Shop now Shop now Shop now Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Learn more Shop now Learn more Shop Fire Shop Kindle Listen with Prime Pre-order now Shop Men's Shop Women's
Profile for Jo D'Arcy > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Jo D'Arcy
Top Reviewer Ranking: 1,302
Helpful Votes: 2431

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Jo D'Arcy (Portsmouth, UK)

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
A Very Big House in the Country
A Very Big House in the Country
Price: £4.74

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Country Holiday Home, 9 Aug. 2015
It is always inevitable that if you put in a big house three very different families, with different values and ideas about life and the way to spend a holiday, you are going to garner some sort of story.

And so this is the case with this novel, A Very Big House in the Country.

The big house opens its doors to Evie, her husband Mike, three children and a dog. Shen, third wife to Clive and their small perfectly kept child and her nanny. Plus Clive's son from a previous marriage erupting into the holiday. Then there is Paula and Joe plus a very quiet child. There were that many people, especially children I lost track of who was with who and related to whom.

This is very much a tale of 'life' and how when being away from home suddenly puts everything into perspective that perhaps you had never seen before. There were some funny moments scattered within the pages as you put people not normally cooped up together in a situation. Balanced out with that by the author which I think she has succeeded with was the more poignant ones and life changing episodes, to remind you that "real life is nothing like the brochure".

Evie and Mike seem to be a solid but dependable couple, but there is something underlying about their relationship and as the book progresses it looks like it might fall apart.

Shen and Clive live in a perfect world, with the perfect amount of money in a perfectly structured world. However it seems that cannot buy stability and love which is what makes Evie and Mike's marriage work.

Paula and Joe, seem distant and relations are strained. To the point where Paula sees doom at every turn and in every bush, whilst Joe is seeking solace elsewhere.

Coupled with all of these relationships, we see how the children of differing ages react to each other as they see their parents lives almost played out in front of them.

There are some interesting turn of events as the momentum of the story takes hold and whilst I enjoyed it, it was a book that as I put it down, I was not desperate to want to pick up and see what was going to happen next.

Much as I do not like pigeonholing books, this is a holiday read to enjoy but one that will not leave a lasting impact.

The Little Flower Shop by the Sea
The Little Flower Shop by the Sea
Price: £4.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Blooming Read, 1 Aug. 2015
If there was ever a book to cheer the soul and bring some sunshine into your life then this is one of those books.

Poppy has inherited her grandmother’s flower shop, The Daisy Chain in St Felix in Cornwall. However at 30, this is not where Poppy sees herself. She has an aversion to flowers and she is rather snappy and irritated by anyone she comes across. Being back in St Felix where she spent many happy summers as a child is perhaps what she needs – but it is going to take some time for Poppy to realise that.

Jake supplies the flowers to The Daisy Chain, where magical bouquets are crafted and sold to customers who seem to believe the shop is magical. Poppy is a bit more cynical about it but it seems she might have met her match with Jake who can come back with a quick retort from Poppy’s cutting remarks.

Amber has flown in from the States to help Poppy, she falls in love with St Felix and says it has magic powers all of its own. She understands flowers and when a discovery leads to some understanding of the magical bouquets, it seems the florists is going to be a success.

Despite all this there are still demons and long-held resentments by many members of the St Felix community not just Poppy and when an old childhood haunt suddenly offers the answers it seems that perhaps St Felix has got under the skin of Poppy and it is the balm that she needs.

Wonderful descriptions of Cornish scenery, the beauty of flowers, their scent and the power that each bloom has makes this an enchanting novel. It has a predictability about it, but it still surprised me, which made me overlook such things.

An admirable summer or holiday read.

by Joanna Barnard
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.95

4.0 out of 5 stars The uncomfortable truth, 26 July 2015
This review is from: Precocious (Hardcover)
Fiona remembers when she first met Henry Morgan. At school. She was 14.

Fiona thought Henry was the adult she was missing in her life. Fiona could trust Henry.

Henry told Fiona she was different.

Fiona's schoolgirl crush intensified. Fiona could trust Henry - couldn't she?

She meets him again, years later. A chance encounter in a supermarket.

Those schoolgirl feelings rush to the surface, they speed head long into Fiona's love and she stumbles into the relationship with Henry she could not have when she was 14.

