Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Extract, Family Drama, Friendship, Romance

Shooting Stars Over Bluebell Cliff Della Galton 5*#Review @DellaGalton @BoldwoodBooks @rararesources #Family #UpLit #Romance #Dating #RealityTV #Dreams #Friendship #BlogTour #BookReview #boldwoodbloggers

There’s someone out there for everyone… you just need to know where to look…

All NEW from bestselling author Della Galton.

Unlucky in love Poppy Allen is the producer of a brand-new TV show, ‘Date for a Day’ – think ‘Take Me Out’ meets ‘It’s a Knockout’!

Lovelorn contestants must perform a series of seaside challenges to win the hand of the starring lady and a ‘Date for a Day’.

Left heartbroken when Stephen, her childhood sweetheart eloped with her best friend on her hen night – Poppy has no plans to risk her own heart again. Besides, she’s far too busy filming contestants against the backdrop of the beautiful Bluebell Cliff Hotel and the stunning Jurassic Dorset coastline.

However, when sabotage on set threatens to stop shooting, Poppy discovers soulmates can be found in the most unexpected places…

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Boldwood Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Set on the Dorset coast, this book focuses on Poppy, a film producer and a pilot for a reality TV dating show. This is topical contemporary fiction, and whilst I am not a fan of reality TV, going behind the scenes with Poppy and her film crew makes this absorbing reading.

Poppy is career orientated after being practically jilted at the altar. She has a supportive family who we discover lots about and good work friends, particularly Dave, her camera director. At the heart of this story is a lovely gentle friends-to-lovers romance that is heartwarming. There is also plenty of family drama which adds to the story and shows what a loving and loyal person Poppy is. The filming of the pilot of the Dating reality show is interesting full of humour and conflict, which adds authenticity to the story. The setting at Bluebell cliff brings cameos from some well-known characters and a wonderfully described setting.

This is a lovely, uplifting story, with family drama, glamour and romance.

Extract from Shooting Stars Over Bluebell Cliff – Della Galton

Poppy Allen took a gulp of the fresh, brine-scented air and shielded her eyes against the winter sunshine as she looked out across the strip of pale sand. It was warm for February and the sea was flat and calm. She wasn’t the only one making the most of the stunning early-morning weather. Out in the bay, a small boat towed a waterskier in a black wetsuit past Old Harry Rocks. He bounced across the navy sea and Poppy could hear the distant drone of the boat’s engine beneath the mewling cries of the gulls. 

Her ankle boots sank into the powdery sand as she twirled slowly around. Wow, this was a beautiful location to film. In her mind’s eye, she saw a pair of chestnut horses cantering in slow motion through the surf into a sunset that painted the sky pink and gold and turned the sea all around into a mirror of rose-tinted glass. 

Which way was west? She checked her smartphone. Oh God, it was perfect. The sun would set over Brownsea Island. They might be able to use this very stretch of beach for that part of her show. 

People raved about Dorset’s beaches. Bournemouth drew the crowds, but, in her opinion, Studland Beach was better. It was wilder, with no neat prom and no pier. Just a backdrop of sand dunes dotted with scrubby grass that stretched away into the distance. It was so much more romantic than its staid sister, Bournemouth, certainly for what she had in mind. 

Date for a Day, a new kind of dating show, was Poppy’s brainchild. Billed as a cross between Take Me Out and It’s a Knockout, it involved seven contestants participating in challenges to win the attention of the picker. Netflix had commissioned a pilot that would be shown in the autumn. Poppy was determined to make it a hit. Being a producer was all she’d ever wanted to do and she was passionate about her work. 

Poppy turned back towards the chain ferry, which was docking again. It came from Sandbanks three times an hour and the crossing took four minutes. From her flat on Poole Quay, it was quicker to come by ferry. The alternative was a very scenic forty-minute drive (on a good day) through Wareham and the Isle of Purbeck. 

The ferry disgorged a handful of cars from the 9 a.m. crossing. She had got the one before. She never slept much past dawn anyway. Dave would probably be on this one. It had been tricky to get him to agree to such an early start, especially as he was – technically – working for nothing today. This was a pre-recce excursion, prior to bringing in her full crew. She could have done it by herself, but she wanted a sounding board and Dave had agreed to keep her company after she’d caught him in a weak moment last week following a shoot. 

