Practice Makes Perfect by Penny Parkes

Synopsis

The Practice at Larkford has suddenly been thrust under the spotlight – and its nomination as a ‘NHS Model Surgery’ is causing the team major headaches. Dr Holly Graham should be basking in the glow of her new romance with fellow doctor, Taffy – but she is worried that the team is prioritising plaudits over patients, and her favourite resident, the irreverent and entertaining Elsie, is facing a difficult diagnosis. Add to that the chaos of family life and the strain is starting to show.
 
Dr Dishy Dan Carter’s obsession with work is masking unhappiness elsewhere – he can’t persuade girlfriend Julia to settle down. It’s only as Julia’s mother comes to stay that he realizes what she has been hiding for so long. Alice Walker joins the team like a breath of fresh air and her assistance dog Coco quickly wins everyone round – which is just as well, because Coco and Alice will soon need some help of their own. Can they pull together and become the Dream Team that the NHS obviously thinks they are?

Review

Penny’s debut novel ‘Out of Practice’ was one of my favourite books of last year, and one of my favourite debut’s of all time, so the sequel was highly anticipated, as I was dying to return to Larkford as everything about the first book was fantastic.
 
This outing to Larkford is just as charming and as full of character as the first book. About a year may have passed, but we are thrown right into the heart of the village, it’s the summer market which automatically put me in a good mood, despite Cassie’s best efforts.
 
Holly has a much calmer home life that in the first book, in most part because of the lack of Milo in her life, but she still has worries in that area, after all Milo is the twin’s father, which annoys Taffy a bit, because Milo is his normal useless self. I can see both viewpoints. Holly wants to be perfect and please everyone, while she is much more herself in this book than the first, there’s that little part of her that wants to do what she perceives as right, even if the other person isn’t acting correctly themselves. Seeing her overall more relaxed though was wonderful to see, and I think her relationship with Taffy had a lot to do with that, seeing how much Taffy adored Holly melted my heart.
 
Holly has seemingly never ending patience, and I can imagine that’s an incredibly important skill when being both a GP and a good friend. Julia isn’t always the easiest to get on with, but Holly’s good nature makes sure every effort is made and shows Julia support, who is prickly on the outside, despite clearly suffering inside.
 
It was great to see a new face or two in this book as well as catching up with familiar faces. Julia was once again the character I had conflicted feelings for. If we hadn’t had her viewpoint, she could easily have become a character you would dislike but when you hear from her, you begin to understand that all is not as it seems. Elsie was once again the charmer you’d expect, and it’s a testament to Penny’s writing that I was worrying about her health as much as Holly and all of Elsie’s other friends.
 
Once again I have absolutely adored the world that Penny has created. It is a read that is full of smiles with real heart at the centre of this book. It is a complete comfort read that I don’t want to put down, I need to make each page last as long as possible as I never want these books to end.
 
 
Published by: Simon and Schuster
Gratefully received from the Publisher for review
 
View Book on Goodreads
Order on: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Book Depository
 
 

A Song For Tomorrow by Alice Peterson

asongfortomorrowSynopsis 

Tom fell in love with Alice the moment he saw her. He realises that being with her will not be easy, but she is a force of nature, a burst of sunlight in his otherwise ordinary world.
 
Some people might look at Alice and think she has everything, but Alice knows she is not like other women. Her life is complicated, unpredictable, difficult. Alice does not like pity. All she wants to do, has ever wanted to do, is sing.
 
Alice has been told not to follow her dreams. But when fate has already dealt a tough hand, it’s time to stop listening to everyone else and only follow their hearts.

Review

I’ve read a couple of books by Alice Peterson before, and enjoyed them both, add that with all the hype I read on twitter surrounding this book, I knew I was in for a treat. This book was certainly something special.
 
The power of this book is shown by how hard it was for me to write this review, and how many times I’ve re-wrote the intro. Basically this book had me tongue-tied. The writing is beautiful. It is a book that begs you to take your time over it. You could easily read this in a day, but it made me want to take my time over it and savour each page. The characterisation is as wonderful as the rest of there book. You hear from 3 different people, Alice, Tom and Alice’s mother. They were all unique perspectives on their feelings on Alice and how they deal with Alice’s illness. I absolutely adored Alice’s mum’s perspective, they were incredibly moving.
 
