BlogTour A WINTER WISH by ROSIE GREEN #BookReview @rararesources @Rosie_Green88

Hello and welcome to my Blog!  And today I’m excited to be part of the Blog Tour for the fabulous A Winter Wish by Rosie Green!

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!

A Winter Wish, Little Duck Pond Café

With her new-found happiness unexpectedly crushed, Clara is struggling to move forward. It’s hard – especially with step-sister Lois bouncing around the place with joy and making all sorts of plans for the future. And when the household is shocked by a mysterious break-in and a neighbour makes a shocking accusation, Clara finds herself in an impossible position. It’s a situation that threatens to destroy her blossoming romance almost before it’s begun . . .

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3JYkLI5

Author Bio – 

Rosie’s series of novellas is centred around life in a country village cafe. ‘Clara’s Secret Garden’, the first in a trilogy telling Clara’s story, was published in August, and ‘A Winter Wish’ is Book 2. Look out for ‘Clara’s Christmas Magic’, the third and final book in the trilogy, out in November 2022.

Follow Rosie on Twitter – https://twitter.com/Rosie_Green88 

MY REVIEW

Number 24 in the Little Duck Pond series!! Time really does fly when you’re having fun reading a series and this just keeps delivering for me as a reader! Relatable, and likeable!, characters, a great setting and always a little twist that ramps things up and this one delivers on all front! It’s darker and more dramatic than some previous offerings, and I loved that side of the Little Duck Pond series!

We follow Clara again in the second of her ‘trilogy’ and this time she’s holding the family together as seems to be her role. It’s so important to her and she’s there for her half brother, while her mother is still finding life a struggle.  And her step sister is giddy with love and that’s driving Clara a little insane, especially as she’s hiding her own feelings – just like her to put others first over herself.

There are then some very dramatic events going on – no spoilers from me! – and it brings to the fore some darker secrets from the past and you wonder just how Clara and her family will deal .  I just cannot wait to see how this wonderful trilogy will end with the next book coming out very soon!

Another wonderful addition to the series and it always just makes me want more!!

★★★★★

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GuestPost A LITTLE CHRISTMAS PANTO by ANGELA BRITNELL #BookExtract @ChocLituk @AngelaBritnell

Hello all!!  Happy Monday!! I get to hand over the Blog today to the lovely ANGELA BRITNELL who is here to share an exclusive extact with you all, to celebrate the release of  A LITTLE CHRISTMAS PANTO …. Oh no it isn’t… Oh yes it is!!!!

Over to you, Angela….

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Release Day Post: A Little Christmas Panto by Angela Britnell

Hello again, Karen, and thank you so much for welcoming me to your lovely blog again. I’m always happy to talk about my books and this year’s festive offering, A Little Christmas Panto, is no exception! I thoroughly enjoyed writing this story based around a Cornish village pantomime with Zach, a troubled Hollywood celebrity and Rosey, a former concert pianist now living a quieter life as my main characters. It brought back happy memories of my own, not exactly world-class, efforts on the stage in the junior chorus of the pantomime in the Cornish village where I grew up.

I thought I’d chat a bit today about how some people’s views towards Christmas are shaped and the expectations the season often arouses. In this short extract Rosey is talking to Fred, an older man who is in charge of the pantomime scenery:

‘I s’ppose Christmas will be on us before we know it. Don’t seem possible. The year’s flying by.’ He rolled his eyes. ‘Wendy’s already started buying loads of stuff the kids and grandkids don’t need. I’m partial to singing a few carols but don’t care tuppence for the rest of it.’

‘I’m with you but I think we’re in the minority.’ Rosey’s jaundiced view of the holidays came from her mother. There’d been no spare money when Rosey was little so that kept their celebrations simple, and now Anna used the excuse that, with the pantomime starting three weeks after Christmas, she didn’t have time for a lot of fuss. To her mum, the holidays were an irritating disruption to the rehearsal schedule.

‘Wouldn’t do if we were all the same.’ A smile creased Fred’s weathered face.

