Book Review: Coming Home To Maple Cottage.

maplecottageComing Home To Maple Cottage is the final book in the latest series by Holly Martin – and definitely the one I’ve been waiting for.

I bought the first two but simply couldn’t wait until publication day to find out Isla and Leo’s story so turned to NetGalley to get an early fix.

The story is just as good as I hoped it would be; a rollercoaster of a tale full of heart and humour – and exactly what I’ve come to expect from Holly, who writes with such wonderful warmth.

Here’s the blurb:

Isla Rosewood is creating a new life for herself and her sweet nephew Elliot in their cosy, yellow-brick family cottage, brimming with special memories. Living in Sandcastle Bay was never part of Isla’s plan but, after her brother Matthew’s tragic accident, her whole world changed as she unexpectedly became a mother to the little boy she adores so much.

Leo Jackson was always known as Matthew’s fun-loving and wild best friend. But now Matthew is gone, it’s time to put his colourful past behind him. His role as Elliot’s godfather is the most important thing to him. And even though Leo and Isla are two very different people, they both want to give Elliot the childhood he deserves.

As the three of them enjoy time together watching fireworks, baking cakes and collecting conkers, Isla begins to see a softer side to charming Leo, with his twinkling eyes and mischievous sense of humour. And, despite herself, she begins to fall for him.

But does Leo feel the same way? Isla knows their situation is complicated but is it too complicated for true love… or will the year end with a happy new beginning for them all?

While I think this book would work as a standalone, I definitely felt more connected to all of the characters knowing a bit more of their backstory from The Holiday Cottage By The Sea and The Cottage On Sunshine Beach. While I enjoyed all three, I think because Isla and Leo’s story had been teased in the other two, this was the one I was most looking forward to.

As always, Holly creates a cast of eclectic, likeable characters who can all see how much Isla and Leo belong together – and do their best to help them along.

Little Elliot provides a fair few comedy moments – along with the indomitable Agatha –  as well as provoking a few tears too.

While I’m happy to know how Isla and Leo’s story concludes, I’m sad that there are no more books in the series.

The only consolation is that hopefully, even as I type, Holly is hard at work on her next book.

Format: Kindle.

Price: £1.99 (via Amazon).

My rating: Five stars.

With thanks to Bookouture for making me very happy by letting me read the ARC (via NetGalley) in return for an honest review.

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My Holiday Reading – Maddie Please, Phillipa Ashley and Holly Martin.

holidayreading

There was a time when the majority of my holidays were spent sitting by the pool or on the beach (under an umbrella in as much shade as possible) with a lovely pile of books to read.

These days there’s not much sitting around to be done, thanks to Freya’s endless energy but during our recent caravan holiday she was wiped out and in bed by 7.30pm every night – and with no wifi to distract me it meant hours and hours of uninterrupted reading time. Bliss!

Here are the three books that kept me occupied.

Book One – A Year Of New Adventures by Maddie Please.

MaddieIt’s time for Billie Summers to have an adventure … but it might not be exactly what she expected.

Billie Summers has always been quite content in her little cottage in the Cotswolds. Sure, half the house hasn’t been renovated, but what’s the point when it’s only her? Working part-time at her uncle’s bookshop and planning writer retreats with her best friend allows her to pay the bills. What more could anyone want?

That is until Oliver Forest, the bad boy of the book world, turns up to one of her retreats and points out that Billie hasn’t done anything very adventurous. Couple that with her best friend falling head over heels and beginning to drift away from their Friday night wine and dinner plans, Billie is starting to wonder if it isn’t time she took control of her life.

So she starts a list: get fitted (properly) for a bra, fix up rest of house, find a ‘career’ and well, get a tattoo … Her life might just get the makeover it needs, too bad irritating and far-too-attractive for his own good, Oliver keeps showing up …

Because sometimes you need an adventure!

Confession time; I had absolutely planned to save this book for the holiday but I thought I’d have a sneak peek and, boom, a quarter of the book had gone by.

The subject matter definitely helped to pull me in (oh, how I long to go on a writing retreat) but Maddie’s characters are fantastically well written – and not just Billie and Oliver but the eclectic supporting cast too. If you’ve ever attended a creative writing course of any sort, you will recognise and enjoy some of the personalities.

While some of the situations are laugh out loud funny, there’s a lot of heart in this book too.

I’d say this was even better than Maddie’s debut, The Summer Of Second Chances, although I really enjoyed that too.

Book two – Spring On The Little Cornish Isles: The Flower Farm by Phillipa Ashley.

philippaJess has lived at the idyllic flower farm on the Isles of Scilly her whole life, but when her boyfriend Adam leaves without explanation, Jess discovers that even her little slice of Cornish heaven can be lonely.

