Baxter’s Requiem by Matthew Crow @MatthewCrow @annecater #Review

I am delighted to be sharing my review for Baxter’s Requiem by Matthew Crow with you today. I was lucky to win a copy of this book on a Giveaway run by the fabulous Anne Cater on her blog at Random Things Through My Letterbox.

Let me tell you a story, about a man I knew, and a man I know…

Mr Baxter is ninety-four years old when he falls down his staircase and grudgily finds himself resident at Melrose Gardens Retirement Home.

Baxter is many things – raconteur, retired music teacher, rabble-rouser, bon viveur – but ‘good patient’ he is not. He had every intention of living his twilight years with wine, music and revelry; not tea, telly and Tramadol. Indeed, Melrose Gardens is his worst nightmare – until he meets Gregory.

At only nineteen years of age, Greg has suffered a loss so heavy that he is in danger of giving up on life before he even gets going.

Determined to save the boy, Baxter decides to enlist his help on a mission to pay tribute to his long-lost love, Thomas: the man with whom he found true happiness; the man he waved off to fight in a senseless war; the man who never returned. The best man he ever knew.

With Gregory in tow Baxter sets out on a spirited escape from Melrose, bound for the war graves of Northern France. As Baxter shares his memories, the boy starts to see that life need not be a matter of mere endurance; that the world is huge and beautiful; that kindness is strength; and that the only way to honour the dead, is to live.

Baxter’s Requiem is a glorious celebration of life, love and seizing every last second we have while we’re here.

What a stunning book Baxter’s Requiem is! Meeting the character that is Baxter was memorable. A grumpy old man on the outside but with a wonderful wit and a huge heart on the inside! Greg is again another wonderful character, he is quiet and withdrawn in an almost moody way. With over 70 years separating these two there are bound to be differences but, actually not that many!

Both Greg and Baxter have personal stories in them. They are kept close and they almost protect them from the outside world. They are precious memories that they have built up and I can understand this almost secretive shield they have around them.

When Baxter and Greg meet it is at the care home that Baxter has been sent to recover from a fall. Baxter sees Greg as something more than quiet and withdrawn, he sees sorrow and pain. Baxter believes that he can help Greg somehow and so the process of building up a friendship and a bond begins.

It is not only Greg that needs help, Baxter does from a care point, but Baxter has something else in mind. He wants desperatley to go to France, it is something that means so much to him. So without realsining it Greg needs Baxter to help him to be able to live his life and break free of what holds him back. Baxcter needs Greg to break out and fulfil a heartbreaking promise to the man he loved.

I read this book 3 weeks ago and it is only now that I am coming back to my paper notes and what I thought. I have a lump in throat as I type this up, it reminds me how beautiful and poignant this story was. It shows that life can be so fragile and fleeting and also so full of love.

I loved the emotions that the author brought out of me with Baxter’s Requiem, smilrking at some of the one liners from Baxter only for the realisation that life has an expiry date. Care homes are often referred to as “Gods waiting room” but in Baxter’s case he sees them as “practising being dead and paying for the privalige”. This cracked me up and then the reality of what he said…

Sadness and a sort of melancholy was what I expected before I began this book. But then I found that it was heartwarming, moving, funny and yes there is sadness and heartbreak. but, this book wasn’t about that. This was a story that showed me a life lived, a life loved, a life apart and a life to come.

If you after a gorgeous, stunning, beautiful read then you seriously need to read this book. It get a Highly Recommended from Me!

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be great 🙂 xx

The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter by Cherry Radford @CherryRad @urbanebooks #review

I am delighted to be sharing my review for The Lighthouse Keepers Daughter by Cherry Radford. I recieved a copy of this book last year from Urbane Publishers, many apologies for it taking so long for me to read and review. I wish I had picked it up sooner as it was such a wonderful read.

So before I get carried away, why don’t I let you know what it’s all about …

After the break-up of her marriage, Imogen escapes to her aunt’s converted lighthouse on Beachy Head. Writing for a tedious online magazine but hoping to starting a novel, she wants to be alone – until she finds an entrancing flamenco CD in her borrowed car and contacts the artist via Twitter. It turns out that actor-musician Santiago needs help with English, and is soon calling her profesora.

Through her window, the other lighthouse winks at her across the sea. The one where her father was a keeper, until he mysteriously drowned there in 1982. Her aunt is sending extracts from his diary, and Imogen is intrigued to learn that, like her and Santi, her father had a penfriend.

Meanwhile, despite their differences – Imogen is surrounded by emotional and geographical barriers, Santi surrounded by family and land-locked Madrid – their friendship develops. So, she reads, did her father’s – but shocking revelations cause Imogen to question whether she ever really knew him.

