2019, New Author to me, novella, Quick Reads, Review, Short Story, Uncategorized

Novella Review: Stepping Out By S.J.King

Blurb: WINNER of the Books and the City Choice Award in the #heatseeker short story competition, Stepping Out is a poignant, inspiring short story about acceptance, self-love and finding the courage to be who you really are.

Paula has been practising walking in her new red velvet heels for weeks. So far, she hasn’t made it past her front door.

But tonight is different.

With the help of her sister, a panty-girdle and a little bit of Dutch courage, Paula is stepping out, for the very first time.

Will she find the courage to show her true identity to the world? And if she does, will they accept her?

Review: I purchased this on 16th September 2018 and just under a year later I’ve finally read it. The Heat-seeker winners that I’ve read have been fantastic and following Hannah Pearl’s treat I instantly downloaded this one. For one reason or another it’s taken me this long to read this but I truly enjoyed this short read. It’s the perfect tonic in between reads and kept me entertained with a coffee and a biscuit just after my breakfast and in between my lunch whilst at the seaside.

I honestly didn’t know what to expect from this novel, from the off I worked out it was heavily focused on anxiety but considering the title I was a little naive in what I thought it was about. An extremely well written short that had me on the edge of my seat throughout constantly wanting more and not feeling like I’d been short changed by the novella. I wholeheartedly felt captivated by the thoughts and feelings of someone overcoming these sort of challenges, and how it changes even the smallest of events hence Paula’s night out taking so much effort and preparation.

A truly heartfelt and powerful read of anxiety change and the love of a sister.

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2019, ebook, novella, Quick Reads, Short Story, Uncategorized

Novella Review: After Hello By Mhairi McFarlane

Blurb: A short story sequel to the bestselling romcom You Had Me At Hello!

In You Had Me At Hello, the one who got away came back… but what happened next?

Together, apart and then back together again, Rachel and Ben had a rollercoaster ride to get here. But now happily in love and partners in crime once more, it feels like it’s all been worth it.

But when a face from the past reappears, misunderstandings come between them once more.

Can they hold on to their happy ever after?

Review: I fell in love with Mhairi’s writing style and her characters when I read You Had Me At Hello. It was a heartfelt read that had me from the get go. I loved Rachel and Ben and their university times really did make me smile. My time at uni wasn’t as interesting as there’s but I did have a crush although it was never on the scale of best friends Ben and Rachel. In that novel I grew increasingly frustrated with them because I could see how they were meant to be.

I’m ashamed to say I’ve had After Hello on my Kindle on both my paper white and my iphone since 26th Jan 2017. As I’m on holiday and having just finished a book I thought let’s see what novellas I have. I love Mhairi’s style and whenever I read any of her books I’m hooked so I knew this would be the perfect tonic and I was oh so right.

I love a novella I know a lot of readers always complain how they are too short but for me they are fantastic quick reads that I like to slip alongside my longer reads. In After Hello I found myself getting angry as Ben and Rachel were the dream team for me in You Had Me At Hello in thinking their happy ever after wasn’t meant to be I was feeling heartbroken. I should have remembered how much Ben used sarcasm to get his point across.

A lovely reunion with Rachel, Ben and the girls. I never tire of reading stories about characters I have fell in love with it’s just like reuniting with old friends. It’s got me thinking of my university bunch and all we went through together.

Thank you Mhairi for taking me back to them, although I don’t think Ben and Rachel’s story has finished….

2019, august, ebook, novella, Quick Reads, Review, TBR, Uncategorized, update

A Patchwork Family – Part One – Moving On By Cathy Bramley

Blurb: Gina Moss is proud of herself: she’s just had the most amicable divorce ever. No arguments, no fuss, no drama. It means she has plenty of time and energy for her thriving childminding business too.

Welcome Cottage is both home and workplace for Gina. It sits just on the edge of The Evergreens – a grand if slightly run-down Victorian residence to three octogenarians who have far too much fun for their age: Violet, Delphine and Bing.

