Christmas at the Cornish Cafe – The Penwith Trilogy #2 – Phillipa Ashley- 5*Review

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blurb-winter

Christmas will be slightly less turbulent than summer, won’t it? Demi certainly hopes so.

She and Cal are keeping their fledgling relationship under wraps for now. But then Kit Bannen, a hunky, blond – and somewhat mysterious – writer arrives at Kilhallon Resort, and not everyone is charmed. Cal is sure that Kit is hiding something. But is he the only one guarding a secret?

Demi is busy baking festive treats for the newly opened Demelza’s cafe, but when Cal’s ex Isla arrives to shoot scenes for her new drama, Demi can’t help but worry that things aren’t quite over between them. Kit flirts with both women, fuelling Cal’s suspicions that Kit has hidden motives for staying on at Kilhallon. Then Cal has to go to London, leaving Demi and Kit to decorate the cafe for Christmas . . . all by themselves.

A storm is brewing in more ways than one. As surprises unfold and truths are uncovered, can Demi and Cal finally open up to each other about their feelings?

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my-review-winter

Christmas at the Cornish Café (The Penwith Trilogy, Book 2)

A festive, gentle romantic story with complex characters and an interesting plot. The story concentrates on opening the café and there are lots of new characters. One threatens Cal’s new found happiness with Demi.
A lot happens in this story. Demi achieves her potential by leading the café project. She carries more than her share of emotional baggage and this influences how she perceives her relationship with Cal. Cal continues to battle his own secret demons, leaving him moody and unapproachable. He’s a good guy at heart and you want him to overcome the horrors of his past.
There are some unexpected plot twists and surprising character developments, which illustrate the village’s comaradie and the overriding spirit of the novel. A good mix of questions answered and new ones posed make reading the last book in the series essential. There is no cliff-hanger ending but it is hopeful, just as a festive read should be. I can’t help thinking the problems for Cal, Demi and their friends may not be over yet.
Cal and Demi are the contemporary counterparts of Poldark and Demelza and Cornwall steals the show in this novel too.
I received a copy of this book from Avon UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Christmas at the Cornish Café by Phillipa Ashley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Christmas at the Cornish Café (The Penwith Trilogy, Book 2) by Phillipa Ashley

Phillipa Ashley

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5* Review: Jules Wake – Escape to the Riviera

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Blurb - Flower

Carrie Hayes is ready for the summer of a lifetime . .

Quiet and unassuming Carrie Hayes has a nice, steady life with long-term boyfriend Alan. But she’s been keeping a secret hidden for years. A whirlwind marriage to Hollywood superstar Richard Maddox when they were young and foolish and life was full of endless possibilities. Although no longer together when Richard went to fulfil his acting ambitions in America, they’ve never quite got a divorce.

And now a chance meeting in the paradise of the glamorous French Riviera is about to change Carrie’s summer, and entire life, for ever . . .

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Flowers - My Review

Escape to the Riviera

Is it realistic for a couple to stay married, even though they never see each other? I didn’t think so, but once you get to know Carrie and Richard, the reasons why, are definitely believable. Carrie is hardworking and loyal to her family, living an unremarkable life. The chance of an ultra glamorous holiday and an unexpected offer, force her to confront painful secrets, with life changing results.
The vivid setting is authentic and beautiful. The insight into the world of film stars and the theatre, interesting. Reliable but less than exciting, Alan is well portrayed as the other man. Angie and Jade are insightful characters and support the story’s two main players Carrie and Richard admirably.
Peppered with angst, hope and humour; Carrie’s emotional journey exhibits her flawed reasoning. This makes her real and easy to empathise with. You want her to get her happy ending. Romance is implicit in every scene and the ending is a romantic masterpiece, so easy to visualise.
The lovely holiday setting reveals a story of self-discovery and the resilience and strength of true love. The perfect summer book, definitely worth reading.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins Avon UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Escape to the Riviera by Jules Wake

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Escape to the Riviera by Jules Wake

Jules Wake

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5* Review: From Paris With Love This Christmas – Jules Wake

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Just until Christmas…

That’s what Paris socialite Siena keeps telling herself. She’ll hide away in her sister Laurie’s cottage near London to escape her hot-tempered fiancé.

