The Beginner’s Guide to Loneliness by Laura Bambrey @LauraBambrey @TeamBATC @simonschusterUK #bookreview #TheBeginnersGuidetoLoneliness

The Beginner’s Guide to Loneliness written by Laura Bambrey, publisher Simon & Schuster UK, is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.

Book Blurb

Tori Williamson is alone. After a tragic event left her isolated from her loved ones, she’s been struggling to find her way back to, well – herself. That’s why she set up her blog, The Beginner’s Guide to Loneliness, as a way of – anonymously – connecting with the outside world and reaching others who just need a little help sometimes.
When she’s offered a free spot on a wellbeing retreat in exchange for a review on her blog, Tori is anxious about opening herself up to new surroundings. But after her three closest friends – who she talks to online but has never actually met – convince her it’ll do her some good, she reluctantly agrees and heads off for three weeks in the wild (well, a farm in Wales).
From the moment she arrives, Tori is sceptical and quickly finds herself drawn to fellow sceptic Than, the retreat’s dark and mysterious latecomer. But as the beauty of The Farm slowly comes to light she realizes that opening herself up might not be the worst thing. And sharing a yurt with fellow retreater Bay definitely isn’t.  Will the retreat be able to fix Tori? Or will she finally learn that being lonely doesn’t mean she’s broken . . .
Welcome to The Beginner’s Guide to Loneliness! Where you can learn to move mountains by picking up the smallest of stones…

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 the paperback of the debut novel by Laura Bambrey, The Beginner’s Guide to Loneliness.

Wow, what a brilliant accomplished debut novel from Laura Bambrey. I purchased this novel last year when it was released and it’s sat patiently in my TBR. I’m thrilled to now share my review whilst celebrating the release of the paperback.

This is a story of life with it’s ups and downs, of friendship, of love and of new beginnings. Tori, our main character and creator of the fictional blog The Beginner’s Guide to Loneliness, has suffered so much and this blog was formed to help express her feelings in the hope that even if one word resonates with another it was worthwhile posting online,
Two years have passed since the blog was formed and Tori still feels lost, when she receives an invite to stay at a retreat with the hope of reviewing on her blog she feels like she’s at a junction. At the moment her thoughts are expressed through her written words but to share them to strangers and in person she has her doubts. With the encouragement of her online friends she makes the decision to attend.

We follow Tori’s journey at The Farm, which is quite a unique retreat and not all what she expected. Here we meet the rest of the residents and staff that are all so different in personality from all backgrounds. These new people in Tori’s life take some adjusting to as Tori struggles making friends especially after the seeds of doubt that have been planted from various sources in her past. As a reader I too enjoyed learning about these new characters, it was like watching a flower grow from a bud waiting for it to bloom into a friendship that can be treasured.
However, as time went on personalities between residents were to class in a way that shocks the retreat. Tori discovers who matters most when she needs them.

Laura Bambrey has created such a wonderful, very readable uplifting story. At the beginning of each chapter is a quote from Tori’s online blog and I found myself looking forward to these. The characters are created with warmth and are relatable. There’s sensitivity throughout and a gorgeous warmth emanating through the words. I fell in love with these characters and didn’t want to say farewell. I hope one day we can return to The Farm.
I look forward to more from this inspiring debut author.

About the Author

Laura Bambrey was born in Dorset but raised in Wales. She’s worked as a trapeze choreographer, sculpture conservator and stilt walker, amongst others, and spent most of her time collecting stories from the people she met along the way.

She has spent many years as a book blogger and reviewer of women’s fiction and now lives in Devon with her very own romantic hero and a ridiculously fluffy rabbit named Mop. The Beginner’s Guide to Loneliness is her début novel.

You can connect with Laura on twitter @laurabambrey, on Instagram @laura_bambrey_books, on Facebook @laurabambreybooks, and via her author blog


Captivating the Cynical Earl by Catherine Tinley @CatherineTinley @MillsandBoon @rararesources @HarlequinBooks #RegencyRomance #bookreview

Captivating the Cynical Earl written by Catherine Tinley, publisher Mills & Boon Historical, is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.

