Costa Del Churros by Isabella May #BlogTour #BookReview #Giveaway (@IsabellaMayBks) @crookedcatbooks @RaRaResources #CostaDelChurros #RachelsRandomResources #FictionCafeWriters

Costa Del Churros

Another blog tour today (not mega-relevant as this book was published yesterday but can anyone tell me why so many books are being published today, there seem to be dozens!) and this one is for Costa del Churros by my fellow Fiction Cafe Writer, Isabella May, so I am delighted to be taking part. My thanks to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for my place on the tour and to the author and publisher for my copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly and impartially. There is also a fabulous giveaway after the review so make sure you enter that.

Costa Del Churros Cover

“The rain in Spain doesn’t mainly fall on the plain…

Brits abroad Belinda, Julia, Laura and Georgina need more than the sweetness of churros with chocolate dipping sauce to save them from their unsavoury states of affairs.

Cue Carmen Maria Abril de la Fuente Ferrera, the town’s flamboyant flamenco teacher! But can she really be the answer to their prayers? 

One thing’s for sure: the Costa del Sol will never be the same again.”

Anyone who doesn’t really, really want a sugar-coated churro and some chocolate sauce to dip it in after seeing that book cover? No, didn’t think so, it must be the tastiest looking book cover I’ve ever seen.

This is the story of four very different women who become unlikely friends when they are drawn together in a flamenco class run by the enigmatic Carmen on the Costa del Sol and it could not get more Spanish if it tried. Isabella really brought the whole feel of the location alive and the fish-out-of-water feeling of the non-Spaniards who have made it their home.

To begin with, I found it hard to warm to a couple of the characters, as they are all very different to me but as the book progresses they all grew on me, much as they grew on each other as they learn things about themselves over the course of the novel and the flamenco classes. Isabella’s writing style is very chatty and easy to read and the characters all too believable, even in their more extreme moments so it is easy to get carried along by their stories. There are a number of very astute observations in the book, it cuts close to the bone in places and might make you wince with its accuracy, and it is also quite funny, so plenty to keep the reader entertained.

Having read Isabella’s previous two books, I felt like she has really got in to her writing stride in this one and it was the most comfortable and convincing for me. I think it really grasps the nature of female friendship and the kind of dilemmas that women are faced with, at the same time as having that touch of the exotic (for those of us who aren’t living the ex-pat lifestyle anyway) that takes us away from our every day lives. A really good read for anyone looking for an escapist read now that the nights are drawing in and we are all missing the hot summer days.

Now, where are my churros, please?

Costa del Churros is out now and you can get your copy here.

Giveaway

Giveaway Prize - The Cocktail Bar

Isabella is giving away a signed copy of her book The Cocktail  Bar. To be in with a chance to win, just click the Rafflecopter link below:

Rafflecopter

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

To follow the rest of the tour, checkout the blogs below on the relevant date:

Costa del Churros Full Tour Banner

About the Author

Author Pic

Isabella May lives in (mostly) sunny Andalucia, Spain with her husband, daughter and son, creatively inspired by the sea and the mountains. When she isn’t having her cake and eating it, sampling a new cocktail on the beach, or ferrying her children to and from after school activities, she can usually be found writing. As a co-founder and a former contributing writer for the popular online women’s magazine, The Glass House Girls – www.theglasshousegirls.com – she has also been lucky enough to subject the digital world to her other favourite pastimes, travel, the Law of Attraction, and Prince (The Purple One). She has recently become a Book Fairy, and is having lots of fun with her imaginative ‘drops’! Costa del Churros is her third novel with Crooked Cat Books, following on from the hit sensations, Oh! What a Pavlova and The Cocktail Bar. 

Connect with Isabella:

Website: https://isabellamayauthor.com

Facebook: Isabella May Author

Twitter: @IsabellaMayBks

Instagram: @isabella_may_author

Josie James and the Teardrops of Summer by Lily Mae Walters #BookReview #BlogTour (@LilyMaeWalters1) @RaRaResources #Giveaway #JosieJames

Josie James and the Teardrops of Summer Blog Tour

Taking my turn on the blog tour today for Josie James and the Teardrops of Summer by Lily Mae Walters (the pen name of my fellow Fiction Cafe Writer, Florence Keeling). My thanks to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for my place on the tour and to Lily Mae/Florence for my copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly. Make sure you check out the giveaway after the review for a chance to win a signed copy of the book.

