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

Confetti Over Bluebell Cliff Della Galton 5*#Review @DellaGalton @BoldwoodBooks @rararesources #Family #Romance #selfimage #Friendship #BlogTour #BookReview #boldwoodbloggers #ConfettiOverBluebellCliff

Art dealer Ruby Lambert is on a mission to lose her baby weight ahead of her sister Olivia’s wedding in 6 months’ time. To add fuel to the fire, Ruby has also been ‘honoured’ with the unenviable task of being Head Bridesmaid. So determined not to let Olivia down, she signs up to a swanky new diet & fitness club, The Bluebell Booty Busters.
Uncertain of what to expect Ruby meets Harry Small, a wealthy local businessman who ‘joins’ Booty Busters, after pressure from his wife, who’s worried about his health and growing waistline.
Ruby and Harry soon team up as diet buddies, supporting each other through their dieting crises. But something seems amiss at Booty Busters when they both discover that if it looks too good to be true; it probably is….
Will Ruby and Harry ever reach their targets?
And will Ruby do her sister proud and be the Belle of the Ball?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This story has an original theme explored through believable characters, which engender the reader’s empathy. A slow-burn romance is at its heart, but it also explores themes of self-esteem, body image, controlling relationships and friendship.

Ruby is looking forward to being a bridesmaid for her sister’s wedding, but she would like to look good in the wedding photographs. Joining a new diet and fitness group at the local hotel is the perfect opportunity. She meets some interesting people there, including Harry, the only man there also wanting to lose weight but his reasons for doing so are more complex and darker.

Told from Ruby and Harry’s viewpoints, this is their story that begins with camaraderie and develops into something more. Characters from previous books in the series feature too, which is great for those familiar with the Bluebell Cliff hotel, but if not, it’s a perfect place to start the series.

Mr B, the arrogant chef fond of playing practical jokes on others, is on form in this book, but this is a lovely escapist read. It’s easy to become immersed in the character’s life in this idyllic setting.

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 Sunshine Over Bluebell Cliff

Read my review of Moonlight Over Studland Bay

Read my review of Shooting Stars Over Bluebell Cliff

Read my review of Sunrise over Pebble Beach

Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, New Books, Romance, Romantic Comedy, Serial, Travel

The Great Summer Street Party – Sunshine and Cider Cake Georgia Hill 5*#Review @georgiawrites @0neMoreChapter_ #BookReview #series #coastal #romcom #community #Dorset #TheGreatSummerStreetParty #weekendreads

Welcome to Berecombe-by-the-Sea for a year of very special celebrations…

This year sees the seventy-fifth anniversary of D-Day. We owe an enormous debt of gratitude to those brave boys who went to fight on French beaches for our freedom.

And now Berecombe is playing host to our American allies once more. All surviving soldiers who were billeted in the town have been invited for street parties, a D-Day parade, a black-tie ball at The Henville and much, much more.

So, come along, get dressed up and join in the fun!

Ashley Lyddon arrives in the quaint coastal community of Berecombe feeling more than a little lost. The former art teacher desperately needs a fresh start after a car accident that cost her everything. How is it that the town’s older residents seem to have more zest for life than she does?

A certain American history lecturer, Eddie McQueen, has also blown into town, just like the GIs did seventy-five years previously. Then, as now, they shook things up and left secrets trailing in their wake.

Ashley knows all too well, like the D-Day soldiers, that laying the past to rest is easier said than done although her new community seems to believe that tea and cake – lots and lots of cake – solves most of life’s problems. And as Ashley is forced to admit, they are nearly always right…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This promises to be a delightful series. Berecome-by-Sea is getting ready to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the D Day landings, and this story introduces so lovely new characters and some well-loved favourites.

Ashley is in Berecome, trying to heal and make a new start after a horrific car accident changed her life. Noah, her cousin, is organising the anniversary celebrations. They have a believable connection. Eddie is visiting the town to discover more about his Grandfather and is teaching at the local college. Ashley and Eddie’s first meeting shows how the accident affected her and his innate kindness. The chemistry between them is tangible, and there is the possibility of romance. Biddy and Beryl add humour to the mix, and there is a host of other characters to make this an uplifting read.

