Forever at Conwenna Cove by Darcie Boleyn blogtour book review

forever at conwenna cove book cover

Forever at Conwenna Cove written by Darcie Boleyn, publisher Canelo, is available NOW in ebook format.

To buy link:

Canelo books are also available to download/buy onvKobo, Apple and Google Books .

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Following heartbreak, Zoe Russell found a haven in Conwenna Cove. As the owner of the village diner and a volunteer for the local greyhound sanctuary, she’s happy with her peaceful life.
Local surfer Nate Bryson plans to leave Conwenna and see the world. He wants to shake off his reputation as a ladies man and start again somewhere new. Before departing, Nate decides to raise funds for the dog rescue home as a way of giving back to the community.
When Nate approaches Zoe to help with the charity event she sees there’s more to him than meets the eye. Nate can’t believe he’s failed to notice the kind and beautiful woman right before him. But can two such different people ever be together, especially if one of them is determined to leave?

Forever at Conwenna Cove Blog Tour (1)

I voluntarily reviewed an arc of this book. All opinions are my own and no content may be copied. However, authors and publishers may use elements of my reviews for quotes.

I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour celebrating and promoting the launch of Darcie’s Boleyn’s latest book in the Conwenna Cove series: Forever at Conwenna Cove.  Each story in the series can be read as a standalone but I’d thoroughly recommend reading all the books in the series in order as you can then enjoy the full Conwenna Cove experience.  The books in the series are:

  • Summer at Conwenna Cove
  • Christmas at Conwenna Cove
  • Forever at Conwenna Cove

When you didn’t think you could love a series even more along comes Nate and Zoe’s story … my heart will forever belong in Conwenna Cove.

Nate Bryson was everyone’s friend in the small coastal village in Cornwall.  Working at his Aunt and Uncle’s café he welcomed neighbours, friends and tourists alike, he brought a smile to all and soon became a confidante and pal to many.  However, Nate was still struggling with heartache from his past and felt like the time was right to spread his wings and travel.  Nate has caught the eye of many ladies in and around the cove with his sunkissed looks, charm and personality but no-one caught his heart until he saw Zoe Russell, the owner of the local diner.  Even though Zoe has been at the diner for a while now their paths had never really crossed but now as Nate is making plans to leave Conwenna Cove for 6 months his heart suddenly notices something that’s been missing in his life … Zoe.  Terrible timing for Nate with his hopes and dreams of travelling now thwarted by an unrecognised beat of his heart and one he’s struggling to get out of his mind.

Zoe Russell is starting to feel established in the cove in the diner and her lovely cottage.  She’s fled from a traumatic ordeal that still plays on her mind and has left her with physical and emotional scars.  She vows to never trust another man but when Nate comes calling looking for help with a local charity, a charity that is very dear to her, she sees more to the instant beauty that is Nate Bryson and she fears that her heart is letting it’s guard down.

When Zoe’s past traumas are still playing on her mind she takes the first steps to healing her heart but she hasn’t envisaged a visitor from the past clouding her judgement.

Nate is struggling with this very new emotion he is feeling.  Life was running almost perfectly but now he’s so confused.

This story had so many wonderful, special endearing moments my heart was literally filled with joy.  The author, Darcie Boleyn, has once again treated us to the beauty of the cove and their love of greyhound dogs, a gorgeous love story and a wonderful warm atmosphere involving the whole community.  My heart will forever belong in Conwenna Cove …

To learn more about Darcie Boleyn and her work please do visit the following pages:








Saving the World by Paola Diana blogtour excerpt

saving the world book cover

Saving the World written by Paola Diana, publisher Quartet Books, is available from 2nd May 2018 in paperback format.

To pre-order/buy link:

Product Details (as per amazon page)

A passionate call for international gender equality by a leading entrepreneur; this smart, accessible and inspiring book makes the case for why all nations need more women at the top of politics and economics. `The status of women is a global challenge; it touches every human being without exception. How is it possible that countries where women have achieved political, economic and social rights after exhausting struggles remain seemingly indifferent to the egregiousness of other nations where the status of women is still tragic? The time has come to help those left behind.’

Saving the World

I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour celebrating and promoting the launch of Saving the World by Paola Diana.

