Posted in Book Review

Blog Tour: Kitty Wilson – The Cornish Village School – Q&A and 4*Review

 

Rosy Winter is definitely not looking for love

Following heartbreak, Rosy has rebuilt her life in the beautiful Cornish village of Penmenna. Now, headmistress of the local school, she is living by The Rule: no dating anyone in the village. Easy right? But Rosy Winter has a new neighbour, handsome gardener Matt.

In Penmenna for his new gardening TV show, this guy next door will do everything he can to persuade her to break her rule and win her heart. Meanwhile, Penmenna Village School is threatened with closure, and it’s up to Rosy to rally the local community and #SaveOurSchool. Can she bring her worlds together and accept help from the most unlikely of sources? One thing’s for sure… she won’t be giving up without a fight.

Links to Book:

Amazon (UK)

Kobo (UK)

Google Books (UK)

Apple Books (UK)

Amazon

Q&A with Kitty Wilson – The Cornish Village School Blog Tour

What inspired you to write a story set in a Cornish Village?

They say write what you know and I have lived here for over two decades. Every morning I open my eyes and out of the window there is the sea stretching in front of me just past some fields. I live in the middle of nowhere surrounded by a network of Cornish villages, and there is nothing like it. It’s hard not to be inspired by my surroundings. The villages are quirky, picturesque and a perfect microcosm of all human behaviour. I love the community feel and the things you learn. People are quick to gossip, but they are even quicker to help. Spending time in these villages, and I do seem to be in the village pub with alarming frequency, helped me shape the book. I knew I wanted to write romance, but I also knew I wanted it to be a story of a community and how it pulls together, how it’s supportive and funny and a character in its own right.

There are lots of stories about Cornish life currently, what makes yours different?

A book takes me about a year to write, so I was a bit panicked as I saw Cornish title after Cornish title hitting the shelves. But the truth is that the setting is so magical, memorable and lends itself beautifully to all types of fiction that I am not surprised that many great stories are set here.

What makes mine different? I hope the fact that I am so deeply immersed in Cornish life and culture makes a difference. I know the people intimately, the everyday customs and practices that make this county are ingrained in me and my children. We do like to go at a slow pace although everything is thrown down for the day if the sun shines, then we race to the beach with our bags and BBQ kit which are permanently packed and kept by the door. We have experienced, over two decades, so much that Cornwall has to offer; beach and moors, hidden forests and ancient monuments. I hope my book is weaved through with the spirit of Cornwall in the same way that Cornwall is woven through me, and that Cornwall jumps out from the pages with real depth, a passion, knowledge that can’t always be captured without having lived it. 

Do you draw your characters from real life or are they purely a product of your imagination?

My characters tend to start with a real person if for no other reason that then I can picture them in my head and go from there. In this instance, Rosy was made of an amalgamation of a few teacher friends and Matt was a young Monty Don. However, it doesn’t take long before they seem to take over themselves and become very much their own person with barely any resemblance to the initial inspiration at all. So, I start with real life, but that barely lasts ten minutes before they, or my imagination, takes over and runs wild.

What sort of books do you enjoy reading and why?

I read all sorts of books and always have done. I grew up devouring the classics which has helped shape my love of history, and my comfort reads tend to be historical or romance. I love romantic comedies, and there is nothing that lifts the soul as beautifully on a grey day. I read literary fiction occasionally as well but think that the escapism of a commercial novel is a wonderful thing that should be celebrated a lot more than it is. But the truth is I will read anything and do. Why do I love reading? That is an essay worthy question so I shall say simply because it is something I have always done and cannot imagine a life in which I didn’t. It enriches my heart, mind and soul.

What made you decide to become a writer and why does this genre appeal to you?

I have always wanted to write, ever since I was a small child and used to create story after story. Rather like reading it was just part of me for as long as I can remember. I did let real life get in the way and found little time to write when I was working full-time as a teacher and was a lone parent with two children, but still, I would occasionally try, although I tended to write poetry, time being in short supply. I think writing is an itch and is always there niggling in your mind if you’re not doing it. I had to stop teaching when I became poorly, but on the upside, I suddenly had time on my hands, and I started to write. This genre was a natural fit, and it just seemed to flow, I have loved to read romance ever since (and maybe a little before) it was age appropriate, so that was what I started with. I found that as I was writing, I was writing things that made me cackle and decided to embrace the humour rather than cut it out. My romantic comedy voice was born, and I love writing this genre. It’s warm, it’s comforting, and it provides an escape – what is not to love?