However, when Jason – gorgeous but a bit of a Grinch – picks her up from the airport, he reveals that Laurie hasn’t lived there for months, complicating Siena’s holiday getaway.

At first, Jason and Siena don’t see eye to eye. But after a weekend in the most romantic city in the world, experiencing all it has to offer – from the magic of a fir-lined Champs-Élysées, lit up by thousands of sparkling fairy lights, to the swoosh of skates on ice at the Eiffel Tower – Siena shows Jason her Paris, and a whole other side to herself. Suddenly Siena’s December deadline seems far too close…

This Christmas, jet off to Paris with Siena and Jason and experience the magic of the holiday season.

 

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My Review 2

With Love From Paris This Christmas

Yes, I know it’s not Christmas but I really enjoyed this author’s first book ‘From Italy With Love’ and I do love Christmas stories, so I thought why not? I’m so glad I did. ‘From Paris With Love This Christmas’ is full of lovely characters and festive settings, with plenty of romance and fun. It features Siena, the younger sister of Laurie, the romantic heroine in From Italy With Love.’
Siena’s emotional journey is the backbone of this story and although flawed, she develops into a romantic heroine definitely worth rooting for. The romance is natural and peppered with comic moments and lots of sexual tension that culminates in a believable outcome.
Jason is grumpy but loveable and the perfect foil for Siena’s emotional growth.
I loved the guys in the pub and the quirky but supportive Lisa. Hope we get to read her story soon.
A lovely romantic read whatever the season.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

With Love From Paris This Christmas by Jules Wake

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


With Love From Paris This Christmas by Jules Wake

Jules Wake

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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

 

 

4*Review: A Family Holiday – Bella Osborne

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Blurb - Coastal

 

She’ll do whatever it takes to keep this family together…

As the nanny to four quirky but loveable children, Charlie French has learnt that if there was ever a cement shortage Weetabix would be a viable substitute and that YouTube videos can go viral in seconds, much to her horror. But, most importantly, she’s learnt that whatever happens you stick together as a family.

When tragedy strikes, Charlie is forced to decide whether it’s time to move on or fight to keep the children she loves. With the distraction of the children’s gorgeous Uncle Felix and the chance of a holiday in stunning Antigua, she’s left wondering if turquoise seas can wash away their present troubles. Is the pull of white sand beaches too tempting to resist or will paradise fail to keep them all together?

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My Review - Coastal

A Family Holiday: A heartwarming summer romance for fans of Katie Fforde

This story has all the right ingredients for a great summer read; effortless dialogue, a great setting, an interesting plot and vivid characters. It is a very enjoyable book.
Charlie is like a modern day ‘Mary Poppins’, totally child orientated and with more than her fair share of magic up her sleeve. The children are the most vibrant of the characters; they really steal the show and make this more of a family, than a romantic comedy read.
Fleur, Charlie’s best friend is an important character in the story but she is too weak and self centred to make a favourable impression. She does however serve to make Charlie look selfless in this story, despite the obstacles she faces.
Would be guardians, Ruth and Felix are well written characters. Ruth is the archetypical villain of the story. Whilst Felix lacks conviction as the story’s romantic hero I much preferred Jonathan. Felix’s motives driven by his passion for Charlie rather than genuine feelings for his nieces and nephews make him appear rather shallow and superficial.
Clearly the characters made an impression on me and there is a lovely balance of humour and poignancy. Definitely worth reading on the beach.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 

A Family Holiday: A heartwarming summer romance  by Bella Osborne

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


A Family Holiday A heartwarming summer romance for fans of Katie Fforde by Bella Osborne

Bella Osborne

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4* Review: The Cosy Tea shop in the Castle- Caroline Roberts

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Blurb - Coastal

When Ellie Hall lands her dream job running the little teashop in the beautiful but crumbling Claverham Castle, it’s the perfect escape from her humdrum job in the city. Life is definitely on the rise as Ellie replaces spreadsheets for scones, and continues her Nanna’s brilliant baking legacy.

