Challenge Participant


Friday, 16 March 2018

Blog Blitz - The Summer of Secrets by TIlly Tennant

The Summer of Secrets: A feel good romance novel perfect for holiday reading

Can new love grow when you dig up old secrets? Fall in love with this heart warming romantic comedy from Amazon chart bestseller Tilly Tennant.
Harper Woods wakes up every morning on Silver Hill Farm feeling like the luckiest woman in the world. She’s engaged to the tall, dark dreamy Shay and just downstairs are the gorgeous tea rooms she’s always dreamed of owning.

But Harper is about to discover something that will change her luck forever. For better or worse? She has no idea. Not until an expert can identify whether the stunning collection of jewellery she found hidden in the farm’s foundations is priceless, or more trouble than it’s worth…

As news of the discovery spreads through the Silver Hill, it seems everyone has a secret history making them the rightful owner. In particular, Will Frampton, stubborn and irritatingly handsome Lord of Silver Hill House, the crumbling stately home the other side of the hill. Too busy trying to untangle the truth, Harper doesn’t notice Shay getting rather close to his ex from the village.

Harper thought she had everything she ever wanted. If she solves the mystery of her sparkling prize, can she hold onto her dream, or will she lose it all, and be left broken-hearted?

An utterly gorgeous, heart-warming romance, full of love and laughter. Perfect for fans of Debbie Johnson and Jenny Colgan.

Today I am pleased to be a part of Bookouture's Blog Blitz to celebrate the publication of Tilly Tennant's last release, The Summer of Secrets.

I loved the premise of this book, a collection of jewellery has been unearthed and Harper Woods decides she needs to find out more about it. What follows is a lovely story of discovery, filled with love, heartbreak and the odd baddie who wants to lay claim to the find and upset the story discovered so far. I don't want to give away too much of the storyline as I really enjoyed the journey of discovery and I am sure my blog readers will also love discovering it for themselves as Harper unfolds the layers of the history to the jewellery.

Tilly Tennant has written a great book. It is told at a great pace and follows Harper's attempts to unearth the truth behind the jewellery. She comes up against a number of hitches and it was great as a reader to follow all the twists and turns. Tilly has done a great job of leading the reader down a path only to backtrack and spring a surprise.

I didn't want this story to end and at the end I had a tear in my eye as I finished the epilogue. I will remember this story for some time to come. I really enjoyed it and the characters met along the way are definitely memorable.

Thank you to Bookouture for sending me the book to review in return for an honest review.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Blog Tour - The Cafe at Seashell Cove by Karen Clarke

The Cafe at Seashell Cove: A heartwarming laugh out loud romantic comedy by [Clarke, Karen]
Today I am pleased to be part of Bookouture's Blog Blitz to celebrate the publication of Karen Clarke's latest great read, The Café at Seashell Cove.

Welcome to the Café at Seashell Cove, where you’ll find irresistible home-baked cakes, smiling friendly faces – and maybe even a second chance at love…
When Cassie Maitland needs a holiday from her glamorous but stressful job in event management, she escapes home to gorgeous Seashell Cove, where her family’s cosy café sits perched on the cliffs above sparkling waves and golden sand.

But a lot has changed while Cassie’s been away: her parents have transformed their tired café into a welcoming haven, her friends Meg and Tilly have whole new lives, and old flame Danny’s twinkling eyes and winning smile make Cassie feel even more flustered than they used to.

Keen to throw herself back into local life, Cassie starts to run themed events – including a not entirely successful cat-café day, complete with dozens of felines. Luckily Danny is always around to lend a helping hand, and Cassie soon begins to wonder if her life in London was really all she made it out to be…

Could a new start in Seashell Cove be exactly what Cassie needs?

A heart-warming and hilarious read about friendship, belonging and seaside living. Perfect for fans of Debbie Johnson, Holly Martin and Jenny Oliver.

I am a big fan of Karen Clarke and loved The Beachside series of books. The Café at Seashell Cove introduces the reader to a new destination and again there is a great cast of characters within the book. 