She’d known Dave Blackwell for a lot longer than he’d been her preferred director of photography – they had worked for other production companies together before she’d set up her own, Beauty Spot Productions, eighteen months ago, and they’d become good friends. There was no one she trusted more to help her bring her dream to life. 

Poppy felt a prickle of excitement run down her back as she looked around her. It might be too busy to film here, but there were other more secluded, even more beautiful, beaches in this bay. 

She glanced back towards the National Trust car park and saw Dave’s old black Mercedes pulling in and parking beside her metallic-silver Jeep Renegade. Too impatient to wait, she set off to meet him. 

Della Galton

Della Galton is the author of many books, including Ice and a Slice.  She writes short stories, teaches writing groups and is Agony Aunt for Writers Forum Magazine.  She lives in Dorset. Della’s new fiction series launched with Sunshine Over Bluebell Cliff in May 2020.

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Read my review of Moonlight Over Studland Bay

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Medical Romance, Romance

The Cornish Midwife Jo Bartlett 4*#Review @J_B_Writer @BoldwoodBooks #BlogTour @rararesources #boldwoodbloggers #Cornwall #Coastal #BookReview #TheCornishMidwife

WELCOME TO THE BEAUTIFUL SEASIDE TOWN OF PORT AGNES.

A fresh start…

Midwife Ella Mehenick left the small Cornish town of Port Agnes for London and never looked back. But when her seemingly perfect life crashes down around her, there’s only one place she can heal her battered heart – the place she once called home. 

A new arrival…

Ella is quickly welcomed into the small community midwife team and loves her new job caring for mums and their precious babies – it’s what she does best! But being back also means facing ex-flame Dan Ferguson…the first man to break her heart. 

A second chance at love?

Dan is still as gorgeous as ever, but he’s never forgiven Ella for leaving. And now she’s back it’s clear that there is unfinished business between them. As Ella settles into her new/old life, she can’t stop the memories of how she once loved Dan so completely – and maybe never stopped.

Maybe coming home to Cornwall is Ella’s chance to love again…

Meet The Cornish Midwives of Port Agnes- where community, friendship and love are always delivered.

This book was previously published as Return to Port Agnes.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Boldwood Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This book has the perfect balance of drama, humour and romance to keep me turning the pages. Ella returns home to heal after her engagement ends disastrously. She wants to hide, but the community at Port Agnes won’t allow that and draw her into their close-knit, and for the most part, comforting world.

The immersive writing style is engaging, and the characters are relatable. The vividly depicted Cornish setting has memorable characters. The author highlights contemporary issues that affect coastal communities adding authenticity.

The community midwives team give the story its focus, with many heartwarming and poignant moments. There is a sense of camaraderie that is believable. Ella’s life in Port Agnes is about second chances, new and rekindled friendships, a rebuilding of self-esteem and romantic possibilities with the man she left behind.

This is a lovely story.

Jo Bartlett is the bestselling author of nineteen women’s fiction titles. She fits her writing in between her two day jobs as an educational consultant and university lecturer and lives with her family and three dogs on the Kent coast. Boldwood is publishing the first title in The Cornish Midwife Series – part of a twelve-book deal – in April 2021.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Extract, Family Drama, Friendship, Holiday Romance, Mystery, Romance

Summer Kisses at Mermaid Point Sarah Bennett 5*#Review @BoldwoodBooks @Sarahlou_writes @rararesources #mystery #romance #family #coastal #community #boldwoodbloggers #MondayBlogs #BlogTour #BookReview #Extract

Laurie Morgan runs a café in the small seaside community of Mermaids Point, named after the beauties rumoured to live in the waters a few miles off the top of the point. When a hazy image is posted online of what appears to be a mermaid, the café and the village are soon full to bursting with curious sightseers. 

