Posted in Book Review

Runaway Bride Mary Jayne Baker 5* Review

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Posted in Book Review

Millie Vanilla’s Cupcake Cafe- #1-3 Georgia Hill – 4*Review

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Baking, broken hearts and beach weddings…it’s all happening in the gorgeous little seaside town of Berecombe this year!

Millie Vanilla’s Cupcake Café is struggling as a multi-national chain of cafés moves in on its territory. Despite baking up a storm in a bid to save it, Millie’s distracted by falling head over heels for the gorgeous, mysterious Jed.

As the seasons change in Berecombe, the loveable, quirky locals rally round Millie, and in return find their own happy ever afters. Millie’s delighted for her friends, but when she discovers Jed’s been keeping secrets, she faces a new dilemma – is it finally time to hang up her apron and start an exciting life somewhere new? Or is everything she’s ever wanted right under her nose, just waiting for her to reach out and take it?

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Thoughts…

This is a compilation of all the Millie Vanilla stories and is a lovely holiday read, for all those who love stories full of romance, conflict and delicious cakes. The story covers, Spring, Summer and Christmas and is a lovely, heartwarming read.

Spring Beginnings…

Cafe stories are prevalent at the moment, but this one is a little different. It has an old-fashioned quality, which fits in perfectly with the setting in an old-style English seaside town. The characters are varied and accurately reflect the clientele in most seaside cafes. There is a lovely community feel to this story which contrasts vividly with the underhand behaviour Millie is forced to confront when her business is threatened, by a corporate rival cafe.

Romance has been in short supply for Millie who has worked through her grief by fulfilling her parents’ dream. Jed is not her usual type of customer, but the attraction is instant and powerful and makes for some sizzling scenes, that push the boundaries of this sweet romance.

The plot is simple but effective, and this is a pleasant read.

Summer Loves…

Millie is on her own again after her Spring romance with rich boy Jed, but her cafe is surviving and so is she, especially when her school best friend returns to Berecombe unexpectedly.

Dora, a successful actress, returns home and finds Millie’s love life in tatters. Determined to see her friend happy she doesn’t
expect her own heart to be threatened when someone from her past returns to challenge and allure her.

Dora and Mike’s love story is poignant and steamy in equal measures and mirrors the theatre production they both find themselves involved with. Millie and Jed’s path to true love is equally frustrating and seems unlikely to have a happy ending until Millie can trust Jed again.

The older generation is determined not to be outdone in the romance stakes and provide much of the humour in this story, which seesaws between laughter and tears.

Christmas Weddings…

Millie returns from her travels abroad, hoping to complete the sale of her cafe.  Part of her wants to see Jed, but she sent him away, so there is no chance of that?

Another romance dominates this story apart from the loved-up couple who Millie is arranging the wedding for at the cafe. Ri and Alex are an unlikely couple, but their’s proves to be an engaging story, with a mystical slant that I always enjoy.

This is a  gentle, romantic story, which incorporates the festive element beautifully. The ending is charming and full of vivid imagery, which makes it easy to imagine being one of the wedding guests. Thankfully everyone has a happy ending. What more could you ask for?

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

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Millie Vanilla’s Cupcake Cafe – Spring Beginnings, Summer Loves, Christmas Weddings.

Posted in Book Review

Crazy Little Thing Called Love – Charlotte Butterfield – 4* Review

My Thoughts… 

I liked the idea of this book, but it took awhile for me to be involved with the story. The main reason was that I didn’t always believe in parts of the storyline.Despite this, three quarters into the story, it came alive, and I started to believe in the characters and wanted them to find their happy endings. So on balance, this was an enjoyable read with believable characters but a less credible plot.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 

Posted in Book Review, Christmas Read, Festive Read

Christmas Read: Jane Linfoot Christmas Promises at the Little Wedding Shop 4* Review

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There’s nothing more magical than a winter wonderland wedding but when photographer Holly North returns to the cosy village of St Aidan she’s determined to avoid romance and the festive season full stop. She’s doing one small favour for a friend’s wedding and then her plans involve diving under her duvet and avoiding any sign of Christmas cheer – and gorgeous but insufferable Rory Sanderson – for the rest of December!

That is until Christmas arrives at Brides by the Sea, Cornwall’s enchanting and most adorable little wedding shop. The champagne is on ice while mistletoe hangs from every nook and Holly’s friends at the shop are determined she’ll live up to her festive name.