For the first time in Will’s life, he’s met someone he can’t stop thinking about. But nothing is simple when the woman of your dreams is working for you.

Gaby is running away from painful memories, and where could be more perfect than a remote island off the Cornish coast? But to put the past behind her, she must keep moving … however much she might want to stay.

Nothing is simple, even on paradise. Will love bloom for the residents of the little Cornish Isles?

Knowing we were surrounded by fog (again), it was wonderful to snuggle under the lovely warm duvet with this book, which is the second in the series – and now a bestseller on Amazon.

Phillipa sets the story up perfectly from the start so you already know who you’re rooting for. It has just the right amount of highs and lows to make it the perfect holiday read. I had many guesses as to why Adam left Jess and the island but none of them were correct, which made it all the better.

The fact that it was partly set on a flower farm was a big lure for me – although it does show the realities of being waist deep in mud so is perhaps not quite as idyllic as I thought. Having said that, the setting, which is largely fictitious but based on the Isle of Scilly, had me, once again, wanting to pack up and move to a remote island.

I haven’t read the first book in the series but it has now been added to my TBR pile, especially having met Maisie in this book. I definitely want to read her story.

Book three – The Holiday Cottage By The Sea by Holly Martin.

hollyTori Graham is in need of a holiday. Trying to piece her heart back together after losing the love of her life, she escapes to Blossom Cottage, with its picturesque views of the sea. And plans to spend the summer in gorgeous Sandcastle Bay, where her best friend Melody Rosewood lives.

Tori’s not expecting her summer by the beach to be eventful, until she meets handsome and mysterious Aidan Jackson…

Aidan looks after the holiday cottage Tori is staying in. Healing from past hurts, he wants to avoid any further chance of heartache. But could this newcomer be the breath of fresh air he needs?

Finding herself embracing life in the coastal community, Tori starts to fall in love with Sandcastle Bay and its welcoming cast of residents. But that’s not all she begins to fall for, as Tori is swept away by Aidan’s genuine heart and mischievous sense of humour. The attraction between them is undeniable, but will a simple holiday romance be enough?

As Tori’s stay in Sandcastle Bay comes to an end she has a tough decision to make…. Has her heart found a new place to call home?

I’m a huge Holly Martin fan and I can’t tell you how thrilled I was that her latest book came out on April 12th while we were still away. I left Freya in the caravan with my parents just after lunch, nipped to the bar (where the wifi was) and downloaded the pre-ordered book while enjoying a hot chocolate (shh don’t tell them that bit).

It was very hard to wait until the evening to begin reading – and even harder to put it down and eventually go to sleep (that was a late night).

The chemistry between Tori and Aidan is almost palpable, right from the start. Their developing relationship makes for a lovely read – and provided some truly funny moments, as well as some really emotional ones. I also loved the other motley crew of characters in this book and the beautiful setting. The way Holly weaves in details about village traditions is wonderful and I felt a real sense of community (even though it’s made up!).

The only downside is that I have to wait until June for the next book in the series.

Do you save books for holiday? How many do you normally take away with you? 

 

Book Review: Christmas At Mistletoe Cove.

hollymartinBringing a successful series to a satisfying conclusion seems like it might come with whole heap of pressure – luckily Holly Martin is more than up to the task.

Christmas At Mistletoe Cove is Eden Lancaster’s story and, because it’s been tasted in the two previous books, I have really been looking forward to it.

Best friends who fall in love is one of my all time favourite storylines but Eden and Dougie Harrison don’t make it easy for themselves.

Here’s the blurb.

Growing up on Hope Island, Eden Lancaster always believed that if you wished hard enough for something, dreams really could come true. But Eden’s greatest wish is also her biggest secret: she has been completely in love with her childhood friend, the charming and attractive Dougie Harrison, for as long as she can remember. And he has no idea.

When Dougie leaves his successful life in New York to return home to Hope Island for good, Eden can’t escape her feelings. Her heart is full of hope that her romantic dreams are finally, at long last, going to come true…

This Christmas could change everything. But can a lifelong friendship really turn into the perfect romance? And will Eden get the happily ever after she’s always wished for?

There are misunderstandings galore and it makes for a lively, fun and emotional read – even if I did want to shout at them at times.

It’s also lovely to get a mini update on the previous characters, although the book would work well as a standalone because their relationships are explained.

While my favourite is still book two, Rome and Freya, Eden and Dougie’s story brought the series to a happy finish.

For me, Holly’s writing is comparable to drinking the perfect cup of mint hot chocolate – it’s warm, enjoyable and leaves me feeling satisfied.

I’m sad to say goodbye to the residents of Hope Island, although I’m already looking forward to what comes next.

Format: Kindle.

Price: £1.99.

My rating: Four stars.

Thank you to Bookouture (via NetGalley) for the ARC in return for my honest opinion.