Posted in Blog Tour, Book Spotlight, Family Drama, Friendship, Holiday Romance, Mystery, Romance, Travel

Aegean Sun: The Kafenion Stephanie Wood #BookPromo @stephaniewooduk @rararesources #AegeanSun #GreekIslands

The Kafenion has much more to offer than just coffee and cake!

The Kafenion is undergoing its regular seasonal change from traditional coffee shop and local hangout to summertime hotspot for the massive influx of tourists who visit the Greek island each year.

The furniture has been updated, the new signs for more specific coffee types have been installed, the basic cookies have been replaced with a tempting range of cakes and desserts and a fresh coat of paint has added an optimistic glow to the place, which always attracts the many visitors who are looking for a treat.

Jane has been working on the island for a few years and finds a job in the kafenion for her friend Helen, who is hoping for some fun and romance during the summer.

Xenon and Kyriakos both make regular deliveries of fresh produce to the kafenion and they find other reasons to want to visit when Jane and Helen are around, but are they both interested in the same girl?

Georgina discovers the kafenion while searching for information from her mother’s past, but does Pericles have all the answers or will he just cause more confusion?

Visit the kafenion during a Greek summer season to see how the staff and their regulars navigate their way through complex working and romantic relationships.
This is the eleventh book of standalone reads in the Aegean Sun series.

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Stephanie Wood

Stephanie Wood writes contemporary fiction in the form of novels, novellas and short stories and you can find the running order of her titles on the ‘look inside’ of any book.

She published the AEGEAN SUN series of books as a fly-on-the-wall vision of life in a Greek resort during the summer season, using her extensive experience as a holiday rep to bring some unusual incidents to life on the page. The series began as an exploration of the various ways in which tourists make the most of their holidays and how they interact with the locals while they are visiting. The later books in the series have taken a closer look at the locals themselves and show how their lives and relationships are sometimes changed by the regular influx of seasonal visitors.

The CHRISTMAS ON THE CLOSE series is set in a British suburban cul-de-sac over the festive period and visits each house individually to discover how the neighbours who live there celebrate the season in their own special way.

Stephanie lives in Lancashire where, apart from reading and writing, she loves gardening and cycling and is a huge fan of the soaps Emmerdale and Neighbours. If you would like to sign up to her newsletter list (with around four messages per year) you can do so on the contact page of her website and, as a thank you, will receive the free short story THE ZIA SUNSET EXCURSION.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Cozy Mystery, Friendship, Humour, Mystery, New Books

Acts of Kindness Heather Barnett 4*#Review @WritesHeather @SerpentineBooks @rararesources #cozymystery #humour #village #mystery #BlogTour #BookReview #ActsofKindness

Dream Job. Fresh Start. Big Mistake.

When Bella Black arrives in a sleepy Wiltshire village, it seems like the perfect place for a new start: a lovely home, exciting job and an attractive colleague or two to take her mind off her recent divorce.

When people start disappearing, she realises she holds the key to a mystery bigger than she could have ever imagined.

Who is really pulling the strings at the secretive OAK Institute?

Can anyone be trusted?

Will Bella make the right choices before its too late?

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

My Thoughts…

Acts of Kindness has vibrant characters and an engaging cosy style of mystery. The chance of a dream job is just what Bella needs, but things are more complex than she thought. Bella undertakes some amateur sleuthing with amusing and sometimes dangerous outcomes.

Eccentric characters and mysterious goings-on make this an amusing escapist read.

Heather Barnett

Heather Barnett gained a degree in English and French from the University of Leeds and has written ever since: from copywriting to stand-up comedy and sketches. She is now focusing on writing novels. Heather’s influences span Jane Austen and Douglas Adams at one end of the alphabet through to PG Wodehouse at the other.

Heather’s debut novel, Acts of Kindness, is an uplifting, light-hearted mystery. It was inspired by witnessing commuters helping a woman who’d fallen down the stairs at Paddington station; intermingled with wondering what was behind some grand stone gateposts that she used to drive past in Wiltshire.

Her second novel, Lord Seeks Wife, is a romantic comedy and will be published summer 2021.

Aside from writing, Heather’s interests are classic literature, cats and comedy.

Heather is head of marketing at an agency near Oxford and lives by the river Kennet in Berkshire.

