Posted in Book Review, Family Drama, Friendship, Literary Fiction

Swallowtail Summer – Erica James – 4* #Review @orionbooks @TheEricaJames #SwallowtailSummer #FamilyDrama #Friendship #Norfolk #Holidays

They thought they were friends for life – until one summer, everything changed . . . 

Linston End on the Norfolk Broads has been the holiday home to three families for many years. The memories of their time there are ingrained in their hearts: picnics on the river, gin and tonics in the pavilion at dusk, hours spent seeking out the local swallowtail butterflies. Everyone together.

But widower Alastair has been faced with a few of life’s surprises recently. Now, he is about to shock his circle of friends with the decisions he has made – and the changes it will mean for them all. For some, it feels like the end. For others, it might just be the beginning . . .

Amazon UK

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


My Thoughts…

When you look at a group of friends what do you see? The answer is you only see what they want you to. Rather like a swan in the water, the surface may seem smooth and easy going, but underneath the water, there is a furious paddling of feet, and turmoil, hidden from the casual observer.

‘ Swallowtail Summer’ is like this, three friends who have known each other since they were young, spend holidays together at a beautiful house in Norfolk, later they include their wives and eventually for some of them their offspring, but then someone dies and the following year even though they know it will be different they are unprepared for how different.

The beginning of the story introduces the characters; shows how they interact with each other and reveals some of their motivations. Even though this is a lot to assimilate and is slow-paced, it’s worth persevering, as it makes the rest of the book easier to follow. Allowing you to appreciate the complex characters and their diversity and secrets.

It is interesting to see how the characters interact, and how the group dynamics remain largely unchanged until Orla dies. This life event forces the group to change. The story’s essence is, will the friendships and family relations survive the need to change?

All of the characters are realistically flawed and many are not likeable, but this doesn’t detract from the story, just makes it more realistic. One of their favourite holiday activities is to search for Swallowtail butterflies. Their elusive quality equates to the finiteness of happiness, love and youth. It makes the story an interesting, but poignant read, with a lovely Summertime, feel.

Published 18 April 2019

Advertisements
Posted in Book Review

The Love Islands Collection – 3* Review

 

Amazon UK

My Thoughts…

Perfect to get you in the holiday mood. Island romance from sweet to sensual with sexy heroes and strong heroines and colourful, vibrant settings.

Brought to carry his Heir – Jane Porter

Held captive…

When Georgia Nielson is asked to be the surrogate for an enigmatic tycoon, she can’t afford to say no. Before she realizes that she’s struck a deal with the devil, she’s trapped on his isolated Greek island, with no escape from the brooding master who stalks its shores!

Carrying his child!

Scarred by the loss of his wife, Nikos Panos’s future rests on leaving behind a legacy. But Georgia’s constant presence threatens to unleash the powerful hunger he’s kept caged for so long. If he wants defiant Georgia to submit, he must confront the demons that haunt him…

 A surrogate and a billionaire alone on a Greek Island. Angst and heartache give way to passion and understanding in this fast-paced sensual romance. Both protagonists ride the emotional rollercoaster to find happiness.

The Doctor She Left Behind – Scarlet Wilson

After five years with Doctors Without Borders, Nathan Banks is close to burnout – and a job in the stunning Whitsundays is the perfect fresh start! Until Nathan discovers his new colleague is his ex – Rachel Johnson! But could this twist of fate finally make these docs confront their past and face their future… together?

Second chance romance.  Neither wants to be in the same place, but an unexpected matchmaker and circumstances make it necessary. Nathan and Rachel, learn to forgive and move on to a future together.

A Miracle for the Baby Doctor – Meredith Webber

Conceived in paradise.

When beautiful embryologist Fran Hawthorne is offered the opportunity to work on a Pacific island for a month, she seizes the chance to escape the humiliation of her ex-husband’s betrayal. But Fran isn’t prepared for Steve Ransome, the handsome doctor heading the clinic. After years of struggling to conceive with her ex, Fran is tempted to give in to the pure passion that burns between them. Only their “temporary” fling results in her carrying the child she thought she’d never have.

A lovely romance with a medical theme. Easy reading, plenty of angst, poignancy and romance. An entertaining read, even if you’re not a medical romance fan.

His Accidental Heir – Joanne Rock

The Boss’s Baby Bargain.

When resort developer Cameron McNeill goes undercover to root out problems at his prized island property, his first discovery is the irresistible concierge, Maresa Delphine. Her business smarts are vital to his mission. But the struggling single mom could help with his personal mission, too: fulfilling the marriage terms of his grandfather’s will. Maresa is overwhelmed caring for her infant niece and tending to the demands of the resort’s sexy mystery guest. When he reveals himself as the owner, she’s thrown for a loop. But when he proposes…can she resist his brand of trouble in paradise? 

Luxury location, Sexy billionaire and a successful, family orientated heroine, who sees the good in everyone and puts her family above herself. A passionate romance but a strictly business marriage makes this a lovely read with lots of conflict and angst for  Maresa, a timely wake-up call for Cameron and thankfully a happy ever after for the reader.