Rosey’s mother Anna has always been content to rush through Christmas because her mind is laser-focused on the pantomime which takes to the stage in the middle of January. But she takes it to heart when some friends gently tease her about her un-festive house and here we see Rosey’s misgivings about Anna’s attempt to take on other people’s expectations:

Last night her mother insisted they drag out their own feeble box of decorations because she’d taken umbrage when the sewing group had a good-natured laugh at their un-Christmassy home. Now Anna was determined to prove she could do Christmas as well as the next person. Rosey hadn’t the heart to point out that their lame fluorescent pink tabletop tree with its mismatched collection of random ornaments, the single strand of coloured lights hanging in the front window, and sparse sprigs of artificial holly on the mantlepiece were hardly the last word in festive decor.

Of course, Anna is an over-the-top person so she doesn’t stop there:

Rosey ducked to avoid hitting the low-hanging silver garland hitched up across the bottom of the stairs. Her mother never did anything by halves and must have bought every Christmas decoration on sale within a twenty-mile radius of Polcarne. She’d adorned every non-living thing in the house, and no doubt would have done the same to her daughter if she’d dared to stand still for too long. Her mother was decked out brighter than their Christmas tree in a gold jumpsuit.

Will things escalate? Will Anna foolishly attempt to replace their usual Marks & Spencer ready meals with the first turkey she’s ever cooked or will she come to her senses? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

One of the main themes of the book is being true to yourself and several characters go on the journey of discovering what that is for them. I hope you and your readers enjoy A Little Christmas Panto – Oh Yes I Do!

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About the book:

Can a little Cornish village panto convince a troubled Hollywood heart throb to act again?

Oh no it won’t! At least that’s what Zach Broussard initially thinks when the eccentric Anna Teague tries to railroad him into helping out with her community pantomime production in the run-up to Christmas. Zach has his reasons for leaving Hollywood behind, and his retreat to the remote village of Polcarne in Cornwall signals the start of a new acting free life for him.

But when Zach meets Anna’s daughter, Rosey – an ex concert pianist who has swapped Mozart for panto tunes – he starts to wonder whether he could change his mind, and not just about acting.

If nothing else, will the residents of Polcarne ensure Zach has a Christmas he never forgets?

Oh yes they will!

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Grab your copy here….

Kindle link: https://amzn.to/3dY0cj8

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.

www.twitter.com/angelabritnell 

www.facebook.com/angelabritnell

Instagram handle: @AngelaGolleyBritnell

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PublicationDay FLORA’S CHRISTMAS OF NEW BEGINNINGS by KIRSTY FERRY #BookExtract @ChocLituk @kirsty_ferry

Greetings!! Happy Tuesday one and all!! And I have a real treat for you today, with an exclusive extract to share from FLORA’S CHRISTMAS OF NEW BEGINNINGS by the lovely KIRSTY FERRY, which is celebrating PUBLICATION DAY today!!!  Go grab your copy now!!!

Publication Day Extract: Flora’s Christmas of New Beginnings by Kirsty Ferry

To celebrate the release of Kirsty Ferry’s fun and festive Christmas novel, Flora’s Christmas of New Beginnings, here is an exclusive extract from the book!

In this short excerpt, we join Flora for ‘her Christmas that Never Was’ – but is Flora destined for bad Christmases forever more? Hopefully not! Have a read and see …

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Last Christmas

(Which was horrible and turned into the Christmas that Never Was)

I hated January!

I hated London!

And I definitely hated Carter “dump-your-girlfriend-at-Christmas” Hayton-Smith.

Because, dear reader, I was that girlfriend.

Carter “dump-your-girlfriend-at-Christmas” Hayton-Smith (okay, let’s just call him Carter from now on) did the deed on Christmas Eve.

Bloody Christmas Eve.

I had wondered, I must say, as the days wore on, where my Christmas present was. I’d given him his so it wasn’t like I was being selfish; more just curious, as we’d originally intended to exchange them at the same time.

