Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Blog Tour: Extract from Summer on the Little Cornish Isles by Phillipa Ashley

I'm very pleased to be part of the blog tour for Summer on the Little Cornish Isles by Phillipa Ashley. The book is out now and I shared a review of it which you can read here. I have an extract to share with you. 

Heres' what it's all about:

One summer can change everything …
Poppy has always loved Cornwall – the crisp sea air, the welcoming community. So when her boyfriend Dan suggests they leave their office jobs and take over the Starfish Studio on the Isles of Scilly, Poppy doesn’t need asking twice.
But things don’t go to plan when Dan dumps her, weeks before they’re due to move. Determined not to give up, Poppy accepts the help of local photographer Jake, her landlord’s grandson. But Jake is distracted by a loss from his past.
Can they turn the crumbling gallery into a success in time for tourist season? And will a summer on the little Cornish Isles mend just the studio – or Poppy’s heart too?

Thank you to Phillipa for stopping by and sharing this extract with us today, happy reading!

Poppy sneaked a glance at him. He seemed to be almost as mesmerised as she
was, lingering by paintings and showing no signs of being bored. Relieved not to be hauled
outside, she carried on exploring.
Although the walls were peeling and the display cabinets showing signs of age, the
space still gave her the shivers – in a good way. Alongside Archie Pendower’s oils, there
was work by other artists and makers. Every nook and cranny was filled with copper fish
twisting through metal water, driftwood sculptures, bangles made of semi-precious stones
and pendants with silver shells and sea glass in jewel-like colours.
At the rear of the gallery, Dan was now deep in conversation with Archie himself.
Archie’s deep local burr was mesmeric and Dan’s voice was livelier and more animated than
she’d heard him for ages.
Clutching a pack of postcards featuring Archie’s work, Poppy joined Dan and told
Archie how much she admired his work. She hoped she didn’t sound like too much of a
fangirl but the Starfish Studio seemed to have worked its magic on both of them.
At one time, while she was studying English at university, Poppy had harboured
vague dreams about running a gallery. She’d actually spent one of her university summer
holiday’s earning a bit of cash by helping out in a gallery – more of a gift shop really – at the
craft centre near her parents’ house. She was well aware that an artist’s life was far from the
creative bubble customers liked to believe, but she was still in awe of those who made their
actual living being creative. She’d always enjoyed dabbling with crafts and spent far too long
in the bead shop in her town. She was wearing one of her own creations today: a bracelet
inspired by the colours of the sea.
However, when she’d left university she’d got a job as a PR assistant with a building
products company and risen to be the communications manager. She still made a few
pieces now and then, but work and a long commute meant she had less time than ever for
her hobby.
She might laugh at Dan’s obsession with budgets and bulldozers, but her own job
was hardly creative. On the other hand, it was how she’d first met him: at a construction
conference a couple of years before. She’d gone along, thinking that it would be dull as
ditchwater and almost decided to miss the final seminar on marketing on the first day. She
was so glad she hadn’t.

Guest Review: Hidden Treasures by Fern Britton

Helen Merrifield decides to start afresh and put her old life behind her in the picture-postcard Cornish village of Pendruggan. Throwing herself into the local scene, Helen finds herself at the mercy of the rather desperate Vicar, but she is secretly drawn to the brooding local historian, Piran.
Meanwhile, Helen’s best friend, Penny, decides that the village is the perfect setting for her new TV series. When the cast and crew descend, the village is thrown into a tizzy, but Helen has her hands full fending off her philandering ex-husband, who seems determined to charm his way back into her bed.
Should Helen hold on to the past? Or will Cornwall give her something new to treasure?
Pendruggan: A Cornish village with secrets at its heart

Review: Having read some of her more recent material, I thought I'd catch up with Fern Britton's earlier work. I found this one in audiobook format in my local library and decided to have a listen. 

The story is set in what sounds like a really quaint village in Cornwall. The main character, Helen, has decided to leave her cheating husband and London life behind and start afresh somewhere new. She buys an idyllic little cottage in a Cornish village and sets about making a new life for herself. The village is full to the brim with interesting and sometimes strange characters. Amongst these is Simon, the vicar, and Piran, local historian, both of whom take a particular interest in Helen. Life in the village is suddenly changed when Helen's great friend and TV producer, Penny, decides it is the perfect setting for her new detective drama and we are plunged into the world of actors and filming. Another, quite different, excitement is caused by the discovery in Helen's garden of an old tin box obviously buried long ago; its contents and their story pose quite a mystery. 

This was an easy and most enjoyable read. I found Helen a likeable character and enjoyed her determination and boldness in leaving a life she didn't like and starting out anew. She was very lucky to find such a nice cottage in Cornwall and to be accepted so readily by the local people. The goings on in the village and the antics of Helen's husband added a fair amount of humour to the story. The unfolding of the story of the box found in the garden and the treasures therein was very cleverly written. Definitely a book I would recommend. 

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Novellas/Short Stories 17/7/18

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

I haven't done a top ten in a while so here I go again...

