The First Time I Saw You by Emma Cooper #BookReview (@ItsEmmaCooper) @headlinepg @NetGalley @RNATweets #NetGalley #TheFirstTimeISawYou #FictionCafeWriters

41paShEygAL

Lost:
Six-foot-two Irish man who answers to the name Samuel McLaughlin.
Has weak shins and enjoys show tunes.
If found, please return to Sophie Williams.

Before Sophie met Samuel she saw the world in grey.
Before Samuel met Sophie, he never believed in love at first sight.

When they first meet, something tells them they are meant to be.
But fate has other ideas.

Now they have lost each other and can’t see a way back.
But they’ve already changed each other’s lives in more ways than they ever expected…

I am delighted to be sharing my review today of The First Time I Saw You, by the author of one of my Top Ten Books of 2018, Emma Cooper. My thanks to Headline for my copy of the book, received via NetGalley, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

I am probably not alone when I say that I always approach follow up books to ones I have loved with some trepidation. When you have loved a book as much as I loved Emma’s debut, The Songs of Us, you want the next one to be just as good, but there is always the fear that it will not live up to the heights the last one achieved. I fell so in love with the story of Melody and her family and the book had such a huge impact on me, I really could not see how The First Time I Saw You was going to match it.

Well, Emma is a clever thing because the way she did it was to make this one feel completely different, but in a way that was still compelling and affecting. At least, that is how it felt to me. I found The Songs of Us extremely funny, whilst still being heart-breaking and plumbing real emotional depth. The First Time I Saw You is a horse of a different colour, with less of a comedy element but the same complex familial relationships, the same emotional rollercoaster and the same examination of personal relationships between two flawed people, put under strain.

It took me no time at all to fall in love with Samuel (it may have has something to do with  him being Irish, I may just have a little bit of a thing for Irish men). It took me a little longer to warm to Sophie. In fact, the situation was pretty much a reversal of the way I felt about the male and female characters in the last book, but this was very important for the story development. One of the most riveting parts of the plot for me was the development and softening of Sophie, the way she changes throughout the book and how she, and we, uncover the reasons she is the way she is, how her history has shaped her and how the events in the story shape her going forwards. Damaged characters, flawed characters, complicated characters – these are the things that gives books richness and depth and make them extraordinary.

Samuel’s plot arc, for me, was both devastating and uplifting. Because I fell in love with him from the first chapter and was totally on his side, what Emma did to him almost broke me, and seeing him go through his ordeal and claw his way back to where he wanted to be was excruciating. I lived every trial, every setback, every disappointment as if he were a real person I cared for deeply. I was willing him on, wanting him to get his happy ending, mentally begging Emma to help him. It is a rare gift for an author to be able to make characters come so alive and matter so much to readers in this way, and Emma totally has this. It is the thing I love most about her writing, what embeds it in my heart.

This book left me deeply affected, just as the last one did, but in a very different way. Despite the fact that this book turns out very differently (I am desperately trying to get my point across without spoiling either book for people who have not read them yet), in some ways it was a more difficult and melancholy read for me. That may not make any sense to people who have read them both, but it is how I felt. Some people may be disappointed that this book perhaps wasn’t as lighthearted as the previous novel. I say it shows bravery, diversity and a complexity of ability that makes Emma a talented author, who will continue to surprise and push her readers and I, for one, cannot wait to see what she does next.

The First Time I Saw You is challenging, heart-breaking and uplifting and will not disappoint anyone who recognises talent and enjoyed Emma’s previous book. New readers should grab both and indulge themselves in some excellent writing tout suite.

The First Time I Saw You is out now on Kindle and available for pre-order in audiobook and paperback and you can get a copy here.

About the Author

emma-cooper-author-photo-cropped-small-300x434

Emma is a former teaching assistant, who lives in Shropshire, with her partner and four children. Her spare time consists of writing novels, drinking wine and watching box-sets with her partner of twenty-four years, who still makes her smile every day.