Two stories of communication: the hilarious mistakes, the painful misunderstandings, and the miracle – or tragedy – of finding someone out there with whom you have an unforeseen, irresistible connection.

This is such a beautiful story, well more a story within a story. Imogen is the Lighthouse Keepers daughter, her father drowned mysteriously and his part of the story is told in snippets from his diary. The pages from the diary are sent separately to Imogen, this is one of the stories. Another is the relationship between Imogen and her family, her son Ollie, her Aunt who sends the diary pages and also her friend Jules.

The main story is that of Imogen herself and how she helps Santi, a Spanish Musician/Actor. She had been unaware of him until she found and listened to a CD of his in her car. It was right music for her to listen to at the right time, as it made such an impact she tweeted him and gradually a friendship formed. Music is an important part of the story in some ways because it is the foundation of a friendship that takes the lonely and isolated Imogen on a trip to Madrid.

Things happen for a reason, some things happen at the right time and right place. These become more apparent as the story gradually unfolds. For me Imogen is the personification of a lighthouse, she is isolated, stands apart from others and has an eerie beauty to her. As I got to know her through the story, I found myself understanding and warming to Imogen and caring about her.

There is a myriad of Spanish phrases throughout this book, don’t worry though they are all explained as conversations flow. I should explain that Imogen is helping Santi with his English and vice versa. Some of these conversations are hilarious and add such a nice touch.

Both Imogen and Santi have such wonderful personalities, and are very different. They each have their own struggles, problems, home life dramas. I loved the way they interacted and their friendship took time to develop, it gave me a chance to get to know them as individuals rather than a duo.

I adored this book, the setting and story-lines were compelling, the characters were memorable and all-in-all a very beautiful story.

This is a book that would appeal to readers who like a slower meander through the lives of the characters they meet. It delves into the families pasts and reveals the odd secret along the way. A story that I would highly recommend.

P.S. I love the cover for this book and my copy has little lighthouses next to the page numbers. Also on the chapter heading pages there is a wonderful silhouette of the lighthouse . I love the little details in book designs…just saying 🙂

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be fabulous 🙂 xx

Culmfield Cuckoo by Celia Moore @rararesources #Giveaway (INT) #review

I am delighted to share my review for Culmfield Cuckoo by Celia Moore. My review is part of the Blog Tour for this book with Rachel’s Random Resources, my thanks to Rachel for my stop on the tour and to Celia for my e-copy of this book.

Now let’s have a look at the synopsis and see what it is all about…

When Billy reaches out to help, her kindness brings many changes which threaten hopes, homes, and even the people she loves the most.

Who is the Culmfield Cuckoo?

Will they help Billy get her life back? Or is the Cuckoo the cause of everything that is going wrong?

Who is telling the truth?

Purchase Links:– Amazon –UK US – 

FOX HALT FARM, the first book in the series, is Free from Tuesday 2nd April 12am PDT  finishing on Saturday 6th 11.59pm PDT

Culmfield Cuckoo follows on from Fox Halt Farm, I have also read that one and I am going to suggest that these books are read in order. I say this because this is how I have read them and also that there are particular story lines that follow on from the first and are developed in the second book.

So, it appears that Billy seems to have her life finally heading in the right direction. But, suddenly things start to fall down around her. Accusations start flying around her, leaving me not knowing who was telling the truth or who is innocent.

I cannot help feeling for Billy, yes I know she has done some things in the past that drove a wedge between her and her friend, but I still feel that she is a character that has vulnerabilities that leave her a target for fate. I hoped that life would settle and she would be able to build a solid future, instead things hang in the balance.

The thing with the past is that things don’t always stay there, sometimes things just creep up and deliver a blow that has far reaching implications.

If you have read Fox Halt Farm then you will be aware of the main characters, and I was happy to see the majority of them back again, and the cast is added to by some new personalities.

This story, like the first, has a series of twists and turns and the author one again had me wondering who to trust as the story was played out. A couple of the characters really got my back up, other I could sympathise with and then there was a couple I wanted to shake some sense into.

This story turns into mystery and I am not letting any details about it. It is a well paced story as characters try to discover the truth and unearth some shocking revelations.

This is a book that I would recommend to reader that like a story that revolves around family and friends and all the drama that comes with them and a good dose of mystery. Its a series and a book that I would recommend.

Celia Moore (1967-now) grew up on a small farm near Exeter. She had a successful career as a Chartered Surveyor working in the City of London before working her way back to Devon. In 2000, she left the office to start a new adventure as an outdoor instructor, teaching rock climbing and mountaineering. Today she gardens for a few lovely customers, runs and writes (accompanied at all times by a border terrier x jack russell called Tizzy). She is running the London Marathon in April 2019 for three cancer charities.