Claiming His Wedding Night – Louise Fuller

“You owe me a honeymoon.” 

Addie Farrell’s marriage to casino magnate Malachi King lasted exactly one day until she discovered their love was a sham. Now, with funding for her children’s charity about to be cut, Addie must face her husband and their dangerously seductive chemistry once again 
Humiliated and frustrated after Addie’s sudden departure, Malachi seizes the chance to put the power back where it belongs: in his hands. The deal: Malachi will give her the money she desperately needs if she returns to his side and finally he will claim his long-awaited wedding night

While this is certainly a passionate story, it lacks romance, Addie and Malachi’s sexual attraction brought them together and even after five years it remains, simmering under the surface. His ‘Indecent Proposal’ offer to continue the funding for her charity if she gives him his honeymoon, is outdated. The couple’s true feelings eventually surface, and the ending is happy, but both characters are hard to empathise.

Still So Hot -Serena Bell

Your “Dating Boot Camp” Itinerary 

Day One: 

Fly to a luxurious, five-star resort in St. Barts with your personalized dating coach, Elisa Henderson. Show up on the plane with a guy you just picked up. Find out Brett Jordan isn’t just a drool-worthy hottie with a-rockin’ hard bod—he’s also a total player…and Elisa’s former best friend! 

Day Two: 

Be problematic. Disappear with a cute paparazzo. Besides, Elisa and Brett are now alone in a tropical paradise, and Elisa’s about to break the first commandment of date coaching: Thou Shall Not Sexily Ravage Your Client’s Date. Lost clients, naughty nighttime shenanigans, sleazy paparazzi… Can Elisa avoid a complete PR disaster, or is her reputation about to get the boot?

Think ‘I’m a Celebrity’ and ‘Love Island’ gone wrong and you’ll be in the zone for this sexy romance. Friends becoming lovers is the trope, and it makes easy beach reading.

Beach reading for Contemporary, Medical and Sexy Romance fans.

I received a copy of this book from Mills&Boon via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Book Review

4* Review – A Beautiful Day for a Wedding – Charlotte Butterfield

Wedding journalist Eve is over the moon when her three best friends and her brother all decide to get married in the same summer. But when she finds out the man she once thought she’d be walking up the aisle with is back in the country and on all the guestlists, she can’t wait for wedding season to be over.

As if Ben’s sudden reappearance isn’t enough, her bridezilla besties have her polishing floors, searching for giant flamingos and dog-sitting while they jet off on honeymoon. Her only release is writing an anonymous column full of her bitter bridesmaid tales – she just needs to make sure the happy couples never find out…

Between facing her relationship demons and juggling her maid-of-honour duties, is Eve doomed to be left out of this summer of love?

Amazon UK  

Amazon

My Thoughts…

If you’re a fan of ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’ and ‘The Wedding Planner’, you will enjoy this 21st-century take on weddings and always being a bridesmaid and wedding planner.

Like all good romantic comedy, it has a likeable, flawed heroine and an assortment of quirky friends and admirers. We are treated to a full gambit of weddings and, all have their humorous and poignant moments. There is an added twist as, wedding journalist  Eve makes full use of her ‘fly on the wall’ opportunity, which threatens to undermine the real friendships she has. 

I didn’t enjoy Eve’s neglect of her friend’s dog, albeit unwittingly, after the first wedding. Using an animal’s suffering for comic purposes doesn’t sit well with me, but apart from that, this is a fun, romantic, hilarious romp through several couples special days.

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

 

 

Posted in Book Review, Festive Read

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

cover87451-medium

blurb-winter

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 …

buy-links-winter

Amazon UK

Amazon

my-review-winter

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

Follow my reviews. :
Jane Hunt Writer First Steps
Jane Hunt Writer Book Reviews Facebook
Jane Hunt Writer Book Reviews Google+
Connect on…:
Twitter

View all my reviews

Posted in Author Blog Challenge

The Best Holiday I Ever Had… Author Blog Challenge – #LifeBooksWriting

This weeks Author Blog Challenge  is ‘The Best Holiday I Ever Had’. I’ve been thinking about this and it’s hard to narrow it down to just one holiday. So  I’ve decided to  highlight my favourite holidays and why, from childhood to my first holiday as a gran.

Childhood

Holidays weren’t a big  feature of my childhood but one that stands out is a holiday in Cornwall in the late sixties, when we stayed in St Agnes Bay and Penzance. I remember making a friend at the holiday camp we stayed at and eating butterscotch, we had a photo at Lands End and my parents bought me the cute cat ornament, which I still have today. Other holidays were in Bournemouth and there were always day trips to Mablethorpe on the east coast of England.

Teenage

Camping holidays with youth club are the standout memories from my teenage holidays. Camping is not really me, the ground is too hard and I always get cold and dislike sharing my tent with a variety of insects. Nevertheless I always enjoyed these trips, especially  the one where I got to know my future husband, we celebrate thirty three years of marriage today, so that was definitely a holiday worth going on.