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“Josie James is an ordinary 13 year old until something extraordinary happens during her summer holidays.

Whist staying at her Great Grandmother’s cottage in the country she finds herself swept into the cursed world of Suncroft where it is perpetual winter.

Her new friends believe she could be the Chosen One who it is foretold will lift the curse, but there are more pressing matters.

The Teardrops of Summer – magical crystals that render the owner immortal – have been stolen.  Along with her telepathic husky-dog Protector Asher and her new friends, Josie must race to find the Teardrops and prevent catastrophe for their world.”

This is a really enchanting fantasy read aimed at the middle grade reader which is the start of a series I am really looking forward to.

The main character, Josie James, has no idea she is special until the summer she is thirteen when she visits her great grandmother and everything changes. She is taken to a new hidden world full of magic and talking dogs where she may be the ‘chosen one’ foretold in a prophecy. The plot will draw a child in in the best traditions of the Narnia books or Alice in Wonderland. What child can resist a hidden magical world?

There is plenty of action and magic and intrigue to keep a child wanting to read to the end, and is left well balanced at the end of one mystery but with more to discover in the next story, so to hook the child in to the series. Josie is a really appealing lead character, strong, resourceful, curious, slightly rebellious, slightly insecure – I am sure a lot of children will relate and wish they could have the same kind of adventures. Making a central characters that children want to be is the main part of the battle in drawing the young reader in.

I think the author did a great job in setting up a world that children will find intriguing and magical. The book took a little while to get going while the story was set up in the first half, but the second half was action-packed and I am sure the following books in the series will not have the same slowish start as the stage is already set. I did also think that some of the writing near the beginning was a little simplistic and pitched the book at the lower end of the middle grade age range or at the reluctant reader – my ten-year-old is a more sophisticated reader than some of the language in this book is aimed at, but that is not necessarily a draw back. I think she would still enjoy the story and I will share it with her and get her reaction.

I was really drawn in to the world and the story created in the book and look forward with pleasant anticipation to the second book in the series. I would definitely recommend this book to children of ages 7-10, boys and girls, especially those who like a slightly less demanding and gentler paced read to encourage them.

Josie James and the Teardrops of Summer is out now and you can get your copy here.

Giveaway

To be in with a chance of winning a signed copy of Josie James and the Teardrops of Summer, enter via the Rafflecopter link below.

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494132/

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Make sure you check out the stops on the rest of the tour on the blogs listed below:

Josie James and the Teardrops of Summer Full Tour Banner

About the Author

Lily Mae Walters chose her pen name in honour of her beloved grandparents who also stare in the Josie James series.

She is married with two teenage children, and two huskies that are the inspiration behind Murphy and Asher in the books.

Lily Mae lives in Nuneaton, England and finds herself using local  places and even her old school in her stories.

Family and friends mean the world to Lily Mae and many will find themselves popping up throughout the series.

Lily Mae also writes for adults under the name of Florence Keeling.

Connect with Josie:

Facebook: Josie James

Twitter: @LilyMaeWalters1

Instagram: @lilymaewalters

I Give You My Heart by Sarahjane Ford #BookReview #BlogTour (@sjfordauthor) @RaRaResources #Giveaway #IGiveYouMyHeart

I Give You My Heart

I’m delighted to be taking my turn on the blog tour today for I Give You My Heart by Sarahjane Ford, a really emotional read. My thanks to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for my place on the tour and the author for my copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly and impartially. Make sure you enter the giveaway below the review.

I Give You My Heart Cover

“𝗔 𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗺𝗶𝗻𝗮𝗹 𝗱𝗶𝗮𝗴𝗻𝗼𝘀𝗶𝘀. 𝗔 𝗹𝗶𝗳𝗲-𝘀𝗮𝘃𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘀𝗮𝗰𝗿𝗶𝗳𝗶𝗰𝗲. 𝗔 𝗹𝗼𝘃𝗲 𝗹𝗲𝘁𝘁𝗲𝗿 𝘄𝗿𝗶𝘁𝘁𝗲𝗻 𝗼𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘄𝗮𝗹𝗹𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗵𝗲𝗮𝗿𝘁.

