Thursday, 29 March 2018

Blog Tour Review: Sunshine and Secrets by Daisy James

Sunshine & Secrets (The Paradise Cookery School #1) by Daisy James
Published: March 19th 2018
Publisher: Canelo
Pages: 165
Available on Kindle
Rating: 4/5


When newly heartbroken, michelin-starred chef Millie Harper is offered a job overseeing the setup of The Paradise Cookery School she jumps at the opportunity. Leaving London and her memories of heartbreak behind she hops on a plane to the hilltop cocoa plantation in St Lucia.
But this beautiful island break might be more work than she’d expected….  With only two weeks to have the kitchen installed, cocoa pods going missing from the plantation and the notoriously relaxed island workmen to contend with, she’s going to need some help. Gruff but charming estate manager Zach Baxter, is only too happy to offer his opinions. As the two clash heads can they remain focussed on the job in hand and get the cookery school finished in time?


Heartbroken Millie Harper is about to set off to France for a  holiday with her mum, when sister Jen asks if she’ll fly to St. Lucia and oversee the installation and recipe testing for new cookery school for famous chef Claudia Croft instead. Being a Michelin-starred chef Millie is keen to develop her skills and jumps at the chance to spend time learning about a different cuisine and in such a fabulous location, what could be more perfect.

Millie’s idea of a tropical paradise is soon ruined when she’s left in the pouring rain on arrival and then met by grumpy estate manager Zach Baxter who doesn’t offer her the warmest of welcomes. With kitchen fitters that have a much more laid-back way of working than Millie is used too, missing cocoa pods and disastrous dates can Millie get the cookery school up and running in time.

Sunshine and Secrets is a book filled to the brim with delicious food descriptions, in fact 70% of the story probably revolves around food so if you’re not a fan then this is maybe not the book for you. I love food so really enjoyed all the food descriptions, especially those relating to chocolate, only problem was it left me very hungry. I also loved all the descriptions of St. Lucia, Daisy James has done an excellent job bringing this part of the world alive for me.

Millie was the perfect main character for this story as her passion for food is so contagious that she had everyone around her excited to be involved with the school and the chocolate recipes. This passion helps Millie to gain confidence and with more than one handsome man showing her some interest it’s the perfect place for her to forget about her heartbreak from ex-boyfriend Luke.

This was quite a short read with many characters being introduced, perhaps too many as most of the book is spent getting to know the characters and the main action in the story takes place quite near the end and felt very rushed. I was also a little disappointed with the ending as the story just kind of stopped. I think if the book had been a little longer with the ending drawn out a bit more it would have made the book more enjoyable for me. It does leave the story open for a follow-on book though which I would like to read.

Sunshine and Secrets is the perfect escapist read to a tropical paradise where food, flirting and fun are part of everyday life and is a great book to welcome summer into your life.

Thank you so much to Canelo and Netgalley for sending me a copy to review and inviting me to be part of the blog-tour.

About the Author

Daisy James is a Yorkshire girl transplanted to the north east of England. She loves writing stories with strong heroines and swift-flowing plotlines. When not scribbling away in her summerhouse, she spends her time sifting flour and sprinkling sugar and edible glitter. She loves gossiping with friends over a glass of something pink and fizzy or indulging in a spot of afternoon tea – china plates and teacups are a must.

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Sunday, 25 March 2018

Blog Tour Review: The Little Wedding Island by Jaimie Admans

The Little wedding Island by Jaimie Admans
Published: 2nd March 2018
Publisher: HQ Digital
Pages: 342
Available on Kindle
Rating: 5/5


‘Will you… pretend to marry me?’
Bonnie Haskett loves everything about weddings. She loves her job at a national bridal magazine and even has a deposit down on her dream dress. The only problem? She doesn’t have a fiancĂ©!
So when Bonnie is sent to Edelweiss Island, known as ‘The Little Wedding Island’, it’s a dream come true. She’s heard the rumours, every wedding that takes place in the tiny chapel ends in a happy-ever-after.
But there’s a catch! Investigating the story, Bonnie needs to pose as a blushing bride – and the only man up for posing as her groom is her arch rival (and far too handsome for his own good) journalist Rohan Carter…
The Little Wedding Island is the first book I’ve read by Jaimie Admans and boy what a treat, this is one of those books which I completely fell for. Firstly how can you see that cover and not want to read this book its just gorgeous and perfectly sums up how magical Edelweiss Island is.

