#BookReview SUMMER AT SEASPRAY COTTAGE by ANGELA BRITNELL

ABOUT THE BOOK

What would you do if you inherited a Cornish cottage by the sea?

If you’re Thea Armitage, sell it as soon as possible. Whilst there’s no denying that Seaspray Cottage has its charm, it just holds too many bad memories for Thea to consider keeping it – although at least spending the summer preparing it for sale gives her a distraction from troubles back home in Tennessee.

What Thea didn’t count on was her worst Cornish memory moving in right next door. Local bad boy Harry Venton played no small part in Thea’s decision never to return to Cornwall twenty years before – and now he’s her neighbour! Could things get any worse?

Except Harry isn’t the boy he was, and as Thea comes to realise that her opinion of him was built on lies and misunderstandings, perhaps things will start looking up for her summer at Seaspray Cottage.

PUBLISHED BY CHOC LIT

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon: Summer at Seaspray Cottage: An uplifting, feel-good summer romance! eBook : Britnell, Angela: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store

Apple: https://books.apple.com/gb/book/summer-at-seaspray-cottage/id6442943846?uo=4&ls=1&at=1l3vpUI&ct=kgsztl%7Cchoc-lit.com

Kobo: Summer at Seaspray Cottage eBook by Angela Britnell – 9781781891179 | Rakuten Kobo United Kingdom

Google: Summer at Seaspray Cottage – Angela Britnell – Google Books

Nook: Summer at Seaspray Cottage by Angela Britnell | NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble® (barnesandnoble.com)

MY REVIEW

This was just delicious!! It’s one of those books that you just totally lose yourself in and start packing up your belongings so you can move to the location featured – and hope to bump into someone like Harry!!

The story centres around Thea and her return to an area she was desperate to get away from in her youth. She inherits a cornish cottage by the sea, idyllic for most people, but her plan is to sell it ASAP!

On her return she reconnects with her friend Kelsey, and also Harry, who was the main reason she left 20 years ago. He’s not liked by many of the locals, but had a tough upbringing and Thea knows him better than others so she’s always willing to fight his corner, despite their relationship ending on a bad note. But time is a healer eh, and now they’re all grown up maybe there is peace to be had and old feelings to explore!!

This is all about making peace with the past, and the more time she spends in the area, the more she grows and understands she’s right where she needs to be, despite her father back home in Tennesse wanting her to take the promotion he has offered her. There’s a lot about family relationships as there are many issues to sort out between various characters, and I really enjoyed seeing how they worked through their problems.

This is a story full of sexy seaside summer shenanigans!! I loved how the characters were mature about the more serious issues they were faced with and weren’t afraid to confront their feelings and see things from a different perspective! Now I just need to find a Harry of my own!!

★★★★★

#GuestPost SUMMER AT SEASPRAY COTTAGE by ANGELA BRITNELL #Extract #PublicationDay @ChocLituk @AngelaBritnell

Hello and welcome to Books and Me! Today I have the pleasure of handing over the Blog to the lovely ANGELA BRITNELL as she shares an extract with you to help celebrate publication day for the fabulous SUMMER AT SEASPRAY COTTAGE

Over to you Angela…

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RELEASE DAY POST: Summer at Seaspray Cottage by Angela Britnell

It’s lovely to be here again, Karen and thank you so much for inviting me to stop by on publication day my new release – Summer at Seaspray Cottage. The story is set primarily in my home county of Cornwall and Chough Cove is inspired by Mevagissey, the small fishing village where my mother grew up. I thought your readers might enjoy a small taste of the book so have picked out an extract for them. To set up the story: Thea Armitage has inherited her aunt’s cottage in Chough Cove and returned to Cornwall for the first time since she was a teenager. Harry Venton has also landed back in Chough Cove and this time he’s determined not to be driven out by either public opinion or the father he hasn’t spoken to in twenty years. Much to the dismay of many villagers he’s building a house and is there to stay. To say he’s shocked to come literally face to face again with the woman he’s never been able to forget – no matter how hard he’s tried – is an understatement of massive proportions ………………

‘Mr H, are you going to sign for this or stare into space all day?’ Jacko poked Harry’s arm and pointed at the waiting delivery driver.

Harry grabbed the tablet and used his finger to scrawl something resembling his name on the screen. Maybe he was a dinosaur but he preferred a pen and paper over these techy gadgets that made everyone look illiterate. ‘Cheers.’ He strolled away to check out the long planks of wood stacked up on the ground.

‘Bit dark aren’t they?’ Jacko came to stand by him, frowning.

‘They’re exactly what I wanted. They’re perfect.’ He stroked the weathered grey cedar. ‘Doesn’t it remind you of the ocean on a winter’s day?’

‘I suppose.’ The builder smirked. ‘Bloody freezing and blowing a gale you mean?’

Harry gave up trying to explain his vision for the house he’d been planning for years now.

‘I’ll get the lads to help me shift it all tomorrow.’ Jacko pulled out his car keys. ‘You coming for a pint? The wife’s got her book club meeting at our place so I’m staying out ’til they’re gone.’ He chuckled. ‘They’ll talk the hind legs off a donkey and none of it about the book.’

‘Cheers but not right now. There’s a few things I want to wrap up here. I might stop by later.’ It would sound rude to say all he wanted was to be left alone. Harry loved nothing better than seizing the chance to walk around his new property when no one else was about. These quiet times gave him the chance to study the progress they’d made and decide where he might want to make any changes.

Jacko tipped him a nod and ambled over to his dilapidated white van. Harry kept his fingers crossed this wouldn’t be one of the many days when the ancient van refused to start but it rumbled to life and drove off belching diesel fumes.

As it often did his gaze drifted to the row of old terraced houses on the opposite side of Polmorva Road and picked out the one on the far left with its fresh yellow paint where he grew up with his father. There were few fond childhood memories associated with the place. Georgie Venton had hated his son. Day after day, year after year he made Harry pay for causing his beloved wife’s death in childbirth. With the benefit of maturity, Harry had tried to understand the mind of a man maddened by grief but couldn’t yet find it in him to forgive. Since they started building he frequently spotted his father’s stooped figure standing by the door but he wasn’t there today. He felt a satisfaction deep in his gut at forcing Georgie to see how successful his son had become despite his tough beginnings.