Told from Fiona's perspective as narrator we embark on what is a very difficult story to digest. Whilst schoolgirl and teacher scenarios are well told in stories and now reported more and more in the news, due to abuse of position, influence, age difference, lives broken, alleged sexual activity, it is not a plot or background to a story that I have ever read before.

Fiona shares her inner most thoughts and secrets from her friendship back with Henry when she was 14 and her relationship with him now. The past and the present are so caught up with each other that it is difficult to see where the future lies for any of the characters.

"All past. What's the point?"

"But the past is what makes us. It's why we're here."

"The past is nothing but smoke and mirrors. Made up memories and unreliable stories. You said it yourself. Shadows. The only thing that's real is right now."

Is Fiona unreliable in what she is telling us or is it simply that she has created a memory that is not correct?

The book is gripping and you have to read to simply understand what is the past, what is the present and which memories are true. Simply in this book - who can you trust?

A début novel which tackles a controversial subject which draws you in, in an almost voyeuristic way. You don't want to know, you don't want to acknowledge what has gone on, but you have to know.

The Heavenly Italian Ice Cream Shop
The Heavenly Italian Ice Cream Shop
Price: £3.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Anyone for seconds?, 5 July 2015
When I first read Abby Clements, novel Vivien's Heavenly Ice Cream Shop I wanted a prequel or a sequel and it seems by wish has been granted. I am back with sisters Anna and Imogen.

Anna and Matteo have been running the Ice Cream shop on Brighton seafront for over a year now and they are making a success of it. But new challenges are always out there and whilst Anna is content to be in a place she loves with her family close by, she knows that Matteo is missing his home country, Italy.

Imogen leaves the running of the Ice Cream shop to her sister, she helps now and again, especially with her gorgeous niece Bella. Imogen has never been interested in putting roots down anywhere, she is happy flying round the world and capturing images as a photographer. She always comes back but she is soon itching to again. Fate is seen to take an intervening hand, and she finds herself stuck.

It seems the sisters roles have swapped and Anna is off to Italy to set up the ice cream shop of the title. However what she does not bank on is the overbearing mother in law who was always far enough away when they were in Brighton but is now too close for comfort. Will the shop survive, with Anna's methods of ice cream making and views on how a marriage should be.

Imogen is stuck back in Brighton, she has some photography work but it is not using the skills she was using before. Her reluctance to settle has driven away Fin and trying to deal with all of this she discovers a secret that their Grandmother Vivien did not tell them. It all seems to relate to the place where her sister has set up her new home.

This is a delightful read, it builds on all the characters from the first novel and takes them further in their journey and we are allowed to see them as they deal with many emotions and problems.

Of course there are still all the descriptions of ice creams and the wonderful Italian scenery to take in and I felt I was taken on a wonderful holiday and sampled some delicious ice cream without leaving my home.

Dare I say I hope there is more stories about the Ice Cream shop, both the one in Brighton and the one in Italy.

An excellent summer or holiday read.

Death Comes to Pemberley
Death Comes to Pemberley
by P. D. James
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What could have happened next..., 5 July 2015
One always wonders what happens after you read the final page of a story. Nothing beats your own imagination I am sure but of course other authors imaginations get the chance to grace new books.

In this one, we are back at Pemberley, Elizabeth Bennet got her man and lives a peaceful existence with her two children in the vast estate. Her favourite sister Jane is not far away and she has the company of Georgiana Darcy, her sister-in-law.

Pemberley holds a ball every year and it seems that the ball of 1803 is going to be very different. The night before a coach arrives at Pemberley, and disgorge the hysterical Lydia Wickham Nee Bennet. She has left her husband, George Wickham and his friend Capt Denney in the woods after an argument.

Shots were heard.

Darcy sends out a search party .

They find a body.

The murder and the mystery needs to be solved.

I came to this book knowing what happened as I had seen the television adaptation which was broadcast Christmas just gone. However I wanted to experience the book as it was meant to be and something about it does not quite hit the mark. Clearly P.D.James is not Austen and I actually approached the book knowing that I was not going to get an Austenesque novel. I did get a book which used characters that were well-known and a familiar setting and gave it legs to move onto a different story with a plot that perhaps James was used to - murder mystery.