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Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, New Books, Novella

Eleven Days in June R P Gibson Colley 4*#Review The Tales of Little Leaf @RupertColley #1985 #Devon #Village #ComingofAge #Relationships #Love #humour #PublicationDay #MondayBlogs

Dan is 20, lives in a sleepy village in Devon and works in a small DIY shop. He likes numbers and hero worships Lord Nelson. But he finds ordinary people difficult to understand and he’s certainly never kissed a girl. His mother mocks him, he misses his father and he pines for Ollie, his only childhood friend who truly understood him.

But, despite it all, Dan thinks he’s happy enough. Until one June day, the beautiful and mysterious Libby walks into his shop – and into his life.

Libby’s sudden appearance turns Dan’s ordered existence upside down. But Dan soon realises that Libby isn’t who she seems. Who exactly is she? What is she hiding, and, more importantly, who’s that threatening man always looking for her?

In trying to help Libby, Dan comes to realise what’s missing in his own life, and, in turn, appreciates what’s really important…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is a coming of age story, set in a sleepy Devon village in 1985. Dan is 20 but appears younger. Outwardly remote he is affected deeply by others’ perceptions of him. His dysfunctional childhood made him overly dependant on his mother and losing contact with a close childhood friend, also impacted him.

The story is short and simple, but the relationships, emotional angst and development are complex, Dan is likeable, and he has more friends than he realises. The adventure with Libby, the glamorous interloper, make him appreciate that.

This is an introspective story, but it’s an emotional read with heartwarming and poignant moments.

There is a dramatic and satisfying conclusion.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, Humour, Romantic Comedy

Asking for a Friend Andi Osho 3* #Review @AndiOsho @HQStories #BlogTour #BookReview #romcom #dating #women #friends #humour #AskingforaFriend

Three best friends are going to solve their relationship woes once and for all

Forty-something Jemima’s life is on track – well, sort of. All she has to do is muster the courage to bat her niggly ex away for good.

Twenty-something Meagan is in the midst of her five-phase plan and is nearly ready for phase three – a relationship.

While thirty-something Simi has had more it’s not yous than any I dos.

Deciding it’s time to play the dating game by their own rules, they’re going to ditch the dating apps and ask people out in real life. The catch? They’re playing matchmaker and can only ask out potential dates for each other because the most important rule is that no woman gets left behind.

Comedian Andi Osho’s hilarious and uplifting debut novel features her trademark wit 

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

I loved the ideas behind this story since I’m old enough to remember dating before dating apps. Unfortunately, I struggled to connect with the characters. So, this story didn’t fulfil its potential. There is plenty that I liked, especially the dynamic between the characters. Their friendship bond is believable and well written. There is also an insightful look at contemporary life which captures its humour, and sadness well.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Christmas Read, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Festive Read, Friendship, Romance, Romantic Comedy

Christmas in Cockleberry Bay Nicola May 5* #Review @NicolaMay1 @EyeAndLightning @rararesources #festive #BlogTour #BookReview #CICB

 

Meet old and new characters in the Bay for Christmas fun and frolics.

With both the Corner Shop and Cockleberry Café in safe hands, Rosa turns her attention to Ned’s Gift, the charity set up in memory of the great-grandfather whose legacy turned her life around.

Over at the Ship Hotel, Lucas has his work cut out with his devious new girlfriend and the mystery poisoning of an anonymous hotel inspector. Will the hotel still get its 3-star Seaside Rosette?

Will Mary find true love at last? Can Titch cope with the demands of the shop and being heavily pregnant. And can Rosa, with a baby of her own, pull off the Cockleberry Bay Charity Christmas Concert in time?

Christmas in Cockleberry Bay is a festive delight for fans of Rosa and her cheeky mini dachshund Hot, delivering a feast of unpredictable events and surprises.

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

My Thoughts…

Christmas in Cockleberry what could be nicer? It’s fun to return to Cockleberry Bay and its community at this festive time of year. Whilst this festive book is a complete story, the series is so special if you can read them all.

The story is full of vivid imagery, making the characters, events and setting easy to imagine. There are lots of characters and stories, so you need to concentrate, but it’s realistic and vibrant, and the dynamics are relatable to anyone who lives in a small community. For series regulars, there are updates on their favourite characters’ lives, and for new readers, there’s lots of festive fun, humour and intrigue.