Paola Diana has kindly offered a great excerpt to share on my blog today:

Saving the World by Paola Diana
History of the female condition: a history in half

Until recently, nobody ever, to my knowledge, wrote history books presenting the past from a female point of view. As an academic subject, history has always been the preserve of men, who over the centuries have told the past in their own way. There have been remarkable women – queens like Elizabeth I, for example, who brought prosperity and stability to their nations – but on the whole the history of mankind is full of wars and acts of violence perpetrated by male rulers.

Imagine if, from the Middle Ages to the present day, half the nations in Europe and Asia had been led by strong and emancipated women; never oppressed by cultural and religious dictates, able to express their natural wisdom and humanity. Would there have been the same wars? The same slavery? Would millions of people have been exterminated? Obviously, these women would not have limited power to themselves: they would have appointed other women to senior positions in all fields, from law to art.

90 per cent of the world’s ambassadors are men. Yet it is generally agreed that the female gender is more skilful at diplomacy than the male. And it goes without saying that a woman who gives life does not knowingly carry a child only to see it die in war a few years later. This is not her mission in the world! History would have been very different if women had from the outset been given the opportunity to leave an imprint on international politics. In the words of Zainab Salbi, founder of Women for Women International, ‘War has a male perspective. However, during a war we continue to live: eating, sleeping, going to school, working. And it is women who guarantee all this. The female perspective is the only one looking at peace.’

The English philosopher and economist John Stuart Mill describes very well the status of women throughout the centuries. At the end of the nineteenth century, Mill demanded to know how it was possible to establish from birth that women could not be employed in jobs that were legally open to stupid and cowardly members of the opposite sex.

This enlightened man, unsurprisingly married to feminist Harriet Taylor, explained how the millennial injustice suffered by women, like forms of discrimination based on religion or ethnicity, damages the cultural and economic development of a society, impoverishing the whole of humanity in the process.

If we think about women of the past, compelled to be subservient, fist to the father and then to the husband, deprived of the right to study, work and vote, we see a vitiated society, where the privileges of the male caste are maintained through a social and political system that justifies all sorts of abuses. History does not necessarily repeat itself. Humanity needs to evolve and, for this to happen, it is necessary for women to stop being considered daughters of a lesser god.

To learn more about the author please visit the following pages:





The Ghost of Glendale by Natalie Kleinman blogtour book review

Ghost-EBOOK-cvr TGoG (3 MB)

The Ghost of Glendale written and self-published by Natalie Kleinman is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.  The ebook is also included in the kindleunlimited scheme.

To buy link:

Product Details (as per amazon page)

At twenty-four years old, Phoebe Marcham is resigned to spinsterhood, unwilling to settle for anything less than the deep love her parents had shared. That is, until adventurer Duncan Armstrong rides into her home wood, larger than life and with laughter in his eyes and more charm in his little finger than anyone she’s ever met.

Far from ridiculing her family ghost, Duncan resolves to help solve the mystery which has left Simon Marcham a spirit in torment for two hundred years.


The Ghost of Glendale Full Banner

I voluntarily reviewed an arc of this book. All opinions are my own and no content may be copied. However, authors and publishers may use elements of my reviews for quotes.

I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour celebrating and promoting the launch of Natalie Kleinman’s latest novel: The Ghost of Glendale.  This is the second book I’ve read by Natalie Kleinman and The Ghost of Glendale came to fruition by Natalie’s love of the Regency era.

The Ghost of Glendale was a very readable story set in the Regency era in rural Somerset.  The author Natalie Kleinman’s writing style befits this popular literary period giving credence to the characters created and the sweeping location.  This was a charming love story with a difference, a love story with a mystery surrounding the spirit with it’s presence still felt 200 years later.

Phoebe Marcham was fascinated by the story of her late great, great, great grandfather Simon Marcham and she believed his spirit was still present in the family home and with the help of a handsome Scotsman, who happened to be best friends of her neighbour, the duo set about unearthing clues to why Simon Marcham’s spirit was still felt.

There was a gentleness surrounding this story and it felt quite charming.  I was transported back to the glorious regency period to when ladies and gentleman observed formalities with society.  The banter between the characters brought a polite smile to your face and you could feel like you’d stepped into a TV period drama.

An intriguing, charming romance with a believable mystery.

To learn more about the author Natalie Kleinman please visit the following pages:






You Me Everything by Catherine Isaac book review

you me everything

You Me Everything written by Catherine Isaac, publisher Simon & Schuster UK, is available NOW in ebook, hardcover and audiobook format.