Amazon UK

Amazon 

My Thoughts…

Another Christmas time at the ‘Little Wedding Shop by the Sea’ and this one features the appropriately named Holly, who grew up in the Cornish coastal town and returns for a holiday, hoping to bypass Christmas entirely after the trauma of the previous year’s festive period.
Holly is a likeable character. When she returns to her hometown, she finds that little has changed, as she reacquaints with old school friends and her former teenage crush, Rory. Holly, a food photographer, agrees to take wedding photos for a friend, which leads to a whole unexpected adventure. Finding it hard to say no to people she cares about, Holly is fully involved with the ‘Little Wedding Shop’ and much to her dismay Rory and his niece and nephew who he is babysitting.
The plot is simple but what makes it interesting is the detailed descriptions, which give the story its vivacity and the lovely blend of old and new characters who resonate and make you believe in them and the setting.There is everything required for a lighthearted, feel-good Christmas read, Romance, children, snow and goodwill. This book will leave you with a warm festive feeling when you’ve finished reading it.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Posted in Book Review, Christmas Read, Festive Read

Christmas Read: The Present – Charlotte Phillips – 4* Review

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12 magical gifts, one love that lasts a lifetime…

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me … one romantic Christmas you won’t forget.

When helping to clear out her beloved grandmother’s home, Lucy Jackson discovers twelve beautiful Christmas decorations hidden in the loft. As she discovers their heartbreaking story, a touching romance develops with the handsome gardener next door.

Amazon UK

My Thoughts…

A  charming, unashamedly romantic tale, with a funny, vulnerable heroine and a sexy hero who falls in love despite it being the last thing he wants to happen.

A serendipitous discovery in her Grandmother’s loft leads Lucy on a tale of discovery back to 1940s England, where she uncovers her Grandmother’s secret and realises that having a life plan doesn’t necessarily guarantee happiness. 

Lots of comical and poignant moments and an easy to read story, perfect for an afternoon in front of the fire with the Christmas tree lights on.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Book Review, Festive Read

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

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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

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Posted in Book Review, Festive Read, New Books

The Holiday Swap – Zara Stoneley – 5* Review

The Hoiliday Swap

Blurb - Coastal

Two women, two very different lives – one perfect solution to a Christmas holiday fraught with potential pitfalls.

The Holiday Swap.

Florence Cortes has the perfect life – an apartment in the trendiest district of Barcelona, a job she loves and a boyfriend who’s whisking her away on a romantic break to Paris to no doubt propose.
Only, he’s planning something far different, and Flo soon realises her life isn’t so perfect after all.

Home loving Daisy Fischer is perfectly happy in her idyllic home in the Cheshire countryside, with an on-off boyfriend who might be slightly dull but is totally dependable. Until he issues an ultimatum, and Daisy suddenly realises that there might be a whole different world out there that she’s missing out on.

Have Flo and Daisy come up with the perfect solution to escape festive heartbreak?
Can a snowbound Christmas in Cheshire – with aristocratic, handsome Hugo as her neighbour, a house full of animals and a leaking roof – help Flo mend her broken heart, and remind her of what she really wants in life?

Can a sunny break in beautiful Barcelona – with the dishy but brooding Javier, a never ending supply of cava, and a sea view to die for – prove to Daisy that playing safe isn’t always the answer?

Love actually does seem to be all around this Christmas – and in the places Flo and Daisy least expect to find it, but where will they be for New Year?

Buy Links - Coastal

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Review - Coastal

The Holiday Swap

The classic romantic comedy ‘The Holiday’ springs to mind reading the blurb for this story. As it’s a firm favourite of mine and I enjoy Zara’s Tippermere stories, I couldn’t wait to read this. I loved it.
For fans of Tippermere there’s a tantalising glimpse of village life in snowy Cheshire, as Flo returns to her childhood home and meets sexy Hugo. A lovely collection of animal personalities guaranteed to make you smile complete this part of the story perfectly.
However, it’s the Barcelona setting that draws you in. The passion and glamour of the city echoes Daisy’s new found passion for life and new love.
There is a definite festive theme to this story but it’s more about, friendship, realising your true potential and living your own life. Something both Daisy and Flo find out as they explore their new environments with new friends and experiences.
The characters are authentic and vivid. The plot comprises plenty of humour and lots of romance. Written in scenes, it’s easy to visualise the girl’s adventures as if you’re experiencing them first hand.
The perfect holiday read.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 

The Holiday Swap by Zara Stoneley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


The Holiday Swap by Zara Stoneley

Zara Stoneley

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Posted in Book Review, Guest post, Summer Impulse

What Inspired ‘The Honey Trap’? -Mary Jayne Baker

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Guest Post

What Inspired ‘The Honey Trap’? Mary Jayne Baker

Although I only started writing my debut novel The Honey Trap last October, I suppose the embryo of the story goes right back to the early noughties when I was studying English Literature at Durham University. I’d always been attracted to writing contemporary romance in the Mills & Book vein, and one day I decided what the hell: I was just going to do it. So I came up with a heroine, Angel, a feisty red-haired journalist who knew her own mind, and a hero, Sebastian, a dark and mysterious aristocrat with a troubled past. I drafted a plot, wrote about 4000 words worth of scenes – and then I decided the whole thing was dreadful and gave up.