What’s next for Kitty Wilson? Have you written any more books set in this lovely village?

I am currently writing the second in the series set around Penmenna School and have more planned in my head. Each will centre around a different protagonist, but favourite characters (and mine is Marion) will feature heavily in each. In fact, I am giving Marion a longer-running storyline which I hope will carry over a couple of books, so yes, hopefully, lots more Penmenna village. I have so many stories in all sorts of places that I’m desperate to write, jostling around in my head, so I’m hoping I can carry on writing books for a very long time.  

My Thoughts… 

Strong female characters and the author’s knowledge and appreciation of all things Cornish makes this a welcome addition to growing number of fictional tales set in England’s most south-westerly county.

Rosie, the village school headteacher, sees the village as her new start, nothing will spoil it for her as long as she follows her rules. Matt, a celebrity gardener, moves in next door, and their growing physical and emotional attachment threatens Rosy’s rule book.

Aside from the emotional angst, the school is under threat of closure, and the subsequent campaign to #SaveOurSchool draws the community together and gives the Matt and his sister a chance to become part of something real and worthwhile.

The plot is simple and a little predictable, but the characters are believable, quirky and vividly portrayed, so the complete package makes a satisfying read. 

Romance, humour, trust and community are all themes of this village based tale, and I look forward to seeing who comes under the village spotlight next.

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

Kitty Wilson has lived in Cornwall for the last twenty-five years having been dragged there, against her will, as a stroppy teen. She is now remarkably grateful to her parents for their foresight and wisdom – and that her own children aren’t as hideous. She spends most of her time welded to the keyboard or hiding out at the beach and has a penchant for very loud music, equally loud dresses and romantic heroines who speak their mind.

Twitter: @KittyWilson23

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Posted in Book Review

The Sister Swap – Fiona Collins – 4*Review

Meg simply doesn’t have time for men in her life. Instead, she has a strictly one-date rule, survives on caffeine and runs one of the biggest model agencies from her smart office in London. That is until she collapses one day at work and the doctor orders her to take some R&R in the country…

Sarah is used to being stuck behind tractors and the slow pace of her cosy village life. But now her children are all grown-up (and her ex-husband long forgotten) she’s ready to change things up a bit – starting with taking back her old job in the city!

After a devastating falling out, the sisters haven’t spoken in years. Swapping houses, cars, everything is the only option – surely they’ll be able to avoid bumping into each other?

Amazon UK

Amazon

 

My Thoughts…

Meg and Sarah estranged for twenty years. Both sister’s lives changed because of a devastating family tragedy. They led different lives, Meg’s career driven, Sarah’s, forsaking her career for her family. Illness and the prospect of an empty nest make both sisters assess their lives. They make contact and agree to swap their houses but will they become family again?

Both characters are flawed, Sarah on first acquaintance appears to be the most selfless, but as the story progresses it’s clear Meg’s colleagues like and respect her, which Sarah finds surprising. Living in a different setting makes them realise something is missing from their previous life and gives them a new perspective.

There is a mix of comedy, romantic and thought-provoking moments in this story. Your empathy with the characters increases as the story progresses and by the end you want their new lives to succeed.

Just the book for a lighthearted beach read.

I received a copy of this book form HQ Digital 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

Forever at Conwenna Cove – Darcie Boleyn – 4* Review

Following heartbreak, Zoe Russell found a haven in Conwenna Cove. As the owner of the village diner and a volunteer for the local greyhound sanctuary, she’s happy with her peaceful life.

Local surfer Nate Bryson plans to leave Conwenna and see the world. He wants to shake off his reputation as a ladies man and start again somewhere new. Before departing, Nate decides to raise funds for the dog rescue home as a way of giving back to the community.

When Nate approaches Zoe to help with the charity event she sees there’s more to him than meets the eye. Nate can’t believe he’s failed to notice the kind and beautiful woman right before him. But can two such different people ever be together, especially if one of them is determined to leave?

Amazon UK

Amazon

 

My Thoughts…

This book reads well as a standalone, even though there are previous books in the series, which I haven’t read. It’s a gentle-paced, romantic read, full of friendly characters and the setting’s beautiful imagery.

