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
 
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The Last Piece Of My Heart by Paige Toon

Synopsis

A successful travel journalist, Bridget has ambitions to turn her quirky relationship blog about the missing pieces of her heart into a book. But after a spate of rejections from publishers, she accepts an alternative proposition.
 
Nicole Dupré died leaving behind a bestselling novel and an incomplete sequel. Tasked with finishing the book, Bridget is thankful to have her foot in the publishing door, even if it means relocating to Cornwall for the summer and answering to Nicole’s grieving husband, Charlie

Review

If you have read a review of mine of Paige’s books, or spoken to me about books for more than 5 minutes, you probably know I adore Paige’s books. So there is never any doubt in my mind that I will enjoy any new books she puts out, the question is can she beat my favourite of hers, Chasing Daisy? Paige’s last book ‘The One We Fell in Love With’ was certainly a contender to do that, and this one has surpassed that, so the books just keep getting better and better.
 
It is wonderfully written. Binge reading at its finest. I found myself enamoured and charmed by the characters, but most of all the setting. Cornwall sounds just beautiful. Reminiscent of childhood holidays, and full idyllic vista’s, I want to go and have a long weekend there myself, though maybe avoid Hermie, while it was more charming than I could have imagined beforehand, I’m not sure I could deal with a camper van.
There is also a focus on Thailand, as it’s where the book Bridget is writing is partially set, so there is a visit there, and the resort does make Thailand seem even more exotic and dreamy than it already is.
 
Bridget was an absolute joy to read. I completely adored her. She was a lot of fun to be around, had great eclectic taste in music that featured throughout the book, and her sense of humour was fantastic. I loved how despite the initial awkwardness, she soon found her groove and her natural friendliness shone though. She always describes her boyfriend, Elliot as someone who no-one dislikes, but I think she also deals into that category. Her confidence was also something I admired about her, while obviously the negative comments on her blog would have hurt, she certainly didn’t take them to heart like I know I would.
 
Now Charlie, where does one begin? I loved him, simple as that really. I really felt for him after losing his wife. He clearly adored April and wanted what was best for her, but also struggling with grief. The relationship between him and Bridget, was great to see them become friends, Bridget helped him push himself.
 
This book is as fantastic as I had expected. I didn’t want it to end, it made me feel warm and fuzzy and also struck emotional chords as well. The book you need to put in your suitcase on your summer holiday, or just read on a lazy sunday afternoon in the sun.
 
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Published by: Simon & Schuster
Gratefully received from the Publisher for review
 
Released 18th May 2017
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The Woman at Number 24 by Juliet Ashton

womanatnumber24Synopsis 

When your marriage falls apart, the last place you’d want your husband to move to is downstairs. Unfortunately for Sarah, up in the eaves at number 24, her ex-husband now lives one floor beneath her 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 the house. Jane and Tom‘s zest for life revives the flagging spirits, 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.

Review

Having read Juliet Ashton’s previous novel I was looking forward to her next book as I adored ‘These Days of Ours’, especially when I received and read the sampler.
 
It sounded quite a light read but it was much more emotional and mysterious than I expected. This only added an extra layer of depth, to what was already a pretty fantastic book. It is so easy to read and find yourself consumed by this book, so much so I stayed up till the early hours of the morning, unable to put it down. While most of the book takes place in the house and it’s gaden, because it’s converted to flats you get a nice variety of characters and story all intertwined.
 
The main character is Sarah and it’s from her viewpoint we read the book. At times I really liked Sarah, she was naturally kind and willing to give people a chance, like Mavis from the basement flat. However this also extended to her ex husband, Leo. She wasn’t over him, and therefore was quite naive I think, especially in the hope that helping her paint the flat proved he still loved her. She accepted that his careless, hapless nature was the way he was, and made excuses for him.  At the worst times he came off really creepy, and at best he was inconsiderate as to how Sarah may feel. I was begging Sarah to have more strength in her, and at times she did, seeing Leo squirm when she told him how ridiculous the situation was, was great, but then she went back to defending him to everyone else. It was easy to dislike Leo initially, but by the end I think Sarah somehow hypnotised me. I didn’t like him as such but thought that maybe he had changed, and could see growth in a character, that for the first part of the book, I saw no hope for.
 
Despite her grumpy exterior, I loved Mavis. Yes she was cantankerous, but at times her light shone through and you could see she wanted to change and make amends, and become and better neighbour and more importantly, a friend to everyone.
 
Jane was certainly a larger then life character, she was instantly someone trustworthy and you wanted to become best friends with.
 
This book delivered so much more than I expected. Emotion, laughs and mystery, I simply adored every minute of reading it.
 
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Published by: Simon & Schuster
Gratefully received from the Publisher for review
 
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Mini Review Collection

 
This book was really funny, it had emotion and a great story, but the humour really stood out. The main character is loveable but also annoying at times as she becomes a bit self centred during her pregnancy, as one disaster after another kept happening to her. Her ex boyfriend Ned was infuriatingly annoying. Overall it was a really cute read, and definitely one to pick up when you need a good old rom-com book in your life.
 
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mynotsoperfectlifeMy Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella
 
This book was amazing! I always love Sophie Kinsella books, and the fact that half the book was set really close to me made it all the better. I really liked Kate’s narrative, and I also loved how annoying Demeter was to work for. I loved the scene with Demeter practicing a yoga type of exercise in the mud. It completely didn’t end up how I thought it would, I thought the ending would be much more straight forward, so the surprise made it all the more great.
 
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The_Rosie_ProjectThe Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
 
I listened to it on audiobook, and the narrator did a fantastic job. The book itself was as good as I had heard. I adored Don, his outlook was certainly unique, somehow he reminded me of my partner, Simon. His habits could be infuriating at times, but I know that Rosie definitely bought the best out in him, though was far from perfect, showing she also had to learn something too.
 
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wishyouwerehereWish You Were Here by Catherine Alliot
 
Oh this book. On one hand I enjoyed it, though the middle dragged a bit for me and the main character really annoyed me for a lot of the book. It seemed that she thought everything was about her. Not liking a character doesn’t usually break a book for me, but Flora did put a downer on the whole book for me. 
 
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thegirlbeforeThe Girl Before by J P Delaney
 
I got completely absorbed into this book. I read it in pretty much one day, I couldn’t put it down. It seemed dark and disturbing. The house sounded fantastic aesthetically, but I don’t think I could live by the rules. No books for starters, could I have a kindle? Both characters surprised me, my opinions on them changed several times, and I loved it.
 
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