The most eye-catching of the new arrivals is handsome author, Jake Smith, who has rented a cottage for the summer while he works on his new book. Or so he says. In fact, he is a journalist, burned out and disillusioned with life, whose editor has sent him on a crack-pot hunt for mermaids…

Jake quickly finds himself drawn to village life, and to the gorgeous woman who runs the local café. But he soon suspects there’s trouble lurking beneath the idyllic façade, and when it looks like Laurie’s family might be involved, Jake faces a difficult choice. Pursue the truth, or protect the woman he’s beginning to fall in love with…

Warm, escapist, feel-good and altogether brilliant story-telling from bestselling author Sarah Bennett.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Boldwood Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This first book in the Mermaid Point trilogy focuses on Laurie and Jake. It explores family, community and the power of social media. The romance is gentle but conflicted, both have emotional issues, and Jake is not what he seems.

The family drama element is pivotal, and it’s interesting to meet Laurie’s family. There is humour, much of it self-deprecating but also poignancy. The problems faced by the coastal town are pertinent and add to the story’s authenticity.

Believable characters, humour, mystery, and romance make this an enjoyable read.

Sarah Bennett

Sarah Bennett is the bestselling author of several romantic fiction trilogies including those set in Butterfly Cove and Lavender Bay. Born and raised in a military family she is happily married to her own Officer and when not reading or writing enjoys sailing the high seas. The first book in her new Mermaids Point trilogy for Boldwood will be published in Spring 2021.

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Extract from Summer Kisses at Mermaids Point – Sarah Bennett.

Laurie Morgan surveyed the mostly empty tables on the opposite side of the counter. Barbara Mitchell and her best friend, Kitty Duke, were at their usual spot in the corner, knitting tiny hats for a charity which donated them to premature baby units around the country, but other than them she’d had nobody in since the breakfast rush. Turning her gaze to the raindrops streaking the plate-glass window of her café, Laurie squinted through the rivulets of water. She could just about make out the view beyond the window. With the clouds so thick and low, it was all but impossible to distinguish where the sky met the sea turning everything into a wall of miserable grey. What a difference a day makes

This time yesterday she’d barely been able to hear herself think over the hubbub of conversation, teacups rattling on saucers and forks scraping on plates, thanks to a visiting WI coach trip. They’d all but eaten her out of that day’s baking, and she’d had to hastily defrost a couple of emergency Victoria sponges to make sure her lunchtime regulars had something to go with their sandwiches. It wasn’t only her cake stock which had taken a beating; one look at the queue snaking halfway around the café from the visitors’ bathroom had her scrambling for her phone to send an SOS text to her brother, Nick, begging him to do an emergency run to the corner shop to replenish her dwindling supply of toilet paper. Of course, he’d found the whole thing hilarious and insisted on making a big entrance through the front door like some white knight come to save the day, rather than sneaking in through the back entrance and leaving them in the stock room, which also served the gift shop their parents ran next door. 

A ripple of laughter from the corner table drew Laurie’s attention from the gloomy weather. She watched Barbara and Kitty for a few minutes, full of admiration for the way their needles flashed back and forth without hesitation. Neither woman spared much more than the odd glance to their knitting as they chatted. Her nan had tried to teach Laurie to knit as a child but, as with all the other crafty type activities she’d tried over the years, she’d found it impossible to get to grips with. Being the only left-hander in the family hadn’t helped as everything they tried to show her felt awkward and clumsy. Even now, at just shy of twenty-three, she had to concentrate when using her knife and fork or she would find herself pulling things apart with the fork in her naturally dominant left hand. Thankfully, when it came to cooking and baking it didn’t matter which hand she held a knife with and she’d spent many happy hours at her nan’s knee learning the basics and discovering a true passion. It had been a gamble on her parents’ part when she’d come to them with the idea of converting one end of their sprawling seafront shop into a café, but they’d decided it was one worth taking. If they hadn’t, it would’ve left Laurie facing the prospect of leaving Mermaids Point to seek employment in one of the bigger towns and cities. Having grown up a stone’s throw from the ever-changing tides of the Atlantic Ocean, the prospect of moving in land had filled her with dread. 

