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** My thanks to Rachel Griffiths for my copy of this book **

 

Description:

Camilla Dix is fiercely independent. Growing up, she had to be strong for her mother and younger sister after her father left them for a new life in Benidorm. Camilla has kept her heart firmly closed to love, and never allows her relationships with men to develop into anything serious.

Tom Stone moved to Heatherlea for a fresh start. He’s been hurt in the past and has no intention of making himself vulnerable again. The only company he wants at night is that of his rescue British Bulldog Hairy Pawter.

However, when Camilla and Tom meet, they can’t deny their mutual attraction, and something deeper soon develops between them.

As snows falls over Heatherlea, mulled wine flows and festive carols fill the air, but can Camilla and Tom put their fears aside and trust each other enough to let love in?

This is the third of four short stories in The Cosy Cottage Café series.

Now available:

Summer at The Cosy Cottage Café
Autumn at The Cosy Cottage Café
Winter at The Cosy Cottage Café

Coming soon:

Spring at The Cosy Cottage Café

 

My Thoughts & Review:

I make no secret that I have absolutely loved this series of novellas so far, there’s such a lovely warmth that these books exude and it almost feels like a hug in book form when you pick one of these up.
So following on from the events in Autumn at The Cosy Cottage Cafe, readers are reunited with Camilla who is the sister of Dawn.

Camilla is a very different woman from her sister, she’s single and guards her heart from romantic entanglements.  Her parents broke up when she was a child, and despite her young years she took on caring for her younger sister.  Ensuring their money went as far as possible so they could have food, keeping a close eye on Dawn and generally being a parent to her mother and sister when they needed it.
Unfortunately this meant that Camilla grew up before she was ready, and so her ideas of relationships were tainted by her father’s actions and the subsequent breakdown of her mother.
It’s inevitable that she would keep her heart closed off to love, but this never stopped her from appreciating company of others or dating.  All was well and good until Tom Stone arrived in Heatherlea.

Tom Stone is the local vet, and quite a dreamy sounding character.  He has a kind heart and cares about those around him, and fate seems to want Tom and Camilla in the same space at the same time.  Several chance encounters leaving Camilla leaping over walls to hide from him etc before they do end up speaking properly and a friendship forms.
Their friendship feels very natural and genuine, both enjoying the company of the other and Camilla appreciating Tom’s culinary abilities as well as time spent with her new friend Hairy Pawter.

Following the ups and downs of a budding relationship, readers are privy to Camilla’s thoughts as she falls for Tom.  I don’t think there’s many out there that wouldn’t fall for Tom after reading about him.
It’s also lovely to catch up with the other members of Heatherlea, seeing Dawn, Rick and the kids (and Wallace!), Allie and Chris, all of their lives are woven together and it’s like grabbing a coffee with old friends when you encounter them in the book.  Eagerly catching up on what’s been happening in their lives and how their relationships have progressed.

As the third installment of the series, Winter, contains themes that have featured in all of the books, love, relationships and family but there’s something else here, it feels more serious in a way with the exploration of the complexities of relationships.

Rachel Griffiths has a wonderful way of writing that really draws readers into the story, her characters come alive and you begin to imagine them as real people.  The settings mentioned in the story feel so real, you can almost see the Cottage Cafe and the delicious delights that Allie serves up, see the magic of the Christmas market and you find yourself sharing in the excitement of the characters.  The humour woven throughout is utterly brilliant, I found that I was laughing out loud in places, much to the confusion of my dogs.

The perfect read in the build up to Christmas, plenty laughter, love and wonderful escapism.  Highly recommended!!

You can buy a copy of Winter at The Cosy Cottage Cafe via  Amazon UK

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** My thanks to Rachel Griffiths for the opportunity to read a copy of this book **

 

Description:

Motherhood has been one of the great blessings of Dawn Dix-Beaumont’s life but with her children’s growing independence, it’s finally time for Dawn to return to teaching. However, Mother Nature has other ideas…

Rick Beaumont loves his family but he’s busier than ever. With his high-flying career, two children and a third on the way, there’s a lot to juggle.

Battling expectations, disappointments and a few surprises along the way, Dawn and Rick find their commitment to each other tested to the limit. The next steps they take will be the most important of their lives.

So when the pressure mounts and an important decision has to be made, will Dawn and Rick’s marriage become stronger than ever, or will it be time to move in different directions?

This is the second of four short stories in The Cosy Cottage Café series.

 

My Thoughts & Review:

This is my second foray into The Cosy Cottage Café series, and so far I’m loving it.  There’s something so comforting and homely about the setting of these books that just calls out to me, and I think will call out to many readers.  I do think that if Rachel were to give up reading and build The Cosy Cottage there would be people flocking to it from miles around the country (note, please do not give up writing Rachel, you cannot do that to me or any of your other fans….we NEED your books).