With a smile he turned back to the half-completed building. Venton House. Perhaps it was vain to put his name on his new home but he’d earned his money the hard way so why shouldn’t he indulge himself for once? He pushed away a niggle of misgiving and studied the curved iron

framework sweeping across the front of the house, ready for installation of the floor to ceiling glass highlighted in thin strips of black wood that would front his kitchen and living space. The expansive view over the harbour and on out to sea would be second to none.

The boards that arrived today were destined for shingling the outside of the house so it would blend seamlessly with the environment around, picking up colour from the granite cliffs beneath and on stormy days the steel-grey skies and choppy waters. He’d steered as far as possible away from the jaunty nautical look beloved of so many coastal homes with their fake anchors and cheerful blue and white soft furnishings. Venton House’s design was deliberately stripped down and elemental. Harry quirked a smile. An ex-girlfriend once described him in a similar albeit less polite way.

Harry’s stomach growled and he struggled to remember if he’d eaten today. Jacko had offered him one of the mountain of doorstep sandwiches his wife packed him off with every morning but he’d been too impatient to stop working. Perhaps he should go for a pint with the builder after all and grab something to eat at the pub.

The stiff breeze whipping in off the sea made him shiver in his T-shirt and shorts. Although it was the beginning of June and summer in Chough Cove the difference between the sheltered harbour and up here on the exposed cliff was often night and day. In the middle of winter when there was no hiding from the worst of the weather his house would need every bit of its expensive underfloor heating system.

Harry bestowed one last quiet, satisfied smile on the half-finished building and strode off down the road. A few people nodded as he passed them by but no one stopped to speak. He told himself their reticence didn’t bother him because if his hard upbringing taught him one thing it was patience. Once they recognised he was here to stay and wanted to do his part to benefit the community he hoped they’d come around.

Strings of coloured lights twinkled against the external whitewashed walls of The Dolphin and the door stood open, allowing a constant stream of people to go in and out. The throbbing music and loud laughter drifting out set him on edge and he changed his mind about joining Jacko. He leaned on the harbour wall instead and rested his arms on the rough, uneven stones. The tide was creeping back in so the orderly lines of fishing and pleasure boats bobbed around like corks.

A peal of raucous laughter rang out behind him.

‘The fish and chips are gonna be my treat. Don’t argue.’

A woman’s drawling American accent made the hairs on the back of his neck stand up.

‘God you always were a bossy cow!’

The second voice he’d recognise anywhere. Kelsey Nancarrow. His oldest friend in the village who now avoided him whenever possible, only exchanging a polite nod if their paths unavoidably crossed. Her late grandmother, Vera, had been the Ventons’ next-door neighbour in Polmorva Terrace and took care of both Harry and Kelsey when they were young and their parents were all at work. They remained close as they got older until they were sixteen. It’d never occurred to him that Kelsey saw him as anything more than a good friend but apparently he’d been wrong and his rejection struck her hard.

‘Watch where you’re going,’ Kelsey yelled.

Harry jerked around as a woman barrelled into him and he automatically clamped his hands on her arms so she wouldn’t knock them both over. Her head flew up and the wide silver-green eyes with their fringe of soot-black lashes that’d haunted his dreams for years flared with shock. Thea Armitage stared at him as though she’d seen a ghost.

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So what happens next? Should they give each other a second chance or let the proverbial sleeping dogs lie? You’ll have to read the rest of the book to find out…

Thank you again for being such a wonderful supporter of my trans-Atlantic romances and I look forward to returning for a chat when my next book is released – a Christmas story involving a pantomime that is still a work in progress at the moment!

About the Book:

What would you do if you inherited a Cornish cottage by the sea?

If you’re Thea Armitage, sell it as soon as possible. Whilst there’s no denying that Seaspray Cottage has its charm, it just holds too many bad memories for Thea to consider keeping it – although at least spending the summer preparing it for sale gives her a distraction from troubles back home in Tennessee.

What Thea didn’t count on was her worst Cornish memory moving in right next door. Local bad boy Harry Venton played no small part in Thea’s decision never to return to Cornwall twenty years before – and now he’s her neighbour! Could things get any worse?

Except Harry isn’t the boy he was, and as Thea comes to realise that her opinion of him was built on lies and misunderstandings, perhaps things will start looking up for her summer at Seaspray Cottage …

Buying links: 

Kindle: https://amzn.to/3uqkiry 

Kobo: https://bit.ly/3bNvGar

 Apple Books: https://apple.co/3QbBfz9 

Nook: https://bit.ly/3QeSW0H

🌞🌞🌞

About the Author:

Angela was born in St. Stephen, Cornwall, England. After completing her A-Levels she worked as a Naval Secretary. She met her husband, a US Naval Flight Officer, while being based at a small NATO Headquarters on the Jutland Peninsula in Denmark. They lived together in Denmark, Sicily, California, southern Maryland and London before settling in Franklin, Tennessee.

Angela took a creative writing course in 2000 and loved it so much that she has barely put her pen down since. She has had short stories and novels published in the US. Her novel Sugar & Spice, won Choc Lit’s Search for an American Star competition and was her UK debut.

Follow Angela on Twitter: @AngelaBritnell

 Like Angela on Facebook: Angela Britnell

#BlogTour THE HOUSE ON THE HILL by CHRIS PENHALL #BookReview @rararesources @ChrisPenhall

Delighted to be with you today on the latest stop of the Blog Tour for the wonderful THE HOUSE ON THE HILL by CHRIS PENHALL.

My thanks to the author, publisher and Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources for putting the tour together and letting me be part of it all!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Layla is calm, in control and is definitely not about to lose her serenity for the man next door!