Cassie is a great lead character and I think lots of people will be able to identify with her, a lady who returns to her parents home after leaving her job and home in London behind. Meeting back up with old school friends and appearing to have it all, whereas the truth is very different. Deciding to draw on her strengths (?) of event planning she decides to inject some new blood into her parents café and create a number of special evening events for the locals to enjoy. However she soon finds that her childhood hobby of painting and sketching can earn her more money and has to consider how her career will pan out.

I would love to pull up a chair at The Café at Seashell Cove and watch the world go by. The locals all sound a great bunch and the scenery sounds glorious. Karen Clarke has again created a great setting, with lovable characters and a story that takes the reader to a sunny seaside destination, where they can relax over a weekend and enjoy a great read.

Thank you to the publishers, Bookouture, for giving me a copy of the book in return for an honest review. 

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Blog Tour - The House of Hopes and Dreams by Trisha Ashley

Today I am really pleased to be taking part in Trisha Ashley's blog tour to celebrate the publication of the hardback and ebook of The House of Hopes and Dreams.

When Carey Revell unexpectedly becomes the heir to Mossby, his family's ancestral home, it's rather a mixed blessing. The house is large but rundown and comes with a pair of resentful relatives who can't be asked to leave.
Still, newly dumped by his girlfriend and also from his job as a TV interior designer, Carey needs somewhere to lick his wounds. And Mossby would be perfect for a renovation show. He already knows someone who could restore the stained glass windows in the older part of the house...
Angel Arrowsmith has spent the last ten years happily working and living with her artist mentor and partner. But suddenly bereaved, she finds herself heartbroken, without a home or a livelihood. Life will never be the same again - until old friend Carey Revell comes to the rescue.
They move in to Mossby with high hopes. But the house has a secret at its heart: an old legend concerning one of the famous windows. Will all their dreams for happiness be shattered? Or can Carey and Angel find a way to make this house a home?
Publisher: Transworld Publishers Ltd
ISBN: 9780593075609
Starting with the front cover of the hardback, I love the cover! The illustration is gorgeous - it looks like a dream home I would choose. Marry that with the synopsis and I know that, yet again, Trisha Ashley has a best seller on her hands, a fantastic read that I will devour very quickly (which is a good job as my copy got caught up in the snow delay) and I will love it and keep thinking about the characters, the location and the storyline for weeks to come. And, of course, I was not disappointed!
The House of Hopes and Dreams is a combination of two stories; where the narrative swaps between the past and the present as we hear the history of Mossby, the home recently inherited by Carey Revell, and the story of Angelica Arrowsmith, a life long friend of Carey.  I don't want to tell anymore of the story as I was my blog readers to pick up a copy of 'The House of Hope and Dreams' and enjoy the story as it evolves. You will not be disappointed. 
I am a huge fan of Trisha Ashley, I have loved all of her books and often recommend them to friends and family who have also become fans. This story has everything, there is Trisha's great humour, but it is all within a great story, one that will stand the test of time. The characters are lovable. At the start, I felt sorry for Angel, who has recently lost her long term partner, however because they were not married, she was not entitled to a share of his estate, and his relatives did not want to share, however Angel soon takes matters in her own hands and walks away with her assets (including her own portfolio of stained glass work using traditional techniques) and shapes her own destiny with the help of Carey. I really liked the second voice of this story, the historical characters, where we learnt lots about Mossby and also the traditional glass workers techniques.

I recommend this book to all my blog readers as a must read and thank Trisha Ashley and Black Swan, the publishers, for sending me the book to review and the invite to be part of the blog tour. 

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Blog Tour - Spring on the Little Cornish Isles by Philippa Ashley

Today I am pleased to welcome Philippa Ashley to my blog to celebrate the publication of her latest book, Spring on the Little Cornish Isles. 