I love short stories and novellas and funnily enough I just asked this question on my instagram the other day. So I'm going to do 5 of my favourites and 5 I've read recently...

Collections I've Read Recently

Some of My Favourites

Monday, 16 July 2018

Review: The Place We Met by Isabelle Broom

Lake Como, Italy, New Year's Eve. The perfect place to fall in love? Or the perfect place for everything to fall apart? 'Utterly romantic' Adele Parks Lucy may have suffered her fair share of bad men, but now she has Pete. Finally, a man worth sharing her favourite place with, Lake Como. That's if she can put mysterious phone calls and glamorous ex-girlfriends out of her mind. Taggie is rushed off her feet, but distraction is exactly what she needs to forget why she fled England and the sadness she left behind. She certainly doesn't have time for infuriating stranger Marco. A man is the last thing she needs right now. Lucy and Taggie might not know it, but their lives are about to collide. The New Year might begin with fireworks - but how will it end? 

Review: This book obviously has a wonderful setting and so you'll be sucked right into Italy as soon as you pick this up. The book follows two characters and so we have a dual narrative structure that I love. Both characters have skeletons hiding in their closet that we don't know about and all is revealed as the book continues. Despite the fact that I really wanted to find out what each of these women were hiding I did find the pace of the book a little slow and struggled to bond with the characters initially because I knew they were hiding something, nevertheless I wanted to know what that is and I enjoyed reading about the Italian food and the Italian landscape. 

The characters were really quite different and so I can see why this author chose to have their stories come together in this way. I really liked Taggie and respected the way she composed herself and her reasons behind being in Lake Como before and after finding out what they were. I didn't like Lucy as much. I found that I really didn't get along with the way she had so many doubts about things but she didn't follow up on them. She was a little indecisive and it really began to grate on me. Later on in the novel she definitely finds a little more back bone but I wasn't entirely happy with the ending that she got. 

The secrets that both these women have and even those they don't fully appreciate are what kept me reading through this book and the structure definitely made me keep turning the pages. Because I struggled to identify with one of the characters I think I struggled to keep up the pace during her sections of the story. Overall though this was a good read and I really enjoyed spending time in Lake Como. 

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Movie Reviews July 8th-14th

Well this week was a good week for movie watching, i enjoyed everything I went to see! I did 2 re-watches this week and paid for one movie out of pocket since it was a Fathom event and you can't use Movie Pass for those! I also leave my video review for each of these films at the bottom of this post each week, I would love it you would support my BookTube channel!

Yep I went to see this one again! You can check out my review for this one here, it was just as good the second time around!

This was another re-watch for me. After no enjoying the new movies I saw last week, it was great to watch something that kept me engaged the whole time. This is a long film bu doesn't feel like it. I love the Millennium Falcon and the scenes with Chewbacca! I don't like the new droid and feel like she is way too evolved compared with C3PO and R2D2 who came after her! The new actors in this were good though, i enjoyed it just as much the second time around! 

Now I am not a massive Whitney fan or anything but as soon as I heard that this film as being made I wanted to see it, then when I saw the trailer, I wanted to see it even more! I loved this documentary. They cut it really well with things that were happening in the media and in foreign affairs during the time of her hits. They also got a great range of people to interview, including Bobbi Brown! It was just great-highly recommend. 

I knew nothing about this one going in but a Friend recommended it to me so I went to see it based on the fact that Christopher Plummer is in it! It was really heartwarming and feel good. Three generations of a slightly kooky family on a road trip that may or may not involve a drug deal or two, whats not to love? It was a good film and definitely a recommendation from me!

A documentary on pro-wrestling? Sign me up! And so this is the one I paid out of pocket for since it was special event. It had one of the wrestlers from the film introducing it beforehand and then being interviewed about the film afterwards. It had some really big names from the history of wrestling, was open and honest about drug use, injuries and infidelities when travelling 350 days a year. I really enjoyed it and it was well worth paying for!

This was probably my least favourite film I saw in the week but the most I have looked up information on following it. I assumed this was one big acid trip and was very much influenced by the Beatles but the animator apparently was drug-free (hmm I dunno!) I was disappointed to learn that it wasn't the Beatles voicing themselves in the film and that they really wanted nothing to do with it. I liked the songs obviously and am glad I finally watched it but I won't be watching it again. I didn't hate it but I didn't love it...

Friday, 13 July 2018

Review: When the Curtain Falls by Carrie Hope Fletcher

Theatres have a certain kind of magic. When the curtain rises, we are all enraptured by the glare of the lights and the smell of the greasepaint but it's when the curtain falls that the real drama begins . . . 

In 1952 two young lovers meet, in secret, at the beautiful Southern Cross theatre in the very heart of London's West End. Their relationship is made up of clandestine meetings and stolen moments because there is someone who will make them suffer if he discovers she is no longer 'his'. But life in the theatre doesn't always go according to plan and tragedy and heartache are waiting in the wings for all the players . . .