She’d always been drawn to the sea. Whatever the season, there was beauty to be found. From the balmy summer days when the shiny white triangles of pleasure boat sails dotted the gentle waves, to the roiling majesty of a winter storm in full tumult when even the hardiest of the local fishermen kept their boats secured in the sheltered bay. Even on a filthy day like today she’d rather be out than in. Her eyes roamed the café once more. If business didn’t pick up after lunch, maybe she’d flick the closed sign over, tug on a hat, turn up her collar and snatch a few moments of peace on the wet sands of the beach. 

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Romance

Finding Love at Mermaid Terrace Kate Forster 5*#Review @kateforester @Aria_Fiction @HoZ_Books #Romance #Friendship #BlogTour #BookReview #FindingLove #MondayBlogs

Tressa Buckland likes her quiet life in Port Lowdy, with its cobbled streets and colourful terraced houses overlooking the sea. Her job at the local paper allows her to pursue her art in her free time, with no one but her tabby cat Ginger Pickles to mind her in Mermaid Terrace. But then the owner of the paper is called away on an emergency, and it’s up to Tressa to run the paper for six months. Her first task: find a new part-time journalist.

Dan Byrne is the angriest man in Ireland – or so the readers of his very successful column, ‘Dan takes on the world’, think. But after a story goes south and he loses his job in Dublin, Dan has no choice but to start afresh. When an opportunity comes up in sleepy Cornwall, Dan and his Golden Retriever Ritchie set off for a new adventure.

For Tressa, Dan’s arrival to Port Lowdy changes everything. Tressa tries not to look too deeply at her own life, but Dan sees a story to uncover in absolutely everyone – even her. The two of them couldn’t be more different… yet, if they can find a way to work together, they may just breathe new life and joy into this sleepy seaside village.

Finding Love at Mermaid Terrace is a heartwarming new village romance about the power of love and kindness, from the bestselling author of Starting Over at Acorn Cottage.

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I received a copy of this book from Aria via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts….

Tressa loves Port Lowdy’s old fashioned community spirit. An illness in her surrogate family upturns her quiet and undemanding life. Responsible for the village newspaper she needs a journalist. Investigative journalist, Dan’s quest for justice forces him out of his job and home, so he’s looking for somewhere to regroup.

Tressa and Dan have to learn to work together and respect the other. This leads to conflict and humorous situations, but they learn to trust and forge a friendship that leads to romance. Within the wider community, relatable characters hide surprising stories, and the antics of the animal characters provide many humorous moments.

Well-paced, heartwarming and uplifting this is the perfect book to escape with.

Kate Forster

Kate Forster lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband, two children and dogs and can be found nursing a laptop, surrounded by magazines and talking on the phone, usually all at once. She is an avid follower of fashion, fame and all things pop culture and is also an excellent dinner party guest who always brings gossip and champagne.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Extract, Family Drama, Friendship, Romance

Moonlight Over Studland Bay Della Galton 5*#Review @DellaGalton @BoldwoodBooks @rararesources #Family #UpLit #Romance #Animals #Dreams #Friendship #BlogTour #BookReview #boldwoodbloggers #PublicationDay

‘Utterly uplifting, pure escapism’ Trisha Ashley, bestselling author

Animal loving Samantha Jones is on a mission to ‘live the dream’.
When best friend Abby has a beautiful baby boy Sam’s priorities change and she realises she wants more from her life.

Uninspired with her dull day job Sam plans to expand Purbeck Pooches, her seaside pet sitting business into a full-time career and embarks on a mission to find her perfect man.

Sam soon hits trouble. Her boss accuses her of moonlighting. The perfect man is frustratingly elusive and her parents make a shock revelation.

The odds are stacking up against her but Sam finds that sometimes when you reach for the moon, you get a handful of glittering stars thrown in for free.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Boldwood Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is an engaging story about friendship, families and following your dreams set in a Dorset coastal vista. Sam is a great best friend as Abby finds when she turns up on her doorstep heartbroken and pregnant. Sam’s day job as an audio typist is a means to an end. It’s her hobby job as a dog walker and animal sitter that gives her the life she aspires to. Finding the ideal man doesn’t even make her wishlist after her latest heartbreak, but this story shows that following your dreams can lead to some surprising benefits.