I started thinking that perhaps he just wasn’t as super-organised as I was, on the basis that, for days after I’d given him his gift, he kept saying stuff like, ‘Oh Flora, I’ll get around to it. I’ve just been … busy.’ Then he’d smile at me and try to distract me by snogging me or similar.

We’d arranged to spend Christmas together and everything. He’d booked lunch at a restaurant in Mayfair (he said), and apparently the destination was going to be a big surprise. I’d always had my Christmas lunch at home, or with my parents, and, if I was very honest

with myself, I didn’t feel I was really a “Hotel Christmas Lunch” sort of person. But he made it sound really exciting and fun and easy, so I agreed.

Due to this plan, my parents decided to have Christmas at the other end of the country – my sister Beth lives in a tiny village in the Lake District with her partner and two small children – and they checked and double-checked that it was okay to go.

‘Beth said she’ll come to us,’ Mum had said, looking super-concerned, ‘but if you’re definitely going to have Christmas with Carter, we’ll go there. It’s better for the children if they think Santa is coming to their own house. Routine and all that.’ Mum was a great one for “routine”, and it had obviously ingrained itself into her daughters. I worked in events management at Bloomsbury Bright’s in, well, Bloomsbury, obviously, and that involved a lot of organisation and planning; and Beth was a teacher, so she spent weekdays herding small children, and evenings and weekends herding even smaller children. I didn’t know how she managed. Her house ran like clockwork and I was sure that Trixie and Tabitha would have been perfectly compliant if Beth and Tony had decided to drive to Pinner and ensure Santa showed up there instead.

I’d always failed to see why she’d given her children the same names as the cats we’d had when we were kids though.

But, anyway, off to the Lakes they went on the 23rd, and I promised I’d send them a photo of my lovely Christmas lunch.

Then on the morning of Christmas Eve, I woke up to a text from Carter:

Babes. Been thinking. Getting too serious for me, y’all know I’m scared of commitment lol lol lol. Christmas Day together, man, just seems kinda – intense. You know? Gonna cut you loose, so you can have fun with the fam-a-lam tomoz instead. Don’t feel bad about it, we had fun, yeah? The swimming and the waxworks. Oh and the theatre. Awesome.

So yeah. Not you, it’s me lol lol. Cancelled lunch, so don’t stress over it. Love n light n peace. Thanks for the last few months. Been fun. Xxx

‘What the … what the absolute …!’ I screamed into the empty bedroom. Three mentions of “fun” in one bloody text and I was currently failing to see what had been “fun” at all, in retrospect. Yes, we’d been to the water park at London Royal Docks and he’d zoomed off swimming and left me trailing behind. Yes, we’d done Madame Tussaud’s and I’d been scared witless in the Chamber of Horrors, but he’d “had to get up early the next day” so wouldn’t stay over and I spent the night a gibbering wreck with the lights on in the lounge binge-watching comedy movies. And he’d fallen asleep in Les Mis, which was certainly a talent few can claim to own.

I was aware that he had a very punchy sort of job in finance; I’d always known he would be working long hours and that was fine. He constantly seemed to move at a million miles per hour and treated everything as a joke, just a bit of light relief. We’d only been together six months and I thought it seemed a bit wild arranging something so, well, intimate for Christmas Day. But I was happy to go along with it, all caught up in the new relationship and thinking that it was one day we wouldn’t have to rush through for once; that we could enjoy a lazy morning and a lovely lunch and a cosy afternoon.

But I was wrong.

By then, Mum and Dad were at Beth’s – I had told Carter that was happening, which made his text even more thoughtless – and even as I phoned Mum in desperation, thinking I could maybe drive all the way up there, deep down I knew it wasn’t going to happen.

‘Oh darling,’ said Mum. ‘We’ve got blizzards up here, and they’ve got a weather warning up for today and tonight. We’re basically snowed in and being advised not to drive. It’s supposed to ease off tomorrow…?’ There was a little note of hope in her voice, a tiny query in the word “tomorrow”, but I was already shaking my head, tears dripping off the end

of my nose by that point. I realised I’d have to speak eventually because we were on the phone and she couldn’t see me. But that was maybe a good thing because I’d always been an ugly crier.