Surely it can’t be hard to stay peaceful at one of the oldest yoga and mindfulness retreats in the Algarve, surrounded by sea, sun and serenity? Mostly, owner Layla Garcia manages it – with the help of meditation and plenty of camomile tea, of course.


But keeping her grandparents’ legacy alive is stressful, and Layla has become so shackled to the work that, for her, The House on the Hill is fast becoming ‘The Fortress on the Hill’.
Then writer Luke Mackie moves to the villa next door, bringing with him a healthy dose of chaos to disrupt Layla’s plans, plus a painful reminder of a time when she was less-than-serene. But could his influence be just what Layla needs to ‘dance like no-one’s watching’ and have the fun she’s been missing?


PUBLISHED BY CHOC LIT

PURCHASE LINKS

Kindle: The House on the Hill: A Summer in the Algarve (Portuguese Paradise Book 3) eBook : Penhall, Chris: Amazon.co.uk: Books

Apple: https://books.apple.com/gb/book/the-house-on-the-hill/id1624491748?

Kobo: The House on the Hill eBook by Chris Penhall – 9781912550739 | Rakuten Kobo United Kingdom

Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Chris_Penhall_The_House_on_the_Hill?id=5EVxEAAAQBAJ&gl=GB

Nook: The House on the Hill: A Summer in the Algarve by Chris Penhall | NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble® (barnesandnoble.com)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  Chris Penhall won the 2019 Choc-Lit Search for a Star competition, sponsored by Your Cat Magazine, for her debut novel, The House That Alice Built. The sequel, New Beginnings at the Little House in the Sun was published in August 2020. Both are available in paperback, e-book and audio and are part of the Portuguese Paradise series. Finding Summer Happiness, which is set in Pembrokeshire in South West Wales is available in e-book, audio and paperback, and The House on the Hill – A Summer in the Algarve, the third novel in the Portuguese Paradise series, is published in e-book on 28th June 2022.

Chris is an author and freelance radio producer for BBC Local Radio.

She also has her own podcast – The Talking to My Friends About Book Podcast in which she chats to her friends about books. Good title!

Born in Neath in South Wales, she has also lived in London and in Portugal, which is where The House That Alice Built is set. It was whilst living in Cascais near Lisbon that she began to dabble in writing fiction, but it was many years later that she was confident enough to start writing her first novel, and many years after that she finally finished it!

A lover of books, music and cats, she is also an enthusiastic salsa dancer, a keen cook, and loves to travel. She is never happier than when she is gazing at the sea.

Social Media Links – 

www.chrispenhall.co.uk  

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ChrisPenhall 

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

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/christinepenhall/ 

MY REVIEW

The latest in the Portugese Paradise – but easily read as a standalone – and it’s a Summer treat that transports you to the Algarve and puts a smile on your face as you watch over Layla and her struggles with keeping calm…. you’d think that would be easy for her as she runs a mindfulness retreat, but a blast from the past brings back some of her old anxiety so she’s in need of yoga and calm now more than ever!

Layla is a woman who is very business minded. Very little time for the little pleasures in life, she is focussed on keeping her grandparents legacy alive with the thriving business in such an idyllic location.  And when she’s set the task of ‘babysitting’ and ‘destressing’ a friend of a friend, her own anxieties resurface as he’s a face she remembers from her past… whether he remembers her is another matter!

Luke is a famous author and is escaping the drama of the media back in the UK, and also looking for quiet and inspiration for his latest work project.  What better than the Algarve to get away from it all.  He is reliant on Layla to give him those mindful breaks he needs to get the creative juices flowing, and he finds that spending time with her is giving him lots of things to think about – and wish she’d lighten up a little too!

As always, the setting is just wonderful for these books and the characters are well crafted and instantly pull you on their side so you want nothing but happiness for them all!  Lots of fun and drama along the way make for a wonderful reading experience!

★★★★★

#GuestPost RECIPE FOR MR SUPER by ANNI ROSE @ChocLituk @AnniRoseAuthor #PublicationDay

Delighted to be with you today to help celebrate release day for the fabulous RECIPE FOR MR SUPER by ANNI ROSE.   So I’m handing over the Blog today so she can share some thoughts on her inspiration!

Over to you Anni…..

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Release Day Post: Recipe for Mr Super by Anni Rose 

Born and raised in Berkshire, I emigrated to Wiltshire seven years ago, where I now live with my husband, sister, two dogs and Midge, the grey speckled hen. 

As a child, I loved writing fiction, producing reams of stories, thankfully lost over the years, although recently when we cleared my mother’s house out, ‘The attack of the Killer Tomatoes’ did resurface. 

On leaving school, the need to earn a living sort of got in the way of any creative ambitions and I became an accountant where my only published work apart from regular financial reports was the employees’ handbook. 

A local writing course and an encouraging group of writing friends re-ignited the fiction flame many years later and I went on to win or be short listed in several writing competitions. I had short stories published in Writers Forum, My Weekly and Sophie King’s ‘How to Write your Life Story’.

These days I would describe my writing as modern romantic stories with a healthy dollop of humour thrown in. I’m a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and was delighted to have been signed by Choc Lit Publishing in 2021. Recipe for Mr Super is the third in my ‘Recipes for Life’ series and follows hot on the heels of Recipe for Mr Perfect and Recipe for Mr Right, both published last year. 

Away from the garden and writing I can usually be found behind a camera, walking the dogs, enjoying one of my husband’s curries or my sister’s bakery treats. 

The ‘Recipes for Life’ Series are all set in my fictional town of Redford. They are stand-alone novels although I have to admit some of the characters may have written themselves into more than one book. 

Recipe for Mr Super was inspired by the four years spent working as an heir hunter and my love of horses. Having been lucky enough to ride and/or own some amazing horses over the years this is my tribute both to them and the lovely people I have met through riding over the years and to one amazing Shetland Pony who had a thing about Wellington boots! 

Find out more about Anni here: 

Twitter: @AnniRoseAuthor  

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AnniRoseAuthor  

Website: https://anniroseauthor.co.uk 

Instagram: anniroseauthor 

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About the book: 

Where’s a hero when you need him? 
 

