Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe – Debbie Johnson – Extract

Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe

Definitely one of my favourite books this summer from the lovely Debbie Johnson,  I’m sharing my review again, now that the paperback has been released.

Blog Image- My review

Even at the story’s poignant beginning, the humour shines through, in the words of the enigmatic Laura, the heroine of this unusual story. I loved that we gathered all the necessary back story information, in letter form, as she answered a unique advertisement for a strange but intriguing, lifestyle job.

Laura is honest, loyal and has a lovely self -depreciating humour that is recognisable to most women, who have families, where they are the unappreciated lynchpin. The journey to their new adventure shares similarities, with most people’s long car journeys, with children and animals. The realistic dialogue and bordering on chaos scenarios made me giggle and reminiscence.

 Despite Laura’s fragile emotional state, a delightful sense of humour runs through this story. From the first meeting with the ‘Tall bloke.’ the visuals are great, so easy to imagine, especially ‘the flying undies as the top box is unpacked’.

The VIPS that make up the cafe regulars, all have a story to share as they reveal idiosyncrasies and secrets. Laura starts to heal as she listens to the cafe’s regulars stories and Matt (the tall bloke), help’s her discover the side of herself she never really knew existed.

This is a story of healing, family and being brave enough to dip your toe back in the pond again, after life’s unpredictable knocks. I would love to find this Cafe that restores your faith in human nature.

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

EXCERPT

‘I am feeling suddenly very tired and very sad. The absurdity of my situation flashes across my mind: I have uprooted my children, myself and my very elderly dog on some kind of wild-goose chase, pursuing God knows what. Happiness? Progress? A break from the underlying misery that seems to have been wrapped around my heart every day since David died?

Well, whatever it is, I’m not pursuing it fast enough – all I’m finding is exhaustion, grumpy kids, senile dogs and a caffeine overload. That and chronic embarrassment as I apologise to a mostly naked man, in the dark, in a place I’ve never even visited before – a place I’ve unilaterally decided to make our home for the summer.

I clench my eyes together very, very tightly, squeezing back any watery signs of self pity that might be tempted to overflow, and force myself to look at the man instead of the dog.

I can only see bits of his face reflected in the silvery lighting, but he looks about my age. Maybe a little older, I’m not sure. His hair is definitely a bit too long, and will probably dry a lighter shade of brown once it’s not soggy. His eyes seem to be hazel or brown or green, I can’t really tell, and he’s not smiling.

He was smiling when he was playing with Jimbo. But now he’s not. Now he’s looking at me. I guess I just have that effect on tall, handsome strangers.

’Are you all right?’ he asks, gruffly, frowning at me with such style and finesse that I instinctively know he frowns at least as much as he smiles. I suspect he’s one of those people who vastly prefers animals to people, and communicates much better with dogs than humans.

’Oh, yes, thank you… just tired. We’ve been driving all day and now we’ve got to find our cottage and unload the roofbox, and I don’t know how I’m going to do that because I didn’t bring the foot stool and I’m too short, and the kids need some dinner and I need some coffee… well, probably wine, to be honest, and…’

I catch a glimpse of his expression as I ramble incoherently, and note that he looks slightly frightened. I realise I sound like a crazy person and as I have the kind of hair that expands in heat and I’ve been stuck in a hot car all day, I undoubtedly look like one too.

’And yes, I’m fine, thank you,’ I say, firmly. ’Do you happen to know where the Hyacinth House is? I have the keys.’

’I can help you,’ he says, looking away from my eyes and gazing off into the distance. He sounds a little bit grumpy, a touch reluctant – as though he knows he should help, but doesn’t really want to engage.

’No, I’m all right…’ I insist, wondering how I’m going to get Jimbo off his feet without appearing rude.

’Let me help. I don’t have any wine, but I can help with the other thing.’

’What?’ I ask, staring up at him in confusion. ’You can help me stop being too short?’

Quick as a flash, a grin breaks out on his face and he lets out a laugh. It doesn’t last long and he seems to clamp down on it as soon as he can, like he’s not used to hearing the sound in public.

’Sorry, no. I’m a vet, not a miracle worker. But I can unpack the roofbox for you. I’ll get dressed and come round. Hyacinth is just back there – next to the swimming pool. This is the nearest you can get the car, but I’ll help you unload. I assume you’re Laura?’

