Coming Home to the Comfort Food CafeTitle: Coming Home to the Comfort Farm Café

Author: Debbie Johnson

Pages: 400 Pages

Publisher: Harper Collins UK/Harper Impulse

The Blurb

Welcome to the cosy Comfort Food Café, where there’s kindness in every cup of hot chocolate and the menu is sprinkled with love and happiness…

Moving to the little village of Budbury, Zoe hopes the crisp Dorset sea breeze and gentle pace of life will be a fresh start for her and her goddaughter, Martha.

Luckily for them both, the friendly community at the café provide listening ears, sage advice, shoulders to cry on, and some truly excellent carrot cake. And when Martha’s enigmatic, absent father suddenly turns up, confusing not only Martha but Zoe too, the love and support of their new-found friends is the best present they could ask for.

Have Zoe and Martha truly found their home at the Comfort Food Café?

The Review

In my four and a half year of doing book reviews I have had the pleasure and the privilege of getting to read the work of some really great authors. The greatest aspect of reviewing though is meeting an author through their writing and then having them become one of your favourite and trusted authors. For me that writer is Debbie Johnson. For me, she can do no wrong and once again she has proven me right with Coming Home to the Comfort Farm Café.

I truly believe that Budbury, the Comfort Farm Café and the characters that live there have magical healing powers. I want to live there. I want to be in the novel, in every book in this series.

In this third instalment we meet Zoe and Martha; both broken by the loss of Kate (Zoe’s best friend and Martha’s Mother) and are looking to be healed. Martha has become self destructive since her mother’s death so Zoe makes the decision to relocate to Budbury.

Like the previous novels in the Comfort Food Café series, more than just comfort food will help with the healing process.

Ok, as cheesy as this may sound these books are aptly named. Whenever I read them I do feel comforted. It may be that I feel like I am meeting old friends in the staple characters or the fact that they have managed to remain happy and now are helping others. I just love these books. Long may the series continue.

Coming Home to the Comfort Farm Café by Debbie Johnson is available now.

For more information regarding Debbie Johnson (@debbiemjohnson) please visit www.debbiemjohnsonauthor.com.

For more information regarding Harper Collins (@HarperCollinsUK) please visit www.harpercollins.co.uk.

For more information regarding Harper Impulse (@HarperImpulse) please visit www.harperimpulse.com.

5 Stars

Title: Turtles All the Way Down

Author: John Green

Pages: 286 Pages

Publisher: Penguin Books

The Blurb

Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.

Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

In his long-awaited return, John Green, the acclaimed, award-winning author of Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, shares Aza’s story with shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience and the power of lifelong friendship.

The Review

Turtles All the Way Down is a brave novel.

I say this for many reasons. The first reason being that this book is the first release from John Green since the epically successful The Fault in Our Stars; comparisons are bound to happen. People may have been expecting another gut wrenching tearjerker or to be completely emotionally immersed into the characters world in the same way as before. The second reason is that John Green has chosen to tackle a topic that is so on trend at the moment – this being mental health – that the worry is that he isn’t going to do it justice. Other writers’ may do it better. However, John Green needn’t have worried.

Turtles All the Way Down, as I said before, is brave. Having read many stories based on mental health I can genuinely say that I felt Aza’a compulsions. Her obsession with things that she cannot control became oppressive and you found yourself feeling both sorry for her but also understanding her need.

Furthermore, what John Green did (which is often missed out of the stories I have read previously) he discussed how hard mental illness is on those around the sufferer. He didn’t make the story evenly balanced because essentially it is Aza’s issue but we saw how the people who cared about her struggle – her mum not wanting to lose her, her best friend Daisy always feeling a few steps behind and her would be boyfriend Davis who can’t get as close as he would like to Aza.

So, Turtles All the Way Down is nothing like The Fault in Our Stars and if you are expecting it to be the same or similar then you may be disappointed. Taken as a separate entity, then John Green has written a really impressive and stark story about mental health.

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green is available now.

For more information regarding John Green please visit www.johngreenbooks.com.

For more information regarding Penguin Books (@PenguinTeen) please visit www.penguinteen.com.

4 Stars

Theres Someone InSide Your HouseTitle: There’s Someone Inside Your House

Author: Stephanie Perkins

Pages: 289 Pages

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

The Blurb

Over a year after her parents sent her away from Hawaii to live with her grandmother in landlocked Nebraska, Makani Young is still adjusting to her new life. She’s made a small group of close friends and even flirted with romance, but her past in Hawaii is still hard to forget.

And then . . . one by one the students of her new high school begin to die in a series of gruesome murders.

Makani doesn’t know who’s next on the list. Between this, and a secret scorching relationship with the school weirdo, this school year may turn out to be one to die for . . . literally.

There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins will have you swooning with fear and romance, and is the perfect page-turner for fans of Scream Queens and I Know What You Did Last Summer.

The Review

There’s Someone Inside Your House, the latest release by Stephanie Perkins, is much like Ronseal paint. It does what it says on the tin. It is a creepy thriller about a psychopath coming into certain people’s houses and killing them off one by one.

The story focuses on Makani, a relatively new girl to Nebraska. She has managed to make a small pocket of friends and is just trying to keep her head down, graduate high school before she leaves for pastures new. But when she becomes the latest victim of these heinous attacks Makani’s life gets turned upside down.

Having read previous releases by Stephanie Perkins, I can honestly say There’s Someone Inside Your House is very different from the French Kiss series. I liked it but if you are expecting something similar you will be disappointed.

For intensity, surprising twists and breathtaking pacing you really need to read There’s Someone Inside Your House.

There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins is available now.