Book Blurb

The cool, aloof earl

And the enchanting lady

For Jack Beresford, Earl of Hawkenden, emotional entanglements are the path to pain. But when his brother brings his new wife and her best friend to his country home, everything changes. Lady Cecily Thornhill is both vibrant and beautiful, and Jack finds himself increasingly captivated by her sunny nature. Yet he must resist her charms, for in a month she’ll be gone—unless his frozen heart thaws before then…

Purchase Link –

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 Catherine Tinley’s latest historical romance: Captivating the Cynical Earl.

I do love a Regency Romance; the rules of society, the fashion, the beginnings of women wanting more for themselves. The streets of London graced with Lords and Ladies to the hard working lower classes struggling in the workhouses. To the country estates with land and tenants and the beauty of the English countryside. And to a love that felt often awkward and stilted with the constrains of the etiquette of the era to an all consuming swoon worthy passion. Catherine Tinley is one of a group from Mills & Boon that are top class historical romance authors who entertain their readers with all of the above and more.

Catherine Tinley instantly transported me to London 1819 with her descriptions of the setting and characters making me feel quite at home in this era.

Jack and Tom Beresford are brothers and as the older brother Jack has taken the title of Earl of Hawkenden. Jack has always looked out for his brother since the death of their mother when the boys were still so young. So when Tom informs Jack he has just got married to a young lady he has known for a matter of months and it’s a union of love you can imagine Jack’s disdain to the news. Jack instantly takes a dislike to the new bride with his cynical brain presuming all she is after is money and a partnership of love is just poppycock!

Lady Cecily too has reservations for this union. Nell is her best friend and Cecily was shocked how quick the relationship blossomed. But as she spends time with the newly weds Cecily can witness how perfect this union is. It’s just proving this to Tom’s older brother, Jack, that is cause for concern for all.

Catherine Tinley has created a wonderful Regency Romance that is filled with two love stories that take all parties concerned by surprise. As Cecily spends time getting to know the Beresford brothers she begins to understand there is a hidden sadness within that is preventing Jack especially to trust in love.

Romantic, charming, entertaining and poignant.

Author Bio –

Catherine Tinley is an award winning author of historical romance. She writes witty, heartwarming Regency love stories for Harlequin Mills & Boon. Her first book, Waltzing with the Earl, won the Rita Award for Best Historical Romance 2018, while Rags-to-Riches Wife won the RoNA Award for Best Historical Romance 2021.

She has loved reading and writing since childhood, and has a particular fondness for love, romance, and happy endings. After a career encompassing speech & language therapy, Sure Start, maternity campaigning and being President of a charity, she now manages a maternity hospital. She lives in Ireland with her husband, children, cats, and dog and can be reached at,on facebook, twitter, and instagram.

Crab, Dab & Blenny by Peta Rainford @PetaRainford @rararesources #bookreview #childrensbook

Crab, Dab & Blenny written and self-published by Peta Rainford is available NOW in paperback.

Book Blurb

Crab, Dab & Blenny is a fun, rhyming picture book about the serious theme of plastics in the ocean.

Fish friends Dab and Blenny are upset by the plastic that washes into their lovely rockpool home. Crab, on the other hand, just LOVES the shiny bright colour… But when Blenny gets caught in plastic twine, Crab finally understands the danger of plastics in the ocean.

Crab, Dab & Blenny is a book that celebrates friendship and the vast variety of life that exists in a quiet rockpool. Perfect for early readers or as a bedtime story for four- to eight-year-olds.

Purchase Links

UK – 

US –

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 Peta Rainford’s latest children’s picture book: Crab, Dab and Blenny.

I was first introduced to the work of Peta Rainford last year when I reviewed Milly’s Marvellous Mistakes and I was charmed by the illustrations and the thought provoking storyline. Once again Peta Rainford has used her lovely words and illustrations to emphasise an important issue in the world and what better time to learn about these issues then as a child. Children’s minds are like a foundation of a building give them the knowledge and tools at an early age to help equip them for the future. The rhyming text is perfect for children and they will soon love to regale the words back.

Crab, Dab and Blenny are friends with different personalities but they share the love of their home, the ocean. However, the sea is becoming crowded and their homes do not feel safe anymore. What can they do? What can we do?

Peta Rainford cleverly uses the medium of art and words to express and highlight areas of concern in the world. A wonderful picture book with a mighty message.