Emma has always wanted to be a writer – ever since her childhood, she’s been inventing characters (her favourite being her imaginary friend ‘Boot’) and is thrilled that she now gets to use this imagination to bring to life all of her creations.

The Songs of Us was inspired by Emma’s love of music and her ability to almost always embarrass herself, and her children, in the most mundane of situations. She was so fascinated by the idea of combining the two, that she began to write Melody’s story. Working full-time with a large family meant that Emma had to steal snippets of ‘spare’ time from her already chaotic and disorganised life; the majority of her novel was written during her lunchtime in a tiny school office. She never expected to fall so deeply in love with the King family and is overwhelmed that others feel the same.

She has three loves in life: reading, writing and her family…oh, and music, cheese, pizza, films – Maths is not one of her talents.

Connect with Emma:

Website: https://emmacooperauthor.wordpress.com

Facebook: Emma Cooper Author

Twitter: @ItsEmma Cooper

Instagram: @itsemmacooper

The Summer Book by Tove Jansson #BookReview @cox_eleanorc31 #SummerReading #freereading #readingrecommendations

51SNsKpjmVL._SX330_BO1,204,203,200_

An elderly artist and her six-year-old grand-daughter while away a summer together on a tiny island in the gulf of Finland. As the two learn to adjust to each other’s fears, whims and yearnings, a fierce yet understated love emerges – one that encompasses not only the summer inhabitants but the very island itself.

Written in a clear, unsentimental style, full of brusque humour, and wisdom, The Summer Book is a profoundly life-affirming story. Tove Jansson captured much of her own life and spirit in the book, which was her favourite of her adult novels. 

So, my cousin Eleanor lent me this book about a year ago and urged me to read it as soon as possible because she thought I would love it. My family and friends don’t recommend books to me very often because I have usually read everything before they get their mitts on it and I am recommending it to them or, in the case of my friend, Mary, because she thinks I won’t like it. This mostly tells me that my friend, Mary, does not read my blog or she would know that I will read almost anything and my tastes are wide, diverse and not particularly highbrow. (I will wait and see if she mentions this review to me as a way of testing whether or not I am correct!)

Anyway, bloggers being bloggers, I have had this book on my TBR ever since and had not found a slot in which to, well slot it, until I gave myself a summer off blog tours to do some free reading. I wish I had not waited so long because she was right, I did love it.

This book is the story of a young girl and her grandmother whiling away a summer on a remote island off the coast of Finland. Whilst not specifically written as a biography, the book is based on the author’s own childhood experiences and you can feel the love and affection for these memories she had shining from the page.

The book is an unusual construction, more akin to a series of related short stories or anecdotes than a linear tale, but I think this is part of its charm. It is a series of snapshots of events that stand out in the course of a summer when the rest of the days were probably all much the same, as summer days tend to be. And when I say stand out, they stand out in small and insignificant ways by and large, because mostly nothing huge happens. But this is the way of childhood, the things that are important are things that are insignificant when we get older and busier and more wrapped up in adult concerns. We don’t have the time to focus on the millions of tiny miracles that happen every day. These are the privileges of childhood and, as evidenced by this book, of old age when life again slows down and we can appreciate what is around us once again. Life come full circle, generations in tune.

This is the beauty of this book, the gentle, slow, true understanding and affection between these two generations sharing a quiet, slow summer on a small island. There are misunderstandings and arguments, moments of sadness, moments of fear, moments of joy and lots and lots of love. It really portrays a warm and real and beautiful relationship between two people and it really made me feel happy and hopeful. I will repeat that – happy and hopeful. What more could anyone ask for from a book? An unusual but very special read that deserves a place on anyone’s bookshelf, to be reached for a times when one’s soul needs a salve. Thank you for the recommendation, Eleanor. Oh, and happy birthday. xx

You can get a copy of The Summer Book by Tove Jansson here.

