Written from the Heart by Trisha Ashley

Written from the Heart

I am normally a huge fan of Trisha Ashley’s books, but Written from the Heart did not quite work for me. I found it hard to care what happened to either of the main characters, particularly Sergei.

Turns out it is a re-issue of Happy Endings which was originally published in 2008. There is very little in the way of plot and a very abrupt and unsatisfying ending.

The best bits are the letters to and from the clients seeking manuscript reviews and advice on their writing; these are very amusing and the only reason I carried on reading.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker by Jenni Keer

The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker

Initially, I was attracted to this book because of the cat on the cover; after all, what story is not improved by the presence of a cat? 

Lucy is a lovely girl, but lacking in self-confidence. This heart-warming and humorous tale of the power of friendship, and learning to stand up for yourself, boasts a cast of wonderfully drawn, quirky characters that will stay with you long after you have finished reading.  I look forward to the next book by Jenni Keer.

Thanks to Avon and NetGalley for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

The Bookshop on the Shore by Jenny Colgan

The Bookshop on the Shore

In The Bookshop on the Shore, Zoe has come to Scotland to help run a mobile bookshop while its owner has a baby, and look after three children who have been running wild since their mother disappeared.

Unlike some of her earlier stories the emphasis here is on the lives of the children; romance definitely takes a back seat. Shackleton, Mary and Patrick live in The Beeches with their reclusive father, and mystery surrounds the whereabouts of their mother. These children are not coping well and six other nannies have already given up on them.

Zoe has problems of her own; her four-year-old son, Hari, does not speak, but she tries to bring order and understanding into their troubled lives. With nowhere else to go, she has to make a success of her new life.

I loved the Scottish setting and the emphasis on the powerful effect reading can have. The children are the stars, and the bond that develops between Hari and Patrick will make you laugh and cry in equal measure.

This book features some characters from The Little Shop of Happy Ever After but you don’t need to have read it first. It is many years since I last read a book by Jenny Colgan but I won’t leave it so long next time. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a copy in exchange for an independent review.

The Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup

The Chestnut Man

The Chestnut Man is an intricately plotted, well-written thriller that keeps you guessing right to the end.

Written by the creator of the TV series The Killing, the short chapters and cinematic quality of the narrative make it stand out from a lot of other Scandinavian crime fiction.

My only criticism would be that it is far too long (like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series); it really needed the services of a good editor.

To begin with, I did not really take to either of the main characters, but gradually their backstories emerged and their characters were developed to such an extent that I fully expect there to be a sequel to The Chestnut Man; in fact I really hope there is.

I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Ten Things My Cat Hates About You by Lottie Lucas

Ten Things My Cat Hates About You

I chose to read this book mostly because of the title (a play on one of my favourite films) and the involvement of a cat. It’s as good a reason as any.

Not having much luck with boyfriends, Clara has decided she will trust the opinion of her cat, Casper, when embarking on her next relationship; then two interesting men come along at the same time.

I was not impressed with the vet, Josh, though Casper was putty in his hands. Right from the beginning, I was hoping the professor, Adam, would be the one to win Clara’s heart.

This humorous, light-hearted romantic comedy is lifted out of the ordinary by the unusual setting in the academic world of the colleges and museums of Cambridge.

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.