Could a fairy-tale wedding… ..lead to her own love story?
Piper Evans must track down her runaway-groom brother and enlists the help of tycoon Caleb Martin. He is everything she has sworn to stay away from – gorgeous but uncompromising. Island hopping around Greece, Piper finds herself increasingly tempted by the man whose totally off-limits…
I received a copy of this book from Mills and Boon via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Piper and her brother Liam’s childhood forced them apart, but he wants her at his wedding, and when the bride’s brother offers her free accommodation, she has to attend. The meeting between Caleb and Piper is not new, but it does demonstrate the type of people they are and adds some lighthearted moments to the story.
When Liam’s runs off before the wedding, Piper feels responsible and knows she has to follow him to find out why. Caleb values his sister’s happiness, even if he abhors Liam’s behaviour and insists he goes too.
What follows is a romantic chase around the Greek Islands, the setting is vivid and adds to the romance. Piper lacks self-esteem in the wake of her father’s emotional abuse, she is also reeling from a controlling relationship. So Caleb’s take-charge attitude, both annoys and frightens her. She’s attracted but won’t allow herself to make another mistake. Their romance is riddled with conflict, mostly internal, but the slow burn attraction turns them into risk-takers and after much angst, they find what they are both seeking, including Liam.
Two best friends. Eight pub quizzes. One-shot at love…
are some people who seem like they have all the answers in life. Clarrie
Midwinter isn’t one of them.
the age of 26, tomboy Clarrie is still struggling to become a ‘proper’
grown-up. She’s eternally strapped for cash, she hasn’t had a date in nearly a
year and her attempts to quit smoking tend to take a nosedive after the second
pint. Most annoyingly of all, her ladykiller best friend Simon just won’t stop
asking her out. The only thing keeping her sane is her pub quiz team, the
Mighty Morphin Flower Arrangers.
when Simon bets her a date their team will win the quiz league, Clarrie is
forced to confront what she really wants out of life – and love. Is it finally
time for her to grow up?
Gloriously irreverent, badly behaved romantic comedy from the author of Meet Me at the Lighthouse.
I received a copy of this book from Aria via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Another original romantic comedy from the author, whose love of Yorkshire is evident from reading her believable, hilarious and romantic stories.
This story’s characters are the members of a pub quiz team, a quintessentially British pastime, ‘The Mighty Morphin Flower Arrangers’. A friends to lovers trope, this a gentle romance, despite the often raucous goings-on, and language that dominates the story.
Clarrie and Si have been friends since pre-school, Clarrie harbours a secret and inconvenient passion for her friend, who constantly asks her out, but never she believes in seriousness. She of course, always makes a joke of it and refuses. Now Si has changed the rules, he wants Clarrie to agree to a date if the team win the pub quiz league, what will she do?
The romance is predictably full of obstacles, most of which are Clarrie’s internal battle over her feelings and whether she is brave enough to take a chance on love. Suffering from anxiety issues that already make her life choices difficult, whether or not to risk the friendship they have, for something romantic is a major issue for Clarrie.
The village life experience is interwoven into the story, the gossip, the interfering, well-meant of course, and the secrets that everyone knows. The sense of community and the tight friendship amongst Clarrie and Si ‘s group are realistic and give this story depth and interest.
The romance although slow to start is lovely and worthwhile, enough to satisfy the romantics, and melt the cynics a little.
If you are unfamiliar with the author’s take on life in a Yorkshire village, this book is an experience you won’t forget, and for those of us, who are already fans, this is another great story full of fun, heartache, quirkiness and romance.
Guest Post – Mary Jayne Baker – A Question of Us
Maserati Tim’s Big Pub Quiz – Mary Jayne Baker
In my new Yorkshire-set book A Question of Us, which is published this month, heroine Clarrie’s ladykiller best friend Simon bets her a date their team will win that year’s pub quiz league. As Simon starts putting every spare minute into trivia revision and their team The Mighty Morphin’ Flower Arrangers find themselves climbing up the leaderboard, Clarrie is forced to confront her true feelings for her oldest friend. It looks like Clarrie is going to lose the bet – the question is, does she want to?