Alice herself is incredibly determined, headstrong and at times stubborn. Her passion for music was clear and her obvious passion for life was inspirational. Of course she worries and is increasingly scared as the book continues, but she constantly pushes herself to make the most of life. Following her dreams is important to her, however far away they may seem, and it’s something we could all learn from.
 
Tom, for the most part was absolutely lovely. He clearly loved Alice and cared for her. Though their relationship is complex at times, and at times he disappointed me, but would I act differently if I was in the same situation? I don’t know, so I can’t act all self righteous.  Their romance was wonderful to read however, his caring side was beautiful and their playfulness together made me smile.
 
It’s only February and  am positive this will be in my top ten books of the year. It is loosely based on the life of Alice Martineau and that just makes it all the more emotional and special. It is heart-breaking, uplifting and inspirational. This book will stick in my mind for a long time.
 
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Published by: Simon and Schuster
Gratefully received from the Publisher for review
 
View Book on Goodreads
Order on: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Book Depository
 
 
 
 

Books and The City Goodybag!

On Valentine’s day, I was lucky enough to win a goodybag from Books and the City. I had this big plan to do a video unboxing of it, but sadly there have been some technical difficulties, so I have returned back to my safe haven of blogging. Hopefully the technical issues will be fixed for possible future videos, but I can’t wait any longer to show you what I received from the wonderful Sara-Jade and Team BATC. As you can see it contained lots of lovely books and goodies!
 
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There was several little non-b0ok goodies. We have BATC branded lip balm and postcards, tissues (needed for a few of these books!), a pencil, a cute notepad and most amazingly a lip balm and lip scrub set that is flavoured ‘Cherry Cola Kisses’ and I am addicted to Cherry Coke, so this is perfect for me!
 
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Now onto the beautiful books! 

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A Song For Tomorrow by Alice Peterson
Tom fell in love with Alice the moment he saw her. He realises that being with her will not be easy, but she is a force of nature, a burst of sunlight in his otherwise ordinary world.
 
Some people might look at Alice and think she has everything, but Alice knows she is not like other women. Her life is complicated, unpredictable, difficult. Alice does not like pity. All she wants to do, has ever wanted to do, is sing.
 
Alice has been told not to follow her dreams. So has Tom. But when fate has already dealt a tough hand, it’s time to stop listening to everyone else and only follow their hearts.
 
I’ve recently read this as I was lucky enough to receive an ARC. Absolutely fantastic, I will be very surprised if this doesn’t star in my top 10 books this year. It’s such an inspirational and emotional book.
 
The Queen of Wishful Thinking by Milly Johnson – Released 9th March 2017
 
When Lewis Harley has a health scare in his early forties, he takes it as a wake-up call. So he and his  wife Charlotte leave behind life in the fast lane and Lewis opens the antique shop he has dreamed of. Bonnie Brookland was brought up in the antiques trade and now works for the man who bought out her father’s business, but she isn’t happy there. So when she walks into Lew’s shop, she knows this is the place for her.
 
As Bonnie and Lew start to work together, they soon realise that there is more to their relationship than either thought. But Bonnie is trapped in an unhappy marriage, and Lew and Charlotte have more problems than they care to admit. Each has secrets in their past which are about to be uncovered. Can they find the happiness they both deserve?
 
I started this last night. I’m one chapter in and I’m completely hooked.
 
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How Not to Fall in Love, Actually by Catherine Bennetto
 
Life is 10% planning, 10% design and 80% totally winging it… Join Emma as she guides you through How Not to become accidentally knocked up at the age of 27, How Not to unceremoniously dump the father of your child, and then How Not to lose the job that (even though you hate it) is the only thing between you and being homeless…
 
Hilarious and heart-warming, How Not to Fall in Love, Actually will make you laugh, make you cry, and will reassure you that perhaps your life is not that bad, actually…
 
I read this when I bought it on Kindle for 99p, and it was one of the best 99ps I’ve ever spent. Lots of fun.
 