Social Media LinksWebsite Facebook Twitter Pintrest Instagram

GIVEAWAY

Giveaway to Win a £15  / $15 Amazon Gift Card (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

ENTER HERE – Good Luck !

See what other Book Blogger think by following the Tour!

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or a share would be fabulous 🙂 xx

Rosie’s Travelling Tea Shop by Rebecca Raisin @HQDigitalUK #NetGalley #Review

I am delighted to be sharing my review for Rosie’s Travelling Tea Shop by Rebecca Raisin. This was the absolutely perfect pick-me-up read, I have been reading some quite dark, heavy books just recently and was looking for a lighter entertaining read, this book was exactly that and more.

My thanks to HQ Digital for accepting my request to review this book via NetGalley.

I just love this cover so how about I share what its all about and what I thought…

The trip of a lifetime!

Rosie Lewis has her life together.
 
A swanky job as a Michelin-Starred Sous Chef, a loving husband and future children scheduled for exactly January 2021.
 
That’s until she comes home one day to find her husband’s pre-packed bag and a confession that he’s had an affair.
 
Heartbroken and devastated, Rosie drowns her sorrows in a glass (or three) of wine, only to discover the following morning that she has spontaneously invested in a bright pink camper van to facilitate her grand plans to travel the country.
 
Now, Rosie is about to embark on the trip of a lifetime, and the chance to change her life! With Poppy, her new-found travelling tea shop in tow, nothing could go wrong, could it…?
 
A laugh-out-loud novel of love, friendship and adventure! Perfect for fans of Debbie Johnson and Holly Martin.

As soon as I saw this cover and then read the synopsis I knew I needed to read this book. After being dumped by her husband on her birthday, Rosie makes the best drunk purchase ever… well in my opinion she did. A bright pink camper van!!! Awesome!!! It made me want to break out the wine and see what I could drunk purchase, though I’d probably end up with a packet of out of date cereal!

I have to say this book was absolutely brilliant. Rosie is a driven career woman with her life planned out. She does have a bit of an O.C.D thing going on with her planning, routines, cleanliness, order and everything being in it’s place. Not a bad thing at all, but it leaves little flexibility in her hectic scheduled up to the eyeballs life.

The arrival of the pink camper van was something that completely went against the grain, it makes her stop in her tracks and think about her life, what she wants and, what she wants others to see in her.

The author took me on a road trip of festivals, with mouth watering food, drinks and fabulous company. Rosie is having to adapt to living day to day, going with the flow, rather than the planned out one she was originally aiming for.

With her career in catering, the obvious choice for Rosie’s van is… yep a Travelling Tea Shop. Specially hand blended teas and an assortment of foods that are food for the soul rather than the high end cuisine she has left behind her.

Along the way she finds the perfect travelling companion, they make a amazing combination with Aria, a contrast in many ways to Rosie, but this combination both in personalities and also in how the vans compliment each other is great. I also want to mention Max, the authors description of him…mmmmmmm… there are a few other characters that add there part to this story and help keep the story flowing as the travelers take the vans on tour.

In case you had not realised, I loved this book a huge amount. For me it was just the perfect book for lifting the spirits and it was so easy to forget about the world while I sat and read it in an afternoon. I would love to see a follow up for this book.

Ideal for readers who are after a light, feel good book that has a really enjoyable story and it is one I would Absolutely Recommend 🙂

This is the first time I have read anything by this author and I am pleased to see there are several books already published… bookworm happy dance… although I do have a couple that I bought a while ago that are sat on my kindle .

Rebecca Raisin is a true bibliophile. This love of books morphed into the desire to write them. She’s been widely published in short story anthologies, and in fiction magazines. And now she is focusing on writing romance.

Rebecca aims to write characters you can see yourself being friends with. People with big hearts who care about relationships and believe in true love.

Visit the Author – Twitter Website FacebookAmazon Author Page

Many thanks for reading y post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

Whisper To Me by Sherrie Lowe @SherrieLowe2 #review

I am delighted to be sharing my review of Whisper To Me by Sherrie Lowe. I saw this book during a recent Blog Tour and entered a giveaway, I was lucky to be one of the fortunate recipients of an e-copy. To be honest, the synopsis for this book caught my eye so I would have brought it even if I hadn’t won a copy.

I must also mention the fabulous cover, I love fuschias and when I visit my mum I seem to bring back more cuttings of them. The cover ties very nicely to the story inside.

So let’s have a look and see what it all about…

A new wife and a vengeful ghost. Not a good mix. 