Alice Richards looked forward to watching the seeds of love she and her husband planted bloom and grow well into their old age. But her plans for the future shrivel up and die when she learns she has an inoperable brain tumour.

Determined that she won’t die in vain, she decides to become an organ donor. With a few precious months left, Alice begins documenting her fairytale romance—from their first meeting to the children they dreamed of having. She’ll pass on every detail to her heart’s next owner… along with careful instructions to send her husband reminders of her undying love. Before her time runs out, Alice must find the perfect candidate to guide her husband through unimaginable grief and hold the memory of their love in her heart.

I Give You My Heart is an emotional romantic fiction novel with an uplifting message. If you like strong-willed women, undying love stories, and honest portrayals of coping with a terminal illness, then you’ll love SarahJane Ford’s heart-warming epic.

An unmissable love story full of warmth, beauty and with a huge, beating heart. Perfect for fans of Cecilia Ahern’s ‘P.S. I Love You’ and Jojo Moyes’ ‘Me Before You’.”

This is a really tough book to review because there are some things I loved about it and some things I didn’t like so much.

This book was never going to be an easy read, dealing as it does with terminal illness and organ donation so, before you pick it up, be prepared for an emotional rollercoaster and get the tissues to hand. Regardless of any flaws I might have found in the book, it is definitely heart breaking and you would need to have a heart of stone not to be affected by it. It might be too much for people with a sensitivity to the topics covered to deal with because it delves fully into the topics and does not skirt the tough issues faced by people in these situations.

One of the main premises of the book is the subject of Cellular Memory and whether organs passed on from donor to recipient carry part of the donor’s personality or spirit with them into the new body. This is quite a controversial subject for some people and can raise strong opinions and reactions on both sides. If you are deeply opposed to this theory, this book will definitely trigger you and, if you are skeptical, you will need to be prepared to suspend your misgivings in order for the plot to carry you with it fully. This may be where I had my first issue with the book; to be frank, it is not an idea I can get my head around at all, although it is an interesting theory to contemplate and discuss.

Th writing in this book is beautiful. This is its biggest strength. I absolutely loved the author’s voice and she is extremely skilled in painting a beautiful scene and drawing out the emotion of the plot. The part I enjoyed most about the book was the writing, language and imagery and I really believe the author is very gifted writer. I think the book is well plotted  and I really enjoyed the mechanism of Alice writing the ‘Manual’ as a way of telling the story of her and Alex’s relationship, it worked very well and was very moving. The book definitely sucked me in and had me in tears in places so I was invested…but

I hate to have to put in a but because I really, really wanted to love this book unconditionally. PS. I Love You and My Sister’s Keeper and The Time Traveller’s Wife are some of my favourite books so I am not remotely put off by books with difficult subject matters or that make me cry. That aspect was not the issue here, and my reservations about the Cellular Memory subject were also not the reason I could not completely give my heart to this book. I had a two major issues with the book that spoilt it for me a little. Firstly, the characters were just too perfect. All of them. There was nary a negative character trait nor a cross word amongst them and, for me, this just made them unrealistic and I could not get fully engaged. People and relationships are just not that perfect in real life. Alice, in particular, came across as saintly and, since I’ve never met anyone that good, she just did not come to life completely for me which is a problem with the central character for a book.

The other problem was Alice’s reaction to her diagnosis. Again, it did not feel authentic. I don’t want to give too much away, but she settled on her course of action in response to hearing her illness was terminal too quickly without any disbelief, rage or despair, I just could not see that as a natural reaction to what she was told at the age of 26. Following on from this is the Manual. Would she really have wanted Two to do what she asked her? For her to relive those moments with Alex, given how Alice felt about him? This comes back to her saintliness again, I suppose. I just didn’t believe it, I’m afraid. I realise that this is not likely to be a popular opinion and maybe the failure is mine in being old and cynical and being unable to suspend my disbelief enough to invest in the story without these niggling thoughts, but I couldn’t. My reactions are very likely coloured by certain experiences I have had in my own life, but isn’t that true of all of us and every book we read? We all come to a novel with our own slant on the world.