Orange Blossom Days by Patricia Scanlan – Released 9th March 2017
 
In a beautiful southern Spanish town, where the sea sparkles and orange blossoms scent the air, the gates of a brand new apartment complex, La Joya deAndalucía, glide open to welcome the new owners.
 
Anna and Austen MacDonald, an Irish couple, are preparing to enjoy their retirement to the full. But the demands of family cause problems they have never foreseen and shake their marriage to the core.
 
Sally-Ann Connolly Cooper, a feisty Texan mother of two young teenagers, is reeling from her husband’s infidelity. La Joya becomes a place of solace for Sally-Ann, in more ways than one.
 
Eduardo Sanchez, a haughty Madrileño, has set out with single-minded determination to become El Presidente of the complex’s management committee. But pride comes before a fall.
 
Jutta Sauer Perez, a sophisticated German who aspires to own her very own apartment in La Joya, works hard to reach her goal. Then the unthinkable happens.
 
As their lives entwine and friendships and enmities develop, it becomes apparent that La Joya is not quite the haven they all expect it to be…
 
I’ve never read any of Patricia’s books before but this one sounds interesting, and the cover makes me want to book a nice warm sunny holiday, so I can have that book in one hand and a cocktail or glass of wine in the other!
 
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American Housewife by Helen Ellis
 
Meet the women of American Housewife…
 
They smoke their eyes and paint their lips. They channel Beyoncé while doing household chores. They drown their sorrows with Chanel No. 5 and host book clubs where chardonnay trumps Charles Dickens. They redecorate. And they are quietly capable of kidnapping, breaking and entering, and murder.
 
These women know the rules of a well-lived life: replace your tights every winter, listen to erotic audio books while you scrub the bathroom floor, serve what you want to eat at your dinner parties, and accept it: you’re too old to have more than one drink and sleep through the night.
 
Vicious, fresh and darkly hilarious, American Housewife is a collection of stories for anyone who has ever wondered what really goes on behind the façades of the housewives of America…
 
This book looks to be interesting, and the short story nature means it’s perfect to pick up when I have a short amount of time spare and need something swift to read!
 
This Love by Dani Atkins – Released 23rd March 2017
 
Sophie Winter lives in a self-imposed cocoon – she’s a single, thirty-one year old translator who works from home in her one bedroom flat. This isn’t really the life she dreamed of, but then Sophie stopped believing in happy endings a very long time ago, when she was fifteen years old and tragedy struck her family. Her grief has left her scared of commitment and completely risk averse, so she plays it safe and keeps everyone at arm’s length. Sophie understands she has a problem, but recognising it and knowing how to fix it are two entirely different things.
 
One night a serious fire breaks out in the flat below hers. Sophie is trapped in the burning building until a random passer-by, Ben, luckily happens to spot and rescue her. Suddenly her cocoon is shattered – what will be the consequences of this second life-changing event?
 
I loved Dani’s last book ‘Our Song’ so naturally I can’t wait for this one. I’m really intrigued by Sophie and this is another one for tissues I think!
 
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The Last Piece of My Heart by Paige Toon – Released 18th May 2017
 
Meet Bridget, a successful travel journalist with ambitions to turn her quirky relationship blog into a novel. But, after numerous rejections from publishers, she accepts an alternative proposition
 
Nicole Dupre died leaving behind a bestselling novel and an incomplete sequel, and the family need someone to finish it. Bridget is just thankful to have her foot in the publishing door. But as she gets to know Nicole’s grieving family, and the woman behind the writing, Bridget’s priorities begin to change …
 
OH MY GOD! If you’ve ever talked to me about bo0ks, I MAAAAY have mentioned that Paige Toon is my favourite author, just the once or twice you understand! I’m so excited to read this and catch up with Bridget from ‘The Longest Holiday’. I’m having an inner struggle whether to dive right in, or keep it till closer to the release date, and know I have that to look forward to…
 

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Chapter Samplers

There was three chapter samplers included of upcoming releases…

 
The Woman at Number 24 by Juliet Ashton – Released 20th April 2017
 
Welcome to number 24, a Georgian villa in west London that is home to five separate families and five very different lives.
 