This series would work well on television, it makes such good use of sensory imagery, with larger than life, memorable characters. It’s easy to see why this series is so popular, especially in such an uncertain world. It’s the perfect escapist read, definitely a festive book worth reading.

NIcola May

Nicola May is a rom-com superstar. She is the author of eleven romantic comedies, all of which have appeared in the Kindle bestseller charts. Two of them won awards at the Festival of Romance, and another was named ebook of the week in The SunThe Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay became the best-selling Kindle book in the UK, across all genres, in January 2019, and was Amazon’s third-bestselling novel in that year.

She lives near Ascot racecourse with her black-and-white rescue cat, Stan.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, New Books, Romance, Romantic Comedy

Harper’s Highland Fling by Lizzie Lamb 4*#Review @lizzie_lamb @lovebooksgroup #HarpersHighlandFling #lovebookstours #Romance #BookTour #BookReview

After a gruelling academic year, headteacher Harper MacDonald is looking forward to a summer holiday trekking in Nepal. However, her plans are scuppered when wayward niece, Ariel, leaves a note announcing that’s she’s running away with a boy called Pen. The only clue to their whereabouts is a footnote: I’ll Be in Scotland. Cue a case of mistaken identity when Harper confronts the boy’s father – Rocco Penhaligon and accuses him of cradle snatching her niece and ruining her future. At loggerheads, Harper and Rocco set off in hot pursuit of the teenagers, but the canny youngsters are always one step ahead. And, in a neat twist, it is the adults who end up in trouble, not the savvy teenagers. Fasten your seatbelt for the road trip of your life! It’s going to be a bumpy ride!  

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is a well-written romance with two likeable relatable characters and a cross country adventure to find their missing teenagers. The characters are believably flawed, and the chemistry between them builds realistically. The dialogue is clever and often humorous. The road trip setting works well bringing the protagonists up close and personal in an authentic way. The author brings people and places alive using vivid imagery, giving the story authenticity and depth.

A humorous, romantic adventure with an unlikely couple whose emotional journey mirrors the miles they travel between Cornwall and Scotland.

With Scottish, Irish, and Brazilian blood in her veins, it’s hardly surprising that Lizzie Lamb is a writer. She even wrote extra scenes for the films she watched as a child and acted out in the playground with her friends. She is ashamed to admit that she kept all the good lines for herself. Luckily, she saves them for her readers these days. Lizzie’s love of writing went on hold while she pursued a successful teaching career, finishing up as a Deputy Headteacher of a large primary school. Since deciding to leave the profession to realise her dream of becoming a published novelist, Lizzie hasn’t looked back. She wrote Tall, Dark and Kilted – which echoes her love of her homeland in every page, not to mention heroes in kilts – and published it. Lizzie loves the quickfire interchange between the hero and heroine – like in old black and white Hollywood movies – and hope this comes over in her writing.  

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Espionage - Spy - Thriller, Guest post, Historical Fiction, Humour

The Spy Who Inspired Me Stephen Clarke 5*#Review @sclarkewriter #PAF @RichardsonHelen #humour #historical #WW2 #France #Female #Spy #satirical #BlogTour #BookReview #TheSpyWhoInspiredMe

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I received a copy of this book from the author via Helen Richardson PR in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This story highlights the role of female spies in WW2. Their commitment and courage is something often overlooked, but many died in service of their country. This story parodies a well-known male fictitious spy as he finds himself in an uncomfortable alliance with a female spy who is everything he isn’t, but would like to be.

Lemming’s major contribution to the war effort appears to be working his way through the females who work alongside him until he meets his match in Margaux. She flatters his ego but makes him uneasy. When they meet again, he realises why.

Thrown in an uneasy alliance the unlikely couple travel to occupied France where Margaux shows Lemming what really happens behind enemy lines. Comically, and once you get to know him predictably, Lemming retreats into his vast imagination and rewrites the story covering himself in glory.

The immersive writing style and relatable characters draw the reader into the fictitious world from the start. Good use of sensory imagery brings the history and location vividly to life, so the reader feels they are on the mission too.

Humour and satire underpin this story making it an enjoyable read with characters, events and places that resonate.