Almost seventy years later, a new production of When the Curtain Falls arrives at the theatre, bringing with it Oscar Bright and Olive Green and their budding romance. Very soon, though, strange things begin to happen and they learn about the ghost that's haunted the theatre since 1952, a ghost who can only be seen on one night of the year. Except the ghost is appearing more often and seems hell bent on sabotaging Oscar and Olive. The young couple realise they need to right that wrong from years gone by, but can they save themselves before history repeats itself and tragedy strikes once more?
Moulin Rouge meets Phantom of the Opera in this story of unrequited love and revenge. 

Review: I really enjoyed the read and it had this author's usual fairytale like feeling most of the way through. You know going into Carrie's books that you need to suspend your disbelief going in, roll with the magic and just get swept up in the stories. This book has two different storylines, one form 2018 and one from 1952 with the earlier having an effect on the latter. I liked the shift in time and really felt captivated in the whole magic of the theatre in the 1952 events. I also learned a lot about what goes into a theatre production and what goes on backstage in a west end show. 

We have two different sets of leading men and ladies. In 1952 we have Fawn and Walter and in 2018 we have Olive and Oscar. I did find the fact that Olive and Oscar have similar names a little confusing at times but I managed to kept them straight most of the time. I loved Fawn and thought she was a really strong characters. I really liked Walter in the beginning whereas I found Oscar a little hard to warm to so I was glad of the parallel storylines. Some of the supporting characters float in and out of both sections so they are sometimes tricky to keep track of, I would have liked to have heard a little more from some of them, especially in the present day parts, but I appreciated what they did add to the plot.

The setting for both parts of the novel is a West End theatre and we don't see very much outside of the theatre, but when we do its wonderful to have real places and landmarks I could recognise in London. I always appreciate when an author uses real places because it is much easier for me to situate the characters and events in my head. Obviously a theatre is a fabulous setting for this novel, it is magical and it lends itself well to the magical aspect of the storyline. We know there are of course ghosts featured in this novel and I found that they slotted right in because of the setting and because of the build up in the 1952 thread of the book. There are also some disturbing scenes whilst almost spill over into the thriller genre because of their violent and almost mystery-like nature. The penultimate chapter of the book gets exceedingly dark, think Romeo and Juliet, Phantom of the Opera-I loved this bit!

I loved the romance of this novel, it was definitely a page tuner and so therefore a quick read for me because I dedicated a whole day to reading it and let the suspense build. You definitely have to like a little bit of magic and some ghosts in your books in order to enjoy all of this but I definitely enjoyed it and it is my second favourite of Carrie's novels. 

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US (US hardback published 4th September)

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Review: Why Mummy Swears by Gail Sims

Why Mummy Swears is the much anticipated new novel from Gill Sims, author of the hilarious Why Mummy Drinks and online sensation Peter and Jane.
It’s every parents’ nightmare – the start of the school holidays – and instead of sitting in the sun, reading a book over a cold, crisp glass of Pinot Grigio, Mummy has two bored moppets to attend to. After frantically booking sports camps, child minder slots, not to mention time off work, Mummy is exhausted. But this is only the beginning…
After being dragged to join the school’s PTA in the new term by an annoyingly kind-spirited neighbour, Mummy is stuck with organising the Christmas Fayre and pleasing all the overly disapproving parents. In combination with getting to know her father’s surprise new glamorous (and much younger) wife, and being forced to spend more time with her narcissistic mother, life isn’t cutting her much of a break. What more could possibly happen?

Review: This book was just hilarious. It was so great to be back with Ellen again. I felt as if I was on her team and we were fighting the injustices of the world swearing and drinking together. If you think they covered every possible funny mummy scenario in Why Mummy Drinks then think again because there is so much more trouble children and mummies and daddies can get into and it is a just as funny the second time around. 

Ellen is such a great main character to spend time with. She is just down to earth and she gets to say and do exactly what we are all thinking. On the pages of her diary of course. She is strong and opinionated and always feels like she should be doing more to be a good mother. She debunks all the myths surrounding child raising, working and marriage and its just great to get to live vicariously through her for 300 or so pages. The other characters in this book are those that we met in Why Mummy Drinks. Peter and Jane are very typical for children of their age, Jane wants and Instagram account and Peter has been absolutely fascinated by the sex education video they watched at school. 

I absolutely hated Simon, Ellen's husband, in this novel, like seriously shouted at the pages hated him, but well written Gail Sims, I love a character I can feel passionate about! Ellen's family are also featured in this novel and provide great comedy value, serious good fun! I also loved the fact that we get a lot of feminist values coming through the pages of this novel concerning working mothers and fathers babysitting their own children. The way this book is structured is one of my favourites in a novel. I love a book written in diary form because rather than think you'll just get to the end of a chapter, you think you'll read on until the next month and so this was a very quick read for me, but one I laughed my way through entirely!

Although this is a sequel to Why Mummy Drinks, you don't have to have read the first book to enjoy this one, it works on its own. If you ARE planning on reading the first novel in this series though, I would recommend doing that one first so you don't get spoiled for some of the details by reading this one. I read them back to back and can highly recommend both for a jolly good time-so much fun!

To order Why Mummy Swears, just click the link: UK or US

To order Why Mummy Drinks, just click the link: UK or US