Twenties

My honeymoon  should be my standout holiday of  my twenties and it was lovely. Cornwall again, we went to Newquay, sun sea and  lots of lovely memories. I visited a vintage kitchen shop in Penzance and bought some glass storage jars with cork lids and I still have them thirty three years later obviously a good buy!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

I was first introduced to The English Lake District in my mid twenties and the scenery and beautiful lakes are still a favourite holiday destination of mine. So much so there are the inspiration for my first book The Dragon Legacy.

The Dragon Legacy Cover
My first book inspired by the Lakes

Brighton was the destination of my last twenties holiday with my lovely daughter 8 months old – Such a lovely time .

Holidays with my children

These were certainly fun. Bournemouth  and Devon were favourite destinations. We even stayed in the prestigious Sandbanks. Woolacombe was another favourite, great for kids and dogs.

 We also had a few holidays in Europe during this time.  A camping trip to France’s Verdun region , turned out to be short-lived , after only four days we had to home  as my mother was seriously ill. Holidays in The Costa Dorada in Spain and Lake Garde in Italy were more successful, although we did manage to get lost both times driving from the airport, not the best start to a holiday but the rest of it was full of great memories, as you can see from the photos. My trip to Lake Garde inspired the setting for my second book ‘The Revenge Masquerade’.

The Revenge Masquerade Cover  October 26 14

 

Discovering Northumberland

Regular blog readers will know I love Northumberland, I first visited in 2014 and went again this year with my new grandson Arthur. The weather wasn’t fantastic but we still had a good time.

 

Next Holiday

I’m hoping my next holiday in Woolacombe in September will be  full of good memories too. I’m really looking forward to holidaying with my kids and little grandson and Jazz and Oby of course. We’re staying close to the wonderful child  and dog friendly beach so look out for more blogs on this in September.

DSC00205

So that’s a whistle stop tour of my holiday memories. Share your holiday memories with me in the comments below or on #LifeBooksWriting

#HappyHolidays

13118917_544495715723232_7874467364954798303_n

 

 

Posted in Author Blog Challenge

Author Blog Challenge – MotivationTechniques

13118917_544495715723232_7874467364954798303_nfor 13118917_544495715723232_7874467364954798303_n

 Motivation techniques are a popular life skill for everyone, not just writers

Motivation

To achieve something, having the motivation to get there is a given. 

Here’s a few things I use to motivate me to write.

Motivation 2

Motivation 7

Motivation 3

Motivation 8

Motivation 4

Motivation 6

 And finally:

 Take  lots of trips for  inspiration.

I love to visit historic houses, beautiful countryside or fabulous coastline to give me ideas for a new story.

.Motivation 9

#LifeBooksWriting

 

 

Posted in Book Review, Book Spotlight, Release Day Spotlight, Summer Impulse

Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe – Debbie Johnson – 5* Review

329343910

Summer at the Comfort Food Café
By Debbie Johnson

eBook: 29th April 2016 | PB: 16th June 2016

BLURB

The Comfort Food Café is perched on a windswept clifftop at what feels like the edge of the world, serving up the most delicious cream teas; beautifully baked breads, and carefully crafted cupcakes. For tourists and locals alike, the ramshackle cafe overlooking the beach is a beacon of laughter, companionship, and security – a place like no other; a place that offers friendship as a daily special, and where a hearty welcome is always on the menu.

For widowed mum-of-two Laura Walker, the decision to uproot her teenaged children and make the trek from Manchester to Dorset for the summer isn’t one she takes lightly, and it’s certainly not winning her any awards from her kids, Nate and Lizzie. Even her own parents think she’s gone mad.

But following the death of her beloved husband David two years earlier, Laura knows that it’s time to move on. To find a way to live without him, instead of just surviving. To find her new place in the world, and to fill the gap that he’s left in all their lives.

Her new job at the café, and the hilarious people she meets there, give Laura the chance she needs to make new friends; to learn to be herself again, and – just possibly – to learn to love again as well.

For her, the Comfort Food Café doesn’t just serve food – it serves a second chance to live her life to the full…

SATCFC-Out-Now-1

Buy Links

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Review - Coastal

Even at the story’s poignant beginning, the humour shines through, in the words of the enigmatic Laura, the heroine of this unusual story. I loved that we gathered all the necessary back story information, in letter form, as she answered a unique advertisement for a strange but intriguing, lifestyle job.
Laura is honest, loyal and has a lovely self -depreciating humour that is recognisable to most women, who have families, where they are the unappreciated lynchpin. The journey to their new adventure shares similarities, with most people’s long car journeys, with children and animals. The realistic dialogue and bordering on chaos scenarios made me giggle and reminiscence.
Despite Laura’s fragile emotional state, a delightful sense of humour runs through this story. From the first meeting with the ‘Tall bloke.’ the visuals are great, so easy to imagine, especially ‘the flying undies as the top box is unpacked’.
The VIPS that make up the cafe regulars, all have a story to share as they reveal idiosyncrasies and secrets. Laura starts to heal as she listens to the cafe’s regulars stories and Matt (the tall bloke), help’s her discover the side of herself she never really knew existed.
This is a story of healing, family and being brave enough to dip your toe back in the pond again, after life’s unpredictable knocks. I would love to find this Cafe that restores your faith in human nature.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins in return for an honest review.