Daisy’s Dilemma by Debbie Viggiano @DebbieViggiano @rararesources

About the Book:


Florist Daisy is loved-up and blossoming. Boyfriend Dominic has proposed marriage!
However, Dominic isn’t in any rush to buy a ring, and meeting the parents is looong overdue. What is the problem? After all, Daisy’s mum has already bought her big hat and wants to know the wedding date!
Then careless words plant seeds of doubt and, like weed, Daisy’s concerns begin to multiply. Is Dominic hiding something?
Meanwhile, sexy ex Harry is back on the scene and begging Daisy for a reconciliation. He thought the grass was greener with HER but now says he made a mistake. Is Harry – for once – being genuine, or simply leading Daisy up the garden path?
New neighbour Seth seems like a fun guy, but a single throwaway comment has Daisy mimicking a species of Calla Lily – Red Alert! It’s time to do some digging. But even she never anticipated a mad car chase across London or unearthing a shocking secret that changes everything.
Sparks are set to fly in this gorgeous romantic comedy about love, trust, and new beginnings.


Where to Buy:


UK http://amazon.co.uk/dp/B08XQXC5BX
USA http://amazon.com/dp/B08XQXC5BX


About the Author:


Prior to turning her attention to writing, Debbie Viggiano was, for more years than she cares to remember, a legal secretary. She lives with her Italian husband, a rescued pooch from Crete, and a very disgruntled cat. Occasionally her adult children return home bringing her much joy… apart from when they want to raid the fridge or eat her secret stash of chocolate. Tweet @DebbieViggiano or follow her on Facebook!


Contact Debbie:


TWITTER: @DebbieViggiano
FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/debbie.viggiano.5/
INSTAGRAM: debbieviggiano
WEBSITE: http://www.debbieviggiano.co.uk

My Review:

Daisy is a florist who loves creating flower masterpieces in the form of bouquets and different flower arrangements.

She is not lucky with men and has problems with every man that comes into her life.

Not to give much away as the synopsis speaks for itself but I did find this laid-back with laugh-out-loud moments. I unfortunately found it slow in some parts.

It’s the first book by Debbie Viggiano I have reviewed.

Thanks to Debbie Viggiano, Rachel’s Random Resources and the publisher for my ARC in exchange for an honest and voluntary review.

3.5 stars

 In Persuit of Happiness by Freya Kennedy

In Pursuit of Happiness

‘A lovely escape that leaves you feeling warm and fuzzy inside. Just what’s needed at the moment’ No1 bestselling author Jane Fallon

The world is waiting…but just outside of your comfort zone.

Jo Campbell is perfectly content in a perfectly structured life. Nothing ever changes in Jo’s life, and she likes it that way. Or at least, she tells herself she does. Most of the time, she manages to push down the tiny voice that tells her to chase her dream and maybe, just maybe, open her battered and bruised heart up to love. But to chase her dreams she needs to take chances that are way out of her comfort zone and learn to not put other people’s happiness above her own. Most of all she has to learn to trust her heart, which may just be the biggest challenge of all.

BUY HERE

About the Author:  

Freya Kennedy lives in Derry, Northern Ireland, with her husband, two children, two cats and a mad dog called Izzy. She worked as a journalist for eighteen years before deciding to write full time. When not writing, she can be found reading, hanging out with her nieces and nephews, cleaning up after her children (a lot) and telling her dog that she loves her. 

She has met Michael Buble and even kissed him. It was one of her best ever moments.

She believes in happy ever afters.

Freya Kennedy is a pen name for Claire Allan, who also writes psychological thrillers.

My Review:

Jo used to work as a holiday rep in Spain but is back in Derry, Northern Ireland and is living her predictable cosy life again with her mum and six -year-old sister. 

Libby is her best friend and owns a bookshop with writing nooks and lots of coffee and sweet treats. Having reviewed, and loved, The previous novel The Hopes and Dreams of Libby Quinn, I thought “I recognise that name, it’s Libby Quinn!” I felt a warm, tingly feeling inside at having her featured in a book again. I can remember I asked the publisher for a sequel during an Instagram Live event and I am so happy she’s back. 

She is a memorable character and I have never forgotten her story which I reviewed earlier this year. She did well for herself with the creation of her bookshop and so I was intrigued to find out Jo’s story. 

Jo seemed more vulnerable in a way than Libby and I felt for her. I think the way Freya Kennedy showed this difference in the characters’ personalities was a great contrast and it was important even though this book focuses on Jo as a main character as I felt I knew them both better. 