But a tragedy puts her older friends at risk of eviction – and Gina in charge of the battle to save them. It might be her first fight, but it’s one that Gina is determined not to lose…

Review: It’s been a while since I’ve read a Cathy Bramley novel and when this series was mentioned I instantly pre-ordered it, them good old 99p kindle purchases. I had hoped to have read and reviewed on publication day but that wasn’t to be. See I’m getting more organised but I’m also wanting to read more and more.

Part one is aptly named – Moving On as Gina has accomplished her amicable divorce and later on in the instalment there are more tragic circumstances. It starts with Bramley’s trademark wit, I’d heard of divorce parties via another book and the meal between Gina and Eric sure was full of laughs. It’s extremely rare that marriages can end well – but they are one of those rare breeds. The scene in the restaurant had me laughing out loud, but it also made me want to know more as they got on so well, I’m sat there wondering why they called time on their marriage.

It being part one it sets the scene and the groundwork for the story with the hint of what’s to come. What I’ve grown to love about these type of series’s is that you are left eager and wanting more and this did not disappoint. A Patchwork Family crosses over to The Lemon Tree Cafe as it’s based in the same town with some of the same characters. In realising that I realise I only read the first part of that story, so that will need to be rectified but August is proving to be a busy one.

Gina is a character that I instantly liked, she’s a go getter and wants the best out of life. A tragedy makes her realise she needs to live every day like it’s her last.

I loved the sentiments in this novel, friends and family come in all shapes and sizes and I loved the variation of age groups. You have the older generation who Gina is extremely fond of and then you have the children to whom she is also fond of. Being a childminder and an extremely good and experienced one at that. It also showed me that families can be a blessing and a curse. I don’t want to spoil the intrigue so I won’t say anymore than that. I want to see whether Dexter pulls through for the sake of his family.

2019, Author Love, july, novella, Quick Reads, Review, Short Story, Uncategorized

Book Review: The Cornish Cream Tea Bus – Part four – The Icing on the cake By Cressida McLaughlin

Blurb: Can Charlie pull off the perfect showstopper?
Charlie has fallen in love with Porthgolow village and they adore her vintage bus, now getting a new lease of life as the best place to have a Cornish Cream tea in the whole of Cornwall. Charlie and her bus have heralded a new start for Porthgolow too, but the one fly in the ointment is Daniel Harper who is still resisting the charms of Charlie and her bus. Can Charlie bake her way into his heart or is it time to admit that her Cornish dream has got a soggy bottom?

Review: Now from how part three concluded I always knew that part four would have a special place in my heart and would be the hardest to finish. I initially read the first chapter just after midnight on release day and had subsequently started reading on my walk into work, however, work, lack of sleep and the heat meant it took me a little longer to finish this beauty.

What I will say is Cressida played an absolute blinder as expected by a series part four had lots of moments that made you gasp. From the very beginning I was heavily invested in these characters and watching them experience full on life changing emotions really got me. I don’t know about those characters pulses racing at that point mine definitely were. I loved what that part of the story suggested and the messages underneath both incidents.

If I had been off work the day after I had started reading at midnight I would have been hooked on this in one sitting. In a way I’m glad I got a little bit more time with Charlie and the gang.

There were a number of quotes from Charlie’s late uncle Hal that really made me stop and think….

There is nothing that can’t be overcome if you believe in yourself

this is definitely something that I should listen to. In my own worst critic.

Another that really made me smile was a description for Porthgolow

It’s a proper slice of magic

I could use that sentence about a few of my favourite places in the world and it’s a line and sentiment that proper made me smile.

The Cornish Cream Tea Bus was an extraordinary treat that will make you salivate for afternoon tea and cake but it will also tug on your heart strings and stay there. A tasty treat with some truly powerful messages one that I won’t forget. I would love to see Cressida revisit these characters someday.