I love the gentle romance and supportive friendships in this first book of the series.

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

Sunrise Over Pebble Bay Della Galton 5*#Review @DellaGalton @BoldwoodBooks @rararesources #Family #Romance #Friendship #BlogTour #BookReview #boldwoodbloggers #SunriseOverPebbleBay

All NEW – Escape to Dorset and the beautiful Chesil Beach with bestselling author Della Galton.

Talented, yet relatively unknown actress and celebration cake baker extraordinaire Olivia Lambert is running out of time.

Approaching forty, she’s yet to land the role that will launch her television career and she’s desperate to be a mum.

Her new man, Phil Grimshaw from the Bluebell Cliff Hotel, seems the perfect match, but seems to be in no rush to settle down.

Having ditched her childhood sweetheart and fiancé, Tom Boyd, when he backtracked about being a dad, Olivia dreads making the same mistake again.

Rocked by confessions from both her sister Ruby and Tom, Olivia knows it’s time to make some life changing decisions.

Then a terrifying incident off Chesil Beach changes the course of her future and brings Olivia to question everything she values and loves.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is book four in this series set in Dorset, and it feels like the last one?

It focuses on Olivia, an actress on the brink of her best role, and Phil the maitre d’ at the Bluebell Cliff hotel. Phil is a recurring character, so it’s good to see him get his story too. Olivia pays the bills by making celebration cakes and excels at this, despite a few humorous mishaps on the way.

Olivia’s is not close to her family in the traditional sense, but there is a lot of love, especially between Olivia and her aunt Dawn. Olivia’s relationship with her sister develops positively. Olivia wants children, and this overriding need is explored insightfully in this story.

It’s a medley of family drama, relationships and romance against a Dorset backdrop which adds vivacity. There is humour to balance the poignant moments, which makes this an uplifting read.

The epilogue suggests this may be the last one as it draws the series together well.

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 Shooting Stars Over Bluebell Cliff

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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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, Cozy Mystery, Family Drama, Friendship, Romance

Sunshine Over BlueBell Cliff Della Galton 5*#Review @DellaGalton @BoldwoodBooks @rararesources #RachelsRandomResources #cozymystery #UpLit #Romance #Friendship #BlogTour #BookReview.

A place to make your dreams come true…

Clara King is left in sole charge of a fabulous new clifftop hotel for the summer. The owner has barely left the country when Clara realises that someone is hell-bent on putting the Bluebell Cliff out of business.

It becomes a race against time to hunt down the sneaky saboteur before they succeed in bringing the hotel to its knees.

​Meanwhile, Clara’s family is in crisis following her Grandfather’s affair. 

​With her dream job under threat and her personal life in chaos, Clara discovers when what you love the most is in danger it can bring out the very best in you.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The perfect book to curl up with and escape. A lovely coastal setting, intriguing cozy mystery and gentle romance, beset with conflict. Clara copes with running an inspirational hotel, family dramas at every turn and some sinister goings-on, which threaten the hotel’s reputation.

This story has a beautifully described setting that makes you want to say there. Full of vivid imagery reading this is a pleasure for the senses. Authentically created characters hide problems and secrets. The mystery is well written and gives the story added depth.

Besieged with conflict, somehow the romance triumphs and the ending is uplifting and satisfying.

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.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, Giveaway, Historical Romance, Paranormal, Romance

On A Falling Tide Georgia Hill 5* #Review @georgiawrites @BLKDOGBooks @rararesources #timeslip #Victorian #women #romance #Friendship #FamilyDrama #Ancestry #LymeRegis #Dorset #BlogTour #BookReview #jurassiccoast

Two women. Connected by heartbreak, separated in time. Can Charity save the man she loves, or will Lydia’s vengeful spirit prove too strong?

Two haunting love stories and a hundred and fifty-year-old curse …

When the beloved grandfather who brought her up dies, Charity is left struggling to cope. Alone and rootless, she’s drawn to the sleepy fishing village of Beaumouth near Lyme Regis and begins to research her family tree. A chance encounter with attractive boat-builder Matt sparks a chain of mysterious and unsettling events and leads Charity to uncover the story of a young girl who lived in the village over a hundred years before.