Author Bio – Peta writes and illustrates her funny picture books on the Isle of Wight, where she lives with her husband, daughter, and hairy jack russell, Archie. In normal times, Peta loves going into schools to share her books and inspire children in their writing and art. She has appeared at a number of festivals and other events, including: Barnes Children’s Literature Festival, Isle of Wight Literary Festival, Exmoor Dark Skies Festival and Ventnor Fringe. She is one of the organisers of the IW Story Festival, for children and families, which takes place every February half term.

Social Media Links – Website:
Facebook: @dogpigeon

Instagram: petarainford

Backstories by Simon Van der Velde @SimonVdVwriter #excerpt #shortstoriescollection

Backstories written by Simon Van der Velde, publisher Smoke and Mirrors Press, is available NOW in ebook, kindleunlimited, audiobook and paperback format. THE EBOOK IS CURRENTLY ON A KINDLE COUNTDOWN DEAL PRICE OF 99p, perfect time to top-up your ereader for a summer of reading.

Book Blurb

Backstories – ‘the stand-out most original book of the year’ – is a collection of stories each told from the point of view of one of my personal heroes, (or villains) back when they were just another Jew or black, or queer – back when they were nobody. Bullied, assaulted or psychologically abused, their road to redemption was never easy, and for some there would be no redemption, only a descent into evil.

These are the stories of people you know. The settings are mostly 60’s and 70’s UK and USA, the driving themes are inclusion and social justice – but the real key to these stories is that I withhold the protagonists’ identities. This means that your job is to find them – leading to that Eureka moment when you realise who’s mind you’ve been inhabiting for the last twenty minutes.

I should also add that this is a book that operates on two levels. Yes, there’s the game of identifying the mystery activist or actor, singer or murderer, but there is then the more serious business of trying to understand them. This in turn leads to the challenge of overlaying what you now know about these famous people onto what you thought you knew – not to mention the inherent challenge to your moral compass.

These are people you know, but not as you know them. Peel back the mask and see.

This book is dedicated to the victims of violent crime, the struggle against discrimination in all its forms and making the world a better place for our children. That is why 30% of all profits will be shared between Stop Hate UK, The North East Autism Society and Friends of the Earth.

To buy links:

I am so pleased to be able to share an excerpt of the book with you all.

Jive Talkin
I’m wheelin my bike along the sidewalk, watchin all the white faces, watchin me. This
pinched kinda woman gives me a glare and then her man bumps me onto the road. I shrug
like it don’t bother me none, but I can’t help thinkin Daddy was right. Only a damn fool goes
up west of Walnut Street.
Maybe I should turn right around, but I wanna see the show, and anyway, that’s when
I see this skinny Asian kid across the street. Kinda high-yella, with this confused sorta look,
like my little brother, Rudy. I watch him lean his bike up against the wall, and then I watch it
fall down. I smile, course I do.
The bike’s battered to hell, and I can see why. Kid’s maybe eighth grade, same as
me, but he’s one of those clumsy, spidery type of kids that can’t hardly work their own hands.
Takes him forever to pick the thing up, and it falls straight over like he can’t even see the
slope on the sidewalk. In the end I do it for him, and lean my midnight blue Columbia Five
Star right alongside his piece of shit.
It’s obvious we’re both going to the auto show, just like it’s obvious neither of us
belongs up here, so we sort of tag along together. Bad idea. I know it as soon as he starts
talkin. See Joe, that’s his name, is one of those kids knows every damn thing about
everythin, and he’s gotta tell you.
First thing we see in the hall is this brand new ’55 Chevy Bel Air, up on the stand.
‘Great look, great life,’ the girl says, near bursting out of her sharp Chevy uniform.
‘Great ass, great tits,’ I whisper, but Joe don’t even crack a smile.
‘That’s nothin,’ he says, in his squeaky know-it-all voice, ‘up in Pittsburgh with my
Uncle, I saw this Mercedes-Benz, come all the way from Europe. Had these crazy wing
doors, looked like some kinda pterodactyl or somethin. Car like that do 150 easy, leave the
old Bel Air chokin on dust.’2
I guess he could be kind of interestin, if he’d just shut up sometime, but he never
does. Not for three hours straight. Gets on my nerves more than Rudy, if that’s even
‘Uhuh,’ I tell him. ‘Sure thing,’ with Momma’s voice in my head, like always, tellin
me I gotta be kind, and Daddy’s, like always too, tellin me I’m one prize fool for going so far
west, and a bigger one for hangin with this weird Asian kid.
Turns out Daddy was right.
Come sundown I’m ready to cut Joe loose, or maybe kill him, whatever Momma says.
‘Gettin late,’ I say, steppin out into the street and doin this big old yawn.
I hardly notice these two trashy white boys, baseball caps low, eyes dartin. You can
see the way they move they’re gettin ready for somethin, but you know, I’m thinkin about
how to get rid of Joe and I don’t get what’s happenin till it’s too late. They make a big deal
of starin at the poster for the show, then they’re on our bikes and pedalin down the hill like
the gun just gone in the Kentucky Derby.
‘Hey, stop,’ I shout like a dope, but of course they don’t.
I get to the corner in time to see a flash of red cap turnin up this alley. I follow them,
to the entrance at least. Maybe I am a prize fool, but I ain’t runnin down no blind alley, not
after what happen in Mississippi.
I take a good look. Alley’s a dead-end, high brick walls all around. There’s a couple of
doors, but they’re shut tight and the fire escape’s pulled way up high. There’s a load of trash
cans too, and crates and shit scattered all around, but there sure as hell ain’t no way out. It’s
a trap …

