Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Halloween Kids Books 31/10/17



Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists over there at The Broke and the Bookish. I'd love to share my lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!


I'm not that massive on scary reads myself, however, there are some great books that fit into the middle grade or the picture book category that are fabulous and great for sharing at this time of year!













Monday, 30 October 2017

Review: How to be Champion by Sarah Millican

Part autobiography, part self help, part confession, part celebration of being a common-or-garden woman, part collection of synonyms for nunny, Sarah Millican's debut book delves into her super normal life with daft stories, funny tales and proper advice on how to get past life's blips - like being good at school but not good at friends, the excitement of IBS and how to blossom post divorce. 
If you've ever worn glasses at the age of six, worn an off-the-shoulder gown with no confidence, been contacted by an old school bully, lived in your childhood bedroom in your thirties, been gloriously dumped in a Frankie and Benny's, cried so much you felt great, been for a romantic walk with a dog, worn leggings two days in a row even though they smelt of wee from a distance, then this is YOUR BOOK. If you haven't done those things but wish you had, THIS IS YOUR BOOK. If you just want to laugh on a train/sofa/toilet or under your desk at work, THIS IS YOUR BOOK.


Review: I listened to this book  on audiobook in  the car with three of us listening and it proved to be a great 'community listen'. I was always going to listen to this on audiobook because it is narrated by Sarah herself and so we get the true meaning of everything she is saying, straight from the authors mouth so to speak. She does mention pictures and photos attached in a PDF to the audiobook but I couldn't find them, so that was the only drawback of the audiobook!

The content of this book is great though. As the synopsis suggests, this is part memoir and part self-help because each of the chapters comes complete with the 'How to Be Champion' tip. I loved this aspect of the book. Amy book that has a call to action of some kind is a refreshing read and really stands out from the crowd. I also loved the fact that this author is so open and honest about things that have happened to her and the way they have made her feel. Her true feelings are sometimes not what you might expect them to be and she talks about the value of being honest and he value of therapy, which I really appreciated!

Of course, being Sarah Millican, this book has quite a lot of colourful language and graphic detail, so if swearing and a lot of talk of bodily functions isn't your thing then you might not enjoy this book. This book did make me laugh a lot and I was able to identify with some of the anecdotes too, always a good thing. As I said at the beginning, I think the audiobook was a great way to read this and would highly recommend if you are thinking of reading this book yourself. The hardback would make a great gift though, if you have some presents still left to buy!

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

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Blog Tour: Extract From Christmas At Woolworths by Elaine Everest


I am very excited to be part of a christmassy blog tour today! I have an extract from Christmas at Woolworths by Elaine Everest for you today and I'll be bringing you all of the book information as well! Don't forget to take a look at the other stops on the blog tour for more awesome content! 

Here's what it's all about:

Even though there was a war on, the Woolworths girls brought Christmas cheer to their customers

Best friends Sarah, Maisie and Freda are brought together by their jobs at Woolworths. With their loved ones away on the front line, their bonds of friendship strengthen each day. Betty Billington is the manager at Woolworths, and a rock for the girls, having given up on love . . . Until a mysterious stranger turns up one day – could he reignite a spark in Betty?

As the year draws to a close, and Christmas approaches, the girls must rely on each other to navigate the dark days that lie ahead . . .

With so much change, can their friendship survive the war?



This book is out on November 2nd and you can find more information about the author and goodreads and Amazon links below the extract!

Are you ready for a sneak peak?