About the Author

71dwb9eOSLL._US230_

TOVE JANSSON (1914-2001) is revered around the world as one of the foremost children’s authors of the twentieth century for her illustrated Moomin chapter books.

The Day We Meet Again by Miranda Dickinson #BookReview (@wurdsmyth) @HQStories @NetGalley #TheDayWeMeetAgain #TeamSparkly #NetGalley

cover163592-medium

Their love story started with goodbye…

‘We’ll meet again at St Pancras station, a year from today. If we’re meant to be together, we’ll both be there. If we’re not, it was never meant to be . . .’

Phoebe and Sam meet by chance at St Pancras station. Heading in opposite directions, both seeking their own adventures, meeting the love of their lives wasn’t part of the plan. So they make a promise: to meet again in the same place in twelve months’ time if they still want to be together.

But is life ever as simple as that?

This review is four days later than I intended, but sometimes circumstances get away from us and I hope it is better late than never! Anyway, here is my review of the latest book by Miranda Dickinson, The Day We Meet Again. My thanks to Miranda and the publisher for my copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially, and apologies for not getting this up sooner.

I loved the premise of this book as soon as the blurb was released – two people who meet by chance and fall instantly in love, only to be immediately parted for a year. Is love at first sight a thing and can it survive an immediate separation? I couldn’t wait to find out, being a huge, squishy romantic at heart. I appreciate this one may not be for the cynical amongst you, although it is so good it might just change your mind.

The two main characters are immediately appealing. Phoebe, full of nerves and self-doubt, pushing herself to take an adventure alone that none of her friends think she is capable of. Sam seems something else in her and, his belief in her gives Phoebe courage to take that step and go on that journey to find herself and her purpose. Sam is on a different quest, he is in pursuit of answers about his own history but may also end up discovering more about himself than he anticipated, and having Phoebe there in the background might also give him courage to face those discoveries.

The challenges for the couple over the twelve months they are apart are fascinating. Can you really love someone you have only just met and don’t really know? How much can you trust them? How do you communicate across hundreds of miles without misunderstanding? How do changes in you affect the way you feel about another person? What should you put first, your own dreams or the love of your life? All of these questions are explored with real understanding and tenderness by the author in this book and will have you wondering what you would do when faced with similar dilemmas.

The first part of this book follows Sam and Phoebe on their separate travels; Phoebe through France and Italy; Sam to Scotland. As someone who is a sucker for a book featuring travel, I loved this aspect and the writing was so evocative of their journeys and the locations, I was itching to book a ticket to Paris and Rome and Glasgow and Mull. A book to both satiate and irritate your wanderlust at the same time.

The final third deals with what happens when Phoebe and Sam meet again at the end of the year, and parts of it had me screaming at the pages in a total WTF moment (excuse my language, but there is no other way to describe it). You know you have become truly engaged by the characters and the story in a novel when you start shouting at them for making the wrong decisions! I was totally charmed and involved in this relationship from the beginning to the end and could not read fast enough to find out how it was going to end, whilst at the same time as now wanting it to. A perfect recipe for great romantic fiction.

The Day We Meet Again is a book I loved. Romantic, entertaining, engaging, thoughtful, tender and moving, I relished every word. A very accomplished novel from an author whose writing keeps getting better and better. I highly recommend it.

The Day We Meet Again is out now and you can get your copy here.

About the Author

miranda

Miranda Dickinson has always had a head full of stories. Born in Wolverhampton, in The Black Country, West Midlands, she grew up in Kingswinford and dreamed of one day writing a book that would reach the heady heights of Kingswinford Library… Her first novel, Fairytale of New York (2009) was discovered on Authonomy.com – HarperCollins’ site for unpublished authors. Within three weeks of its release, Fairytale of New York had entered the Sunday Times Top Ten Bestsellers List, where it remained for five weeks – making it the world’s first crowd-sourced bestseller. The novel was also shortlisted for the RNA’s Romantic Novel of the Year Award 2010 at the Pure Passion Awards.