Ten years later, I revisited the characters and plot – and gave up again. It was only last year, when someone gave me the sterling piece of advice that I should stop worrying about the quality of my writing and get on with it, then worry about editing afterwards, that I finally sat down to write what became The Honey Trap.

The characters and plot changed a lot from the original story idea I’d come up with back in my early 20s. From being a well-respected journalist, Angel became someone rather more junior, a newspaper intern just starting out in her career. Sebastian, now more usually known as Seb, changed from being an aristocrat to an acclaimed British film director, and from being dark and tortured to someone rather more fun and sweet. I populated Seb and Angel’s world with a cast of secondary characters – Angel’s love-to-hate boss Steve, Seb’s glamorous actress wife Carole and Angel’s fun, witty and supportive friends Leo and Emily.

Another thing that changed as I wrote was the genre. Although I initially intended the book to be contemporary romance, a lot of humour crept in, with cheeky banter between the characters abounding, and about a third of the way through I could see what I was really writing was romantic comedy, so I went with it.

Although I’m neither a journalist nor a film director, I mined my own interests and experiences pretty shamefully to provide material for the book. In the wake of the recent phone-hacking scandal, which I followed closely, I wanted to focus on Angel’s choices in the morally ambiguous world of the redtop paper she works for and this is one theme of the book. I also loved the idea of the main couple bonding over a shared love of vintage film, which is a passion of mine – the scenes where they watch old films such as The Apartment in Seb’s 1920s cinema, The Hippodrome, were some of my favourites to write. And finally, because he wouldn’t get off my keyboard and I thought it might appease him, I wrote my cat in! Harpo the cat becomes Groucho in The Honey Trap. He’s very proud…

Writing my first novel was an interesting experience. I tried to write 2000 words every day, which is no small commitment while also working full-time as I can only really write in the evenings, and I don’t think I was quite prepared for how much the plot and characters would take over my life and dreams. I found the experience addictive though – having once started writing, I’m now finding I can’t stop! I have another two completed manuscripts that I’m currently editing, and another first draft almost complete, plus I have recently signed with a literary agent.

Butterfly Heaven

The trap is set – but which one of them is the bait?

Journalist Angel Blackthorne is looking for her next big scoop. When her sleazy editor asks her to use her charms on super successful – and married – film director Sebastian Wilchester for a juicy exposé, Angel thinks what the hell? There’s a staff job on the horizon, and, let’s be honest, no one can make a cheater cheat if they don’t want to, right?

After the scandal breaks, Angel tries to put the story – and Seb – behind her, but fate seems to have other ideas. A near miss at a premiere after-party and a shared love of vintage film brings the honey closer to the trap.

But what happens when pretence leads to passion, and a ‘kiss and tell’ becomes something real?

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Amazon UK

Amazon 

Flowers - My Review

The Honey Trap

‘The Honey Trap’ is an interesting, insightful expose of the gutter press and the fallout of their actions. Not your usual romantic comedy material but it works. The story explores the current obsession with celebrity status in a humorous way and the well thought out plot holds your interest.
Angel, a journalist intern finds out that ‘making it’ in her chosen career means compromising her moral integrity and possibly losing self respect in the process. Seb, the reclusive anti hero is instantly attractive to Angel and the heat between them is undeniable and often explosive. The sex is more explicit than usual in romantic comedy but as this forms the basis for the story that is a given. There is a good balance of romance and passion between our unlikely couple but the chance for a happy ever after for Angel and Seb is in doubt right to the end.
Angel’s objectionable boss, stereotypical, ‘old school’ editor, Steve easily manipulates her into making questionable choices. His sexist and homophobic behaviour doesn’t make pleasant reading but is essential for the plot’s authenticity and Angel’s out of character behaviour, in agreeing to be the bait in the honey trap.
A different interpretation of a popular theme, making an overall enjoyable read.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Author Bio

 

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 in 2003, she dallied with living in cities including London, but eventually came back with her own romantic hero in tow to her beloved Dales.

She lives with him in a little house with four little cats and a little rabbit, writing stories about girls with flaws and the men who love them. You can usually find her there with either a pen, some knitting needles or a glass of wine in hand. She goes to work every day as a graphic designer for a magazine publisher, but secretly dreams of being a lighthouse keeper.