In 1863 all Lydia Pavey wants to do is follow in Mary Anning’s footsteps and become a ‘fossilist.’ Instead, she is being forced into marriage to a man she barely knows.

Charity’s obsession with Lydia becomes all-consuming and she risks losing everything. With a longed-for family tantalisingly in reach, will Charity find the happy ever after she’s yearned for and, most importantly, can she save the man she loves?

Amazon UK Amazon Black Dog Publishing

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

My Thoughts…

If you are torn between reading contemporary romance and historical fiction this lovely, gothic-inspired story gives you both. Charity bereaved, after losing her final family member, the grandfather who raised her, is struggling with her mental health, and her feelings of self -worth.

Needing to escape her old life to aid her healing, she visits the Jurassic coast. Somewhere her grandfather said they had family connections, although he would never visit the area. Drawn by the cliffs she has a serendipitous meeting with Dolly, the Springer Spaniel and Matt, the attraction is instant, even though he is rescuing her from a muddy situation.

The story follows Charity’s life in Lyme and Beaumont and is filled with authentic, complex characters, who draw her into their community and make her feel part of something. There are conflicts with Saskia, and indecision and fear over her growing feeling for Matt.

Interwoven, with this contemporary tale, is a strange, sad and sinister encounter with a woman on the beach. Charity’s research into her ancestry, reveals information about the mysterious woman. Charity is drawn into another world. Her mental health makes her questions, whether this is a delusion. It threatens her growing attachment with Matt, but she is hypnotised by its power and cannot stop it even with it puts her in danger.

The timeslip into Victorian times is realistic, given the fragility of Charity’s mental health, and her crippling grief. The folklore about a ghost near the cliffs gives credence to her experiences. The stories are woven together so well, one informs the other, and introduces powerful conflict.

Atmospheric, poignant and menacing, it builds to the climax. This story’s haunting, gothic quality, fuses perfectly with an engaging conflict-ridden contemporary romance. The ending is a lovely conclusion to a very enjoyable story.

Georgia Hill

Georgia Hill writes best-selling romcoms and historical fiction with romance at the heart. Although she writes in two genres, they have more in common than you might think; she puts serious issues into her romcoms and lots of humour into her historical novels. She lives by the sea in the south west of England with her two beloved dogs – a spaniel and a delinquent cockapoo puppy, her husband (also beloved and not at all delinquent) and a ghost called Zoe. She loves Jane Austen, elephants, Belgian chocolate (all donations gratefully received) and Strictly Come Dancing. Her stories come from everywhere and anything, so be careful what you tell her as you may end up in a book. She also finds inspiration in the folklore and history of the many places in which she’s lived. To put it politely, she’s had a portfolio career having worked in the theatre, for a charity and as a teacher and educational consultant before giving in and finally acknowledging that making up things was what she really wanted to do. She has a nasty addiction to moving house but is trying to overcome this. After one house move too many, she lost all her notebooks and decided to stop talking about writing and actually do some. She’s been happily creating believably flawed heroines, intriguing men and page-turning stories ever since.

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Giveaway to Win PBs of On a Falling Tide and While I was Waiting. (Open to UK & Ireland)

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*Terms and Conditions –UK & Ireland entries welcome.  Please enter using the Giveaway Link above.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for the fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Extract, Guest post, Romance

Secrets of the Mist Kate Ryder 5*#Review @Aria_Fiction @KateRyder_Books #BlogTour #GuestPost #Extract #Timeslip #Romance #EnglishCivilWar #HistoricalRomance #Supernatural #Love #Relationships #Dorset #VillageLife #BookReview

#SecretsoftheMist

A gorgeous timeslip romance.

Maddie is restless in London. She has friends, a job and a sort-of boyfriend, but something in her life is missing. Then she visits the ancient village of Walditch, deep in the Dorset countryside. Something stirs in her, and on a whim she buys a centuries-old cottage and moves there three months later. Her friends think she’s crazy, but for Maddie it feels like coming home.

