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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 the wonderfully sparkly Miranda Dickinson and the folks at Pan Macmillan UK for my copy of this wonderfully festive novella **

 

Description:

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?

My Thoughts & Review:

I make no secret of the fact that I like to read books outside of my favoured genre of crime, thriller, police procedural type things, and when I’m in the mood for something to make my heart happy and restore my faith in human nature Miranda Dickinson’s books are some of the first I will grab.  My love of her writing started with A Parcel for Anna Browne and since then I’ve pretty much bought copies of most of her books without a second thought.  That’s how much I love her style of writing!

When I saw the buzz about Christmas in St Ives on social media I was intrigued, mostly because Miranda hinted about something special coming, something sparkly that fans would be excited about and needed some people to help create a buzz about it.  So like many others, I volunteered and was rewarded with a sneaky preview of what was to come.  One look at the cover of this and I knew I had to find out more, it’s so elegant and eye-catching.

In Christmas in St Ives we meet a cast of characters that I wouldn’t mind befriending in real life, ok well some of them more than others.  The way that each character comes to life through the narrative is exceptionally well done, each of their personalities and quirks shines through as if they were real people.  I loved watching Cerrie coming alive again, finding herself again after the breakdown of her relationship, like watching a rose blossom.  Seren, oh how I wish I could actually see the glass jewellery she makes, the way it’s described in the book conjures such beautiful images in my head and makes me wish I could have seen the window display in the gallery.  She’s such a caring character and her connection with her father really tugged at my heart strings, and reminded me a little of the author in the way that her father was her hero.  Aggie, wow that’s a woman I need to meet!  Peppermint mochas?!  Now that’s a treat I seriously have to try!!  Her cafe sounds so funky and stylish, I may have to steal the idea of the new lights for my kitchen!  Kieran, he has a heart of gold and I really wanted to grab him and give him a little shake at times, tell him to stop being such a wise ass and just take a step forward, be brave…his indecision at times felt so real.

The story is really about relationships, be they between families, friends, lovers.  At the root of it all is a firm foundation of trust and honesty, if those foundations aren’t laid properly then anything on top will surely fall and crumble, and throughout the story we see how the characters falter before realising that they must fix what’s been done before they can build up.

With a short snippet of Somewhere Beyond the Sea at the end of the novella, readers really are spoiled and it’s tantalisingly cruel, after reading it I just wanted to read on and find out what happened next but unfortunately I have to wait until June 2018, suppose I can pretend it’s a birthday present….?

The perfect read to get you in the Christmas spirit and make you feel all sorts of warm and sparkly!

You can buy your copy of Chrsitmas in St Ives now via:

Amazon UK

About the Author:

Miranda Dickinson has always had a head full of stories. Born in 1973 in Wolverhampton, she grew up in Kingswinford and dreamed of one day writing a book that would reach the heady heights of Kingswinford Library… Her first novel, Fairytale of New York (2009) was discovered on Authonomy.com – HarperCollins’ site for unpublished authors. Within three weeks of its release, Fairytale of New York had entered the Sunday Times Top Ten Bestsellers List, where it remained for five weeks – making it the world’s first crowd-sourced bestseller. The novel was also shortlisted for the RNA’s Romantic Novel of the Year Award 2010 at the Pure Passion Awards.

Miranda is a six-times Sunday Times Bestseller, with Fairytale of New York, Welcome to My World, It Started With a Kiss, When I Fall in Love, Take a Look at Me Now, I’ll Take New York, A Parcel for Anna Browne and Searching for a Silver Lining. Her new Christmas novella, Christmas in St Ives, is a festive treat and also a prequel to her ninth novel, Somewhere Beyond the Sea, which publishes in June 2018. She is an international bestseller in four countries and her books have been translated into seven languages. To date, she has sold one million books worldwide. She is currently writing her tenth novel.

Miranda lives in Dudley with her husband, Bob and daughter, Flo. She is also a singer-songwriter and recently released her first solo album, About Time.

Follow Miranda’s vlog at www.youtube.com/mirandawurdy and visit her website: miranda-dickinson.com
You can also follow Miranda on Twitter @wurdsmyth, on Instagram @wurdsmyth and on Facebook: MirandaDickinsonAuthor

 

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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 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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I am delighted to welcome you to my stop on the blog tour for the hilariously funny mystery ‘Who Killed the Mince Spy?’ and share a post written by Matthew Redford.