Anyway……it’s now Autumn in the village of Heatherlea and the focus has shifted from Allie, to feature Dawn and Rick and their expanding brood.
Dawn and Rick are preparing for their third child, but some unexpected niggles are plaguing Dawn making her question just how solid the foundations of her marriage are.  Rick seems to be hiding a secret from her and her hormones are making her mind run at a hundred miles an hour with panic and worry.

There’s something about the way that the characters are written in each of Rachel Griffith’s books that just makes them seem so real.  Throughout reading this I was so aware that I was thinking of Dawn as a real person, almost as a friend who needed a shoulder to cry on or someone to try bolstering her confidence now and again.  My heart certainly went out to her in the midst of her panic and worries, especially when she was suffering with morning sickness and trying to maintain a front of normality.
I loved that Allie was there in the background at the café, on hand to offer peppermint cordial and ginger cookies to help her friend, that’s the sort of friend we all need!  And it was nice to see that the relationship between Allie and Chris from book one has continued to blossom.

A special mention has to go to Wallace and Lula the guinea pigs, absolutely loved these guys and was chuckling aloud at certain parts of the books where these guys were involved!

The perfect book to read with a cuppa and a cheeky chocolate biscuit, but at least the book is calorie free!  Cannot recommend this series enough, so warm, so lovely and just what you need on a cold afternoon.
Looking forward to the next installment of the series now, Winter at The Cosy Cottage Café.

 

You can buy a copy of Autumn at the Cosy Cottage Café via Amazon

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Published: 29 June 2017

 

Description:

CALLING MAJOR TOM is a heart-warming and ultimately life-affirming story of a man who has given up on the world… but discovers in the most unlikely way that it might not have given up on him.

We all know someone like Thomas.

The grumpy next-door-neighbour who complains to the Residents’ Committee about the state of your front lawn. The man who tuts when you don’t have the correct change at the checkout. The colleague who sends an all-company email when you accidentally use the last drop of milk.

Thomas is very happy to be on his own, far away from other people and their problems.

But beneath his cranky exterior lies a story and a sadness that is familiar to us all. And he’s about to encounter a family who will change his view of the world.

My Thoughts & Review:

From the very beginning this was an easy and enjoyable book to read despite me singing Space Oddity constantly in my head (and sometimes aloud much to the dog’s confusion).

We follow the tales of Thomas Major, a scientist who accidentally becomes a spaceman and ends up on Mars.  But we also meet the Omerods – Gladys, Ellie and James.  Ellie and James are the grandchildren of Gladys, they are living with their grandmother whilst their father is in jail.  15 year old Ellie is stretching herself to the limit to make ends meet by working numerous jobs, caring for her brother and grandmother and praying that no one finds out that Gladys has Dementia.
It was at this point I began questioning how this would all come together, how on earth (or Mars!) these two strands of plot could weave together….but I should never have worried, David Barnett is a master in his craft.  Carefully, the plot pulls together to form a wonderfully uplifting and heart warming book.

The wonderful cast of characters are superbly drawn, Gladys despite her issues never fails to make a reader laugh.  Her situation is lightened sensitively through humour making it feel all the more realistic, so much so that I could see my own grandmother in her.  The personalities of all characters really shine through, and for the reader it’s a rare treat to “meet” people you become so invested in.

I feel that mention has to go to the descriptiveness of Barnett’s writing, the view from the spaceship was really something else.  It was so vivid, so wonderful, and I felt that I could see it.

This will definitely be book spoken about in 2017, it’s poignant yet funny and it has a wonderful cast of characters that will warm the heart readers.

You can buy a copy of Calling Major Tom via Amazon.

 

About the Author:

David Barnett is an award-winning journalist and author based in West Yorkshire. He was born in Wigan, Lancashire, in 1970 and has worked in regional newspapers since 1989. He is the author of the Gideon Smith alternate history series from Tor Books, beginning in 2013 with Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl. David is also the author of Hinterland (2005, reprinted 2008), Angelglass (2007) and The Janus House and Other Two-Faced Tales (2009), all published by Immanion Press, as well as popCULT!, published in 2011 from Pendragon Press. His work has been translated into Czech, Russian and German. He is represented by the literary agent John Jarrold. David is married to Claire, also an award-winning journalist, and they have two children, Charlie and Alice.

See David’s website for mote information davidbarnett.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

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Published: 29 May 2017

 

Description:

Allie Jones loves her cosy cottage café in the picturesque village of Heatherlea. She has her independence, two grown-up children and two cute cats. Life is settled and she thinks she’s happy.

Author Chris Monroe has it all. Critical success, a luxurious London apartment, and the kind of jet-set lifestyle most people dream of. But something’s missing.