Guest author Post – Stephen Clarke – The Spy Who Inspired Me

My new novel The Spy Who Inspired Me is a reaction against the old-fashioned Bond girl. The most Bond-girlish of them all, for me, is the dubiously named Pussy Galore in Goldfinger. In the original novel, she’s the feisty leader of a lesbian criminal gang, one of the key players in a plan to rob West Point. Then she meets 007, decides he’s cute, and suddenly she’s betraying her criminal chums and turning straight. It’s the same with the clairvoyant Solitaire in Live and Let Die – she sleeps with Bond (her first lover), loses her powers and becomes more or less enslaved to him.

The suggestion is that a woman will abandon all her ill-advised feminine foibles as soon as she meets a “real” man. It’s old-school gender nonsense.

This is why for The Spy Who Inspired Me, I decided to reverse the roles. The spy on the cover, Margaux Lynd, is a tough, highly-trained agent with plenty of mission experience. But when she lands in Occupied France in April 1944, she gets saddled with a scared, inexperienced, older male sidekick who just wants to go home to his clean shirts and his limitless supply of handmade cigarettes. The man is modelled on, but – for legal reasons mainly – not named after Bond’s creator, Ian Fleming. My character’s name is Ian Lemming. (You see, nothing at all like “Fleming”.)

The real Fleming was a suave playboy who spent most of the war in a comfortable Admiralty Office, a world away from the harsh everyday realities of spying. Meanwhile, dozens of women were being sent undercover into Occupied Europe. And they were the inspiration for Margaux Lynd. These real-life heroines joined up with the Resistance and acted as radio operators, go-betweens, recruiters and spies. Many were caught by the Gestapo, and then there was no Bond-like banter with their interrogator before a miraculous dash for freedom and a finale in a luxury bed. It was usually a short trip from the torture chamber to the firing squad.

Women agents were valued by the Allies because they exploited Nazi sexism – most Gestapo officers thought that German Frauen existed to breed Aryan babies, and found it hard to believe that a woman would do perilous “male” work like spying. In many ways, that is what Ian Lemming in The Spy Who Inspired Me believes, too. Only gradually does he come to respect, and then fear, the ruthless female secret agent he is forced to work with.

And as the two of them sneak across Occupied France and into Paris, Lemming begins to fantasize about a world in which a suave male spy would lord it over the ladies, while enjoying all the comforts he’s missing from back home – champagne, hot water, a change of underwear. As a reaction to the humiliations and deprivations he’s suffering, we sense that a macho superhero is being created in his head. And while Lemming fantasizes, his female mentor Margaux Lynd has to concentrate on completing her mission – and begging him never to attempt real undercover work ever again.

The Spy Who Inspired Me published on November 12 by pAf Books.

Stephen Clarke – Image Credit Marie Liss

Stephen Clarke is the bestselling author of the Merde series of comedy
novels (A Year in the Merde, Merde Actually, Dial M for Merde et al) which
have been translated into more than 20 languages and sold more than a
million copies worldwide.

Stephen Clarke has also written several serious-yet-humorous books on Anglo-French history, such as 1000 Years of Annoying the French (a UK number-one bestseller in both
hardback and paperback), How the French Won Waterloo (or Think They Did), and The French Revolution & What Went Wrong. He lives in Paris.

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Posted in Author Guest Post, Blog Blitz, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, Guest post, Romance, Romantic Comedy

WeddingVows and Cornish Ribbons Laura Briggs 4*#Review #GuestPost #RomCom #romance #ReturntoCornwall #humour #friendship #community #Weddings #Events #Cornwall #BookReview #PublicationDay @rararesources

Event planner Julianne Rose is on the verge of making her dreams of ‘rescuing’ weddings in need of help a reality. She and business partner Kitty have finally finished transforming the dilapidated barn into a chic event space, and they even have a new client eager to use it—a quirky, charming space organization guru named Deirdre who seems capable of organizing everything but her own special day. As if that wasn’t enough, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity soon presents itself through the who’s who of their sleepy little Cornish village: the chance to step into the event planning void for a posh bride in desperate need of an emergency salvage for her wedding plans. A wedding that could establish Julianne and Kitty as two of Cornwall’s best event planners if all goes well.