I really think this is a book everyone should read. It is a beautiful story for sure. It is well-written and plotted and covers some very emotive and relevant topics. Everyone will have a different reaction to it and most of the reviews I have read so far seem to be wholly positive so I think my issues may be peculiar to me. You need to read the book and make up your own minds, it may end up being your favourite book of the year.

I Give You My Heart is out now and you can purchase a copy here.

Giveaway

If you would like the chance to win a signed hardback copy of the book with a personalised message, click the Rafflecopter link below:

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494128/?

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

To get a different perspective on the book, make sure you check out the rest of the blogs on the tour:

I Give You My Heart Full Banner

About the Author

author-photo-1

SarahJane is the debut author of ‘I Give You My Heart’ which is due to be published on September 1st 2018.

SarahJane was born in Scotland but grew up in the Cheshire countryside, which is home to her. After a few years living in Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire, where she went to secondary school, she has now settled back in Cheshire in a quirky flat surrounded by trees, birds and rolling fields.

A marketing professional since finishing her formal education SarahJane is delighted to be following her writing dream. She still works part-time as a Marketing Manager, whilst furiously penning her second novel.

Harbouring an adventurous spirit, SarahJane loves to travel, be surrounded by the wilderness or be riding Cornish waves.

SarahJane loves to read (ideally by the sea!). She was raised on the greatest love stories, which is where her romantic soul comes from. She is in love with love…Mr Darcy’s brooding looks in Pride and Prejudice; Julia Roberts and Richard Gere’s arresting chemistry in Runaway Bride; the intensely emotional Titanic; going weak at the knees for Danny Zuko in Grease; Cecilia Ahern’s heartbreaking P.S. I Love You and Patrick Swayze’s mega moves in Dirty Dancing.

Connect with Sarahjane:

Website: https://www.sarahjaneford.co.uk

Facebook: Sarahjane Ford Author

Twitter: @sjfordauthor

Evie’s Little Black Book by Hannah Pearl # BookReview #BlogTour (@HannahPearl_1) @RubyFiction @ChocLituk @RaRaResources #Giveaway #EviesLittleBlackBook #NetGalley

Evies Little Black Book

I’m wrapping up the blog tour today for Evie’s Little Black Book by my fellow RNA member, Hannah Pearl. My thanks to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for my place on the tour and to NetGalley and the publisher for my copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly and impartially. There is a fabulous giveaway a the bottom of the post so make sure you scroll down to enter once you’ve read the review.

9781912550067

“Is hunting down every man you’ve kissed the answer to finding Mr Right?

When Evie is invited to the wedding of the guy she’d fancied throughout her teens, it’s the final straw. What’s wrong with her and why can’t she keep a man? 

In between consoling herself with ice cream and chocolate, and sobbing her heart out to her cousin Chamaine, Evie has a brainwave – and it all centres around her ‘little black book’ (well, more floral patterned notebook really) – which contains the details of every man she’s ever kissed or dated. Perhaps the cure for her disastrous love life has been nestled within its pages all along … 

Does Evie’s little black book really hold the answers, or will she learn that exes are exes for a reason?”

We all have that one, don’t we? That one past ‘love’ that we always wonder about. The one that might have been The One if only things had been different – timing, circumstance – we’ll always wonder that little bit, ‘what if?’ That is until we find the actual One when we realise the other one was never The One at all.

So that probably doesn’t make any sense but I know what I’m trying to say and, for this reason, the basic premise of this book was something I could relate to. The central character, Evie, receives an invitation to the wedding of the boy she thought once might have been The One, except the circumstances meant she never got to find out. She’s not in a great position romantically, so the invitation sets her on a road of introspection that leads her to looking up all her past boyfriends – as listed in the Little Black Book of the title – to try and see where she has been going wrong in her relationships.

This book took me on my own journey of introspection. I remember very clearly the first time I kissed my ‘the one who turned out not to be The One after all’, whom I was mad about at the time. I rushed home and wrote about it ecstatically in my diary which, at the time, was a notebook I had covered and stuck a picture of Tom Cruise as Maverick in Top Gun on the front of (some historical context for you there) and hidden under my mattress. This book took me on a pleasant trip down memory lane to revisit my teenage self, who was not that different from Evie in this book.

