Sunday, 18 November 2018

Snowed in at the little duck pond cafe


Snowed In at The Little Duck Pond Café

The biggest snowfall in years has blanketed Sunnybrook, cutting the village off from the outside world. For Fen, who finds herself snowed in at The Little Duck Pond Cafe, it's little more than a minor inconvenience. Her love life is finally running smoothly; it looks as if she's found the perfect man for her.

But then a shocking secret threatens to destroy Fen's new-found happiness.
Will being snowed in be the final straw? Or will Fen find a way through the snowdrifts to the perfect love?

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Author Bio
Rosie Green has been scribbling stories ever since she was little. Back then they were rip-roaring adventure tales with a young heroine in perilous danger of falling off a cliff or being tied up by ‘the baddies’. Thankfully, Rosie has moved on somewhat, and now much prefers to write romantic comedies that melt your heart and make you smile, with really not much perilous danger involved at all, unless you count the heroine losing her heart in love.
Rosie’s brand new series of novellas is centred on life in a village café. The first two stories in the series are: Spring at The Little Duck Pond Cafe and Summer at The Little Duck Pond Café.

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My Review

This is a quick novella if you're looking for something short to read when you need a break from the Christmas festivities. It is part of a series but stands alone quite well although I'm sure the reader would have a deeper sense of the characters if they had read the others. It has all the elements you're looking for in a Christmas/ winter story - a cafe, a bake-off, lots of snow and a heroine who is afraid to trust the hero. Will a night stuck in the snow be enough to change her mind or will it just make things worse? Rather formulaic but enjoyable nonetheless.


Friday, 16 November 2018

Love, lies and Cafe au lait

Love, Lies and Café au Lait by [Forth, Lynn]
When Annie Roberts has the chance to escape rainy Accrington for the glamour of sunny Nice, it seems like a dream come true, even if it does involve dog-sitting a pampered pooch for the winter.

But, once in France, despite trying to adopt a classy persona, Annie attracts the attention of all the wrong people: from Jacques, an attractive waiter, to Reen, a perma-tanned expat from the Costa del Sol.

And just who is the charming Monsieur Xavier who is so keen to befriend her? Dare she enlist his help to solve the mystery left behind by her France-obsessed mother?

Can Annie find her way through all the lies, intrigue and deception or is she just too nice for Nice?

Lynn Forth

Lynn Forth went to live in Accrington when she was 11 and still has the accent to prove it.
She now lives in Worcestershire (where it doesn’t rain as much) with her family, and has a room with a view to write in.
With a lifelong fascination with words and people, she studied English and Psychology at University and, as a lecturer at the local College, she tried to impart this love of words and teaching to students of all ages.
An avid reader, she runs two book clubs and, as a bit of a movie buff, she loves the discussions at a local Film Club. Although not a big exercise fan, she enthusiastically enjoys the fun and music at her Zumba sessions and loves encouraging a riotous array of flowers in her garden.
She now writes romantic comedies full of sparky dialogue set in sunny foreign climes, which, of course, she has to visit for the sake of research.
Her debut novel, Love in La La Land, combines this love of films, humour and hot, steamy places. 
Her second novel, Love, Lies and Café au Lait, is inspired by a visit to Nice and evokes Accrington Annie’s delight in living in such a sophisticated city full of elegant buildings and people although, perhaps, all is not quite as perfect as it seems. 

She can be contacted at
Twitter@lynnforth or her Facebook page.

My Review

I must say I was pretty much sold when I found out the book was set in the South of France, an area I love. Once I started reading I couldn't stop. There were so many things I could identify with; a Lancashire lass (or in my case a Yorkshire lass) being slightly overawed by the seamless elegance of French women, making many a faux pas with the language although I didn't have a dog to practise on and of course, experiencing many kindnesses once you are finally accepted as a local.
Apart from the protagonists, there are some wonderful secondary characters too. Everyone must have come across a Reen at some time in their lives - flamboyant, over the top but with a heart of gold.  Monsieur Xavier, on the other hand, is decidedly dark and mysterious.
This is a wonderful story, well-told with lots of observations on life that just ring true - I thoroughly enjoyed Annie's story and the way in which it turned out.

