Claude’s Christmas Adventure – Sophie Pembroke – 4*Review

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This Christmas a little dog is in for a BIG adventure…

Meet Claude. He’s a loveable, big-eared, permanently hungry French Bulldog, who loves his humans – the McCawley family of number 11 Maple Drive to be precise.

When Daisy and Oliver McCawley start using new words like, ‘ferry’, ‘chateau’ and ‘France’, Claude realises they won’t be spending this Christmas at home. Only, when he finds himself on the street, as the family car pulls away, Claude realises he is ALONE. And more importantly, he is without all the yummy treats he knows the festive season brings…

Cue the start of Claude’s Christmas Adventure. It all begins with a belly-flop through next door’s catflap, where he finds newly single and craft-a-holic Holly, Jack the ex-army postman, his arch nemesis Perdita the cat … and serious amounts of gingerbread.

Maple Drive’s cutest resident is about to bring the street together for Christmas, in ways no-one could have imagined …

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Claude’s Christmas Adventure

I read this lovely Christmas story a few weeks ago but the characters and humour have stayed with me and I am smiling again as I write this review. Although the circumstances leading up to Claude’s Christmas adventure seem unlikely, this doesn’t stop you enjoying it and becoming absorbed in the lives of the family who leave him behind and the street who take him in when they do.
Vivid characters and events characterise this Christmas tale, it’s easy to see it as a Christmas romantic comedy film. Naughty but loveable dogs, demanding children and an overworked mum, who has forgotten who she is as she tries to please everyone at Christmas with predictably disastrous results.
The characters are strong and realistic. Claude’s pursuit of gingerbread and his lost family brings, lots of laughs, poignancy and a delicious sprinkling of romance.
A light-hearted festive read, from a doggy perspective, which is worth reading.
I received copy of this book from Avon books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Claude’s Christmas Adventure by Sophie Pembroke

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Claude’s Christmas Adventure by Sophie Pembroke

Sophie Pembroke

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Author Blog Challenge: Things I Collect

My family definitely believe I’m a collector. I’m not particularly materialistic but  I do become attached to my things and find it difficult to  get rid of them, even when they’re old and past it.

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Soft Toys

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I’ve never outgrown my love of soft, cuddly toys. I had a vast collection when I was a child, some of which are just about in existence, in a bag in the loft. Every time we move house they appear and my husband says, “shall we get rid of these?” I open up  the bag and look at the contents and the memories come flooding back and I can’t bear to throw them away.

I also have a collection of soft toys  that my husband and children have bought me over the years, some of these are still on display in my bedroom, they’re like old friends. 🙂

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My daughter and to a lesser extent my son, loved ‘Beanie Babies’, a popular collectible in the ‘nineties’. Needless to say I couldn’t part with these either and they are in bags in various storage areas in the house. Maybe my grandson will like them, when he’s old enough?

Books

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I love reading and so books are definitely something I like to collect, although it’s rare that I read them more than once. This resulted in numerous bookcases. Then a few years ago. I discovered  Kindle and now 99%  of my books are eBooks. I still collect and read prolifically but it takes less space, which is fortunate as my current modern house is not abundant with storage spaces.

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Waifs  and Strays

 This is more of a lifestyle choice rather than a hobby. I love animals and since I’ve been married I’ve been lucky enough to have lots of animals companions. Many of these turned up on my  doorstep and I didn’t have the heart to turn them away.

 When I married in the ‘eighties’, our first house was a terrace in a rundown part of town. Needless to say, there were more than a few homeless cats and they seemed to realise,  I wouldn’t be able  to turn them away. When I was ready to move to house number two, I had five cats, two adopted from my next door neighbour as kittens and three strays .

Oby my nine year old Border Collie/ German Shepherd cross, is the latest addition to the family. My husband spotted his sad story, by chance, on his social media and once he’d showed me, Oby was always going to join  our family and we’re so glad he did. Especially  Jazz  who’s had a great time over the last three years with his new pal.

So,  I think you can gather from this post that I’m a  collector, I also love, pictures, glassware and plants. I only have a cottage garden now but its packed full with plants and miniature fruit trees. 

 

 

What about you? What do you  like to collect? Comment on my post or join in on Twitter -#LifeBooksWriting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written Fireside – Part 4 by Jane Hunt

This is my first Written Fireside story and I’ve really enjoyed reading the first three parts and writing this, Part 4 of ‘Can’t You See?’

loriconnellyh_cantyousee1Noah Hale is an author suffering from PTSD related insomnia, needing peace and sleep. All he wants is to be left alone. A certain little dog has other ideas.