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Product Details (as per amazon page)

You and me, we have history.
We have a child together.
We have kept secrets from each other for far too long.
This summer, in the beautiful hills of the Dordogne, it is time for everything to change.


I voluntarily reviewed an arc of this book. All opinions are my own and no content may be copied. However, authors and publishers may use elements of my reviews for quotes.

This is a simply beautiful novel with such a profoundly poignant storyline that grips at your heart leaving it with an ache for the characters you have learned to love amongst the pages.  For a long time I had a certain book as my favourite story of all time but I do believe Catherine Isaac has written a book worthy of the top spot of my and I would think many, many others, all time favourite reads.  This story is simply stunning.

Although there is an underlying sadness to the story you are left feeling hopeful. Hopeful for a miracle, hopeful for a change, hopeful that love will find a way through all that life brings your way.

Young lovers Jess and Adam were living the dream after meeting and falling in love at university.  Life was full of hopes and dreams until Jess fell pregnant and their relationship started to show cracks and couldn’t cope with this enormous change in their relationship status.  10 years down the line Jess has more or less single handed brought up William who’s a bright, gifted boy full of inquisitivity.  However, since William was born Jess has had to cope with another critical change to her family unit when her mother was diagnosed with a life threatening condition.  With Jess’ mum now in a care home one of her mother’s wishes is for Jess and William to go to France and visit William’s dad, Jess’ ex, Adam.  Jess’ mum wants Adam to become a bigger part of William’s life, a life that up to now he hasn’t spent much time in.

Jess is anxious about meeting Adam again, she’s been let down so much in the past and fears that Adam will just repeat his past demeanours but now he just doesn’t have Jess’ heart to break but his son Williams.

The author, Catherine Isaac, deals with life in it’s rawest form and tackles it with sensitivity and grace.  However, she injects warmth and humour bringing touches of brightness to the story.  This story is all about letting your heart remember the good times, the nostalgic memories that reignite why the love you had was there in the first place.  A story of letting go, a story of letting love find it’s way to bring light back into the darker times.

Beautiful, stunning storytelling about life, love and hope.  A must read!

To learn more about the author Catherine Isaac please visit the following pages:






Tapestry of War by Jane MacKenzie blogtour book review

tapestry of war

Tapestry of War written by Jane MacKenzie, publisher Allison & Busby, is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.

To buy link:

Amazon UK:

Publisher’s Website:

Product Details (as per amazon page)

From the deserts of North Africa, to the waters of Scotland, the Second World War touches the lives of two women from two very different worlds. In Alexandria, Fran finds her world turned upside down as Rommel’s forces advance on the idyllic shores of Egypt. The life of luxury and stability that she is used to is taken away as she finds herself having to deal with loss, heartache and political uncertainty. Meanwhile, in the Firth of Clyde, Catriona works day in, day out nursing injured servicemen. Both have their lives challenged, and both dream of a more certain future with the men they come to love. Their heart-warming story takes them through tragedy to a quiet, hopeful triumph. Tapestry of War is a sweeping, evocative novel which brilliantly captures the second world war period of colonial Alexandria and the west of Scotland and will appeal to readers of Dinah Jeffries, Victoria Hislop and Rosie Thomas.

tapestry of war tour poster

I voluntarily reviewed an arc of this book. All opinions are my own and no content may be copied. However, authors and publishers may use elements of my reviews for quotes.

I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour promoting and celebrating the launch of Jane MacKenzie’s latest novel: Tapestry of War.  This is my first introduction to the work of Jane MacKenzie, Tapestry of War is her fourth novel.

Tapestry of War is a compelling story of people from different continents, cultures, backgrounds brought together by one denominating factor: war.  War wherever it was scarring the landscape is the same all over the world.  It affected people all the same whatever background they came from.  Lives, livelihoods, hearts, minds and bodies were shattered.  Tapestry of War is a story of two women; Fran and Catriona, living thousands of miles apart from very different backgrounds and worlds, are united in friendship, in a shared love and a comradeship for the love of a man that has felt the scars of the war the most.

I haven’t read much about this side of WWII, the conflict in Egypt with Rommel advancing.  The story also takes us to the most northern isles of Scotland with their own part in the WWII efforts with medical facilities for the wounded and also ports for the carriers of troops.

Fran was a journalist for a paper in Alexandria, she was limited to what she could report with a fear of political backlash.  Alexandria was full of foreign troops and Fran soon built up a friendship with many, in particular a shy Scotsman serving in the Navy Jim MacNeill.