This book is a really light, pleasant read with a fun premise at the centre that might lead you on some interesting reminiscences of your own. Can you imagine looking up and revisiting all of your old boyfriends? That would fill a lot of people with horror, but I think there is a fascinating idea that we can learn something from our past relationships to stop us making the same mistakes again at the centre of this book.

The characters in the book are really likeable and easy to relate to, they are presented very humanly and realistically. I’m not sure how easy it would actually be to track down people after such a huge period of time but, although it seems quite straight forward in the book, the way it is written makes it seem totally credible. Hannah’s writing style is very warm and friendly and easy to read and I romped through the book very easily, looking forward to the end.

There turns out to be an issue addressed in the book that is currently a very popular topic in women’s fiction. I don’t want to say more because it will spoil the plot but it is handled very lightly here, in a good way. All in all, this is a really confident and enjoyable debut and i would highly recommend it to fans of the genre.

Evie’s Little Black Book is out now and you can get your copy here.

Giveaway

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To win one of two sets of floral notebook, pen, book locket necklace and chocolate, click the Rafflecopter link below:

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494124/

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

If you would like to read some more reviews of the book, check out the previous stops on the tour below:

Evies Little Black book Full tour banner

About the Author

han 4

Hannah Pearl was born in East London. She is married with two children and now lives in Cambridge.

She has previously worked as a Criminology researcher at a university in Leicester, as a Development Worker with various charities and even pulled a few pints in her time.

In 2015 she was struck down by Labrynthitis, which left her feeling dizzy and virtually housebound. She has since been diagnosed with ME. Reading has allowed Hannah to escape from the reality of feeling ill. She read upwards of three hundred books during the first year of her illness. When her burgeoning ereader addiction grew to be too expensive, she decided to have a go at writing. In 2017 she won Simon and Schuster’s Books and the City #heatseeker short story competition, in partnership with Heat magazine, for her short story The Last Good Day.

Hannah is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association. 

Connect with Hannah:

Website: https://dizzygirlwrites.wordpress.com

Facebook: Hannah Pearl Writer

Twitter: @HannahPearl_1

Goodreads: Hannah Pearl

Calamity in Camberwell by Alice Castle #BookReview #BlogTour (@DDsDiary) @crookedcatbooks @RaRaResources #Giveaway #LondonMurderMysteries #cozycrime

Calamity in Camberwell

It’s my turn on the blog tour for Book 3 in The London Murder Mysteries Series by Alice Castle which is called Calamity in Camberwell. My thanks to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’S Random Resources for the opportunity. make sure you scroll down to enter the giveaway for a signed copy of the book.

Calamity in Camberwell

“Beth Haldane, SE21’s answer to Miss Marple, worries she is losing a kindred spirit when her friend Jen, the only other single mum in the playground, suddenly gets married and moves to Camberwell. 

Soon Beth has to face much more pressing fears. Has something gone horribly wrong with Jen’s marriage? What is her husband really up to? Why is her daughter leading Beth’s son astray? And where on earth IS Jen anyway? 

As Beth’s friends push her to start dating again, Beth turns to Met Police DI Harry York for help. But will they solve the mystery in time, or will it turn out that in south east London, not everyone gets to live happily ever after?”

My second review of the day is another crime novel but is a total contrast to the first one, so hopefully all crime fans will find something they will enjoy in today’s reviews. This book would be categorised as ‘cosy crime’ with a much more gentle and light-hearted approach than the grittiness of the first book and would appeal to fans of Miss Marple, Agatha Raisin and Midsomer Murders.

This is Book 3 in The London Murder Mysteries series but the first one I have read. It works well as a standalone but I think I would have got even more out of it had I read the first two and be more familiar with the  build up of Beth’s character and her back story. I also got the feeling that there were some spoilers in here for Book 2 The Girl in the Gallery so it would probably be better to read them in order. I definitely intend to go back and read the first two in the series.

The central character in the book, Beth, is just an ordinary woman. Widow and mum, I found her a novel choice for a sleuth and the whole aspect of her trying to juggle parenthood and singled with crime solving leant a new and interesting twist to a crowded genre and it really held my interest. On the flip side of this, there was more emphasis in this book on Beth’s personal life outside of the crime investigation than you would usually find in a book of this type. Whether that is a positive or negative will be down to reader preference. I personally enjoyed it and Beth’s forays back into the world of dating and her single mum angst about this was funny and very relatable to me as a single mum myself.