Friendship is the predominant theme in this story, but gentle romance makes a lasting impact as Sam’s story progresses. The romantic male lead is not at all stereotypical, which adds authenticity to this heartwarming story. There are lots of lovely characters all believably flawed and one or two eccentrics that given the story its vivacity. The protagonists are older, which reflects contemporary society well.

This is a story about ordinary folks in everyday situations, but their friendship and love are extraordinary. This quality shines through, in insightful, and sensitive writing, making this an escapist, and uplifting book to read.

Extract from Moonlight Over Studland Bay – Della Galton

Sam Jones was beginning to feel a great deal more stressed than she had when she had left Beach Cottage, her home overlooking Studland Bay in one of the most beautiful spots in Dorset, fifteen minutes earlier. Her hands felt slippery on the steering wheel. It was hot for June, plus annoyingly a section of her long dark hair had escaped from its butterfly clip and was flicking round her face as she drove. This was because all of the car windows were down. Abby, who was half sitting, half lying on the back seat, had said she needed the air.

‘Can’t you drive any bloody faster, Sam? I’m in agony here.’

She glanced in the rear view mirror and saw that her best friend and housemate – they’d met in year seven and had been inseparable ever since – was thrashing about. Her head was thrown back, her white blonde hair fanned out against the headrest and her flushed face was screwed up in a very good impression of someone in agony. But, as Abby was prone to exaggeration, if not a full-on drama queen, Sam was nowhere near as worried as she might otherwise have been.

Sometimes she thought the only thing she and Abby now had in common was the fact they were both thirty-six. They had been born exactly a month apart – Sam on 10 May and Abby on 10 June. A month had a lot to answer for in astrology terms. Not that Sam put as much faith in astrology as Abby did. This morning, Abby’s Three-Word Fun Horoscope, which she read every day on her app, had said, ‘Don’t go yet’. Abby, as ever, had put her faith in that until she couldn’t hold off any longer, which is why they were racing along in the car now.

‘Honey, half an hour ago you didn’t want to come,’ Sam pointed out gently. ‘You were dead set on having a home birth. And I can’t drive any faster, it won’t do us any good if I crash.’ Also, she was worried about the two mousetraps, both of which contained live mice, which she’d just remembered were on the back seat of the car in a brown paper bag. The traps were shut, but if they tipped off the seat they might open and release their cargo and Abby was terrified of mice. If there was one thing worse than having a pain-ridden Abby in labour in her car, it was having a pain-ridden and panic-stricken Abby in labour in her car.

Sam knew she should have moved the humane mousetraps before they’d set out, but in all the panic of racing around the house gathering up all the stuff that Abby hadn’t bothered packing because ‘no way am I having an unnatural hospital birth,’ it had slipped her mind that they were there. Fortunately they hadn’t been in situ very long; she had planned to release the occupants in the woods on her way back to get Abby, before she’d realised quite how urgent things had become.

Della Galton

Della Galton is the author of 15 books, including Ice and a Slice.  She writes short stories, teaches writing groups and is Agony Aunt for Writers Forum Magazine.  She lives in Dorset. Della’s new fiction series launched with Sunshine Over Bluebell Cliff in May 2020.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, Holiday Romance, Mystery, Romance

A Perfect Cornish Escape Phillipa Ashley 5* #Review @PhillipaAshley @AvonBooksUK #BlogTour #BookReview #PorthmellowHarbour #Cornwall #Romance #UpLit #mystery #APerfectCornishEscape #MondayBlogs #MondayMorning #MondayMotivation

Summer in Cornwall is the perfect time for a fresh start…

Seven years ago, Marina Hudson’s husband was lost at sea. She vowed to love Nate for the rest of her life – but when kind-hearted Lachlan arrives in Porthmellow, should she deny herself another chance at happiness?

Tiff Trescott was living life to the full as a journalist in London – until her boyfriend’s betrayal brought it all crashing down. Fleeing to her cousin Marina’s cottage, Tiff feels like a fish-out-of-water. And when brooding local Dirk wins a day with her in a charity auction, she’s thrown headfirst into Cornish life.

This summer promises new beginnings for both Tiff and Marina. But are they too good to be true?

Escape to Cornwall with this emotional, uplifting read. 