Catriona thousands of miles away in Scotland had just finished her nursing qualification and was keen to help with the war wounded. Her father was struggling with grief of his wife and now with his son in the Navy, goodness knows where, he wasn’t keen on his daughter working on the front line.  Catriona felt like she had to make a compromise with her father as she was so keen to be involved with the war help.

With war came great hardship, fear, anguish and many casualties.  Casualties that would alter the lives of many.

Jane MacKenzie took us to the heat of Alexandria, Egypt to the British people that were living in quite a privileged lifestyle before the war and she then took us to a small community in Scotland with very differing lifestyles to the British occupancy in Egypt.  These two communities were very different and the impact of the war on food and livelihoods was felt the keenest in Scotland but the emotional impact was very much the same.

A fascinating, compelling, beautiful and real story, full of hope for a new life, peace and love.

To learn more about Jane MacKenzie please visit the following pages:




The Sunday Lunch Club by Juliet Ashton book review

sunday lunch club

The Sunday Lunch Club written by Juliet Ashton, publisher Simon & Schuster UK, is available from 19th April 2018 in ebook and paperback format.

To pre-order/buy link:

Product details (as per amazon page)

The first rule of Sunday Lunch Club is … don’t make any afternoon plans.

Every few Sundays, Anna and her extended family and friends get together for lunch. They talk, they laugh, they bicker, they eat too much. Sometimes the important stuff is left unsaid, other times it’s said in the wrong way.

Sitting between her ex-husband and her new lover, Anna is coming to terms with an unexpected pregnancy at the age of forty. Also at the table are her ageing grandmother, her promiscuous sister, her flamboyantly gay brother and a memory too terrible to contemplate.

Until, that is, a letter arrives from the person Anna scarred all those years ago. Can Anna reconcile her painful past with her uncertain future?

table setting clipart

I voluntarily reviewed an arc of  this book.  All opinions are my own and no content may be copied.  However, authors and publishers may use elements of my reviews for quotes.

Firstly, I’d like to talk about the cover of this novel, it is such an appealing colour and quite striking and sitting on a shelf amongst other books it would stand out for me.

I adored this wonderful book by Juliet Ashton and The Sunday Lunch Club is her fourth book.  I do need to find the time reading her back catalogue.

Whilst reading this novel I felt like it would work wonderfully as a Sunday night TV serial. The drama and emotion surrounding each member of the family captivated me. I felt the raw emotion from each character as they were struggling to cope with demons from their past and the demons that they had carried all throughout their life. Each sibling and their respective partners and friends had their own unique personality but they complimented the family unit as a whole. Even though their was plenty of drama and hurdles for the siblings to climb there was plenty of fun interspersed within the storyline.  The novel had a wonderful cosy feeling about it, a feeling of togetherness between the family and I especially liked the powerful bond between the grandchildren and Dinkie.

A beautiful, heartfelt novel that was full of family sagas but had an intense feeling of family spirit surviving all that was dealt their way.

To learn more about the author Julie Ashton please visit the following pages:

Author website:

The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay by Nicola May blogtour book review

The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay Cover

The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay written and self-published by Nicola May is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.  The ebook is also included in the kindleunlimited scheme.

To buy link:

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Rosa Larkin is down on her luck in London, so when she inherits a near-derelict corner shop in a quaint Devon village, her first thought is to sell it for cash and sort out her life. But nothing is straightforward about this legacy. While the identity of her benefactor remains a mystery, he – or she – has left one important legal proviso: that the shop cannot be sold, only passed on to somebody who really deserves it.

Rosa makes up her mind to give it a go: to put everything she has into getting the shop up and running again in the small seaside community of Cockleberry Bay. But can she do it all on her own? And if not, who will help her succeed – and who among the following will work secretly to see her fail?

There is a handsome rugby player, a sexy plumber, a charlatan reporter and a selection of meddling locals. Add in a hit and run incident and the disappearance of a valuable engraved necklace – and what you get is a journey of self-discovery and unpredictable events.

With surprising and heartfelt results, Rosa, accompanied at all times by her little sausage dog Hot, will slowly unravel the shadowy secrets of the inheritance, and also bring her own, long-hidden heritage into the light.