Thursday, 8 November 2018

The Perfect Family

The Perfect Family                                                                       

‘Mummy, she’s gone…’ 

Gemma Ballantine is getting ready for work one morning when her eldest child comes running down the stairs, saying the words every mother dreads. 

The front door is open. And her six-year-old daughter has disappeared. Frantic with fear, Gemma starts a nail-biting search for her little girl. 

After what feels like forever, her mother-in-law Diane finds Katie wandering lost a few streets away. Relieved to have her youngest child back in her arms, breathing in the sweet scent of her hair, Gemma thinks the nightmare is over. 

But then her perfect family starts to fall apart. 

And she realises it’s only just beginning… 

From the top ten bestselling author of The Secret Mother and The Child Next Door, this completely addictive psychological thriller of secrets, lies and betrayal will make you gasp out loud at the heart-stopping final twist. If you loved Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train and The Sister this book is for you. 

Shalini Boland

My Review

This book had me gripped from the first page when Katie goes missing. At first, I thought it would be a story about a missing child but when Gemma's mother-in-law finds Katie a few minutes later it sets in motion a very different chain of events. Every woman who has to juggle a home, job, childcare and in-laws will appreciate Gemma's dilemma as she sees her 'perfect family' disintegrate in front of her and is powerless to stop it. I loved the writing style and how easy it was to stay up until the early hours to find out what happened next. Having read so many 'gripping thrillers' I had the ending all worked out and then the author dropped an enormous bombshell right at the end. This book is brilliant!

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

A gift from Woolworths

A Gift From Woolworths
By Elaine Everest

 Will the war be over by Christmas?

As the war moves into 1945 the lives of the women of Woolworths continue. When store manager, Betty Billington, announces she is expecting Douglas’s baby her future life is about to change more than she expects.

Freda has fallen in love with the handsome Scottish engineer but will it end happily?

Maisie loves being a mother and also caring for her two nieces although she still has her own dreams. When her brother appears on the scene he brings unexpected danger to the family.

Meanwhile Sarah dreams of her husband’s return and a cottage with roses around the door but Woolworths beckons.

Will our girls sail into times of peace, or will they experience more heartache and sorrow? With a wedding on the horizon, surely only happiness lies ahead – or does it?

Information about the book
Title: A Gift From Woolworths (Woolworths Girls #
Author:  Elaine Everest
Release Date: 31st August 2018
Genre: Historical Saga
Publisher: Macmillan
Goodreads Link:
Amazon Link:

Author Information

Elaine Everest, author of Bestselling novels The Woolworths Girls, The Butlins Girls, Christmas at Woolworths, and Wartime at Woolworths was born and brought up in North West Kent, where many of her books are set. She has been a freelance writer for twenty years and has written widely for women's magazines and national newspapers, with both short stories and features. Her non-fiction books for dog owners have been very popular and led to broadcasting on radio about our four legged friends. Elaine has been heard discussing many topics on radio from canine subjects to living with a husband under her feet when redundancy looms.

When she isn't writing, Elaine runs The Write Place creative writing school at The Howard Venue in Hextable, Kent and has a long list of published students.

Elaine lives with her husband, Michael, and their Polish Lowland Sheepdog, Henry, in Swanley, Kent and is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, The Crime Writers Association, The Society of Women Writers & Journalists and The Society of Authors.

My Review

It's 1945 and with the end of the war in sight, there are profound changes ahead. The Woolworths' girls are back but there is doubt about their jobs once the men return from war. The risk to their jobs, however, pales into insignificance compared to the problems they each face in their daily lives. I really enjoyed catching up with the characters and wondering if their hopes and wishes would be realised. There is drama and high tension, emotion, happiness, sadness and romance. Not everything will turn out as you might expect but Elaine Everest will have you turning the pages to find out the next chapter in their lives. 