‘No, Mum. It’s okay,’ I managed. ‘I’m sure it’ll be fine. It’s only one day.’

‘Sweetheart. Are there any friends you can spend it with? I’m so sorry we’re up here.’

‘I’ll find someone. It’s fine.’

‘If you’re sure.’

‘I’m sure.’

But obviously it wasn’t fine, and I didn’t even try to call any friends. Most of them were spending Christmas Day with their families and, of course, I didn’t want to gate-crash.

In the end, I lied. I told Mum I’d spent the day with my colleague Claudia, because her partner, Dieter, was a doctor and had to work, so she’d be on her own too. Claudia was a person far enough removed that they were highly unlikely to meet her, they weren’t friends with her parents, and they basically didn’t know her at all. After Christmas, I told Claudia to uphold that lie if they ever did end up meeting her and explained why. I knew she would do it, bless her.

In reality, that Christmas Day was the most pox-worthy, crappy day I have ever spent in my entire life. It may only have been one day, but the TV adverts don’t let you think that. They always fill the screen with happy people and families around a massive turkey on a table. I cried every time an advert came on with a mum and a dad and a child. Which is stupid because I’m twenty-eight!

I had a going-out-of-date microwave chicken curry for lunch which I’d bought at the corner shop on Christmas Eve, ate an entire Christmas pudding for tea and drank a bottle of prosecco for supper, just to try and make myself sleep.

I told Mum I’d “forgotten” my phone when I went to Claudia’s, so that was why I had no photos of the lunch or the super-fun day we’d had playing Pictionary and singing along to musicals on TV, etc, and that was also why I only FaceTimed them at 8 p.m.

She held the phone up to the window of Beth’s house so I could see the thick covering of snow, almost like she thought I might not believe her about the weather, but the worst part was seeing my dad with his paper hat on and Tabitha curled up asleep in the crook of his arm.

I so wanted to be there with them.

And thus Christmas Day passed, eventually, and thankfully I went to bed, fell asleep and shut the door on that awful day.

It was a crying shame because I loved Christmas, normally – but that one went down in my memory bank as the “Christmas that Never Was”.

And then we were into January, which I always hated anyway, because it’s grey and miserable – and who’s a size four, to grab bargains in the sales?

So now you can probably understand why I particularly hated last January. I was still getting over the awful Christmas; still getting over – and getting enraged on a regular basis about – Carter.

But when I met Paul Tanner at an event the following month, I thought that at least it had to mean that February was going to be much better than January!

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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.

FOLLOW THE AUTHOR……

www.twitter.com/kirsty_ferry 

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

 Kirsty’s website: www.rosethornpress.co.uk

 Kirsty’s blog: www.rosethornramblings.wordpress.com

About the book:


It was meant to be a romantic Christmas getaway …

Except Flora’s boyfriend Paul is more interested in whether there’s WiFi in their holiday cottage than he is in the pretty village of Padcock where it’s located. It seems he’s incapable of taking time out from his work for gossip mag darling Maxine Marling – or Maxine Marmoset as Flora not so secretly calls her (well, she does look like a marmoset!) – to spend time with his actual girlfriend.

But as Flora discovers the friendly and festive community of Padcock with its eccentric but lovable locals – including dreamy musician Geraint Davies – she begins to question her London life and lots more besides. Especially as a certain marmoset becomes ever more present on her Christmas break for two …

But luckily Padcock is a village where fresh starts happen – and maybe Flora is in line for her own Christmas of new beginnings.

 Buying links: 

Kindle: https://amzn.to/3VFmG9P

 Kobo: https://bit.ly/3CFI4mI 

Apple Books: https://apple.co/3P58DWu

 Nook: https://bit.ly/3vGxOaW

#BookReview THE LITTLE HOUSE BY THE SEA by TRACY REES

ABOUT THE BOOK

Bluebells bob in the salty sea wind and the cottage gate swings open to reveal the inky-blue cove. It’s exactly how Kitty always pictured it… except in her head, she wasn’t standing here alone.