Being Jo’s best friend, Libby wants to lend a hand once in awhile. Jo is writing a book and the manuscript is sat there. She’s scared of rejection and her family is kindly supportive of her work. She wants more constructive, challenging criticism, but is not sure she can take the result. What will happen when Libby submits the manuscript? 

I identified with her as I felt the same when I was working on my first book. but fortunately I have learned to take the rough with the smooth and I accept what people feel. I loved this plotline, I felt like I wanted to know if Jo would succeed and get published. It was very original. 

The twists and turns of the plot and the fun cast of characters made In Persuit of Happiness another unforgettable novel by Freya Kennedy. 

I recommend both The Hopes and Dreams of Libby Quinn and In Persuit of Happiness. They are good together and as standalone novels. 

Thanks to Freya Kennedy, Rachel’s Random Resources and Boldwood Books for my ARC in exchange for an honest and voluntary review. 

5 stars.

Contact Claire: 

Author website

Claire Allan Twitter

Freya Kennedy Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

Bookbub Newsletter Signup

Extract:

But Jo, who had once been so fearless in everything she did, wasn’t sure she was quite brave enough for kind and constructive yet. Secretly, she was afraid that Libby would tell her it was all awful and she’d been kidding herself that she had anything remotely resembling talent. Maybe, she thought, if she just tweaked it a little more, she would find the courage she was lacking. Her phone pinged with a message from Erin at 5.01 p.m. exactly. Erin, along with all of Jo’s friends and family, had been warned not to message her on Thursdays before five unless it was a matter of life and death. They all knew better than to ignore that directive, but it did normally lead to Jo’s phone being flooded with messages and calls as soon as her self-imposed isolation ended. JC, thank God it’s five. We need to chat. Before I brain someone with a skillet pan and serve them for tomorrow’s lunch special with a red wine jus. Everyone knew that Erin could be a little hot-headed when it came to her work. She made Gordon Ramsey look like Mary Poppins when she really got going, but rarely went so far as to actually threaten murder and subsequent cannibalism. Jo knew, however, that just as Erin could be enraged at a speed of knots, her anger also burned out quickly and quite often she just needed to shout a bit, or smash something, to restore her equilibrium. Thankfully it usually wasn’t someone’s brain with skillet pan but woe betide a ball of dough or hunk of lamb that crossed her on a bad day. Jo tapped a reply into her phone. Come over to Libby’s. There are still some chocolate brownies left and we can chat. Leave Phil in charge for twenty minutes. The kitchen could and would survive without Erin for twenty minutes, even if Erin wasn’t at all willing to believe that. Jo packed up her things and moved to a table in the coffee bar, before she made two lattes and placed two gooey, delicious chocolate brownies on plates. There were, she noted, certain perks to also working a few shifts at a bookshop which had a coffee bar attached, and being one of the owner’s best friends. When Libby asked her if everything was okay, she simply replied with ‘Erin’ and no more needed to be said between the two. Libby smiled. ‘You might need cream with those brownies.’

Blog Tour: (Review Only) My Greek Island Summer by Mandy Baggot

About the book

Two weeks. One unforgettable trip to Corfu. A chance to change her life.

 

Becky Rose has just landed her dream job house-sitting at a top-end villa on the island of Corfu. What could be better than two weeks laying by an infinity pool overlooking the gorgeous Ionian waters while mending her broken heart.
Elias Mardas is travelling back to Corfu on business whilst dealing with his own personal demons. Late arriving in Athens, Becky and Elias have to spend a night in the Greek capital. When they have to emergency land in Kefalonia, Becky’s got to decide whether to suck up the adventure and this gorgeous companion she seems to have been thrown together with or panic about when she’s going to arrive at Corfu…
Finally reaching the beautiful island, Becky is happy to put Elias behind her and get on with her adventure. Until he turns up at the villa…

 

 

About the Author:



Mandy Baggot is an international bestselling and award-winning romance writer. The winner of the Innovation in Romantic Fiction award at the UK’s Festival of Romance, her romantic comedy novel, One Wish in Manhattan, was also shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association Romantic Comedy Novel of the Year award in 2016. Mandy’s books have so far been translated into German, Italian, Czech and Hungarian. Mandy loves the Greek island of Corfu, white wine, country music and handbags. Also a singer, she has taken part in ITV1’s Who Dares Sings and The X-Factor. Mandy is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Society of Authors and lives near Salisbury, Wiltshire, UK with her husband and two daughters.

