Saturday 14 March 2015

I love a weekend curled up with a good book

I've always loved to read; as a teenager you'd find me in the lounge with the rest of the family but I'd be curled up on a chair with my book rather than watching TV. It became a joke that I'd get through a new book most days and I needed a continual supply from the library.

How life changes once you grow older and then have young children. From the woman who read 2-3 books a week, every week I became the one who could go a couple of months without reading anything much and I really missed it. So as JJ got into a routine of sleeping I got back to reading more books. I like to read a mixture of non-fiction and also chick lit, those kind of easy books that transport you away to another place and you are right there beside the main character living their reality.

I liked all the well known authors of the time Cathy Kelly, Marion Keyes, Jane Green and Jenny Colgan but another thing changed once I had JJ, I started to buy my books from charity shops or car boot sales and this meant I couldn't be so picky about authors or reading the newest releases. It wasn't a bad thing though as I found a whole variety of authors I'd never heard of before and ended up really enjoying, authors like Elizabeth Noble, Sophie Kinsella and Cecelia Ahern being just a few of them.

When I got an email about a month ago asking me if I'd like to review the new Jenny Colgan book, Summer at the Little Beach Street Bakery I was very happy to say yes. I'd not read a Jenny Colgan book for some time but I knew I liked her easy-to-read writing style. It was a bonus too that the publisher wanted to send me the accompanying children's book, Jenny's first one - Polly and the Puffin and it is just perfect for my 7 year old twin girls. Miss M is doing a great job reading it to me and herself and Miss E who is dyslexic is loving me reading it to her. Who doesn't love a cute little puffin?

Summer at the Little Beach Street Bakery is a sequel to the really popular The Little Beach Street Bakery that was published last year. Of course I hadn't read this as I've not been buying new books but luckily I was sent this one too. So I set about reading it and setting the scene for the next book and it's easy for me to tell you that I loved The Little Beach Street Bakery. We went away to London last weekend and I devoured the whole book (that's what older kids and no house obligations free you up to do) as it was so moreish, I just kept wanting to know what would happen next and how it would end up. I won't really say much about the this first book as that's not the one I'm supposed to be reviewing but I'd happily recommend it as a great buy, a really easy and enjoyable read. You will come away at the end smiling.

On to the new book - Summer at the Little Beach Street Bakery which was released just last week. It was another quick read for me and I got through it in about four days, which considering I generally only read as I go to bed was good going. I like the fact that Jenny gives you a little summary at the beginning in case you have not read the first book and she gets you up to date on who the main characters are, how they interact with each other and the big life events that have happened in the last book and set the scene for this book.

The Little Beach Street Bakery is an old bakery run by Polly, who is a true artisan and enjoys nothing more than feeding people really good food. The setting is Mount Polbearne, a peninsula of Cornwall where you can only access the area a couple of times a day due to the causeway being under water much of the time. At first it seems a odd place for Polly to live and to be selling her specialist wares but you soon learn why she loves the area and especially her run-down lighthouse that she shares with her American boyfriend Huckle.

You really feel as if you get to know the characters in the book and your heart breaks for Selina, the widow of fisherman Tarnie who died in the first book. You laugh as you read how now-broke Reuben and his wife Kerensa live and you feel on edge each time Malcolm is mentioned. I don't want to spoil the plot and tell you what happens in the book but as always happily-ever-after does not go to plan and we follow Polly as she frees her pet Puffin (Neil), starts up a mobile bakery business and lives without Huckle by her side for months on end.

You will be completely drawn into the book and whilst it is engaging and entertaining I love the fact that it is gentle and not gratuitous. It depicts the love between the main characters in the book but there is nothing seedy about it. I'm very happy to recommend this book as a great read and I sure hope Jenny writes another follow up.

Summer at the Little Beach Street Bakery is available in all good books shops now and I spotted it on Amazon (Kindle edition) for just £2.99 and £3.85 paperback, both excellent prices!

The other book I was sent was Jenny's new children's book. Polly and the Puffin and this is such a nice read. Neil the puffin who plays a massive part in the original Little Beach Street Bakery book turned out to be such a star that Jenny wrote a book specifically about him for kids. It is an early reader aimed at 4-7 year old's but I think the appeal is actually wider than that, as Miss M is very grown up for her age and is loving it.

Here is what the blurb says -

Polly heard a CRASH downstairs. Was it a monster? NO! Was it a spider alien? NO!

It was a little puffin with a broken wing...

When Polly discovers an injured puffin, she and her mummy look after him in their cottage by the sea.

Slowly, Neil's wing heals and Polly must prepare herself to say goodbye to her new friend. Will she ever see him again?

As well as the story there is lots of fun at the back of the book with craft ideas, recipes, jokes and activities for the children.

The book is lovingly illustrated by Thomas Docherty, who has been shortlisted for a Kate Greenaway award. His pictures really do bring the story alive.

Polly and the Puffin is £3.85 on Amazon for a paperback and my girls say you should buy it as it is a great book.

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