Zoe runs the local dinner at Conwenna Cove; she’s dedicated her life to it, since settling in the cove after a disastrous marriage. Unwilling to face any more rejection and low in self-esteem she is slow in making friends but does befriend a rescue greyhound who she gives all her love, only to lose her.
Nate escaped to the cove when his father died suddenly, working at his paternal uncle’s cafe he comes to terms with his grief and feels able to restart his life. Despite their, emotional baggage Nate and Zoe connect, but with one leaving and other scared to have her heartbroken is their love only a beautiful dream?

The plot is predictable, but the characters are authentic and make it worthwhile reading, with a beautifully written conclusion.

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

Posted in Book Review

Blog Tour – Finding Dreams Lauren Westwood – Extract and 5* Review

When Lizzie Green opens up her house to be used as a set for a film based on a bestselling romance novel, she has no idea how her life will change. A heartwarming story of love and second chances.

Lizzie Greene is about to lose everything when her husband suddenly dies, and his debts come to light.

To make ends meet she opens up her quirky old house to be used as a set for a film based on a bestselling romance novel. Her life and household are turned upside down when a whole cast of colourful characters enters her family’s lives: from an enigmatic author, a handsome location scout, a brooding director, to a heart-throb leading man, never mind her now ex-mother-in-law camped out in her drive. As Lizzie delves deeper into the film’s book, all is not as it seems.

Will her desire to save her house and unravel the secrets of the past lead to new love, or to mortal danger?

Links to buy

 Amazon: http://amzn.to/2odyMci

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2EFOozB

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2ESS4Nz

iBooks: https://apple.co/2sCUURQ

Extract

‘Chapter 1

January – ten months later

On the scale of human tragedies, ‘Sussex mum loses husband’ is a drop in the ocean. It’s not like I’ve been forced to leave the country due to war or disease or famine. It’s not like I’m having to live with the guilt of suicide or the drain of terminal illness. I haven’t even suffered the shame of having my husband run off with a toned and tanned other woman many years my junior to start a new life. Dave, it turned out, had a weak heart – it gave out suddenly and unexpectedly. People live, and people die; ashes to ashes, dust to dust…

Even now, I can still hear the voice of the priest intoning these futile words, as the coffin was lowered into the earth. They screamed in my head like fingernails scratching across a blackboard, and I felt like they might pull me down with him. Why hadn’t Dave given instructions to be cremated? Why would he want to be buried in a wooden box in the ground? That little detail became the hook, the outlet for my grief. It just seemed so pointless – so bloody cold – to lie there forever in the dank darkness, all alone except for the bugs and worms. It just seemed so bloody Dave.

A light coating of frost covers the ground as I pull into the car park of Westbury Junior School. The sky is heavy and overcast. Though it’s already the end of January, spring feels very far away. The heater in the car is going full tilt, but still, I can’t stop shivering. Not with the cold, but with the decision I made, last night, lying in bed sleepless and alone. That I can’t put off any longer this thing, I’ve been dreading. I have to do it today.

As I look round for a space, I practise deep breathing like the grief books say to do – trying to find a moment of stillness and inner peace. Life has definitely thrown me lemons, but didn’t some wise old sage say that when that happens, you should ‘make lemonade’?

Jamming on the brakes, I narrowly miss being mown down by a Range Rover reversing into a compact car space.

‘Arsehole,’ I mutter, directed both at that wise old sage and the other vehicle.

‘Jeez, Mum,’ Katie grumbles. ‘You’re such a bad driver.’

‘Thanks.’ I swallow back what I really feel like saying to my nine-going-on-nineteen-year-old daughter. I know she’s having a hard time right now with having lost her dad and the pressures of Year 4, but for some reason, I’ve become the focus of her issues. Even though I’m trying my best to keep my own worries from the kids and be strong for their sake, they aren’t stupid. Once or twice, Katie’s found me crying my eyes out. On those occasions, we hugged each other, and she cried too. I’ve let her go on believing that I’m upset only because I miss her dad – her loveable, squeezable, just-a-little-dull dad, rather than the real reason. The rest of the time, she acts like I’m Colonel Mustard in the library with the lead pipe, solely responsible for how bad she’s feeling at the moment.

I find a space in the far corner of the car park. Katie gets out and unloads her rucksack. I try to hand her her coat, but she looks at me like I’m some kind of alien life force. With a sigh, I get out of the car and go round to the side to unbuckle Jack from his car seat.

‘Luv you, Mummy,’ he says, smearing a sticky hand on my jumper.

