Summer Flings and Dancing Dreams by Sue Watson book review

Summer Flings and Dancing DreamsSummer Flings and Dancing Dreams by Sue Watson is available to download from this Friday 3rd July 2015.

To buy/pre-order links:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Summer-Flings-Dancing-Dreams-hilariously-ebook/dp/B00YMUWOUI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1435673606&sr=8-1&keywords=summer+flings+and+dancing+dreams

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Laura Watkin’s heart isn’t broken, she’s just forgotten how to use it.  After years on her own, the highlight of single mum Laura’s week is watching Strictly Come Dancing with a glass of Pinot Grigio and a large helping of imagination.

With her daughter Sophie going travelling, Laura knows the time is right to do something for herself for a change. One disastrous Zumba class later and Laura ends up at the feet (literally) of gorgeous dance instructor Tony Hernandez.

A natural dancer and inspiring teacher, Tony rekindles in Laura a passion she inherited from her ballroom dancer father – and with it comes a dream… to make him proud.

But when Tony enters them to perform at the National Dance Festival, can Laura’s new-found confidence survive the test? And with a once-in-a-lifetime chance to learn Flamenco in Spain, could Laura truly learn to dance like nobody’s watching… and love like she’ll never get hurt?

A laugh-out-loud, uplifting comedy about finding the courage to be yourself, the importance of dreams, and learning to grab life by the glitter balls.

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I’d like to thank the publishers and netgalley for an arc in return for an honest review.

This was such a glorious, fun filled, sparkly read to make you feel you are beautiful and capable of anything.

Laura is a single parent who is awoken from her everyday life by a remark from her daughter.  Laura decides to join her friend in a zumba class, to make a change from her usual night in at home watching TV.  The zumba class scene is a reading moment I won’t forget in a long time. Brilliant writing by Sue Watson.  This scene was so funny but also it was quite sensitive to the situation.  During the eventful zumba class Laura was being watched by Tony Hernandez, the Ballroom Dance teacher from the next class.  Tony approached Laura after her zumba class and suggested she try out for the ballroom class as he could see some potential in her.  An unlikely friendship was formed between Laura and Tony.  I adored Tony’s character.  He was so joyous to be around, everyone needs a Tony.

The story follows Laura and Tony’s growing friendship and their desire to dance.  They have some highs and lows along the way but Tony has so much faith in Laura’s capabilities its heartwarming to read.

During all the dancing frivolities there is a sadness woven subtly in the background.  This grief and sadness has been with Laura for a long time and events accumulate to give Laura a better understanding to the past which gives her so much inspiration and hope for the future.

Another successful story from Sue Watson.  Her books are so witty with fun filled believable characters.  A fabulous sparkly 5/5* read.

I’d like to share with you a quote from the story which I thought was really beautiful, true and inspirational.

flamenco quote

To find out more about Sue Watson and her books please visit the following links:

http://www.suewatsonbooks.com/

https://www.facebook.com/sue.watson.39501

https://twitter.com/suewatsonwriter

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Keep the Home Fires Burning by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles book review

keep the home fires burning

Keep the Home Fires Burning by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles published by Sphere (an imprint of Little Brown Book Group) is available now in ebook format, hardcover and also audio format.

To buy links:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Keep-Home-Fires-Burning-1915-ebook/dp/B00SRXR5VE/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1434961635&sr=1-1&keywords=keep+the+home+fires+burning

Product Details (as per amazon page)

The year is 1915, and the war is raging on . . .

The war was not ‘over by Christmas’ after all and as 1915 begins, the Hunters begin to settle into wartime life.

Diana, the eldest Hunter daughter, sees her fiance off to the Front but doesn’t expect such coldness from her future mother-in-law. David’s battalion is almost ready to be sent to the Front, but how will Beattie’s fragile peace of mind endure? Below stairs, Ethel, the under housemaid, is tired of having her beaux go off to war so she deliberately sets her sights on a man who works on the railway, believing he won’t be allowed to volunteer. Eric turns out to be decent, honest and he genuinely cares about Ethel – is this the man who could give her a new life?

The Hunters, their servants and their neighbours soon realise that war is not just for the soldiers, but it’s for everyone to win, and every new atrocity that is reported bolsters British determination: this is a war that must be won at all costs.