Amanda Bell, a teacher, is grieving the loss of her sister, Rachel. Caring for her sister’s dog is comforting until a new neighbor moves in the other half of her duplex. Suddenly, the dog starts escaping her yard, running off to the man on the other side of the fence.

Part 1 by Lori Connelly

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Part 2 by Elsa Winckler PlanB-cover-195x300Cover-Love-in-writing-367-kb-196x300Touched-small-cover_Final200-196x300Part 3 by Angela Campbell

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Now read Part 4 by Jane Hunt

loriconnellyh_cantyousee1Say something Noah. His mouth opened and shut without uttering a syllable, the words whirling around in his brain were hardly appropriate. Aroused, his body inched closer to the now slightly impatient woman, hoping to put his thoughts into action. Fortunately, common sense prevailed. He smiled and stepped back allowing her into his narrow hallway. “Sure, I’ll get my cell phone; the house phone hasn’t been connected yet.” Amanda, cast a fleeting look behind her. “Hoping for a more suitable knight errant?” The jibe tripped off Noah’s tongue without consideration and he instantly regretted it. A faint blush stained her otherwise pale face, which bore no or little make up, this wasn’t a contrived visit then.

With a slight shake of her head Amanda stepped into the dimly lit hallway. “I’m so sorry to disturb you, again but Gertie pushed the door shut whilst I was on the patio and I can’t get back in.”

Noah indicated that she should go into the lounge, wondering where he last saw his cell phone. “Quite a talented dog you have, a pity she hasn’t learnt to unlock doors too.” Remembering where he last saw his phone, he headed for his bedroom. “Sit down I won’t be a minute.”

***

Amanda perched her butt on the closest chair and sighed, her gaze drawn to Noah’s muscled legs and firm rear, as he headed out of the room. Amanda hated imposing but she had little choice in the circumstances. She shivered and rubbed her clammy arms, against the sudden chill. The tap pants and top she wore revealed more than they hid and were hardly suitable attire for visiting a strange man’s house. Gertie’s fault again. She appeared determined to throw them together. The dog’s clumsy matchmaking made her think of Rachel. Tears clouded her vision, as she recalled her sister’s persistent attempts to find Amanda the perfect man. Heavy footsteps echoed on the wooden floor, she wiped the tears away with the back of her hand, as Noah walked into the room.

He handed her his cell phone. “Help yourself, would you like a drink, I only have iced tea, milk or fruit juice, no beer I’m afraid.” Noah’s gentle voice revealed his concern; he must have seen her crying.

“Iced tea would be lovely; I don’t suppose you have a number for a locksmith?”

“Sorry, no, I haven’t but I could try my key, they may be similar?”

“The automatic lock must be on the door but it’s worth a try, if you don’t mind, thank you.” Amanda smiled.

“I’ll get your drink.” Noah brushed by her as he headed for the kitchen.

She shivered again. Amanda ignored the butterflies in her stomach; there was something about his eyes that made her think of white cotton sheet and hot steamy nights. Heat flooded her body in a blush that betrayed her thoughts, thankfully she was alone.

***

Noah opened the bottle of peach tea and poured it into a long glass; he took a juice for him and carried the drinks into the lounge.  Slim, tanned legs filled his gaze, as he stood in the doorway. Long, dark hair cascaded over her bare shoulders, as she stared out into the garden. “It’s a lovely night; do you want to take them outside?”

Amanda started. “Could we take them next door? I’m worried about Gertie; she’s really needy since my sister…died.” Tears filled Amanda’s blue eyes and ran down her flushed cheeks.

The reason for her earlier crying explained; Noah placed the drinks on the coffee table and perched on the arm of Amanda’s chair. He brushed her tears gently away with his thumb, aware of how soft her skin was. She stared at him, her gaze full of pain. It was like looking in the mirror and he closed his eyes against his own fears. “I’m sorry for your loss.”

“Thank you, I’m sorry for the tears, they creep up on me and…”

“It’s fine, she was your sister, and you need to grieve.” Noah’s thumb rested at the side of Amanda’s lips, he wanted to brush his thumb against their softness, taste their inevitable sweetness but the vulnerability in her gaze, made him stop. He stood up and passed her the iced tea. Her hands shook slightly but she took the glass. He drank his juice quickly, suddenly anxious to be alone again.” Let’s go and do battle with your door.”

Amanda nodded.

***

Gertie anxiously pawed at the glass door as they approached. She jumped up and down and chased her tail in circles, yapping pitifully, when they didn’t immediately release her.

“It’s alright Gertie, you’re not alone now. Let’s try this key and see what happens.” Noah’s deep, calm voice apparently soothed the frightened dog and she lay down in front of the door, her chin resting on her paws.