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Description:
Tenacious carrot, detective inspector Willie Wortell is back to reveal the deviously delicious mind behind the crime of the festive season in this hugely entertaining, and utterly unconventional, short story. 

When Mitchell the Mince Spy is horrifically murdered by being over baked in a fan oven, it falls to the Food Related Crime team to investigate this heinous act.

Why was Mitchell killed? Who is the mysterious man with a long white beard and why does he carry a syringe? Why is it that the death of a mince spy smells so good?  

Detective Inspector Willie Wortel, the best food sapiens police officer, once again leads his team into a series of crazy escapades. Supported by his able homo sapiens sergeant Dorothy Knox and his

less able fruit officers Oranges and Lemons, they encounter Snow White and the seven dwarf cabbages as well as having a run in with the food sapiens secret service, MI GasMark5.

With a thigh slap here, and a thigh slap there, the team know Christmas is coming as the upper classes are acting strangely – why else would there be lords a leaping, ladies dancing and maids a milking?

And if that wasn’t enough, the Government Minister for the Department of Fisheries, Agriculture and Rural Trade (DAFaRT) has only gone and given the turkeys a vote on whether they are for or against Christmas.   

Let the madness begin!

This short story by Matthew Redford follows his deliciously irreverent debut Addicted To Death (Clink Street Publishing, 2015).

You can buy a copy of Who Killed The Mince Spy here

About the Author:

Born in 1980, Matthew Redford grew up with his parents and elder brother on a council estate in Bermondsey, south-east London. He now lives in Longfield, Kent, takes masochistic pleasure in watching his favourite football team snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, is a keen chess player and is planning future food related crime novels.  To counterbalance the quirkiness of his crime fiction Redford is an accountant. His unconventional debut crime thriller, Addicted to Death: A Food Related Crime Investigation was published by Clink Street Publishing last summer.

Website – http://www.matthewredford.com/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/matthew_redford


Guest Post:

It is a pleasure to be asked to write a guest blog for your site and I want to take the opportunity to introduce you to a section of community who are often overlooked and ignored when it comes to crime fiction. They have their own police division, who in fact, despite mishaps occurring during when investigating cases, actually have an excellent rate of solving crimes. This community are intelligent, diverse and frankly, decent upstanding members of the neighbourhood – in the main anyway.

Yes, of course, I am talking about food sapiens. Now before you wonder who on earth I am rambling on about, I am referring to genetically modified food sapiens which scientists discovered started to breathe independently, before developing the ability to think, speak and interact with homo sapiens. And when the Government realised that you could release food sapiens from captivity into the wider world and then charge them taxes, they jumped at the chance. So if you fancy reading some interesting legislation – and let’s be honest who wouldn’t – try looking up the Genetically Modified Food Sapiens Act 1955.

Now, back to the crime fiction world. The Food Related Crime team of the police force were busy working away solving crimes and yet nobody ever wrote up their cases. Which is why I decided to champion their cause.

Let’s look at the facts here. Little old ladies can point towards Miss Marple. Folk from Belgium can point towards Hercule Poirot in fact, they can even claim TinTin as one of their own if they put their minds to it. I want to pose a question. Would the crime fiction world have been as interested if the little old lady was actually Miss Marble Cake? Personally, I think not.

Now the Food Related Crime team is led by Detective Inspector Willie Wortel, carrot, and the most successful food sapiens police officer of his generation. He is supported by Dorothy Knox, his homo sapiens sergeant who seems to be the glue that holds the team together during their investigations, which are at best, haphazard. And then of course, there are Oranges and Lemons, the two fruit officers who are, well, being polite, a bit of a hindrance. But their hearts are in the right place and they seem to have a knack of coming good.

Wortel and Dorothy came together a few Christmases back when the psychopath Sammy the Shrimp was terrorising the community resulting in a number of people infected with a tricky case of the crabs. No, not that – get your minds out of the gutter people – infected crab meat. They tracked down Sammy the Shrimp only to see him try and escape on a child’s scooter using his powerful tail to build up speed. He was almost away when some black ice caused him to lose control and he was thrown from the scooter into the shop window of ‘Bamboo can do’ and he was fatally impaled.

Oranges and Lemons joined the team more recently when assisting Wortel and Dorothy in a case document in Addicted to Death: A Food Related Crime Investigation. This was their most challenging case to date and if you are interested then they would be thrilled (and I would be too!) if you visited Amazon and downloaded the drama.

If you wanted to learn more about food sapiens and the Food Related Crime team, please visit www.matthewredford.com


Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour for reviews, and more great posts by Matthew!

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