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Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Dreaming of Christmas



It’s the dream Christmas: snow, mountains… and, er, an ex-boyfriend. But can Zoe still find love in the Alps? 
Dumped on Christmas Eve by her long-term boyfriend, it's been a rough year for Zoe Lumsley. But then she gets an invitation she can’t refuse: an all expenses paid skiing holiday with old university friends.
The bad news: her ex, Grant, will be there with his new girlfriend. But so will her former flatmate Billy, the organiser, and in the meantime he’s done rather well for himself. As Christmas in the Alps approaches, it'll be great to see the old gang. Some more than others...
Perfect for readers of Tilly Tenant, Holly Martin and Philippa Ashley, this is the perfect magical Christmas getaway from the bestselling T.A. Williams.
About the author

T.A.   Williams 
Firstly, my name isn't T A. It's Trevor. I write under the androgynous name T A Williams because 65% of books are read by women. In my first book, "Dirty Minds" one of the (female) characters suggests the imbalance is due to the fact that men spend too much time getting drunk and watching football. I couldn't possibly comment. Ask my wife...
I've written all sorts: thrillers, historical novels, short stories and now I'm enjoying myself hugely writing humour and romance. Romantic comedies are what we all need from time to time. Life isn’t always very fair. It isn’t always a lot of fun, but when it is, we need to embrace it. If my books can put a smile on your face and maybe give your heartstrings a tug, then I know I’ve done my job.
I‘ve lived all over Europe, but now I live in a little village in sleepy Devon, tucked away in south west England. I love the place. That’s why you’ll find leafy lanes and thatched cottages in most of my books. Oh, yes, and a black Labrador. 
I've been writing since I was 14 and that is half a century ago. However, underneath this bald, wrinkly exterior, there beats the heart of a youngster. My wife is convinced I will never grow up. I hope she's right.

My Review

Once again the author has excelled. One thing for sure, there is always an excellent sense of place in TA Williams's books and this one is no exception. I loved the descriptions of Austria, especially the snow - so evocative I had to snuggle the cat to keep warm. The food and drink really add to the ambience too.
The story kept me turning the pages as each of the ex-flatmates reveals a little more about their life. lots of hidden secrets, subterfuge and some great characters. I really couldn't see how this book could end well. Without spoiling it I'll say that it ended as I had hoped but in a way that I hadn't expected. This is such a lovely book to curl up with and even the cat appreciated it. Send gluhwein next time.

Monday, 5 November 2018

My name is Anna

My Name is Anna by [Barber, Lizzy]

ANNA has been taught that virtue is the path to God. But on her eighteenth birthday she defies her Mamma’s rules and visits Florida’s biggest theme park. 
She has never been allowed to go – so why, when she arrives, does everything seem so familiar? And is there a connection to the mysterious letter she receives on the same day?
ROSIE has grown up in the shadow of the missing sister she barely remembers, her family fractured by years of searching without leads.Now, on the fifteenth anniversary of her sister’s disappearance, the media circus resumes in full flow, and Rosie vows to uncover the truth. 
But will she find the answer before it tears her family apart?

  About the Author

Lizzy Barber studied English at Cambridge University and works as the head of brand and marketing for a restaurant group. Her debut novel, My Name is Anna, was the winner of the Daily Mail crime writing competition and she is currently hard at work on her next thriller. Lizzy lives in London with her husband.