 June 1942
Sitting astride the powerful motorbike, Freda Smith removed a large leather gauntlet from her hand in order to pull tight-fitting goggles from her eyes. She rubbed her eyes with the back of her hand and yawned. Although only the first day of June, the air was sultry and not a day for being covered from head to toe in a heavyweight motorcycle uniform. Freda felt sweaty and would have loved nothing more than to pull off her jacket and feel the wind on her skin as she sped through Kent towards her destination. It had been a long day and no doubt many hours lay ahead before she would see her bed. Gazing towards an angry orange glow that could be seen even in the afternoon sky, she knew her journey was almost at an end. She was close to Canterbury.
Freda had always thought the notion of travelling to Canterbury appealing and she’d planned to visit this famous city just as the pilgrims had done centuries before her. Never in a million years did she believe her trip would be to carry important orders to the Fire Service when Canterbury was under threat from the Luftwaffe. Ahead of her now was a city decimated by enemy action. As a volunteer dispatch rider for the Auxiliary Fire Service Freda had longed for excitement, but she now realized that what lay ahead was death and destruction for this beautiful Kentish city and many of the people who lived there. After nearly three years would this terrible war never end?
Freda fervently wished she was back behind her counter at Erith Woolworths, selling the popular Mighty Midget books and Lumar jigsaws that not only entertained the families but gave youngsters something to concentrate on during long nights when the country was under fire from the enemy. Life seemed so much easier then, even though she was often on fire-watch duties and had to sleep in her landlady’s Anderson shelter on many occasions. Knowing how lucky she was had made Freda yearn to do more to help this beastly war come to an end. She wondered what she’d discover when she reached the city walls. How would she find the fire station, where she was supposed to report once she reached Canterbury? Fear urged Freda to turn back and not get any closer to the burning city.
The petite young woman gave herself a silent talking-to. Her job was important and lives depended on her handing over the instructions tucked safely inside the breast pocket of her uniform jacket. She was lucky to be able to work both at Woolies and be a volunteer in the Auxiliary Fire Service. Many people did not have a choice. Freda pulled the goggles back over her eyes and, slipping her small hand back into the gauntlet, she fired up the powerful Triumph motorbike. The bike had been assigned to her when she had completed her training only two weeks ago. Another fifteen minutes and she would reach her destination. Once her duties were complete Freda could do something about the worry that had been nagging at the back of her mind since she left Erith fire station. She would be able to look for her friends. The best place to start her search would be Woolworths. Surely someone could point her in the right direction?
‘Thank you,’ Freda said, as she was handed a tin mug containing piping hot cocoa along with a sandwich by one of the WVS ladies who were dispensing refreshments from a large van to the fire fighters, soldiers and the many civilians valiantly working to find those injured in the destruction of a once noble city and to dampen down the flames from incendiary bombs. Try as she might, Freda couldn’t quite block out the sound of ambulance bells and the shouts for ‘quiet’ as men nearby dug with their bare hands, searching for people trapped in the rubble of what was until recently street upon street of fine shops.
‘You look exhausted, love. Can you find somewhere to put your head down for a while before you head off again?’ a WVS woman said as she wiped the counter.
Freda, who would have liked nothing more than to close her eyes and sleep for a few hours to ease her aching body after the long journey across Kent, smiled at the kindly woman. ‘No, thank you all the same; I need to find my friends and put my mind at rest. Once I know they are safe I can head back home to Erith. Would you happen to know the best way to reach Woolworths? I’m sure staff there will be on fire watch duties and hopefully they can tell me where my friends are.’