I feel a jolt of surprise that he knows who I am and also a jolt of a stubborn desire to continue insisting that I don’t need any help at all. I settle for just nodding and giving him a half-hearted smile as he extricates his bare feet from underneath the snoring dog’s tummy.

’Thought so. In that case, if I know Cherie, she’ll have left wine in the cottage – so all your problems will be solved.’

Ha, I think, watching him disappear off up the path and noticing Lizzie still tapping away on her phone, face scrunched up in that very deliberate expression of vexed boredom that teenagers specialise in.

If only.’

Want to read more? Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe by Debbie Johnson is just 99p on Amazon!

 

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

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Summer at the Comfort Food Café
By Debbie Johnson

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

BLURB

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

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

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

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

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

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Buy Links

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My Review - Coastal

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

Feature Friday: Shades of Sydney – Brittney Coon

The second of my Feature Friday Books is ‘Shades of Sydney’ , the first book in ‘The Sydney West’series. I have read this New Adult Contemporary Romance and enjoyed it .

Click on the link to read my review:

Shades of Sydney Review

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SHADES OF SYDNEY by Brittney Coon

Publisher: Limitless Publishing

Blurb - Coastal

Sydney West enjoys sampling summer boys, but this year, one refuses to be a one-night stand…

Twenty-one-year-old Sydney doesn’t believe in relationships. Her parents’ toxic divorce has taught her love is nothing but a sinister fairytale. So every summer she parties, hooks up, abandons her lover before dawn, and repeats.

That is until she meets gorgeous local surfer Jason King at the beach…

When Jason fails to flirt—or even give her a second glance—she decides something must be wrong with him, and it’s safer to stay away. But when Sydney and Jason’s best friends hook up and become Malibu’s hottest couple, they are forced to spend more time together than either of them cares for.

Armed with a sharp tongue, Sydney works to keep Jason at bay…

In a moment of weakness, Sydney lets her guard down and confides in Jason, realizing he’s more than just a hot guy—he’s also a friend. And when Sydney’s need for a summer boy results in her falling into bed with Jason, despite her better judgment, she runs away from him by morning.

The problem is, he won’t accept being another one-night stand, and will do anything to prove…

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Buy Links - Coastal

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Syd2

Author Bio 2016- 2

Brittney Coon graduated Magna Cum Laude from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Science in Communication and a minor in Film and Media Production. Brittney has always been creative and turned to writing to share the stories playing through her head. In her spare time she reads, watches Friends, and hangs out with her cats. She currently lives in Arizona.

Links 2016-2

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5* Review : Wendy Lou Jones – The Summer We Loved

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Poppy - Blurb

Forgiving yourself can be the hardest task of all.
Dr Peter Florin is the sexy bad boy of St Steven’s hospital. Despite his love ‘em and leave ‘em attitude, every woman still wants him – and nurse Jenny White is no exception. For one night she thought she saw the real Pete, but ever since then he’s kept his distance and so she has kept hers…

Only Pete is a man haunted by a dark childhood and a tragic loss, and as she watches him spiral down into despair, Jenny realises she might be the only one who can drag him back. So she does – at the risk of her own, already bruised and battered heart. For no matter what she tells herself, such a man is surely impossible to change – and even more impossible to resist.

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Flowers - My Review

The Summer We LovedThe Summer We Loved’ is medical romance with a twist, which makes it uniquely memorable and poignant. A chance meeting between Jenny and Pete sets the scene and from the first chapter you realise Jenny is telling this story for a purpose but what is it?

The characters are deep and realistic. Jenny is dedicated to everything she undertakes, almost driven and as her story unfolds it’s easy to understand why. Drawn to Pete, the antithesis of everything she believes in, yet too reticent to do anything about it; until she realises he needs her, even if he doesn’t realise it yet. Pete is complex and dark. He hides his demons and plays the fool and because of this is hard to empathise with until Jenny unpicks his barriers and reveals the frightened little boy hiding behind them.

The plot takes many turns but is so interesting you can’t stop reading. The emotion is raw and sometimes painful to witness but there is nothing gratuitous in this story, every tear counts and adds to the rich fabric of the tale Jenny recounts. The ending is full of angst, maintains the emotional pressure and completes the story beautifully.