To celebrate the release of A Question of Us, quizmaster Maserati Tim has put together twenty fiendish questions to test those little grey cells. Get yourself in the mood for a trivia-filled read below! Hint: you can find some of the answers in the book…
What type of monkey commonly accompanied organ-grinders?
What was the favourite food of Dandy cowboy Desperate Dan?
By what name is the peace agreement reached in 1998 between the British and Irish governments commonly known?
By what nickname was Louis Armstrong known?
“The lighter way to enjoy chocolate” was an advertising slogan for which chocolate treat?
What were the names of the seven dwarves in the Grimm Brothers fairytale Snow White?
In 1951, which area became Britain’s first national park?
Which persona did David Bowie retire in 1973?
What animal has the Latin name ursus arctos horribilis?
Which movie monster’s enemies include Mothra and King Ghidorah?
Which king did Shakespeare refer to as the “bottled spider”?
In 1477, King Edward IV ruled which traditional sport illegal?
Which dinosaur’s name means “swift robber”?
Who succeeded Richard II to the throne of England?
Who was the fourth actor to play The Doctor in Doctor Who?
James Hargreaves invented what piece of industrial equipment in 1764?
Until the 1980s, which football team’s players were known as “The Biscuitmen”?
Which planet in our solar system is the sixth furthest from the Sun?
In the Old Testament, what were the names of Noah’s three sons?
So get reading ‘ A Question of Us’ this weekend, answers next Friday
Mary Jayne Baker grew up in rural West Yorkshire, right in the heart of Brontë country… and she’s still there. After graduating from Durham University with a degree in English Literature, she dallied with living in cities including London, Nottingham and Cambridge, but eventually came back with her own romantic hero in tow to her beloved Dales, where she first started telling stories about heroines with flaws and the men who love them.
For those of you who had a go at Mary Jayne’s quiz, here are the answers.
This Christmas fall in love with the town of Chesterwood…
Christmas is meant to be a time of giving, so with Chesterwood food bank under risk of closure Fern knows just what to do to save it. She’s going to get the town to create a living advent calendar.
Fern and her best friends call for help from the local community to bring this calendar to life. When Kit, the new man in town, offers his assistance Fern’s heart can’t help but skip a beat (or two).
As they grow ever closer, Fern must admit that Kit’s breaking down the barriers she built after the death of her husband. But his past is holding him back and Fern doesn’t know how to reach him. No matter how hard she tries.
In this town, Kit’s not the only one with secrets. Domestic goddess Cara is behaving oddly, burning meals in the oven and clothes whilst ironing, and Davina’s perfect children are causing trouble at school leaving her son, Jasper, desperately unhappy.
Can the Christmas Calendar Girls find a way to bring the community together in time to save the food bank, while still supporting their families and each other? Can Fern find love again with Kit?
This is a story about kindness and letting go of
the past. It’s about looking out for your neighbours and about making every day
feel like Christmas.
Samantha Tonge lives in
Manchester UK with her husband and children. She studied German and French at
university and has worked abroad, including a stint at Disneyland Paris. She
has travelled widely.
When not writing she passes her days cycling, baking and drinking coffee.
Samantha has sold many dozens of short stories to women’s magazines.
She is represented by the Darley Anderson literary agency. In 2013, she landed
a publishing deal for romantic comedy fiction with HQDigital at HarperCollins
and in 2014, her bestselling debut, Doubting Abbey, was shortlisted for the
Festival of Romantic Fiction best Ebook award. In 2015 her summer novel, Game
of Scones, hit #5 in the UK Kindle chart and won the Love Stories Awards Best
Romantic Ebook category. In 2018 Forgive Me Not, heralded a new direction into
darker women’s fiction with publisher Canelo. In 2019 she was shortlisted for
the Romantic Novelists’ Association romantic comedy award.