The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay Full Banner

I voluntarily reviewed an arc of  this book.  All opinions are my own and no content may be copied.  However, authors and publishers may use elements of my reviews for quotes.

I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour celebrating and promoting the launch of Nicola May’s latest novel: The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay.

I absolutely adored this new romcom by Nicola May.  It was fabulously funny, flirty and full of magic and mystery.

When Rosa Larkin found out she had inherited an old shop in a village in Devon, she couldn’t quite believe her luck and was a little mystified with the bequeath.  But this somewhat unusual inheritance was just what Rosa needed to get her life back on track.  Rosa’s life has been full of heartache and trials and she has struggled laying down foundations and committing herself in life and love.  Packing up her belongings and her beloved rescue dog, Hot, Rosa leaves the city of London to travel to the quaint village of Cockleberry Bay.  Relishing the challenge of owning her own business and home Rosa felt invigorated for the first time in her life.  The expectancy of a quiet life in this sleepy village wasn’t to last long and all sorts of events, intrigue and new acquaintances were to grace Rosa’s new life.

I loved Rosa’s character, she was such fun and had a little spark about her despite her insecurities and sadness from her past.  Her beloved sidekick/pet sausage dog, Hot, was the cutest sounding dog I’ve read about.  The author Nicola May has also introduced us to some fabulous sub-characters in this story; characters that are quirky, charming, sexy and some that are full of mystical qualities.  I loved the air of mystery surrounding the benefactor, it gave another dimension to the story, a story that held many secrets in the walls of the little corner shop.

A fabulously flirty romcom to fall in love with.

To learn more about Nicola May and her work please do visit the following pages:

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Giveaway – Win x 3 Paperback copies of The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay (Open Internationally)
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.




Drift Stumble Fall by M. Jonathan Lee blogtour book review

drift stumble fall

Drift Stumble Fall written by M. Jonathan Lee, publisher Hideaway Fall Ltd, is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.  The ebook is also included in the kindleunlimited scheme.

To buy link:

Product Details (as per amazon page)

The author of five novels, M Jonathan Lee is a tireless mental health awareness campaigner, working closely with organisations including Mind, Time to Change and Rethink and blogs regularly for Huffington Post. Having personally experienced anxiety and depression during his life, Jonathan draws on his experiences to inform his writing.

Richard feels trapped in his hectic life of commitment and responsibility. From the daily mayhem of having young children, an exhausted wife and pushy in-laws who frequently outstay their welcome, Richards existence fills him with panic and resentment. The only place he can escape the dark cloud descending upon him is the bathroom, where he hides for hours on end, door locked, wondering how on earth he can escape.

Often staring out of his window, Richard enviously observes the tranquil life of Bill, his neighbour living in the bungalow across the road. From the outside, Bills world appears filled with comfort and peace. Yet underneath the apparent domestic bliss of both lives are lies, secrets, imperfections, sadness and suffering far greater than either could have imagined. Beneath the surface, a family tragedy has left Bill frozen in time and unable to move on. As he waits for a daughter who may never return, Bill watches Richards bustling family life and yearns for the joy it brings. As the two men watch each other from afar, it soon becomes apparent that other peoples lives are not always what they seem.

Blog Poster Complete drift stumble fall

I voluntarily reviewed an arc of  this book.  All opinions are my own and no content may be copied.  However, authors and publishers may use elements of my reviews for quotes.

I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour celebrating and promoting the launch of M. Jonathan Lee’s latest novel, Drift Stumble Fall.  My initial reactions at the end of this captivating story was that I felt emotionally spent.  Once again M. Jonathan Lee opens your eyes, hearts and minds to the realities of life.  One minute the author would have me laughing out loud with his wicked sense of humour and as a parent myself I so got where his wit was taking me but then the next minute I was completely gob-smacked by the sudden shift in emotions.  My heart felt pulled from joy to shattering heartbreak.  M. Jonathan Lee has written a very honest, witty, poignant story about life in it’s real raw state.  No sugar coating and no special filters to prettify the image laid out across the pages.

Drift Stumble Fall is about one man Richard, a husband and father of two young children, who is having abit of a midlife crisis.  The endless routine of life is getting to him and he wants to escape.  Looking out of his window and into his neighbour’s house, an elderly couple, who he believes have such an idyllic peaceful existence, he dreams of swapping places with them.  It’s an almost enviable emotion he is feeling.