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

The Summer We Loved by Wendy Lou Jones
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


The Summer We Loved by Wendy Lou Jones

Wendy Lou Jones

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Picnics in Hyde Park-5* Review and Spotlight – Nikki Moore #LoveLondon #6

Picnics in Hyde Park
Poppy - Blurb

The last story in the fun & flirty #LoveLondon series from exciting new chick lit author Nikki Moore! The perfect novel for reading in the sunshine … and falling in love with London.
Hot summer romance…or cold revenge?
Super nanny, Zoe Harper is mad! It was bad enough discovering her ex-fiancé Greg cheating on her just weeks before their wedding. But now she’s returned home to London to find her younger sister Melody has been left jobless, homeless, broke and dumped.
Zoe is determined to get revenge on the infamous Reilly brothers for her sister’s heartbreak. So when an unexpected opportunity gives Zoe a way in to uncaring—and dizzyingly gorgeous!—successful music producer Matt Reilly’s world, she jumps at the chance to make him pay.
But living with Matt as nanny to his two adorable, but complicated children, Zoe soon begins to suspect that not everything is as it seems… Matt insists on pushing everyone away including his children, but why? And if his delicious summer kisses are anything to go by, he can’t be that bad surely?
Can Zoe convince Matt to open up a little and help fix this family before she leaves…or worse, before Matt learns who she really is?

Out on 13th August as an ebook, paperback to follow. Get it from only £2.99!
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Poppy - ExcerptMatt Reilly is a complete, unbelievable bastard and I’m going to make him pay, Zoe Harper vowed as she pounded the gold lion-head knocker against the door of his exclusive Knightsbridge residence.
When there was no response, she switched to thumping the glossy black wood with the side of her fist.
Thud. Thud. Thud.
Answer. The. Door.
Utter fury was squeezing her chest so tight it felt like her ribs were suffocating her lungs and a horrible pressure was building behind her eyeballs, the sure sign of a tension headache.
Where the hell was he? She stepped back to gaze up at the impressive facade of the town house, which had to be at least four storeys tall including the basement area below her. The top two floors were exposed brickwork but the ground and lower floors were painted white, decorated with manicured window boxes. The property screamed refined wealth, as did the beautiful leafy communal garden area in the middle of the square. He must have paid extra for the property, which sat back from the road slightly. It was one of the only houses with off-road parking.
She turned to look at the gravel driveway. Someone had to be in, there were three cars parked up; a garish, canary-yellow convertible sports model, a sexy low-slung black supercar and a more modest silver Prius hybrid.
Thudding the door again, there was still no answer.
If she was some kick-ass action movie heroine she could bust the door down, flatten whichever of the selfish idiots was inside (although both at the same time would be preferable) and just be done with it. But at five foot seven, as well as pounds lighter than she’d been in years, she hardly looked or felt the part. Still, if there was anything guaranteed to bring out her fighting side it was protecting her younger sister Melody. She was her only proper family left apart from their Great Aunt Ruth, who’d always been distant and had all the affection of a watermelon.
What it came down to was that anyone who hurt Melody deserved justice. But she didn’t really believe in violence, and ruining her beautiful nails with their miniature stars and stripes design on every tip didn’t appeal either. The manicure was a present from her ex-boss Liberty, named after the statue of. It was something to remember New York by, a city she’d come to love. But better not to think about that, or what else she’d loved and lost.
Where the heck was Mr. High and Mighty Reilly, or for that matter, his younger brother Stephen? Surely they had enough staff to answer the bloody door for them. A girl could die of heatstroke out here. The midday sun was ferocious and prickling heat along the back of her neck. It was sure to be scarlet by dinner time.
Thud. Thud. Thud.
Her hand was never going to be the same again. Then she’d be suing the sods for personal injury as well as emotional trauma for Melody. Her sibling had been crying so hard at Jemima’s flat in multicultural, packed Holloway that Zoe hadn’t been able to get the full story on arrival from Heathrow. There’d just been a lot of mumbling and sobbing around swollen red eyes and handfuls of soggy tissues. Still, what she’d figured out had been enough to instantly trigger her big sister reflexes. The stale, stuffy black cab had made for a nightmare journey across London but the sunlight glinting off the windows had matched her heated, murderous thoughts perfectly. She’d avoided direct eye contact with the chatty driver, jaw clenched as she replayed the fragments of her sister’s story in her head.
Fell in love with Stephen… Matt ended it, fired me… kicked me out without notice… never see the kids again… looked after them for three years!
How dare he? It was bloody outrageous and unbelievably unfair. How could anyone be so uncaring that they’d do someone who trusted them out of a relationship, job, home and salary all on the same day? So here she was outside of his posh, rich-guy’s, I’m so fabulous home, fully intending to grab her sister’s belongings as well as telling Matt Reilly exactly what she thought of a guy who’d treat a naïve twenty-two year old like dirt. If she could grab his brother by the scruff of the neck at the same time and give him a good shake for helping break her sister’s heart, she’d do that too. He had a lot of explaining to do as to why he wasn’t answering Mel’s calls.
Bloody men. They were a faithless lot at the best of times, the reason she’d left the States after five long years. But her sister’s boss had reached new levels of bastardom, if that was even a word.
Part of her wished that when confronted, Matt might admit he’d made a terrible mistake, beg forgiveness, tell Melody that of course she was good enough for his brother, and ask her to come back to them. But the text that had just pinged on her mobile meant the idea was a non-starter.