Follow Mandy:

Facebook: @mandybaggotauthor

Twitter: @mandybaggot

My Review:

They say don’t judge a book by its cover…..but just look at this cover! I loved the title and the cover. And the book blurb had me sold- this relaxing, uplifting realistic and funny novel could not have come at a better time.

Becky works long hours at a sandwich shop called It’s a Wrap with her friend and also her sister. A bit of sibling rivalry is the perfect excuse for her to want out of the current situation.

When an ad for a house sitter on the island of Corfu captures her interest she finds herself jetting off to the sun. But getting there is not as simple or as hassle-free as she thought.

Then she meets Elias, a Greek God who she is sat with on the plane. Her adventures have just begun!

With a shining cast of characters, beautiful islands and food and laughs aplenty, this latest feelgood novel by Mandy Baggot is a real escapist treat.

Thanks to Mandy Baggot and Aria for my ARC in exchange for an honest and voluntary review.

I adore Mandy Baggot’s novels and was delighted to recieve this.

4 stars

 

Pre-order here:

Amazon (UK) 

Kobo

Google Play

 

 

 

 

 



Follow Aria

 

Website: http://www.ariafiction.com

Twitter: @aria_fiction

Facebook: @ariafiction

Instagram: @ariafiction

Blog Tour: Suddenly Single by Carol Wyer

Title: Suddenly Single

 

Author Name: Carol Wyer

 

Previous Books (if applicable): What Happens in France

 

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 

Release Date: 8th April 2019

 

Cover Image:


About the Book:
When bestselling romance author Chloe Piper’s marriage implodes a week before Christmas, she flees her cheating ex and the village gossips for the solitude of the newly built Sunny Meadow Farm and the company of her hapless dog, Ronnie.

But Chloe is soon pushed out of her comfort zone. Because with a lively development building crew – headed up by charming Alex – and a larger-than-life neighbour determined to make Chloe’s love life her pet project, Chloe finds herself in a whole new world of chaos…

This enthralling romantic comedy of self-discovery and new beginnings is perfect for fans of Kirsty Greenwood, Colleen Coleman and Marian Keyes.

My Review: 

Chloe is an author of hot romances based off real-life gossip from her husband’s trips to their local pub. She is also battling with chronic social anxiety disorder and panics about meeting people and meeting goals in life. Her friend Faith is really supportive and always there to lend a helping hand or a listening ear. Chloe manages to move house after her relationship with William comes to an end and wonders how she’ll survive alone. 
Her new life has challenges in store, will she face them in an attempt to be stronger and happier? Accompanied by a whole host of characters and her faithful dog, she goes through life as best she can. She’s put to the test when a night drinking sees her joining The Singleton Club, where there will be all sorts of challenges, in life, and also maybe in love. 
But will she be brave enough to take life head on? 
Suddenly Single is my second eARC by Carol Wyer and one I enjoyed very much. I actually really identified with Chloe in that anxiety is hard, but am glad I have never had it so chronically as her. I felt Faith was a real help to her. All the characters are well developed and realistic as is the plot. There’s a lot to be learned from Chloe’s story and hopefully it will go some way to raising awareness of anxiety issues. 
Thanks to Carol Wyer and Canelo for my ARC in exchange for an honest and voluntary review as well as my place on the blog tour for this title. Bring on the next Carol Wyer book! 
5 huge stars.

 
Where to Buy:
Amazon (UK)

Kobo (UK)

Google Books (UK)

Apple Books (UK)

About the Author: 
As a child Carol Wyer was always moving, and relied on humour to fit in at new schools. A funny short story won her popularity, planting the seed of becoming a writer. Her career spans dry cleaning, running a language teaching company, and boxercise coaching. Now writing full-time, Carol has several books published and journalism in many magazines.

Carol won The People’s Book Prize Award for non-fiction (2015), and can sometimes be found performing her stand-up comedy routine Laugh While You Still Have Teeth.