Fans of Jill Mansell and Carole Matthews will love this gorgeous new book from the author of the bestselling Cornish Cafe series.
Jess has lived at the idyllic flower farm on the Isles of Scilly her whole life. But when her boyfriend Adam leaves without explanation, Jess discovers that even her little slice of Cornish paradise can be lonely.
For the first time in Will's life, he's met someone he can't stop thinking about. But nothing is simple when the woman of your dreams is working for you.
Gaby is running away from painful memories, and where could be more perfect than a remote island off the Cornish coast? But to put the past behind her, she must keep moving ... however much she might want to stay.

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
ISBN: 9780008253394
I am pleased to be able to share with my readers an extract from 'Spring on the Little Cornish Isles - The Flower Farm' ........
Will’s jaw dropped again and he stared at Gaby.
Adam had joined them. He’d obviously heard most of the recent exchanges, judging by the gleeful squeeze Jess felt on her hand. She distinctly felt his body shake as he tried not to laugh. Jess stifled a snigger too.
‘Would you like me to make some cucumber sandwiches as well?’ Will said smoothly.
Gaby licked her lips. ‘Yum. That sounds delicious. Where’s the staff tea room?’
Will couldn’t take his eyes off Gaby. She smiled innocently back, but Jess could tell Gaby was teasing and could actually feel the crackle of tension between the two of them. It was like pitting a bear and a viper against each other. How would they ever survive the next six months together?
Jess let out a strained laugh. ‘Gaby is joking. She knows we all muck in here.’
‘Of course I do. So, shall we start again?’ She held out her hand once more and this time, to Jess’s amazement, Will took it, shaking it firmly but carefully with his grimy paw.
‘Welcome to the flower farm, Gaby,’ he said, still unable to tear his eyes from her face.
‘Thank you, Mr Godrevy. You seem to have a very professional operation here.’
‘Thanks. And er … please call me Will. We don’t stand on ceremony here.’
‘Thank you, Will. I look forward to working with you and possibly tasting your buns.’
Will opened his mouth but seemed to choke on his reply.
‘Have you tried the trip switch on the pump?’ Jess cut in, trying to divert Will. ‘That was the problem last time.’
His attention snapped back to Jess. ‘Of course I’ve tried the trip switch, but you can have a look if you like. Anything’s better than leaving the farm without water until the technician can come out.’
‘Where is the pump?’ Gaby asked.
‘In the shed over there above the well.’ Will flipped a thumb in the direction of the other side of the yard. ‘It supplies all the water for the farm and business.’
‘You’re getting a tour of the farm anyway, so you may as well see everything now, not that you’ll ever need to go in the pump house,’ said Jess. She could feel Adam beside her, saying nothing but obviously enjoying every word of the exchange. He’d be bound to take the piss out of Will about ‘his buns’ as soon as he got the chance but Jess was only concerned with keeping the peace
Review to follow ....

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Blog Tour - Coming Home by Fern Britton

Bog tour banner - coming home

Coming Home (Hardback)Three women. 
A lifetime of secrets.
The only place to be is home.
Ella comes back to the beautiful Cornish coast to heal her heart after the death of her beloved grandmother, Adela. There she finds her home again and discovers a new life, but she also opens a treasure trove of secrets.
Twenty years ago Ella's mother Sennen ran away from Cornwall. Sennen had been a young single mum and, unable to cope, had left their children with her mother Adela...and a part of her with them. She's spent the years since hiding from her past, hiding from herself.
Now it's time to come back to Cornwall. To face her mistakes. To pray for forgiveness. And to hope for a future with her long-lost daughter and son. Will she be welcomed back with open hearts?
They say home is where the heart is. It's time to come home...
Pendruggan: A Cornish village with secrets at its heart
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
ISBN: 9780007563005

Fern Britton's novels are like a comfortable pair of slippers.  I love reading Fern's stories, they are full of strong women with a great story to share and they are about families. 

Coming Home tells the story of three generations of a family and concentrates on the females within. There are a number of secrets which each lady holds, but which of course are revealed and their consequences shape the dynamics of the family. The book is a real rollercoaster of emotion as the reader will not be able to stop themselves becoming involved in Adela, Sennen and Ella's lives.  Add into the mix the male members of the family and it is interesting to see how they are affected and how their lives pan out. I especially liked that Sennen spent a large proportion of her life in India and her involvement with a Sikh man and this added another dynamic into the mix.