The woman stopped and thought for a moment. ‘I do believe that Woolworths is a couple of streets from here, but the road’s been blocked off as there’s an unexploded bomb. I doubt you’d get there anyway, what with so many shops and houses having been bombed. There’s nothing but rubble. Hang on, I’ll check with one of my ladies. She’s a local and may know more than I do.’
Freda nodded her thanks and bit hungrily into the Spam sandwich while she waited for the woman to return. It had been an age since she’d last eaten, but the grey National bread with its scraping of margarine and thin slice of Spam tasted like a feast fit for a king. Since arriving in Erith from the Midlands at the end of 1938, Freda had come to enjoy her food after most of her childhood was spent going without. Her landlady, and grandmother to her best friend Sarah Gilbert, was a wonderful cook and Freda reckoned her mutton stews, fluffy dumplings and steak and kidney puddings wouldn’t look out of place on the tables of any posh London hotel. Even with rationing taking a grip on the nation’s food supplies, Ruby Caselton could be relied upon to conjure up a tasty meal for any occasion.
Freda had just swallowed the last of the cocoa when the WVS lady reappeared.
‘I was right. You can’t get to where Woolies is as the street’s shut off. It seems the buildings down there have taken a bit of a bashing so I hope your friends are all right. Do they work there?’
Freda tried not to become alarmed. It wouldn’t help matters. She made herself think of everyone back home who would be relying on her to stay strong. ‘Er, no, but one of them is manager of the Erith branch and my other friend works with her. I just need to know they are not hurt. Would you know where I could possibly find them? That’s if they are not badly injured or . . .’
The kindly woman patted Freda on the shoulder. ‘Now, don’t go getting yourself upset. Why, you’re no more than a child yourself and riding that great big motorbike. You’re a brave one and no mistake.’
Freda took a deep breath and composed herself. ‘I’ll be twenty-one later this year. I’m just a bit on the small side for my age.’
‘Well, twenty-one or not, the world’s a bloody scary place right now and we are entitled to be afraid. Just don’t go bottling it all up. Scream and shout at the Hun if you want to. It does me the power of good, I can tell you.’ She placed a protective hand on Freda’s shoulder and pointed with the other. ‘Now, if you take yourself off down that road and turn left, you will come across a church hall. It’s being used as a rest centre as well as a first-aid post. I reckon you’ll get news of your friends down there. Leave your motorbike and helmet here. You can park up behind our van. They’ll come to no harm. I’ll keep an eye on them for you.’
Freda thanked the woman and, after securing her bike, she hurried up the small road to the hall. Struggling to gain entry as the hall was full of people, she pushed and shoved her way through the crowd. So many looked to be in shock, wandering aimlessly about, no doubt looking for loved ones just as Freda was trying to do. Spotting an officious-looking ARP warden with a clipboard, she elbowed through the crowd. ‘Excuse me, do you know if my friends, Miss Betty Billington and Mrs Maisie Carlisle, are here?’
The man ran his pencil down a list of names and turned a page. ‘Here they are, Billington and Carlisle. Hmm,’ he said, tapping the pencil on his teeth as he peered at the list. ‘They’ve been moved to hospital. I assume they must be injured, but details haven’t been noted. I do wish people would complete the forms properly,’ he huffed.
Freda tried to stand on tiptoes to look at the list, but the man was having none of it and held it close to his body. ‘What hospital would that be?’ she asked.
‘Margate General. It’s not too far from here. Local hospitals are overstretched at the moment. Here, take a look at the map.’ He pointed to a large map pinned to the wall.
Freda felt sick as she peered at it. Her head started to spin as she attempted to focus on where her friends had been taken and tried not to think too much about their injuries. They are still alive, she told herself as she thanked the man and rushed back to where she’d left her motorbike. Although now late afternoon, it was still warm and around her she could see men sweating as they pulled at bricks and masonry that had once been thriving businesses and family homes, seeking the living and the dead. Firing up the bike’s engine, she headed off to find Betty and Maisie.
Release Date: 2nd November 2017
Author Information