Letitia – Tish – Stanyer makes husband Theo promise never to remarry if she dies and he complies just to pacify her. She isn’t going to die. 

She does – and he does remarry. Tish isn’t happy. Her spirit cannot rest with another woman in her domain, sampling the delights of her husband. Theo belongs to her – Sheena will have to go. 

Letitia and Theo are celebrating their 14th Wedding Anniversary when she makes the comment about how they are supposed to be together forever, she means not only in life but also as and when they die as well. She does not want him to meet anyone else or move on, and so he makes the promise never to remarry…

I think this is a conversation many couples may have had. I for one believe that if I go before my husband then he should move on, find happiness and live his life, that’s if anyone will put up with lol… and he shares the same sentiment. Everyone, however, is different and I don’t believe there is a right or wrong in whatever anyone believes or chooses because at the end of the day it is the choice of the couple and the individual.

So this book definitely has an interesting base to work from and for a 151-page story, I found myself caught up in it. It is an easy to read story as I got to know Theo and his immediate family and the spirit of the dead Letitia. I discovered how after many years Theo has indeed moved on and forgotten about his promise, Letitia, however, has not. She begins to make her feelings known in some very dark ways.

Love, life, and death are the main focuses in this story and I thought the author did a great job in such a quick read. It moved along at a gentle, easy flowing pace and it was perfect to read in one sitting.

There is a proverb that states “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” and this is so appropriate for Letitia.

This is a book that I think would go down well for discussion for Book Reading Groups and it is one I would definitely recommend.

Sherrie Lowe
Image taken from Author’s Goodreads Page

I am a divorced mother of two adult sons and I have three lovely grandchildren. I was working as a learning support assistant in a mainstream high school when I became ill with ME (also called chronic fatigue syndrome) in 1995. I have since written ten novels and two memoirs and Song of the Phoenix although the fourth to be written is the first to be published, mainly because the first three are more or less a trilogy.

Writing has kept me sane through what is an extremely debilitating and isolating illness and my aim is to earn my living from it.

Visit Sherrie’s website Twitter

Purchase link for her paperback books HERE and Kindle editions HERE

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

A Little Christmas Charm by Kathryn Freeman @KathrynFreeman1 @rararesources @ChocLitUK #BookReview #Giveaway (Open Int’lly)

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I am delighted to be sharing some festive fiction with you today in the form of A lIttle Christmas Charm by Kathryn Freeman as part of the Blog Tour with Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. Huge thanks to Rachel for the invite and to Choc Lit for my e-copy of this book.

Synopsis:

A Little Christmas Charm

Would you swap sea and sunshine for tinsel and turkey?
Gabby Sanderson is used to being let down – even at Christmas. Which is why she’s happy to skip the festive season completely in favour of a plane ticket and sunnier climes.

But this Christmas could be different, because this time she might not be spending it alone. Can Owen Cooper charm Gabby into loving Christmas in the same way he’s charmed his way into her life, or is he just another person who’ll end up disappointing her?


Purchase Link – 
 Amazon UK

My Thoughts:

Festive fiction and romance lovers will love this wonderful story about Gabby and her trust issues and Own the office flirt. A story about two people that looks at first glance like it should fail before it starts, but when you get under the bluster and bravado you find two people who are more than first meet the eye. Add into the recipe a young girl, an unwavering PA, a grumpy old man and a mother, mix them all up and you will get a book that will add some festive sparkle and cheer.

Oh, this story really did suit me, picked it up to read a few chapters, and then read a few more and didn’t actually put it down until I had run out of chapters to read. I had reservations about Owen, the office flirt, but after a few cha[ters I got to know the man rather than the facade. As for Gabby, she was so aloof and standoffish but here again I got to see what made her tick. There was so much more to the story than I first realised, and also to the shiny, polished, professional exterior of the characters as well.

Trust is a delicate thing for Gabby and at times it leaves her irrational to least but, also vulnerable as she doesn’t always get the way things work. Getting to know how she sees life was a journey that added many emotional ups and downs. I liked the additional characters and the way they were introduced into the story, adding sparkle along the way.

There are some wonderful heartwarming moments as old wounds and grievances are looked at and explored. Past hurts are finally addressed and it was nice to see Owen’s patience and understanding. It gave a wonderfully uplifting and heartwarming feel.

A story that has a great feel-good factor to it, definitely festive in feeling and perfect to read by a roaring fire or snuggled under a blanket. One I would definitely recommend.

 

About the Author:

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A former pharmacist, I’m now a medical writer who also writes romance. Some days a racing heart is a medical condition, others it’s the reaction to a hunky hero.