In Autumn Rigden’s case, enjoying semi-celebrity status on the other side of the world. Although Nick Flynn is no superman – talented horse rider and Super Sportstar of the Year he might be, but he has a habit of leaving Autumn in the lurch when she needs him most. 
 

Anyway, Autumn is too busy with her new career to care about Nick. Okay, so she’s had to give up her OIympic dressage dream, her childhood home and beloved Shetland pony – and all to the benefit of Gordon, Nick’s money-grabbing father. But Autumn’s new ambition is to become an heir hunter extraordinaire, and with a promising commission and only a few weirdos demanding she prove they’re related to royalty, she’s all set. 
 

But when Mr Super returns, will Autumn find that forgetting about horses and the Flynns is harder than she could have ever imagined? 

Buying links: 

Kindle: https://amzn.to/3nAdsMg  


Kobo: https://bit.ly/3bIokFb

 
Apple Books: https://apple.co/3MbMRih  


Nook: https://bit.ly/3t9RB1g  

#BookReview A VACANCY FOR A VILLAGE VET by JOANNE BODEN

ABOUT THE BOOK

From big city high-flyer to little village vet …


Hannah and Daniel were teenage sweethearts, but then Daniel left their sleepy village of Middlefern and his grandfather’s veterinary practice behind for the bright lights of London.

Now, fifteen years later, the prodigal grandson has returned to temporarily take over the village practice with a veterinary qualification and his dog, Sammy, in tow. Daniel is ready for rabbits with tummy aches, guinea pigs who’ve lost their squeak, plenty of cow complaints and a whole lot of memories – both good and bad. But is he ready to see Hannah again?

Of course, a high-flying city vet like Daniel was never planning to stay in Middlefern for good – especially given his history with the place. But could another, even more important, vacancy convince him to change his mind?

PUBLISHED BY CHOC LIT

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Vacancy-Village-Vet-wonderful-romance-ebook/dp/B09Z32NL42/

Apple: A Vacancy for a Village Vet on Apple Books

Kobo: A Vacancy for a Village Vet eBook by Joanne Boden – 9781781890059 | Rakuten Kobo South Africa

Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Joanne_Boden_A_Vacancy_for_a_Village_Vet?id=oCZwEAAAQBAJ&gl=GB

Nook: A Vacancy for a Village Vet by Joanne Boden | NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble® (barnesandnoble.com)

MY REVIEW

All the fur-baby feels for this one!! When Daniel returns home after abruptly leaving 15 years ago, Hannah doesn’t know what to think! No contact in all that time despite swearing undying love to one another as teenagers! Trying to keep out of his way in a small village is impossible so it’s only a matter of time until their paths cross…. and we get to go along for the reunion ride. Hold on to your hats!!
Hannah is one of those characters that you just want as a friend! She’s the sweetest thing, and has a very caring personality and is always putting others first instead of herself. And that’s one of the main reasons she’s never left the village, as she stayed to nurse her mother when she was poorly with cancer. It’s been 18 months since her passing, and she’s still grieving but throwing herself back into her nursing work with the locals keeps her going and distracting her mind.

And then Daniel returns which stirs up all those old memories and they both have a lot to face together – and it seems the universe, and some of their friends, are doing all they can to keep throwing them into situations where they are together to confront those old feelings!!

I loved this story – the connection between the characters was sparkling and I loved the different scenarios they found themselves in that allowed the past to be confronted and, for a change, be honest with one another!! Hannah is one of those people who loves helping others, but not so good at accepting help from others so it was good to see how she had to hand over control sometimes to others! Fabulous stuff!!

★★★★★

#GuestPost A VACANCY FOR A VILLAGE VET by JOANNE BODEN #Extract #PublicationDay @ChocLituk @JoBodenAuthor

Hello!! Welcome to Books and Me!  And today I have the pleasure of sharing an exclusive extract with you to help celebrate Publication Day for the fabulous A VACANCY FOR A VILLAGE VET by JOANNE BODEN.   The link to grab your copy is posted below too so treat yourself!! You won’t regret it!!

Release Day Extract: A Vacancy for a Village Vet by Joanne Boden 

A Vacancy for a Village Vet is a cosy new contemporary romance from Joanne Boden – a book about second chances, making peace with your past and plenty of pets, of course! To celebrate publication day, we thought we’d share an exclusive extract from the very beginning of the book – kindly hosted by Karen on her blog – where everything is about to change for Daniel and Hannah … 

‘You’ll come back, won’t you?’  

Daniel pulled Hannah towards him and closed his eyes. He couldn’t look at her, couldn’t bear to look into those smokey grey eyes and see nothing but sadness and hurt. He inhaled her strawberry shampoo, felt her breath on his neck. She couldn’t see his face. He wouldn’t cause her pain by allowing her to see the lie that lay beneath the surface.  

‘I’ll be back,’ he said, unable now to stop those words, his throat tight and dry. He stroked her flyaway blonde waves that could never be tamed and rested his hand on the back of her head.  

‘And you’ll write to me every day?’ she asked.  

He heard the uncertainty in the shaking of her words. Her hands now clung to his , nails digging into his skin. 

He wanted to slow time. To stay in this moment forever. They’d agreed to write proper letters, not quick texts or emails, although of course they could. “Handwritten letters are much more romantic” she said. They reminded her of the olden days. Of “Elizabeth and Mr Darcy”.  

‘I’ll write to you,’ he said. His fingers twisted in her hair. 

He wanted to believe that he would. 

A car horn sounded. His mother popped her head out of the half-lowered window, followed by a plume of cigarette smoke. ‘Daniel,’ she hollered, ‘we need to get going.’  

He exhaled slowly, felt Hannah’s shoulders relax slip away from him as she stepped back. She swiped a finger across her eyes. A smear of black mascara followed in its wake. She gave him a slow, sad smile. 