I really enjoyed how the story swapped and changed between the three characters lives and as the story develops it becomes obvious that the previous generation's actions have long term consequences on later generations. Fern has the ability to write stories that have numerous layers and I really enjoy being able to peel them off and see how the story develops. 

I highly recommend this book to blog readers who enjoy family sagas and books about strong women. 

Thank you to Harper Collins for inviting me to take part in this blog tour and for the copy of the book I received in return for an honest review. 

Friday, 16 February 2018

Blog Tour - A Year of New Adventures by Maddie Please

It’s time for Billie Summers to have an adventure … but it might not be exactly what she expected.

Billie Summers has always been quite content in her little cottage in the Cotswolds. Sure, half the house hasn’t been renovated, but what’s the point when it’s only her? Working part-time at her uncle’s bookshop and planning writer retreats with her best friend allows her to pay the bills. What more could anyone want?
That is until Oliver Forest, the bad boy of the book world, turns up to one of her retreats and points out that Billie hasn’t done anything very adventurous. Couple that with her best friend falling head over heels and beginning to drift away from their Friday night wine and dinner plans, Billie is starting to wonder if it isn’t time she took control of her life.
So she starts a list: get fitted (properly) for a bra, fix up rest of house, find a ‘career’ and well, get a tattoo … Her life might just get the makeover it needs, too bad irritating and far-too-attractive for his own good, Oliver keeps showing up …
Because sometimes you need an adventure!

A Year of New Adventures is one of those books that a reader picks up to read for an hours and suddenly, five hours later, the book is finished and all the jobs are still waiting to be started. It is a great story, one which leaves the reader laughing out loud, and has a great cast of characters, some which are liked and others that the reader wants to take by the shoulders and give them a good talking to. I really enjoyed the writers retreat, being a fly on the wall, and watching each writer as they observed how each other worked, plotted and planned. 

The retreat was the start of Billie's year of new adventures and I really enjoyed following her 'journey'. I think that it is one of those books that makes a reader look at their own life and start a list of things to achieve in the year ahead, no matter how small or insignificant, we can all achieve!!

Today I am pleased to welcome Maddie Please to my blog. Maddie has agreed to share some of her writing tips with my blog readers to mark the publication of her new book, A Year of New Adventures.

Maggie Please's Writing tips.

There are so many books already published on how to write well. There are also magazines, websites, workshops, degree courses and blogs.

What would be my tips?

1)     Plot properly. Yes I know this sounds boring. It’s so much more fun to just set off, your fingers flying over the computer keyboard or your pen filling up page after page of your gorgeous new notebook as the story flows unchecked and your characters fall in love/solve the murder/find the treasure. But it doesn’t usually work like that because nearly always you will realise you don’t know where you are going/don’t know where you’ve been/can’t remember if the heroine’s eyes are blue or green/forgot that the hero is allergic to horses. Then the story will stall into a soggy mess and nine times out of ten you will go back and realise there is also a huge plot hole and perhaps the great aunt who died in chapter four is happily gardening and handing out advice in chapter twenty. With a plot you have a map to take you from Chapter One to The End.

2)     Write every day. Like most things (cake decorating, dancing, painting your nails) the more you practice the better you get. No one is born able to service a car, speak three languages or make profiteroles you have to learn the basics and then practice. Even if it’s just ten minutes in the car park while you wait for someone, it all adds up.

3)     Start at the right place. Pages of delightful backstory, character quirks, description of that lovely old house, the way your heroine’s parents met when they worked for Princess Michael of Kent – these are not the right place to start your story. Get in there with the challenge. The party/house move/fight/accident/redundancy. Start with action. The other stuff can be fed in through the book as you fill out your story.