When a family bereavement throws these two old friends together, they begin to question the true meaning of happiness.

Love is in the air, but do Allie and Chris have room in their hands-on lives for more than a summer fling?

This is the first of four short stories in The Cosy Cottage Café series.

My Thoughts & Review:

Summer at the Cosy Cottage Cafe was a book I came across by chance and as soon as I started reading it I knew it was fate that had brought this book to me.  It’s utterly divine, from the beautiful cover, the superb writing and the incredibly mouthwatering delights mentioned this is a book that is perfect for the summer (or anytime you want to read it!).

Usually with novellas there is a danger that the story is over before it really has a chance to begin, or too much is squeezed in but here this is not the case.  The plot is well structured and thought out to ensure that enough happens to keep readers entertained but the pace is gentle enough to let readers feel that they can curl up with this story and become utterly lost in it.

Allie is a 40 something woman who has thrown herself into her business following the death of her husband Roger a few years ago, it has taken hard work and determination but she has built a successful business in the village that is now the go to place for events and the choice caterer for many people.  It’s through this connection that she is catering the funeral for the mother of an old friend.  The old friend in question is Chris, a famous author that Allie and her husband Roger were once friends with in their youth.

From the moment Chris is introduced the story becomes even lovelier, Allie determined not to start anything but realising she is attracted to Chris and it would seem he feels the same way about her.  Both characters work well together and are a delight to read about, the gentle humour, the familiar friendship they have all adds to the overall appeal of the story.

A word of caution perhaps, do not read this book when hungry.  There are cakes and pastries mentioned that will have you drooling and desperately ransacking the kitchen in search of cake, and if it’s anything like this house you’ll have to make do with some digestive biscuits instead and that just isn’t the same.

Rachel Griffiths has a wonderful way of bring her characters and story alive, with such rich details about settings and characters it’s not hard to imagine the cramped upstairs of Allie’s cottage, the hilarity of *that* moment in the pub, or indeed the loveliness of the cafe.  I cannot wait to read more of the Cosy Cottage Cafe series, and will be adding Rachel Griffiths to my list of favoured authors.

 

You can buy a copy of Summer at the Cosy Cottage Cafe via Amazon

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Published: 19 January 2017
Reviewed: 13 January 2017

4 out of 5 stars

Copy supplied by Black and White Publishing

 

Description:

Daisy Delaney’s life is pancake-flat. A talented baker and passionate lingerie specialist, she has wound up with no one to bake for and a career that hasn’t proved successful. But when she starts a delicious relationship with famous French author-chef, Michel Amiel, everything begins to look a bit more exciting.

That is until Michel’s bestselling cookbook is knocked off the top spot by newcomer ‘Lucy Lovecake’. His outdated recipes slide down the charts, while the popularity of Lucy Lovecake’s new dating cookbook is rising like the perfect sponge.

As Daisy teeters on the brink of love, how can she ever tell Michel that she is the mysterious Lucy Lovecake? Could he ever forgive her for finishing off his career? And more importantly, does Daisy even want to be with a difficult, egotistical, down-on-his-luck Frenchman just as her career is beginning to take off? Especially when she has some other very interesting offers…

My Thoughts & Review:

The Secret Life of Lucy Lovecake is the perfect book to start your year with, it oozes charm and appeal that has a reader grinning from ear to ear at the wonderful highs and commiserating with the protagonist when it comes to the lows but overall it’s a great  book for an escape from the drudgery and rubbish weather of late.

Daisy Delaney is a fantastic character, a budding author, talented amateur baker and lingerie sales assistant – she’s a busy lass that’s for sure!  She’s just the sort of character that readers will warm to and relate to.  Her enthusiasm is infectious, I found that I was excited for her when it came to the launch of her book ‘French Fancy’ under her nom de plume Lucy Lovecake.
The chemistry between Daisy and her new love interest Michel Amiel makes for interesting  and entertaining reading.  Michel is a character that definitely stands out in this book, his behaviour is somewhat prima donna-esque, and so to see the success of Daisy/Lucy makes him all the more grumpy – delightfully entertaining for the audience.  

The writing itself is so flowing and easy to read that this is a book you can read in one sitting (if the outside world gives you peace and quiet!), it’s the sort of book you can pick up and become utterly lost in.  The plot is fun and well thought out, the characters are a breath of fresh air (even the grumpy Michel!), but best of all it’s full of optimism and the idea that you can take hold of the reins of life, give them a good pull and decide where you want to go.
The author is spot on with her quote “It’s a modern day fairytale – I want to promote the idea that women’s financial independence can dive them emotional freedom.  It’s about empowering femininity”.


You can buy a copy of The Secret Life of Lucy Lovecake here.


Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour for some brilliant reviews!

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Author: Rebecca Pugh

Published: 8 August 2016
Reviewed: 24 August 2016

4.5 out of 5 stars
Copy purchased via Amazon.co.uk

 

Description:

Maria Charm’s world might have recently crumbled, but that doesn’t mean she’s going to let it get her down.

Sure, her ex-husband broke her heart and decimated her trust, and while it would be so tempting to spend forever in her dressing gown, a tub of ice-cream in one hand and a glass of Chardonnay in the other, Maria wants more from her new—single—life!

A make over of her lovely little cottage on Daffodil Lane and a new job at Harriet’s café are just the distractions Maria needs to carve a new life in the country. One distraction she doesn’t need is Mr Tall, Brooding and Handsome from down the lane!  Maria may only be in town temporarily, but there’s nothing temporary about the tingles she feels at gorgeous Brad’s touch…

After everything she’s been through, can Maria ever trust a man again? Could risking her heart with Brad lead to a charmed life on Daffodil Lane?

My Thoughts & Review:

Down on Daffodil Lane is the third novel by Rebecca Pugh, and wisely she continues with a formula that has won the hearts of her many readers and brought great success – strong characters, wonderfully descriptive settings and a plot that allows the reader to sit back and be carried away.

Maria Charm is a character that many readers can relate to, feeling the need to make drastic changes in life following massive upheaval.  Her strength to continue, and strong will make her both loveable and will have readers rooting for her.  The entire cast of characters are well created, certain ones seemed to really pop out from the pages, I  felt that Millie was absolutely fantastic, and reminded me of one of my own friends.

The romance element to the novel can be described as cheesy, but it can also be described as a great read.  Sometimes it’s nice to imagine how a fairy tale might pan out without Disney’s rose tinted goggles and this is definitely the feeling I get reading Pugh’s novels.  Real life love stories are never linear, there is baggage, emotional fragility, laughter, mishaps and cheesy moments and so Pugh reflects this in her writing.

The writing style is natural, free flowing and enjoyable.  The beautifully descriptive settings give the reader fantastic imagery of Daffodil Lane, the cottage etc.  The pace is good, as with all of her novels you start off reading and promise “just a few chapters” and before you know it you’ve read more than half of the novel.

The only downside to this novel was that it wasn’t long enough, I didn’t want it to end!

 

You can buy a copy of Down on Daffodil Lane here.

 

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About the Author

Rebecca Pugh grew up in the green county of Shropshire. Not an immediate reader, it took her a while to find her way towards the wonderful fictional words hidden between the pages of books. Ever since, she’s fallen under the spell of countless authors and the tales they’ve weaved. Her favourite authors include Jill Mansell, Cathy Bramley, Sarah Morgan and Holly Martin, to name but a few. She loves nothing more than tapping away at the keyboard, taking her characters from imagination to page and, when that isn’t the case, she adores curling up with a good book.

Rebecca is a fan of fairy tale romances that sweep you off your feet, dashing heroes and strong, lovable heroines. She can’t make up her mind whether she prefers a countryside escape, or a love story set in bustling New York. Either way, she’s more than happy to disappear into both.

When it comes to her own writing, Rebecca aims to whisk readers away to desirable locations, where they can meet characters who, she hopes, will begin to feel like friends. With a dash of romance here, and a shake-up of things there, she loves dreaming up stories and watching them come to life.

 

For more information about Rebecca’s books go to her Facebook page  or follow her on Twitter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Home in Sunset Bay

Author: Rebecca Pugh
Published: 9 February 2016
Reviewed: 17 March 2016
What Milo Saw by Virginia Macgregor

Read more at: http://www.london24.com/entertainment/book_review_what_milo_saw_by_virginia_macgregor_1_3750981
Copyright © LONDON24


Copy supplied by Carina UK in return for an honest review

4.5 out of 5 Stars

 



Description: 

There’s no place like home… Enough is enough! The always perfect Laurie Chapman had jumped in her car and raced as fast as she could from London heading to Sunset Bay and (she hopes!) the open arms of her estranged sister… 

Mia Chapman loves running Dolly’s Diner in the picture-perfect coastal Cornish town of Sunset Bay. Now that her and Grandma Dolly’s dream is finally a reality Mia has never been prouder! Until Laurie suddenly turns up on her doorstep… How can she forgive the sister who walked away?
Once upon a time Mia and Laurie were best friends. Back together after so long, the time has come for the sisters to figure out what went so wrong all those years ago – and whether they can ever put it right!
An uplifting romantic comedy about sisters, friendship and the love of good food.


I would recommend this to fans of Marcie Steel and Holly Martin’s books, it’s a lovely read and the sort of book you can happily get lost in for a while.  It would also make a great holiday read. 

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