 

Blog Tour: Finding Felix by Jo Platt

Title: Finding Felix

 

Author Name: Jo Platt

 

Previous Books (if applicable): You Are Loved, Reading Upside Down and It Was You

 

Genre: Women’s Fiction, romcom

 

Release Date: 6th August 2018

 

Publisher: Canelo

 

Cover Image:

Book Blurb: A family wedding. A fake boyfriend. A recipe for disaster! A funny, feel-good romantic comedy from bestseller Jo Platt
Singleton Dot Riley’s grandmother, Nanny Flo, is on her deathbed, surrounded by family and distraught at the thought of Dot being all alone in the world. Desperate to make Flo’s final moments happy ones, Dot invents a boyfriend – plumping in panic for her childhood friend, Felix, a firm favourite of Flo, but whom Dot hasn’t actually seen for 15 years.

But when Flo makes an unexpected recovery a few weeks before a family wedding, Dot is faced with a dilemma. Should she tell her frail grandmother that she lied and risk causing heartache and a relapse? Or should she find Felix and take him to the wedding?

Dot opts for finding Felix. But it’s not long before she discovers that finding him is the easy bit: liking him is the real challenge.

An uplifting romantic comedy about the angst of adult relationships and the joy of rediscovering the child within. Finding Felix is perfect for fans of Anna Bell, Tracy Bloom and Debbie Viggiano.

My Review: 

Yes, another great book from Jo Platt. This is the second one I have read, reviewed and taken part in the blog tour for after her 2017 release You Are Loved. Click for my review.

Her latest title, Finding Felix.  follows Dorothy (Dot) whose grandmother Flo is seriously ill with pneumonia as she visits her in hospital. All Flo wants is Dot’s happiness in life and love. She invents a boyfriend who is really Felix, a friend she hasn’t seen for 15 years. What Dot and her family don’t expect is for Flo to recover.

Can she keep her lie going or should she come clean about Felix? She decides to track him down but the guy from the past is all different now.

Will things work for them? What will happen when they see each other again?

Jo Platt writes a brilliant witty true-to-life page turner with realistic characters and I really liked Dot.

Thanks to Jo Platt and Canelo for my ARC in exchange for an honest and voluntary review.

Links to Book:
Amazon (UK)

Kobo (UK)

Google Books (UK)

Apple Books (UK)

Author Bio: 


Jo Platt was born in Liverpool in 1968 and, via the extremely winding route of rural Wiltshire, London, Seattle and St Albans, she is now happily settled in Bristol with her husband and two daughters. She studied English at King’s College London before going on to work in the City for ten years. In 2000 she escaped into motherhood and part-time employment, first as an assistant teacher in a Seattle pre-school and then was a Bristol-based secretary to her husband

Spotlight: Dreaming of St Tropez by T.A. Williams 

Today, I have a real first for you, my first ever spotlight post for  a book. I’ve been lucky enough to review and  do a blog tour with an author Q& A for  T.A Williams’ previous title. Dreaming of Florence (which I LOVED) and so when Canelo asked me to take part  in the blog tour for his new book, Dreaming of St Tropez, “YES” was my immediate answer. I could not wait to get my hands on another T. A Williams book! I adore his books as they are always so atmospheric and have such varied interesting characters. T.A, Williams whisks us away to dream locations and the way he skillfully writes is engaging, relaxing and pure escapism all at once. All this and a dose of relationships and romance are what, for me, make his books so great. I’m a fanatic of travel and different languages and cultures myself (I’m fluent in Spanish). If you have a T. A. Williams book, you’re in for a real visual and emotional journey. I feel like I’m traveling through his writing. If you want to feel the same, check out his books. 

 Here’s the lowdown on his latest literary offering. 

Title: Dreaming of St Tropez

Author Name: T.A. Williams

About the Author: 


T.A. Williams lives in Devon with his Italian wife. He was born in England of a Scottish mother and Welsh father. After a degree in modern languages at Nottingham University, he lived and worked in Switzerland, France and Italy, before returning to run one of the best-known language schools in the UK. He’s taught Arab princes, Brazilian beauty queens and Italian billionaires. He speaks a number of languages and has travelled extensively. He has eaten snake, still-alive fish, and alligator. A Spanish dog, a Russian bug and a Korean parasite have done their best to eat him in return. His hobby is long-distance cycling, but his passion is writing.

Previous Books: Chasing Shadows, Dreaming of Venice and Dreaming of Florence

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance

Release Date: 7th May 2018

Publisher: Canelo

Contact T. A Williams: 

Twitter: @TAWilliamsBooks

This book has such a beautiful cover! 

About the book: 

The perfect summer escape on the French Riviera. Sun, sea and secrets…

After a disagreement with a billionaire, architect Jess Milton is ‘let go’ from her job. However fortune intervenes – an elderly client asks Jess to dog-sit overweight, but loveable dog Brutus in St. Tropez.