On the crime front, this was a compelling mystery that explored one of the taboo subjects of today, domestic abuse. I guess this could trigger some people with sensitivities in this area so bear this in mind when picking it up but the issue is handled very adroitly. The book starts with a slow burn as we see Beth become suspicious of her friend Jen’s new marriage and we see the contrast between the public facade of a relationship and what can happen behind closed doors. We are then drawn into the mystery of where this leads and held through the twists and turns of the book. There were lots of clues and red herrings scattered throughout the book and I truly did not see where this was going to end up, so it was very successful from this perspective for me.

The relationship between Beth and DI Harry York is joyful. I really warmed to him and would love to see how this develops. The focus on romance in this book may be off-putting for people who are not interested in this topic and just want a focus on the crime but I think it was a nice balance and I really like to see the human side of sleuths and police, it makes the story more honest, no matter how ludicrous the storyline, which these are if you really think about it. After all, how many murders do the yummy mummies of affluent south London really stumble across? But suspend your disbelief and you will find yourself drawn in by the charm and intriguing plot of the book.

I really enjoyed this book, it was a nice, light, easy crime story which was a beautiful contrast to the darkness of my previous read. This author is a talent I will watch out for and I look forward to going back and reading the previous two books, as well as whatever comes next. Fans of cosy crime would do well to pick up the books by this author, they definitely won’t disappoint.

Calamity in Camberwell is out now and you can buy a copy here. If you would like to catch up on the first two books in The London Murder Mysteries series, they are Death in Dulwich and The Girl in the Gallery.

Giveaway

To win a signed copy of Calamity in Camberwell, please click on the Rafflecopter link below:

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494117/

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

If you would like to follow the blog tour, the details are below:

Calamity in Camberwell Full Tour Banner

About the Author

author pic

Before turning to crime, Alice Castle was a UK newspaper journalist for The Daily Express, The Times and The Daily Telegraph. Her first book, Hot Chocolate, set in Brussels and London, was a European hit and sold out in two weeks. 

Death in Dulwich was published in September 2017 and has been a number one best-seller in the UK, US, Canada, France, Spain and Germany. A sequel, The Girl in the Gallery was published in December 2017 to critical acclaim. Calamity in Camberwell, the third book in the London Murder Mystery series, will be published this summer, with Homicide in Herne Hill due to follow in early 2019.  Alice is currently working on the fifth London Murder Mystery adventure. Once again, it will feature Beth Haldane and DI Harry York.

Connect with Alice:

Website: https://alicecastleauthor.com

Facebook: Alice Castle Author

Twitter: @DDsDiary

Goodreads: Alice Castle

The Little Cornish Kitchen by Jane Linfoot #BlogTour #BookReview (@JaneLinfoot) @HarperImpulse @RaRaResources #Giveaway #TheLittleCornishKitchen #NetGalley

The Little Cornish Kitchen

Hurrah! It’s finally my turn on the blog tour for The Little Cornish Kitchen by one of my favourite authors and fellow RNA member, Jane Linfoot. I was so excited to be invited on to the blog tour for this gorgeous looking summer book so my thanks to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel Random’s Resources for the opportunity. There is a fabulous giveaway further down the post to enter to win unicorns – yes, really! – so make sure you scroll down to that.

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“It’s time to come home to Cornwall

With an exciting new life in Paris, Clemmie Hamilton isn’t looking forward to heading home to the picturesque but sleepy village of St Aidan, Cornwall. However, when she discovers that the cosy apartment by the sea, which her grandmother left to her, is under threat from neighbour and property developer, Charlie Hobson, Clemmie realises she can’t abandon her home in its time of need.

With her childhood friends encouraging her, Clemmie decides to turn the apartment into ‘The Little Cornish Kitchen’ – a boutique pop up pudding club raising money for the repairs to the building in an effort to stop Charlie once and for all. But when Charlie and his easy charm won’t seem to go away, everything soon becomes even messier than the state of Clemmie’s Cornish kitchen…”

I just love the cover of this book, it looks like the perfect summery beach read and anyone who picks up this book because of the cover will not be disappointed by the contents, which are equally sweet and sunny.