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Avon Books UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Whether you are a lover of this series or are reading this as a standalone, it’s a great read.

Marina’s husband Nate disappeared at seas seven years ago. She has learnt to live again by focusing on her teaching and volunteer work. Having her cousin Tiff to stay as she runs from her imploding London life is just what she needs. Meeting Lachlan is unexpected and lovely, but both have painful pasts, which they need to overcome.

Tiff’s reputation is in ruins. After her lover’s betrayal, she’s sworn off men too. Dirk dislikes journalists, but he is irresistible at least physically. This is a tumultuous relationship full of anger and passion.

The main protagonists are likeable, and the romance is diverse and lovely. The community is full of colourful characters, some familiar. The Cornish setting is stunning and wild and provides the location for, the wave watchers and the lifeboat rescues.

There is plenty of conflict and twists, and even if you guess the main one, I did, it’s still an engaging, exciting romantic read.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Parenting and Famlies, Romance

A Wedding at the Beach Hut Veronica Henry 5*#Review @Veronica_Henry @orionbooks #FamilyDrama #UpLit #Coastal #Friendship #Parents #Children #Wedding #RandomThingsTours #BlogTour #BookReview @annecater

Escape to Everdene, where the sun is shining and the tide is about to turn . . .

Robyn and Jake are planning their dream wedding at the family beach hut. Just their favourite people, a picnic on the sand and dancing barefoot until sunset: simple, stylish, special.

But Robyn can’t stop thinking about her birth mother, or the box she left when she gave Robyn up for adoption. Is now the right time to open it and discover the truth – or will she break the hearts of the people she loves most?

Sheila and Mick, Robyn’s parents, also feel the time is right for change. But it’s going to take courage to start the life they want for themselves.

And far away, Emily is still haunted by the life-changing decision she made one summer, thirty years ago. What could lead a mother to relinquish her child?

As the big day approaches, can everyone let go of the past and step into a bright new future?

One thing is certain: this will be the wedding that changes everything …

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Orion in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This book has all the ingredients for a perfect escapist read. There are complex and engaging characters who are easy to empathise, a delightful coastal setting with a quintessential English beach hut and a family drama that oozes with emotion, love and secrets.

Robyn’s life is about the change in the best of ways she pregnant and getting married. A likeable quirky character she is one half of a successful landscaping team with her partner in life Jake Her only quandary is whether to search for her birth mother.

This story weaves storylines of loss and love with effortless ease. The wedding is the focal point but it’s about so much more.

Veronica Henry

Veronica Henry is the Sunday Times bestselling author of twenty novels. She was a scriptwriter for some of our best-loved dramas such as The Archers, Heartbeat and Holby City before she turned to fiction. She lives in North Devon with three sons who come and go with the tide, and she flips between walking on the beach, swimming in the sea and mixing killer Negronis. 

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, Humour, Motivational, Romance

Meet Me At Pebble Beach Bella Osborne 5*#Review @osborne_bella @AvonBooksUK #Romance #Friendships #Life #uplit #humour #BlogTour #BookReview #coastal #seaside

Regan is holding a winning lottery ticket.
Goodbye to the boyfriend who never had her back, and so long to the job she can’t stand!
Except it’s all a bit too good to be true…

When Regan gets pranked, she finds herself jobless, homeless and boyfriendless in one fell swoop.

Luckily her friendly seaside community provides a beacon of hope, proving to Regan that sometimes you really can rely on the kindness of others – and one local in particular, a handsome fireman called Charlie, helps Regan realise that this could be her chance for a fresh start.

Armed with a list of ways to change her life, Regan decides it’s time to step out of her comfort zone. Because – as Charlie knows all too well – life is for living . . .

Goodreads

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I received a copy of this book from Avon Books UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Regan didn’t immediately appeal to me. I’m a neat freak and sympathised with Jarvis, her ultra tidy boyfriend, but she redeemed herself, within a few pages, with her caring attitude and sense of humour. Regan thinks her life is changing for the better then it doesn’t, but maybe, it does? Just when you think things may be okay fate intervenes.