The story takes on a seven day journey of enlightenment for Richard.  He’s planning in his mind his escape route and as each day goes by his family are non the wiser and the routine of life continues to flow around him.  Across the road at his neighbours life has stood still for over 30 years since an event that left a crack in their family, a crack that has never been healed.  Their life has felt like it has been frozen waiting for the crack to heal or for it to completely shatter.

We all drift through life and stumble and fall at unplanned hurdles but it’s the getting back up that is the crucial factor.  What we see through our windows into other people’s lives is not the true realisation of what we decipher.  We all live in our own bubble, each hoping to be in a brighter one but what we don’t always appreciate is that the brightness of our own bubble is there already.

Captivating, honest and very poignant.

To learn more about M. Jonathan Lee and his work please do visit the following pages:




Baltic Books blogtour – White Shroud by Antanas Skema

White Shroud

White Shroud written by Antanas Skema translated by Karla Gruodis, publisher Vagabond Voices, is available now in paperback format.

To buy link:

Product Details (as per amazon page)

White Shroud (Balta drobule, 1958) is considered by many to be Lithuania’s most important work of modernist fiction. Drawing heavily on the author’s own refugee and immigrant experience, this psychological, stream-of-consciousness work tells the story of an emigre poet working as a bellhop in a large New York hotel during the mid-1950s. Via multiple narrative voices and streams, the novel moves through sharply contrasting settings and stages in the narrator’s life in Lithuania before and during WWII, returning always to New York and the recent immigrant’s struggle to adapt to a completely different, and indifferent, modern world. Skema uses language and allusion to destabilise, drawing the reader into an intimate, culturally and historically specific world to explore universal human themes of selfhood, alienation, creativity and cultural difference. Written from the perspective of a newcomer to an Anglophone country, the novel encourages an understanding of the complexities of immigrant life.

Baltic Books Blog Tour

I am so pleased to be involved in the Baltic Books blogtour celebrating and showcasing some of the literary talents and their novels that have been translated in the UK for the first time.  The Baltics (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) are also being honoured as the Market Focus at London Book Fair (LBF), the biggest book trade event in the UK.  I am pleased to share an extract from White Shroud written by Antanas Škėma and translated by Karla Gruodis.

Five minutes to start time. Antanas Garšva leaves the stall.

He looks in the mirror. The baritone has disappeared. Mine is not a painterly face. But there are signs. Green strips along the side of the nose. But I can still move my eyes and I don’t feel too bad. El Greco’s cardinal has nothing on me. The red of his vestment is more dreary than my uniform’s. I’ve cheered up, and don’t care any more about the atmosphere Elena engenders. And her scent? Elena’s or another woman’s – in the end, what’s the difference? And the swaying.

Antanas Garšva walks along the corridor to the “back” elevator. The swaying. And your acrid smell and face no longer matter. That smell that barbers get sick of: powder, hair creams, sweaty necks. You are not my beloved. You are a compliant and fetid swaying. I despise your animal magnetism. You are a shrunken anus. You are forgotten. Even though you knocked on the door and pounded it with your fists. Now you’re like any other woman to me, because I am an old bachelor who chooses nutty dames rather than streetwalkers. I’m careful. Isolde? I’m just a poet. And you are material for my new poems. About Vilnius. I will write elegant legends. About Vilnius. I’ll stop repeating your name. To the tempo of a French waltz. To Zola’s tempo. Na na na, Na na na, Na na na, Na na naa. Elena, it’s been two weeks since I had you.

Antanas Garšva is going up. The “back” elevator is packed. Black women in white smocks, Puerto Ricans with tattooed arms and the room service man with five gold stars on his uniform cuff. Every five years he’s granted the honour of sewing on a star. An unnamed constellation twinkles on his green cuff. Water gurgles in the room service man’s knees. When he retires, a still-spry German with two stars will jump into his place. Antanas Garšva is now upstairs. In a narrow corridor he punches another card: two minutes to start time precisely. He opens the doors.