No one is good enough for her son… As a single mother, Annie has an especially close relationship with her son, Ben. They have always been together. Just the two of them. So, when Ben brings home his mysterious beautiful new wife, Daisy, immediately Annie doesn’t trust her. Who is this woman who has taken her son away from her? And what is she hiding? She’ll protect him with her life… When Ben disappears, suddenly Annie and Daisy are all the other one has. Alone in Annie’s big, remote house, just the two of them, the tension is rising. And like any protective mother, Annie will stop at nothing to expose her new daughter in law, and the secrets she is hiding…
I received a copy of this book from Boldwood Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Claustrophobic, menacing and yet so believable, ‘The Daughter In Law’, is a riveting read.
It was always Annie and Ben until it wasn’t. Annie can’t understand why her only child has left her and married in secret. Now he is bringing her daughter in law to visit, and she has to be prepared. Daisy’s has secrets, her whirlwind romance with Ben offers her a new life, but still, she dreads meeting her mother in law.
Told from Annie and Daisy’s point of view, the story begins to unfold, and each chapter brings a new revelation making you uneasy as you read on. The characters are complex, emotionally damaged, but believable. Annie seems extreme in her dominance of Ben, but the bond between a mother and her child is strong, and not always easy to share.
The plot twists begin early on, and gradually you start to realise there is something sinister going on, but who is the true victim. The suspense building is excellent, making this a genuine page-turner.
The last few chapters are so atmospheric, creepy and visual. You can see the action unfolding in your mind, even though you are metaphorically watching through your fingers.
A classy psychological novel, with many unique elements, vivid imagery and characters that resonate.
Author Interview with Nina Manning – The Daughter in Law
What are the inspirations behind this story?
I was interested in the relationship between a mother and son and how it is different from a mother and daughter relationship. I was fascinated by how some mothers find it difficult to let go of their sons and how they can even feel threatened by their son’s partner. I wanted to explore that idea on a deeper and darker level.
What characteristics does your story have that makes it unique, in the popular psychological thriller genre?
The Daughter in law has many themes running through it, such as grief and love and friendships. It also tackles covert narcissistic abuse and the one thing that binds, Annie, Daisy and Ben are that they were all emotional neglected as children. My book also has book club questions!
Do you draw your characters from real life, your imagination, or are they a mix of both? How do you make your characters realistic?
It’s inevitable that a characters foibles, or the way they gesticulate have been drawn from observations of the thousands of people I have encountered during my varied and interesting life so far. But all the characters in the book are purely a figment of my imagination.
When you write, what comes first, the characters, the plot or the setting? Why do you think this is?
When I wrote The Daughter in Law, it was the ending that came first. I had in my mind, a dramatic climax to the story as well as a big reveal so I wrote the story towards that ending.
The second psychological thriller that I am writing at the moment is purely plot-driven. I have added characters in as and when I need them and then seeing where it takes me. But I have an overall plot in mind and again, that dramatic ending.
What made you decide to become a writer and why does this genre appeal to you?
Writing has been part of my life since I was a small child. I have always had an innate desire to write. I have tried working for other people but I was always drawn back to my writing. I have never been able to conform and I have never been any good at being told when to be a desk/place of work and when I can leave. I am now thankful writing is my job and I can fit all my work around my family life.
What sort of books do you enjoy reading and why?
I enjoy reading any kind of book as long as it has great prose, interesting characters and an engaging plot. I read a lot of books for my podcast, Sniffing The Pages which goes out every two weeks, so as well as reading books for leisure, I also review books. I have just read a women’s fiction book by Holly Bourne and now I am reading Circe by Madeline Miller.
What’s the best thing about being a writer and the worst?
There are many best things but I would say being able to completely create an entire world, characters and scenarios from nothing, put them on to paper for the world to read and enjoy.
The worst bit so far is the painful part of getting that first draft done when you know what you need to do but it’s a struggle to get there. However, once the first draft is done, it’s an enjoyable experience moulding and shaping the novel to the finished piece.
Nina Manning studied psychology and was a restaurant-owner and private chef (including to members of the royal family). She is the founder and co-host of Sniffing The Pages, a book review podcast. She lives in Dorset.