Humour and poignancy give way to darker issues and real sadness as this story progresses. Regan and Charlie’s conflicted romance forces her to concentrate on finding a new career and move her life forward. Kevin and Elvis are poignant characters and easy to empathise. Friendship, humour, mystery, romance and sadness are all integral to this story.

Regan grows in insight and understanding as she faces heartbreak and tough choices. Her honesty endears her to her friends and the reader. The book concludes with questions answered, mysteries solved and an innate sense of justice.

With relatable characters, humour, poignancy, romance and secrets, this story engages from its exciting beginning, through heartbreak to its positive ending.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, Novella, Romantic Comedy

A Cornish Summer Holiday Little Duck Pond Cafe Rosie Green 4* #Review @Rosie_Green1988 @rararesources #RachelsRandomResources #RomCom #Loss #Cornwall #rural #Friendship #BlogTour #BookReview #ACornishSummerHoliday #LittleDuckPondCafe #novella #FridayMorning #FridayFeeling #FridayMotivation

The Little Duck Pond Cafe girls are looking forward to a well-earned break in the Cornish seaside town of Pengully Sands, where Sylvia’s sister, Aggie, owns a holiday home. With the glorious golden sands, sparkling azure sea and an ice-cream parlour only yards away, it seems like the perfect location to relax and watch the surfers riding the waves (and maybe even have a go themselves). But when they arrive, the girls find it’s not quite the seaside idyll they were expecting. The house is less ‘holiday home’ and more ‘creepy, dilapidated haunted house.’ Gracie, who runs the ice-cream parlour, has problems of her own and the last thing she needs is a bunch of high-spirited girls arriving to disturb the peace and isolation she craves. And when a handsome stranger looks set to destroy her livelihood, it seems like the last straw. Will Gracie get her happy ending – and maybe even make friends with the girls next-door? This wasn’t the relaxing break the Little Duck Pond Cafe girls were expecting, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be the holiday of a lifetime!

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Book ten of this popular series is my first experience with The Little Duck Pond Cafe series, which reads as a standalone. The girls are on a sabbatical from the cafe. They travel to Cornwall for a luxury coastal holiday, but everything is not as planned.

The dual perspective story contrasts between the girls’ camaraderie and new character’s Gracie’s isolation. There are lots of sad moments interspersed with fun mayhem and romance.

This is a lovely tale of friendship loss and love. Complex characters interact well making you want to read the earlier books in the series.

Rosie Green

Rosie has been scribbling stories ever since she was little.

Back then, they were rip-roaring adventure tales with a young heroine in perilous danger of falling off a cliff or being tied up by ‘the baddies’.

Thankfully, Rosie has moved on somewhat, and now much prefers to write romantic comedies that melt your heart and make you smile, with really not much perilous danger involved at all – unless you count the heroine losing her heart in love.

Her series of novellas is centred around life in a village cafe. The latest, ‘ A Cornish Summer Holiday Little Duck Pond Cafe’, is out now.

Rosie is currently writing a full-length book, ‘Lucy’s Great Cornish Escape’, which – in a fun twist – will feature favourite characters from the Little Duck Pond Café series.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Family Drama, Friendship, Guest post, Murder Mystery, Mystery, Noir

Death of a Mermaid Lesley Thomson 4* #Review @LesleyJmThomson @HoZ_Books @Aria_Fiction #BlogTour #BookReview #DeathofaMermaid #MurderMystery #Coastal #Mystery #noircrime #Friendships #ComingofAge

Freddy left her childhood home in Newhaven twenty-two years ago and swore never to return. But now her parents are dead, and she’s back in her hometown to help her brothers manage the family fishmonger. Nothing here has changed: the stink of fish coming up from the marshes; the shopping trolleys half-buried by muddy tides; the neighbours sniffing for a new piece of gossip.

It’s not what Freddy would have chosen, but at least while she’s here she’ll get to see her childhood best friends, Toni and Pauline. At school, the three of them were inseparable. The teachers called them the Mermaids for their obsession with the sea, and with each other.

Then Pauline goes missing, and Freddy must decide. Go back to her new life, or stay and find her friend?