Elaine Everest, author of Bestselling novel The Woolworths Girls and The Butlins Girls was born and brought up in North West Kent, where many of her books are set. She has been a freelance writer for twenty years and has written widely for women's magazines and national newspapers, with both short stories and features. Her non-fiction books for dog owners have been very popular and led to broadcasting on radio about our four legged friends. Elaine has been heard discussing many topics on radio from canine subjects to living with a husband under her feet when redundancy looms.

When she isn't writing, Elaine runs The Write Place creative writing school at The Howard Venue in Hextable, Kent and has a long list of published students. 

Elaine lives with her husband, Michael, and their Polish Lowland Sheepdog, Henry, in Swanley, Kent and is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Crime Writers Association, The Society of Women Writers & Journalists and The Society of Authors as well as Slimming World where she can been sitting in the naughty corner.




Guest Review: Back Story by David Mitchell

David Mitchell, who you may know for his inappropriate anger on every TV panel show except Never Mind the Buzzcocks, his look of permanent discomfort on C4 sex comedy Peep Show, his online commenter-baiting in The Observer or just for wearing a stick-on moustache in That Mitchell and Webb Look, has written a book about his life.

As well as giving a specific account of every single time he's scored some smack, this disgusting memoir also details:

• the singular, pitbull-infested charm of the FRP (‘Flat Roofed Pub’)

• the curious French habit of injecting everyone in the arse rather than the arm

• why, by the time he got to Cambridge, he really, really needed a drink

• the pain of being denied a childhood birthday party at McDonalds

• the satisfaction of writing jokes about suicide

• how doing quite a lot of walking around London helps with his sciatica

• trying to pretend he isn’t a total **** at Robert Webb’s wedding

• that he has fallen in love at LOT, but rarely done anything about it

• why it would be worse to bump into Michael Palin than Hitler on holiday

• that he’s not David Mitchell the novelist. Despite what David Miliband might think
 



Review: This is the comedian David Mitchell's memoirs, describing his childhood, school days, university life and his breakthrough into the world of entertainment. Although there is plenty of humour in the book, there are some serious insights into life. Prior to reading the book, my impression of David Mitchell was limited to that of the persona he projects in his television appearances, but he comes across in the book as a more rounded, pensive individual.

One of the reasons I was keen to read the book was that he and I went to the same college at Cambridge University, where he read history, so I was interested to compare his experiences with mine. I can concur with his observation that, for students reading natural sciences or medicine and had lectures all day and every day, it was like having a full-time job. I read natural sciences. Our times at Cambridge did not overlap. I started my final year in the same calendar year in which he was born. However, I was pleased to discover that we did have one thing in common. His director of studies in the college had been my tutor (at Cambridge, a tutor is not a teaching position but is involved with welfare issues).

I enjoyed reading the book. It was full of wry observations, as may be expected from a professional comedian, but also had some serious things to say. Although there is more to the book than his Cambridge years, there is much to interest to fellow Cantabrians.

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


Friday, 27 October 2017

Review: Christmas in St Ives by Miranda Dickinson

A wonderfully festive ebook short that will get you excited for the Christmas season, by the author of the bestselling Fairytale of New York.

Heartbroken Cerrie Austin is doing her best to hold it together in the run up to Christmas. Not easy when her cheating ex works in the same school and everyone’s eyes are on her. The last thing she needs is a new teacher meddling in her beloved nativity play, even if he is charming, handsome and a talented musician. The Christmas performance is her pride and joy, and she won’t be undermined.
Seren McArthur has recently returned to her Cornish hometown and is enjoying being close to her family and her oldest friends again. St Ives is at its most magical at Christmas, with fairy lights and tinsel in every shop window, tempting locals and holidaymakers alike as they pick up gifts. But an exciting opportunity is just around the corner: will she stay or will she go? 
Meanwhile, the St Ives Christmas celebrations are in crisis: plans for a giant lantern parade through the starlit streets have ground to a halt. As the snow starts to fall, can Cerrie, Seren and their friends Kieran and Aggie rally around in time to save the big day? 
Christmas in St Ives is a charming novella that introduces you to the characters from Miranda Dickinson’s upcoming novel, Somewhere Beyond the Sea. Available for preorder now! Just click the link: UK or US

Review: ok this was just the perfect start to the festive season for me. I am now ready to drink peppermint mochas, mulled wine and snowballs, watch all the christmas films and wrap my presents. And all this from one novella. I decided not to gobble up this festive offering in one go but to take it in slowly and savour it so I read it in 3 sittings. I really feel like i got to know the characters this way and I can't wait to meet them again in Somewhere Beyond the Sea in June 2018!