With two teenage boys and a husband who asks every Valentine’s Day whether he has to buy a card (yes, he does), any romance is all in my head. Then again, his unstinting support of my career change proves love isn’t always about hearts and flowers – and heroes come in many disguises.

Social Media Links –  Website – Facebook –  Twitter

Giveaway –

Win a paperback copy of A Little Christmas Faith by Kathryn Freeman

(Open Internationally)

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*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize. *****ENTER HERE*****

See what other Book Bloggers think by following the tour

A Little Christmas Charm Full Tour Banner.jpg

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

Christmas at The Cafe at the End of the Pier by Helen Rolfe @HJRolfe #BookReview

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I am absolutely over the moon to be sharing Christmas at The Cafe at the End of the Pier by Helen Rolfe with you today. This is the final installment in The Cafe at the End of the Pier series that I have reading through the year. It may come as no surprise to those that read my blog that I absolutely adore this series. I usually read the books within a couple of days of them being released, but I have a couple of reasons for holding back for 11days… yes a whole 11 days until I read this one.

Reason 1… I didn’t want to make a final visit to the cafe for the first time.

Reason 2… I realised I was coming close to reaching my Goodreads target for the year, I couldn’t think of a better book to reach my target with and after reading the book this morning I knew I had made the perfect decision. This is the 200th book I have read this year 🙂

Oh and the Danish pastries were for research purposes only…(she says,gently brushing crumbs off her face)… honestly they were 🙂 🙂

Synopsis:

Looking for love this Christmas? You’ll find it at The Café at the End of the Pier… A feelgood novella and the continuation of the Café at the End of the Pier series.

With her grandparents taking a long-awaited holiday, Jo finds herself completely in charge of the Cafe over the festive season. Salthaven-on-Sea is brimming with Christmas cheer – the pier is decked with tinsel and twinkling with lights, and the Cafe is full of the delicious aromas of Jo’s mulled wine and freshly-baked cinnamon rolls.

Love is in the air, too, and when another mystery postcard arrives, it’s finally Jo’s turn for a blind date… But who will be waiting underneath the mistletoe?

As the whole community is brought together on the sands of Salthaven for a frosty Christmas Day swim, will Jo finally find her own happy ever after?

The perfect feel-good festive read for fans of Cathy Bramley and Holly Hepburn

*******

Readers love The Café at the End of the Pier series:

‘Brings a smile to your face and a tear to your eye’ – Goodreads reviewer

‘Heartwarming and made me smile… I can’t wait to read more’ – Goodreads reviewer

‘Perfectly charming and totally yummy’ – Amazon reviewer

My Thoughts:

From its outset, in February I have followed Jo as she decides to make the trip back to Salthaven. Initially helping her Grandparents running the Cafe at the End of the Pier and then the mammoth task of running it. Over the months Jo has taken everything in and added her own twist while still keeping the essence of what makes the Cafe the place it is.

It is a place for friends, families, visitors, and residents and all are made welcome. One of the twists Jo has is her night of love where she picks two people and invites them to a meal for two. For some it is the start of a relationship, for others, it is a friendship. For Jo it is a way to bring people together, but what about Jo herself? I had a couple of possibles that I would love to see her with but she has never had the time or the nerve to ask. Someone, however, has been playing Jo at her own game, sending her little cards and leaving messages. Finally, the who is revealed and I am not going to lie, I was delighted.

This series is not just romance, though there is that to it as well. It is about a community and discovering who you are. Jo takes a risk in taking on the cafe, she is unsure of herself at first, but with the help of her friends, customers and grandparents she gradually accepts and fits into her role.

The recipes and mentions of cakes, shakes, soups, coffee, and hot chocolate have littered these stories throughout the year, bringing a seasonal deliciousness to the story. If you have not read this series yet you are in for a real taste bud tantalising treat.

This is a book that brings the year to an end and what a year it has been. Each time I pick up a new episode I feel like I am going back to join friends and catch up on the gossip and chit-chat. By the time I got to the end of this book, I had happy tears running down my face as I read the updates from Jo’s friends as they go about their lives and then Jo’s postcard…OMG I was then a sobbing wreck …

A series that is a perfect read for romance, contemporary and general fiction readers. One that I would absolutely, highly and definitely recommend 🙂

About the Author:

Helen J Rolfe writes romantic fiction and contemporary women’s fiction and enjoys weaving stories about family, friendship, secrets, and community. Location is a big part of the adventure in Helen’s books and she enjoys setting stories in different cities and countries around the world. So far, locations have included Melbourne, Sydney, New York, Connecticut, Bath and the Cotswolds.