Late at night in the cottage, Maddie hears strange noises and sees mist gathering indoors and out. When she starts investigating the cottage’s history, she becomes drawn into the tragic story of a family who lived here 400 years ago. Meanwhile, Maddie starts to fall in love with a local carpenter – but he has a relationship already…

Can Maddie solve the riddle of the past? What is her connection with the family that lived there so many years ago? And can she and her true love ever be together?

Previously published as The Forgotten Promise.

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#AriaBlogTour

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

My Thoughts…

I live in a sixteenth-century converted barn, and just standing in it, thinking how long it has stood over looking the Exmoor landscape is awe inspiring. So, I can fully appreciate the inspiration behind, this lovely timeslip romance set in Dorset.

Serendipity plays an important part in this book. I was drawn to Maddie’s story, as soon as I read about her unexplained, and out of character attraction to the old cottage, formerly a blacksmith’s, when she visited the village as part of her work. The story is cleverly written, so that Maddie’s experiences at the cottage are believable. Set in the present, as she brings her new home up to date, there are many slips into the past as historic events and a time defying love unfolds.

Maddie’s leaves a well-paid career and a glamorous life in London behind her. At a crossroads in her life she is not sure why, but as the story progresses, things start to fall into place. Her meeting and attraction to Nick is powerful but fraught with conflict. Their chance of something developing seems remote.

The characters are complex and realistic, the situations they find themselves in believable. The pacing and the timeslip element make this an absorbing read. I couldn’t put it down, literally I read it into the night.

The poignant ending is perfect, and the epilogue draws everything together in this gentle, timeslip, romantic story.

Guest Post – Kate Ryder – Secrets of the Mist

Hello Jane,

I’m so thrilled to be invited on your guest post.  Thank you!

Do you ever wish you had a second chance to meet someone again for the first time?  I have explored this theme in Secrets of the Mist, a time slip romance that encompasses self-discovery and a great love resonating across the ages.  With supernatural, historical and geographical overtones, it should appeal to fans of Kate Mosse, Diana Gabaldon and Barbara Erskine.

A few years ago, my husband and I moved to Cornwall and bought a derelict, 200 year old cottage.  Whilst carrying out extensive renovations and taking the cottage back to its shell, we discovered a time capsule left by a previous owner.  The contents were fascinating, if not that old (circa 1980), and made me consider previous occupants during the past two centuries, the lives they led and the dramas that may have taken place within the four walls of our cottage.

Apart from spending days mixing cement, procuring building materials and helping to install the plumbing and electrics (must remember to add these to my CV!) I was also selling complementary health products at country fairs throughout Devon and Cornwall.  One day, a chance conversation with a fellow trader set my creative juices flowing as she described a Dartmoor cottage she once owned, which had an unusual, internal stained-glass window and unaccountable cold corners.  Well… that was all the encouragement I needed!

At the time I was a member of a local writers group and, suitably fired up, I penned a short story.  The room fell silent as I read it out to my fellow writers and all wanted to know what happened next.  During this period I had to travel up to the South East on a fairly regular basis.  On one particular trip I took a detour to Dorset and discovered the villages of Walditch and Shipton Gorge, which became the setting for the tale.  Furthermore, whilst researching the villages and surrounding area, I uncovered historic events on which to pin the story.  Three months – I mentioned I was fired up, didn’t I? – and 85,000 words later, I had a novel!

I self-published the book as The Forgotten Promise, and this version achieved one of the first Chill with a Book “Book of the Month” awards.  I am very fortunate that Aria agreed to publish the novel and, with further time-slip development, it is now Secrets of the Mist.  Lastly, but by no means least, I must mention the lovely cover, which has a softly haunting feel and is totally appropriate to the story.

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Kate Ryder writes romantic suspense with a true-to-life narrative. Her passion is writing (a period during which she studied acting only confirmed her preference for writing rather than performing!). Since then she has worked in the publishing, tour operating and property industries, and has travelled widely. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Society of Authors. Kate lives in Cornwall with her husband and a newly acquired rescue cat.

In 2017 Kate signed a 4-book publishing contract with Aria (digital imprint of award-winning independent publisher, Head of Zeus). Her first novel, ‘Summer in a Cornish Cove’, saw her nominated for the RNA’s 2018 Joan Hessayon award. Under its original self-published title, ‘The Forgotten Promise’, ‘Secrets of the Mist’, was shortlisted for Choc Lit’s “Search for a Star” and awarded a Chill with a Book “Book of the Month”.