Appreciate the support Sis, but
please don’t cause a scene and
DON’T try and get my job back.
I’m never going back there.
M x

Zoe didn’t really want her sister anywhere near them anyway. Still, an apology from Matt, an opportunity for Melody to say goodbye to the kids properly, pick up her belongings and be offered some kind of compensation for the notice pay she was surely entitled to would be something. Along with some explanation as to why Stephen had gone AWOL and seemed to be letting Matt make all the decisions. Perhaps he didn’t feel able to stand up to him? Or maybe he was intimidated by his older brother’s success.
According to the tabloids, Stephen was abroad a lot of the time, a playboy who basically partied and shopped his way around Europe with the family money. Why her sister had fallen for him she couldn’t understand. At thirty, Matt was older by seven years, a famous music producer who was hardly ever out of the press, despite his attempts to evade the spotlight. Snapping pictures of his children was a rabid hobby for British journos and there were rumours of a new girlfriend every week, although you couldn’t believe everything you read in the papers. She and Melody were close, despite the vast miles that’d been between them, and Melody had told her a lot about Matt’s children via Skype and text messages but nothing about any of his personal relationships, respecting her boss’s right to privacy.
Not that she’d got any thanks for that loyalty and professionalism.

Flowers - My Review

‘Picnics in Hyde Park’, the final story in the ‘Love London’ series, is the longest and encompasses all that is good in the first five novellas. With more angst, humour, poignancy, romance and sensuality; this is the perfect ending to the chic, contemporary series.

Zoe is likeable; from the moment she appears, hammering on Matt’s doors to avenge her little sister. Her actions say so much; she is fearless, opinionated, loyal and more than a little guilt ridden, after her five year sojourn in New York but I connected with her immediately.
Matt is delectable, although he does hide it well, under his brusque and detached manner. Like Zoe, he is dependable and full of remorse for past actions. In many ways they are emotionally similar.

Emotionally invested in Matt and his children, Zoe is ‘caught between the devil and the deep blue sea’. The chemistry between Matt and Zoe has a forbidden thrill, which makes the outcome inevitable and sizzling hot.

This story is more than the romance between Zoe and Matt. There is her nurturing of the forgotten children and her complicated relationship with her Aunt to explore. Reunited with old friends provides the readers with pertinent insights into what makes Zoe tick. Finally there are ‘Picnics in Hyde Park’, the importance of which, I will let you discover for yourselves.

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

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Poppy - Author Bio
Nikki Moore Author Pic 1A Dorset girl and social media addict, Nikki Moore has a HR day job, two kids and a lovely boyfriend to keep her busy alongside the writing. She was in the Romantic Novelists Association New Writers Scheme for four years and is now a full RNA member. Nikki was a finalist in several writing competitions from 2010 including the Elizabeth Goudge trophy and Novelicious Undiscovered, before being offered a publishing contract.

Published mainly by HarperImpulse, she’s the author of the #LoveLondon series, which has attracted four and five star reviews on Amazon, with some of the novellas featuring in the Top 100 short story charts on Kobo and the Top 20 in the Amazon UK bestsellers Holiday chart. The last in the series, Picnics in Hyde Park is due out in August. She has a short story in the bestselling RNA/Mills & Boon anthology Truly, Madly, Deeply. Her debut novel Crazy, Undercover, Love was shortlisted for the RNA Joan Hessayon Award 2015 (for new writing) and she is a strong supporter of aspiring authors.

Poppy - Links

Please pop over for a chat on Twitter or on Facebook at  She would love to hear from you!