Bonnie Haskett is a writer for Two Gold Rings bridal magazine, she’s a woman who is totally in love with all things love related and even has a down-payment made on her dream dress, there’s just one problem…she has no groom. Being a true advocate of love Bonnie believes everyone should have their special day, so when she sees arch-rival RC Arter a writer for The Man Land mocking someone’s wedding she feels she has to step in and champion the couples loves.  This lands Bonnie in big trouble as Two Gold Rings and The Man Land are fighting for survival, as punishment Bonnie is sent off to the elusive Edelweiss Island to get the scoop behinds rumours there’s a church with no divorces.
This is Bonnie’s dream job as Edelweiss Island is a wedding mecca, there’s just one problem, Bonnie will need to be engaged to get any kind of insider information as journalists are not allowed on the island. The only available man on the island is gorgeous Rohan….who Bonnie sadly realises too later is her arch enemy RC Arter, also here to bag the story of the century. These two agree to put their differing views aside and come up with a cunning plan to pretend to be engaged to get the story they need to try and save their jobs. But being engaged to each other doesn’t turn out to be quite as much hard work as they thought.
Can these two fool the locals and get their story? Is the “no divorce” story true? Why is Rohan so against marriage? And can Bonnie find her dream groom? Read this amazing story and find out and like me I’m sure you’ll not be disappointed.
Jaimie Admans The Little Wedding Island for me was a fantastic read. I loved Bonnie and Rohan so much. Despite initially disliking each other its obvious that these two have bucket loads of chemistry between them and it was a joy to watch them slowly falling for each other….predictable yes but written so well that you won’t mind.
In Edelweiss Island Jaimie has created the prefect wedding destination with the beautifully described church on the hill, the cliff-top walks, the sandy beaches and Carol’s ten flavours of wedding cake yes please!
With the perfect mix of romance, comedy and mystery this book is the prefect read for this time of year. It’s a book which made me happy while I was reading it so thank you Jaimie Admans for your lovely uplifting writing, I look forward to reading more very soon.
About the Author

Jaimie is a 32-year-old English-sounding Welsh girl with an awkward-to-spell name. She lives in South Wales and enjoys writing, gardening, watching horror movies, and drinking tea, although she’s seriously considering marrying her coffee machine. She loves autumn and winter, and singing songs from musicals despite the fact she’s got the voice of a dying hyena. She hates spiders, hot weather, and cheese & onion crisps. She spends far too much time on Twitter and owns too many pairs of boots.
She will never have time to read all the books she wants to read.

She is the author of chick-lit romantic comedies The Chateau of Happily Ever Afters, The Little Wedding Island, and Kismetology, and she has also written young-adult romantic comedies Afterlife Academy, Not Pretty Enough, and North Pole Reform School.

Author links:

The Little Wedding Island:
Also available from all other ebook retailers.


The Little Wedding Island themed goodie bag:
  • The Little Wedding Island notebook
  • The Little Wedding Island fridge magnet
  • A signed postcard
  • In honour of Puffin the dog, a pug fountain pen
  • In honour of Edelweiss Island, a copy of The Sound of Music on DVD
  • A ‘grow your own’ Edelweiss flower kit in a tin

Click link below to enter
Thank you to Neverland Blog Tour for organising this tour and inviting me to be part of it.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Blog Tour Review: The Haunting of Hattie Hastings: Part Two by Audrey Davis

The Haunting of Hattie Hastings: Part Two by Audrey Davis
Published: 21st March 2018
Pages: 95
Available on Kindle 
Rating: 4/5

The story continues … Hattie is used to her deceased husband Gary dropping in and out of her life. His timing might not always be great, but at least he's still around. Although – when Hattie tentatively tries a spot of dating – his interference isn't entirely welcome.
Best friend Cat is lapping up her new relationship with teacher Jamie, but ex-husband Stewart isn't prepared to fade into the background.
Hattie's mother Rachel faces a daunting battle, one she doesn't want to burden family and friends with. But there's someone waiting in the wings who might be more than a shoulder to cry on.
Gary still doesn't know what his mission on earth is, and spirit guide Clarence isn't offering any clues? Will an encounter with another provide him with answers, or put Hattie in an impossible situation?
Prepare for more laughs and tears in the second instalment of a trilogy which takes a darkly comic look at life … and the afterlife.
Warning: Cliffhanger ending
In this the second part of the Hattie Hasting’s trilogy Hattie is finally getting her life back together after the sudden death and re-appearance of husband Gary. She’s dipping her toe into the dating world again and gaining a lukewarm reception. The burden of Gary’s presence has been lifted now more people have “seen” him and her man problem seems to the secretive behaviour of her mother Rachel. Best friend Cat is loved up with new boyfriend and is trying her best to avoid ex-husband Stewart whose reappearance has left her more unsettled than Gary’s.
This is a good follow on too part one which I enjoyed reading last year. I do feel this book has a much more serious tone than the first book and I did miss Gary’s one-liner’s, which made the first book for me. Although he does have a couple of very funny incidents to help him get his point across, moving crisps packets anyone…
 The introduction of little Marty adds another dimension to the story which I really liked. As with the previous book we’re left with a cliff-hanger ending and I can’t wait to read it to find out how it all works out.
Thank you so much to Audrey Davis and Rachel Gilby for inviting me on the blog tour and sending me a copy to review.