Fed up with the mega-rich, Jess is reluctant to visit the playground of billionaires, but an all-expenses-paid trip and the promise of sunshine seals the deal.

Little does Jess know how much time she’ll be spending with the family living in St. Tropez. The sullen, but very good-looking David and his millionaire father are both welcoming but guarded, haunted by their pasts…

Can Jess bring some sunshine back into their lives – and, just maybe, find love in the process?

A heart-warming, funny and emotional journey for fans of Holly Martin, Tilly Tennant and Jenny Oliver.
Love the sound of the book? Here’s where to buy it. 

Amazon (UK)
Kobo (UK)
Google Books (UK)
Apple Books (UK)

 

Blog Tour: Little Woodford- The Secrets of a Small Town by Catherine Jones 

About the Book:


Trouble comes to the sleepy market town of Little Woodford – a world of allotments, pub quizzes, shopping and gossip – the heart of middle England.

 

Little Woodford has a sleepy high street, a weekly market, a weathered old stone church and lovingly tended allotments. A peaceful, unexciting place, the very heart of middle England.

 

In Little Woodford no one has fingers in more pies than Olivia Laithwaite, parish councillor, chair of the local WI, wife, mother and all round queen bee. So of course it’s Olivia who is first to spot that The Beeches has been sold at last.

 

Soon rumours begin to swirl around the young widow who has bought this lovely house. Why exactly did she leave London with her beautiful stepdaughter and young sons? Are they running from someone? Hiding something? Though if they are, they won’t be the only ones. Sometimes the arrival of newcomers in a community is all it takes to light a fuse…

 About the Author:

Catherine Jones lives in Thame, where she is an independent Councillor. She is the author of eighteen novels, including the Soldiers’ Wives series, which she wrote under the pseudonym Fiona Field.

My Review: 
   

Little Woodford is a sleepy village where tradition, secrets and gossip abound. The characters are very befitting of those you would find in a village and are very realistic. 
Catherine Jones really does a good job of creating a village where the reader feels included and I quickly became interested in the characters’ lives and as curious as they were about the new neighbours.
 The language used helps the pace because it is so true-to- life, as are rhe events that happen throughout the book. I really got a sense of all the neighbours’ reactions to, and curiosity surrounding, the changes in where they lived as old neighbours moved out, and new ones moved in. 
I felt the book really tapped into that curiosity we all feel when meeting new neighbours and also the general “need-to-know” attitude many of us have regarding other peoples’ lives. 
I enjoyed this book very much, and it was the first book I had read by Cathetine Jones. I hope to read more. Overall, Little Woodford represents a very true portrait of a typical English village, and also the not-so-typical side, too which was why I loved it. I was hooked from the first to the last page! 
There are lots of twists and turns in the book which kept me reading! Also, having grown up in  a town in rural Oxfordshire, it was very easy for me to imagine the setting as I read. 
 Thanks to Catherine Jones and Aria, an imprint of Head of Zeus for my ARC in exchange for an honest and voluntary review  as well as an opportunity to participate in the blog tour for this title. 

Guest Post (Courtesy of We Love Books Blog):

I get asked, quite often, what drives me to write. One answer is a nice advance and a deadline – but of course, when I started out I had neither. And every author – or all the ones that I know – start out from that position, so the answer isn’t quite as simple as that. One of the biggest reasons I write is because I love to entertain people; I love to make them laugh, take them out of their lives for a while, give them something else to think about, show them a different world. It’s a great feeling to know that I have given my readers several hours of sheer escapist enjoyment.

​I’ve also had quite an interesting life which has made it easy – well, easier – to think of settings and backgrounds for stories. I was in the army for eight years, got posted around Europe, met amazing people and had to do also sorts of strange things from skiing and gliding (wonderful fun) to potholing and going on exercise (much less fun). But it does mean that I have a wealth of odd titbits of experiences and knowledge which I can draw on to put in my books. Write what you know about, they say. So I do, and I’ve written a total of nine novels which have a strong military background and a number of others that have used things that I learned to do when I was serving, like flying around in helicopters and sailing and orienteering to name but a few.

​Another reason I write is that I can create lives and situations over which I have absolute control. That make me sounds as if I’m a bit of a megalomaniac but trust me, with a husband who was also in the army and a mother of three kids all born very close together I had very little control over anything at all for years – certainly not my own life. Things are much more settled now: the children have grown up and left home and I’ve stopping moving from pillar to post (I once moved house six times in under five years during which time I had the three children). My husband then left the army and we have now lived in the same little town for a couple of decades and I’ve really got to know and love it.