Extract From: Secrets of the Mists – Kate Ryder

We arrived in Walditch late morning, having first visited the Bridport estate agents, Randall & Mather, to pick up the keys for The Olde Smithy. As we pulled up alongside Walditch village green I noticed a few people already sitting outside the Blacksmith’s Arms. Casually, I wondered if there might be an opportunity of work in that establishment.

Clambering down from the van, I stretched and rubbed my hands together. ‘OK, let’s get cracking.’

Over the next couple of hours we unloaded the van, depositing bags and furniture in various rooms. Dan hit his head several times on the low beams of the downstairs rooms, but I had no such trouble. At five feet four inches I was a good ten inches shorter.

‘Must have been midgets in the seventeenth century!’ he muttered, ferociously rubbing his skull.

According to Randall & Mather, the cottage dated back to the mid-1600s, in part. The property details stated: A charming, two-bedroom period cottage situated in Walditch, a village set deep in hilly countryside yet only a mile from Bridport and West Bay. The Olde Smithy offers discerning buyers an opportunity to put their stamp on a property steeped in history but with all modern-day conveniences.

The sitting/dining room, kitchen and master bedroom were in the original part of the building, and all had heavily beamed ceilings and uneven floors, while a two-storey extension, built during the late 1980s, created a hallway, downstairs bathroom and first-floor guest bedroom. A small, overgrown, cottage-style garden to the front opened directly onto the village green and to the rear, immediately accessed from the kitchen, was a courtyard created by a collection of outhouses, one being an outside privy. A pathway led past the outbuildings to a further area of overgrown garden where there were three gnarled and twisted fruit trees, in desperate need of pruning, and the outline of a long-forgotten vegetable bed. To my delight, at the far end, was a neglected pond.

The day passed quickly and we busied ourselves unpacking boxes, stacking shelves and filling cupboards. I had energy to spare. Soon, the cottage soon took shape and by the time the elongating shadows of the oak tree encroached upon the front garden it felt homely. Only the last remaining packing boxes stacked in the hallway and the lack of curtains at the windows declared me a new occupant. I made a mental note to buy fabric during the next few days to remedy this, as I’d been unable to salvage any window dressings from the flat. Being a Victorian conversion, the apartment had tall sash windows to which the landlord had fitted vertical blinds.

As the day progressed, Dan regained a cheerful disposition and his earlier melancholy evaporated. He was busy cleaning the fireplace as I rummaged through a box in the kitchen, searching for elusive teabags. I paused and looked around appreciatively at the beams, the flagstone floor and the view of the courtyard through the small-paned windows. I could already see next spring’s hanging baskets on the outhouse walls. I smiled, instinctively knowing that all that had gone before was simply leading to this day.

‘Hey, Mads, take a look at this,’ Dan called from the sitting room.

I turned and walked to the doorway. A thick haze filled the room and I marvelled at how much dust he’d created. I was about to suggest he let in some fresh air when I noticed all the windows were open wide. I frowned. How strange… The room was full of fog and yet there was a strong breeze blowing outside.

It must have been a trick of the light because, as Dan turned, his blond hair appeared darker and longer and he seemed less tall and lean; an altogether rougher version. I blinked and shook my head, as if brushing away the image. As quickly as he had appeared altered, there he was, once again, the Dan I knew.

‘What have you found?’ I walked across the room and saw a small opening in the stonework to one side of the inglenook. ‘How did that happen?’

‘One of the stones was loose. It came away quite easily when I investigated. I think there’s something behind it.’

‘Clear away a bit more,’ I said, enthusiastically. ‘It might be a bread oven.’

Placing his long fingers into the gap, he teased away at the stones around the opening. For a moment nothing happened but then one suddenly shifted, coming away in his hand. There was a definite edge to the hole. I peered inside at a hidden void.

‘Wow, how exciting!’

Without hesitation, I inserted my hand and felt around, unsure what I expected to find, but apart from a thick layer of dust and rubble, the alcove was empty. Disappointment flooded through me.