Miranda is a six-times Sunday Times Bestseller, with Fairytale of New York, Welcome to My World, It Started With a Kiss, When I Fall in Love, Take a Look at Me Now, I’ll Take New York, A Parcel for Anna Browne and Searching for a Silver Lining. Her Christmas novella, Christmas in St Ives, is a festive treat and also a prequel to her ninth novel, Somewhere Beyond the Sea. She is an international bestseller in four countries and her books have been translated into fifteen languages. To date, she has sold one million books worldwide. The Day We Meet Again is her tenth novel and publishes on 5th September 2019.

Miranda is the founder of WriteFoxy – resources, vlogs and inspiration writing days for writers of all ages and abilities. Her popular vlogs feature her own publishing journey for each new novel, together with advice for authors and lots and lots of hats!

Miranda lives in Dudley with her husband, Bob and daughter, Flo. She is also a singer-songwriter and recently released her first solo album, About Time.

Connect with Miranda:

Website: https://miranda-dickinson.com

Facebook: Miranda Dickinson Author

Twitter: @wurdsmyth

Bloody Sheets by Andy Rausch #BookReview #BlogTour (@writerrausch1) @BlackthornTours #novella #pulpfiction #crimenoir #BloodySheets

65113050_376363299681828_3774115409423237120_n

When a young black man is lynched in a small Alabama town, his estranged father — a crime world enforcer — sets out for revenge, embarking on a blood – soaked journey that will leave the ravaged bodies of dead Klansmen in his wake.

I am delighted to be one of the blogs rounding off the tour for Bloody Sheets by Andy Rausch, today. My thanks to Isobel Blackthorn at Blackthorn Tours for inviting me to review the book and for my digital copy, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

This is a no holds barred, bloody, brutal story of racism, murder and revenge that is told without pause or apology, shining a relentless light on the schisms that currently fracture society in parts of America. And, whilst this tale is set in a particular section of US society, the deep divisions it portrays are not limited to its locale and the truths it reveals should make all of us sit up and take notice.

A young black male is lynched in a backwards, backwoods town in rural Alabama, and the culprits are the local Klan. Unfortunately for the Klan, the father or the murdered boy is an ex-felon enforcer for a crime kingpin and the death of his turns his particular skills away from his boss’s enemies and towards his own. Revenge is not pretty, but it is swift and brutal.

This book is not suitable for the sensitive or squeamish, peppered as it is with the basest language of racism and the goriest of violence. Some may find it offensive, although in the context of the story it is vital and not gratuitous and should be approached as such. The book is designed to shock, and that shock is necessary to make the reader confront the grotesque nature of the attitudes portrayed in it. We should be made uncomfortable by the issues, and Rausch does a fine job of making it so. However, at the same time as blasting the reader in the face with the horror of the inequalities and bigotry displayed in the story, there is also an underlying tenderness, love and pain on display in the actions of Coke as he tries to avenge his son. Something you may not expect in quite so black a story.

This is a short novella, it took me only about an hour to read, but it is fast paced and punchy, not a word wasted, with a distinctive style that takes no prisoners. Not something I pick up every day but a story that gave me food for thought and left me unexpectedly affected.

Bloody Sheets is out now and you can get a copy here.

To explore some different views of the book, please do check out the rest of the blogs on the tour:

Blackthorn Book Tours presents (6)

About the Author

photo-me

Andy Rausch is a a freelance film journalist, author, and celebrity interviewer. He has published more than twenty books on the subject of popular culture, including The Films of Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro, Making Movies with Orson Welles (with Gary Graver), and The Cinematic Misadventures of Ed Wood (with Charles E. Pratt, Jr.). His work has appeared in Shock Cinema, both Screem and Scream magazines, Senses of Cinema, Diabolique, Creative Screenwriting, Film Threat, Bright Lights Film Journal, and Images: A Journal of Film and Popular Culture. He has written several works of fiction including Mad World, Elvis Presley: CIA Assassin, Riding Shotgun and Other American Cruelties, and the short story collection Death Rattles. He has also worked as a screenwriter, producer, and actor on numerous straight-to-video horror films.