About the Author

Audrey Davis survived secondary school on the West coast of Scotland. Rubbish at science but not too bad at English, she originally wanted to be an actress but was persuaded that journalism was a safer option. Probably wise. She studied at Napier College in Edinburgh, the only place in Scotland at that time to offer a journalism course.

Her first foray into the hard-nosed newspaper world was as a junior reporter in Dumfriesshire. Duties included interviewing farmers about the prize-winning heifers to reporting on family tragedies. She persuaded her editor to let her launch an entertainment column which meant meeting the odd celebrity – or just the downright odd. From there, she moved to the loftier rank of senior reporter back in her home patch. Slightly more money, less farm animals but a higher crime rate. As Taggart would say: 'There's been a murrrrder!'
After a stint in London on a video magazine – yes, she is that old – Audrey moved to Singapore with her fiancĂ©. She tried valiantly to embrace the stinking heat, humidity and lack of jobs, although she did work briefly on a magazine which was banned by the government for 'artistic' use of naked men's bottoms.

Next on her adventures was a land Down Under where her main focus was raising Cost Centre One (aka firstborn) and coming to terms with the imminent arrival of Number Two. Still, she loved the Aussie way of life – BBQs, beaches and bring your own booze to restaurants – so it came as a blow when OH announced a move back to the UK. Not a job between them, the climate a possible deal breaker and an Exorcist-style vomiting infant on the flight home didn't bode well …

Always a survivor, Audrey sought out similar-minded friends (i.e. slightly bonkers), got the children into a good school and thought about taking up writing again. Sadly, thinking about it was as far as she got, unless you count shopping lists. Then, hubby drops another bombshell. Switzerland. As in – it's packing time again. Off to the land of cheese, chocolate, scarily efficient trains and a couple of teeny, tiny issues. Like driving on the 'wrong' side of the road and speaking a foreign language (French). The former was conquered fairly quickly (we'll skip over the wall demolition in week two), the latter remains an ongoing battle of the hopeful against the hopeless. At least she provides amusement for the local workforce.
It wasn't until 2016 that Audrey rediscovered her writing mojo with an online Writing Fiction course. From there, her first novel – A Clean Sweep – was born, although it took a bit longer than nine months from conception. A short, darker prequel – A Clean Break – followed, and in November 2017 she published the first in a novella trilogy, The Haunting of Hattie Hastings Part One. Part Two is published on 21 March 2018, with the conclusion following in May/June. After which she might have a wee lie down …

Monday, 19 March 2018

Blog Tour Review: Little Woodford by Catherine Jones

Little Woodford by Catherine Jones
Published: 1st March 2018
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Pages: 400
Available on Kindle
Rating: 4/5

Trouble comes to the sleepy market town of Little Woodford - a world of allotments, pub quizzes, shopping and gossip - the heart of middle England.

 Little Woodford has a sleepy high street, a weekly market, a weathered old stone church and lovingly tended allotments. A peaceful, unexciting place, the very heart of middle England.

 In Little Woodford no one has fingers in more pies than Olivia Laithwaite, parish councillor, chair of the local WI, wife, mother and all round queen bee. So of course it's Olivia who is first to spot that The Beeches has been sold at last.

 Soon rumours begin to swirl around the young widow who has bought this lovely house. Why exactly did she leave London with her beautiful stepdaughter and young sons? Are they running from someone? Hiding something? Though if they are, they won't be the only ones. Sometimes the arrival of newcomers in a community is all it takes to light a fuse...


Little Woodford by Catherine Jones is a novel which perfectly captures the essence of small English towns and the plethora of secrets hidden among the residents. Little Woodford itself is the quintessential English village which very much reminded me of locations in Midsummer Murders. Like many of these villages there is the rich /poor divide with some living in huge houses at one end and those who live on the council estate at the other.

