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, 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, 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, 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.

2018, Blog Tour, novella, Short Story

Blog Tour: Magical Memories By L.S. Fellows

Blurb: Magical Memories

As Archie Royle takes his final breath, three sisters race to say their goodbyes.

Two don’t make it in time.

I do.

And now, it’s all my fault they’re too late.

Despite him having dementia.

Despite them not visiting in over a month.

But I won’t let anger win.

After all, we’re all grieving, aren’t we?

Surely, as a family, we can let bygones be bygones.

It’s what Dad would want. Expect.

It’s what he deserves.

We have so much to be grateful for.

So many fond and magical memories to share.

Magical Memories is a fictional tale of loss, grief and moving on.

Purchase Link – http://getbook.at/MagicMem

Review: I’ve long been a fan of novellas but what can I say. Magical Memories hit me like a thunder bolt. For our family it wasn’t dementia it was cancer that took Nan from us but in seeing Archie slip away those memories of that room and those final moments with Nan sprang back to my mind. Nothing will ever prepare you for that moment and that feeling but wow L.S Fellows sure does write a raw and hard hitting account of how those final moments pan out.

There’s also those emotions that you go through and those are documented well a short and sharp novella that will suck you in and will have you taking a trip down your very own memory lane.

Grief is a strange emotion one that we will all go through from time to time. It never goes away but it does get easier. For me things like this take me right back there.

2018, New Author to me, novella, Short Story, Uncategorized

Novella Review: The Last Good Day By Hannah Pearl

Blurb: celebrates life, love and the importance of friendship. WINNER of the Books and the City #heatseeker short story competition, in partnership with heat magazine.

‘A beautifully poignant tale of love, friendship and loss. I can’t wait to read whatever Hannah writes next!’ PAIGE TOON?

Belle knows she is going to die.

Her lifelong best friend Helen knows it too, which is why she decides to sneak Belle out of hospital and take her on one last adventure.

In a day filled with fun, laughter and tears, the pair face the prospect of saying goodbye, and raise the important question:

How would you want to spend your last good day?

Review: I have to start this review by saying Hannah was announced and at the Simon & Schuster Christmas party that I attended. Now if you’ve been reading my blog for a while you will remember that, that evening was a nightmare for me. I had to work late and got lost so to put a long story short I never met Hannah. You can read the rest of that tale Here.

The Last Good Day – now I’m guessing you will like me look at the title and have some thoughts on the story. I can safely say as much as it is about what you’re thinking you will be taken on a gorgeous rollercoaster of emotions when devouring this sweet treat. A cup of tea or coffee and whatever your choice of treat is needed for this one.

I’m a huge fan of novellas and I always aim to read more of them and it doesn’t always happen. Having seen so many authors and publishers at Books and the City rave about this short story I knew I needed to devour it. I was hoping to have read this during my lunch break – but my work day turned a little chaotic so it became my evening treat and what a treat it was.

Belle and Hannah are best friends – they are so different yet so the same. Their connection is like that of sisters as well as the best of friends. Hannah is the sensible one yet she will do absolutely anything for Belle and Belle simply adores her friend. The day they share is full of love, memories, resentments in the fact the future means separation. I won’t spoil the details but I can honestly say you will be grinning from ear to ear one minute and sobbing the next.

Hannah Pearl has a way with words, she’s written a beautiful short story about love, loss, friendship and making sure you embrace every single day to the max, as you never know when your time is up.

This story will stay with you long after the final pages. I honestly cannot wait to read more from Hannah. I also loved the acknowledgements and the bit about her. Hannah keep writing- you’re an inspiration and you should be extremely proud of The Last Good Day.

2018, Author Love, ebook, novella, Quick Reads, Review, Short Story, Uncategorized, update

Novella Review: The Boy with the Board By Katey Lovell

Blurb: A gorgeously romantic short story, part of The Meet Cute series.

When her beloved mum dies suddenly, Helena escapes to sunny California. Determined to live for the moment, she puts aside her fears and signs up for the surfing lessons she’s always dreamed of – with the added distraction of hunky instructor Ashton.

Review: I have said it before and here I say it again these meet cute stories are perfect tea break escapism from day to day struggles.

For me The Boy with the Board has a totally different feel from the other meet cutes I have devoured. Helena’s Story is tinged with sadness but from a saying her mother used to say she decides to take caution to the wind and get out of her comfort zone. There is something awe inspiring in reading a story where a seemingly average young woman decides to make a life-changing decision. In that I am envious of Helena she saw a chance to change and grabbed it.

Although on a personal note I have made some life changes that have surprised and inspired me in my self and my own motivation. I’m proud of the woman I am becoming it’s like I have got back a little of the confidence I once had. Saying that I’ve never totally felt overly confident but I do feel like the changes I have made are adding to my day to day self confidence.

Reading has always been a passion of mine and following my studies I’m so glad I got back into reading for pleasure as it gives me so much joy. In escaping I’m discovering more about myself, who I want to be and where I want to go. I’m hoping to make some trips based on bookish love so watch this space…. I have two meet cutes left and I’m hoping to participate in the 24in48 readathon next weekend and o think finishing this beautiful series will be the icing on the cake.

Back to the Boy with the Board – there is just something about a guy with confidence and wet hair eh. This tasty treat should be snapped up whilst the weather is still smoking. Katey Lovell I’m saying it again I WANT more Meet Cutes please…

2018, Blog Tour, novella, Short Story

Blog Tour: Here Comes The Best Man By Angela Britnell

Blurb: Perfect for fans of Nashville! Sadly no Avery, Gunnar or Deacon but you do get a new hunky hero – Josh! Sit back, grab a copy and take yourself off to Nashville, Tennessee!

Being the best man is a lot to live up to …

When troubled army veteran and musician Josh Robertson returns home to Nashville to be the best man at his younger brother Chad’s wedding he’s just sure that he’s going to mess it all up somehow.

But when it becomes clear that the wedding might not be going to plan, it’s up to Josh and fellow guest Louise Giles to make sure that Chad and his wife-to-be Maggie get their perfect day.

Can Josh be the best man his brother needs? And is there somebody else who is beginning to realise that Josh could be her ‘best man’ too?

Review: Firstly, I have to apologise to Angela and Rachel for the delay in this post it should have been yesterday. Thanks to life, work and a football game it sadly didn’t happen.

Now I’m a huge fan of Angela Britnell so when this novella pinged through onto my email I knew I wanted in on this tour. I’ve loved all of her Nashville inspired reads and it’s just heightened my want to get to this beauty of a place. Angela creates rugged heroes who I literally can’t help but love. I was also bowled over by the fact Maggie and Chad from the Reject Table were a huge part of this read. That was another novella that I truly fell in love with so thank you Angela for bringing these beautiful characters back.

Louise and Josh are truly adorable and I loved falling in love with them in this tasty treat, and as much as my review is delayed I’m glad I got to spend a little more time getting to know these two and watching them fall in love. These two lost souls are very similar with their worries and in how they have closed themselves off to avoid being hurt. I loved Louise and in some ways her cautiousness is very much how I have felt – we have similar connections on our sense of self-confidence or lack of especially when men are concerned.

As a huge Nashville fan I loved the connections to the show that has stolen my heart. I haven’t watched the latest season yet and I know I will be heartbroken when it ends.

If you’re looking for a short read that will enhance your want to visit another country, will have you emotionally on the edge of your seat, and will whisk you away from the daily struggles in life then look no further. As I say I’m a massive fan of Angela’s and I’m sure I still have some of her books on my TBR that I need to get back to so watch this space. My love for this author grows each and every time I settle down with one of her books.