Keep the Home Fires Burning is the second book in the War at Home series by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles, author of the much-loved Morland Dynasty novels. Set against the real events of 1915, this is an evocative, authentic and wonderfully depicted drama featuring the Hunter family and their servants.

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I’d like to thank the publishers for an arc in return for an honest review.

This is the first book I’ve read by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles and I have to be honest I did find it a little difficult at first getting into the story as I hadn’t read the first book in the War at Home series so I was struggling with all the characters.  Once I got my head around all the characters I was fascinated how families, villagers and even soldiers coped with the cumulative events of 1915.  It was both terrifying and heartbreaking.  Families ripped apart, cities, towns and even villagers were left with visible and emotional scars.  This story focuses on The Hunter family who lived in a fairly modest household with servants/help downstairs.  We see how the lives of the characters from upstairs and downstairs have changed from the beginning of the war to a year on.  How they come together as a community to help the wounded.

If you enjoy historical family sagas you will love Cynthia’s novels.  I would recommend you read her first novel in the War at Home series (Goodbye Piccadilly) prior to Keep the Home Fires Burning so you can appreciate the full journey The Hunter family experience.

To find out more about Cynthia Harrod-Eagles please visit the following link:

http://www.cynthiaharrodeagles.com/cynthia_harrod_eagles/

Return to Bluebell Hill by Rebecca Pugh blogtour

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Return to Bluebell Hill is the debut novel by Rebecca Pugh and is available now in ebook format.

To buy links:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Return-Bluebell-Hill-Rebecca-Pugh-ebook/dp/B00WKMG604/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1434738673&sr=1-1&keywords=return+to+bluebell+hill

Product Details (as per amazon page)

As sweet and satisfying as strawberries and cream! This British summertime, get out in the garden with Rebecca Pugh’s sparkling debut novel.

Home is where the heart is…

Jessica McAdams has never belonged anywhere; never truly felt at home. Of course, what did she expect from parents who never made her feel welcome in her own house? Leaving her life in London to return home to the charming country village of Bluebell Hill is harder than she thought. Especially as she never considered she’d be returning under such heart wrenching circumstances…

Clearing out the stunning and imposing Bluebell House after her parents’ death is difficult for Jessica—they never had the best relationship and now it’s too late. Yet spending time in the house that was never a home, having afternoon tea with dear old friend Esme—and sharing hot, sizzling kisses with delectable gardener Rueben!—opens Jessica’s eyes to the potential of Bluebell House… Could this big old, beautiful manor really be her forever home? Is Bluebell Hill where her heart is, has always been?

Jessica soon dares to dream of her very own home with delicious Rueben by her side. But when a deep, dark secret of Bluebell House is unearthed, Jessica’s world is turned upside down…

Will Jessica ever find where her heart truly lies?

An emotional tale of self-discovery, taking chances and romance! Rebecca’s unique British voice feels like coming home again and again.

Return to Bluebell Hill blogtour

I’d like to thank the publishers and the author for an arc in return for an honest review.

I was so excited for Rebecca leading up to the publication of her debut novel, its been a vision of Beccas for so long, she is an avid reader and has had the dream of having her own book published, this dream has now become a reality.  I am thrilled to be part of the blogtour promoting this book.

What a delightful and utterly gorgeous debut novel by Rebecca Pugh.  I devoured this story so quickly.  Rebecca’s words flowed freely on the page and I found myself wanting and needing to turn the pages and read more.  Rebecca has certainly created a perfect ‘book boyfriend’ in Reuben. When Reuben’s character was first described in the story I thought he sounded delicious and I could see his charm would be irresistible to the reader.

At the start of the book Jessica, the main character, had just been dealt with some traumatic news of her parents’ death.  Jessica hadn’t returned to the family home in many years following her sudden departure when she was 18. Mystery was surrounding her reasons to leave home and stay away.  However, Jessica had no choice but to return to Bluebell House.  This journey was a difficult one.  The walls of her family home held many secrets, was Jessica ready to unearth these secrets, will she ever be ready?

The description of Bluebell Hill and it’s surroundings sounded idyllic, there is nothing more beautiful than nature at it’s finest.  Rebecca Pugh’s visualisation of Bluebell House was easy to picture with the wonderful portrayal of this stunning property.  I particularly loved the sound of the stained glass window.

Jessica had certainly gone on a different quest when she returned to her family home however, this journey would be a life affirming one, a journey of chance, a journey of possible new beginnings and new friendships.