Their backgrounds could hardly be further apart, their expectations in life more different. And there is nothing in the first meeting between the conference planner and the university lecturer which suggests they should expect or even want to connect again. But they have more in common than they could ever have imagined. Both have unresolved issues from the past which have marked them; both have an archaeological puzzle they want to solve. Their stories intertwine and they discover together that treasure isn’t always what it seems.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review
I love to read something a little different, this story is a mix of genre, there is a gentle romance. which is slow-burning, ridden with internal obstacles to its success. There is a mystery, with historical roots, that draws the couple together, when it seems, in the beginning, they have nothing in common, except that they irritate each other. There is also a strong emotional thread in this story, as the first part of the book reveals, why Theo and Jane are unwilling to trust again, this poignancy makes the characters easier to empathise.
The believable setting is contemporary and well researched, and has intrinsic interest. Your primary focus is always on Jane and Theo in this character-driven story.The subsidiary characters both past and present are complex and realistic. The flaws and emotional baggage carried by the two protagonists make them authentic.
An easy to read, engaging romance with an intriguing mystery set against a politicised contemporary background.
Gilli Allan began to write in childhood – a hobby pursued throughout her teenage. Writing was only abandoned when she left home, and real-life supplanted the fiction.
After a few false starts, she worked longest and most happily as a commercial artist, and only began writing again when she became a mother.
Living in Gloucestershire with her
husband Geoff, Gilli is still a keen artist. She draws and paints and has now
moved into book illustration.
Currently published by Accent Press,
each of her books, TORN, LIFE CLASS and FLY or FALL has won a ‘Chill with a
Following in the family tradition, her
son, historian Thomas Williams, is also a writer. His most recent work,
published by William Collins, is ‘Viking Britain’.
Born in 1973 to a Greenlandic mother and an English-Explorer father, Malik has always been something of a misfit. He has one black eye and one blue. As a child, his mother’s people refused to touch him and now his own baby daughter’s family feel the same way.
On his own now, Malik’s only companion is a guiding spirit
no-one else can see, but one day a white man with a nose like a beak and a
shadow like a seagull appears on his doorstep and invites him to England.
has had enough of living with domestic abuse. She compares bruises with her
friend Neil, who regularly suffers homophobic attacks. With Martha’s baby, they
go on the run to Shetland, where Martha has happy childhood memories of summers
spent with her aunt.
their way up north in a camper van, they come across a dejected Malik, alone
again after a brief reconciliation with his father’s family.
arrive safely together in the Shetland Isles, but Malik still needs answers to
the identity of the beak-nosed man who casts a shadow over his life, and must
now embark on a further journey of his own.
The Seagull’s Laughter is an immersive read, intertwined with nature and the magic of Greenlandic folk tales.
up in Derbyshire but has always been drawn to the sea. She has written from a
young age. Her love affair with island landscapes was kick-started on a brief
visit to the Faroe Islands at the age of eighteen, en route to Iceland. She was
immediately captivated by the landscape, weather, and way of life and it was here
that she conceived the idea for her first novel, The Eagle and The Oystercatcher.
Icelandic, Norwegian and Old Norse at University College London. She also
studied as an exchange student at The University of Iceland (Háskóli Íslands) and spent a memorable
summer working in a museum in South Greenland.
She decided to start a family young and now has three small children. Holly helps run Life & Loom, a social and therapeutic weaving studio in Hull. She likes to escape from the busyness of her life by working on her novels and knitting Icelandic wool jumpers.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
An interesting exploration of celebrity, life as a media agent and a romantic love triangle. The detail in this novel is clearly well- researched, it makes the story authentic. However, it lacks the in-depth characterisation that would give it emotional weight.
It’s easy to read, and interesting. The themes of celebrity, the invasion of privacy and the blurring of professional relationships, are emotional topics. I know the characters suffered, were challenged and confused, but I didn’t feel their pain.
An interesting foray into the media world, perfect for those who enjoy plot rather than character-driven stories.
Elaine spent 25 years working in marketing and communications in the media and entertainment industries. This included seven years marketing national newspapers and a variety of senior executive roles in TV, radio and film. I Can’t Tell You Why is her first novel.
Elaine lives in North London with her husband and their two sons. When she’s not writing, she can be found looking harassed on the school run, cheering on the sidelines of her sons’ football matches or singing her heart out at her local branch of Popchoir. FacebookInstagramTwitter
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