More information can be found about MJ on her website at http://www.maryjaynebaker.co..uk You can also follow her on Twitter, @MaryJayneBaker, or like her Facebook page by going to Facebook.com/MaryJayneWrites

Posted in Book Review

London Calling – Mark Daydy- 4* Review

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Blurb 2016- 2

When 29-year-old Taunton-based Erin Goodleigh learns that an old boyfriend is a successful writer in London, she is astonished. Back in sixth-form, when they co-wrote the school play, she practically carried the lazy worm. So how did he do it and – more importantly – is it too late for her to fulfil her side of the vow they made to become successful writers?

Follow Erin’s adventures in London – with old university friend Trish, two-faced ex-boyfriend Ian and motorcycle messenger-writer Paul – as she pursues her dream armed only with hope, determination and a second-hand Amstrad computer.

Buy Links 2016 -2

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Review -1

‘London Calling’ manages to be both amusing and insightful with enough nineties nostalgia to make it interesting. Erin is a writer but she works as a ‘junior executive’ in her parents’ packaging company in the south west of England. She grew up in Hammersmith in the seventies and wants to become writer for BBC radio, moving back to London is the only way.

The weekly timetable for non commissioned writers serves to emphasise how difficult it is to follow your dream in the creative world. Money is tight and disappointment plentiful but sticking at it, is the only way to realise your chance of becoming a commissioned writer.

 Those who are not discouraged with their numerous failures form a club of sorts and the team spirit is an important theme of this story.

The authenticity of the plot makes it a little repetitive at times but Erin is a strong, likeable character and you follow her rejections and small wins avidly. There is an interesting romantic dynamic between Erin and fellow non commissioned writer Paul, which adds to her roller-coaster life.

The historic influences are strong and make you realise how much has changed in the last twenty years. Does anybody remember the ‘Amstrad’ computer?

‘London Calling’ is a light hearted tale of ambition and stamina with lots of humour and a lovely thread of romance.

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

Author Bio 2016- 2

13995020Over the past 20 years, I’ve written extensively for TV and radio in the UK and I’m currently developing a TV sitcom (optioned by NBC-Universal).

I love reading heart-warming, humorous novels about life’s little ups and downs, so it’s hardly a shock that I’ve started writing them myself. In my stories, I look to bring the feel-good factor (laughter and, perhaps, a few tears) to romance and relationships, changing careers, moving home, family upheaval, growing up, and a whole host of other bumps in the road.

Posted in Book Review, Summer Impulse

The Honey Trap – Mary Jayne Baker -4* Review #SummerImpulse

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Poppy - Blurb

The trap is set – but which one of them is the bait?

Journalist Angel Blackthorne is looking for her next big scoop. When her sleazy editor asks her to use her charms on super successful – and married – film director Sebastian Wilchester for a juicy exposé, Angel thinks what the hell? There’s a staff job on the horizon, and, let’s be honest, no one can make a cheater cheat if they don’t want to, right?

After the scandal breaks, Angel tries to put the story – and Seb – behind her, but fate seems to have other ideas. A near miss at a premiere after-party and a shared love of vintage film brings the honey closer to the trap.

But what happens when pretence leads to passion, and a ‘kiss and tell’ becomes something real?

Available  to Pre- Order

Flowers - Buy Links

Amazon UK

Amazon 

Winter My Review

The Honey Trap

‘The Honey Trap’ is an interesting, insightful expose of the gutter press and the fallout of their actions. Not your usual romantic comedy material but it works. The story explores the current obsession with celebrity status in a humorous way and the well thought out plot holds your interest.
Angel, a journalist intern finds out that ‘making it’ in her chosen career means compromising her moral integrity and possibly losing self respect in the process. Seb, the reclusive anti hero is instantly attractive to Angel and the heat between them is undeniable and often explosive. The sex is more explicit than usual in romantic comedy but as this forms the basis for the story that is a given. There is a good balance of romance and passion between our unlikely couple but the chance for a happy ever after for Angel and Seb is in doubt right to the end.
Angel’s objectionable boss, stereotypical, ‘old school’ editor, Steve easily manipulates her into making questionable choices. His sexist and homophobic behaviour doesn’t make pleasant reading but is essential for the plot’s authenticity and Angel’s out of character behaviour, in agreeing to be the bait in the honey trap.
A different interpretation of a popular theme, making an overall enjoyable read.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

The Honey Trap by Mary Jayne Baker

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Honey Trap by Mary Jayne Baker

Mary Jayne Baker

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