Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Summer Sundaes


Series: The Boardwalk by the Sea, Book 1
Author name: Georgina Troy
Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Romance
Release Date: 15 July 2017
Publisher: Green Shutter Books
Wipe off your flip flops, it’s going to be a bumpy ride...
When Sacha Collins, cafe owner and sundae-maker extraordinaire, meets Italian archaeologist, Alessandro Salvatore in Rome, she's grateful to him for being her tour guide. Now he’s turned up in the seaside village where she lives, known locally as, The Boardwalk by the Sea and is setting up a gelateria in direct competition to her retro Summer Sundaes Café.
She's only been running her café for two years since taking over from her father. Until now the only other shops on the boardwalk have been a wool shop, an antique shop and a second-hand book shop. These have helped rather than hindered her custom. How will her creative sundaes made from fresh Jersey ice cream compete with his delicious Italian gelato?
Sacha is worried. Is there enough custom for both businesses to thrive? Who is behind the strange changes being made on the boardwalk? And when the oldest resident on the boardwalk is threatened with eviction can Sacha and Alessandro come together and find a way of helping her?
For a peaceful little boardwalk overlooking one of the quieter beaches on the island, there's an awful lot going on and some of it is going to lead to big changes.

About Georgina Troy

Georgina Troy is the pseudonym of author Deborah Carr. Her first book, A Jersey Kiss was a finalist in the Contemporary Romance Category of the Romantic Novel of the Year Awards 2016 (RoNAs) and finalist in the Joan Hessayon Award for New Writers 2015.

Her WW1 historical romance, Broken Faces, written in her own name, Deborah Carr, was runner-up in the Good Housekeeping Novel Writing Competition 2012. She lives on the island of Jersey with her husband, two children and three rescue dogs. Her books are published by Accent Press and Green Shutter Books. Georgina is a member of The Blonde Plotters.

Georgina’s new series, The Boardwalk by the Sea, includes four standalone novels about friends, Sacha, Bella, Lexi and Jools. Each book is set in a different season. The girls live on or near a small seaside village known locally as The Boardwalk by the Sea and all of them make an appearance in the books throughout the series but each book will focus on one of the friends.

Summer Sundaes (book 1)
Autumn Antics (book 2) - due Spring 2018


A character in Autumn Antics (book 2) named after someone the winner nominates, i.e themself/family member.

My Review

As usual Georgina Troy excels in transporting the reader to the sunny climes of Jersey. I loved the Italian influence in this book, in the name of Alessandro. Summer Sundaes sounds like a wonderful series and if the rest are anything like the first book, then the reader is in for an absolute treat. I am looking forward to finding out more about Sacha's friends who appear briefly in this book. There are some wonderful minor characters too. To sum up, stunning location, handsome hero and obstacles to thwart the path of true love. Great summer read.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

The keeping of secrets


The keeper of family secrets, Patricia Roberts grows up isolated and lonely. Trust no one and you won't be disappointed is her motto. Three men fall in love with her and she learns to trust, only to find that their agendas are not her own. With secrets concealed from her by the ultimate love of her life, and with her own secret to keep, duplicity and deceit threaten their relationship. In a coming of age story set against the sweeping backdrop of the Second World War - evacuation, the Battle of Britain, the Blitz, buzz bombs and secret war work - Patricia ultimately has to decide whether to reveal her deepest held secret for the sake of her future happiness.

About the author: Born and raised in the Home Counties, Alice Graysharp has enjoyed a varied working life from hospitality to office work and retail. She currently lives in Surrey. This is her first novel, and the first title in a two book series, she is also already working on a seventeenth century trilogy. Published in the anniversary month of the outbreak of the Second World War and the Battle of Britain

My Review

I liked the premise of this book and it didn't disappoint. Set against the background of the Second World War, it is intricately researched. I was intrigued by Patricia's secret and the thought the ending was excellent. If you enjoy historical romance then this book is for you as with three suitors, Patricia has to find her own path. I particularly enjoy books where the female protagonist is strong and doesn't always conform to type nor the expectations of the time. Patricia knows her own mind but will the past ruin her future? You'll have to read it to find out. This book felt authentic to the period and was a pleasure to read.


Sunday, 13 August 2017

The Shogun's Queen

“No-one writes about Japan with more mastery of historical and cultural detail than Lesley Downer” Katie Hickman, author of Courtesan
The Shogun’s Queen by Lesley Downer
Published by Bantam Press | Hardback & eBook Thursday 3rd November 2016 | £16.99
“Completely absorbing...”
Lian Hearn, author of Tales of the Otori From one of the finest chroniclers of Japan, its history, society and culture, comes this gripping and
richly detailed historical novel, telling the true story of Princess Atsu and her struggle to save Japan.
Japan, 1853. Growing up among the samurai of the Satsuma clan, in Japan’s deep south, the fiery, beautiful and
headstrong Okatsu has been encouraged to be bold, taught to wield the halberd and to ride a horse.
But when she is just seventeen, four black ships appear. Bristling with cannon and manned by strangers who to the Japanese eyes are barbarians, their appearance threatens Japan’s very existence, turning Okatsu’s world upside down.
Chosen by her feudal lord, she has been given a very special role to play. Given a new name - Princess Atsu - and a new destiny, she is the only one who can save the realm. Her journey to takes her to Edo Palace, a place so secret it cannot be marked on any map. There she seems doomed to live out her days - sequestered in the Women’s Palace, home to three thousand women and where only one man, the shogun, may enter.
But beneath the palace’s immaculate facade, there are whispers of murders and ghosts. It is here that Atsu must complete her mission and discover one last secret: the secret of the man whose fate is irrevocably linked to hers...the shogun himself.