For more information regarding Stephanie Perkins (@naturallysteph) please visit www.stephanieperkins.com.

For more information regarding Pan Macmillan (@panmacmillan) please visit www.panmacmillan.com.

3 Stars

My Side of the DiamondTitle: My Side of the Diamond

Author: Sally Gardner

Pages: 240 Pages

Publisher: Hot Key Books/Bonnier Zaffre Books

The Blurb

An extraordinary tale about the search for love from the acclaimed Costa and Carnegie winning novelist Sally Gardner.

Jazmin has been shunned ever since her best friend Becky disappeared.

But Becky didn’t just disappear – she jumped off a tall building and seemingly never reached the ground. It was as if she simply vanished into thin air.

Did Jazmin have something to do with her disappearance?

Or was it more to do with Icarus, so beguiling and strangely ever youthful, with whom Becky became suddenly besotted . . .

The Review

My Side of the Diamond by Sally Gardner is a very curious tale that had me reading way outside of my comfort zone. It is part YA which I love, part thriller and mystery which I am lukewarm to and part science fiction which is so not my genre.

However, Sally Gardner has created a really compelling story and full bodied cast that I found myself unable to put the damn book down! The story is told from multi-perspective which lends the book an air of displacement and discomfort. I did not feel comfortable or settled reading it. I constantly questioned my characters – on their morals and what they said.

I do feel more settled now that I have finished My Side of the Diamond but it has left me irked in the best possible way.

I would love to know if the Lazarus theme is a link to David Bowie? There are too many shout outs. If anyone knows if this was a choice by Sally Gardner – or if indeed Sally Gardner you would like to answer this question for me – then I would be really grateful.

My Side of the Diamond is a strange little book that begs to be read.

My Side of the Diamond by Sally Gardner is available now.

For more information regarding Sally Gardner (@TheSallyGardner) please visit www.sallygardner.net.

For more information regarding Hot Key Books (HotKeyBooks) please visit www.hotkeybooks.com.

For more information regarding Bonnier Zaffre Books (@BonnierZaffre) please visit their Twitter page.

3 Stars

Hello folks,

Yes I am back doing a wrap up. I haven’t done these in a long time so it is nice to get back into the swing of things.

Ok, here goes.

October has been a pretty good month for me. I have been off work because I have recently been ill. I was hospitalised at the end of August after having a particularly nasty flare up of my Ulcerative Colitis. Whilst recuperating there wasn’t really that much I could do except read and watch TV so that is exactly what I did.

I binge watched Riverdale. It is pretty good. If you haven’t watched it then I totally recommend it. I have also bowed to peer pressure because curiosity has gotten the better of me and now I am watching Stranger Things. So far (after one episode) I like it!

October

Back to books though. Obviously, being off and being poorly sick I may have treated myself to a few pick me up books. I bought the following:

Hardback

The Gatekeepers – Jen Lancaster

Mirror Mirror – Cara Delevigne

This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay

Turtles All The Way Down – John Green (review coming soon)

Nevermore: The Trials of Morrigan Crow – Jessica Townsend (review coming soon)

Paperback

Hunger Makes a Modern Girl – Carrie Brownstein

The Group – Mary MCCarthy (an absolute bargain at only £2 on Amazon)

I Believe in a Thing Called Love – Maurene Goo

Review Titles

I was also really blessed to be sent a few review books in October. They are:

Hamilton – Elizabeth Cobbs

Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe – Melissa de la Cruz

Welcome to the Inaugural Meeting of the Fairvale Ladies Book Club – Sophie Green

Thank You’s

I was particularly lucky this month when it comes to winning competitions. I have a few thank you’s to give out (I feel like I am at the Oscars). Thank you to:

Margot Weale (@margotbookpr) for a copy of Edgar Allan Poe and the London Monster by Karen Lee Street.

Killer Reads (@KillerReads and @HarperCollisUK) for The Missing Twin by Alex Day. You can find more information about Killer Reads by visiting their website www.killerreads.com.

Ex Libris Live (@ExLibrisGame) gave me a particulary generous prize of the Ex Libris Game, The Housekeeper by Suellen Dainty, The Escape by CL Taylor and Another Justified Sinner by Sophie Hopesmith.

HQ Stories (HQ Stories) for the two Fiona Harrison books A Pug Like Percy and A Puppy Like Hugo. I will be donating these to the school library in which I work. For more information about HQ Stories make sure you follow them on Instagram at instagram.com/hqstories.

The lovely people over at Popshot Magazine (@popshotmag) for my two Anne Michaels books: All We Saw and Fugitive Pieces. For more information over what they do please visit their website www.popshotpopshot.com.

A special thank you to fellow blogger Louise (@foxesfairytale) over at Foxes Fairytale. She sent me two books: Under My Hat a collection of short stories from various authors and Feed by Mira Grant.

Reviews

I have managed to get plenty of reviews out this month. If you haven’t seen them already then click the links below.

All the Dirty Parts by Daniel Handler

A Semi Definitive List of Worst Nightmares by Krystal Sutherland

Bad Choices Make Good Stories: Going to New York by Oliver Markus Malloy

Dyslexia is My Superpower (Most of the Time) by Margaret Rooke

Earth Hates Me: True Confessions of a Teenage Girl by Ruby Karp

Grand Theft Octo by Niels Saunders

No Shame by Anne Cassidy

Tell Me by Abigail Strom

Ten Birthdays by Kerry Wilkinson

The Hanging Girl by Eileen Cook

The Note by Zoe Folbigg

Random Musings

37 Thoughts I Had When Rereading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling

38 Things I Thought When I Reread Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling

So that is it folks. October was a good month. Happy Halloween!

Lisa x