I think that Cerrie was my favourite character but that is because she is a kick-ass teacher and just a kick-ass woman in general. Miranda did such a good job writing about what it is like to be a teacher putting on a christmas production and got all the little important details spot on! I loved Aggie too and I know I would loved to visit her coffee hut after a long day at school as well. Of course I know we are going to find out more about Seren in Somewhere Beyond The Sea, and I really hope I get to see all of these characters get their happy endings in that book next year. 

This works really well as a novella because it is getting us ready for christmas, but also getting us ready for this novel next year. I love the fact that we have been introduced to these characters, we know some of their back story and their relationships to each other. But also we get to know about their lives and their town. It was great getting to know how the community works so we candice right in when the novel is out next year. 

The Christmas level in this novel is on high and it really does celebrate all the little things that we take for granted during the festive season. there isn't so much talk pop christmas trees, christmas dinner and the presents, but the events like the school play and the shop windows being dressed. `the first festive drink of the season and people breaking up from school for the holidays. I know these things are so important to me and reading about them made me feel so ready for the holidays. 

This book was a bargain and could definitely be a quick read if you decided to devour it all at once. Whether you are planning to read the follow up novel or not, I would definitely recommend picking this one up to get you in the festive mood and make you feel all warm and sparkly this winter!

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Guest Review: A Cosy Candlelit Christmas by Tilly Tennant

Today is a very special guest review because today is guest reviewer Linda's birthday! So if you see her over on Twitter (@highlandhamster) then please do wish her a very happy birthday!

All Isla wants for Christmas is to be left in peace, but in the Alps there’s potential for romance in every snowflake that falls…

It’s the week before Christmas and Isla McCoy has just received an unexpected gift: a letter announcing she is due a life-changing inheritance, but only if she’s willing to make peace with the father who abandoned her. 

She has absolutely no intention of making amends, but who could resist an all-expenses-paid trip to the French resort of St Martin-de-Belleville? 

There she meets smooth-talking Justin and nerdy glaciologist Sebastian; two very different men, with two very different agendas. Torn between her head and her heart, Isla finds herself utterly lost in a winter wonderland of her own feelings. 

Surrounded by twinkling candles and roaring log-fires, Isla’s resolve finally begins to melt. But will she learn how to reconnect, not only with a whole new family, but with herself and her heart?





Review: This is book 2 in the Unforgettable Christmas series, following hard on the heels of book 1 (A Very Vintage Christmas). Although this story features as its main character someone mentioned in the previous book, it is perfectly possible to read each as a standalone. I very much enjoyed A Very Vintage Christmas, and looked forward to reading this second book. I have enjoyed all the books I have read from Tilly Tennant and would count her as one of my favourite authors. 

The current story centres on the activities of Isla McCoy (best friend of Dodie, the central character in the first book) in the run-up to Christmas. Out of the blue, she has news that a little known relative has left her an inheritance. The catch is that to receive it she must make contact with the father who abandoned her and her mother when she was very young. However, the positive aspect of that is a trip to a French skiing resort where her father, Ian McCoy, now lives with his 'new' family. Unwillingly, and against her mother's wishes, Isla makes the trip just before Christmas and meets not only an extended family but also two very different but equally interesting men - distant relative Justin and visiting glaciologist Sebastian. Could romance be in the air?

I am a huge fan of festive stories, and I really enjoyed this one. It is a little different, with the heroine being transported off on an adventure just when she would normally be making Christmas preparations. It is a deliciously snowy tale as you would expect from its setting in the alpine resort of St Martin-de-Belleville. I found that I could easily picture the scene and would love to be staying in the guest house where Isla finds herself. I admired Isla as a character for her courage in setting off into the unknown as it were. Although I didn't think I would, as the story from the past emerged, I found myself liking her father and most of the family. Unexpectedly, I just couldn't warm to her mother, Glory, and revelations as the story progressed made it even more difficult. 

I would recommend this book to fellow lovers of Christmas stories. It would be perfect for reading while curled up by the fire dreaming of a white Christmas. 

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

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Unique Book Titles 24/10/17



Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists over there at The Broke and the Bookish. I'd love to share my lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!