Connect with Andy:

Website: authorandyrausch

Twitter: @writerrausch1

Goodreads: Andy Rausch

blackthorns-book-reviews-1

Deadly Prospects by Clio Gray (The Scottish Mysteries Book One) #BookReview #BlogBlitz (@ClioGray) @urbanebooks @LoveBooksGroup #LoveBooksTours #DeadlyProspects #TheScottishMysteries

The_Scottish_Mysteries_Final.indd

1869, Sutherland, Scotland. For years the people of this remote area of the Highlands have lived a hard life. Now a local Gold Rush has attracted the Pan-European Mining Company to the area, and Solveig McCleery is determined to re-open the Brora mines and give the population the riches they deserve.

But when work starts on re-opening the mines, the body of a prospector is discovered, and odd inscriptions found on stones near the corpse. Before the meaning of these strange marks can be deciphered another body is discovered.

Are these attacks connected to the re-opening of the mines? Will Solveig’s plan succeed in bringing peace and prosperity back to the area? Or has she put in motion something far more sinister?  

I am delighted to be taking my turn on the blog blitz for Deadly Prospects by Clio Gray, first book in the Scottish Mysteries series. My thanks to Kelly Lacey at Love Books Group for offering me a place on the tour, and to the publisher for my ecopy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

I found this book very different and refreshing, combining as it did very detailed, historical issues and a gripping mystery. I’m not sure I have read a book that felt quite so like a  fascinating history lesson and an intriguing crime puzzle at the same time.

The author chose a time period and location in which to set the book that I have never come across used in a fictional mystery before, the Highlands of Scotland around the time of the Clearances. I have always been fascinated by Scottish history and the plot really intrigued me, which is why I applied for the blog tour in the first place, but I got far more than I was expecting with this book. The level of historical detail was impressive, I learnt a huge amount about emigration between Scotland and Scandanavia that I had never known before, but it was woven into the book so cleverly that it did not feel like it was detracting from the plot in any way, but only enhancing it.

The book really captured the hardship and bleakness of the period and location, remote as it was, and barren, and the struggles that the people had to try and hang on to their homes and scratch out a living in the face of adversity, both natural and man-made. The characters were well drawn and compelling and I was completely pulled in to the story and held captive while it played out. I found it sinister and disturbing, and I did not see the twists it was going to take coming at all.

The author is clearly passionate about the topic she is writing about and has taken a great deal of time and care in researching this book before writing it. The depth and breadth of the research that has gone into it can only be a labour of love and I think this shines through in the writing. The book affected me more than I expected, and was one of those happy surprises that come along rarely, an un-hyped book that exceeds expectations and takes you places you never saw coming but swept you away. I highly recommend this for lovers of great historical fiction.

Deadly Prospects is available now and you can buy a copy here.

About the Author

Clio-Gray-745x1024

Clio was born in Yorkshire, spent her later childhood in Devon before returning to Yorkshire to go to university. For the last twenty five years she has lived in the Scottish Highlands where she intends to remain. She eschewed the usual route of marriage, mortgage, children, and instead spent her working life in libraries, filling her home with books and sharing that home with dogs. She began writing for personal amusement in the late nineties, then began entering short story competitions, getting short listed and then winning, which led directly to a publication deal with Headline. Her book, The Anatomist’s Dream, was nominated for the Man Booker 2015 and long listed for the Bailey’s Prize in 2016.

Connect with Clio:

Website: https://www.cliogray.com

Twitter: @ClioGray

Love Books Group Tours (1)

Dead Inside by Noelle Holten #BookReview # BlogTour (@nholten40) @KillerReads @0neMoreChapter @BOTBSPublicity #DeadInside

51VcBgPcYDL

The killer is just getting started…

When three wife beaters are themselves found beaten to death, DC Maggie Jamieson knows she is facing her toughest case yet.