2019, ebook, july, novella, Quick Reads, Review, Uncategorized

Book Review: The Cornish Cream Tea Bus – Part Three Scones Away By Cressida McLaughlin

Blurb: Charlie’s toughest technical challenge yet…

Now that Charlie’s Cornish Cream Tea bus has taken off, everything should be going swimmingly- the locals love her baking, Marmite adores getting his paws wet in the crystal-clear sea at Porthgolow beach, but Charlie has managed to get on the wrong side of the mercurial owner of The Porthgolow Hotel, Daniel Harper. He wants her to pack up her doillies and pastry cutters and take her bus elsewhere, but can Charlie convince him that they have just got off on the wrong foot and that her bus could be the start of something wonderful for the little village?

Review: I’ve truly loved every second of Charlie’s story and Cressida has made me excited for my Summer trip to the coast. Although my travels will take me to the Kent coast not the Cornish one but alas it’s given me a spark. Nothing beats that glisten on the water and the feel of sand between your toes.

Anyway that’s enough of my daydreams this beauty pinged through on Wednesday evening at midnight and if I hadn’t been so hot and bothered and still reeling from the last book I had finished I could have easily read at the stroke of midnight. Seeing as the next instalment is the conclusion I may just do that.

Part three – has to have been the most intense of instalments, it’s the real meaty part of the story with lots of OMG moments constantly keeping you guessing. Now in these sort of stories there’s almost always a man behind a woman’s thoughts. In this case in part there is two guys – it’s not quite a triangle but it could have been. So I don’t want to say too much as part three has shaped my opinions on Ollie and Daniel. Although I have to mention Daniel because if you can read this and not feel anything for the hotel owner then hats off to you. I however found myself a little breathless – Cressida describes the perfect kiss on a beach location.

In reading a number of these novella style books part three is always the cliffhanger leaving so many unanswered questions. Charlie has come so far that I hope she gets the ending she deserves and I’d like to hope that it includes Daniel and staying put in Porthgolow. But we shall see.

Once again I’ve had to stop reading this treat as it’s made me extremely hungry at times. I’m going to miss the Cornish coast and watch this space I may have to dive in at midnight on 25th July.

If you fancy a trip to the coast with a slice of afternoon tea look no further. I will miss these guys when this story concludes.

2019, novella, Short Story, Uncategorized

Book Review: The Cornish Cream Tea Bus – Part Two – The Eclair Affair By Cressida McLaughlin

Blurb: Charlie unveils her signature bake….

Charlie and Marmite finally arrive in the picture-postcard Cornish village of Porthgolow in their vintage Route-master bus. Not everything is as it seems and Charlie’s friend, Juliette, tells her about the owner of the big hotel on the hill who has managed to upset the locals. That doesn’t stop Charlie and Marmite making new friends and the bus finds a new lease of life as the perfect mobile cafe for afternoon tea. But what will Charlie make of enigmatic Daniel Harper when they meet, and more to the point, what will he think about Charlie and her bus parked outside of his lovely hotel?

Review: After loving part one I was itching for part two. Although you have been warned do not read this instalment on an empty stomach, otherwise you will want all the sweet treats you can find.

In diving into part two I had read four chapters really quickly, and I was immersed in every page. I really like Charlie – she’s a likeable character and I’ve loved seeing her change the opinions of some of the more frosty residents of Porthgolow.

Where part one was the groundwork and the foundations of Charlie’s story part two is where you’re caught up in Charlie’s world. In part one we’re left completely unsure of Daniel Harper and his motives all round but in part two there is a much softer side to him and he’s really stirred up a number of emotions for Charlie. Having been betrayed by former love Stuart – she’s been carrying that sadness and as much as she’s been lonely at times she’s threw herself into making a success of Hal’s Gertie. In a short time she’d had so much heartbreak it’s only natural to feel wounded and to want to shut herself off emotionally. Throwing herself into her work seemed to be the answer until she was told to take a break in heading to Cornwall she was meant to be resting but Charlie had to see if she could make a go of the bus. The transformation has been amazing and even her most frosty residents seem to realise she’s not just a flash in the pan – she’s really made a stir in Porthgolow for the better.