         4) Keep going. I’ve been writing for years but when I started submitting to agents and       `publishers I got nowhere. I sent out my work too early. The formatting was wrong, the grammar was old fashioned, I used too many adjectives, characters shrugged their shoulders and ran their fingers through their hair far too often. Sometimes I got crumbs of comfort from an agent who bothered to send a few lines of encouragement as well as a rejection. Often I didn’t. I was still learning the hard way. I don’t think there is an easy way. Go to writing events, festivals (I went to the Festival of Writing at York twice and learned such a lot) and workshops. Talk to other writers. I recommend the Word Cloud (a free to join community of writers) and if you can’t travel think about doing their 6-week Self Edit Course run by Debi Alper and Emma Darwin. I did and I thought it was fantastic. Try new genres, different POV’s, unusual characters. Write as much as you can. Believe in yourself. What I’m saying is never give up.

Thank you Maggie for sharing these tips with my blog readers and to Avon Books for inviting me to take part in the blog tour.

Sunday, 11 February 2018

201 Crochet Motifs, Blocks, Projects and Ideas by Melody Griffiths

201 Crochet Motifs, Blocks, Projects and Ideas (Paperback)

201 Crochet Motifs contains over 150 original crochet blocks and motifs plus 51 gorgeous projects to inspire your creativity.
Packed with ideas to get you going, this clever directory is split into three main chapters entitled Motifs, The Projects and The Techniques. The first chapter, Motifs, is divided into five sections that cover everything from the simplest crosses and spirals to geometric shapes, pictures, lacy patterns and bold, beautiful flowers. Use them to make up your own bags, throws, scarves and cushions, designed just as you choose, or follow one of Melody's foolproof patterns in The Projects. With over 50 projects to choose from there'll be something for everyone to make, whether that is a butterfly brooch, holly greetings cards, an openwork afghan, cat cushion, button baby blanket, tie belt, cherry border cardigan or something entirely different. Each motif is displayed as a colour photograph next to easy-to-follow instructions, with stitch diagrams for more complex motifs. Melody also advises on the type of yarn to use, the tension and the size of the motif, and gives tips on how to achieve the best result. There is also advice for designing your own makes, so you can treat the motifs as a jumping-off point. Finally, The Techniques offers further explanation and guidance so that no stitch is beyond your ability.
With sketches and photos showing how the motif can be used, either on its own, with several together or partnered with other motifs, 201 Crochet Motifs will show you that the crocheting possibilities are endless.

Publisher: Ryland, Peters & Small Ltd
ISBN: 9781782495727

201 Crochet Motifs, Blocks, Projects and Ideas is jam packed full of inspiration, projects and inspiration for a range of crochet projects. The book is split into two clear sections; Motifs and Projects. 

Motifs includes patterns  of flowers, lace, alphabet, shapes, pictures and geometric. Each sub section is full of lots of designs of various styles and technique difficulty. For example the floral section includes tiny violets, a beautiful rose which could be used as a brooch, flowers in squares, hexagonal designs and much more. There are so many different styles that the book is a go to book for inspiration or a quick project. 

The patterns are all written very clearly, each beginning with a brief description of the design in words, alongside a very clear colourful photograph. The instructions are written in English terms (i.e. dc, tr) and clearly separated into rounds. The written pattern is also accompanied by a diagram chart which is accompanied by abbreviations and a key.  I don't use charts, preferring to follow a written pattern but this book includes both and in some of the more complicated designs I can see that the chart will also help to explain the pattern.

The projects section includes patterns for clothes, hats, baby booties, afghans, cushions, gloves, scarfs and cushions, along with ideas for motifs to add to existing clothing. This section is full of great tips and tricks and inspiration for further projects where techniques learnt can be used to update items that may have been passed over due to tiny holes or lose of interest in them. The book is finished off with a brief section of crocheting techniques.

I really like this book and I think it will be one that I regularly reach to from my book shelf when I am looking for stash using projects, or motifs to finish off a project, or to update a tired jacket.

Thank you to the publishers, CICO Publishing, for sending me the book in return for an honest review.