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I received a copy of this book from Head of Zeus via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This atmospheric story is a fusion of murder mystery, coming of age friendships and noir crime. Set in coastal Newhaven the setting adds to the story’s sense of mystery. Freddy and her two friends were inseparable as youngsters, experimenting with life and love.

Told from three points of view there are many suspects in the murder mystery. The plot is cleverly constructed and until the end conceals as much as it reveals. The story explores relatable contemporary issues such as abuse and bullying.

The suspense builds slowly in the detailed plot and nothing is certain until the end.

An absorbing believable story.

Guest Post – Death of a Mermaid –  Lesley Thomson – Researching fact for fiction

Death of a Mermaid, is a murder mystery set in Newhaven, a port town in East Sussex. This took me into the world of trawlers, fish, Catholicism and a small animal hotel. When I had the idea, I knew little if nothing about any of these subjects.

I do a lot of research for my novels. Some of this is on the internet and I read books and articles. I talk with people who do the jobs I plan for my characters. For the sake of Jack Harmon, train driver in The Detective’s Daughter series, I rode in the cab of a London Underground train. Stella Darnell’s detective dad showed his little girl the horses at Hammersmith Police Stables. When I went, I mistook a row of loudhailers on a wall for hairdryers. All grist to the mill. In Kew Garden’s Herbarium are plant specimens – thrillingly called ‘dead materials’ – discovered by Charles Darwin. Had I stayed longer in the vast Victorian chamber with spiral staircases the naphthalene that nineteenth century botanists used to preserve specimens and in which they were still steeped, would have killed me. Great stuff.

For all this only a tenth of what I learn reaches the story.

On a hot spring day I visited a pets’ hotel called Creature Comforts. Many guests were out of their hutches basking in wire runs on the hotel’s lawn. There was Mr Bun the white rabbit, a lion-headed rabbit appropriately named Simba and regular residents the guinea pigs, Minty and Angelica. George, an ancient parrot preened himself on his perch. Intermittently he embarked on spelling out his name, always stopping ‘r’ before discriminately squawking, ‘I love you.

Jane the proprietor explained the hotel’s daily doings. On her guests’ behalf, she pens the owners postcards filled with news of how their creatures pass the time. The pets too are on their holidays. Jane hosts a variety of small animals and birds including hamsters – Dougal rolled past in a Perspex ball – cockatiels and budgies. Degus, Jane warned (Tinkerbell and Nibbles being examples) are tricky. At mealtimes, sniffing pastures new, they can shoot from their cages and whizzing out at top speed are nearly impossible to retrieve. As I scribbled in my notebook, I concocted the scene. An escaped degu – in Death of a Mermaid I call him Roddy – is the stuff of drama. As Jane explained the ins and outs of the hotel, I knew I had struck gold.

I was invited to Waitrose at dawn one morning. In my novel 40-year-old Freddie Power manages the fish counter in the supermarket’s Liverpool branch. In overalls and hairnet, I watched Steve the manager shovel ice onto a display shelf. With an artist’s flair, species by species, he arranged the sea’s produce, bass, salmon, prawns, scallops, cod. All garnished with lemons, parsley and samphire. Yesterday’s unsold fish goes at the front. Good detail. Freddy will do that.

In Death of a Mermaid Freddy, Toni and Mags had met at convent school in Newhaven during the eighties. The actual convent was evacuated to Hampshire in the second-world war after it was bombed by the Germans. In reality, it never returned to the town. In my novel, it’s still there. The girls call themselves the Mermaids after Disney’s The Little Mermaid. In service to my novel, I watched the film several times. Sebastian the Crab singing Under the Sea to Ariel remains an exasperating earworm!

My research is not only to gather facts. The inspiration and energy I get from  conversations, reading, ‘field trips’ to locations like Newhaven and it’s beaches fuel my writing as I draft and redraft the novel.

As I said, not all I discover goes into the novel. To reach the page, a fact must contribute to the plot. I’m afraid that George the parrot ended up on the cutting room floor.

Lesley Thomson

Lesley Thomson grew up in west London. Her first novel, A Kind of Vanishing, won the People’s Book Prize in 2010. Her second novel, The Detective’s Daughter, was a number 1 bestseller and sold over 500,000 copies.

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