Kitty Roberts spends her days searching for the perfect home for two… until her boyfriend dumps her. Devastated, she flees to a tiny seaside village called Pennystrand, where she spent golden summers as a child, before her family fell apart.

At first, Kitty’s dramatic escape proves to be exactly what she needs – golden sunsets over warm, sandy beaches, lovably eccentric new neighbours and even a blush-inducing run-in with Cory Hudson, a floppy-haired local surfer with a heart-stopping smile.

But just as Kitty feels herself beginning to heal, Cory reveals that his time in Pennystrand is nearly up. What’s more, some strange reactions to Kitty in town make her wonder if her connection to this place might go deeper than she thought.

What is this tranquil little village hiding? It seems there’s a secret in Kitty’s past that is about to turn her life on its head once more… Is she ready for the truth? And will it bring her and Cory closer together, or drive them apart?

A page-turning story full of unexpected twists and turns. It will make you smile, laugh and wish you could visit Pennystrand! Absolutely perfect for fans of Jenny Colgan, Heidi Swain and Carole Matthews.

PUBLISHED BY BOOKOUTURE

PUBLICATION DATE – 24TH AUGUST 2022

PRE-ORDER LINK

AMAZON

MY REVIEW

Loved Loved Loved!! This is one of those books that puts a smile on your face and warms your heart! And it was just a wonderful treat to read in the sunshine – and to know that you’re not alone in being someone who searches estate agents looking and dreaming of that perfect life away from it all!

Kitty is the main character in this book and she’s looking for something but she’s not sure what! Her happy times are spent in estate agents looking for a dream house, away from the noise and bustle of London – her other half Mitch doesn’t share that dream but fate soon finds a way for her to follow her own path!!

So she finds herself moving to Wales to reassess her life, in a place where she has happy memories from her childhood and with her family. She finds a lovely spot to stay with a nice landlady, and soon finds herself at the heart of the village, trying to make new friends and find a new way of life.

I loved how she threw herself into her new life, and how new doors, literally!, opened up for her! There was lots of fun banter and the introduction of Cory really spices things up and their relationship was just perfect! There’s also a little mystery thrown in, along with some shocking family secrets and I just loved how the story evolved and didn’t want it to end! Home truly is where the heart is!!

★★★★★

#CoverReveal THE COTTAGE IN THE HIGHLANDS by JULIE SHACKMAN @rararesources @G13Julie

Delighted to be part of the cover reveal today for the forthcoming release of THE COTTAGE IN THE HIGHLANDS by JULIE SHACKMAN!  My thanks to the author, publisher and Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources for letting me be part of it all with so many other wonderful Bloggers!

And here it is…..😍😍😍

THE COTTAGE IN THE HIGHLANDS

The Cottage in the Highlands

When Leonie Baxter finds herself out of a job and out of a relationship, she’s at her wits end. Her life has just been turned upside down and she needs a plan, fast.

By chance, on a walk with her rescue puppy, Leonie stumbles across a striking house in the woods; fully furnished but unoccupied. As a journalist, she is determined to find out more, after all, reporting is in her nature.

But her attempts are thwarted by Lily Cruickshank who lives in the cottage next door. Why won’t Lily help Leonie? And who is the mysterious Flynn Talbot, whose letter Leonie finds inside the house?

And in uncovering the secrets of the abandoned house, will Leonie open her own heart and let love back into her life?

The brand new escapist story from the bestselling author of A Secret Scottish Escape and A Scottish Highland Surprise, for fans of Jo Thomas, Trisha Ashley and Cathy Bramley.