A great debut novel that was heart warming, sexy, intriguing and beautiful.  I look forward to more from this new aspiring author and wish Rebecca lots of success.

A gorgeous, romantic, feel good 5/5* read.

To find out more about Rebecca Pugh and her books please visit the following link:

https://twitter.com/BeccasBoooks

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Afternoon Tea at the Sunflower Cafe by Milly Johnson

afternoon tea at the sunflower cafe

Afternoon Tea at the Sunflower Café is available NOW in ebook format and paperback from all good book retailers.

To buy links (amazon uk):  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Afternoon-Tea-at-Sunflower-Caf%C3%A9/dp/1471140466/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1434463211&sr=1-1

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Connie Diamond has always been her husband Jimmy’s best girl or so she thought. But then she discovers that he s been playing away for the past twenty-four years, and that the chocolates she believed he bought her as a sign of his love were just a cover-up, and she is determined to get revenge.

Along with Della Frostick, Jimmy’s right-hand woman at his cleaning firm, Diamond Shine, Connie decides to destroy Jimmy’s life from the inside. Together they will set up a rival business called Lady Muck, and along with the cleaning ladies who meet at the Sunflower Café, they’ll make him wish he had never so much as looked at another woman.

Then Connie meets the charming Brandon Locke, a master chocolatier, whose kind chocolate-brown eyes start to melt her soul. Can the ladies of the Sunflower Café help Connie scrub away the hurt? And can Brandon cure her affliction and make her smile again…?

sunflowersAbout a year ago Milly asked on social media for some readers to become part of a Team Milly, Milly had hundreds of eager readers apply and decided the fairest way to pick her ‘Team’ was to draw names out of a hat.  I feel very lucky and privileged to be a member of Team Milly.  Milly and her publishers, Simon & Schuster UK very kindly supplied her Team with an arc of this novel in return for an honest review.

I have adored all Milly’s previous books and novellas and was honoured to be given an arc of this new novel.  Milly always writes with such honesty and I appreciate this style of writing.  Milly is a Yorkshire lass and her northern charm flows through her words on the pages of her books.

Connie and Della are both in love with the same man, Jimmy Diamond.  One of them is his wife – Connie and Della is his ‘right hand man’ Office Manager.  Jimmy calls them both ‘his best girl’.  However, someone else has caught Jimmy’s eye and he is soon swept away with emotions of lust.  Connie and Della discover that Jimmy is planning to leave his wife of 24 years and marry his new ‘best girl’.  Connie and Della declare an alliance and set about to destroy Jimmy’s life.  What follows is a fun filled story of female camaraderie helping each other achieve what some would think would be impossible.

Milly has created some fabulous characters in this story.  I adored Connie, Della and Cheryl in particular and would love to read a follow-up novella of the progress of these characters (please Milly).  Astrid was a hoot and a legend!  She made me smile quite a few times and came out with some memorable one-liners!  I loved how the novel was broken down into lots of short chapters and each chapter focused mainly on one character and her part in the storyline.  I’d love to be a ‘fly on the wall’ when the girls have their regular meets at the Sunflower Café, I bet they had some interesting tales to tell.  I think a good testimony to a story is when the author has created characters you fall in love with and they have become like a friend to you. The book is fairly long at just over 500 pages but is well worth it as it’s a funny, colourful, heartwarming read that leaves you wanting to find out what happens next to the characters you’ve read about and fallen in love with.

At the end of the book Milly described her perfect afternoon tea which left me salivating for cake!  Omgee, the mini strawberry cheesecakes sound amazing, I definitely want to try these some time.

A brilliant, sunshiney 5/5* read.

Milly is very generous to her readers and always organises great book launches.  I was lucky to share afternoon tea with her and some of her fellow Team Milly members recently.  Also, this Monday 15th June, Milly held a spectacular launch in Yorkshire with an author talk, buffet and raffle with proceeds going to Yorkshire Cat Rescue, The Well and Care for Claire.

A few photos from the Team Milly launch event I’d like to share with you.

flowers n cakes at tea team milly tea

To find out more about Milly Johnson and her books please visit the following links:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Book-Page-of-Milly-Johnson/230675170278016?fref=ts

The Darkling Child: The Defenders of Shannara by Terry Brooks book review

the darkling child

The Darkling Child is the second book in The Defenders of Shannara series by Terry Brooks.  The Darkling Child is available now in ebook format and hardcover.