When Lord Henry, the stick-in-the-mud owner, threatens to burst her baking bubble with his old-fashioned ways, Ellie wonders if she might have bitten off more than she can chew. But cupcake by cupcake she wins the locals over, including teashop stalwart, Doris, and Ellie’s showstopping bakes look set to go down in castle history!

Now all that’s missing in Ellie’s life is a slice of romance – can Joe, the brooding estate manager, be the one to put the cherry on the top of Ellie’s dream?

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My Review - Coastal

The Cosy Teashop in the Castle

The storyline for this book really appealed to me; I love Northumberland and my guilty secret is that I would love to run my own teashop. So it was easy to understand Ellie’s dreams and aspirations for the teashop in the castle. Ellie’s enthusiasm, courage to try something new and to stick at it, even when there are problems makes her easy to like, you want her to succeed.
Joe’s affable exterior hides a multitude of secrets.
The teashop is a lovely setting and I would have liked to have got to know more about the ‘regular’s that visited it.
The romance between Ellie and Joe is lovely, with lots of easy to relate to funny moments. There is plenty of heat, perhaps a little too much for such a gentle storyline?
This is a nice cosy read for a cold winter’s afternoon.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

The Cosy Teashop in the Castle by Caroline Roberts

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


The Cosy Teashop in the Castle by Caroline Roberts

Caroline Roberts

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5* Review: The Birthday That Changed Everything -Debbie Johnson

108554-FC50Blurb - Coastal

She wanted a birthday surprise, just not the one she got…

The last thing Sally Summers expected from her husband on her special day was that he’d leave her for a Latvian lap dancer half her age. So with her world in tatters, Sally jets off to Turkey for some sun, sea and sanctuary.

The Blue Bay resort brings new friends and the perfect balm for Sally’s broken heart in gorgeous Dubliner James. He’s just the birthday present she needs. And when the chemistry between them continues to spark as the holiday ends, Sally wonders if this is more than just a summer fling.

But James has scars of his own and Sally isn’t quite ready to turn her back on her marriage. This birthday might have changed everything, but what will the next one bring?

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My Review - Coastal

The Birthday That Changed Everything

 

This story is the perfect marriage of humour, poignancy and romance.
Sally’s marital relationship comes apart at the seams spectacularly just before she hits the big 40. Sally is grounded, selfless almost to the point of doormat status. Her wicked self depreciating sense of humour makes you giggle, even though you are reaching for the tissues, to wipe away your tears, as the hopelessness of her situations dawns on Sally. I loved her from our first encounter.
Simon her freewheeling husband is her antithesis and so easy to hate. True he is a caricature of a man in mid life crisis but there is enough realism in this character to make him recognisable and so easy to dislike.
The holiday crowd are interesting characters and provide a sympathetic foil for Sally’s phoenix like rise from the ashes of her marriage. Finally James is full of charm but his perfect body hides deep emotional scars, which threaten Sally’s future happiness. This is a rocky road and just when you think she has made it, life intervenes in a most unhelpful way. This story is easy to read and fast paced, I read it in a day but it’s perfect for a leisurely read too.
A new and refreshing romance for all fans of romantic comedy whatever their age.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

The Birthday That Changed Everything by Debbie Johnson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


The Birthday That Changed Everything by Debbie Johnson

Debbie Johnson

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The Perfect Holiday Cottage

Back garden view of our retreat in Northumberlan

Back garden view of our retreat in Northumberland

If you have been following my blog posts this week you will know I visited Northumberland. Now that I am back home again I want to share some thoughts and photographs of the lovely holiday cottage which was the base for our Northumberland holiday. Intended purely for couples and their dogs it was small but well designed with everything we needed for our stay.