Helen writes some books in series as listed below, but all can be read as standalone books:

Magnolia Creek Series
1. What Rosie Found Next
2. The Chocolatier’s Secret
3. The Magnolia Girls

New York Ever After Series
1. Christmas at the Little Knitting Box
2. Snowflakes and Mistletoe at the Inglenook Inn
3. Wedding Bells on Madison Avenue
4. Christmas Miracles at the Little Log Cabin – coming December 2018!

Helen J Rolfe also writes for Orion Books under the name Helen Rolfe. Her new series, Cafe at the End of the Pier, is out in 2018 and begins with a free Valentine’s short story. The series can be read in the following order:

Valentine’s Day at the Café at the End of the Pier
Spring at the Café at the End of the Pier
Summer at the Café at the End of the Pier
Autumn at the Café at the End of the Pier
Christmas at the Café at the End of the Pier

The Little Café at the End of the Pier is the bind-up version of all the Café at the End of the Pier stories in one and will be released January 2019.

Born and raised in the UK, Helen graduated from University with a business degree and began working in I.T. This job took her over to Australia and it was there that she studied writing and journalism and began writing for women’s health and fitness magazines. She also volunteered with the PR department of a children’s hospital where she wrote articles and media releases. Helen began writing fiction in 2011 and hasn’t missed the I.T. world one little bit, although the I.T. skills have come in handy of course, especially when it comes to creating and maintaining a website.

After fourteen years of living in Australia, Helen returned to the UK and now lives in Hertfordshire with her husband and their children.

To learn more about Helen and her writing, find her at:

WebsiteFacebook
TwitterInstagram

The Cafe Series, follow the links to buy your own copies and to read my reviews

Amazon UK Links

Valentine’s Day( This novella is FREE on kindle)

Spring

Summer

Autumn

Christmas

Pre-order the book The Little Cafe at the End of the Pier it has all the stories. I have had my copy on pre-order since June… 🙂

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My Reviews

Valentine’s Day at The Cafe at the End of the Pier

Spring at The Cafe at the End of the Pier

Summer at The Cafe at the End of the Pier

Autumn at The Cafe at the End of The Pier

Many thanks for reading my rather long post today,

a like or a share would be magical 🙂 xx

Love Punked by Nia Lucas @BooksNia @rararesources #BookReview

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I am delighted to be sharing my review with you all today for Love Punked by Nia Lucas as part of the Blog Tour with Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. Huge thanks to Rachel for the invite to join the tour and also to Nia for my e-copy of her book.

Synopsis:

When her life is irrevocably altered by a post-Rave tryst on her mother’s floral patio recliner, Erin Roberts’ long-standing relationship with Humiliation takes her down a path that’s not so much ‘less well trodden’, more ‘perilous descent down sheer cliffs’.

Armed with a fierce devotion to her best friend and the unrequited love for the boy she might have accidentally married at age seven, when Erin falls pregnant at sixteen, life veers off at a most unexpected tangent.

Her journey to adulthood is far from ordinary as Erin learns that protecting the hearts of those most precious to you isn’t balm enough when your Love Punked heart is as sore as your freshly tattooed arse.

Whilst raising football prodigies and trying not to get stuck in lifts with Social Work clients who hate her, Erin discovers that sometimes you have to circumnavigate the globe to find the very thing that was there all along.

Purchase Links:  Amazon UK or   Amazon US

My Thoughts:

Erin Roberts is an average girl growing up. She is feisty, determined and will stand up for herself and her best friends. After falling pregnant at 16 after a one night stand her life is not the one she imagined for herself as she juggles being a mum with studying. With unwavering support from her family and a small group of friends, she does all she can as a mum and as a woman. Her priority in life has changed, being a mum is the most important thing in her life and they always come first, even before her…

This story is so full of highs and lows, inspirational and poignant as well. At times I got angry with Erin as I thought she was passing up opportunities for happiness as she puts her family first. But as it happens she does do the right thing and more importantly the right thing for her family. I can understand her not wanting to have a potential man in her life if they are not serious. For me, Erin grew up very quickly and at times had an old head on young shoulders. Determination has got her through some difficult situations as she gradually makes her way through the story and the early years of being a mum.

Now this story is a little colourful in language and, while it may not appeal to all readers, I think it was so appropriate for the characters, the setting and the time of the story. She says what she thinks and occasionally without a filter. This is a character that does not see the qualities that others see in her, she has doubts, fears and a strength that she is unaware of.

Now I did find I went through quite a few emotions with this book, anger, sniggering and, the odd tear. At times it is beautifully poignant and at others raucous and wild. A real modern feel to this story that tells the story of a young woman growing up that is faced with many challenges and decisions to make.