But an event that big doesn’t come without a catch. To persuade the posh clients to commit to them, Julianne and Kitty must first impress them with the ceremony for their current bride-to-be—a task that seemed easy, but proves complicated when stories emerge involving a history of broken engagements, cold feet, and commitment phobia on the part of Deirdre, who soon begins to exhibit possible symptoms of nervousness regarding her big day. Faced with a real case of runaway bride—and with their future reputation at stake— they must attempt to the impossible task of holding together a wedding fraying at its seams, and Julianne finds herself seemingly facing a choice between what’s best for Save the Date’s survival and what’s best for her client’s happiness, regardless of the cost.

Are Julianne’s worst fears about to be realized, with Deirdre gearing up for yet another run from the church altar? Can she persuade the posh but sympathetic bride Alexi to take a risk on Save the Date regardless of it? And will Julianne and the handsome-but-equally-busy Matt find time to smolder anything in their marriage besides leftover chicken pie? Readers will learn these answers and more in the funny and heartfelt sequel to the first full-length titular novel Return to Cornwall .

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

My Thoughts…

This first book in the Return to Cornwall series is believable, engaging and funny.

Readers familiar with the author will recognise the two protagonists from the A Wedding in Cornwall series. This book brings together old friends and new, in a delightful story of a would-be runaway bride, and the struggle to get a new business off the ground. For lovers of all things wedding, this is a perfect read. The event and wedding planning research makes this an authentic story and coupled with relatable characters its a must-read book.

Gentle humour runs through the story, especially when exploring family life, and the stress of getting married. There are some poignant moments which makes the happy outcome, well deserved.

This first book promises another lovely series from this author.

Creating Exciting Events for My Cornish Romance Reads!

– Laura Briggs Guest Post

Thank you so much to Jane for letting me drop by and share about my Cornish romance reads. My newest one, Wedding Vows and Cornish Ribbons, makes its debut today as book one in a new series about Julianne Rose, a busy wife and mum running her own event planning firm in the idyllic village she calls home. This isn’t my first time to write about Julianne’s adventures, though, with the same characters and setting used as the focus of my long running series known as ‘A Wedding in Cornwall’, where Julianne begin her career organizing special occasions at the village manor house—and found her own happily ever after with handsome, Poldark-esque gardener Matthew Rose. With the series reboot being launched, I thought it might be fun to look back at some of the more unique events Julianne has coordinated over her rather diverse career.

Pippa’s wedding in A Manor in Cornwall:

This was a fan favorite and special for multiple reasons, but mostly because it was the event that introduced Julianne to her new assistant (and future best friend and business partner) Kitty. Tough-as-nails on the outside, Kitty was a village girl who harbored a hidden talent for spotting the little details that make bigger events shine. She would go on to have her own happy ever after—and even her own narrative in one book—because she resonated so well with readers of the series. Of course, A Manor in Cornwall was also the story that bid a bittersweet farewell to Cliffs House kitchen maid Pippa, whose wedding reception would become a favorite memory for both Julianne and her young assistant. And the beautiful—though slightly dilapidated—old stone barn that Julianne and Kitty transformed for Pippa’s wedding reception becomes an important part of their brand new business in the series reboot, serving as a venue for their client’s special occasions.

The village play in A Star in Cornwall:

Shakespeare, community theatre, and a charming stranger in town with a secret made this another fan favorite in the original series. And even though Julianne didn’t exactly relish her brief stint as substitute director of the Cliff’s Edge Player’s summer production of Romeo and Juliet, it definitely made for an interesting change of pace from her usual kind of work. With a new (and temporary) assistant by her side, Julianne managed to navigate her way through the world of local amateur dramatics without too much disaster—although, her production is rather upstaged by a dramatic discovery about one of its lead actors before the next show’s curtain can rise!

The local music competition in A Talent Show in Cornwall:

Ah, who doesn’t love a good talent show? Friendly competition among neighbors in the sleepy Cornish village stirs up excitement after a drought of boredom—and offers a once-in-a-lifetime chance for whoever comes in first place. As usual, things don’t go as smoothly as Julianne would hope for. There’s a bit of humor and a lot of heart as Julianne helps friends pull together a show to remember. And she unexpectedly finds herself in the role of mentor for a shy, budding musician in need of a bit of encouragement.