The police suspect that Probation Officer Lucy Sherwood – who is connected to all three victims – is hiding a dark secret. Then a fourth domestic abuser is brutally murdered.

And he is Lucy’s husband.

Now the police are running out of time, but can Maggie really believe her friend Lucy is a cold-blooded killer?

I am delighted to be one of the blogs rounding off the tour for Dead Inside by Noelle Holten. My thanks to Sarah Hardy of Books on the Bright Side Publicity for my place on this coveted tour, and to the author and publisher for my copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

I feel like I have been waiting so long to write this review! I read this book almost as soon as I received a copy as I was eager to find out what Noelle had written, knowing as I did that her personal experience as a probation officer had fed into the plot of her debut novel, and I have to say I was not disappointed.

This is the first in a projected series following DC Maggie Jamieson, and it was a great set up for this character. Noelle revealed just enough about her to whet our appetite and make her someone whose story we would want to follow through future books, but still left a lot to be developed as far as she was concerned and an interesting hook to entice the reader in to the next book. However, this story was not really Maggie’s but Lucy’s.

Lucy was a fascinating character, and the perfect one to carry the story and deal effectively with the issues that Noelle wanted to raise. She is a woman with a foot in both camps of the narrative, firstly as a probation officer having to deal on a day to day basis with the perpetrators of domestic violence, and secondly as a woman who is herself a victim. The idea that someone who so clearly sees on a daily basis the reality of these men and the harm they cause to their victims and, at the same time, be able to justify to herself in her personal life putting up with this exact same treatment herself was devastatingly effective in illustrating just how hard it can be for women to break out of these situations. I thought the premise and execution were genius, and it really made me confront the reality of the problem, as someone who has no personal experience herself but who might have thought it was something I could never put up with. It is clear, reading this, that none of us should be complacent and we should all educate ourselves and have sympathy and understanding for women who find themselves in impossible situations.

The writing in the book is affecting and immersive. Noelle has a very interesting and unique style, an individual author voice that I found refreshing. The short chapters and unflowery style were perfect for the story, maintaining the tension and bringing into relief the starkness of the situation the characters were facing and it was a read that propelled me through the pages without any wasted words or break in impetus. I found the descriptions of the symbiotic relationship between the different agencies involved in the criminal justice process fascinating, and a very different take than we often see in crime novels. The focus on probation as much as the initial investigation was really interesting to me and definitely something I would like to see more of.

This is a great debut, with a fascinating premise, compelling writing, a unique perspective and a fresh, individual author voice and we should all be excited about this interesting, new author in the genre. I would highly recommend this book for crime fans looking for something new and a little bit different to read. It is well worth consideration and I am looking forward to the next in the series.

Dead Inside is out now and you can get your copy here.

Please do go back and check of the rest of the reviews from the other excellent bloggers on the tour. You can find them listed on the poster below:

BLOG TOUR (9)

About the Author

915H-4aFkZL._US230_

Noelle Holten is an award-winning blogger at www.crimebookjunkie.co.uk. She is the PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture, a leading digital publisher in the UK, and a regular reviewer on the Two Crime Writers and a Microphone podcast. Noelle worked as a Senior Probation Officer for eighteen years, covering a variety of cases including those involving serious domestic abuse. She has three Hons BA’s – Philosophy, Sociology (Crime & Deviance) and Community Justice – and a Masters in Criminology. Noelle’s hobbies include reading, author-stalking and sharing the #booklove via her blog.
Dead Inside is her debut novel with Killer Reads/Harper Collins UK and the start of a new series featuring DC Maggie Jamieson.
Connect with Noelle:
Twitter: @nholten40
Instagram: @crimebookjunkie

The Cornish Cream Tea Bus by Cressida McLaughlin #BookReview (@CressMcLaughlin) @HarperFiction @fictionpubteam #TheCornishCreamTeaBus

51YlwgxBUyL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_

Baking fanatic, Charlie Quilter, is surprised when her late uncle bequeaths his vintage bus to her in his will. Keen to give the bus a new lease of life, Charlie thinks it will be the perfect mobile café for afternoon tea, and when her friend, Juliette, suggests Charlie comes to stay with her in the picturesque Cornish village of Porthgolow, she’s thrilled at the chance of a new start.