Living and kitchen area

Living and kitchen area

 

Raised bedroom area with a view out to the field at the bottom of the garden - Lovely.

Raised bedroom area with a view out to the field at the bottom of the garden – Lovely.

 Even though this cottage is close to the A1 and easy to get to, it is so quiet and secluded.The perfect place to get away from it all with a ring side seat  of all the wildlife. There were hares, rabbits, pheasants and at night time, bats easily seen from the garden and lots of wild song birds. We even had a visit from an Arctic Tern looking for breakfast.

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Cheeky Sparrow

 

I would love to wake up to this view every morning.

View  from back garden across open fields.

View from back garden across open fields.

 My only regret was I couldn’t try our the log burner but alas it was just too warm. 🙂

Lovely log burner

Lovely log burner

After a wonderful holiday its time to leave ‘the good life’ behind (that comment will be lost on anyone not old enough to remember the 70s sitcom)

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The neighbour’s chicks run free just over the fence.

Fresh vegetables anyone?

Fresh vegetables anyone?

Back home again I’m looking forward to finishing my third book The Dangerous Gift.

Look out for more excerpts, news on The Revenge Masquerade and lots of book reviews.

Have a lovely weekend.

 

The Other Side of Dunstanburgh Castle – Dunstan Steads

Dunstan Steads Beach from Dunstanburgh Castle

Dunstan Steads Beach from Dunstanburgh Castle

So yesterday afternoon we decided to visit the beach we could see from the ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle and it was so worth it. It was a mixture of sand and rocks and bordered by sand dunes and crashing waves – lovely.

Sand Dunes

Sand Dunes

 

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Waves on the rocky beach below Dunstanburgh Castle

A quick picnic on the beach overlooking at Newton just below Newton Point.

View from beach close to Newton.

View from beach close to Newton.

Then we walked back on the track by the sand dunes. A lovely walk which is dotted with wild flowers and Unusual beach huts. I would love to hide away in this one – the perfect writing cave with a view of the beach and sea.

The perfect writing hideaway?

The perfect writing hideaway?

 

Beach side with a sea view...

Beach side with a sea view…

 

With a wild flower garden.

With a wild flower garden.

The last part of the walk is along the edge of the golf course. No one would mind putting their ball in the water here.

Has anyone seen my ball?

Has anyone seen my ball?

A scream disturbed the silence of the golf course. Not the start of a thriller but me tripping over a stone and plummeting down the grassy bank. Thankfully Jazz and Vince caught me and I escaped with a bruised back. Undefeated I carried on and saw how great Dunstanburgh Castle looks from the golf course at the side of the beach.

Dunstanburgh Castle from Dunstan Steads

Dunstanburgh Castle from Dunstan Steads

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Another great walk with lots to see on quiet, dog friendly beaches I’m really going to miss this.

 

Spectacular Ruin On Rugged Coast – Dunstanburgh Castle

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Approaching Dunstanburgh Castle

Yesterday we visited a ruined castle at Craster. It was the most spectacular yet. I thought Lindisfarne was amazing built on a volcanic rock on an island but Dunstanburgh castle is a spectacular ruin on a breathtaking stretch of the Northumberland coast.

Alongside the walk to the castle

Alongside the walk to the castle

The photographs speak for themselves although in real life the waves crashing against the rocks is even better.

The view from the walk to the castle.

The view from the walk to the castle.

You do have to pass close by to sheep and cows so you will need to keep your dogs under close control but they are clearly used to visitors and ignored us which suited me.

Jazz and Oby were well behaved.

Jazz and Oby were well-behaved.

The ruined castle has some interesting features including these windows.

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 There is also a double height tower.

Double Height Tower

Double Height Tower

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Today is our last full day here in Northumberland and I will be sad to leave the beautiful coast and countryside and the friendly locals. Today we are off to explore the beach we saw from the castle yesterday.

From from the castle gorunds towards Craster Harbour

From from the castle grounds towards Craster Harbour

 

Amid the ruined castle

Dunstanburgh Castle