I don’t want to give too much away but the situation with Daniel Harper gets extremely intense and a little bit under the collar if you get my drift. Although in saying that I now need to mention the loveable Ollie. There is something about Ollie he’s extremely caring and thoughtful but Charlie cannot deny he doesn’t make her heart flutter and after all she’s been through she deserves the works in the relationship stakes. I love how uncle Hal’s sayings and wisdom seem to come to Charlie at exactly the right time.

I’ve really loved the first two segments of The Cornish Cream Tea Bus and I cannot wait for my next instalment next week.

2019, Author Love, ebook, New Author to me, novella, Short Story, Uncategorized

Book Review: The Cornish Cream Tea Bus – Part One – Don’t Go Baking My Heart By Cressida McLaughlin

Blurb: Baking fanatic, Charlie Quilter, is surprised when her late uncle bequeaths his vintage bus to her in his will. Charlie thinks it will be the perfect mobile café for afternoon tea, and when her friend, Juliette, suggests Charlie comes to stay with her in the picturesque Cornish village of Porthgolow, she’s thrilled at the chance of a new start.
Charlie and her cute dog, Marmite, make new friends wherever their bus stops – except for the attractive but reclusive owner of the posh spa up on the hill, Daniel Harper, who isn’t very pleased that her bus is parked outside his lovely hotel.
Has Charlie’s Cornish dream developed a soggy bottom? Or can she convince Daniel that her bus could be the start of something wonderful for the little village – and for them?

Review: So I’m going to just say it. I have a few of Cressida’s novels on my Kindle but part one of the Cornish Cream Tea Bus – Don’t Go Baking My Heart is the first I have read, which makes me feel bad but wow what a treat and what a starting point.

I’ve on/off been reading but yesterday I managed to finish part one and I thought it was best to pen my thoughts before diving into part two. These shorts are aiding my reading alongside my hardback – which annoyingly isn’t on Audible yet as I found out yesterday to my dismay.

From the start I really warmed to Charlie and her story. Her connection to her late uncle really made me think of my grandparents – our stories weren’t nowhere near the same but I shared a love or reading with my grandad and a love of film with my Nan. My do I miss them and books like this are heartwarming and nostalgic.

I loved how she wanted to keep her uncles Gertie alive but did so in a way that was part of her. Old and new – keeping her uncles pride and joy and introducing her passion to reinvent the bus and for her to be able to make it work. I loved seeing how taken she was with the task and seeing if she could make it happen. The first event was an eye opener but I loved her can-do spirit when she stepped back from the situation – I honestly believe this is something we should all do from time to time – and this is definitely a lesson I should be listening to and taking note.

I haven’t been to Cornwall in a long time and I have never visited Porthgolow but wow I loved the way Cressida described the town and I think there are probably many seaside towns that need that revitalisation. I regularly visit Dymchurch in Kent with the family and that’s looked tired at times it’s always nice to see new businesses pop up and renovations to happen when we return most years. I also adore Salou in Spain I haven’t been for a few years and sadly it doesn’t look like I will get there this year. At times that’s also needed a boost and a refresh – although for me they are always places I feel at home and calm so I will always visit but there needs to be change to see tourism boom.

I don’t have enough me time but Charlie sure is something else. When she relented and took her best friends advice I was chuffed for her. Charlie getting to Cornwall sure was a journey and some feat. The characters she encounters in Porthgolow are something else although I can’t work out Daniel and I’m pretty sure most people will say the same thing – as I believe that is part of Cressida’s thought process too.

There have been some bumps along the way in inheriting Gertie but wow what a journey in part one. One event that was eventful and then the trip to Porthgolow where Gertie undertakes a major transformation I love all the little things that have been put into the bus really giving it a touristy and nostalgic feeling. It’s like she’s thought of absolutely every trick in the book even down to mementos.