I am a huge fan of Jane’s Little Wedding Shop books and anyone who has read those will be delighted to find themselves back in the quaint Cornish seaside town of St. Aidan. More delighted than Clemmie, who comes back to St. Aidan reluctantly to sort out a legacy from her grandmother as quickly as she can so she can return to her nomadic, rootless lifestyle that currently has her working as a PA in Paris. Unfortunately for Clemmie, things do not go as smoothly as planned and she finds herself drawn back into a life in St. Aidan in a way she had never envisaged.

Clemmie is the perfect heroine to carry the book. She is very likeable, being warm and friendly but also hapless and disorganised in a way that makes her very human, and with enough hang ups and baggage from her past that prevents her settling down in one place and with one man to make an interesting plot for a book of this sort. However, before you start to think ‘same old, same old’, let me tell you that this book has a really interesting twist on the laboured, seaside cafe trope as well as having a real charm that elevates it above the herd for me, and that is down to the beauty of the writing.

The setting of Cornwall is not new but Jane manages to imbue this book with a real feeling of community and warmth that brings the setting alive. Her descriptions of the views and the beach and the Surf Shack took me right back to the very happy trips I have taken to Newquay, right down to the smells and sounds of the coast that made me fall in love with the place, and I was suddenly desperate to get back there. The enchantment of Laura’s flat in Seaspray Cottage played a huge part in this and I think the author did a great job of portraying the setting and how it reflected Laura’s personality; I could really see it in my mind’s eye.

The idea of using a pop up restaurant as the theme to put a spin on the oft-used setting of a cafe was inspired and gave scope for some great, humourous set pieces as Clemmie tries to cram a lot of people into her tiny flat without letting the neighbour know what she is doing. Throw in a cat, a large dog and a wobbly balcony and you are all set for some laugh out loud moments.

The real heart of this book, through, is the characters and they are all superbly drawn and appealing as well as being interesting and believable. I loved all of Clemmie’s friends and felt real affection for the little group of ‘mermaids’ (especially Sophie who, I am afraid to say really reminded me of … me!). I felt they were a good representation of what female friendship can be and they brought the book to life and in to my heart. The male characters are also well drawn but it is the women that make this book what it is, a very bewitching, warm and feel good summer read. I highly recommend it.

The Little Cornish Kitchen is out now and you can buy a copy here.

Giveaway

Giveaway Prize

To win a signed copy of The Little Cornish Kitchen, Mermaid Notebook and Sugar Unicorns, please click on the Rafflecopter link below:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494114/?

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

To follow the rest of the blog tour for this lovely book, see the dates below:

The Little Cornish Kitchen Full Tour Banner

About the Author

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Jane Linfoot is a best selling author, who lives in a muddy cottage, up a steep hill in Derbyshire, with her family, their pets, and an astonishing number of spiders. Although she loves seeing cow noses over the garden wall, she’s happy she can walk to a supermarket. 

Jane grew up in North Yorkshire where she spent a lot of her childhood avoiding horizontal gales blowing off the sea, and wrote her first book by accident, while working as an architect, and renovating country houses. While she loves to write feelgood books that let readers escape, she’s always surprised to hear her stories make people laugh, admits to (occasionally) crying as she writes, and credits her characters for creating their own story lines. 

Jane’s garden would be less brambly if she wasn’t on Facebook and Twitter so often. On days when she wants to be really scared, she rides a tandem.

Her latest books include a series of stand alone novels, based around a seaside wedding shop in Cornwall. Cupcakes and Confetti – The Little Wedding Shop by the Sea, Sequins and Snowflakes – Christmas at the Little Wedding Shop, and Bunting and Bouquets – Summer at the Little Wedding Shop, and most recently, The Little Cornish Kitchen. These are all published by Harper Impulse,  an imprint of Harper Collins.