Thank you to the author for sharing this excerpt. This collection of short stories sounds so unique and I am looking forward to discovering the hidden characters within.

About the Author

Simon Van der Velde has worked variously as a barman, labourer, teacher, caterer and lawyer, as well as travelling throughout Europe and South America collecting characters and insights for his award-winning stories. Since completing a creative writing M.A. (with distinction) in 2010, Simon’s work has won and been shortlisted for numerous
awards including; The Yeovil Literary Prize, (twice), The Wasafiri New Writing Prize, The Luke Bitmead Bursary, The Frome Short story Prize, The Harry Bowling Prize, The Henshaw Press Short Story Competition and The National Association of Writers’ Groups Open Competition – establishing him as one of the UK’s foremost
short-story writers.
Simon now lives in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, with his wife, Nicola, their labradoodle, Barney and two tyrannical children.


Twitter: @SimonVdVwriter

Home by Penny Parkes @CotswoldPenny @TeamBATC @simonschusterUK @BookMinxSJV #bookreview #summerreading

Home written by Penny Parkes, publisher Simon & Schuster UK, is available NOW in ebook, audiobook and hardcover format. The paperback is due out in January 2022.

Book Blurb

Anna Wilson travels the world as a professional housesitter – stepping into other people’s lives – caring for their homes, pets and sometimes even neighbours. Living vicariously.

But all Anna has ever really wanted is a home of her own – a proper one, filled with family and love and happy memories. If only she knew where to start.

Growing up in foster care, she always envied her friends their secure and carefree lives, their certainty and confidence. And, while those same friends may have become her family of choice, Anna is still stuck in that nomadic cycle, looking for answers, trying to find the courage to put down roots and find a place to call home.

Compelling, rich and evocative, Home is Anna’s journey to discovering that it isn’t where you settle down that matters, but the people you have around you when you do. 

To buy links:

ebook is available for kindle, iBooks, google, kobo – amazon kindle link:

Hardcover is available to purchase from all good book retailers including Waterstones, WHSmith, independent book retailers.

Online links:

Home : the most moving and heartfelt novel you’ll read this year: PENNY PARKES: 9781471180163:

Home by Penny Parkes | Waterstones

Buy Home by Penny Parkes With Free Delivery |

Home: the most moving and heartfelt novel you’ll read this year (


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.

When you’ve absolutely loved a book it’s so hard to put into words how much you adored it without spoiling for others. Home is a book for everyone. You will be swept into Anna’s life and you will fall in love with this young woman who has been through so much.

Anna for the last decade since graduating has been trying to find where she fits and what her future holds. She’s a professional house sitter looking after homes and their pets for a myriad of owners in properties of all different shapes and sizes worldwide. Anna loves to write, books have been her lifeline since a young girl and hopes one day to write a book. Her travels have given her much research; some good, some bad and some she’s finding so hard to forget.