He reclosed the gap between them and hisis fingers traced her cheekbones as he dipped his head to give her one last, tender kiss on the lips.  

Eyes were on them. He wished with every breath in his body that they were alone. 

“You’re only kids”, his mum had told him, when she announced she’d be moving to London with her shiny new husband, although none of this was David Brewer’s fault. Daniel liked him. He hadn’t pretended to be a substitute father. After all, he had a grandfather for that. David had made that perfectly clear.  

But they were all wrong. Yes, he was only fifteen, nearly sixteen, but he knew his own mind and heart, knew what he felt in his bones and blood and muscles. And he loved Hannah. His mother had laughed when he shared that bit of news with her, his cheeks flaming and his heart pounding with this shared intimacy. “You’ll fall in love a dozen times – it’s part of growing up.” And then more forcefully when he’d told her Hannah was important to him – “You don’t know what love is at your age!” when he’d told her Hannah was important to him.  

She told him with a faraway look in her eyes that she had fallen in love at sixteen, and look where that had landed her – almost as an afterthought she’d quickly added she wouldn’t have changed having him for the world. But he’d seen the stark truth in those words. She’d have changed things in a heartbeat. Back then at least, maybe not now. That boy she had loved was long gone, married twice since then, and with four kids to his name, not including Daniel. He had never been a part of his life. 

“Stay or go” his mother told him, giving him a choice. The decision was his, and his alone. Go to London, or stay here in Middlefern with Gerald. “It’s up to you. You’re nearly sixteen, old enough to make up your own mind”. But apparently not old enough to know if he was in love with a girl he had loved all of his short life. 

There was no choice. There had never been a choice. 

He couldn’t stay in Middlefern, not under the same roof as Gerald. He’d briefly toyed with the idea of asking Kathy, Hannah’s mum, if he could stay with them, but that, he knew, would only lead to more questions, none of which he could answer. The main one being, why couldn’t he stay with Gerald? 

If he left he knew he could never come back, not while Gerald lived and worked in the village. He could never return.  

So he did what he had to do. He lied and told Hannah he would do all of those things. His final act of kindness before breaking her heart. 

‘It’s time to go, son.’ Gerald stood on the threshold to his veterinary practice, arms folded across his broad chest, a slight sneer spread across his face. Daniel’s hands curled into tight fists. He refused to turn around. He would not look at him. He’d never have to look at him again.  

Gerald sauntered past them and stopped at the side of the car. He peered in through the passenger window. ‘You got everything, Samantha?’ he asked. 

She nodded. ‘Yes, and thank you, for everything.’ 

‘Take care of yourself, and phone me when you get there.’ 

Gerald opened the passenger door. ‘Time to go now, son,’ he shouted in Daniel’s direction. 

Daniel’s jaw tensed as he reached for Hannah’s hand. ‘I’ll write soon,’ he said. Another lie. 

‘Promise.’ 

‘Promise.’ He very nearly choked on the word. His final act of betrayal. 

He turned to go, but she grabbed his arm and pressed something cold and hard into the palm of his hand.  

‘Don’t look now,’ she whispered. ‘Look later, in the car.’ 

He nodded, unable to formulate any words.  

He turned towards the car, averting his eyes so he wouldn’t see Gerald. 

Kathy placed her arm around her daughter’s shoulder. The two of them like statues, silently watching him go.  

‘Bye, son,’ Gerald said as he grabbed Daniel’s arm, forcing him to stop. 

Daniel looked at his shoes, taking solace in this small victory. 

‘Look after your mum for me,’ Gerald growled. 

Daniel shook his arm free and unfolded his long, lean body into the car. He shut the door without turning to face the old man. Instead he looked at his mother. 

‘Ready love?’ she asked. 

‘Yeah.’ 

‘She’ll be okay, you know. So will you.’ 

‘I hope so,’ he said. He had a chance at a brand new start. Away from Middlefern and away from him. He just wished Hannah could be a part of that new start. Maybe in time she could join him. Travel to London. She could go to university there, as they’d planned. Maybe they could buy a flat. Move in together. It was possible. Anything was possible, wasn’t it? 

But even as he had these fleeting thoughts he knew it was a fantasy.  

This was the end. 

Time to move on.  

He would forget and so would she. Given time. 

The car pulled away from the kerbside. 

Hannah lifted a hand to wave, but it slowly dropped as she hugged her arms around her body. He saw Kathy raise her hand to stroke her daughter’s hair. The image became smaller and smaller in the rear-view mirror. He observed the whispering of words that he could not hear. 

His fingers unfurled and in his palm he found half a heart. A locket made of sterling silver. He turned it over. There was no engraving, just smooth metal, the size of a ten pence piece. It took several seconds before it hit him like a punch to the gut. He had half, Hannah the other. Two halves of one heart, forever broken. 

From: A Vacancy for a Village Vet by Joanne Boden 

© Joanne Boden 

About the Book: 

From big city high-flyer to little village vet … 

Hannah and Daniel were teenage sweethearts, but then Daniel left their sleepy village of Middlefern and his grandfather’s veterinary practice behind for the bright lights of London. 

Now, fifteen years later, the prodigal grandson has returned to temporarily take over the village practice with a veterinary qualification and his dog, Sammy, in tow. Daniel is ready for rabbits with tummy aches, guinea pigs who’ve lost their squeak, plenty of cow complaints and a whole lot of memories – both good and bad. But is he ready to see Hannah again? 

Of course, a high-flying city vet like Daniel was never planning to stay in Middlefern for good – especially given his history with the place. But could another, even more important, vacancy convince him to change his mind?

Buying links: 


Kindle: https://amzn.to/3xTZ2eT  

Kobo: https://bit.ly/3tH4Wyv 

Apple Books: https://apple.co/3vqlJqF  

Nook: https://bit.ly/3y2bM4O  

About the Author: 



Joanne lives in Lancashire with her husband and their two sons. When she is not busy writing, she likes to take her boys to the local museums, cafes and for walks in the countryside. Joanne has published 4 non-fiction works aimed at parenting children on the Autistic spectrum, based upon her experiences as a mother of an autistic son.  