Part one ended with Charlie feeling extremely positive and upbeat for her Summer and for her future with Gertie a major part of it. I finished this part giddy to know more as it was left making me wonder but I knew I had to get my thoughts in order before I continued on this seaside journey.

One thing I will say is in devouring part one I want all the cake and I could murder a hot scone and a good coffee. In reading this you will get hungry, you have been warned.

2018, Blog Tour, Blogtober, New Author to me, novella, Uncategorized

Blog Tour: Christmas at the Little Duck Pond Cafe By Rosie Green

Blurb: Fen has always hated being the centre of attention.

She loves her new job, working behind the scenes at the Little Duck Pond Cafe and baking the scrumptious cakes that have helped its reputation soar. But frankly, she’d rather scrub the public toilet floor with a toothbrush than have to come out and talk to the customers.

She’s always been happy to stay in the background as long as she has a good supply of books to escape into. That’s her kind of romance – the fictional sort where she can read about other people taking a chance on love, but she doesn’t have to risk her own heart.

But that was before Ethan Fox arrived in the village and turned her world upside down. Ethan is a leading light in the local amateur dramatics theatre company and Fen knows he’s way out of her league.

But when the popular village Christmas pantomime hits a crisis, Fen and Ethan find themselves thrown together. Can Fen overcome her shyness and find the courage to step on stage and save the day?

Review: I’ve been on a few cover reveals for Rosie Green and her books always look awesome but this is the first one I have actually read and it’s a gorgeous way to get into the festive spirit.

Fen and her pals are easy to love although I see a lot of me in Fen. In some ways she knows she’s capable but she just doesn’t have enough confidence in herself even when many people not just those who love her are telling her how amazing she actually is. What Fen sees in the mirror and what others see are completely different and I’ve totally been that person a lot of late I’m changing though. I also really loved her use of books and romance to explain her thoughts although I must admit I haven’t heard of many of them.

There are a few characters that will have you on your toes and one of them is leading man Ethan throughout I changed my thoughts on him a number of times.

I look forward to reading more from Rosie Green after being full of Christmas spirit and extremely hungry after spending some quality time with Fen. A strong female who doesn’t realise her worth. A great start to my festive reading although a little early.

Thank you once again to Rachel for including me on this festive treat

2018, Blog Tour, novella, Short Story

Blog Tour: Magic O’Clock By L.S.Fellows

Blurb: Magic O’Clock:

Archie Royle is a kind, funny, gentle man.

He’s also my dad. My storyteller. My hero.

Except he doesn’t remember my face any more.

His world, these days, doesn’t include me or his family.

Life may have changed for him, but he hasn’t given up on life.

Not at all.

It’s just different.

Dad still tells his stories, albeit for a new audience.

He makes people smile and chuckle. As he always did.

He’s a fighter, a survivor and maybe sometimes too clever for his own good! He’ll surprise you. I can assure you of that.

Welcome to Magic O’Clock, where time is irrelevant and hope is unlimited.

Magic O’Clock – buy link:

Amazon – (universal) http://getbook.at/MagicOClock

Other eretailers (Kobo, B&N, Apple) : https://www.books2read.com/MOC

Review: So I realise that these two novellas are linked and I managed to read them the wrong way round. Not that it mattered to the enjoyment of the stories and the underlying messages which are simply beautiful.

Dementia is a cruel disease that tears families apart. Don’t get me wrong for my family it was cancer but the saving grace for us was Nan always knew who we were right until the end. She did get confused from time to time.

Another sad reality to dementia is in some parts of their lives they have perfect clarity and know exactly where they are and what they’re saying and the next minute they don’t recognise their loved ones.

This is a beautiful and extremely sad tale of the reality of dementia and the day to day life of living in this reality with a loved one.

Thank you Rachel for these treats.