‘Me too, pumpkin.’ I lift him out. His trousers are soaking wet. While my love for him in no way diminishes, it blurs right out of focus. ‘Jack!’ I say. ‘You went to the potty before we left!’

His plump little face screws up and all of a sudden he starts to howl.

Katie rolls her eyes. ‘I’m going in, Mum,’ she says. ‘This is just so embarrassing.’ She pokes Jack in the arm. ‘You’re a BIG FAT CRY BABY!’

‘Am not!’ he cries.

‘Katie!’ I yell, but she’s already run off, her rucksack thumping against her back. I suck in a breath and say a silent prayer as she runs in between two SUVs that are poised like bellowing bulls waiting for a parking space. I lay Jack down in the driver’s seat and pull off his welly boots, his wee-soaked socks, trousers and Disney Cars so-called absorbent pants, noting that somehow, he’s also managed to get wee on his T-shirt and coat. I strip him down, my jaw clenched as he kicks at me and yells, ‘Katie’s mean.’

‘You’re a big boy,’ I say, the lie tripping easily off my tongue. ‘Three years old! So just ignore her. Now let’s get dressed and go to nursery.’

Eventually, I manage to wriggle him into a set of spare clothing, wipe off his boots with a baby wipe, and bundle him into his coat and woolly hat.

When I try to lead him across the car park by the hand, he starts screaming for a ‘cuggle’. I give in and pick him up. Ten months on from Dave’s death, and I’ve been surviving by taking the path of least resistance. Besides, as long as I’m carrying him, he’ll serve as a kind of human shield from some rogue mum who might try and ask me how I’m doing. Not today of all days…’

My Thoughts

Lizzie’s life changes overnight from normal to tragic when her husband dies suddenly, leaving her and the children grief-stricken when fate deals her another blow. Her husband had a secret life tainting her memories of their life together and facing debts that threaten their family home.

Lizzie is a great character, and facing more than her share of life’s woes, you have to empathise. Her one asset the family home is historical and striking and is scouted for a film, which brings an eclectic cast of characters, humour and poignant scenes worthy of any Hollywood film.

The vivid setting and believable plot make this imaginable and readable, although the romance’s course is predictably choppy, it is lighthearted and hopeful. An easy to read writing style keeps you turning the pages with just enough conflict and surprises right to the end, it an enjoyable read.

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

Lauren Westwood is also a prize-winning debut YA novelist and a solicitor for a renewable energy company. Originally from California, she now lives in a rickety 400-year-old house in Surrey, with her partner Ian and their three young daughters.

 

Posted in Book Review

Wedding Bells at the Dog and Duck- Jill Steeples – Blog Tour: Extract and 5* Review

Wedding Bells at the Dog & Duck banner

Ellie Browne, landlady of The Dog & Duck, is looking forward to a relaxing Christmas Day before the arrival of her and her partner Max’s baby in the New Year. But with a snowstorm brewing outside, it seems that things might not go quite to plan.

After the dramatic events of the holiday season, Ellie settles into her new life at Max’s huge country mansion Braithwaite Manor, juggling work and family as best she can. When she’s asked to help organise a summer wedding for one of her best friends it’s only natural that her mind turns to her own, non-existent, wedding plans!

But with Max decidedly lukewarm on the subject and other family complications threatening to disrupt life further, Ellie fears there’ll never be wedding bells at the Dog & Duck after all.

Links to buy

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2BHaIpB

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2BKxTzc

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2GqyKnZ

iBooks: https://apple.co/2CvGWRn

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Extract

‘ ‘I’m just desperate to get back to some kind of normality.’

Gemma laughed ruefully. ‘Are you kidding? Nothing will seem like normal for a long time to come.’

I gave a weak smile in return. I suppose with five young children of her own, Gemma would know about these things. It was all a mystery to me. Even with Junior’s arrival imminent, I still couldn’t quite believe I was about to become a mother. Honestly, ‘out of my depth’ didn’t nearly cover it. It was almost as if it was happening to someone else. I put that down to the fact that none of this was planned. I’d always thought a baby was something for the future, at a time when I had my whole life in order, but life has a habit of throwing you a curveball when you least expect it. I looked down at my huge bump, cradling my arms around its fullness. Not that I’d want to change anything in the slightest.

‘Still,’ Gemma went on, ‘you haven’t got long to wait now.’