Joanne also writes contemporary romances with gorgeous heroes. 

Find out more about Joanne here: 

https://www.facebook.com/JoBodenAuthor

#GuestPost Edie’s Summer of New Beginnings by Kirsty Ferry @ChocLituk @kirsty_ferry #Excerpt #PublicationDay

Excited to be with you today to share an exclusive excerpt from the fabulous Kirsty Ferry, to help celebrate Publication Day for EDIE’S SUMMER OF NEW BEGINNINGS!! Go grab your copy ASAP!!

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Release Day Extract: Edie’s Summer of New Beginnings by Kirsty Ferry

Edie’s Summer of New Beginnings is the wonderful and quirky new romcom from Kirsty Ferry – a book that’s bound to put a smile on your face this summer! To celebrate publication day, we thought we’d introduce you to Edie and her world on Karen’s blog this morning. But who is Ninian Chambers, and how is he about to shake up Edie’s idyllic village existence?………..

The village I lived in was quite a small one. In a small village, of course, your business is everybody’s business. And that was why everyone in Padcock’s tiny corner shop stopped and went ‘Ooooh!’ when Sally announced a certain piece of staggering information …

‘A film crew is coming to Padcock Court in the summer!’

‘Oooh,’ I said, joining in and edging closer to the counter to listen a little better as Lilian commented, ‘Ooooh. But however will Mrs Pom-pom stand that? Won’t she set her hounds on them?’

Mrs Pom-pom wore hats that looked like tea cosies all year round and shouted at a people a lot. She especially liked shouting at people who walked past her gate too closely, and definitely liked shouting at cars. Her real name was Mrs Pomeroy, but, well, her hat choices informed her nickname.

Mrs Pom-pom’s hounds were two great big Labradors, who always stared at her and drooled whilst she shouted.

‘Get them! Get them, boys!’ she’d screeched when my friend Cerys and I had rolled back from the pub one evening and had the audacity to do snorty giggles when we passed Padcock Court.

‘Arf!’ went Arfur, and lay down.

‘Umph!’ went Umbert, and also lay down.

Fortunately, and perhaps unsurprisingly, Cerys and I survived the attack.

‘I don’t know,’ said Sally, back on the subject of the film crew. ‘Perhaps she’ll be a bit more flexible if it’s going to make them some money.’

Everyone nodded sagely. Money was definitely something Mrs Pom-pom needed in shedloads. Padcock Court looked impressive – an ancient familial manor house in our picture-perfect village – but beyond the white plaster and dark wood beams, roofs dripped, ceilings were bowed and windows rattled as the wind came rushing down the lea to hit the back of the house.

I knew this because when I was little, and my granny still lived in Padcock – before I inherited her house – she had been quite friendly with Mrs Pom-pom, who wasn’t quite so shouty in those days. Although even back then she’d owned a series of impressive tea cosy hats.

I’d always spent most of my life shuttling back and forth between Padcock and wherever I found myself next. My mum, Bridget, had me when she was very young and sent me to boarding school as soon as she could. She was never hands on, and my gran basically brought me up.

Gran’s heyday had been in the sixties. She had loads of stories about that time, but had never had a husband. I had no idea who my grandfather was, just as I never knew who my father was. I’m not sure if my mum ever knew either. It probably wasn’t surprising, really, that my personal style was like I’d been spewed out of the sixties and dumped into the twenty-first century, what with Gran’s influence in my life. For some reason, the thought of that era made me feel happy and secure, and I’d clearly absorbed more of Gran’s history than even she thought possible.

It was no wonder I’d started dressing like one of Andy Warhol’s muses in my rebellious teens, when all I was bothered about at my expensive school was bunking off any class that wasn’t art. My style was simple yet effective – black mini skirt, black polo neck, chandelier earrings and boots. My hair, naturally quite a dark brown, was chin length and bleached, and I usually wore it in a ponytail. I got some odd looks in Padcock initially as I grew up and developed my own style, but they soon just accepted me as “That Weird Artist Girl From London”.

I’ve always loved Padcock. Padcock suited my gran and it suited me for the moment – although the village was undoubtedly a bit of a tourist trap. So many films and TV series had been filmed in this sleepy little place in the South Downs, that hearing Mrs Pom-pom had a camera crew coming in shouldn’t have been quite so exciting – but then we could all remember the last time someone had come to film anything. It was a gardening programme, and Mrs Pom-pom had yelled at the celebrity gardener and chased him away with the loppers.

‘Edie.’ Sally suddenly addressed me, bringing me back to the present, even as I found myself wondering just exactly how far Mrs Pom-pom had chased that poor celebrity gardener. ‘You’ll be interested in the programme.’ The swivelling of the collective Padcock eyes towards me was almost audible.

‘What! Why?’ I was a little stunned. I’m as interested as any village local each time a new film crew rocks up. We once had a celebrity bingo thing going on in the pub. Lovely Sam, the barman and owner of the Spatchcock Inn, kept the official list of “things to spot” behind the bar and we’d whisper to him when we heard or saw anything relevant – for example, a film star furtively smoking behind the back of a building, or an actor having a tantrum about something and being ushered away to be soothed by the member of the production team.

‘Because, Edie, this film crew are doing a painting challenge.’ Sally leaned back in her seat behind the counter and folded her arms.

‘And…?’ I failed to make the connection.

‘And you could take part in it.’

‘I could not!’

‘You could. You paint. You draw things. You do art.’

‘Well … yes.’ I felt the colour rise in my cheeks. I would admit that forty per cent of the “local art” in Eclectically Yours – Cerys’ Craft Shop and Organic Tea Room was of my creation. I worked part-time with Cerys … well, Cerys would say I worked for her, but I would strongly disagree. She was technically my manager, but if she ever had to discipline me, I’m sure she’d just say that she was very “disappointed” in me and then I’d cry.

So yes, some of the artwork in her shop was mine, but that definitely didn’t mean I wanted to participate in a televised competition.