“You obviously have the magic touch with animals. I’ve never had a dog before, I’m not even sure if she likes me, only the treats I give her,” Amanda said gloomily.

“I’m sure she likes you just fine, she’s maybe missing your sister too. Give her time, she’ll learn to love you and you her, I’m sure,” Noah offered as he wiggled the key in the lock, with little effect.” It’s not going to work, you better search on my cell phone for a locksmith, unless I can hoist you through that window, you’re small enough to fit through the gap. What do you say?” Noah’s smile reached his green eyed gaze and his face became even more striking, the pain Amanda glimpsed earlier absent.

“Well if there’s no other way, I don’t have much choice. Are you sure you can support my weight?” Amanda queried.

“What are you about one hundred and twenty pounds?” Noah said.

“Yeah about that,” Amanda confirmed, “Okay let’s get this over with.”

Noah placed his hand just above Amanda’s hips trying to ignore the silk of her brief tap pants and the tantalizing split that revealed more thigh than was good for his blood pressure. “Ready, when I say go, reach for the window frame and then twist your body into the open window. I’ll hold you steady until you get into the house.” Noah slowed his breathing and concentrated on his task. Amanda trusted him, even though she didn’t know him and he wouldn’t let her down.

“Okay, I’m ready.” Amanda leaned into Noah to make his task easier.

If only she didn’t smell so damn good. “Right, Go!” Noah boosted Amanda’s slim body, up the side of the duplex, level with the gap in the window.” Now try and ease yourself into the space, don’t worry, I’ve got you.” Noah’s veins stood out against his tanned skin, with the strain but his grip didn’t falter.

“I’m nearly there can you lift me a little higher?” Amanda said as she twisted and squirmed her supple body into the tiny space afforded by the open window. “I’m in”

Noah’s arms relaxed as Amanda’s weight left them. A loud bang drew his gaze. “Amanda? Are you alright?” Inside, Gertie jumped up and ran in the direction of the noise.

“Arghh.” Amanda’s screams echoed into the night’s stillness.

Noah fought against the dark shadows and screams ringing in his ears, he needed to help Amanda. Sweat drenched his T-shirt, as he judged the gap in the window, it was too small for him to get through but at least he could see inside. He stepped onto the window sill and pulled his body up the side of the house, nearly there, another scream. Numb, he let go, lost in the shadows and falling…

Read Part 5 written by Charlotte Phillips on July 21

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Winter Wonderland

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The first real snow of winter fell on Boxing Day afternoon. There was lots of it and it certainly made for an enchanted walk with Jazz and Oby this morning.

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The trail where we walked was completely covered in deep snow, which Jazz loved.

Oby soon realised playing in the snow was great fun.

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Unfortunately many of the lovely trees were bowed down with the weight of the snow,which made it more of an obstacle course than a morning stroll.

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One of the lakes was frozen.

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The swans still swam and fed in the other one.

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It was a lovely walk.

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The Revenge Masquerade Cover  October 26 14

The Dragon Legacy Series
The Dragon Legacy Series

 

 

 

 

What This Writer Does When She Should Be Writing. Postscript…

 So we all know writers are often solitary creatures who spend long periods of time with their laptops typing furiously, if their muse is with them, or looking into space, if it isn’t. I’d hoped to do lots of writing this week but after spending the entire day, Sunday and mine started at 5 am, on my edits for The Revenge Masquerade , I seem to have burnt myself out  which makes my NaNo task an uphill battle.  So I thought I would share what I have been doing this week in the hope my writer friends will empathise and tell me next week will be better. 🙂

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So when I’m not writing, I drink coffee out of pretty mugs and pretend I’m getting in the mood for  writing my historical novel.

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DSCN9162DSCN9163DSCN9167 Or I relax in lovely bath, with one of my birthday bath bombs from Lush – this one’s called Sex Bomb. 🙂

 

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One of my favourite ways to relax and think is walking my dogs, especially on a crisp autumn morning.

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Then Jazz and Oby chill.

 

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And I bake…Red Velvet and Lemon Meringue cup cakes.

 

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Or if I really feel like a challenge… I decide to unpack my new fridge-freezer, which stands over 6ft and is 7 inches taller than me.   Thankfully I lived to bore you with tell the tale but it was  a near thing.  🙂 Worth it though it’s so pretty.

Past Shadows Cover

 

 It’s definitely safer if I write and that’s what I’ll be doing tomorrow. 🙂

THE REVENGE MASQ-LARGE

 

 P.S – 7th November

 I received my second round of edits at 5.03am, and I am happy to write that I have just returned them completed, 14 hours later, yay! #amwriting  #amediting. 🙂

 

What This Writer Does When She Should Be Writing.