Little Woodford focuses mainly on the lives of four women for varying parts of the village, Bex, Heather, Olivia and Amy. Bex Millar has recently moved to the village into the villages premier home The Beeches with her two young boys and step-daughter Megan, but just what are they hiding. Olivia is a local councillor and lives in another of the large houses The Grange, she’s so involved with keeping the village in order that she fails to see the destruction happening right under her own roof. Heather is the Vicar’s wife’s and one the villages’ cheeriest people, but with husband Brain becoming more and more withdrawn Heather is finding it hard to keep a smile on her face when dealing with others. The final woman is Amy, a single-mum who lives on the council estate with son Ashley and knows the other three women as she cleans for them. When boyfriend Billy starts spending more time and money around Amy doubts about their relationship start to creep in. All four of these women find that despite appearances, not everyone life is as perfect as they are making it out to be.

Little Woodford is one of those books where you can totally immerse yourself in the lives of others, the writing is so detailed that everything just came to life for me. I loved the beginning of the book and getting to know all the main characters, but I did feel the middle part of the book dragged a little bit, with perhaps too much unnecessary detail. However, I really love the second half of this novel where everyone’s secrets are divulged and there are few twists before everything is wrapped up nicely at the end. I felt there was also potential for the author to write a second book as some of the endings could easily be developed more.

Little Woodford is a book full of village life, keeping secrets and learning that the grass isn’t always greener in behind the closed door of the big house. It’s a book I enjoyed very much and can recommend to anyone who enjoys books with many different storylines which all connect seamlessly at the end.

Thank you to Head of Zeus for sending me a copy to review and for inviting me to be part of this blog tour.

About the Author

Catherine Jones lives in Thame, where she is an independent Councillor. She is the author of eighteen novels, including the Soldiers' Wives series, which she wrote under the pseudonym Fiona Field.

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Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Blog Tour Review: Finding Dreams by Lauren Westwood

Finding Dreams by Lauren Westwood
Published: 1st March 2018
Publisher: Aria
Pages: 590
Available in Paperback and on Kindle
Rating: 5/5

When Lizzie Green opens up her house to be used as a set for a film based on a bestselling romance novel, she has no idea how her life will change. A heartwarming story of love and second chances.
A must-read for summer - a heartwarming story of love and second chances. Perfect for the fans of Jane Costello and Milly Johnson.
 Lizzie Greene is about to lose everything when her husband suddenly dies and his debts come to light.
 To make ends meet she opens up her quirky old house to be used as a set for a film based on a bestselling romance novel. Her life and household are turned upside down when a whole cast of colourful characters enters her family's lives: from an enigmatic author, a handsome location scout, a brooding director, to a heart-throb leading man, never mind her now ex-mother-in-law camped out in her drive. As Lizzie delves deeper into the film's book, all is not as it seems.
 Will her desire to save her house and unravel the secrets of the past lead to new love, or to mortal danger?

Finding Dreams by Lauren Westwood is a beautiful story about having a second chance at love and is a story I’ve enjoyed immensely.
Just over a year ago Lizzie Green lost her husband Dave suddenly after his weak heart gave up. Dealing with the aftermath of his death has left Lizzie raw and buried away while life continues around her, as not only did she discover that Dave had been cheating on her but that he’d left them with huge debts which mean their beloved home Tanglewild was left with an uncertain future.  Then one day Lizzie finds a letting from a film company asking if they can use her home for their latest film The Lady’s Secret. This gives Lizzie the jump-start she needs to get her life back on track and save her home.
When the filming starts Lizzie discovers its not just some much needed cash the film brings into her home, but also three handsome men which awaken something in Lizzie that’s being gone along time.  As Lizzie starts to read the novel that the film is based on she begins to feel that the story, its author and her house all have a connection.
This is one of those books that you can’t help but adore, it so much more than what you expect and so well written that you barely notice how huge it is while reading. I love that Lauren Westwood has used the idea of a novel within a novel and in this book, I think she has nailed this concept perfectly, I just loved how Lizzie’s story intertwined with Victoria’s throughout the book, just brilliant!
I loved many of the characters in this book too. Lizzie’s had such a rough year it’s a wonder she’s able to carry-on, but she does, and she manages looking after her children, working in London and running around after the film crew and dealing with her eccentric ex mother-in-law, left me in awe of her. Speaking of Connie, the mother in law, boy is she a force to be reckoned with, she has a very brisk nature which sometimes rubs Lizzie up the wrong way, but I really like her. I think she had Lizzie’s best interests at heart, I mean how many mothers would bad mouth their dead sons? The rest of the many characters all add something to this great novel and all have their unique voice, which is also testament to how good a writer Lauren Westwood is.
About the Author

Lauren Westwood is also a prize winning debut YA novelist and a solicitor for a renewable energy company. Originally from California, she now lives in a rickety 400-year-old house in Surrey, with her partner Ian and their three young daughters.

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