My Review

When Emily disappears as a toddler from a Florida theme park, it leaves a family desperately craving answers. On the fifteenth anniversary of her disappearance, it seems they are no nearer to discovering the truth - until younger sister Rosie starts to delve into the murky depths of the internet.
In America, Anna is starting to question who she is. When she receives a mysterious letter from a man in a white suit, her life begins to unravel. 
This is an excellent read told from the two viewpoints of Emily and Rosie. Full of suspense it kept me turning the pages as I followed the girls' journeys. In any story involving missing children, there is unlikely to be a happy ending - lives have been changed and when so many years have gone by it is impossible to fill in the gaps especially when nobody is who they seem. Nevertheless, there is at least a sense of closure and new beginnings in this story. Thoroughly engrossing.

Sunday, 4 November 2018

The Cornish village school - Second Chances


Ex-ballerina and single mum Sylvie is in trouble. Juggling her ballet classes in the nearest town, preparing shy Sam for his first day at Penmenna Village school and trying to finally move out from the farm she shares with her cantankerous Uncle Tom means life is anything but easy.

Television Journalist Alex is facing challenges of his own. Seeking a calmer environment for his newly adopted daughter, Ellie, he’s swapped reporting in war zones for the school PTA in quiet Penmenna, where his best friend Chase has persuaded him to start laying some roots.

Fireworks ignite when Sylvie and Alex meet but as Ellie and Sam become instant best friends, will they be able to keep things strictly platonic for the sake of the children?

Kitty  Wilson

Kitty Wilson lived in Cornwall for twenty-five years having been dragged there, against her will, as a stroppy teen. She is now remarkably grateful to her parents for their foresight and wisdom – and that her own children aren’t as hideous. Recently she has moved to Bristol, but only for love and on the understanding that she and her partner will be returning to Cornwall to live very soon. She spends most of her time welded to the keyboard, dreaming of the beach or bombing back down the motorway for a quick visit! She has a penchant for very loud music, equally loud dresses and romantic heroines who speak their mind.

Welcome to an interview with Kitty Wilson

Why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hello, I’m Kitty Wilson and I write romantic comedy set in Cornwall. Up until summer this year I lived in Cornwall and had done for twenty-five years and am planning to get back there as soon as possible. It really is my happy place. Currently though I’m living in Bristol (a city that also makes my soul sing ) with my partner, daughter and my Very Naughty Dog, a lurcher named Tatters. Both my children are now full-blown adults, which means I have a lot more time to dedicate to writing. Before I became an author, I used to be a primary school teacher and it is my experience in the classroom and my very happy memories of this time which help inform my writing.

 How did you get started on your writing journey?
I have always written, starting as a small child who dreamt of being an author, but it was only recently that I made the decision to prioritise it. I became chronically ill several years ago and this meant I had to give up teaching. It took me quite a while to come to terms with this as a lot of my identity and self-perception was tied up with what I did for a living. I absolutely adored my job and it was hard accepting I could no longer do it.
After a couple of years, I made my peace with my diagnosis and began to look for ways I could turn it into a positive. I had always written but as a lone parent and with two small children and working full time the writing always got side-lined. I wrote poetry when I did get a chance – I really enjoy the discipline of poetic form and it’s quicker than writing a novel.
However, with life turned on its head I decided to put my time to good use and, when well enough, started to write. I found I was loving it, what I was writing made me giggle and gave me purpose. I haven’t stopped, although I have learnt to fit it around my health and not beat myself up on days when I’m too poorly to write. Once I dedicated myself to developing my writing it was a case of practice, practice, practice and submit, submit, submit until I got to the point where I was publishable.

 Let's talk about your novel! What is it about?
The Cornish Village School - Second Chances is the second novel in my series of romantic comedies based around a school in the fictional village of Penmenna in Cornwall.
In the first novel of the series we meet the headteacher in Penmenna and see how she has to fight her (understandable) need for control to allow her to move forward in her life. In this novel I wanted to focus upon parents within the school community and how friendship can blossom into so much more.
Both the main characters in this novel are single parents and doing the absolute best they can for their children, both of whom have suffered loss. We see how their friendship not only provides stability and security for the children, but gives the adults something to hold on to as well, something that as time passes both are far too scared to mess about with. It is because they are so good for each other that they are fearful of taking the next step.
 I loved writing this story and the two children really made the book come alive for me, they are larger than life and I must admit I stole a little bit of material from my own experiences as a parent to help create their characters. There were many joys in raising my own naughty little offspring (one friend compared the experience of looking after my daughter to driving in India!) and I can’t seem to help weaving some of their stories into mine.