Connect with Jane:

Facebook: Jane Linfoot

Twitter: @janelinfoot

Instagram: @janelinfoot

Pinterest: @janelinfoot

The Second Cup by Sarah Marie Graye #BlogTour #BlogBlitz #BookReview (@SarahMarieGraye) @RaRaResources #Giveaway #TheSecondCup #FictionCafeWriters #TheButterflyEffect

The Second Cup Blitz Banner

Delighted to be reviewing The Second Cup by Sarah Marie Graye, my fellow Fiction Cafe Writer, on the blog today as part of it’s first anniversary blog blitz. My thanks to Rachel Gilbey from Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part. Please make sure you scroll down and enter the giveaway to win one of three copies of the book, signed by the author, below.

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“Would your life unravel if someone you knew committed suicide? Theirs did. 

Faye knows her heart still belongs to her first love, Jack. She also knows he might have moved on, but when she decides to track him down, nothing prepares her for the news that he’s taken his own life.

Faye is left wondering how to move forward – and whether or not Jack’s best friend Ethan will let her down again. And the news of Jack’s death ripples through the lives of her friends too. 

Abbie finds herself questioning her marriage, and wondering if she was right to leave her first love behind. Poor Olivia is juggling her job and her boyfriend and trying to deal with a death of her own. And Jack’s death has hit Beth the hardest, even though she never knew him. 

Is Beth about to take her own life too?”

Oh, this is such a difficult book to review because there were bits about it I loved and bits about it I didn’t like and I think it will appeal to some readers and not others so I think I’ll just tell you what I did and didn’t like and why and you can make up your own minds about whether or not this is for you.

This is the story of four friends, Faye, Beth, Abbie and Olivia who are all at complicated junctures in their lives with different problems and difficult decisions to make and they are all affected and incited differently by hearing about the suicide of Jack, Faye’s old boyfriend, even though some of them never even knew him, aside from through Faye talking about him.

I really loved the voices and characters of these four women, they were all very different and distinct and extremely well drawn and detailed. They are very complex women and I think the author has done an amazing job of creating these characters and getting authentically inside their heads in a way that makes us understand them.

That being said, the first stumbling blocks of this book and the most major one for me was the narrative construct of the book. It is told in alternating chapters between the four women which would have been fine, but then each different woman’s story was told in a mixture of third person and first person. I have never seen a book done this way before, although I read a lot, and I think there is good reason for this because I found it extremely confusing and very jarring to read. The constant hopping between characters and viewpoints took far too much concentration and broke up the flow of reading for me to the point that it almost killed the book for me, although I guess it may not be quite so much of a negative for other people. Maybe it is personal taste.

Just while we are on the negatives, there are large parts of this book where there is far too much exposition, with the characters explaining what they are doing, thinking and feeling rather than showing us and it can get a little tedious and make the book a bit draggy in places. This is something I think that is naturally improved on with time and work and experience.

These points aside, I actually loved the authors writing in all other ways. She has the most fabulous turn of phrase and included a lot of really beautiful imagery that had me highlighting phrases and paragraphs in my Kindle so that I could go back and enjoy them again later. I really think she has a lot of skill, and I am excited to see what she does next. You can tell this is a debut by a fairly young and inexperienced author with a lot of potential and there is much to be hopeful about for the next book.

The Second Cup is out now and available here.

Giveaway

To enter the competition to win one of three signed copies of The Second Cup, please click on the Rafflecopter link below:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494107/

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

You can find the details of the rest of the bloggers taking part in the blitz below:

The Second Cup Full Blog Blitz Banner

About the Author

The Second Cup SarahMarieGraye-Headshot

Sarah Marie Graye was born in Manchester in 1975, to English Catholic parents. To the outside world Sarah Marie’s childhood followed a relatively typical Manchester upbringing, until aged nine, when she was diagnosed with depression. 

It’s a diagnosis that has stayed with Sarah Marie over three decades, and something she believes has coloured every life decision, including the one to write a novel. 

Sarah Marie wrote The Second Cup as part of an MA Creative Writing practice as research degree at London South Bank University – where she was the vice-chancellor’s scholarship holder. 

Sarah Marie was diagnosed with ADHD in November 2017 and published an extended edition of The Second Cup in February 2018 that included character interviews so she could diagnose one of her characters with the same condition.

Connect with Sarah:

Website: https://sarahmariegraye.com

Facebook: Sarah Marie Graye

Twitter: @SarahMarieGraye

Instagram: @sarahmariegraye

Goodreads: Sarah Marie Graye