Rachel’s Pudding Pantry by Caroline Roberts

This book will be released on 18 April 2019.

Roberts is a British author who has released four books in the Cosy series (The Cosy Teashop in the Castle, The Cosy Christmas Teashop, The Cosy Christmas Chocolate Shop, and The Cosy Seaside Chocolate Shop) and also two other standalone books (not including this one).

Image of book Rachel’s Pudding PantryRachel’s Pudding Pantry is about a young woman called Rachel in her mid twenties who is running her families farm after the death of her father a couple of years previous. Overall she is doing well however there are some struggles that she has to work with her mum and other family and friends to help resolve, all whilst raising her five year old daughter.

This is very much a chick lit book and has a romance brewing throughout. It’s very easy reading and not at all heavy like the recent books I have been reading. However I don’t think that this genre is given as much credit as it deserves. For this book to be considered ‘easy reading’ it has to be well written, which it is. The story flows, at a calm, but not too slow, pace. The characters are well written and I really liked the main character of Rachel and cared about what happened to her. This was such a pleasure to read after the recent, very involved (and good) books that I’ve been reading.

I’m not a farmer, but the descriptions of farming life seemed to be well researched, believable and were clearly described in an engaging way. Also the depiction of Northumberland was beautiful and if the opportunity ever arises for me to go there I will be eager to seize it.

I thought that the way Roberts dealt with grief was impressive, I appreciated that it hadn’t been rushed and it was shown that it is something that can still be raw and difficult years later.

If you’re looking for a nice, pleasant read that leaves you feeling hopeful and positive, as well as emotionally moved in parts, then I recommend this book.

Also there were a couple of recipes at the end that I’m looking forward to trying.

Thank you to LoveReading and Harper Collins for providing me with a copy of this book to honestly review.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

The Tattooist of Auschwitz is a novel by Heather Morris.  It follows Lale from his journey into the concentration camp, through his time there and how his story ends.  I was surprised when I saw on the front of the book that this is based on a true story.  Lale was a real person and the book was created after Morris sat with him and spoke of his time in the concentration camp numerous times.  This novel was initially written as a screenplay but, although I’m sure Morris was disappointed, I’m pleased that it didn’t get picked up and was converted to a book, I feel like we heard so much more about Lale’s life than we would have done in a movie or similar. 

It feels wrong to say that I enjoyed a book about someone’s experience in a The Tattooist of Auschwitz bookconcentration camp, but I did.  Obviously there were parts of the book that were harrowing and shocking, I was quite surprised at how naïve I was about what happened in the concentration camps, but overall I found the book uplifting.  It showed the inner strength that Lale, and many others, had and demonstrates what people are capable of, both negatively and positively.

I found the book to be really well written.  In my head the images of the camp and the people were clear, and the characters were written so well that I felt invested in those I read about and truly cared about how they were.

The edition of the book that I read had an epilogue and additional information that told you the outcome of Lale’s life (and those of some of the other main ‘characters’), it had photos from his life which were incredible to see, and there were also diagrams of how Auschwitz was laid out which I found it very similar to how I had imagined it from the book. There was also an afterword by someone who was very close to Lale and Morris wrote about a trip she took to both Auschwitz and his hometown.  All of these came together to bring Lale into the real world, rather than just a character in a book he was a real person, which gave the experiences detailed in the book that much more depth and feeling.

I highly recommend this book to read, to learn more about an important time in our history and get an understanding of what so many people went through (no matter how small that understanding is), it’s inspiring and a book I shall definitely be reading again in the future. 

How to Find Love in a Book Shop by Veronica Henry

Book is due to be published: 16 June 2016

Emilia Nightingale’s life has been turned upside down.  She is trying to deal with grief whilst also keeping a struggling business running.  Unsure of what she wants in life Emilia is leaning on those around her whilst she makes it through each day, until in the end she can decide what it is she wants and how she is going to get it.  Read as she comes up against problems, finds out secrets, makes new friends and discovers what, and who, she loves.  At the same time follow the lives of those around her, as they deal with lifes ups and downs.