Charlie and her cute dog, Marmite, make new friends wherever their bus stops – except for the sexy but reclusive owner of the posh spa up on the hill, Daniel Harper, who isn’t very pleased that her bus is parked outside his lovely hotel.
Has Charlie’s Cornish dream developed a soggy bottom? Or can she convince Daniel that her bus could be the start of something wonderful for the little village – and for them?

I can never wait to get my hands on a new Cressida McLaughlin book. Over the short time she has been writing, she has quickly become one of my favourite authors when I am looking for a sweet, feel good romance with a dash of humour and some really relatable characters and her books are ones I always dive straight in to as soon as they arrive. The Cornish Cream Tea Bus, her fifth full-length novel, has not let me down, in fact I think it might be her best book yet.

The books follows the adventures of Charlie, left an old bus by her beloved Uncle Hal, and she feels like she needs to make the most of it to honour his memory. Charlie is at a crossroads, having just been through a nasty break-up, as well as her bereavement, and she seizes on this as an opportunity to shake her life up. A summer spent in the Cornish village where her best friend lives, deciding what to do with the old bus, seems just what she needs.

Of course, the path of life… and love… never did run smooth and Charlie has to face practical obstacles, difficult villagers, natural disasters, and  an unwelcome love triangle as she navigates her way to a new life, all against the picture-perfect backdrop of a quaint, but a bit tired, Cornish village. So far, maybe not so unusual, so what makes this book stand out from similar books in the genre?

There is a very simple answer to this question, it is the warmth and skill in Cressida’s writing. She is someone who has a very recognisable voice and style, I would recognise one of her books if it were sent to me under a plain cover, and I absolutely love it. Her lovely personality and upbeat attitude shines through in the writing and oozes into her characters, so you can’t help but warm to them and want them to get their happy ever after. Her heroines are always approachable but feisty and go-getting, not damsel in distress types waiting to be rescued, and this is something I can totally get behind in a romantic heroine.

Of course, characters are no fun if they are perfect, so it is reassuring to see that some flaws are included, in Charlie’s case, jumping to conclusions based on flimsy evidence and acting on impulse are the main things that cause her issues. Part of the joy of the story is watching the characters recognise their weaknesses and trying to overcome them, even if sometimes they are a slow study. The book also has a host of interesting supporting characters to shore up the main story arc, including the obligatory adorable pet with personality. All the ingredients for a cracking escapist novel are here.

This book took me on a trip to a fabulous, escapist location, introduced me to some characters that quickly became friends, and led me on a journey through a light-hearted romance that gave me all the feels and left me feeling warmed and satisfied by the end. It is the ideal read for this transitional season, as summer slowly eases into the chill of autumn and, if you have never picked up a book by Cress before, do yourself a favour and get this as soon as you can. I promise you will quickly become a big fan.

The Cornish Cream Tea Bus is out now and you can buy a copy here.

About the Author

IMG_1510

Cressy was born in South East London surrounded by books and with a cat named after Lawrence of Arabia. She studied English at the University of East Anglia and now lives in Norwich with her husband David.

Cressy’s favourite things – other than writing – include terrifying ghost stories, lava lamps and romantic heroes, though not necessarily at the same time. (Though perhaps a good starting point for a story . . ?)

When she isn’t writing, Cressy spends her spare time reading, returning to London or exploring the beautiful and romantic Norfolk coastline.

Connect with Cressida:

Website: https://cressidamclaughlin.com

Facebook: Cressida McLaughlin

Twitter: @CressMcLaughlin

Instagram: @cressmclaughlin