OOO a list about titles? What a good idea! I find sometimes when titles are very similar to each other, I get them confused with other books so a unique titles can be a massive help when you read as much as I do. Here are some of my favourites!
























What are your favourite titles? Do you have any that you don't like? Let me know!

Friday, 20 October 2017

Review: Turtles All The Way Down by John Green

Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.

Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.



Review: It's always really hard to review a book that has had a lot of hype around it isn't it?

I really enjoyed this book. I thought it was a real hon eat take on what it is like to be a teenager in today's society. It is also a good account of what it is like to be a young person struggling with mental health, and anyone struggling with their mental health really. It is very appropriate that it came out on World Mental Health day because I really think that this book tackles the issues surrounding anxiety and OCD really really well. It was encouraging to read, gave m hope and educated me to some extent.

I really loved Aza as a main character. She seems to have much more of a handle on life the  other people do, I have to admit I was a little bit jealous of that. She can recognise when she needs help, she doesn't always make the right decision when it comes too seeking help, but she also has a great relationship with her mother, which I love. There are far too many books out there that have main characters who have awful relationships with one or both parents and so it was really refreshing to read about a young person who has such a good relationship with hers.

Aza also has some great friends and these make for great characters to read about, whether they are new friends or old friends. The friendships are realistic and it is good to see them going through the usual ups and downs of high school life together.

This book gave me an education of not only someone else's mental health issues but also what a tuatara is! I loved the fact that i learned so much from this book as well as having it take me on a journey with a character and entertain me. A lot of people think that John Green's books will only make them cry but I did not cry over the course of this book, I did laugh though. Proper laughing out loud, this was definitely entertaining.

Of course one of the main selling points of this book to me was John Green's writing, i just love the way he writes, his turn off phrases is just lovely, there are so many beautiful metaphors and nothing is ever dumbed down, language that should be used is used. And then of course there is the fact that he is so honest with his audience. We don't need another story about someone with issues over coming them, we don't need a story where nothing realistic happens, this is honest writing about being in high school and all that that entails. It is about having issues in your life but learning to live with them and showing how the can affect your life.

I really did enjoy this read, it is a very different from John Green's last book but different isn't always a bad thing, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone out there.

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

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Review: The Treatment by CL Taylor

“You have to help me. We’re not being reformed. We’re being brainwashed.”
All sixteen year old Drew Finch wants is to be left alone. She's not interested in spending time with her mum and stepdad and when her disruptive fifteen year old brother Mason is expelled from school for the third time and sent to a residential reform academy she's almost relieved.
Everything changes when she's followed home from school by the mysterious Dr Cobey, who claims to have a message from Mason. There is something sinister about the ‘treatment’ he is undergoing. The school is changing people.
Determined to help her brother, Drew must infiltrate the Academy and unearth its deepest, darkest secrets.
Before it’s too late.


Review: wow, this is going to be a hard book to review without giving away any spoilers because it is just so twisty and action packed with full of exciting characters and plot. I really enjoyed this book and it was a very different read for me! This is CL Taylor's first YA novel. I love her usual thrillers and this one had just as much action and set my pulse racing just as much as her adult novels do. This book has a slightly dystopian feel about it and is set in the near future. Don't let the dystopian feel put you off though, I could recognise everything in this book and it made for some familiar feeling and ` familiar setting but with CL Taylor's plot twists and a very uncomfortable reality. 

This book follows Drew and her quest to help her brother. Drew is a fabulously strong female lead. She fights for what she believes in and finds some incredibly clever ways to get her own way and to get exactly what she wants. She doesn't make friends in real life easily because she values her independence so much and i found this really relatable and also very admirable. Her bother Mason is a character in this novel but we don't get to know as much of his back story as we do Drew's therefore I didn't feel as much of a connection to him or the other characters in the novel as much as my connection with her. 