Veronica Henry is a British script-writer and author of Romance fiction.  In the past she has worked on the The Archers and for various TV shows, and also written for Heartbeat and Holby City.  This is her 16th book and her last book, High Tide, was a Top 10 bestseller.

HowToFindLoveInABookShopHow to Find Love in a Book Shop is focussed on Emilia Nightingale who is dealing with working through grief and keeping a business running.  You follow her story as she finds her way through her struggles, and also follow the stories of various other characters linked to the bookshop.  The bookshop is in a small but active village and seems to be an important part of residents lives.  One particular quote that stood out to me was “… a town without a bookshop was a town without a heart” and you really do get the impression that this bookshop and owner, are at the heart of this small town/village.

I absolutely loved reading this book, in fact I read it in just two sittings as I couldn’t put it down.  There is some sadness woven through it, but not so much that the book is depressing.  In fact, Henry manages to get the balance of sadness/hope/happiness just right.  All the characters are so likeable, well with the exception of one, and you do find yourself really rooting for things to work out for them.  Two of my favourite characters in the book (other than Emilia) were Thomasina and Dillon, I loved following their stories and seeing how things unfolded.  You see the struggles that are happening in the lives of all the characters, and you can’t help but care and hope that they manage to find their way.  The characters are also really easy to relate to, when you read the book they feel like real people.  I really enjoyed following the journey of Emilia, at the beginning she’s trying so hard to ‘find herself’ and work out what it is she wants, and at the end you feel as though she’s made that discovery and understands and knows herself so much better.

Henry also dotted short lists of books throughout, where each list was linked to a different character in the book.  This was a really lovely touch and I enjoyed reading all of the lists.  They all felt like recommendations and it has definitely helped me expand on my list of future reads!

This is very much a book for someone who likes to read Romances but doesn’t want too much drama.  Just a storyline that flows at a good pace and branches out as it goes.  I found it so easy to follow, even though it flitted between characters, it was extremely well structured.  I would definitely recommend this book to family and friends and I would be surprised if this is not another Top 10 bestseller like Henry’s last book.

(Thank you to Orion Books and LoveReading for my pre-released copy of the book.)

Creature Comforts by Trisha Ashley

Trisha Ashley is a British author of humorous romantic fiction.  She has published more than 15 novels, a number of which have been top sellers, and she has also been nominated for numerous awards.

CreatureComfortsCreature Comforts follows the main character Izzy as she breaks off her engagement to her fiancé and moves back to her childhood home.  Izzy has had a difficult life, her parents are deceased so she was brought up by an aunt, and when she was 15 she was involved in a fatal car crash.  As her childhood home is also a small village, the repercussions of the accident were widespread and by moving home Izzy has to come to terms with the crash that was nearly 20 years ago.  Whilst trying to settle back home and confront her past, her life is also turned upside down with the arrival of a mysterious man.

I have to admit, I struggled writing this review, mainly because I struggled with the book itself.  I found it a slow storyline, and it seemed to be rather dragged out in the beginning.  I also didn’t really relate or like any of the characters until I was over half way through the book.

There seemed to be lots of irrelevant storylines in the background, which detracted from the main plot, and it appeared that every character had to be extraordinary in some way rather than a ‘normal’ character who you would meet in real life, which made it even more difficult to find believable.

I persevered and over half way through the book the characters seemed more likeable (maybe because Ashley has explained their background more and we can understand why they are the way they are?) and relatable. I did find myself enjoying the last half, even though I didn’t feel any suspense as it was obvious what happened in the crash, but watching it all unfold was rather interesting.

This is not a book that I would recommend to family or friends, however I am hopeful that this is simply a bad book for a new reader of the author to start with. Ashley does have a good fan base with readers who eagerly wait for her next novel, so I will look to see which of her releases is most popular and try that.

(Thank you to Harper Collins and NetGalley for my copy of the book)