‘But that doesn’t mean I want to participate in a televised competition,’ I tried.

That panicky feeling that had become too much a part of me when I thought about doing anything more exciting art-wise than painting pretty little village scenes for the craft shop thumped against my ribcage. I used to do quite a bit of wild avant-garde art when I lived properly in London. I had a studio and everything, not too far from my Camden Town flat. The flat had been in my family since Mum was a baby, and it had become my base when I left Goldsmiths – the same place where Mary Quant studied – when I decided to pursue a career that embraced my creative side.

But the draw of London and the sense of my art being anything expressive and meaningful at all had shrivelled and died when Gran passed away. I couldn’t find the headspace to do it any more. As a result, I was in no doubt that my work now seemed slightly contained and small.

A bit like I felt – now that I was safely cocooned in Padcock, where the real world couldn’t touch me. I dabbled with perfunctory art for Cerys’ shop. That was it. That was what I felt capable of.

‘But I don’t want to do that sort of stuff. I can’t do that sort of stuff. I won’t do that sort of stuff—’

‘But they want local artists to take part. It says in the bumf.’ Sally looked at me with a dangerous, flinty glint in her eye. ‘Nobody more local than you. Your gran talked about you and your London exhibitions all the time. And—’ Again, everyone in the shop – including me, despite my reservations – leaned forward, agog ‘—there’s a celebrity judge.’

‘Ooooh.’ There was another chorus of awed agogness. ‘Who is it?’

‘Ninian Chambers,’ Sally finished proudly.

‘Noooooo!’ I howled.

Everyone swivelled those eyeballs towards me again, clearly horrified that I was looking and sounding so disgusted about the lauded and generally beloved artist Ninian Chambers.

But I couldn’t help it. That squawky denial had absolutely come from me.

What they didn’t know was that me and Ninian bloody Chambers had one hell of a history.

From: Edie’s Summer of New Beginnings by Kirsty Ferry

© Kirsty Ferry

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ABOUT THE BOOK

Can Edie rediscover her artistic mojo and become a ‘Watercolour Wonder’?

Edie Brinkley went from rising star on the London art scene to hiding out at her gran’s cottage in the little village of Padcock after a series of unfortunate circumstances leave her almost too panicky to pick up a paintbrush.

When celebrity artist Ninian Chambers rocks up in the village to film Watercolour Wonders, a new TV art competition, Edie is horrified – especially as he played no small part in her decision to leave London.

But, with the support of the Padcock community, and one very special fellow contestant, could Ninian’s show ultimately offer a fresh start for Edie and her art career? Or will Annabel the sixties’ style stealer, along with make-up artist Tallulah and her ‘Caravan of Hell’, sabotage her summer of new beginnings?

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Buying links: 

Kindle: https://amzn.to/3ly2s16

 Kobo: https://bit.ly/3z1bStQ 

Apple Books: https://apple.co/3x75XCB 

Nook: https://bit.ly/37pfQjY

About the Author:

 Kirsty Ferry is from the North East of England and lives there with her husband and son. She won the English Heritage/Belsay Hall National Creative Writing competition and has had articles and short stories published in various magazines. Her work also appears in several anthologies, incorporating such diverse themes as vampires, crime, angels and more. Kirsty loves writing ghostly mysteries and interweaving fact and fiction. The research is almost as much fun as writing the book itself, and if she can add a wonderful setting and a dollop of history, that’s even better. Her day job involves sharing a building with an eclectic collection of ghosts, which can often prove rather interesting. Kirsty writes for both Choc Lit and Ruby Fiction.

Find out more about Kirsty here:

https://www.facebook.com/kirsty.ferry.author

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#GuestPost MEET ME ON THE BUDDY BENCH by HANNAH PEARL @ChocLituk @HannahPearl_1

Delighted to be with you today to hand over the blog to the lovely HANNAH PEARL  as she shares some thoughts on her wonderful new book MEET ME ON THE BUDDY BENCH, which was released yesterday.  It’s a book very close to my heart as I have M.E too, so it really struck a chord with me and it’s a book I cannot recommend highly enough… go get your copy NOW!!

Over to you Hannah….

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Guest Post: Meet Me on the Buddy Bench by Hannah Pearl

My inspiration for writing Meet Me on the Buddy Bench was to explore what happens when life takes an unexpected turn. It’s all about finding happiness even when life isn’t easy or straightforward. This happened to me when I got ill just over seven years ago and didn’t fully recover. I wanted to write about a character who develops ME as this condition continues to really limit what I can do. It means so much to me to have this opportunity to raise awareness of the condition, but to hopefully do this within a book that reaches past our community and is read more widely too.

Meet Me on the Buddy Bench is a romance, and I hope that people will enjoy watching Ava and Sam fall in love as much as I enjoyed writing their story. Romance books are so powerful, and I needed them when I, like Ava in this book, could suddenly no longer do all of the simple things I once took for granted. I needed their uplift, their positivity, their support, their encouragement. Their reassurance that people do find happiness even when they’ve experienced unexpectedly difficult times. Romance books kept me company when I was suddenly alone for hours at a time. They offered hope and made me laugh and cry in turn.

I hope that this book can entertain people, but if it can also bring comfort or companionship to anyone who needs it, that would make me very happy indeed.

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About the Book:

When an ordinary park bench becomes a lifeline …

As a primary school teacher, Ava Lam is familiar with the ‘buddy bench’: a rainbow painted bench where sad or lonely children can sit to show they need a friend.

But are buddy benches just for kids? Ava might have assumed so – until she finds herself sobbing her heart out on a park bench and a kind stranger sits down next to her.

The stranger, Dr Sam Stone, has a house, an impressive job and he’s even training for a marathon – all things that seem painfully out of Ava’s reach in her new and scary circumstances. But, whilst Sam appears to have everything figured out, it turns out he needs a sympathetic ear just as much as she does.

Is the encounter a one-off, or could the ‘buddy bench’ begin to represent a source of comfort and support that will become precious to them both?