Percy and Elaine’s would-be wedding in Return to Cornwall:

This official full-length reunion novel for the series characters was packed full of laughter, fun, and friendship. It also found Julianne building a reputation for her event planning business in the village after years of organizing events at Cliffs House. Her business partner is, of course, her old friend Kitty, back in Ceffylgwyn for good it would seem, after globetrotting with her husband Nathan. Together, the two planners are tasked with organizing an elaborate, late-in-life wedding for the eccentric earl Percy and his would-be bride, an archaeologist named Elaine. It’s among Julianne’s most challenging events and comes with a bittersweet twist at the end—but with a promise of hope for the future and more excitement to come for Julianne and her friends in the Cornish village, of course.

If all this sounds like your cup of tea when it comes romance reads, I do hope you’ll be sure to check out the books in all my Cornish series. They’re perfect for those in search of a feel-good, escapist story with humor, romance, and larger-than-life events.

Laura Briggs

Laura Briggs is the author of several feel-good romance reads, including the Top 100 Amazon UK seller ‘A Wedding in Cornwall’. She has a fondness for vintage style dresses (especially ones with polka dots), and reads everything from Jane Austen to modern day mysteries. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, caring for her pets, gardening, and seeing the occasional movie or play.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Guest post, Humour, Parenting and Famlies, Romance

A Village Vacancy Julie Houston 5*#Review @JulieHouston2 @Aria_Fiction @HoZ_Books #VillageLife #Romance #Friendships #Family #Secrets #Humour #BlogTour #BookReview #AVillageVacancy #GuestPost

Village Affair comes a laugh out loud new Westenbury tale…

As the Yorkshire village of Westenbury mourns the loss of one of their own, the women can’t help but contemplate who will fill the vacancy in one handsome widower’s life…

Grace Stevens has decided it’s time to move on without her husband. He’s off gallivanting around Devon in search of a new life, and good riddance. It’s time to go back to teaching, so Grace returns to Little Acorns and takes on an unruly class of pre-teens.

As she deals with disasters in – and out of – the classroom including an accidental dalliance with her most troublesome pupil’s dad, helping track down a drug ring and keeping up with her closest girlfriends, Grace begins to wonder more and more about the sparkle in David’s eyes and the sparking chemistry between them.

Could Grace be the one to fill this village vacancy?

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

My Thoughts…

A Village Vacancy takes the reader back to the Westenbury for another tale of laughter, love and life. This is a standalone story, but many of the characters previously featured in other books about Westenbury, and you will be intrigued to see what has gone before.

The funeral of one of the village’s enigmatic women introduces the cast of characters. Amanda’s loss is felt both in the community and her personal life. A mystery surrounds her untimely death, which gives this tale of village life an added dimension.

Grace takes centre stage in this story as she copes with her dysfunctional family life and wonders if romantic happiness is within her grasp. Westenbury experiences city problems in this story which are topical and give the story its contemporary edge.

There’s humour, mystery, romance and poignancy in this insightful story which draws the reader into the village and the lives of its inhabitants. The characters are believable and relatable, which makes their stories engaging and memorable.

Julie Houston

Julie Houston is the author of THE ONE SAVING GRACE, GOODNESS, GRACE AND ME and LOOKING FOR LUCY, a Kindle top 100 general bestseller and a Kindle #1 bestseller. She is married, with two teenage children and a mad cockerpoo and, like her heroine, lives in a West Yorkshire village. She is also a teacher and a magistrate.

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Guest Post Julie Houston September 2020 –

A VILLAGE VACANCY – Grace

To celebrate the publication of A Village Vacancy, I thought it might be a good idea – as well as helpful to readers who have never met her before – to write a little biography of Grace. While all the Midhope/Westenbury novels can be read as total and utter standalones, this, my eighth novel, gives Grace a leading role as well as showing a greater insight into her character, and I wanted to give a little background information to readers who may have never met her before.

So, while my first novel – Goodness, Grace and Me – has Grace playing a major role, the book is essentially Harriet’s story. In this first book, we learn that Grace and Harriet meet on their very first day at grammar school and both become infatuated with a fifth-former, one Amanda Goodners or Little Miss Goodness as Grace dubs her a couple of years later when Amanda is promoted to head girl. The three women meet up again as adults and Grace, staggering from husband Dan’s infidelity, falls for Mandy Henderson’s (as she now is) much younger son, Sebastian.