​My town is partly the reason I came to write Little Woodford – it’s the sort of place where if you live and work in it, it is quite difficult not to get involved. Besides, I like being involved (partly because I’m nosy and want to know what’s going on) but also I’ve always found that the more you put into things the more you get out. So when, a couple of years ago, I got asked to stand for election to the town council, I couldn’t resist. And now I’m on the council – and even more involved with the town – I understand that, like anywhere, if you look behind the chocolate-box exterior, people have the same problems as they do everywhere else, they just happen to live in a pretty place. Which made me want to write about what goes on behind other people’s front doors, what problems they might have to cope with. (I told you I was nosy.)

​I decided the best way to find out what was going on was to create a character who had a legitimate excuse to be in and out of lots of people’s homes and see for herself what was what. Enter Amy – a cleaner. She is one of my favourite characters I have ever made up, mostly because she’s naughty. She also says the sort of things I’d sometimes love to say but never dare. It’s very liberating writing about people like that. Then I needed to populate the town with the usual suspects, the vicar, the doctor and the town councillor (!) etc and their families, and give the place the things almost all towns have, allotments, a school, the local pub and so on. Oh, and I needed a new-comer, Bex, who would look at this little town and its inhabitants with fresh eyes. It was such fun creating this place. Of course my neighbours now ask me if they’ll recognise anyone. I sincerely hope not! Although I hope people recognise the types: Amy – who couldn’t keep a secret if her life depended on it, Olivia – the bossy-boots, Belinda – the listener, Heather – kindness personified….

​But most of all I hope that everyone enjoys the world I’ve created in Little Woodford because I have enjoyed writing about it so much.

 

Links to buy

 

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2Fe3FEx

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2GuidiU

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2CxMzPe

iBooks: https://apple.co/2C8kPF2

 

Follow Catherine Jones

 

Website:

Twitter:

Facebook:

 

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Blog Tour: Sunshine and Secrets  (Paradise Cooking School #1) by Daisy James 

About the Book:

When newly heartbroken, michelin-starred chef Millie Harper is offered a job overseeing the setup of The Paradise Cookery School she jumps at the opportunity. Leaving London and her memories of heartbreak behind she hops on a plane to the hilltop cocoa plantation in St Lucia.

But this beautiful island break might be more work than she’d expected…. With only two weeks to have the kitchen installed, cocoa pods going missing from the plantation and the notoriously relaxed island workmen to contend with, she’s going to need some help. Gruff but charming estate manager Zach Baxter, is only too happy to offer his opinions. As the two clash heads can they remain focussed on the job in hand and get the cookery school finished in time?


Pack your bags and jump right into the sun and secrets of The Paradise Cookery School. Perfect for fans of Sarah Morgan, Jenny Oliver and Kat French.


About the Author:


Daisy James is a Yorkshire girl transplanted to the north east of England. She loves writing stories with strong heroines and swift-flowing plotlines. When not scribbling away in her summerhouse, she spends her time sifting flour and sprinkling sugar and edible glitter. She loves gossiping with friends over a glass of something pink and fizzy or indulging in a spot of afternoon tea – china plates and teacups are a must.

Twitter: @daisyjamesbooks

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/daisyjamesbooks/

My Review: 

Sunshine and Secrets by Daisy James is a wonderful, feel-good read. I couldn’t resist it. Being auto approved by Canelo, I downloaded it immediately and was taken in by the excitement of starting somewhere new and the travel bug. It is a read/listen you will not want to finish!. 
Sunshine and Secrets captures the beauty of the Caribbean. Despite never having been to St Lucia, I could practically taste the food and rum, the descriptions were so vivid. I did not like Zach at first, but warmed to him as the story progressed. I liked Ella a lot, and also Millie. 
In Sunshine and Secrets, Daisy James creates a wonderful portrait of what life can be like if you take risks, and shows that there is often more than one route to happiness. 
Despite the small cast of characters, they are extremely well fleshed-out and realistic, and I felt like I knew them well by the end of the book. In fact, everyone in the book helped to represent the reality of life on a small paradise island. 
The book sparked welcome memories of a holiday I had to Barbados, and I was pleased to be able to draw on my own experiences of the Caribbean climate, customs food and people. 
I did feel that some of the secrets and scandals could have been explored more, and that the book’s ending was quite abrupt. That said, I can see scope for another book on St Lucia with the same characters, and hope there will be one! The book has such an undeniably wonderful, feel-good, “holiday” feel that you will want to read it all year round. I wanted to listen to it again as soon as I’d finished! Sunshine and Secrets deserves 5 sparkling stars! 
The cover is beautiful, too! 
Thanks to Daisy James and Canelo for my ARC in exchange for an honest and voluntary review.