‘A couple of weeks.’ Although from where I was standing that seemed like a lifetime away.

‘Ha, no,’ said Gemma, looking from my bump to my face intently, observing me as though she was a midwife at the maternity unit, and not my barmaid. ‘I reckon the next day or two.’ She nodded sagely. ‘You mark my words.’

Mulling over that thought, our attention was commanded by Max, who was standing at the bar, pinging a spoon against a glass.

Ah, the Max effect. Warm squidgy vibes engulfed me. It hadn’t lessened in the slightest, in all the months that I’d known him. Just to catch a glimpse of him across the room, to see his dark wayward hair doing its own thing, his intelligent questioning eyes, the warm, wide smile on his lips, still stirred feelings inside me which I wasn’t sure were entirely appropriate for a heavily pregnant woman.

‘Okay everyone, if you’d like to make your way out to the barn, lunch will be served shortly. Just a word of warning. You can’t fail to have noticed the crazy weather out there, the snow has been coming down heavily for the last couple of hours. We have cleared and salted the path, but just be careful. We don’t want any broken bones or any nasty accidents.’ Max fixed his brown eyes on me, raising his brows, as though I might be a prime candidate for an accident. Then as his gaze warmed and softened, I felt myself smile, a warm sensation flooding my chest.

‘I can’t believe this weather,’ said Polly, one of my best friends and owner of Polly’s Flowers, the shop next door. She was currently hanging on to the arm of her new boyfriend, George, as though her life depended on it, something to do with the number of glasses of Prosecco she’d been knocking back this morning, I imagined. Still, it was lovely to see her so happy. Seeing them, a proper couple now, so loved-up and content, only added to the festive feeling. George had moved into the village this year, taking up residence in our family home, while my parents were away working in Dubai. It took me a while to figure out what he was doing in the village, and despite my unsubtle attempts to find out, it was Katy, Max’s younger sister, who put me out of my misery by informing me that George was none other than the bestselling author GG Williamson.

That had certainly caused a frisson of excitement in the village. Katy, having read all of his books, was one of his biggest fans and was now hanging onto George’s other arm, leading the way out into the beer garden, chattering away excitedly.

Gemma rounded up her five kids and husband, shooing them in the direction of the back door and Dan, my right-hand man and bar manager, who’d been keeping all our guests’ glasses filled over the last hour or so, took hold of his girlfriend Silke’s hand and stepped backwards, waiting for everyone to go through in front of him.

I owed a huge debt of gratitude to Dan. He’d volunteered to move into the pub with Silke while I was on maternity leave to take up the role of caretaker/manager. As it happened, the narrowboat they lived on was due to go into the shipyard for urgent repairs over winter and was likely to be out of action for a couple of months, leaving them homeless, so them moving into the pub had worked out well for everyone concerned.

My move into Max’s imposing Georgian house, Braithwaite Manor, wasn’t half as traumatic as I suspected it might be, although I realised for most people the idea of moving into a mansion would be far from traumatic. I’d put it off to the last minute possible though, reluctant to leave The Dog and Duck, the place that had been my whole world for almost two years, telling everyone I’d be back soon. What was I thinking? For so long I’d been so emotionally invested in the pub, that I’d been reluctant to let go of the reins. It had been a whirlwind couple of years admittedly. Thinking back to when I first returned home to Little Leyton, from my busy corporate life in London, to take some time out to consider the next steps in life, I could never have imagined just how dramatically my life would change.’

My Thoughts…

‘Wedding Bells at the Dog and Duck’, is the third book in this series and the first one I’ve read. It reads perfectly well as a standalone novel but having finished it I enjoyed it so much I want to read the first two in the series to discover Ellie and Max’s early love story.

Romance and humour fill the pages of this gentle love story, which depicts English village life centring around the country pub and its charismatic landlady Ellie Browne and her sexy, partner Max Golding. Romantically involved they are about to have their first child and Max wants to marry Ellie, but she is holding back. 

It’s Christmas, and most of the villagers are having Christmas dinner at the pub, which leads to one or two surprises for Ellie and Max. There is a wealth of carefully crafted characters who bring the pub and village to life, they all have their own stories, and these subplots continue throughout the book adding interest and realism. 

Who is the mysterious character knocking on the pub door on Christmas day,  I  did guess, but it doesn’t matter because it adds an element of mystery to a story about family, friendship and making the most of what life gives you.