The adults in this book are definitely not to be trusted and that's what makes the kind of classic YA characteristics in this novel. I love the fact that we can solve to hate the authority figures here, especially since this is mainly set in a school so we can all hate the OFSTED inspector! Some of the plot lines of this book are definitely not for the faint hearted just because we don't know exactly what The Treatment is but we know its not a nice thing! And because we love to hate the authority, some may find the reasons why we hate them fairly shocking. But I loved all the dark and twisted bits of this book, they made for excellent reading and kept me on the edge of my seat right until the bitter end!

If you love CL Taylor's psychological thrillers already then you will definitely enjoy this read. If this is your first of her books then you are in for a treat! I would definitely recommend this book for older readers and you should definitely prepare yourself to be challenged, to be entertained and to be thrilled by this awesome novel!

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

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Guest Review: Christmas on The Little Cornish Isles by Phillipa Ashley



For Maisie Samson, this Christmas is going to be different. After years working in a busy Cornish pub, she’s moved back to quiet Gull Island where she grew up, to help her parents run the family inn.
But even though she can’t wait for the festive season to arrive, Maisie cannot shake the memories of what happened to her last Christmas – the day she lost everything. She keeps herself busy, setting up the tree and hanging mistletoe ready for her first proper family Christmas in years.
Until a new arrival to the island walks into her bar and changes everything. Australian backpacker Patrick is looking for a job for the low season. When Maisie takes him on, she doesn’t expect him to last the week, but to her surprise Patrick is the perfect fit. Charming and handsome, could Maisie allow herself to hope that she and Patrick could be more than just colleagues?
As Christmas approaches, Maisie finds herself dreading the spring, when Patrick is due to leave. With the help of a little Christmas magic, can Maisie get the happily ever after she always dreamed of?
Christmas on the Little Cornish Isles is the first in a stunning new series from Phillipa Ashley. The perfect book to snuggle up with this Christmas.



Review: This is book 1 in the Little Cornish Isles series, a new collection from Phillipa Ashley. I very much enjoyed her last series, about the Cornish Cafe, and was interested to find out about the Cornish Isles, or Isles of Scilly. I have never visited this part of the world, but felt sure that Phillipa's writing would bring them alive for me; I was not disappointed. 

The story revolves around Maisie Samson and her parents, Ray and Hazel, who own the Driftwood Inn on the fictitious Gull Island. Maisie has returned home to help run the Inn after previously having worked in a busy Cornish pub. She is preparing the Inn for the festive season and also looking forward to her 40th birthday on New Year's Eve, all the time looking back on a less than happy time last Christmas. All is not well in the seemingly idyllic little island, as Hugo Scorrier, owner of neighbouring Petroc Island, is trying to expand his resort to encompass Gull Island and perhaps win Maisie's heart into the bargain. However, blond Australian Patrick McKinnon arrives on the scene and takes on the job of barman at the Inn, bringing with him a breath of fresh air for the islanders and a chance of romance for Maisie. 

This was a lovely story, really well written as you would expect from Phillips Ashley, and full of evocative details about these islands. I enjoyed the idea of people sailing between the islands in their day to day activities; it made me determined to go and visit one of these days. In addition to the call of the sea, there were the little cottages with stunning views and the flower farm, all adding to the charm of the setting. I would heartily recommend this book as a heartwarming Christmas read, perfect for getting you into the mood for the coming season. 

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

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Yummy Foods in Books 17/10/17



Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists over there at The Broke and the Bookish. I'd love to share my lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!


There are some great books out there that are absolutely fatal to read when you're hungry. Bakeries and cafes have become the in thing to write about and so here are the books featuring yummy foods that I've read! I could've included way more than 10 but I've edited harshly!





(This one is full of coffee-I love yummy coffee!)




This whole series is full of great cooking!






Full of amazing ice cream!


Short but very very sweet!



What food books have you read recently?

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


Today I am part of the blog tour for the very fabulous Christmas on the Little Cornish Isles by Phillipa Ashley. I have an exclusive extract for you further down this post. I'll also leave the buy links because I know this extract is going to make you want to download this book straight away!