 Where did inspiration for this come from?
The series itself was inspired by living in Cornwall and loving it so much that I wanted to write something that celebrated the strength of community – people in a village may know everything about you (and then make up a little bit more on top) but this means when things are going a bit wrong, they are often the first to step up and support you. Once I had learnt to live with the lack of privacy it wasn’t long before I really began to value this.
 For this second book in the series the setting and genre was already set, it was to be a romantic comedy that centred around the village school in the fictional village of Penmenna. I wanted this book to be about the parents, an often overlooked but invaluable part of the school community. Whilst I wanted it to carry on the thread of community that was strong in the first book, I also wanted this to be about friendship and pay homage to the fact that everyone, no matter how perfect their life looks from the outside, struggles sometimes. This was, I suppose, my ultimate inspiration, to pay homage to the sheer strength, resilience and goodness of people. Plus, I wanted to write the children. Ellie is probably my favourite character in this book - although anyone who has read the first one will guess how fond I am of Marion, the terrifying head of the PTA.

 Do you have any writing quirks?
Obviously, I think everything I do is entirely rational and very normal so I’d like to say no quirks, no quirks at all.
But the truth is that a lot of my creative process takes place in water and I suspect this may not be strictly usual. When living in Cornwall (I know, I never shut up about it) I spent a huge chunk of time at the beach, it soothes my soul and stimulates my senses, in all weathers. Away from the sea for now I find that the best place for me to plot the next part of my book (I know the overall arc and intent of each chapter but plan the details just before I write it) is in the water. So, I spend a lot of my time at a swimming pool close to me sitting in a hot tub (it’s a hard life!) or at the end of the pool and staring into space. I’ve found that living in a city people just let me get on with it. I sometimes zone out so much, so caught up in the plot, that if I were still in Cornwall my friends would probably drag me out the water and use the community defibrillator. In the city, I am left well alone. If I can’t get to the pool then I do the same thing in the bath, as long as it’s water I seem to be able to think and the ideas come thick and fast. When I try outside of the water, nada, zero zilch! 

How did you go about getting published?
I had heard somewhere, and I’m not sure where, that getting published takes several practice books, so I wrote and wrote and submitted and submitted, not necessarily expecting anything to come of it just yet. As a member of the Romantic Novelists Association I was lucky enough to be part of their fabulous scheme for New Writers, where once a year they critique your work. As an anonymous service it means they can really examine your writing and not pull their punches. It provides a fabulous opportunity to have your weaknesses pointed out, enabling you to improve your writing and have someone objective tell you where your strengths lay so you don’t lose heart completely. My reader made some suggestions but also recommended that I submit my first Cornish Village school book for publication, so buoyed and excited I did what was advised and then sent it out. I had a few rejections and then an email from a publisher saying how much they loved the book. Based upon that deal I secured myself an agent who then offered it to alternative publishers. I was in the extremely privileged position of then being able to choose which publishing house I wanted to go with and the series was born and my dream of becoming published was realised.

What plans do you have for the future of your writing? 
I have just signed a new contract with Canelo for a further three books in The Cornish Village School series and am very excited about being able to develop the characters. Each book will be able to be read as a stand-alone but there is a story arc for one of my characters that will spread throughout the whole series and be tied up in the final book. These books are currently what I shall be concentrating on. However, being able to write is an utter dream come true and I can’t quite believe that I’m lucky enough to be doing it professionally. After these three books I have every intention of continuing to write romantic comedy, but where I set the next books is, at this moment in time, a complete mystery.