‘I’ll make a feature of it,’ I said. ‘I’ll visit a reclamation yard and find a door that fits.’

‘This cottage will give up more of its secrets as time goes by.’

As Dan spoke the words I became aware of an expectant stillness in the air.

‘Why did you say that?’ I asked sharply.

‘Well, these old places always have secrets, don’t they? And this one’s had four hundred years to collect them.’

Suddenly I felt hot and short of breath. Feeling dizzy, I reached out for Dan, as if trying to hold on to something solid; something I could trust.

He caught hold of my arm. ‘Hey, steady, Mads!’

Beads of perspiration pricked my forehead and I struggled to hold back rising nausea.

‘You OK?’ Dan asked with concern.

‘I just need some fresh air,’ I gasped.

‘Tell you what – let’s abandon the tea thing and go to the pub instead.’ This was his answer to most things.

‘Yeah, I could do with a drink.’

He smiled at me.

‘And dinner’s on me,’ I said weakly, hurrying towards the door.

‘Now, there’s an offer I can’t possibly refuse, but won’t that be a tad messy?’

Posted in Book Review, Friendship, Holiday Romance, Romance, Romantic Comedy

A Wedding at the Comfort Food Cafe – 5* #Review – Debbie Johnson @Harper Impulse @debbiemjohnson

Wedding bells ring out in Budbury as the Comfort Food Café and its cosy community of regulars are gearing up for a big celebration…

But Auburn Longville doesn’t have time for that! Between caring for her poorly mum, moving in with her sister and running the local pharmacy, life is busy enough – and it’s about to get busier. Chaos arrives in the form of a figure from her past putting her quaint village life and new relationship with gorgeous Finn Jensen in jeopardy. It’s time for Auburn to face up to some life-changing decisions.

Settle in for a slice of wedding cake at the Comfort Food Café – a place where friendships are made for life and nobody ever wants to leave.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The Comfort Food Cafe has been a favourite read, since its inception. There is so much to love, with its quirky characters looking for someone to love them and give them a second chance. Cake to die for, and a wonderful sense of community and friendship that symbolises the ethos of these heartwarming, humorous and ultimately happy stories.

The final book in the series has a very special wedding. Laura was our first introduction to the cafe and her story is still one of my favourites. It made me cry, laugh out loud and empathise will her trials and tribulations. Auburn is our narrator for this final book in the series, and even though she fits right into the Budbury and the cafe community, she is keeping secrets and somehow feels she doesn’t deserve the friends, lover and life she currently enjoys.

The wedding is a delight and colourful, typically amongst the fun, love and romance there is conflict, thankfully not for the bride, but Auburn has to face her past. Even in this last book, there’s more to learn about the characters, and they continue to baffle and delight in equal measure. The ending is romantic and rightfully quirky. Even though we have read the last line, you can imagine the antics, hear the laughter and tears and almost taste the cake as the cafe’s comfort lives on.

Posted in Book Review, Festive Read

A Gift from the Comfort Food Cafe – Debbie Johnson – 5* Review @debbiemjohnson @HarperImpulse

Christmas has never been Katie Seddon’s favourite time of year. Whilst everyone else shares memories of families coming together and festive number ones, the soundtrack to Katie’s childhood wasn’t quite so merry.

But since she moved to the village of Budbury on the gorgeous Dorset coast, Katie and her baby son have found a new family. A family who have been brought together by life’s unexpected roads and the healing magic of a slice of cake and a cupful of kindness at the Comfort Food Café.

This year, Katie’s new friends are determined to give her a Christmas to remember, and with a gorgeous newcomer in town, Katie’s Christmas wish for a happy home for her son might just come true.

Amazon UK

My Thoughts…

It’s always worth visiting the Comfort Food Cafe, whatever the season, but this one is extra special as it has a festive twist. The book reads perfectly as a complete story, but give yourself a treat with the rest of the series, if you haven’t already done so, they are worth reading.

This story will tug your heartstrings, Katie is a single mum who’s had a difficult life, Christmas was one of her worst times, but she values her friends at the cafe and is willing to let them make it special with a little persuasion.

Festive cheer, heartwarming friendship, with a little bit of poignancy make this the perfect Christmas read.

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