Like the sound of this? Read an extract! 
With a chorus of birdsong and croaking crickets to accompany her thoughts, Millie meandered along the pathway between the swimming pool and the edge of the plantation. In the post-deluge afternoon sunshine, she could completely understand why Claudia had fallen in love with the villa. Its position on the hillside overlooking the most famous of St Lucia’s landmarks must be one of the best in the Caribbean.

Cocoa palms crammed the estate for as far as the eye could see. Strange wizened pods, the shape of small rugby balls, grew straight out of the gnarled trunks. She ran her fingertips over one of them, prodding the leathery, purple-brown exterior. She sniffed the skin, expecting it to smell of chocolate, but unsurprisingly it didn’t. These were the husks she had seen piled in the wooden crates by the back door of the villa earlier. She assumed Zach had harvested them.

She regretted not having the chance to chat through the finer details for the school with Claudia. She hoped her vision would be, if not identical, then along similar lines to the celebrated cookery writer’s own. Whilst the plans were already approved, it would be the finishing touches that made a project like the Paradise Cookery School stand out from the rest. A loop of nervousness began to coil around her chest when she thought of the responsibility of testing out the recipes for such a prestigious venture. What if she got it wrong?

Millie immediately chastised herself for her negativity. Only a few short months ago, she would never have entertained such an episode of self-doubt. It was amazing how a broken heart could deflate a person’s confidence so much, even in their professional life! She inhaled a deep breath and vowed to concentrate on the advantages of her good fortune; the opportunity not only to learn new culinary techniques from Ella but also to experiment with a medley of fresh, exotic ingredients, all under the sparkling canopy of the Caribbean sky.

To say she was a sun-worshipper was an understatement. After all, she had spent the first seven years of her life and every summer holiday thereafter with her French grandparents running through the lavender-infused fields in the South of France until her limbs were as brown as milk chocolate. However, for some reason, she had chosen to overlook the fact that for such a lush tropical paradise to exist in St Lucia there inevitably had to be a regular delivery of rain in almost biblical proportions. Never mind. It couldn’t rain all the time and she was looking forward to enjoying the golden beaches and mooching around the brightly painted shops in Soufrière with the strains of calypso music spilling out onto the pathways – not to mention sampling the local rum cocktails.

She would continue to work on healing her wounded heart whilst proving to Claudia that she had made a worthy choice by showing off her wide range of culinary skills to their best advantage. It was something she hadn’t been able to do whilst working as one of a number of pastry chefs at the patisserie. The only talents she had exhibited to the patient French owner, Étienne, were her complete lack of organizational skills and her propensity to sprinkle ingredients and culinary implements like an escaped garden hose.

The intense screech of a struggling car engine, accompanied by a loud blast of reggae music, told her that Clavie had arrived with Ella Johnson. Her spirits lifted and she jogged back to the veranda and into the courtyard to welcome her, hopeful that this time she was about to meet a friendly companion with whom she had lots in common.

She watched the woman emerge from the back seat of the taxi and was relieved the driver had managed to navigate the incline this time. The Caribbean chef carried a few extra pounds around her midriff – enhanced by the brightly coloured fabric of her voluminous dress. A bold statement necklace rested at her chest and matching gold hoops hung from her lobes. She had rounded the ensemble off with a wide emerald-and-saffron bandana to keep her hair away from her smooth, crease-free forehead.

‘Hello! You must be Millie!’

 

Links to Book:
Amazon (UK)
Kobo (UK)
Google Books (UK)
Apple Books (UK)

Blog Tour: Wedding Bells at the Dog and Duck by Jill Steeples 

 
About the Book: 


 

Ellie Browne, landlady of The Dog & Duck, is looking forward to a relaxing Christmas Day before the arrival of her and her partner Max’s baby in the New Year. But with a snowstorm brewing outside, it seems that things might not go quite to plan.