To buy links:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Darkling-Child-Defenders-Shannara/dp/0356502198/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=1-1&qid=1434462070

Product Details (as per amazon page)

New powers are awakening. A legend is born . . .

In a distant corner of the Four Lands, the mysterious magic of the wishsong has been detected. Paxon Leah, sworn protector of the Druid order and heir of the enchanted Sword of Leah, must travel to uncover its source – and ensure that this formidable power is not wielded by the wrong hands.

But danger lies in wait, and in a fearsome clash between mortal might and dark magic, it is up to Paxon, as the High Druid’s Blade, to defend the people of the Four Lands against a terrifying evil.

From the international bestselling Terry Brooks comes a thrilling new adventure – and an unforgettable new hero.

I’d like to thank the publisher for an arc in return for an honest review.  I’d also like to thank Mr Kraftireader for his help in reading this novel and writing this review.

This book is the sequel to Terry Brooks’ The High Druids Blade: The Defender’s of Shannara.  Yet again Terry Brooks has got it right with this story.  There is manipulation, betrayal, love, hatred and the hunter becoming the hunted. We have many of the old characters such as Arcannen and Paxon, but following the death of his druid friend he now has to team up with a new personality, a female druid.  Could there be tension in the air between the two of them? We have new threats from even more powerful people with magic; a boy that could hold the key to life and death just with his voice, and a girl of such beauty she is able to get what she desires.

Paxon and his new druid friend Avelene are my favourite characters the chemistry between them is electrifying.

This book is better than the first instalment of The Defenders of Shannara and I would highly recommend it.  I look forward to reading more from Terry Brooks.

To find out more from Terry Brooks and his stories please visit the following links:

http://terrybrooks.net/

New book cover reveal: Return to Bluebell Hill by Rebecca Pugh

Return to Bluebell Hill 04

I am so pleased to be involved in the cover reveal of Rebecca Pugh’s debut novel, Return to Bluebell Hill.

Return to Bluebell Hill has been Rebecca’s dream for a long time and her dream has become a reality and will be published as an ebook on 18th June 2015.

To pre-order links:

UK:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Return-Bluebell-Hill-Rebecca-Pugh-ebook/dp/B00WKMG604/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1433840156&sr=1-1&keywords=return+to+bluebell+hill

USA:  http://www.amazon.com/Return-Bluebell-Hill-Rebecca-Pugh-ebook/dp/B00WKMG604/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1433840221&sr=1-1&keywords=return+to+bluebell+hill&pebp=1433840221418&perid=1NEJ0M1S4QE9PP1XYGVT

Book details

As sweet and satisfying as strawberries and cream! This British summertime, get out in the garden with Rebecca Pugh’s sparkling debut novel.

Home is where the heart is… Jessica McAdams has never belonged anywhere; never truly felt at home. Of course, what did she expect from parents who never made her feel welcome in her own house? Leaving her life in London to return home to the charming country village of Bluebell Hill is harder than she thought. Especially as she never considered she’d be returning under such heart wrenching circumstances… Clearing out the stunning and imposing Bluebell House after her parents’ death is difficult for Jessica—they never had the best relationship and now it’s too late. Yet spending time in the house that was never a home, having afternoon tea with dear old friend Esme—and sharing hot, sizzling kisses with delectable gardener Rueben!—opens Jessica’s eyes to the potential of Bluebell House… Could this big old, beautiful manor really be her forever home? Is Bluebell Hill where her heart is, has always been? Jessica soon dares to dream of her very own home with delicious Rueben by her side. But when a deep, dark secret of Bluebell House is unearthed, Jessica’s world is turned upside down… Will Jessica ever find where her heart truly lies?

An emotional tale of self-discovery, taking chances and romance! Rebecca’s unique British voice feels like coming home again and again.

Becca latest

Author Biography

Rebecca Pugh grew up in the green county of Shropshire, with a mind full of fairy-tales and happy endings. Enchanted by true love and Disney Princesses, she decided that no matter what life threw her way, she’d continue to see the world through a child’s eyes. Through the pages of countless books, her adoration of reading blossomed, and it didn’t take long for her to fall under the spell of hundreds of authors’ words.