The immensity of eight-million-strong New York fits into the main-floor lobby: an architect’s model created for tourists. The mathematically designed hall – the apotheosis of reinforced concrete urban real estate – is held up by square columns, painted dark red to indicate the hotel’s serious intentions, a carpet of the same colour to handle cigarette butts, armchairs upholstered in red vinyl and arranged like a waiting room for surgeries in which hundreds of doctors examine, operate, mortify. Matt bulbs shine, and tubes of “sunlight” paint visitors’ faces as though they’d been resurrected from the Valley of Josaphat. A poisonously green Plymouth stands in the middle of the space – you can win it by throwing a twenty-five-cent ticket into an urn next to which sits a very cheerful young lady, groomed and coiffured like an expensive dog, her cheek muscles hurting from hours of smiling, the violet plaster of the ceiling moulding reflected in the stone on her ten-dollar ring. The blue-uniformed concierges with slicked-back hair, plucked eyebrows and a perfect ability to understand the client, walk around slavishly proud, while the black-suited manager, balding and vigilant, a regulation white carnation in his silk lapel, runs past. Tonight, a well-known band is playing at the Café Rouge, as indicated in the framed posters – stilt- like notes arranged around the French heading, around letters stencilled on to a reddish background.

On the right side of the lobby stand polished wood partitions and behind them, white-shirted – short cut, brush cut, regular cut – clerks and dark-skirted girls, endlessly accommodating to clients and furious with their neighbours, why didn’t he let me use the typewriter. One thousand eight hundred and forty three hooks are installed behind a freckled clerk. That’s how many rooms there are in the hotel. Nearby, in a glade of ficus and bay trees, stands a sort of pulpit that could have been ripped out of a wooden church, and a supremely elegant head concierge (grey-tufted ears, sharp nose, red bitten lips) making announcements in a muffled bass. Miss Alison is waiting for Mister Crampton, be so kind, Mister Crampton, be so kind – Miss Alison is waiting!

A row of shops stands on the left side of the lobby. The window of the first one is stuffed with souvenirs. Chinese mandarins stand side by side with Japanese geishas, painted and costumed Europeans, artificial Far Eastern characters from the immortal opera Madama Butterfly, clay “German” beer mugs with tangled parodies of Hals and Dürer, Dutch hats – the sighs of an Americanised Dutchman, varnished Negro masks that would make someone from the Congo or Sudan laugh Homerically, Indian-patterned tablecloths carefully woven by modern looms, countless porcelain knick- knacks. Next is a window of men’s accessories. Each shirt, tie or pair of boxers embroidered with the hotel emblem: a roaring, somewhat English lion, and the hotel’s name. The same lion appears next door, embroidered on the women’s accessories. And the hotel’s greatest source of pride – the watch display case in the centre of the lobby. Contemplating it can inspire a panicked sense of one’s own commonness – a very simple, thousand-dollar watch bracelet, a fine string of pearls, mother-of-pearl earrings, small, barely visible rings studded with shimmering diamonds.

The main-floor lobby contains a drugstore that serves tasty fishcakes. And a coffee shop for the more humble clientele. The ageing waitress will be let go tomorrow; she was chewing gum on the job and the assistant manager noticed. You can also find a news and tobacco kiosk in the main-floor lobby; the bald, grey owner, a member of a sect with only eight hundred followers, plays the flute on Sundays. A few steps down, still within the main-floor lobby, is a spacious restaurant with samples of imported wine bottles arranged on a granite stand like multicoloured candles on a gigantic cake. In the main-floor lobby you can get a haircut or a shoeshine, or stop by the Ladies’ or Gentlemen’s and have a pleasant chat with an attractive black man or woman whose skin makes the white towels stand out. You can buy cigarettes from a girl in a low-cut dress who walks around with a tray hanging from her neck, and if you’re in a rush she’ll call a friend who sells herself as if it were a spring discount. Here you can complete various monetary transactions, and even go mad – an experienced doctor will rush down from the tenth floor.

The steady rhythm of the lobby is broken by the red bellhops: they attack the luggage of the arriving and departing, they chat up guests who feel like talking and are discreetly silent if a new arrival doesn’t want to, and many have the psychological insight of a psychoanalyst. It’s as difficult making it into the bellhops as getting into the French Academy. Unless someone retires or dies. In a week, an experienced bellhop can collect a hundred dollars in tips.