 

After the dramatic events of the holiday season, Ellie settles into her new life at Max’s huge country mansion Braithwaite Manor, juggling work and family as best she can. When she’s asked to help organise a summer wedding for one of her best friends it’s only natural that her mind turns to her own, non-existent, wedding plans!

 

But with Max decidedly lukewarm on the subject and other family complications threatening to disrupt life further, Ellie fears there’ll never be wedding bells at the Dog & Duck after all.
 About the Author: 
Jill Steeples lives in a small market town in Bedfordshire with her husband and two children. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, walking, baking cakes, eating them and drinking wine.

My Review:

Ellie is the landlady at the Dog and Duck pub. She’s also heavily pregnant. She and Max move into Braithwaite Manor, Max’s home. They want to move things forward for themselves in terms of love, but will it be engagement or marriage for them? When baby Noel arrives early during a Christmas snowstorm, Ellie at last feels she has achieved an important goal in life. She and Max are besotted with their beautiful son and she finds support in her friend Sasha who is mother to a little girl. The neighbours of Little Leyton, the village where they live, are equally happy about Noel.

Ellie feels content working at the pub and being a mother. Life is certainly not dull! 


All is good, but Ellie can’t shake the thought that many of her friends have children and are married. She juggles caring for Noah with planning her friend’s wedding (to be held at the Dog and Duck). 
Max is a great dad and help to Ellie, as are Ellie’s parents and Katy and her mum. Arthur, an elderly man who frequents the pub and is respected in the village is also an important character in this book. 
The cast of characters in Wedding Bells at the Dog and Duck is varied and realistic to show the demographic of an English village. There are the babies, then teenage Katy and the adults and finally Arthur. There are enough personal conflicts that the book is enhanced with very realistic issues and lots of drama. 


Through it all, we see Ellie as resilient, open caring trustworthy and determined, and The Dog and Duck being the glue that holds the community together. 
I was going through this book in anticipation of the wedding and loved seeing the way Ellie’s little family went through life. 
This is the first Jill Steeples book I have reviewed. It has a fast, exciting pace and she has a real talent for making the reader feel and experience what the characters do through using honest and straightforward language. The Dog and Duck and the Manor both have a homely, cosy feel and I felt absorbed in the writing

and immediately able to connect with the characters from the beginning until the end of this book. 


Wedding Bells at the Dog and Duck is a book about how we sometimes have to take chances and make changes in order to be happy. It is also about being happy with what you have and appreciating those around you. 


Thanks to Jill Steeples and Aria for my ARC in exchange for an honest and voluntary review. Now that I’ve read one Jill Steeples book, I can’t wait to read more!

Links to buy

 

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2BHaIpB

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2BKxTzc

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2GqyKnZ

iBooks: https://apple.co/2CvGWRn

 

Follow Jill Steeples

 

Website: http://www.jillsteeples.co.uk/

Twitter: @Jillesteeples

Facebook: @JillSteeplesWriter

 

Follow Aria

Website: http://www.ariafiction.com

Facebook: @ariafiction

Twitter: @aria_fiction

Instagram: @ariafiction

NetGalley: http://bit.ly/2lkKB0e

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The Beachside Sweet Shop: A Feelgood Romantic Comedy by Karen Clarke 

I was lured into the synopsis of this book by the words chocolate fudge. Anyone who knows me will know that I always have to buy fudge on any trip to the coast or holiday! 
This book wasn’t the first I read by Karen Clarke, and I had already fallen in love with the town of Shipley and it’s residents and I knew about the existence of the sweet shop, but not much about it, I read and reviewed The Beachside Flower Stall which I loved. 
The Beachside Sweet Shop was a gem of a book, and I wasn’t disappointed. It had me laughing out loud and smiling right from the start, which was a great bonus as I have read other “romantic comedies” which didn’t actually seem that funny. I felt glad to be “back in Shipley” so to speak, and got through the book in a day. 
It focuses on Marnie, who inherited the shop from her grandfather. The shop has been in the family for generations and is in need of a makeover. That’s where Josh steps in. I was rooting for them from the start, and also liked Marnie’s grandmother. 
What will happen when new neighbour and blogger, Isobel moves to town? Read this book to find out the sweet shop’s fate! 
The pace, language characters and beautiful setting make for a great relaxing read. This also strikes me as being a good option for a book to read during a weekend break or holiday. It’s also perfect escapism and a great feel-good read. 
Thank you so much to Karen Clarke and Bookouture for my ARC via NetGalley.