Posted in Book Review

Blog Tour: Caroline Roberts The Cosy Seaside Chocolate Shop – 5*Review

 

When Emma opened her gorgeous little chocolate shop in the harbour village of Warktonby-the-Sea, she realised a lifelong dream. Love is also blossoming with her hunky beau, Max, who’s slowly healing her fragile heart. Summer is here, and life has never felt so sweet. Until the rain clouds start to gather… A rival sweet shop and killjoy landlord give Emma a headache, and when a face from the past turns up unannounced, Emma finds herself spiralling down memory lane. With Max’s crazy work schedule driving him to distraction, Emma’s in danger of making some choices she might regret . . . With close friends, spaniel Alfie, and the whole village behind her, can Emma get the chocolate shop and her love life back on track? Only time will tell in this deliciously romantic novel of love, loss, hope and second chances.

Amazon UK

Amazon

 

Tips for Writers: By Caroline Roberts

Write what you are passionate about. If you love what you write this will make the writing process so much easier, and it will come through to readers (and hopefully publishers/agents if you are looking to be published) and spark their imagination and interest too.

Finish the book! Don’t pressure yourself that it has to be perfect. Just keep going forward and get the story out. Make time to write regularly, and you will get there. Editing is for later.

 Submitting – If publication is your aim, finish the whole book, check it over and polish up your first 3 chapters, spend time on your synopsis and cover letter, and only then start sending it out. Try to be as professional as possible. Do your research on who you are submitting to – and send exactly what they ask for. (Try the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook and use Google to help find suitable agents and publishers, then read their websites carefully). Do try and personalise your cover letter to show you have spent time finding out about them/their company.

 PERSEVERE – the submission process can be long and hard, and rejection is never easy. Try not to take it too personally – easier said than done, I know – but keep going and try to learn from any critical feedback you might get and keep writing. It might be your second or third novel or even a short story or poem that gets someone’s attention. Don’t give up!

Link up with other writers. Look for local groups or groups within your genre. For me, the support and friendship within organisations such as The Romantic Novelists’ Association were,  and still is, invaluable. (It was only by taking a deep breath and pitching at the RNA Conference that I got my book deal with HarperCollins and my agent.)

 Good luck!

My Thoughts…

Any story that features Northumberland gets my attention and having read the first book in the series ‘The Cosy Christmas Chocolate Shop’ I was looking forward to seeing what happens next to Emma and Max, whose deepening relationship faces several tests in this Summer story.

Emma’s business is growing, but despite her hard work and creativity, she is still at the mercy of an unscrupulous landlord. There are lots of colourful events in this book, including prosecco parties and food festivals. They celebrate the culture and vivacity of Northumberland life adding both authenticity and depth to this romantic story.

Emma’s tragic loss of her fiance Luke made her wary of falling in love again, and even though she is committed to Max now, the unexpected appearance of a face from the past makes her remember what she’s lost and threatens her future happiness.

The village characters make this romantic tale resonate, they are believable and demonstrate the community spirit associated with English village life. There’s also plenty of gossip and lots of advice, not all of it welcome but again this underpins village England and makes the story realistic.

The lovely chocolate descriptions are a bonus, so good you can almost taste them. Recipes are included at the back of the book if you want to sample the chocolate delights.

The ending is heartstoppingly romantic, the perfect conclusion to this sweet story.

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

Family, friends, food, a glass of bubbly and, of course, a good book make Caroline smile. She loves writing emotional stories about love, loss, betrayal and family, which explore how complex and yet beautiful love can be. She also likes to write romantic comedy, letting the characters have a bit of fun too! Caroline believes in following your dreams, which led her to HarperImpulse and a publishing deal after many years of writing. Stunning Northumberland is her home – sandy beaches, castles and gorgeous countryside have inspired her writing! 

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Posted in Book Review

A Country Escape – 5* Review Kate Fforde

Fran has always wanted to be a farmer. And now it looks as if her childhood dream is about to come true.

She has just moved into a beautiful but very run-down farm in the Cotswolds, currently owned by an old aunt who has told Fran that if she manages to turn the place around in a year, the farm will be hers.

But Fran knows nothing about farming. She might even be afraid of cows.

She’s going to need a lot of help from her best friend Issi, and also from her wealthy and very eligible neighbour – who might just have his own reasons for being so supportive.

Is it the farm he is interested in? Or Fran herself?

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Thoughts…

A possible inheritance, a rundown farm, rare breed cows and cheese may seem to be strange themes for a romance but when Fran takes a chance on ‘the good life’, she becomes involved with all of the above and finds that love happens in the most unusual places.

‘A Country Escape’, begins for Fran when she leaves her cheffing job in London to run a distant relative’s farm after she moved into a care home. The farm is rundown but has potential, the question is, has Fran the expertise and finance to realise it?
‘A Country Escape’, gives the reader a chance to do just that. From the first page, you experience life in the countryside with a delightful array of characters both human and animal.

Courage, loyalty and tenacity are all characteristics that aptly describe Fran, she wants to experience something new and is willing to risk everything to have the lifestyle she craves. Antony is a successful businessman as well as the ‘man next door’ he is more than helpful and seems to be the perfect neighbour, but her cousin Amy has warned Fran about his motives, so can she trust him?

Both the characters and the plot are realistic. Dairy farming and artisan cheesemaking are vividly described and allow the reader to experience what Fran does; this makes the story come to life.
There is plenty of angst; the appearance of Roy, a rival for the inheritance, and Amy’s fickleness towards Fran’s attempts at running the farm. Both of these sources of conflict, make Fran believe she will never achieve her goal.

There is a lovely romantic thread to this story; it seems nothing is too much trouble for Antony where Fran is concerned, and Issi finds that everything to do with cows is enthralling when the herdsman Tig shares them with her. Both romances are affected by the outcome of the inheritance. Is this Antony’s real interest in Fran, and what will happen to Issi and Tig, if he loses his home and livelihood? The delightful ending has both poignant and romantic elements.

A lovely romantic tale, which provides the reader with everything they need to enjoy an escape to the country.

I received a copy of this book from Random House UK Cornerstone – Century via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Posted in Inspiration

More from Northumberland #Inspiration

Now I’m back from my holiday in Northumberland. I have a few more memories to share with you. The weather was less than perfect but we still managed to get on the beach with our dogs. In the evening the open fire kept us lovely and warm.

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I really do love this part of England, the coastline is rugged and wild and the castles are imposing and  full of memories of years gone by.

I particularly enjoyed staying at Letterbox Cottage , West Burton which used to be a farm worker’s cottage. Originally it was only one storey with three rooms but another level was added in 1942.

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There was a lovely walled garden, which the dogs loved and lots of wild birds came to visit. Wagtails and Jackdaws, both favourites of mine, were frequent visitors.

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The windows had views of Bamburgh castle and lots of fields with horses, cows and sheep. It was beautifully rural and lovely to see animals in the fields as they should be.

 

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#Loving # Northumberland