One minute to start time. Antanas Garšva walks along, observing himself in the mirrors. There’s Garšva, there’s Garšva, there’s Number 87. I have acquired a new coat of arms. My genealogical tree has branched out. My mother’s coat of arms contains an upright fish. Some kind of carp, maybe a crucian. The roaring lion has swallowed the rotten fish. Long live the digestive capacities of foreigners. Long live paralysed England, reincarnated into a hybrid between a fish and a lion. Long live grapefruit and the fusion of hydrogen bomb elements before the explosion. Long live my break periods. The American Dream. And the fog. You can’t come near me. The hotel guests, the manager, or the starter. Not even the starter. The last mirror. Look at yourself one last time, Antanas Garšva. Suddenly, perhaps accidentally, you look like your father. Company over for tea and wild strawberry jam would say: “Sooooo like your mother! Turn around, Antanukas. Look – a perfect copy!”19 If they thrust a violin into your hands it would befit you to play Wieniawski’s gypsy variations. My friend Joe, the baritone, is already waiting. And my friend Stanley, the drunk.

Antanas Garšva finds himself in a spacious sunken area of the lobby lined on two sides by elevators. Six to the left and six to the right. To the left – the locals. They go up to only the tenth floor, stopping at each one in between, and then return. To the right – the expresses. They stop once at the tenth floor and then at each one after that, up to the final, eighteenth, floor. The hotel elevators are automatic, manufactured by Westinghouse. Signalling machines mounted on the walls flash with green and red lights that track the movements of the elevators. Like at intersections. This area of the lobby is bordered by the window of the flower shop. Beyond the polished glass – roses, gladioli, rhododendron, carnations, azaleas, and white- and red- veined hothouse leaves, an anatomical atlas woven of human blood and nerves.

The Baltic countries – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – will be the Market Focus for the London Book Fair 2018 (10th – 12th April).

Spring at The Little Duck Pond Café by Rosie Green blogtour book review


spring at the little duck pond cafe book cover

Spring at The Little Duck Pond Café written and self-published by Rosie Green is available NOW in ebook format.  The ebook is also included in the kindleunlimited scheme.

To buy link:

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Fleeing from a romance gone wrong, Ellie Farmer arrives in the pretty little village of Sunnybrook, hoping for a brand new start that most definitely does not include love! Following an unscheduled soak in the village duck pond, she meets Sylvia, who runs the nearby Duck Pond Café. Renting the little flat above the café seems like the answer to Ellie’s prayers. It’s only for six months, which will give her time to sort out her life, far away from cheating boyfriend Richard.

But is running away from your past ever really the answer?

Clashing with the mysterious and brooding Zack Chamberlain, an author with a bad case of writer’s block, is definitely not what Ellie needs right now. And then there’s Sylvia, who’s clinging so hard to her past, she’s in danger of losing the quaint but run-down Duck Pond Café altogether.

Can Ellie find the answers she desperately needs in Sunnybrook? And will she be able to help save Sylvia’s little Duck Pond Café from closure?

Spring at the Little Duck Pond Cafe Full Banner

I voluntarily reviewed an arc of  this book.  All opinions are my own and no content may be copied.  However, authors and publishers may use elements of my reviews for quotes.

I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour celebrating the launch of Rosie Green’s novella Spring at The Little Duck Pond Café.

I’m a sucker for a feel-good heart-warming romance and this novella by Rosie Green ticked all the boxes for me.  There are times when you need a cosy story and Spring at The Little Duck Pond Café came to the rescue.

This is my first introduction to the work of Rosie Green and I was enchanted by her description of this charming little village with it’s focal point of a duck pond and café.  The café has brought comfort to it’s elderly owner, Sylvia, after she lost her dear husband.  When Ellie visits the area on a secret mission she is heartened by Sylvia’s kindness.  With Ellie suffering a broken heart and with the added stress of her sick mother Sylvia offers a proposition to Ellie, one that feels like the answer to her woes.

This novella was full of wonderfully warm characters and scenes that charm you.  I was cocooned by this delightful story and look forward to more from The Duck Pond Café.

About the Author

Rosie Green is the pen-name for the author.  The author has kindly set-up a giveaway to win the prizes of a wooden Duck ornament and chocolates (Open to UK Only).

During each day of this blog tour, each clues will be revealed to the true identity of Rosie Green.

Today’s Clue is:

One of my titles brings to mind a well-known movie about weddings, starring Hugh Grant.
In order to enter, you need to follow Rosie Green on Twitter, RT this tweet and then take a guess using the hashtag #WhoisRosieGreen

You may guess more than once.

All entries using the hash tag will be entered, and the giveaway closes 23:00 BST 12th April

The identity of Rosie Green will be revealed on twitter after 12th April as will the giveaway winner.

Good luck and don’t forget to look at posts on other days of this tour, for more clues.

Spring at The Little Duck Pond Café