Anna feels lost, she doesn’t have a fixed abode and her troubled childhood home left her with so many traumatic memories that has had an impact on her trusting herself to settle down and make a home.

We follow Anna returning to Oxford for her best friend’s wedding. Oxford was the longest Anna had stayed in one place whilst she studied but it has been tainted by a memory that left her feeling angry and used. So as much as she loves her friend, Kate, she can’t wait to escape the wedding back to her nomadic lifestyle. Sadly, Oxford was to deal her another traumatic blow and Anna’s emotions are in shreds. Her next few placements give her much needed respite and she meets people that leave a lasting impression and help Anna realise that home comes in all different shapes and sizes.

There were so many heart breaking flashbacks to Anna’s past that were just so unfair, so cruel and so selfish. Then there were times that I felt the magic and love of a trust and a partnership bringing hope.

Author, Penny Parkes, has written a story that will wrap around your heart and not let go. You will smile and cry along the way and want so much more for Anna and the people she meets. The people that leave more than just friendship behind.

Wonderful story telling.

About the Author

Penny Parkes lives in the Cotswolds. She has appeared at literary festivals around the country and has written for The Telegraph as well as extensively in her local media. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram as @CotswoldPenny

Bertie at the Worldwide Games by Wendy H Jones @WendyHJones @malcomdown @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours #bookreview

Bertie at the Worldwide Games written by Wendy H Jones, publisher Sarah Grace Publishing, is available NOW in paperback format.

Book Blurb

Bertie the Buffalo is having fun on the farm where he lives in Scotland. Then a mysterious letter arrives inviting him to represent Scotland in the Worldwide Games. Bertie and his friends fly to Tokyo where they meet new and exotic animals and try to win first prize in all the different events. Bertie is sad when he isn’t winning any medals but finds out if he works together with his friends, he will be a winner in the end.

To buy link:


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 Wendy H Jones latest children’s picture book: Bertie at the Worldwide Games.

This is my first introduction to Bertie the Buffalo and from the gorgeous illustrations by artist Barry Diaper you can see that Bertie is a cutie and will instantly attract the attention of children just by the book cover. Barry Diaper continues with such endearing illustrations throughout and I was charmed by them. The illustrations complemented the story perfectly.

Bertie is a buffalo that lives on a farm in Scotland and with the help of his friends on the farm they are off on an adventure to Tokyo to represent Scotland at the Worldwide Games. Author Wendy H Jones has written such a lovely children’s book with a wonderful message. The games highlight each animals strength and character and working together as a team brings all the strength and qualities together making one big super squad!

There is a lovely rhyming prose that children will soon learn and want to regale. The storyline is comical in places bringing fun and warmth. With the gorgeous illustrations and mix of characters children could create their own stories about them and also they could research further the animals they have encountered in the book.

An enjoyable picture book that I believe children will want it to be read again and again.

Author Bio

Wendy H. Jones is the award-winning author of the DI Shona McKenzie Mysteries and Cass Claymore Investigates. She lives in Scotland and is also an international public speaker and the president of the Scottish Association of Writers.

Twitter: @WendyHJones

Illustrator: Barry Diaper  

Barry Diaper is best known for his cartoons and caricatures for The Beano. He was once short-listed for the Daily Mail’s ‘Not the Turner Prize’. He lives in Salisbury, England.

Secrets on the Italian Island by T.A. Williams @tawilliamsbooks @rararesources @canelo_co #PublicationDayPush #summerreading #bookreview

Secrets on the Italian Island written by T.A. Williams, publisher Canelo Escape, is available NOW in ebook format. The paperback is due out in August 2021.

Book Blurb

Her work has got in the way of relationships before – but never like this

Anna’s job as a geologist takes her all over the world, including to the beautiful island of Elba, where she’s sent to look for precious metals. And the island isn’t the only thing that’s gorgeous – she can’t believe her luck when she meets windsurfer Marco and sparks fly.

But Anna must keep her role on Elba a secret to avoid upsetting the locals, which means lying to Marco even as they grow closer. When her old friend Toby visits, Anna suddenly finds herself torn between the attentions of the two men. However, Anna’s not the only one keeping secrets.

Is Marco being entirely honest with her? And why did Toby really come to visit?

A fun and escapist romance, perfect for fans of Lucy Coleman and Alex Brown.