It works on that level for me. I know it did not work for a lot of people. I am not a die-hard fan of Austen, I have not read Pride and Prejudice, nor have I read any of P.D. James work. My only knowledge was of the story of Pride and prejudice and the adaptation of the book.

I enjoyed the book, it was slow in parts and it did not grip me, (probably because I knew what happened) but it is a worthy novel and if you like to read anything that is an offshoot of Pride and Prejudice then give the book a go. As long as you know what you are getting you will be fine.

A Seaside Affair
A Seaside Affair
Price: £3.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Trevay's Theatre Trouble, 28 Jun. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: A Seaside Affair (Kindle Edition)
There is nothing better than bringing a community together than trying to save a local landmark.

In the case of the residents of Trevay, it is the local Pavilion theatre which is going to be sold off to a multinational coffee chain, a familiar story of the twenty-first century. If you have read any of Fern's previous novels you will recognise some familiar characters, first introduced to us in Hidden Treasures. Helen who has settled into Cornish life well, along with her ever grumpy and moody man Piran. Helen's friend Penny a hot-shot flying television producer who has found love and life being married to the local Vicar.

Of course there are lots of new characters and these are in fact outsiders to Trevay, they seem to have all come to this Cornish town for varying differing reasons. The common denominator of them all is the pull of The Pavilion Theatre. Jess is an actress but not a successful one, rather in the shadow of her actor boyfriend the nations current heart-throb. Brooke Lynn is the face of the new coffee chain and model with a rather famous background. Ollie, an actor who has family near Trevay and seems to be trying to make it big, but finding it difficult when you are dating the world-famous Red.

Mixing these outsiders in with the locals obviously causes some wonderful scenarios and situations that Fern Britton mixes into the plot of her novel with skill. Yes it can be a bit predictable but there were plenty of will they won't they, should they shouldn't they moments as well as a big dollop of what life in 'show business' is really like. Of course trying to save a landmark like The Pavilion Theatre is going to have its problems and things do get a bit nasty for a while, but as they say it will be alright on the night!

Fern Britton's skill has developed at writing has developed as her books have gone on. She could easily now be up there with the likes of Trisha Ashley and Carole Matthews. What I like about her novels, where she naturally strays into territory she is familiar with, she actually gives you a real insight into it. It is not just research it is first hand experience that Fern has managed to fictionalise and make for a good story. It is all made to be believable with the skill of being able to create a story to lose yourself in.

An absorbing novel.

Sunshine and Spaniels (A novella): A happy, yappy love story (Primrose Terrace Series, Book 2)
Sunshine and Spaniels (A novella): A happy, yappy love story (Primrose Terrace Series, Book 2)
Price: £0.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Another walk in Primrose Terrace, 21 Jun. 2015
I am back in Primrose Terrace and I get the chance to look behind another of the resident’s doors thanks to Cat and her Pooches.

Of course Cat being the main protagonist of these novellas who we met in book one, Wellies and Westies is still growing her dog walking business – Pooch Promenade and she hosts a puppy picnic, to spread the word and get everyone together so they can share.

It is her she meets the bundle of fun that is Olaf along with two of his owners young girls Lizzie and Emma, they have sneaked out of their house whilst their mum is looking after their baby brother Henry. When Cat takes the girls and Olaf home, she meets Frankie who seems to be struggling to cope.

Surely Cat can help in some way even if it means walking the dog for a trial period?

Along with new characters in this novella we still have time for Polly, the trainee veterinary nurse and her grumpy brother Joe, who Cat lives with. It seems that Polly has caught the eye of the local ice cream parlour owner and that maybe Joe is not as grumpy as we first thought?

Cat only seems to have eyes for Mark, but he flits in and out of Primrose Terrace with alarming speed and never seems to really commit. Is he too good to be true? Or is it simply his personality? Cat is just not sure and then….

…….well you and I are going to have to wait until part three, Raincoats and Retrievers is out in September.

The Secrets Sisters Keep
The Secrets Sisters Keep
Price: £3.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Sisters, Sisters, there were never such devoted sisters,, 21 Jun. 2015
Being an only child, books that feature siblings and the relationships between them has always fascinated me. Which was one of the reasons I picked this book up. The other was that I have read a few Moriarty novels before and I knew I was getting a good read.