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Buying Links:

 Kindle: https://amzn.to/36YZOxI

 Kobo: https://bit.ly/3EuHaKc 

Apple Books: https://apple.co/3uYgaQk

 Nook: http://bit.ly/3I0HlOt

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About the Author:

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, as a Development Worker with various charities and even pulled a few pints in her time.

In 2015 she was struck down by Labyrinthitis, 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.

Follow Hannah on Twitter here: @HannahPearl_1

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#BookReview IT STARTED WITH A WEDDING by KIRSTY FERRY @ChocLituk

ABOUT THE BOOK

It’s one thing to be asked to plan your sister’s wedding; it’s quite another when your sister is Nessa McCreadie …


Alfie McCreadie wants his twin sister Nessa to have the best wedding ever, but he’s not happy at being roped in as wedding planner – especially as, unbelievably, his main assistant seems to be Nessa’s cat, Schubert. Anyway, Alfie is a scientist. He might know his protons from his neutrons, but what does he know about weddings?


It’s Nessa who points him in the direction of Bea’s Garden, just outside Edinburgh, where he’s tasked with picking a “very-relevant-bouquet”. It’s there he meets Fae Brimham, who might be prettier than any bouquet bloom but doesn’t seem impressed by Alfie’s sensible, scientific side.


But when Nessa and Schubert are involved, surprises are bound to happen and, despite less-than-perfect first impressions, perhaps something new and beautiful can still blossom for Alfie and Fae …

PUBLISHED BY CHOC LIT

PURCHASE LINK

Amazon


MY REVIEW

Schubert is back and this time he’s helping to plan a wedding!! Maybe cats should always be involved with wedding planning if this book is anything to go by! This is part of a series but is easily read as a standalone – once you’ve read about Schubert you’ll want to read more!

This time we get to hear the story of Alfie, who is charged with planning the wedding of his twin sister, Nessa. Way out of his comfort zone, he’s more scientific than romantic, but gets a helping hand from Fae who he meets when he’s helping to choose flowers from Bea’s Garden. Fae is an apothecarist so places huge importance of the meanings and senses behind each flower – very different from Alfie’s approach to life and medicine.

Sparks fly between them instantly and there’s so many co-incidences and moments of deja-vu that you get the sense that the universe is working its’ magic on these two and wants their paths to cross! But will they take the signs and see things through?! Or are there darker arts at work to change their destiny?!

I loved watching the story play out and also loved hearing about the different folklore and meanings about different flowers! It was a lovely, magical and sweet story and Schubert has a wonderful starring role!! As, of course, he rightly deserves!! Brilliant!

★★★★★

#BookReview KEEPING UP WITH THE KERSHAWS by HELEN BUCKLEY @ChocLituk


ABOUT THE BOOK

What do you do when your life becomes more dramatic than reality TV?


As the devoted carer for famous antique expert Harold Kershaw, Karrie Morgan was always happy to keep a professional distance from his four spoilt grown-up children, who rarely made time for their father. But then a surprise involving Harold’s Will means Karrie is flung headlong into a press scandal, and into the chaotic world of the surviving Kershaws.
With the support of her trusted childhood friend Andrew, mild-mannered Karrie must face down ruthless ice queen Portia, master manipulator Gabriel, Botox fanatic Arabella, and ladies’ man Rafe, star of reality TV show Raised in Richmond … although perhaps not as fake and flashy as he initially seems?


As vicious rumours circulate and Karrie’s past comes back to haunt her, she struggles to know who to trust. Can she keep up with the Kershaws’ schemes?

Book 4 in Spotlight series but they can all be read as standalone stories.

PUBLISHED BY CHOC LIT

PURCHASE LINKS

Kindle: Keeping Up with the Kershaws: This contemporary has twists, turns & plenty of drama, but also a wonderful slow-burn romance at the heart. (Spotlight Book 4) eBook : Buckley, Helen: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store

Apple: https://books.apple.com/gb/book/keeping-up-with-the-kershaws/id1606964264?

Kobo: Keeping Up with the Kershaws eBook by Helen Buckley – 9781781895115 | Rakuten Kobo United Kingdom

Google: Keeping Up with the Kershaws by Helen Buckley – Books on Google Play

Nook: Keeping Up with the Kershaws by Helen Buckley | NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble® (barnesandnoble.com)

MY REVIEW

This was such a fabulous read! Featuring characters that you only wish good things for, against those that make you tremble with rage at just how awful they are!!

Karrie has spent 7 years devoted to Harold Kershaw as his carer, whilst his adult children got on with their lives and didn’t want much to do with the old man….. that is until he dies, and there’s money to be had! Karrie is devastated when he passes as he’s family to her and she’s wondering what to do with her life next but it appears that Harold had her future in his thoughts when writing his will, and that upsets the Kershaw children!

So what transpires is Karrie and her best friend Andrew, doing all they can to survive the mudslinging and dirty tricks of the children – Portia, Gabriel, Arabella and Rafe. They look down on Karrie and think she must have tricked him into leaving her everything and want it stopped. The fact that they’re all well off and living comfortably doesn’t even seem to enter their heads! Greed rears its’ ugly head!

I loved the portrayal of the different character types in this novel! In Karrie you had someone who has had a genuinely tough life, but find happiness in caring for others, always putting them first over her own needs. And the characteristics of the Kershaw children showed what’s wrong with some in society – the ‘me first’ attitude and entitlement is staggering! And they’re not even afraid to badmouth members of their own family to get their own way!!

The more time Rafe spends with Karrie, he begins to see a different side to people that he normally hangs round with, and how there are ‘normal’ people out there genuinely interested in others and having no malice in their bones! It was great to see his eyes being opened to decent human behaviour, other than the fakeness he’d seen in the Reality TV show world he found himself living in.

I loved this story. It’s one of those that you totally lose yourself in and seeing how money brings out the worst in people just makes you cringe! The shock twists along the way add to the drama as well, but no spoilers from me!! A cracking read!!

★★★★★