Purchase Link –

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 Publication Day Push in celebration of the launch of T.A. Williams latest novel: Secrets on the Italian Island. Secrets on the Italian Island is Book 3 in the Escape to Tuscany series and each story is a standalone novel. They are perfect introductions to a new author and once you’ve sampled his work you can escape to Tuscany and more with his books.

With every book by T.A. Williams you can guarantee you’ll be whisked away to a place of beauty. T.A. Williams knows his locations so well his words transport me and I feel I can picture the setting, experience the sights, tastes and aromas and enjoy discovering new cultures.

Secrets on the Italian Island is another classic from the author, it’s a story about Anna, a geologist, who is in her late twenties and currently lives and breathes work. She loves her work but is starting to doubt her current work life balance, as it’s pretty much one sided! Her latest work case is to tour around the beautiful Italian island, Elba, with a view to unearthing rare metals underground.

Elba sounded like a stunningly beautiful island that has tried to keep to it’s natural habitat and not let tourists and multi-national businesses spoil it’s outlook.

Anna soon gets to know the area and a few locals who soon become friends but she finds it difficult to keep her job and the reason she is on the island secret. The residents of Elba are understandably very protective of their unspoilt island.

Whilst Anna is searching the island she is also doing a lot of soul searching herself. Within the matter of a few weeks her non-existent personal life has become complicated with the attention of two men. Two very different men and Anna is confused which way her will go.

Secrets on the Italian Island is a lovely contemporary romance that feels like a travelogue. The author packs so much detail about his settings including the history and architecture of the area, you find yourself wanting to learn more. I always also enjoy the inclusion of a faithful dog companion in the storyline bringing a fun, comforting element.

Once again another sunshine filled story that was delightful, romantic, interesting and poignant.

Author Bio – I’m a man. And a pretty old man as well. I did languages at university a long time ago and then lived and worked in France and Switzerland before going to Italy for seven years as a teacher of English. My Italian wife and I then came back to the UK with our little daughter (now long-since grown up) where I ran a big English language school for many years. We now live in a sleepy little village in Devonshire. I’ve been writing almost all my life but it was only seven years ago that I finally managed to find a publisher who liked my work enough to offer me my first contract.

The fact that I am now writing romantic comedy is something I still find hard to explain. My early books were thrillers and historical novels. Maybe it’s because there are so many horrible things happening in the world today that I feel I need to do my best to provide something to cheer my readers up. My books provide escapism to some gorgeous locations, even if travel to them is currently difficult.

Social Media Links –




The Calm Kitchen by Lorna Salmon @thecalmkitchen @pavilionbooks @nationaltrust #bookreview #mindfulreading

The Calm Kitchen written by Lorna Salmon, publisher National Trust Books (an imprint of Pavilion Books Company Ltd) is available NOW in ebook and hardback format.

Book Blurb

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food’

– Hippocrates 

Our lives have never been so hectic, so controlled by technology, so commodified. We find ourselves with less and less time to invest in nourishment – of both our bodies and our minds. Nutrition, exercise, rest – these are the first to fall by the wayside.

The Calm Kitchen is more than just a recipe book. Following the four seasons, it’s a beginners’ guide to reconnecting with nature through food, cookery and ingredient-sourcing as a form of self-care; from the soothing smell of lavender fields to the simple magic of baking your first loaf of bread on a frosty winter’s night. The Calm Kitchen shows how mindful cooking, baking and ingredient sourcing can lead to better peace of mind, and better health and wellbeing. Featuring a blend of vegetarian recipes including duck egg shakshuka with burrata, hazelnut and cranberry brownies and the perfect mushroom stroganoff, this is an informative and insightful guide to ingredients and how they can benefit your physical and mental health.

This book offers a focused, innovative approach to self-care; the foodie approach – the slice of freshly baked bread, toasted, buttered liberally and enjoyed with a cup of tea by the window kind of approach.

To buy links:

The Calm Kitchen : Mindful Recipes to Feed Body and Soul: Lorna Salmon: 9781911657026:

The Calm Kitchen, Mindful Recipes to Feed Body and Soul (


I happened to come across this book on Instagram during it’s pre-publication week promotion and I was instantly drawn to it. I do think the calming green of the cover and the simplistic illustration was a factor in my decision to investigate more. I liked what I saw and when I read the synopsis I wanted to know more so pre-ordered. At this point I hadn’t heard of the author so followed Lorna Salmon on Instagram to learn more about her work.