Now, Rebecca’s own story has taken a fairy-tale like turn, and at 22, her dream has come true. With her faithful companions: Bonnie the dog, her partner, and her gigantic family by her side, Rebecca is ready to share her stories with readers who enjoy falling in love and losing themselves within beautiful, fictional worlds.

Rebecca Pugh is the author of women’s fiction and romance, her all-time favourite genres. After all, who doesn’t enjoy a good swoon?

Her debut novel, Return to Bluebell Hill, is due to be published June 18th 2015 by Carina UK.

bluebells

I’d like to personally wish Rebecca all the success she deserves with her publication, she has worked so hard with this book.  Good luck Becca x

Too Many Cooks by Dana Bate blogtour book review

dana bate new bookI am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour to promote the release of Dana Bate’s new novel, Too Many Cooks.

Too Many Cooks is available now in eformat and paperback.

To buy links:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Too-Many-Cooks-Dana-Bate-ebook/dp/B00W41D97E/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Kelly Madigan seems to have it all: a fabulous boyfriend, a supportive – if eccentric – family, and a flourishing career as a cookbook ghostwriter. But after finding a letter from her recently-deceased mother, criticising her stable but undeniably unexciting life, Kelly knows she needs to make a change. When a mysterious new writing opportunity in London presents itself, she jumps at the chance to get away from it all.

Enter Natasha Spencer – Oscar-winning actress and health nut, not to mention a total nightmare. She’s working on a new cookbook and has asked for Kelly’s help. What Kelly didn’t factor in was meeting Natasha’s dishy MP husband, Hugh Ballantine.

Away from her family, friends, and the life she knows – will this fish out of water ever get back in the swim?

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I’d like to thank the publishers and the author for an arc of Too Many Cooks in return for an honest review.

This is the second book by Dana Bate that I’ve read and I must say she is becoming a favourite of mine.  Firstly, due to the fact that I adore foodie fiction books.  Food and books marry up so well together as we all love to eat food, but a fiction book that is funny, heartwarming, romantic and is centred around the topic food, well it spells a success to me, without added calories!  Secondly, Dana creates such great characters with depth and likeability, also personas to despise.  Her style of writing flows very smoothly and you are soon lost in the words and are zipping through the chapters to find out what happens next.

I did feel excited for Kelly, the main character of this novel, when she had been given this opportunity to ghostwrite a cookbook for the megastar Natasha Spencer but as the story develops all is not what it seems with the Hollywood star and her life.  Natasha’s personal life soon starts spilling over and causing chaos and life soon becomes very complicated for Kelly.  I did feel quite emotional to how the love story wove it’s way for Kelly but at the end I felt quite hopeful for a new brighter, lovelier future for Kelly.

Amongst all the emotional turmoil for Kelly we are given glimpses of the recipes Kelly creates and tests for the cookbook.  The recipes sound delicious and at one point I felt I could smell the baking coming from the pages of the book.  Dana Bate has kindly noted down recipes of a few of the dishes mentioned in the novel at the back of the book and she is pleased to allow me to give you a recipe reveal for the delicious sounding Banana Bread that Kelly made quite early on in the book.  I decided that if I was to reveal this recipe that I should also try making it, here is a photo of my Banana Bread, very nice it was too 🙂

banana bread made photo

Banana Bread

Makes 1 loaf

This isn’t the prettiest banana bread, but it might be the tastiest. I compared and tweaked many recipes until I came up with this one. It develops a lovely crunchy crust, which disappears upon storing, but the flavour only improves. Use the ripest bananas you can find – the blacker the better.

1 ½ cups plain flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

½ cup caster sugar

½ cup light brown sugar

3 eggs

11⁄ 3 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3–4)

1⁄ 3 cup full-fat Greek yogurt

1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease a 9” × 5” loaf pan and line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper long enough to drape over the sides.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter with the sugars until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the mashed banana, yogurt and vanilla and mix until combined. Pour in the dry ingre­dients and mix, on low speed, just until the dry ingredients disappear.

Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 60–70 minutes, until the top is browned and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Let the loaf cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edges to loosen it. Using the parchment to help you, lift the banana bread from the pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store for up to 3 days.

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I hope you like the sound of the Banana Bread and enjoy making one yourself.

Too Many Cooks was another fabulous, foodie, fantastic fiction book from Dana, 5/5* read,

To find out more about Dana Bate and her books please visit the following links:

http://danabate.com/

https://www.facebook.com/authordanabate