Up in the eaves, Sarah finds that recovering from a nasty divorce is even more heartbreaking when your ex-husband lives one floor beneath you with his new wife. Their happiness floats up through the floorboards, taunting her. A child psychologist, Sarah has picked up great sadness from the little girl, Una, who lives with her careworn mother three floors below, but is Sarah emotionally equipped to reach out?
 
The Spring brings a new couple to number 24. Jane and Tom’s zest for life revives the flagging house, and Sarah can’t deny the instant attraction to handsome Tom. Having seen at first hand what infidelity does to people, she’ll never act on it … but the air fizzes with potential.
 
The sunshine doesn’t reach every corner of number 24, however. Elderly Mavis, tucked away in the basement, has kept the world at bay for decades. She’s about to find out that she can’t hide forever.
 
Love, rivalry, secrets and murder – all under one seemingly ordinary roof ….
 
I loved Juliet Ashton’s last book and this one looks to be equally as good, if not better.
 
The Betrayal by Kate Furnivall – Released 2nd November 2017
 
Could you kill someone? Someone you love?
 
Paris, 1938. This is the story of twin sisters divided by fierce loyalties and by a terrible secret. The drums of war are beating and France is poised, ready to fall. One sister is an aviatrix, the other is a socialite and they both have something to prove and something to hide.
 
I don’t normally read books set in the past, but this sounds interesting and the sampler is perfect to let me see if I can expand my reading habits.
 
Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan – Released January 2018
 
The novel centres on a marriage that begins to unravel when the husband is accused of a terrible crime. Sophie is sure her husband James is innocent and desperately tries to protect her family, but Kate, the prosecuting barrister, is certain James is guilty and determined to see him pay for his crime.
 
This sounds really interesting and deliciously dark, quite a wait till release though!
 
Thank you so much to Sara-Jade and Books and the City for this generous Goodybag! 
 

These Days of Ours by Juliet Ashton

these-days-of-oursSynopsis

A novel about love. Raw important love. Small, beautiful love. And what happens when the person you love cannot be yours… Perfect for fans of Rowan Coleman, Jane Green and David Nicholls.
Kate and Becca are cousins and best friends. They have grown up together and shared all the most important milestones in their lives: childhood birthday parties, eighteenth birthdays, and now a wedding day as they each marry their childhood sweethearts, Charlie and Julian.
Kate has always loved Charlie – they were meant to be. Then she discovers that life never turns out quite how you expect it to. And love doesn’t always follow the journey it should.
But best friends are forever, and true love will find a way, won’t it…?

Review

This book has be heavily anticipated since I first found out about it’s existence and set my eyes upon the pretty cover. The cover is delicate and beautiful, and the story within is equally as beautiful.
This book while telling an emotional story has some great humour to it. If you’ve read my spring blogger event post, you may remember me mentioning there was a particular quote involving ‘the consumption’ I found particularly funny, and I still smile to myself now when thinking about it. While that moment is my favourite funny moment, plenty more follow.
The book is told through events such as birthday parties, weddings and hen do’s, and the time surrounding them, the glimpses into the characters life are often years apart. While this could be off putting, it wasn’t as no important detail was left out, so you’re never confused as to what had happened and this allowed a much bigger story to be told spanning 3-4 decades. It was such compulsive reading, I felt the need to read it almost in one go, if only work and sleep didn’t get in the way.
Katie was simply great. She was a very caring and attentive, always wanting the best for people. This book is about relationships, both romantic and platonic, especially the bond between Katie and her cousin Becca.
They are the polar opposite of each other. Katie is kind and thoughtful, Becca is brash, selfish and a bit mean at times. Despite this while at times I didn’t support Becca and what she was doing, I couldn’t help but like her overall.  Seeing how Katie and Becca’s relationship fared over the many years is a beautiful story, showing that sometimes blood is thicker than water, all interwoven with insights into significant times of their lives and relationships with those around them.
As I said earlier, this also features romantic relationships, and other than Julian, I think they were all great, despite some of their issues and bad habits. Julian was really nice to start with but soon his snobbery and patronising attitudes towards his wife’s career.
I absolutely loved this book from beginning to end. Beautiful, emotional and funny, this book has it all.
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Published by: Simon and Schuster
Gratefully received from the Publisher for review
View Book on Goodreads
Order on: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Book Depository
Ebook out Now / Paperback available 7th April