Lesley Downer’s mother was Chinese and her father a professor of Chinese, so she grew up in a house full of books on Asia. But it was Japan, not China, that proved the more alluring and Lesley lived there for some fifteen years. She lives in London with her husband, the author Arthur I. Miller, and travels to Japan yearly.
She has written many books about Japan and its culture, including Geisha: The Secret History of the Vanishing World and the gripping Shogun Quartet; The Last Concubine, The Courtesan and the Samurai and The Samurai’s Daughter. The Shogun’s Queen is the first book in the series.

For further information, please contact Hannah Bright HBright@penguinrandomhouse.co.uk | 020 8231 6743 | @hannahlbright29 

My Review

I first became interested in the Far East, particularly China, Japan and Thailand when in my early twenties. There have been a few books detailing various periods in Japan's history but this book by Lesley Downer, although fiction, paints such a detailed picture of life in the women's palace in the mid 1800s that you feel a sense of loss when you realise you have finished the book. Fortunately, The Shogun's Queen is the first in a series of four so I am hoping to get more of my Japanese fix in the near future. Having lived in Japan for fifteen years, Lesley's love for the country and her attention to detail is evident in every page. I loved the character of princess Atsu and the Shogun, who wasn't at all what I expected. The ending, with a look to what might have been is incredibly poignant but I won't say any more for fear of spoiling it. What I really loved though was the picture of every day life, the little details that transport the reader to another time and place. A wonderful historical account of a period in history that, until now, has not been so well documented in English; informative, entertaining and enlightening!


Leopard at the door

Leopard at the Door by [McVeigh, Jennifer]

*The perfect summer read, the novel that Dinah Jefferies has called 'A simply stunning novel that will stay with me: magnificent'*

Stepping off the boat in Mombasa, eighteen-year-old Rachel Fullsmith stands on Kenyan soil for the first time in six years. She has come home.
But when Rachel reaches the family farm at the end of the dusty Rift Valley road, she finds so much has changed. Her beloved father has moved his new partner and her son into the family home. She hears menacing rumours of Mau Mau violence, and witnesses cruel reprisals by British soldiers. Even Michael, the handsome Kikuyu boy from her childhood, has started to look at her differently. 
Isolated and conflicted, Rachel fears for her future. But when home is no longer a place of safety and belonging, where do you go, and who do you turn to?

About the author

Jennifer McVeigh

Jennifer McVeigh graduated from Oxford University in 2002. She went on to work in film and publishing, before leaving her day job to do an MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University.She has travelled in wilderness areas of East Africa and Southern Africa, often in off-road vehicles, driving and camping along the way. The Fever Tree was a Richard & Judy Bookclub Pick. Leopard at the Door will be published by Penguin on 13th July 2017.

My Review

I love books which take the reader on a journey to another time or place and this book did both. Set during the time of the Mau Mau rebellion in 1950s Kenya, it attempts to show the cause and effects from both sides, mainly through the eyes of Rachel, who returns to her childhood home after an absence to find everything changed.Trying to find the happiness she knew as a child before the death of her mother, I felt a lot of empathy towards her, especially when she is warned not to return by her father; whether this is concern for her safety or for ulterior motives I'll leave you to judge.
As you might expect, the subject matter, though not gruesome, is nevertheless dark and although I enjoyed the book, it did leave me feeling very unsettled.


Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Summer's Lease

Summer’s Lease
Carrie Elks

Published 13th July
Paperback Original | £8.99

If music be the food of love, books are certainly the appetizers . . .

Cesca Shakespeare has hit rock bottom. Six years after the play she wrote bombed at the box office, she’s unable to hold down a job, keep an apartment, and worst of all her family have no idea how far she’s fallen. So when her fairy Godfather offers her the use of his friend’s Italian villa for the summer, she grudgingly agrees to try writing a new play. That’s before she finds out the house belongs to her arch-nemesis, Sam Carlton.

When Hollywood heart-throb Sam Carlton sees his name splashed across a gossip rag, all he wants to do is hide. That’s how he finds himself traveling to Italy, deciding to spend the summer in his family’s empty villa on Lake Como. Except when he arrives it isn’t as empty as he’d hoped.

Over the course of the hot Italian summer, Cesca and Sam have to come to terms with their pasts. What begins as a tentative friendship quickly grows into an intense attraction – and then a scorching fling. But they can’t hide from reality forever . . . as their different worlds collide, Sam and Cesca face a choice: is this just a summer romance, or could their love weather even the coldest winds?

About the author
Carrie Elks lives near London, England and writes contemporary romance with a dash of intrigue. She loves to travel and meet new people, and has lived in the USA and Switzerland as well as the UK. An avid social networker, she tries to limit her Facebook and Twitter time to stolen moments between writing chapters. When she isn’t reading or writing, she can usually be found baking, drinking wine or working out how to combine the two.

For further information please contact Clara Diaz on

020 3122 6565 | clara.diaz@littlebrown.co.uk | @ClaraHDiaz

My Review

Cesca Shakespeare ( what a brilliant name) is one of four sisters. When she finds herself unable to hold down a job or pay the rent she turns to her godfather Hugh for help. Hoping that a summer caretaking an Italian villa will help her refind her gift as a playwright, he calls in a favour from an old friend.
The descriptions of Italy, not to mention the food, immediately put the reader into holiday mode. Of course things don't go smoothly for Cesca as before long the son of the owner turns up unexpectedly. When she discovers it is none other than Sam, the leading actor who walked out of her play causing it to bomb, her first instinct is to flee - except she has nowhere to go.
I enjoyed watching the relationship develop between the two as well as the interaction of the handsome Italian next door neighbour. You'll have to read it to see how the story pans out.
Sizzling with summer, I look forward to finding out more about the Shakespeare sisters.