The Calm Kitchen is a small hardback, just less than a5 in size, with a matt finish. The calming colour with the wonderful illustrations by Naomi Elliott continue inside with the pages continuing with the green theme. Illustrations are interspersed throughout and are just perfect for the whole ethos of the book.

This little book is more than just a recipe collection. It’s a book that is split into seasons celebrating the joy that each one brings and with it seasonal produce that will be in abundance. The author then shares some of her favourite recipes that include seasonal produce for each of the four seasons. Lorna Salmon has also included lovely mindful activities to try for each season and I love her kind, gentle approach to trying something new and experience the joy of what is around us. At the beginning of all the seasons there is a great section on Store Cupboard Essentials which is a great resource.

I wouldn’t normally read a recipe book word for word but as I said previously this is no ordinary recipe book so I found myself running myself a nice bubble bath and enjoying the words and gorgeous illustrations of The Calm Kitchen and soon found that I had read it word for word and page by page. I adored every single page of this delightful book and it would make a wonderful gift for a foodie, a non-foodie, a get well soon gift, a thinking of you gift, a thank you gift, a miss you gift, a welcome to your new home gift or most of all a gift to you.

I have gone through the book again and I have highlighted the recipes I wish to try, colour coding for each season, as you can see there’s a lot I’m keen on making. I’m not a fantastic cook but I like to dabble and learn and I do enjoy the process of chopping, prepping my ingredients and seeing the science of blending different foods to create something delicious. The joy of others saying that tastes good is priceless! Cooking is definitely a mindful experience if you let your mind enjoy each individual process.

I adored this little book so much and just know it will be a constant companion on my shelf.

About the Author

Lorna Salmon is a writer and digital content specialist who has worked in heritage and wildlife conservation for the National Trust and the RSPB. A keen cook, obsessive birdwatcher and dedicated mental health campaigner, she has spent the last few years exploring the ways in which cooking and nutrition can be beneficial for mental health and wellbeing.

Twitter: @thecalmkitchen

Instagram: The Calm Kitchen | Lorna 🐟 (@calm_kitchen) • Instagram photos and videos

The Lies She Told by Lynda Renham @Lyndarenham #PromoPost #PublicationDay

The Lies She Told written by Lynda Renham, publisher Raucous Publishing, is available in ebook, kindleunlimited, hardcover and paperback from 5th July 2021.

Happy Publication Day to Lynda Renham I am pleased to share a promo of your new book.

Book Blurb

Life in the village of Stonesend is pretty uneventful, that is until Detective Tom Miller is transferred there following a personal tragedy. He is not greeted well by local police officer, Beth Harper, who feels he is not up to the job. The day of his arrival, Kate Marshall, a teacher at the local school, is beaten in her own home and left for dead.  The villagers are left in a state of shock.  Was it a random attack, or something more personal?

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Lynda Renham amazon author page: Lynda Renham: Books, Biography, Blogs, Audiobooks, Kindle

About the Author

Lynda Renham is author to many popular romantic comedy and gripping psychological thriller novels. She lives in Oxford, UK. She has appeared on BBC radio discussion programs and is a prolific blogger, Twitter and when not writing can usually be found wasting her time on Facebook.

The Orchard Girls by Nikola Scott @nikola_scott @rararesources @HeadlineFiction @headlinepg #blogtour #guestpost #recipe #HistoricalFiction

The Orchard Girls written by Nikola Scott, publisher Review, is available NOW in ebook and audiobook format. The paperback is due out in the autumn.

Book Blurb

London, 2004. Frankie didn’t always have it easy. Growing up motherless, she was raised by her grandmother, who loved her – and betrayed her. For years, the rift between them seemed irreparable. But when their paths suddenly cross again, Frankie is shocked to realise that her grandmother is slowly losing control of her memory. There is a darkness in her past that won’t stay buried – secrets going back to wartime that may have a devastating effect on Frankie’s own life.