Here's what it's all about...

Christmas has arrived on the Cornish Isles of Scilly, bringing mistletoe, surprises and more than a sprinkle of romance . . . Fans of Poldark and Carole Matthews will love this brand-new festive read from the author of the bestselling Cornish CafĂ© series.
For Maisie Samson, this Christmas is going to be different. After years working in a busy Cornish pub, she’s moved back to quiet Gull Island where she grew up, to help her parents run the family inn.

But even though she can’t wait for the festive season to arrive, Maisie cannot shake the memories of what happened to her last Christmas – the day she lost everything. She keeps herself busy, setting up the tree and hanging mistletoe ready for her first proper family Christmas in years.

Until a new arrival to the island walks into her bar and changes everything. Australian backpacker Patrick is looking for a job for the low season. When Maisie takes him on, she doesn’t expect him to last the week, but to her surprise Patrick is the perfect fit. Charming and handsome, could Maisie allow herself to hope that she and Patrick could be more than just colleagues?

As Christmas approaches, Maisie finds herself dreading the spring, when Patrick is due to leave. With the help of a little Christmas magic, can Maisie get the happily ever after she always dreamed of?

Christmas on the Little Cornish Isles is the perfect book to snuggle up with this Christmas.


And here's the extract for you...

Extract Twenty from Chapter Twelve, pp 81-82
Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ was belting out over the speakers so that people had to shout above the noise. Patrick would have turned the sound system down but the music was in Ray’s hands and he didn’t want to interfere. 
There was standing room only in the bar. A corner had been cordoned off to create a makeshift stage with a speaker and a microphone, and was festooned with fake cobwebs with rubber bats hanging from the beams. He knew that this was his debut at the Driftwood, and that he was probably as much a part of the entertainment for the evening as any of the ‘acts’. He’d braced himself for the fact that being a newcomer in this tiny community would make him an object of interest, but he hadn’t quite been prepared for so much attention all in one go.
Ray was dressed as Dracula with Hazel as his bride. Maisie flitted about the bar in a slinky red ‘devil’ outfit and black pointy boots, which Patrick was finding a major distraction. She had a red plastic pitchfork behind the bar that she used to prod people at regular intervals.
In desperation, Patrick had decided on a makeshift Zombie outfit, ripping up an old T-shirt and, with the help of some of Hazel’s make-up and a YouTube video, had managed a passable impression of a rotting corpse. He wasn’t a natural costume-party person but had long become used to joining in themed events at the Fingle. Besides, the outfit gave him a literal and metaphorical mask to hide behind during his baptism of fire behind the bar at the Driftwood.
‘Nice costume,’ said Maisie briskly, when he’d arrived for work. 
‘You too,’ he replied, trying not to make the comment sound pervy in any way, even though she looked edible in the slinky scarlet Lycra. ‘Nice . . . um . . . horns.’
‘Thanks, and may I say, being one of the living dead really suits you,’ she’d fired back in return.
They’d barely had a chance to speak since people had started arriving as soon as the doors opened at seven o’clock. Patrick had been surprised at the amount of people willing to venture out across the seas on an October night. However, he’d soon learned that most of the islanders were skilled boatmen and women, used to navigating their way around the seas of Scilly even in the dark and less than ideal conditions. Really bad conditions did keep some of the smaller vessels in port at times, that was inevitable, but fortunately it was a calm evening and no one was going to miss the Hallowe’en party night – not to mention the added attraction of an exotic new face, even if that face did look like he’d risen fresh from the grave. 
Vampires, werewolves, Frankenstein’s monsters, witches, ghosts and ghouls piled into the bar. The costumes were largely homemade, some more convincing than others. In minutes, the questions and banter flew at him and he tried to give as good as he got, all the while serving drinks under Maisie’s watchful eye. You’re on trial, Patrick, mate, he told himself as she shot a sideways glance at him when she was collecting glasses. You always will be with this woman.

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