clue. But everyone is determined to keep its secret past repressed, including Vitaliano Rossi, the Italian gold tycoon, unnaturally suspicious of her motives, who wants the painting vanquished. How can she discover who she really is and convince him that his love means more to her than gold?

Some interesting ideas and I really loved the Alpacas. Alpaca wool is rally expensive and really nice too as I know from my knitting.
But I did find the story a little staid and ‘traditional’ in some areas and some in need of more development especially as though a quick solution to the back injury seemed to be required rather than exploring this further as a good element of the relationship transitioning.

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Why go to funerals?

Adventures in Funeral Crashing Book Cover Adventures in Funeral Crashing
Funeral Crashing Series / A Kait Lenox Mystery
Milda Harris
Mystery, thrillers, YA
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform;
26 April 2012

Sixteen year old Kait Lenox has a reputation as the weird girl in her high school, mostly because of her ex-best friend turned mean popular girl, Ariel, but maybe it has a little to do with the fact that Kait has a hobby crashing funerals. At one of these, Kait is outted by the most popular guy in school, Ethan Ripley. Yet, instead of humiliating her for all the world to see, he asks for her help, and Kait finds herself entangled in a murder mystery. Not only is the thrill of the mystery exciting, but more importantly Ethan knows her name! A little sleuthing is well worth that!


A 4 for the age group  and a 3 for me

A really nice clean YA fun read

How do you get over your mother’ death? Well. When you attended her funeral people told lots of fun stories about her, and so you go to other people’s funerals to hear their stories. It helps make sense of you grief.

And then you bump into the  High School hottie at his sister’s funeral and a strange partnership is formed to discover why she died as neither of you believe the official story.

Whilst the ending is traditional, there are some nice twists along the way.

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Books/book review/fiction/Romance/crime fiction

When Words are Bad

Murdered by Words Book Cover Murdered by Words
MidWest Cozy Mysteries
Dianne Harman
cosy mystery
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
(21 April 2016)

This is supposedly a novel where life imitates art. I just wonder about calling it that as it is a rather obscure quote –  from Oscar Wilde, who gave as his opinion,  in his 1889 essay The Decay of Lying that, “Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life”.

But the story did not live up to this quote.

It is a ‘cozy’ and I found rather reptitive and slow. The sentences were very precise – somehow too precise as it means that the story moved very slowly with out the use of emotional adjectives or humour.

Although the storyline is about an author who writes racy novels – this novel was far from racy – indeed it was staid.

I failed to get invested in the heroine and her life.

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Books/book review/fiction/Romance/crime fiction

Cafe Life

Tapas, Carrot Cake and a Corpse Book Cover Tapas, Carrot Cake and a Corpse
The Charlotte Denver Cozy Mystery Series
Sheri Bryan
cozy mystery, romance, food
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform;
23 Sept. 2015
Kindle, Paperback

Charlotte Denver runs her marina front café in the bustling fishing town of St. Eves, nestled in the south-west of England. While Charlotte loves the tranquility of St. Eves, where crime is almost unheard of, and nothing really exciting ever happens, her good friend, Chief Inspector Nathan Costello, is longing for a good, juicy crime to get his teeth into. When the arrival of newcomers to St. Eves triggers a chain of events that ends in tragedy, Nathan enjoys the thrill of investigating his first murder case while Charlotte turns amateur sleuth to help solve the case and restore peace and harmony to the town as quickly as possible. Twists and turns abound in Tapas, Carrot Cake and a Corpse, the first book in the Charlotte Denver Cozy Mystery series.

A nicely written cozy mystery with a twist at the end that I didn’t guess even though I knew who the murderer was by mid-way through.

It’s often the reasons that are kept hidden of course, just to give the story that bit extra. Which it certainly did here.

The story is set in a (thinly) disguised St Ives UK – where the sun does certainly not shine as often as it appeared to do so in this story. [July is the hottest month in St Ives with an average temperature of15°C (59°F) and the coldest is January at 6°C (43°F) with the most daily sunshine hours at 7 in August. The wettest month is December with an average of 132mm of rain.] But yes, Cornwall is very popular indeed with surfers and St Ives with artists, though it is now a very expensive town to live in comparatively (average price of £336,925 and in  Cornwall generally terraced properties had an average sold price of £191,790 and semi-detached properties averaged at £208,693. Cornwall, with an overall average price of £242,252, was similar in terms of sold prices to nearby Devon (£237,641), but was cheaper than Somerset (£260,778) and Dorset (£294,877).

I wondered why the cafe should shut on a Saturday when the area has a lot of tourists. Surely a Monday closing would be more sensible – if you must close at all – why not hire staff? Or have a limited menu after 3pm  so the owner could go off. Seemed a very poor business decision to me.


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