In the case of The Secrets Sisters Keep I was right. Meet:

Julie - a mother to boy triplets who create a whirlwind wherever they go and a small adorable son, who wants to be like his big brothers. She has it all and more since inheriting money, but it seems that it is not what she wants and maybe looking at the past is better than the present.

Louise - is organised, can cope with anything. But not if anyone criticises her daughter. No one knows her better than she does or knows exactly how to parent they? Would they risk broaching the subject?

Sophie - is getting older, but just don;t tell her as she does not want to acknowledge it, coupled with having it all and losing it, including a husband. She has yet to realise what she really wants to do.

Of course all this female temperament has to be counteracted by some male temperament and that comes in the form of these three sisters baby brother - Gavin.

Gavin goes to work naked. He seems to have no staying power when it comes to jobs (or women) and he is of course their mothers favourite. In fact all of them have a soft spot for Gavin. Even me!

The story is written from each of the sisters points of view and we get to see how these three women deal with many life issues and problems. Of course at the centre of the story is the relationship between these sisters and as an only child that is something the fascinates me.

The Irish humour which I knew would be present in this book having read previous ones was apparent and there were some lovely laugh out loud moments, but also some moments when a tear springs to your eye. This book certainly is not one which is light and fluffy, it deals with so much, divorce, single parenting, public schools, cosmetic surgery, autism, but all wrapped up in showing the strength and love of family.

A great book which shows off the author's talent as a writer well.

Trouble at the Little Village School: A Little Village School Novel
Trouble at the Little Village School: A Little Village School Novel
by Gervase Phinn
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Second Term, 21 Jun. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I am back for my second term at the Little Village School.

I am coming back to heartwarming characters, gossipy village ladies and some tension. Enough to keep you turning the pages.

The closure of the school seems to have been to dealt with, but now there will be an amalgamation of schools and it seems that the headteacher Elisabeth Devine has more battles to face.

She has drawn out so many of the teachers who will now inspire and encourage the young minds that they are meeting every day, but she has also made them look closely at their own happiness.

One of those young minds Oscar, seems to be challenging as always and gives the school caretaker much to mutter about.

There is of course Danny who you think has found a more settled life into which to grow. It seems someone else has other ideas and the author brings into the story social services and the battles of right and wrong in not just the best education for a child but also the best home environment you can have. It raises questions about what is best for the child?

In this book as we wait to find out how exactly the amalgamation of two schools is going to work and whether the board of governors and local councillors can agree on a solution which doesn't appear to be in their own interests. We learn more about Elisabeth and her son. Progress is made but then something from the past brings back memories and can perhaps disrupt future plans.

Of course this book takes you right into the depths of Yorkshire and the wonderful humour it brings. I much enjoyed it and look forward to finding out more about the school and all the characters which make the village what it is.

Coming Up Roses
Coming Up Roses
Price: £3.79

4.0 out of 5 stars How Does Your Garden Grow?, 7 Jun. 2015
This review is from: Coming Up Roses (Kindle Edition)
I have always wanted to visit The Chelsea Flower Show and the next best thing is watching it on the television and the next best thing to that is reading this book. It is full of enthusiasm both horticultural and also village life too.

Daisy has escaped to look after her parents house whilst they are away. She is escaping from a failed relationship and just wants to hide. She is more than content to bring their garden back up to scratch. Fellow villagers would be pleased to see that garden back to life as well, especially Thomas who used to garden at the house in his younger days.

However in a village where everyone knows everyone else’s business, she is not going to be able to hide for very long.

Luckily through Elaine and Jo who she meets. Daisy discovers these women have secrets of their own that they do not want the rest of the village to find out about. The three women form a strange friendship and in some case working relationship and Daisy is suddenly very much part of village life, she even is drafted to help with village events when she meets the local vet. But then there is someone else who suddenly takes an interest. It seems the quiet life that Daisy was after is not what she is going to get.

This is a delightful, colourful read not just with the main characters, but the other villagers and the descriptions of the flowers and gardens themselves. You could almost smell some of the flowers I am sure. That is how much the book drew me in.

Rachel Lucas manages to bring together some unlikely women and show that the most oddest of friendships work, and that is really a true reflection of life too. And whilst some may say it has a romantic predictability about it, it actually has bucket loads of warmth and is a good read.

If you are a fan of Katie Fforde, Trisha Ashley, Carole Matthews to name a few then you will certainly be in good company with Rachel Lucas.

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20