The Lemon Grove by Helen Walsh


Before I get started with this review let me tell you a bit about how I came across this book. After sifting through various sites online I came across the fabulous Books on the Underground. Now this is not a boring website – no, no! Books on the Underground is run by Hollie, she is friendly, helpful and ready to take this project to a new level. Spreading the bookish love by leaving little treats for the general public on the London Underground is only part of her arsenal of tricks – there is a book club now and being of part of it is just fabulous. Sadly I was unable to make it to the meet for the discussion of the book I am about to review. From what I gather however the word on the end of most tongues was ‘unconvincing’. We shall see . . .

Check out Books on the Underground

The Back of the Book says

Each summer, Jenn and her husband Greg return to Deia, on Mallorca’s dramatic west coast. This year the arrival of Emma, Jenn’s stepdaughter, and her new boyfriend Nathan threatens to upset their equilibrium. Beautiful and reckless, Nathan stirs something unexpected in Jenn. As she is increasingly seduced by Nathan’s youth and the promise of passion, the line between desire and obsession begins to blur. What follows is a highly charged liaison that puts lives and relationships in jeopardy. For Jenn, after this summer, nothing can ever be the same.

My Thoughts

From E.L. James to Sylvia Day the mummy porn section of the book aisle has expanded ten fold over the past year and a bit. This book would fit nicely in that area. With a softer side sexual exploration this slightly unbelievable tale of a step mother who seems to have tried her very best to fit into the family but goes off the rails. Now when I say off the rails do not get the wrong impression of a party animal young mum, think more along the lines of cradle snatching older lady. Be clear in your thoughts that I am not saying that it has not happened in reality and if it did then it is by no means my business (unless it is my son!) but the way the storyline pans out just makes you think out loud ‘REALLY?!’. This however did not make the book a disaster.

The first couple of pages with their descriptive text pulls you into a dream like state of fantasy with the sun beating down on you whilst you shelter in the titled Lemon Grove and flick through your latest read. The only thing on your mind being where you are going to get the next glass of Chianti and a recent dinner reservation. Then suddenly she remembers the imminent arrival of step-daughter Emma and her new beau Nathan. Big question being – when did she get old enough to have boyfriends joining her on holiday. Asthma pump at the ready and Jenn is suddenly wondering if the invite was such a good idea.

Enter sultry, sulky young Emma and her ‘Adonis’ beau Nathan and all of a sudden tranquility turns into turbulence. Not only is Jenn gobsmacked at the womanly sight of her step-daughter but her knickers need ringing out after the young pound of flesh known as Nathan parades around like the poolside is his catwalk. After much deliberation the debauchery ensues and Jenn has plunged into a seedy world that she must keep quiet and lives in fear of her nearest and maybe not so dear finding out. Can it continue? Well that is why you have to read the book.

Helen Walsh did well here, however it was just slightly too unconvincing with the description Nathan’s ultra manly physique when he was otherwise described as a young boy. Apart from this be prepared for a sizzler of a summer read that you may need a spare pair of pants and if you in the singles club your little black book may get a dusting off!


rating3* Mediocre Beans

REVIEW: The Vintage Girl (Swept Off Her Feet) by Hester Browne

The Vintage Girl by Hester Browne

The Back of the Book

When Evie Nicholson is asked to visit Kettlesheer Castle in Scotland to archive the family heirlooms, she jumps at the chance. Evie’s passion for antiques means that, for her, the castle is a treasure trove of mysteries just waiting to be uncovered.

But in each heirloom lies a story, and in the course of her investigations Evie stumbles upon some long-buried family secrets. Add handsome, gloomy heir Robert McAndrew and a traditional candlelit gala to the mix, and Evie’s heart is sent reeling with an enthusiasm that may just extend beyond the Kettlesheer silver…

My Thoughts

It has been a while since I finished listening to this particular book. I guess the best place to start is at the beginning.

This book may be better known as Swept Off Her Feet by Hester Browne. The writing was deliciously sweet and listening to the book gave it a completely different dynamic. My bug bear with audio books is that they take the imagination out of reading. When you pick up a book and really get stuck in the voices that you have in your head are yours and only that. When audio takes over you just have to go with it or stop listening. Luckily the reader was delightful and put on a variety of voices that fit the bill perfectly.

Evie is a thirty year old hopeless romantic who loves everything art, vintage, history and quite a bit of old tat. Everything has a back story which fascinates Evie endlessly. Driving her boss mad buying on a whim and hoping that someone will see the beauty that she has seen. Evie lands the opportunity of a lifetime (for Evie!) and she heads up to the beautiful Scottish Highlands. Her sisters other halves family live in the most beautiful (from description) castle in the middle of nowhere. Not everyone can say that they have been a welcomed family guest in a castle. Well some may be able to but I can safely say that I am not one of them.

Whilst taking in all of the beauty of Kettlesheer’s glory the family descend and we meet Duncan and Ingrid a pair that can only be described as nothing other than chalk and cheese. With Duncan’s hefty outbursts and Ingrid’s quite becoming conversation they really are a couple that if I met would be in awe. They say opposites attract and this a testament to exactly that.

This is the point where I just cannot forget Robert McAndrew. You will get to know throughout the story that there is some serious chemistry between Evie and Robert. Quite the modern young scotsman in London, a family man at heart but with his own life and outlook on it. A man that most woman seem to want these days – damn fiction! Between the reeling (dancing!) and shuffling through family heirlooms the build up of sexual tension is ferocious and you will most likely like myself scream at the pair of them to just make something happen and SOON!