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Check out my reviews of Cocktails in Chelsea and Strawberries at Wimbledon 

and my recent interview with Nikki  Moore by clicking on the image below:

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An Interview with...

The Last Flowers of Summer? – Hardwick Hall

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Hardwick Hall and Gardens

 Earlier in the week I blogged about my visit to Hardwick Hall and Gardens. If you read my Tuesday post you’ll appreciate I got more than expected when I visited the house. 🙂

 My earlier visit to the beautiful gardens was I’m happy to say uneventful but enjoyable. In late August the flowers were not at their peak but there were still lots of beautiful flowers to be admired.

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There was also an exhibition of modern sculpture in the gardens depicting ‘The Men who Built Hardwick’.

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What I loved about the gardens was how family friendly they were. Children were encouraged to play on the vast grassy areas with hula hoops. ball games and skittles. A far cry from visiting stately houses when I was a child when ‘Keep Off The Grass’ was the most common sign. 😉

Continuing the activities for the young at heart there was some very cute trees with their own small doors for any Fae or small creatures that lived in the gardens.

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 If you prefer something more classical, these ladies should appeal?

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Definitely plenty of inspiration for a historical romance here?

Thanks to my lovely husband for taking the flower, house and statue photos for this post x

What Makes A Great Summer Read?

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So after Saturday’s rain  the summer sun has returned and with it my happy optimistic mood. If  you read my last post  you will recall I was feeling down and attributed it to the grey day.

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Taking advantage of the sunshine I spent a couple of hours tidying and enjoying my garden with these  lovely butterflies  who decided to join me. I love gardening because it gives me time to think and plan and this post is a result of yesterday’s gardening interlude.

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Lots of people will be off on holiday in the next few weeks and many will be searching for  a good book to enjoy whilst they’re relaxing on the beach or sitting by the pool.

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Even if you’re not going away to the coast or countryside, if the sun stays out the excuse to sit in the garden with a good book is too much to resist.

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The point of going on holiday is to relax and most of all escape from your normal daily routine. Having a little ‘me’ time recharges our emotional and physical batteries before returning to our often stressful lives.

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So a summer read must offer escapism. Many novels today mirror reality or focus on the worst bits of everyday life, I would avoid these when looking for my holiday read. That doesn’t mean the story has to be sugary sweet just hopeful. Or so far removed from reality that even if it focuses on the darker side of human nature the reader knows that anything is possible including a happy outcome. 🙂

DSCN0763 DSCN0783 Continuing the escapism theme, the setting of a summer read is important. It needs to be in a place the reader would like to explore, so coastal locations are good as are mountains and picturesque countryside. I enjoy reading stories set in the summer too but I don’t think this matters as long as the setting is escape worthy.

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If you’re on a crowded beach then its easy to be distracted. So the ideal read must have an absorbing plot with lots of twists. Vivid characters are essential they need to make an impression. The genre of the story is subjective but I love a story with mystery ,lots of  action and sizzling romance. The romance doesn’t necessarily have to be the focus of the story but  a little spice always adds to the enjoyment. 😉

So that’s my recipe for the perfect summer read.

The Dragon Legacy Series

The Dragon Legacy Series

I leave you with some snippets from The Dragon Legacy maybe it could be your perfect summer read?

You can read the first page of The Dragon Legacy on BooksGoSocial

 Let’s You Escape:

‘The elusive turquoise-scaled dragons appeared through the haze. Their minds united by a single aim: the dragon egg’s safety, the reason they risked exposure to the human world.’

 Fabulous Setting:

‘The dragon lord’s golden eyes focused on the grey sky above the rock strewn hills. Dawn mist hovered around the summit like a silken web. It drifted through the rocky outcrops until it reached the valley where he stood alone.’

‘Mists floated across Lake Ullswater and cloaked the twisty lanes in an impenetrable shroud.’

Absorbing Plot:

‘Demon slayer Lukas Draco is a loner. He lives by two simple rules: No emotional entanglements and duty must remain his first priority. His beliefs are challenged when he’s inexplicably drawn to Fleur, a human woman with an unusual psychic aura. Sparks of sexual attraction ignite  threatening both his search for the dragon’s egg he buried a thousand years ago and Fleur’s life. Under the cover of a murder mystery weekend an apocalyptic hunt begins’

Vivid Characters:

‘Fleur stole a sideways glance at Lukas…His face was the epitome of masculine beauty, characterized by well-defined angular cheekbones, covered with pale, almost translucent skin. Its apparent delicacy did not detract from his masculinity; he looked like a fallen angel.’