It is a book I wasn’t sure how I would get on with but I found myself completely immersed with and read in a couple of days a great debut. A story that is modern and gritty but also loving, witty and hopeful, one I would definitely recommend to readers of contemporary and literary fiction.

About the Author:

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I am a UK based author of Contemporary women’s fiction who is passionate about telling the stories of strong, sympathetic, entertaining and engaging female characters and the lives that they lead. My Welsh heritage and my life as a practising Social Worker with teenagers and their families heavily influences my work as does my love of all things 90’s and an adolescence spent immersed in clubbing culture.

Social Media Links – Instagram – Twitter – Facebook – Blog

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Snowflakes Over Holly Cove by Lucy Coleman @LucyColemanAuth #BlogTour @rararesources #BookReview #Giveaway (Open Int’lly)

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I am delighted to be sharing my review of Snowflakes Over Holly Cove by Lucy Coleman. This is part of the Blog Tour with Rachel’s Random Resources and I wish to say a big thank you to Rachel for the invite and to Lucy for my eBook.

You can purchase your own copy of SnowFlakes Over Holly Cove HERE

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Synopsis:

As the snowflakes start to fall, Holly Cove welcomes a new tenant to the beautiful old cottage on the beach…

For lifestyle magazine journalist Tia Armstrong, relationships, as well as Christmas, have lost all their magic. Yet Tia is up against a Christmas deadline for her latest article ‘Love is, actually, all around…’

So, Tia heads to Holly Cove where the restorative sea air and rugged stranger, Nic, slowly but surely start mending her broken heart.

Tia didn’t expect a white Christmas, and she certainly never dared dream that all her Christmas wishes might just come true…

Set in Caswell Bay on the stunningly beautiful Gower Coast, the cottage nestles amid the limestone cliffs and the woodlands, where the emotions run as turbulently as the wind-swept sea.

As cosy as a marshmallow-topped mug of cocoa, fall in love with a heart-warming festive story from the bestselling author of The French Adventure.

My Thoughts:

Tia is a lifestyle journalist for “Love A Happy Ending” magazine. She has been struggling emotionally following the recent death of her mum. Tia’s boss Clarissa is concerned for and decides that Tia’s next assignment can be done at a little cottage at Holly Cove. A picturesque setting on the Gower coast in Wales was just the thing Tia needed.

This is the first time I have read anything by this author and I absolutely loved this book. It is a beautiful story of relationships within families as well as finding love. This theme is something that is mirrored in Tia’s assignment as she is tasked with writing articles about how couples and families celebrate Christmas and the New Year. As she is working for a magazine the articles are written months in advance, so there is a span between the assignment and Christmas.

This will be Tia’s first Christmas with her Mum and she knows it will be hard. Tia has a brother and is they have just been getting back to familiar ground after a disagreement left them not speaking for a few years. Christmas is a time for family and being together, not everyone is able to do this for various reasons.

While at the cottage Tia meets Nic, and does he have the weight of the world on his shoulders. He initially comes across as moody, but actually, he and Tia seem to have a few similarities. As he divulges little snippets about his life and how he is reluctant to trust people, she can see that she also has the same issue. Then there is Max, an ex-serviceman who has decided that a simple life is the way to go. The mother hen of this little group is Olwen fussing and keeping an eye on everyone is what she does best.

This is a fabulously addictive book that looks at families and relationships and the challenges that can appear. Allegations can be made and they can cause rifts, sometimes a moment to see another person’s perspective or just to listen to the other side of an argument is a way to understand the whole story.

With its wonderful setting descriptions of cottages, rugged beaches and a wonderful cast of characters bring some great imagery and a feeling of warmth. The characters are wonderful and I got the chance to see the different sides to certain individuals.

This is a book I could have happily read in one sitting and is an author I am definitely going to be reading again.

I adored this book from the start and although it came to a natural ending that felt complete, I couldn’t help feeling a little sad that I had actually turned the last page. A story that would appeal to readers who like to delve into family life, relationships, misunderstandings, and romance and is a really wonderful festive uplifting read and one I would highly recommend.

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About the Author:

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From interior designer to author, Linn B. Halton – who also writes under the pen name of Lucy Coleman – says ‘it’s been a fantastic journey!’

Linn is the bestselling author of more than a dozen novels and is excited to be writing for both Aria Fiction (Head of Zeus) and Harper Impulse (Harper Collins); she’s represented by Sara Keane of the Keane Kataria Literary Agency.

When she’s not writing, or spending time with the family, she’s either upcycling furniture or working in the garden.

Linn won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award; her novels have been short-listed in the UK’s Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards.

Living in Coed Duon in the Welsh Valleys with her ‘rock’, Lawrence, and gorgeous Bengal cat Ziggy, she freely admits she’s an eternal romantic.