Somerset, 1940. When seventeen-year-old Violet’s life is ripped apart by the London Blitz, she runs away to join the Women’s Land Army, wanting nothing more than to leave her grief behind. But as well as the terror of enemy air raids, the land girls at Winterbourne Orchards face a powerful enemy closer to home. One terrible night, their courage will be put to the test – and the truth of what happened must be kept hidden, forever . . .

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I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour celebrating and promoting the launch of Nikola Scott’s latest historical novel: The Orchard Girls. Firstly, I’d like to apologise to the author, publisher and blogtour organiser for publishing my post a day late, life just simply happened. I have the pleasure of posting a guest post from the author, Nikola Scott, which includes a delicious sounding Apple Cake, a perfect recipe for the land girls and their harvest of apples. Definitely one I will try.

Land Girls, apple orchards, and a delicious ‘drunken’ apple cake

My mum recently cleaned out her attic. She’s always attacking various areas of her house (she’s lived there for almost fifty years!) and I love being there when she does, because she inevitably unearths some kind of ‘rubbish’ which turns out to be a priceless gem. A clutch of old letters in a hatbox; doubles of my grandmother’s old photographs (she was a professional photographer and sold all sorts of beautiful black-and-white shots to newspapers and magazines); an old bag with a tarnished mirror still lodged in an inside pocket. The kind of thing, in other words, that might well look like rubbish, but is pretty thrilling to a historical fiction writer.

Recently, I was asking her about a cake we used to make all the time. My new novel, The Orchard Girls, is set among a group of Land Girls working on an apple orchard in 1940 Somerset, and I wanted to share one of our favourite apple cake recipes in honour of its publication.

With many family recipes you’re usually handed a butter-spotted piece of paper stuck on the kitchen noticeboard, containing a heavily annotated list of ingredients with rather cryptic measurements. But wouldn’t you know it, my mother disappeared for a bit and came back with a whole stack of old notebooks and cookbooks, including – wait for it – an ancient collection of recipes, hand-written by my great-grandmother in 1901! It made my day.

So here it is for you, our Drunken Apple Cake, a deceptively simple and unashamedly delicious afternoon tea cake. There is nothing boozy about it, by the way. The original recipe was in German, where ‘drunken’ and ‘drowned’ are close linguistic cousins. In this case it simply means that the apple pieces are submerged – ‘drowned’ – in the dough.

Drunken Apple Cake

160 g butter

135 g sugar

¼ ts salt

4 eggs

335 g flour

1 tbs baking powder

80 ml milk

1 ts vanilla essence

5 apples (more, if you’d like it heavy on the apple front)

Extra butter for dotting

Extra sugar for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees and butter & flour a 23 cm springform.

Peel, core and cut the apples into eighths.

Cream butter and sugar. Add the eggs one by one, mixing well after each addition. Sieve flour and baking powder together, mix milk and vanilla essence. Alternate adding the flour mix and the milk mix, beginning and ending with flour, until you have a wet, sticky dough that drops off the spoon with a little reluctance.

Smooth the dough into the springform and arrange the apple slices in a circle on top, prodding them a little to make them ‘sink’ with the tops still sticking out. Dot small bits of butter liberally across the tops and sprinkle with sugar. This last bit is technically optional but in my book absolutely essential because it gives a lovely crunch and goes really well with the apples. You could go crazy and add a little cinnamon here if you like.

Bake for 45-50 minutes, testing the cake parts with a cake tester towards the end and covering with a loose piece of foil if the surface gets too brown before the time is up.


Author Bio –

Nikola Scott started out in book publishing and worked as a crime fiction editor in America and England for many years. Turning her back on blood-spattered paperback covers and dead bodies found in woods, she sat down at her kitchen table one day to start her first novel — and hasn’t stopped writing since. Obsessed with history and family stories (‘How exactly did you feel when your parents gave the house to your brother?’) she is well-known – and feared – for digging up dark secrets at dinner parties and turning them into novels. 

Her first two books, My Mother’s Shadow and Summer of Secrets, have both been international bestsellers and were translated widely around the world. Nikola lives in Frankfurt with her husband and two boys (and a kitchen table). 

Once a month, Nikola sends out a popular newsletter about writing, reading, book news, freebies and loads of therapeutic baking. Join in here if you’d love to be a part of it all:

For more info on Nikola, visit her website at  

Social Media Links –

Twitter: @nikola_scott