The Dog and Duck is the quintessential village pub, a focal point for village life and Max is the modern day squire breathing life into the village and ensuring all are taken care of. If you fancy a slice of English village life with lots of laughs, a few tears and lashings of romance read on…

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

Steeples_JillJill Steeples lives in a small market town in Bedfordshire with her husband and two children. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, walking, baking cakes, eating them and drinking wine.

Website: http://www.jillsteeples.co.uk/

Twitter: @Jillesteeples

Facebook: @JillSteeplesWriter

 

 

 

 

Posted in Book Review

The Windmill Cafe Summer Breeze Poppy Blake 3 *Review

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The Windmill Cafe is open for business!

As Rosie Barnes serves glasses of tangy lemonade and ice-cold prosecco at her summer garden party, she couldn’t be happier. The Windmill Café, with its peppermint green sails, is a roaring success and has given Rosie a chance to escape the heartbreak of her busy life in London.

But then disaster strikes when popstar Suki Richards is taken unexpectedly ill at the party. Now all eyes are on Rosie…have her famous raspberry cupcakes poisoned her most high-profile guest? Or is someone else trying to damage Suki’s chance of stardom?

If Rosie wants to save her picture-perfect life, and the reputation of her beloved Windmill Café, she’s going to have to get to the bottom of the mystery…and fast!

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Thoughts… 

A windmill cafe is a delightfully quirky idea. Although the windmill doesn’t take centre stage in this story, the plot is also quirky, a cosy mystery mixed in with a romantic comedy.

This story lacks imagery. I want to know about the windmill and the glorious Norfolk countryside and coast but the details are sketchy, and so for me, the setting doesn’t have the impact it should.

I like cosy mysteries, lots of characters, a beautiful setting, an enigmatic detective or two and foul play. This story has all the necessary ingredients for a fun read, but they need more mixing and cooking to achieve their full potential.

The story’s protagonists are immature and naive; they remind me of the children’s characters,’The Famous Five’. They need to develop as the story does and unfortunately, they don’t, remaining two dimensional rather than complex and three dimensional.

An okay read but needs to be faster paced, with more suspense, plot twists and character development.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Book Review

Scandal – Sasha Morgan Extract and 4* Review

SCANDAL blog tour banner.png

As the new custodian of the ancestral home, Treweham Hall, Tobias Cavendish-Blake soon discovers exactly what he’s inherited. Instant financial action is needed if the Hall is to survive the mounting debts it’s racking up. Adding insult to injury the family is forced to sell the Gate House on the estate to lottery winners Gary and Tracy Belcher – not the kind of neighbours Tobias was hoping for.

Megan Taylor inherits her grandmother’s country cottage in the village of Treweham and decides to make a fresh start there, taking a job at the local country pub.

When Megan meets Tobias, the attraction is clear, but she is determined to resist his charms, put off by his reputation and that of his best friends – the rakish Seamus Fox, son of a millionaire racehorse trainer and dastardly jockey Dylan Delany. But Tobias is a hard man to resist…

Amazon UK

Amazon

Kobo

Google Play

iBooks

SCANDAL cover.jpg

Extract

‘‘I’m due a race soon,’ Dylan chipped in. ‘A substantial wager would bring in the bacon.’

Tobias grinned. ‘What if you lose?’

‘I never do, not when it matters,’ replied Dylan with confidence and a wink. Dylan’s ocean-blue eyes twinkled with mischief. He was fiercely competitive, and his athletic physique made him the hugely successful jockey he was. His ancestry dated back to Romany travellers, and he attributed his gift of the gab to this, as well as his success with the ladies. Dylan Delany was a real catch, everyone knew that, but the trouble was he refused to be caught. He weaved his way through various relationships, ducking and diving, avoiding any commitment. The more unobtainable he became, the more he was desired.

Dylan had a reputation, and it took some upholding. He couldn’t help it if he loved women. He genuinely did like their company. He appreciated their femininity, the way they dressed so elegantly, their fragrance, their beautiful shiny, long hair, or sassy short hair, for that matter – he liked both. He was a sucker for any damsel – he was only human, after all. But deep down Dylan was a decent man and hated to see one of his close friends in any kind of trouble. Seamus was equally protective of his best friend.

‘True,’ agreed Seamus, ‘but it’s too much of a risk in the current climate.’

Dylan looked at him. ‘Says the Fox for whom I’ve made a fortune.’