Linn is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and writes feel-good, uplifting novels about life, love and relationships.

Follow the author on

FacebookTwitter for Lucy ColemanTwitter for Linn B Halton

Giveaway

Tour prize

Giveaway Win a signed paperback of A Cottage in the Country and a rustic wooden heart decoration (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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The Tissue Veil by Brenda Bannister #BlogTour @rararesources #Excerpt

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Today I am delighted to be sharing an extract from The Tissue Veil by Brenda Bannister as part of the Blog Tour with Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. As much as I would love to read all the books that I get an invite to read, there is just not enough time for me to do this. So instead, having an except is one way I can support a tour. The synopsis and the excerpt has definitely intrigued me, and intrigued me enough that I have bought my own copy 🙂

You can buy a copy of The Tissue Veil from Amazon UK or from Hive.co.uk

Synopsis:

What if you discovered a hundred-year-old diary under your floorboards – and then found references in it to yourself? Or if you lived in 1901, yet kept seeing glimpses of a girl from modern times? And what if both of you had problems that only the other could really understand? Emily and Aysha live in the same Stepney house and an inexplicable link develops between them, fuelled by Aysha’s discovery of a journal and Emily’s sightings of a ‘future ghost’. Each takes courage from the other’s predicament – after all, what’s a hundred years between friends?

Excerpt:

Excerpt from Chapter 13 of The Tissue Veil

From time to time Emily has inexplicable glimpses of a strange girl in her room and hears voices address the girl as ‘Aysha’. This first occurs in the days after Emily’s mother’s funeral. When, late one night, it happens again, she recognises that Aysha, like Emily herself, is troubled…

We tie up three puddings in muslin ready to go in the boiler, but it’s already late in the afternoon when they start to cook and we have to wait past bedtime for them to finish steaming. Daisy, who was up at six, is falling asleep, so I offer to watch them for the last hour.

“Mind you don’t let ‘em dry out, miss,” she yawns. She doesn’t trust me to keep awake, but she knows she won’t either. I don’t dare let myself sit down, so I occupy the hour lining up jars and packets in the pantry, writing lists of things we need and polishing the silver teapot. At last, I am able to turn off the boiler, remove the puddings and leave them to cool.

I’m not even thinking about Aysha, but when I go to my room I see her, slumped in a chair by the window. Her outfit is different and much grander than before: a blue tunic with matching pantaloons, embroidered in gold. They are clothes I imagine an Indian princess might wear, but she seems careless of them and looks as if, like me, she’s exhausted.

“Aysha!” I say, but she doesn’t know I exist. I study her face: she will not sleep well. Too much is written there.

She gets up, stretches, and begins to speak. Not to me or, it seems, to anyone else who’s there; rather, I imagine, out of a troubled heart. At first I think I recognise the words, then I am confused.

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that a young man in possession of a… a chain of fried chicken shops – she curls her lip – must be in need of a wife. Then her mouth twitches into a smile and she glides from side to side across the floor, swaying her arms as if she’s dancing or skating. Then, suddenly, she’s gone.

Miss Morgan showed the class a picture book of India once. There were paintings of forts and temples and elephants carrying maharajahs, and each of the illustrations was overlaid with a leaf of tissue paper. I would ask to see the book and try to remember the order in which each picture came, to guess what was underneath the overlays. The images were there, behind their tissue veils, but you couldn’t quite see them until you turned the leaf. Sometimes I think that’s how it is with Aysha: that she’s here all the time if I could only see. But which of us is behind the tissue, I cannot tell.

About the Author:

The Tissue Veil Brenda Bannister.jpgBrenda studied English at university and later qualified as a librarian, working in various educational settings from schools to higher education. Moving from London to Frome in Somerset in 2010 proved a catalyst for her own writing as she joined local fiction and script writing groups. She has had a number of short stories published, plus short plays produced in local pub theatre, but all the while was incubating a story based in the area of Tower Hamlets where she had worked for eighteen years.  This germ of a story became ‘The Tissue Veil’.

Brenda is a founder member of Frome Writers’ Collective, an organisation which has grown from a handful of members to over a hundred in the past four years, and helped set up its innovative Silver Crow Book Brand. She is also the current organiser of the annual Frome Festival Short Story Competition. A lifelong reader, Brenda rarely follows genres, but enjoys modern literary fiction, historical fiction, classics and the occasional detective novel. The latest Bernard Cornwell might be a guilty pleasure, but she’ll be even more eager to get her hands on Hilary Mantel’s final instalment of Thomas Cromwell’s story.

Social Media Links – Facebook – Website – Silver Crow Books

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