Pre-order Links:

 UK – The Cottage in the Highlands: Relax and unwind with the brand new winter romance (Scottish Escapes, Book 3) eBook : Shackman, Julie: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store

 USA – Amazon.com: The Cottage in the Highlands: Relax and unwind with the brand new winter romance (Scottish Escapes, Book 3) eBook : Shackman, Julie: Kindle Store

Publication Date: 1st December

Author Bio – 

Julie Shackman is a former journalist from Scotland, who has always wanted to write feel-good romance. As well as being an author, Julie also writes verses and captions for greetings card companies. Julie admits to having an obsession with stationery and handbags. She is married, has two sons and has a Romanian rescue puppy, Cooper. The Cottage in the Highlands is Julie’s seventh novel.

 Social Media Links –

https://www.facebook.com/julie.shackman

https://www.instagram.com/juliegeorginashackman

#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

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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

#GuestPost THE HOUSE ON THE HILL by CHRIS PENHALL #PublicationDay @ChocLituk @ChrisPenhall

An absolute delight to be having company on the Blog today to help celebrate the publication day of the wonderful THE HOUSE ON THE HILL by CHRIS PENHALL!!  Links to buy are below so go grab your copy and get that Summer feeling on!!

Over to you Chris…..

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Release Day post: The House on the Hill by Chris Penhall

The House on the Hill – A Summer in the Algarve is the story of Layla Garcia, the apparently serene, successful, well-organised owner of a yoga and mindfulness studio called – yes, you’ve guessed it – The House on the Hill. The story follows her through the summer months of one memorable year, and it transpires that under that calm exterior is a swan with legs paddling faster and faster like a wind-up toy as time goes on in order to just keep things under control and the business running smoothly.

But that proves harder than she thinks, especially when a reminder of a past she’d rather not deal with moves in next door in the form of writer, Luke Mackie. He accidentally brings a spot of unwelcome, but – I’m going to be honest here – much-needed chaos to her life. And just to make things even more difficult for herself Layla decides not to tell him that their paths have already crossed. And voila – she manages to create another problem. For her. Not for him. He has no idea they have any kind of common history at all.

All of this is set against the backdrop of Lagos in the western Algarve – a place I love very much, and where I go often to relax, replenish and have quite a lot of fun.

There is a hill behind the long, beautiful stretch of sand that is Meia Praia and I decided that it was a perfect place for Layla’s studios where she can hide out, driving down to the beach or into the city when she needed to, but able to return and gaze at it all from a distance whenever she wants.

She can open the door onto the balcony outside her bedroom and listen to the birdsong and distant lapping of the waves after the daily morning yoga session before she faces the world. To the west, the white-washed buildings of Lagos, to the east, the lagoon separating Meia Praia and Alvor and Portimao, where elegant yachts pause for a while before gliding gracefully out to sea.

For me, this encapsulates Lagos, with its vibrance on one hand, and its serenity on the other. I can experience both within a 20-minute walk! In the summer, the streets are filled with life and music, whether it’s of buskers on street corners or guitarists in bars and restaurants across the city. And yet you can get away from the crowds simply by sitting on the sand of Praia de Batata next to the fort at the end of the Avenida as the sun goes down, where all is quiet, or pad around the narrow, cobbled back streets in the shadows of the city walls, and to the accompaniment of your footsteps and the occasional hum of conversation.

All of that is Layla’s world. She just needs to be careful the House on the Hill doesn’t really turn into her Fortress on the Hill.

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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?

Buying links: 

Kindle: https://amzn.to/3ygCc26 

Kobo: https://bit.ly/3xPS0HJ 

Apple Books: https://apple.co/38AH8oO 

Nook: https://bit.ly/3PqObAO

About the Author:

Chris is a freelance writer and radio producer. Born in South Wales, she has also lived near 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. She is now working on her second. 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. Chris has two grown-up daughters and lives in the Essex countryside. Chris is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association.

Chris debut novel, The House That Alice Built won Choc Lit’s Search for a Star competition sponsored by Your Cat Magazine.

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisPenhall 

Like Chris on Facebook: Chris Penhall Author 

Visit Chris’s blog here: https://www.chrispenhall.co.uk/

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#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!!

★★★★★

#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!

★★★★★