‘Xavier Serpente clenched his manicured nails into his expensive Italian silk trousers… The threat of danger, which simmered under the surface of his urbane respectability, was his greatest attraction.’

Mystery:

‘Lukas forced his mind back to his mission. He studied his murder mystery character profile. His fellow participants mustn’t find out his identity. Or the real reason for his presence at Hallows House.

Action:

 ‘Escape impossible, the furious dragon man slammed him against the tree trunk. His bones cracked. The onslaught repeated with greater force, and his head and neck rocked on his shoulders.’

Sizzling Romance:

‘Lukas caught hold of her hand as she turned away from him. “No, don’t! I like you this way.” He ran the pad of his thumb along her responsive lips. “Trust me. Everyone will like you as you are.” She looked vivacious, like the color of her dress, with lush, pink lips and hair like golden rain as it slipped from its elegant restraints. He wanted her back in his arms. His arousal rocketed several degrees as the tip of Fleur’s tongue darted out and tasted his thumb. “Hell!” Another few seconds and leaving wouldn’t be an option.’

 All excerpts from The Dragon Legacy ©Jane Hunt

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Holiday #2- Castles and Islands

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After a lazy morning reading and blogging we decided to explore Holy Island and Lindisfarne castle which is close to Berwick-upon-Tweed.

DSCN0763Lindisfarne is a castle on an island which is only accessible at low tide along a causeway. We arrived at  about three in the afternoon and I must confess I was a little apprehensive about driving across the causeway. There is something awe-inspiring about driving or walking for that matter on land which the sea claims as its own. When we arrived at the huge car park there was an electronic screen displaying the tide tables and I breathed a sigh of  relief; low tide lasted until 21.30 plenty of time for Vince, the dogs and I to explore.

Holy Island  although quaint and with lots of pretty gardens was a little commercial for my tastes. Food stalls , gift shops and lots of tea shops and restaurants predominate . However once you leave the village behind there is a spectacular view of Lindisfarne castle  and the surrounding countryside.DSCN0759

DSCN0751       DSCN0752Lindisfarne castle is owned by the National Trust. Sited on a volcanic mound Beblowe Craig it was built in the 16th century to protect the island’s harbour. Stones from the demolished priory following Henry Vlll’s dissolution of monasteries were used in its construction. 

Lindisfarne was redesigned in the early 1900s by architect Edwin Lutyens for the founder of Country Life Edward Hudson. He used the Edwardian country house as a retreat.

Today it is open to the public and used for weddings. A wedding party was just leaving when we arrived. As we had the dogs we didn’t want to go inside which was fortunate as it is usually closed on Mondays. 🙂  

DSCN0773There were some beautiful flowers growing  up the side of the castle which made it look spectacular.  I think these are a type of marsh orchid.

Bamburgh castle which we visited on Sunday is visible across the bay and proves the point that Northumberland is a county of castles.

I managed to get this distant shot just before it rained.

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Summer Holiday #1 New Friends,Castles and Walks on the Beach

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Last Friday saw me madly packing for our trip to one of my favourite parts of the UK Northumberland which is England’s most northerly county.  In the past holidays have always been family affairs  but this time it’s just Vince and me. We are having a fabulous time staying in a lovely cottage close to Bamburgh which even has its own supply of vegetables.

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When we arrived we found these lovely cows at the bottom of the garden. There were lots of calves who were fascinated with us. They made the view from our cottage even better.

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There were also hens and lots of wild songbirds including this cheeky Pied Wagtail.

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 Yesterday we walked along the beach from Bamburgh castle past the Black Rock Lighthouse to Budle Bay. Oby really enjoyed himself and even did a spot of rock climbing.

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Jazz is 10 Today

 Jazz is ten years old and to celebrate I thought I would share his day so far with you.

 The day started early… A 7am walk in the sunshine.

DSCN0483No time to pose for photos there’s too much exploring to do.

DSCN0495 Oby says he doesn’t mind posing for the camera 🙂

 DSCN0505  DSCN0496 DSCN0516 DSCN0518  DSCN0513  On our walk…

I saw lots of lovely wild flowers.

Some new foals too.

 

DSCN0526Oby needed a sleep when we got home.

 

DSCN0527Jazz was too excited to sleep.

When is it present time?

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 At last time for my present 🙂

Oby got one too!

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 Happy Birthday Jazz