 So we all know writers are often solitary creatures who spend long periods of time with their laptops typing furiously, if their muse is with them, or looking into space, if it isn’t. I’d hoped to do lots of writing this week but after spending the entire day, Sunday and mine started at 5 am, on my edits for The Revenge Masquerade , I seem to have burnt myself out  which makes my NaNo task an uphill battle.  So I thought I would share what I have been doing this week in the hope my writer friends will empathise and tell me next week will be better. 🙂

DSCN9144

So when I’m not writing, I drink coffee out of pretty mugs and pretend I’m getting in the mood for  writing my historical novel.

DSCN9158

DSCN9162DSCN9163DSCN9167 Or I relax in lovely bath, with one of my birthday bath bombs from Lush – this one’s called Sex Bomb. 🙂

 

DSCN9170 DSCN9171 DSCN9172 DSCN9173

One of my favourite ways to relax and think is walking my dogs, especially on a crisp autumn morning.

DSCN9151 DSCN9152 DSCN9193 DSCN9192

Then Jazz and Oby chill.

 

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And I bake…Red Velvet and Lemon Meringue cup cakes.

 

DSCN9194 (2)

Or if I really feel like a challenge… I decide to unpack my new fridge-freezer, which stands over 6ft and is 7 inches taller than me.   Thankfully I lived to bore you with tell the tale but it was  a near thing.  🙂 Worth it though it’s so pretty.

Past Shadows Cover

 

 It’s definitely safer if I write and that’s what I’ll be doing tomorrow. 🙂

 

Jazz and Oby On Holiday

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Jazz
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Oby

It’s no secret that I  love my dogs. Jazz and Oby are my constant companions when writing. Vince and I both love the countryside  and walking,so it makes perfect sense to take the dogs on holiday with us. Oby has been part of the family for just over ten months and  this is his first holiday with us.

Bamburgh Castle
Bamburgh Castle

 Yesterday it was raining in the morning so we all chilled. I secretly think Jazz and Oby were glad of the extra rest since they have been having lots of exercise. The sun made a dazzling appearance in the late afternoon so we took the dogs, now bouncy and raring to go to Beadnell beach. We passed Bamburgh castle on the way and I couldn’t resist taking a few more photographs from  the roadside.

 

Bamburgh Castle
Bamburgh Castle

Beadnell has a lovely beach  surrounding Beadnell bay which is very popular with surfers. Notably it has the only west facing harbour on the east coast of England.

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Beadnell Beach

 It is bordered with sand dunes where lots of pretty flowers manage to grow despite the harsh conditions.

Flowers on Beadnell Bay
Flowers on Beadnell Bay

I like this beach because at this time of the year it isn’t overcrowded and there is plenty of space for the dogs to run and play.

Sand Dunes on Beadnell Bay
Sand Dunes on Beadnell Bay

As you can see from the pictures Jazz and Oby seem to be having a great time. 🙂

Jazz on the beach
Jazz on the beach
Jazz and Oby paddling in the sea
Jazz and Oby paddling in the sea
Oby playing ball
Oby playing ball

 

Jazz in pursuit
Jazz in pursuit
Come and play Oby
Come and play Oby
Dogs having fun
Dogs having fun

 

Jazz in action
Jazz in action

 

Race you...
Race you…

Jazz is 10 Today

 Jazz is ten years old and to celebrate I thought I would share his day so far with you.

 The day started early… A 7am walk in the sunshine.

DSCN0483No time to pose for photos there’s too much exploring to do.

DSCN0495 Oby says he doesn’t mind posing for the camera 🙂

 DSCN0505  DSCN0496 DSCN0516 DSCN0518  DSCN0513  On our walk…

I saw lots of lovely wild flowers.

Some new foals too.

 

DSCN0526Oby needed a sleep when we got home.

 

DSCN0527Jazz was too excited to sleep.

When is it present time?

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 At last time for my present 🙂

Oby got one too!

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 Happy Birthday Jazz

 

Spring Bank Holiday Morning Walk with Jazz and Oby

 

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Jazz
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Oby

After a typical UK Bank Holiday weekend – wet. Today dawned dry and sunny so we decided to take the dogs Jazz and Oby on an early morning walk. They had such fun I thought I would share a few photos with you. 🙂

DSCN0213 They are impatient to start their walk…

 

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There were lots of pretty wildflowers to see on the walk but Jazz and Oby didn’t want to hang around.

 

Come on Jane stop taking photos and less run :-)
Come on Jane stop taking photos and let’s run and play 🙂

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These sticks taste good Oby.
These sticks taste good Oby.
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Quick Vince is going without us. Run!

And finally its a rest in the sun back at home

 

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 Great walk 🙂

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