‘True again,’ said Seamus with a laugh. Fox was a fitting name for him, with his ginger hair and sly, cunning wit.

‘Sometimes I feel like selling the whole bloody place, lock, stock and barrel to some rich American… throw in the title, too,’ moaned Tobias.

‘Surely it’s not that bad,’ sighed Seamus. He’d grown to love Tobias’ home, spending many a childhood summer there, and he smiled wistfully remembering the scrapes they’d got into. He’d also grown to love the family, who always made him feel so welcome. In later years Treweham Hall had acted as a temporary retreat when he had fallen out with his father. Sean Fox was a formidable force. He had a driving ambition where his horses were concerned and ran his stables with a cast-iron fist. Although he loved both his sons, he wouldn’t tolerate any form of subordination and treated them as he would any other member of staff, strictly but fairly. A young Seamus didn’t agree with his father’s authoritarian methods, and his defiance had got him booted out of the Fox household. The Cavendish-Blakes came to the rescue, giving him the full use of the Gate House on their estate. This had proved to be the perfect solution, especially to Seamus’ mother, whose desperate pleas to bring Seamus home had been totally ignored by her hardened husband.’

My Thoughts… 

Treweham is a quintessential English village, full of camaraderie, family life, gossip and the occasional scandal. There are a plethora of characters who are realistic; each has their role in the village life and a story to tell.
An easy to follow the plot, written from multi-points of view, in short chapters, interlocks nicely as the book progresses. Fast- paced the story has multiple themes; saving the ancestral home, winning the lottery, secret love and tabloid scandals being the main ones. Gentle romance, sensual affairs and a mystery hidden in the depths of the cottage Megan inherits from her beloved Grandmother are all explored and make this an interesting read.
This story is pure escapism and has the makings of an excellent series of books.
I received a copy of this book from Aria via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Morgan, SashaSasha lives in a rural, coastal village in Lancashire with her husband and Labrador dog. She has always written stories from a very young age and finds her fictional world so much more exciting than the real one.

 

Posted in Book Review

The Little Cafe in Copenhagen – Julie Caplin – 5* Review

Welcome to the little cafe in Copenhagen where the smell of cinnamon fills the air, the hot chocolate is as smooth as silk and romance is just around the corner…

Publicist Kate Sinclair’s life in London is everything she thought she wanted: success, glamour and a charming boyfriend. Until that boyfriend goes behind her back and snatches a much sought-after promotion from her.Heartbroken and questioning everything, Kate needs to escape.

From candles and cosy nights into romantic late-night walks through the beautiful cobbled streets of Copenhagen, Kate discovers how to live life ‘the Danish way’. Can the secrets of hygge and happiness lead her to her own happily-ever-after?

Amazon UK

 Amazon

My Thoughts…

This story captures the essence of Denmark, with a whistle-stop tour of the main attractions and an exploration of the Danish way of living. Kate is a publicist, who is determined to enjoy the life her mother wanted for her, but when she lands a contract, no one has time for she questions her life choices. Is she happy? Does she need to babysit her family?  Is this the life her mum wanted her to have?

Taking six journalists to Copenhagen puts Kate right out of her comfort zone, but she wants to prove herself and get the promotion that always seems just out of reach. Meeting Eva and exploring her lovely cafe and its menu, is life changing for Kate. Gradually she begins to understand the concept of Hygge and how choosing wisely in all things can lead to a fulfilling life.

Clever, pacy plotting and believable, flawed characters make this story an exciting read. There many funny and poignant moments and plenty that irritate the hell out of you, especially the way the PR agency treat Kate and some of the early antics of the journalists. The journalists are fab characters, and as Kate gets to know them, she finds that beneath their hardened, professional persona they are lovely people. 

 The Little Cafe in Copenhagen is just like one of my favourite Danish pastries; rich, sweet, often fruity, and with a lovely romantic ending, the icing on top.

I am looking forward to reading  Sophie’s story ‘The Little Brooklyn Bakery, which is previewed at the end of this story’.

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

Posted in Book Review, Festive Read

The Cosy Christmas Tea Shop – Caroline Roberts – 5* Review

 

blurb-winter

Amazon UK

 Amazon

my-review-winter

Festive angst and cheer at the castle tea shop. Easy to read with believable characters and events, definitely my favourite book in this series. Romance, friendship and sparkling humour. Lovely down to earth characters, a perfect slice of cafe life at the castle for Christmas. I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.