There are lots of other delightful twists and turns throughout the book that if you like most chick lit you will most definitely enjoy.

Overall this book is worth the read and I would recommend it as a holiday read.

Thank you to Quercus books for sending me the lovely book and sparking my interest in the first place :D



Mediocre Beans

REVIEW: One Hundred Names by Cecelia Ahern

One Hundred Names by Cecelia Ahern

This book was originally sent to me some time last year – when I received it I felt quite daunted as it is quite sizeable. It was put on the pile of TBR and left there for a considerable amount of time. Eventually I was able to listen to the audiobook which was great for me as I listened to it in manageable chunks whilst actually being able to continue with other activities. Now onto what it is all about and some thoughts.

Cecelia Ahern - One Hundred Names

The Back of the Book

Everyone has a story to tell…Journalist Kitty Logan’s career has been destroyed by scandal, and she now faces losing the woman who guided her and taught her everything she knew. At her mentor’s bedside, Kitty asks her – what is the one story she always wanted to write? The answer lies in a file buried in Constance’s office: a list of one hundred names. There is no synopsis, no explanation, nothing else to explain what the story is or who these people are. The list is simply a mystery.

But before Kitty can talk to her friend, it is too late. With everything to prove, Kitty is assigned the most important task of her life – to write the story her mentor never had the opportunity to. Kitty has to not only track down and meet the people on the list, but find out what connects them. And, in the process of hearing ordinary people’s stories, she uncovers Constance’s – and starts to understand her own…

My Thoughts

Kitty Logan is a name that I will not be forgetting in a hurry. Things go from bad to unbelievably worse for Kitty throughout the course of this book. She cleans more crap than the average health care worker and is mentally abused on a daily basis. Just at the point where you think it would all be too much and she may just give in, she comes back fighting even harder and lends to the story that feel good factor. When you are having an incredibly awful day in the spirit of all of these hashtags flying around the world-wide web add one more and think WWKD! Yes I said it!

As I listened to this book via Audible I was lucky enough to have the lilting irish accent and could imagine just how it was going down in Kitty’s world. From her beloved friend and previous editor Constance who is on her death-bed and giving Kitty instructions for the article that will change her entire life Kitty is a frenzy of questions and activities.

There are points in the book that I just wanted to scream SHUT UP KITTY but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Her life is complicated with many more curve balls thrown in along the way so she deserves a good whine! One of the upsides of Kitty’s haphazard tale is that you get a tour of Ireland from Dublin to Cork from the view of a native. I was more than happy to join in this journey as Ireland is somewhere that I have never been before and would very much like to visit. Not having the slightest idea about the places she was talking about made them sound even more out there than they probably are and worth the exploration in the future.

Having read previous Ahern books and quite enjoying the uplifting feeling this one was a definite on my list to read. However when it arrived in the post in its hardback majestic glory I was slightly put off by the size of the book as my time limit was quite tight. Thankfully Audible got me out of that predicament and I was well on my way and Kitty was by my side!

If anything this story taught me that you can believe in the good in people all you want but sometimes there are nasty people out there that will get the better of you. Do not let this bring you down to their level as eventually Karma will bite back and hurt them even more. Good mantra right?!

Enjoy the book peeps!

Ciao ciao!


Mediocre Beans

REVIEW: Amelia Grey’s Fireside Dream by Abby Clements


Back of the Book

Amelia has a dream: toasting chestnuts by the fire with her husband Jack in their own cosy cottage. Their real life is another world – a cramped one-bedroom flat in Hackney. But when life takes a surprising turn, removal vans are soon heading to the Kent countryside.

They soon realise the cottage makeover is a far bigger project than they’d anticipated. On top of that, there’s Amelia’s newly loved-up mum and her tear away half-sister, Mirabel, to contend with – pushing Amelia and Jack’s marriage to breaking point.

Amelia begins to strip back the wallpaper and fittings in the cottage and discovers the story of the cottage’s previous owner – and a hidden secret. As Amelia’s ideas about love and family change, will her fireside dream finally come true?

My Thoughts

This book was the ultimate definition of chick-lit, pulling up the ranks so close to Kinsella the lovely Ms Clements really knows how to draw you in and make it your days mission to snuggle up with a cup of coffee and read until the end. Which is exactly what I did!

At this moment in time I am seriously contemplating finding a gorgeous loving husband, buying a cat and heading to the country. If only it was that easy right! Well no! Instead of recipes there are mood boards and plenty of ideas how to transform a complete wreck into something beautiful and loveable.

Amelia is a loveable character however parts of her however reminiscent to most women (including myself) out there really do touch on some raw annoying nerves. The one character in the book that I fell in love with was her ‘out of control’ sister. Now this is where I am burning to tell you how proud she made me and I was only the reader!

Focusing on getting to grips with her house and life instead of fitting in with village life was a nice touch as there are so many books out there these days that focus so much on the outside life rather than that personal to the main character.

Here comes the funny bit!

10 minutes after finishing the book I was on the phone to Catherine and surprisingly we had both finished the same book at the same time. And! Thought very similar thoughts with regards to the end. Now both of us love to read Abby’s books but this one seemed to be the only one that led to serious discussion.

Topic being: What happened at the end?! Was it rushed, is it missing, is there more?

On that note I will say to you – DEFINITELY read it as I know you will enjoy it.

‘Jack caught my eye and smiled. “It feels like home now,” he said. I thought of the plans we’d made, and realised it was finally true.’

rating3*Mediocre Beans