In the One Saving Grace, while again this is essentially Harriet’s story, Grace is suffering. Unable to conceive a much-longed for child with husband Dan, she is absolutely over the moon when she falls unexpectedly pregnant to Seb Henderson. Unfortunately, Grace suffers severe post-natal depression which renders her unable to look after her son, Jonty properly and destroys the already flimsy relationship with Seb. My intention was to show that Post-natal depression does not discriminate or care who it chooses and can – and does – affect even the most confident, intelligent and outgoing women such as Grace.

I’ve always wanted the reader to have an impression of Grace as a strong, confident and independent woman which she clearly is. While An Off Piste Christmas takes Grace onto the next stage of her life when she becomes the mother of Pietronella who has Down’s Syndrome, all my other Westenbury novels feature Grace only fleetingly where she, together with Harriet, take on much smaller cameo roles.

It was an email from a reader last year asking what was happening to Grace, and could I write a book with her as the main character, that brought about the idea for A Village Vacancy. In this book, published by Aria on October 22nd, I have allowed Grace centre stage. While she might have perhaps previously played a lesser role to Harriet, this one is certainly Grace’s story.

A couple of reviewers have referred to Grace as a maneater who appears happy to discard her husband, Dan when the marriage breaks down once more and Dan moves out. This certainly wasn’t my intention to have Grace viewed as such. Yes, she makes a huge mistake at the start of the book, but this, I want the reader to appreciate, is totally out of character. She tries to argue that she is a strong, independent woman who has the right, on occasion, to please herself as to how she behaves, but deep down she is embarrassed and ashamed as to what she got up to on that night out in Leeds, and I would hate the reader to think of her as naturally promiscuous; she isn’t. Foolhardy, yes, amoral, no.

I wanted to show that the breakdown of two major relationships together with the terrible post-natal depression have combined to leave Grace both vulnerable and desperate for a serious, ‘proper’ relationship for both herself and her two children. If she comes a bit of a cropper in the attempt, I hope the reader will not condemn her but empathise, sympathise even, with what she’s going through. After all, life for many of us isn’t always that straightforward. We are human; we make mistakes.

Luckily, for Grace, there will be a happy ever after.

Posted in Blog Blitz, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, Romance, Romantic Comedy

The Cornish Key to Happiness Laura Briggs 5*#Review #ALittleHotelinCornwall #RomCom #series #mystery #romance #humour #friendship #community #Cornwall #BookReview #PublicationDay

Past secrets return to complicate Maisie’s future with the charming Sidney Daniels in the final installment of the Cornish romance series.

Picking up where book seven left off, Maisie’s plans to celebrate her book’s thrilling news remain on hold after Sidney has vanished from Port Hewer overnight, following a brush with his secret past. His departure leaves Maisie with a head full of questions and a heart torn in two, made even worse by the rumors flying about him through the town. Where and why has he gone? Will he ever come back again? And—foremost in Maisie’s mind—was the heartache from his younger days somehow to blame for his sudden and mysterious flight?

But when Dean convinces her that Sidney may be facing a choice that could ruin his life, Maisie must set out to find him, once again leaving behind the Cornish seaside haven of Port Hewer she’s come to think of as home, and leaving behind the answer to a secret she’s been longing to know since the beginning. Not knowing when or if she’ll return, she’s taking the biggest risk with her heart so far…and the truth she discovers waiting for her at the end of her journey will make her wonder if things can ever possibly be the same as they were before.

Questions are answered, secrets are spilled, and the biggest reveal of the series is finally unveiled as A LITTLE HOTEL IN CORNWALL reaches its exciting conclusion.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is the final chapter, in this lovely series, and it’s is full of heartache, insight, mystery and romance. Maisie sets off on a mission to find Sidney. There are new characters to meet, and answers to the secrets Sidney’s hidden from her. There’s angst for Maisie and a choice for Sidney. This story has a vividly written plot with vibrant characters and a heartfelt conclusion.

This is a series worth reading for its originality, quirkiness and gentle romance.

Laura Briggs

Laura Briggs is the author of several feel-good romance reads, including the Top 100 Amazon UK seller ‘A Wedding in Cornwall’. She has a fondness for vintage style dresses (especially ones with polka dots), and reads everything from Jane Austen to modern day mysteries. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, caring for her pets, gardening, and seeing the occasional movie or play.

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